Salesman! What Is Your Best Sale? We’ll Pay to Know

THE EDITOR. June 1 1926

Salesman! What Is Your Best Sale? We’ll Pay to Know

THE EDITOR. June 1 1926

TIES THAT BLIND

The story of a man who discovered that loafing is not living and of a woman who learned that the measure of a man is his achievement.

Joseph Lister Rutledge

IT TOOK some weeks of married life to convince Bob Harrington that being married didn’t solve every problem. It was a shock to him. He had been so sure that it would that, ‘‘after we are married,” had become a convenient pigeon-hole for everything that did not seem quite right at the moment. His business

was one of those things. He realized that he had not been putting into it the earnest effort that all the maxims assure us bring results. The disillusionment began when he returned to the big house. It wasn’t that he had any fault to find with

Marian. She was as dear and beautiful and altogether desirable as she had always been. But, somehow, the big house had cast a shadow over him. It was too big, too imposing, too redolent of the wealth of the late John H. Oldham, too completely beautiful, with its delicate draperies, soft lights and obsequious servants; yet he had not known how to escape it. “Mother wants us to live with her,” Marian had announced to him, during their engagement days, and she had said it with evident pleasure, the sense of having settled something important. Mother had a big house and they hadn’t any. It looked to Marian like an eminently pleasant and practical solution of a difficulty. So it was that, when ? they came home, it was to her home, not to his. Not that this fact was ever thrust upon him. The arrangement was one entirely after Mrs. Oldham’s own heart, and she was too wise to disturb it in any way. Besides, she liked Bob Harrington, in a placid kind of way.

As the wedding day receded into the distance, Harrington’s thoughts returned more often to his business. In the days of his first meeting with Marian it had not seemed so important. As she had moved into first place in his thoughts, his business had, just as naturally, moved in to a poor second. He realized now that it needed his undivided attention: but, of all things, that was perhaps the most difficult to give it.

He had run up the stairs, after a hasty breakfast, to see if Marian were still asleep. She met him at the door of her room, a dainty figure, all ribbons and laces. Little errant curls had slipped beneath the edges of her cap, framing the soft oval of her face. Her blue eyes that reminded him so much of the eyes of a tired child, smiled at him sleepily.

“Bob, dear,” she said, turning her face up to be kissed. “I want you to come to Dorrie Elsworth’s this afternoon.” He frowned a little. It was only one of a long series of such requests. “I’m sorry,” he said, almost shortly, “but I have to work.”

Marian faced him with a little petulant frown touching her lips. “You’re always so tiresome when you get talking about your old business. I don’t see why you have to work, anyway. There’s plenty of money.” Her face brightened at a sudden inspiration. “If you need money, Mamma will give you a cheque.” She smiled at him, happily. Why hadn’t she thought of that before?

Harrington turned away with a short laugh, then, catching sight of her surprised face, he laughed again, but more softly, and kissed her.

But, an hour or so later, when he heard her voice over the phone telling him not to forget to be home by two, he had another swift moment of impatience. Then he laughed again. After all he couldn’t expect her to understand all at once. “All right, dear, I’ll be there,” he said.

From Dorrie Elsworth’s he was swept along with a crowd to other diversions. The suggestion that they round off the day with a dance at White Rock Springs had come from Perry Carstair. The suggestion, like all Perry’s suggestions, dealing as they did, invariably, with going somewhere or doing something, was well received. At the

Springs, Bob had promptly lost sight of Marian. As the evening passed, it didn’t add to his pleasure to see her swaying by in Perry’s arms. As Marian and Bob let themselves in after the dance, the clock on the stair struck an accusing four. Marian yawned, sleepily. “I am tired,” she said. “Thank goodness I can sleep till noon.” “And I,” he laughed somewhat shortly, “can sleep till seven-thirty.” “But then, you rather like being a martyr. Don’t you, Bob?” He threw himself into a chair, with a grunt of disgust. “What’s the matter with this crowd, anyway,” he demanded. “Don’t they ever do anything but play?” “But they don’t have to work, so why should they?” She said it with a little air of triumph, as though she had found a clinching argument. “Lucky they don’t.” He continued, morosely “That fellow Carstair would look stupid in an imbeciles’ home.” “That’s not a very nice thing to say, Bob. I don’t know what we would do, sometimes, if it weren’t for Perry.” She came and sat on the arm of his chair. “You’re working too hard, dear. It makes you cross. Perry’s never cross.” “Hasn’t anything to be cross with,” he snapped. “He’s just a limpet.” “I suppose that’s meant to be nasty,” she said, severely, “but I don’t know what a limpet is, so I don’t know for sure.” “It’s a thing that attaches itself to a rock and hangs on. The only effort it exerts is to do nothing.” “If you’re talking about your horrid old work again— I’d rather be a limpet.” DOB HARRINGTON was not exactly happy in those days. He was beginning to feel that he was a good deal of a limpet himself, without just knowing how to avoid it. He was very much in love with Marian, and very anxious to do as she wanted; and most of all, she seemed to want to have him with her. “I have everything I want,” she explained, “except you, and every time I say I want you, you say you have to work. You think you are working for me, but you aren’t really, you know, because I don’t need anything— anything, that is, except you. Be a dear and come along.” Of course he had gone, that was the worst of it, he almost always did, when Marian made a point of it. At

