The Print of the French Heel
A Story of the Wilds of North-West Canada
ROBERT E. PINKERTON
“Easy—easy, Larry,” said his father aietly. “You are in a city now, not a wilderness. We have other ethods here. Wait until after lunch, d we will go to my rooms and talk ings over.”
“As I told you, Wilson, generally unges hard on the market,” said Mr. illson after he and Lawrence had ne upstairs.
“In the last ten years I have specated a great deal myself. I generly have kept under cover, and my lerations are not widely known. I :d so more as a diversion than anying else, something to keep me fully icupied, to help me forget.
“Twice I have been in pools in which Uson was the leading spirit. The llow has an uncanny way of forecastg even weather conditions, and his iccess is a byword in La Salle Street. “As a result of my operations, I have ganized an efficient reporting bureau, hich affords me much valuable inforation, and, as the saying is, I am •etty well on the inside.
“Now, I know that Wilson is planng a big campaign, one greater than 3 has ever attempted before. I know iat he intends to hear the market; that ? believes this year’s wheat crop is to lí a record-breaker.
i “My own observations and informaon do not lead me to this belief. Were
I not that my information as to Will’s intentions is so authentic I would lieve that he intends to cover secretly. |6 has a big following, because of past ccesses, and it would be like him to ad his flock down a blind alley. ¡“Perhaps you do not know that I ive piled up quite a few dollars. I ive done so merely to be doing someing, and I never have used what I ive made.
“This is the first opportunity I have id, Larry, and I will_ stake all I have \ this deal; and it is so much that ¡is fellow and his crowd can’t break . If things turn out as he expects, ¡»thing can save us. But I am not ¡raid of that.
“I will keep out of this on the surce. You will be the man before the iblic. They may connect us, but we
II both deny it.
“At the same time all the experienced formation, and knowledge I have will * yours, and I will arrange with my nkers to keep you supplied with the fcessary funds.
“You had better open a suite of offices and get an office force. I will have Hopkins attend to that. Just keep mum; do as I tell you, and we will put this fellow so far under he won’t come up again.
“He will have to come to us, and we will show no mercy until that evij dence is in our hands.
“He has gone so far, has risen so ¡ high ,that he never will let loose of his money if he can help it. Rather than lose it he will give up all that he has against Burt.”
The succeeding weeks Lawrence found to be the busiest of his life.
His buying campaign started quietly, slowly, as obscurely as possible, soon began to attract attention, to be felt in a market that had been steadily falling.
The first week in August he doubled his operations, but the price went down and down, pressed by the most favorable reports ever received from the northwest.
“Dad, it looks bad,” Lawrence said to his father one evening when they were holding their secret nightly conference.
“The bottom is going to drop out of things, and, as we stand to-day, with! out buying another bushel, we are in for a loss of a little over two millions.” ¡
“We can stand it, and a lot more,” said his father.
“Yes, but we are merely pouring money into the pockets of this fellow and his crowd. I read in the papers this morning that Wilson has bought a yacht, the largest on the lakes; and he was quoted as saying that, after he had cleaned up, he was going down the lakes, on through the St. Lawrence and around to the gulf.”
“The game is not played yet, boy. I have every faith in my information bureau, and I know the crop is not going to be what they think.
“Besides, this fellow is due for a fall, and I have a hunch that it is coming soon.”
Despite his father’s optimism, Lawrence Recame more discouraged.
He could not pin his father down to better reasons for his belief than a “hunch” that “things had to turn.”
On the other hand, his father advised | heavier buying.
“But, dad,” objected Lawrence, “the crop reports are sending the price lower and lower. There is no telling where they will land.”
“Well, we can pay for it, and a lot more. Better do as I say.”
And the next day when reports were received of greatly increased acreage in Argentina, when it was learned that Russia was digging old cradles and reapers from forgotten corners to handle its immense crop, prices took a tumble that placed the Willson obligations close to five million dollars.
The success of the Wilson crowd and the abnormally low price of the world’s greatest foodstuff began to attract newspaper attention to Lawrence.
So quietly had he been at work it was not until the end of the first week in August that his identity and the extent of his operations became known.
Denials by himself and his father that they were related, or connected in a business way, enveloped the man in mystery.
He was snapped on the street by newspaper photographers, and his picture was printed all over the United
Who he was, where he came from, no one knew, and every one wondered.
His presence of only five weeks qn La Salle Street and his refusal to talk with any one led to all sorts of stories.
Many declared they believed he was only a figurehead for big eastern interests, for where else could he get such large sums as he had deposited with his brokers?
Others, noting the tanned face and hands, still rough from exposure, shouted loudly that he was a returned Klondike king, come to have a little fling with his easily acquired gold.
Newspapers took him up and devoted special Sunday stories to him, wondrous tales of his adventures in the frozen north.
“A Jack London hero in real life’,’ one paper called him.
Another journal, guessing more accurately than it knew, declared that he was a son of William W. Willson; that they had been estranged, and that, with a fortune gained in Alaskan gold fields, the young man had returned to attack his father through the market.
This paper pictured the elder Willson raking from under the wheat-pit the golden nuggets that the son was shoveling in from Klondike.
Most of the papers declared, however, that the elder Willson was not interested in the market and played it up as a battle between William W. Wilson and Lawrence.
“Single-L” and “Double-L” became the popular designation for the warring giants in wheat.
Lawrence soon found that the publicity in itself not only was annoying, but that it opened new sources of annoyance.
Preachers inveighed against his gambling, his wanton waste.
Beggars wrote letters and called at hi offices, believing that one who coul. risk millions could easily give dolían;
Charitable institutions sent represor tatives, imploring him to cease his ope: ations and place his money where : would accomplish something for thi good of humanity.
Stories were printed of wild extravi gances. These brought him into tt prayers of preachers throughout tt country, and he was held up to tt youth of the land as an example ; profligacy.
But the steady dropping of the ma ket, the reaching of the six-millio mark in the obligations of his fathe drew Lawrence’s entire attention to tt market.
One night at their conference t openly rebelled.
“Wait a day or two,” his father sail “This can’t go on forever. I learni to-day that this ‘Single-L,’ as the pape: call him, and his crowd, have covere practically all our bets.”
“Yes,” said Lawrence, “they are » confident that he and several friends le tonight on his yacht for a cruise up tt lake.
“A man told me this morning that took two drays to get the champagi on board. I wish we could hit thei while they are away.”
The next day high winds, hail, clout bursts, and unseasonable cold swe] down upon the Northwest and devas ated the wheat-growing States and proinces of Canada.
Every one remembers that memo able fall. Wheat jumped at a bouD¡ to record