first he had gone unwillingly, and with a sense of the futility of that life. But he had grown to like it. From being an outsider he had come to be, definitely, one of the crowd. They looked to him as a leader in their diversions, and he rather prided himself that he could put more brains to that task than could Perry, because

he had more to put. Marian was frankly pleased. She loved Bob, and she liked him to be liked. It gave an added zest to her days. But she could not help noticing that, for all that he devoted most of his time to going about with her, he was

not quite happy. In the excitement of the moment he was gay and lighthearted but, that excitement removed, he grew morose and silent. He spoke rather sharply at times, and Marian and her mother were surprised and hurt. When life was so easy and comfortable, why should he make it difficult and unpleasant? It was on one of those occasions that he had flung himself out of the house in an effort to walk off his ill humor. He realized that he could not lay the blame at any door but his own.

They had seen him depart almost with a sense of relief, though there was a troubled look on Marian’s face. “I’m worried about Bob,” she said to her mother. “He’s not a bit like he used to be. I wish,” she said, with a little flash of anger, “that he didn’t have that old business to worry him. It only makes him cross,” she concluded weakly.

Mrs. Oldham patted her hand, affectionately. “Never mind, dearie. I’ll have a talk with him.” She felt that this was an eminently practical course.

It did not make it easier for Mrs. Oldham to know that the interview she had suggested meant getting up early, for Harrington breakfasted at eight. It was a tribute to his sense of sslf-respect; though he knew in his own heart that it was only a gesture. Mrs. Oldham was seated at the table when he arrived. “You’re up early this morning, Bob,” she said, ingratiatingly. Bob, who had retired four hours previously, gazed at her stonily. “It’s a passion with me,” he said, in a hollow voice.

Mrs. Oldham tried again: “You shouldn’t work so hard.” She shook a heavy finger at him in jocular reproof. “All work and no play—•” she began, but fell silent before his smoldering gaze. “Have you ever taken a real good look at the eruption they call Perry Carstair?” he demanded, the disillusionment of the moment stinging him to words. “That shrimp plays all the time.” Harrington munched in nervous silence for a while. “The trouble with me,” he finally exploded, “is not too much work, but too little.” To Mrs. Oldham there was something—-something not quite nice in this emphasis on work. It sounded like a furnace man or something. She looked around, nervously, hoping that the servants had not overheard; but she took up the gage bravely. “If you must work, why don’t you—” she had a fleeting idea of saying: “try something that doesn’t make you so disagreeable—” but she was a kindly woman, and then, he belonged to Marian. He deserved consideration. “Why don’t you,” she concluded, “do something that is not so nerve-racking?” “Such as?” he demanded, unresponsively. It didn’t make sense to her—“Such as?” She eyed him in mild panic. “What’s your suggestion?” Mrs. Oldham brightened at that. He was more reasonable than she had hoped. “Well, I knew a man once who bought something—stocks I think—he bought them for ever so little, and sold them for a lot more. It wasn’t really any trouble at all.” She felt a sense of triumph. She had stepped into an awkward situation with a really practical suggestion. “Thanks,” he said. “I think I’ll stick to my own brand of piracy where I know the weapons.” But that, too, was only a gesture. He didn’t stick and, worst of all, he knew that he wasn’t sticking. In the early days he had fought against that—fought to keep his selfrespect. Sometimes he smiled a little at the thought, and there was bitterness in that smile. He was chattel, definitely marked and docketed. He had been bought—well, what of it? They knew what they were buying, and the cost; that cleared him. Also he liked it. What was the sense of all this high-minded stuff? Nobody wanted him to work. What was the use of struggling and strainingtaking time that could be more interestingly employed— taking it with an effort, to make money that no one needed or wanted.

FT ARRINGTON threw himself into the life of amuse-*■ ment with a new vigor; and, strangely enough, it was Marian who held back. It was just what she had wanted but, somehow, now that it was accomplished, she wasn’t sure. There was something different about Bob. She couldn’t lay her finger on it, but it was there. He didn’t talk much about his business now. Even when she mentioned it he evaded the subject. “It’s all right,” he said. With anyone else he would have been sharp, but with her he was always gentle.

It was Perry who put a name to her fears. “It isn’t much of a business,” he said, in answer to an inquiry “It’s more like a young bar. Didn’t seem to be anything but an office, and a pretty dingy one at that, and if there was any business going, or anyone to do it, or be done to, I didn’t notice it But I was only there once. Friend Bob isn’t a chummy lad when he has a bottle.”

So that was it. But it wasn’t all. There were other things—nothing serious, just like Perry and the rest. Bob had been spending money. Her mother had told her. She had paid the bills.

Marian said nothing. Somehow the news came as a shock to her. Then there wasn’t really any business. Bob was being supported, just as she was being supported. Like a blaze of light there came to her the feeling that this was what was wrong with Bob. It was all right for Perry, and the others. She knew, instinctively, rather than from any definite process of reasoning, that it was not right for Bob. It hurt him. It made him different. She couldn’t put a name to that difference. It was evidenced in so many little things. But it was not a difference that she liked to face in the man she loved.

FT WAS about a week later that Bob coming home one afternoon, a little flushed of face, found Nina and Dorothy and Marian grouped about Perry Carstair. Perry was in his element. “I’ve found the original Nordic,” he was saying. “He’s a blond-haired lad who looks as though he had just stepped out of Noah’s Ark and found it a strange, strange world. He’s from one of dad’s mines up by the Pole—Looks like an Indian, too, but if you peeled him, I think you would find he was white Now my idea is this—”

“What are you talking about?” Harrington demanded, a little thickly. Perry looked aggrieved. “That’s what I am trying to tell you. My idea is to show this lad what’s living—sort of owe it to the dad. Anyway we can give him something to think about on the long winter evenings.” “I don’t think I care for the rescue work,” Nina sniffed. “Can’t you pick up some man who would be interesting— not just interested?” “Nina,” Perry spoke, severely, “you’re not very quick about this—” “Perry’s right,” Bob broke in. “It’s as good an excuse as another. We’ll meet you at the Springs, at nine,” he continued with mounting enthusiasm. “Round up the rest of the crowd.” “That’s talking,” Perry approved, “nine it is, just time enough.”

The blond young giant, whom Perry introduced, largely, as McCallum, smiled interestedly. The bronzed face against the immaculate whiteness of his dress shirt, seemed to set him apart from the rest. But he entered into the excitement with enthusiasm. “I like it,” he laughed at Marian, with whom he was dancing at the moment. “Haven’t seen anything like this for years, and won’t, probably, see it again for more years; but how you folks keep it up I don’t know.” “We haven’t anything else to do.” “But all these young fellows—? Have to work tomorrow? She shook her head. “Most of them have money, or someone has.” “I see,” he said, slowly. “Still, even then, it’s funny that they don’t get tired of it.” Perry passed them in the dance. “Bob thinks this is too tame,” he called out. “We’re off to Liberty’s.” “You see,” she said, “we don’t let ourselves get tired of it.” There was almost a hint of bitterness in her voice, that made him look at her in surprise. “When we begin to get tired of it,” she said, “we move on. Bob,” she added, “is my husband.” They were out and away, crowding into cars in a babble of excited voices. As McCallum found his place between Bob and Marian, Perry’s car, all silvery in the moonlight, shot out into the roadway.” “Beat you to it,” he called back in his high-pitched voice.

Bob pressed the starter with the hint of a scowl on his face, and they lurched forward into the road. Red lights bobbed ahead of them as he let the car out. He swung out, passing one after the other, until only one light danced ahead of them along the moonlit road. Their speed steadily mounted. “Pretty fast, isn’t it?” McCallum shouted in his ear. “It’ll do sixty,” Bob shouted back. He turned out to pass Perry’s roadster, but the silver streak shot ahead. Harrington edged back to the road again, scowling, and raced on again.

McCallum touched his arm, gently. “I’d slow up a bit,” he suggested.

“Nervous?” Harrington demanded, the hint of a sneer in his voice.

McCallum laughed pleasantly. “Sure, I’m nervous,” he replied, “I’ve a lot of things I’d like to do, before they pick up my scattered remains along this highway.” Harrington slowed down, suddenly. “Sorry,” he said, in a changed voice.

Perry’s silver roadster was drawn up at the door as they arrived. There was the chink of ice in tall glasses, as they passed in, the heavy smell of perfume and the heady strain of music tortured with studied syncopation.

Nina appropriated McCallum, and carried him off, laughing. It was only a few moments before she was hack again. “We’re going for a swim,” she said. “All my people are away except dad, and he’ll never wake till morning. Come along.” Perry was standing on the edge of the pool, pointing at McCallum, when Marion and Bob arrived. “I told you he was white,” he announced, “Look at him.” The tan line ended abruptly on arms and neck, leaving a white gap between that and his swimming suit.

“You make me feel as though I wasn’t properly clothed,” he laughed, as he dived from the board. Immediately the pool was a maze of bobbing heads and laughing and shrieking voices.

Marian and Bob were sitting on the side of the pool, when McCallum climbed up beside them. “Too much excitement for me, all in one night,” he protested, with a laugh.

“Excitement?”

“Why, yes,” a puzzled look showed on the sunburnt face. “Isn’t this exciting?” Harrington shook his head. “We try to think so. I fancy, though, that there’s more up in your north country.”

The other nodded. “Up where I come from,” he said, “a man got mad because things weren’t going right, and tossed his pick away. It hit a rock—knocked off a chunk, and uncovered a vein of almost pure silver. That’s excitement, too,” he said, “but it’s different, somehow.”

“This is just froth,” Harrington retorted, shortly.

A hand reached up and caught McCallum’s foot, and he disappeared suddenly. He came up a moment later. “If you don’t like this kind,” he sputtered, picking up the conversation where they had left it, “you might like ours.”

The suggestion might not have stayed in Harrington’s mind if it had not been for Carstair. They were dining together a day or so later, some half dozen of them, and Perry was repeating some of McCallum’s remarks, with a fair imitation of the latter’s broad burr. He caught the frown on Harrington’s face. “Bob’s another earnest young man,” he announced to the table at large. “He thinks he loves work, but he doesn’t.” He turned to Harrington with cheerful effrontery. “You wouldn’t stick it, Bob—up there with McCallum— any more than I would. You’d be yelping for the flesh-pots before the first black fly had got through dining. I’d gamble, Bob, you wouldn’t stick it.”

Bob turned with a half smile on his face, and a light answer on his lips. They wouldn’t get a rise out of him that way. Then he saw their eyes turn from him.

“He would! He would!” Marian’s eyes blazed, and her lips trembled, but her words were clear. “He would! He would!” she repeated.

He heard Nina’s giggling laugh, saw the smiles on that row of faces. That was what they thought of him, and they were right—that was what he was. He hated them all. He looked at Marian. There were tears in her eyes, but she stood there still, with her challenge unanswered. To Harrington it seemed that she had forgotten everyone, only him.

He turned to Carstair with lips drawn tight. “I’ll take you,” he said, slowly. “I’ll take you for a thousand, that I can go, with just enough money to land me there, and stick it for six months—or more.”

Perry looked puzzled for a moment. “I didn’t mean it that way, old man— sorry if I hurt your feelings.” He was smiling again. “I'm offering to bet that thousand

dollars,” Harrington repeated, slowly. “Are you hedging, now?”

Perry flushed a little. “If you put it that way, I’m on, of course.”

Harrington felt a hand upon his arm. “We’d better go now, Bob, dear.” He nodded and turned away, without a word i to anyone.

IUTARRINGTON was lonely, with an

intensity that was almost unbearable, but his letters gave no word of it. He had come to that new land with high hopes, and the land had set its mark upon him. He loved it, and he hated it! Loved it for the openness that had swept the discontent from his heart, and bronzed his face, and hardened his muscles; hated it because it could withhold so much. He had not the instinct of the North. He came, late, to each new field, to pick up what odd corners were left. Once or twice they had made him some money, but what came in one venture he only lost in the next. And always there was about him that ache of loneliness.

And Marian went home from one of Perry’s gay parties, and sat on the side of her mother’s bed, and cried.

Mrs.( Oldham patted her hand. “I know dearie,” she said, “you want him home.”

I don’t, mother. I don’t—not now.” She looked up with a smile breaking through the tears. “I’m just silly, dear, and tired; just forget about it there’s a dear. I’m all right now.”

It was that night that Mrs. Oldham wrote to Bob. It was a skilful letter, th¿ outcome of a simple mind. She had only two thoughts, to make Marian happy, and to make life run smoothly. So she told how much Marian missed him, and how much comfort and content there was awaiting him.

And Harrington read the letter in his cramped room, with the sense of failure upon him, and was caught and held by the words. All right. They wanted him. He was going home.

His resolution once made, he moved about the room swiftly, packing his bag with haste.

At the station he bought a ticket and a berth reservation. There was a stir in the air, even there, an intangible thing that still caught at his blood. “A strike in South Lorrain!” It flew from mouth to mouth. No one knew more. No one seemed to know whence the rumor came.

It spread, as such news spreads, like fire leaping over sunburnt grass.

“A great chance,” he thought—“footloose—a little money—” all the thwarted passion of those months of hopes deferred called to him.

He looked at the pasteboards in his hand. “Hell!” he said, “It’s another lie.

I m going home.”

Loneliness, the cumulative effect of many failures, the sudden hunger for the soft things of life, held his determination firm. It was with him as he climbed aboard the pullman, and arranged his things for a long journey. Going home to ease and comfort. It was waiting for him with an eager welcome.There was Marian, too. His face clouded a little. He had dreamed, sometimes, that the going back would be different—that he would go with his head held high. But what matter. They would be glad to see him anyway. “No more of this damned disillusionment,” he thought.

“Harrington,” said Jhe racing wheels beneath him, “Harrington, you’re a fool.” He listened, impersonally, as though they spoke of someone else. Harrington. That was his name. “Harrington,” they said over and over in endless iteration, “you’re a fool.”

Maybe—maybe he’d been a fool for a long time. Now he was going home. There was the ticket in his hand. It represented ease and comfort—the soft luxuries of civilizations—good pictures— good music— soft lights and soft laughter —the gleam of white linen—the blush of pink shoulders caught for some instant in the dance.

Up there in South Lorrain he could see them staking their claims backing the odd chance—something fine in that. Something, he thought, drowsily, to have a mine named after you.

He clutched his ticket, and the yellow pullman slip. Realities! They were part of the civilization to which he was going back. “Harrington,” mumbled the wheels, as they slowed down for North Bay, “you’re—a—fool—”

Harrington rose slowly and, gathering his coat and bag, stepped out on the platform. His ticket and pullman check were still in his hand. He looked at them, half sheepishly, and as the station master passed him, he tore them across and threw them to the winds. “When is the next train going north?” he asked.

THE days that followed remained always as a blurred memory of excitement and heavy weariness. There were times when things—people—places

emerged from the blurr into the shape of reality. He saw himself reaching the scene of excitement, just that fraction of time late, as always—saw himself staking an unpromising claim and heard the rough jibes of the more fortunate. But there was a dogged determination upon him that bade him hold to that place of his first choice. And then, one day, on those barren acres the flash of gold—yellow flakes flecking the gray rock. He looked at it with stolid indifference. He was too weary even for elation. He spent methodical days sampling here and there, but always coming back to the same spot, sometimes in a spirit of exhilaration, but more often in dull doubt.

A/fcCALLUM had made a hurried trip 1 -1 from the North, and Perry had gathered him in for an evening’s entertainment. He looked rather surprised when he found Marian one of the party. “It looks,” he said, “as though Bob had really found something. Mind you, I’m not saying that he has. You can’t tell with mines. But I’d bet on it.”

“And if he hasn’t,” she asked, slowly, will he be back?”

“Do you want him back—to this?” “No!” she said, sharply.

“Then leave him alone.”

She nodded at that. “But if—as you said if he has found something—if it comes so easily—I am afraid,” she said, sharply.

McCaIlum looked at her suddenly. Then there was something in this girl, rf eí. a^‘ ^he ^id understand what this life had done to him. The sternness left his voice. “I understand,” he said, “with his shield, or on it,that’s the idea, isn’t it?” She looked, puzzled.

Anyway, I know what you mean,” he T?nT‘ ' ^'s better to have him fight for it. What a man has worked and slaved and fought for he’ll stay by. Let him fight for it hard enough, and this sort of thing,” he {ookea about him. “won’t hold him. I hat s what you mean, isn’t it?”

She looked at him soberly. “Yes,” she said, I want Bob, but I want him that way.”

LJARRINGTON had said nothing of

_ his find. It was the easier because his clâim was shut off by a maze of muskeg and he saw little of his fellows. Once a frenchman, Dubeau, had passed that way, and had stopoed to watch him in saturnine silence.

“You like work,” he said, “Plenty ^or!gT T He nodded in the direction of the Elk Hill Mines.

Harrington nodded. “Yes, pretty busy, aren t they? Looks like it’s worth while being busy, too.” He looked up, wiping the stinging sweat from his eyes. “I’m just foolish enough,” he grinned, “to like working here.”

Foolish enough,” Dubeau agreed, and slouched on his way.

Harrington looked after him and smiled. _ “Foolish enough, is about right,” he admitted ruefully.

It was a week later that he received the returns from his samplings. He looked down the assay figures with that old sense of disappointment. Just enough promise to be a tantalization. Then his eyes fell on number eleven. He sat for a moment staring at the figures. His face went white, and then flushed to a sudden scarlet. He put the paper in his pocket, and went out and trudged along that barren ridge. It was growing dusk, but he with care, kicking the rubble,

made by his search, back into placed. Down on his hands and knees he worked to obliterate any sign of his activities. He went back to the shack, where he bad lived for weeks past, shut the one window a j *aslened it securely. Then he went out and nailed the door shut, and threw the hammer into the brush.

There was a glimmer of light in the sky as he turned away. It showed a man moving quietly, yet with a light of excitement in his face. He was going home.

‘‘Bob> for goodness sakes change those awful clothes before someone sees you.” Mrs. Oldham faced the home-coming

Harrington with a mild panic of uncertainty. He was changed, and she wasn’t sure that she liked that. His hair was unkempt, his face was brown, and his hands—she surveyed those hands with mounting horror.

He saw the look and laughed, and to her surorise, he stooped and kissed her. When he had left her and gone leaping up the stair to find Marian, Mrs. Oldham stood before a glass arranging her hair with little, prim touches. There was a slight flush on her cheek, and a smile tried to struggle through a sense of disapproval. In her heart she knew that she was very happy.

There was a new air about the house. Marian went about singing where there had been no songs.

There was a new exhilaration about Harrington. Even Perry Carstair’s arrival was welcomed with enthusiasm. “I have to see your father,” he announced in answer to one of Perry’s questions. “I think he would be more interested than you can be,” but he smiled at Perry in friendly fashion.

Carstair senior was interested, a reluctant interest, hardly come by. Harrington had shown him a map of his claim, and of the adjacent territory. “There’s the Gold Eagle, and there’s Elk Hill,” he pointed to two dots on the map, “you know about them.” He drew a line between the two, and let his pencil rest on the centre of that line. “And here am I,” he explained, “sitting pretty on the course of that same vein.”

Carstair senior studied the map and the assay figures without enthusiasm.

He pondered so long that a dull fear began to creep about Harrington’s heart. Carstair was the man to swing it. He was ready to take a chance, ready to be fair; that was his reputation.

“It looksfairly promising.” Harrington’s heart leaped exultantly. “But then,” the gruff voice continued, “so have a lot of other ventures that have eaten up more money, a thousand times than anyone will take out of them. I don’t know that I’m interested. I’m pretty certain that I’m not.” Harrington’s heart sank again. “I’ll do this for you, though. I’ve got some business up North. I’ll look your stuff over.”

He rang his desk bell. “Wire McCallum to meet me at Haileybury, Thursday.” “You’ll be there?” he said, turning to Harrington.

“I’d be there,” Harrington laughed, “if I had to walk.”

“You may have to walk back,” Carstair smiled, grimly.

MCCALLUM greeted Carstair as he stepped off the train. “Saw Harrington,” he said, “told me you were going to look at his place.”

“Harrington is sitting on the pot at the end of the rainbow, like half the folks up here,” Carstair interposed, drily. “We’re taking a look at that pot. That’s all.” McCallum hesitated. “It’s good, Mr. Carstair, at least it’s as good a chance as any, and better than most. But— “Where does the ‘but’ come in?” Carstair demanded. “Was waiting for it.”

“Nothing to do with the property. There’s a Frenchman—-Dubeau—been sneaking around while Harrington was away, trying to mess up the title. He’s registered work on it, and all that.”

“But Harrington said it was clear.”

“So it is. I looked it up. Dubeau just thinks because Harrington’s newjip here he can jockey him out of it.”

“Well, we can soon settle friend Dubeau’s case, if it’s worth while,” Carstair snapped.

McCallum flushed a little. “You know this chap, Harrington?” he said, suddenly.

Carstair nodded. “Slightly. Married to a young fool, and mothered by an old one —no good. That’s what makes me wary of this thing.”

“The thing’s all right. It’s the chap I’m thinking about—and the girl. I think she’s over being a fool.”

“Caught by a pretty face, McCallum,” Carstair laughed, dryly.

McCallum nodded. “And a decent chap gone soft,” he said.

“I see. You want me to pull him out of any mess he’s in,” Carstair snapped, “and soften him some more.”

“I want you to leave him alone,” McCallum flared, “to leave him to his own fight with Dubeau, if it comes to that.”

“What’s the idea?” Carstair demanded, with awakening interest. “I know the type. He’ll go back.”

“I don’t know about the type,” McCallum said, slowly, “but I do know something about men. What they fight for, they value.”

“Oh, all right,” Carstair said, testily, “Let’s have a look at the place, anyway. I’ll Dick up my cues as they fall. Only— I’m warning you. He won’t fight. And this, too. If he doesn’t I'll pick up this claim for myself anyway I can get it. If Dubeau takes it from him, I’ll take it from Dubeau.”

As the rickety car drew up Carstair looked about him with sombre eyes. “They certainly planted thatpot where it should have been safe,” he grunted.

But Harrington was beyond discouragement. He led them along that razor-like ridge, kicking away the scrub and rubbish that lay above the scene .of his solitary labors.

McCallum dropped on his knees and began to investigate. He chipped off a bit of rock and handed it to Carstair. “It looks good,” he said, and Carstair nodded.

“We’ll need to do some drilling to see if it isn’t just a surface showing. It looks as though it would run down though— faulted—worth a chance, anyway.”

“You like him, hey?” The three men turned in surprise to face the heavy bulk of Dubeau.

“You like him, hey?”

“Why, yes,” Carstair eyed the speaker narrowly. “If it’s of interest to you to know, I like him fairly well. But where do you come in?”

“Belongs me!” Dubeau announced, imperturbably.

Carstair wheeled sharply on Harrington. “Who owns this, anyway?” he demanded.

“I do.” Harrington flamed up in a sudden burst of anger.

Dubeau shrugged his shoulders. “My stakes,” he said, with an ugly leer. “I stake him, and I record my work.” He leered again at Harrington. “He forget that,” he said.

“Told you there was many a slip,” Carstair growled, “so you slipped up on the work record, did you?”

“I didn’t.” There was almost a snarl in Harrington’s voice.

But Carstair paid no attention. Instead, he strode over to one of the stakes, jerked it up and examined it. “Your name Dubeau?” he demanded.

The Frenchman nodded. “You like him,” he said, “Perhaps you like to buy him?”

Carstair studied the speaker without reülying. “Fool’s errand, McCallum,” he snapped.

“It’s mine,” Harrington broke in, thickly. “It’s mine—properly recorded and properly worked. I tell you it’s all right.”

“Maybe,” Carstair growled, “but it’s not all right for me. I’m an old one at this game. I’ve been caught that way once.’*’

“But you’re not going to let this dirty claim jumper frighten you off?” Harrington steadied his voice with an effort.

Carstair turned on him with a scowl. “I’m not easily frightened,” he snapped. “But when I’m sinking good money in a hole in the ground, I’m going to be sure that the hole doesn’t belong to someone else.”

There was a white anger burning in Harrington. It made him reckless. “There’s a fortune here,” he said, “It’s looking right at you; and you’re letting yourselves be frightened away.” He quieted, suddenly. “I tell you, Mr. Carstair, everything’s clear. This man thinks, because I’m new up here, that he can frighten me off. I tell you it’s just bluff. You can believe that. You know me.”

Carstair surveyed him, sourly. “I know you as the intimate of my son. When this man says that you haven’t done the work, well, your friendship with my son doesn’t help you with me. No, I’m through.”

Harrington slumped down on the rubble, all the passion dead in him. Then, as Carstair turned to go, it flamed again in a great wave of red. “Go, and be damned to you,” he shouted, hoarsely. “It’s mine. I found it; and I’ll stay here till I prove it, if I have to dig it out with my bare hands.”

He watched the car depart on its jolting way, half dazed.

“You want a job?” Dubeau’s voice sounded in his ear. “I give you.”

Harrington looked beyond him to where the Frenchman’s stake showed in the distance. He went and jerked it out, and swung it at the Frenchman’s head. Dubeau dodged with unexpected agility, and, with a snarl, came toward him.

*"■ Harrington saw him coming, through the red mist of fury that swam before his eyes. He ran to meet him, laughing. His fist caught Dubeau in mid-stride and staggered him. Twice he struck out, with the strength of madness behind his tensed muscles. Then, suddenly, he saw the Frenchman gather himself together—• too late. Dubeau leaped, kicking as he rose. His great boot caught Harrington just beside the chin, tearing the flesh from the bone. Harrington dropped like a pole-axed steer, and lay motionless.

When he came to himself Dubeau looking down at him with an ugly leer on his face. “You want that job?” he enquired.

Harrington looked, dully, to where the stake had been. It was planted again.

Dubeau followed his glance, smiling evilly.

Half crawling, the blood streaming from his face, blinding him, Harrington made toward it. “I’ll fight you for this,” he said, “as long as I can stand; and when I can’t I’ll fight you on my knees.” He twisted the stake from the ground and threw it aside.

He saw that great boot coming again and stumbled aside—saw the great bulk of Dubeau sway for a moment off balance, from the lurch of that kick. In that moment Harrington struck, calling on his dulled wits to guide the blow. It caught Dubeau on the point of the jaw. His head snapped back and he doubled up in an ungainly heap, striking his head on the rocky ground as he fell.

Harrington stood looking at him, the blood still dripping from his face, and in his heart an anger redder than the blood. He knew that the man might be dead, yet the thought brought no regret.

He got an axe and fashioned new stakes, and drove them firmly in place. As he did so, Dubeau stirred. So he wasn’t dead, then! Harrington went to his cabin and got his shot gun and came back seating himself where he could watch that slow return to consciousness.

Dubeau’s eyes opened, staring balefully at the seated figure.

“You want a job?” Harrington enquired.

With a muffled curse Dubeau rose to his feet.

“So you don’t want it. Then take your property away from here.” Harrington tossed Dubeau’s stakes at his feet.

Like a flash, the Frenchman had seized one and raised it to strike, but that cold muzzle, facing him, held him still.

“Now you had better be moving.” Harrington’s finger rested lightly, almost eagerly, on the trigger. “And just one bit of advice—If you’re thinking of dropping that stake anywhere in sight, you had better say a prayer for your thieving soul, for you’ll be needing it.”

THREE days later, McCallum visiting the mine, was faced by the same unwavering gun.

“What do you want?” Harrington demanded, ungraciously.

“Put that thing away, and let’s have a look at the place. I never could talk down a gun muzzle.”

McCallum’s quick glance took in the change. The shed that served for shelter had been moved until" it stood almost above the miniature pit head. He looked down into the excavation, five or six feet through the solid rock—the evidence

of herculean effort. “How did you do it?” he asked, curiously.

“Pick and shovel, and a little dynamite, and my own hands.”

McCallum jumped down into the pit studying the evidence with trained eyes, while Harrington watched him, eagerly. Once or twice McCallum looked up and nodded. “It looks good,” he said. “It’s going down. You’ll have to drill and drift a bit to see if it holds. You can’t do that by yourself,” he said, suddenly.

“I can try,” Harrington said, quietly.

“Better try with your head instead of your hands,” McCallum retorted impatiently. “I can interest people in this, get the work done, and leave you with a controlling interest.”

“All right,” said Harrington.

“Then that’s finished, and I’d better fix that face of yours. That Dubeau’s work?”

“He has its twin,” said Harrington, soberly.

I 'HE gold digger will be back soon,” A Perry Carstair announced.

Marian looked at him excitedly. “Are you sure?” she asked.

“My governor isn’t an expansive lad, and he doesn’t take me into his confidence to any extent. But he gave me a hint, last night that he’d decided that associating with me had dulled Bob’s wits. He runs on me a bit, sometimes,” Perry explained, pleasantly. “Well, I up and put two and two together. Dad back from the North, coupling my name and Bob’s, quite distinctly not in his favor. Dad doesn’t miss anything promising, therefore—Bob’s Mine—” There followed a clever bit of pantomime illustrating the blowing and bursting of a bubble. “Old Bob will be back to the flesh pots,” he explained.

“Marian’s face had gone suddenly white, then flushed again. “He won’t,” she said, sharply, “I know him. He won’t be back. He’s not like you and the rest. I’m sick of you, sick of you all. There’s not one bit of red blood in any of you.”

Her face flamed with a passion that was close to tears.

“You just laugh at the only real man in all your rotten crowd. You, you,” she said, “you’ve let this stupid, empty life, blind you to everything, and I’ve let it, too. We don’t know what life is. We’re just outside it, tying ourselves to every useless thing—and you’re laughing at Bob—you’re just blind, blind, blind.”

Perry stirred uneasily. His pleasant little efforts at conversation with Marian seemed, lately, to have a way of going wrong. He tried to maintain a jaunty air. “Blest be the tie that blinds,” he said, with affected cheerfulness.

“Yes,” she said, scornfully, “that is you. But it’s not Bob, and it isn’t going to be me. I’m going to find him.”

IT WAS proven, beyond all question but Harrington was too tired even for elation. Dimly he knew that it was better than he had dared to dream.

And then, leaving the pit shed one day, he saw Marian coming toward him, fresh and young, and more beautiful than ever to his tired eyes. He could have cried at seeing her.

“Oh, Bob,” she said, a sob catching at her voice.

He took her arm and swung her round, •almost roughly. “It’s the Harrington Mine,” he said. There was a world of pride in his voice, that was still hoarse with fatigue.

“It looks just like a woodshed,” Mrs. Oldham broke in, discontentedly, “and it’s not even tidy.” She had not wanted to come, and towels bad been lacking in the pullman. She could not muster any enthusiasm for this drab spot.

He heard her, yet he did not hear. “It’s mine,” he said, almost fiercely. “I made it. It’s good—no one knows how good. It will run down there, for miles, perhaps—and it’s mine. It’s got my name on it.”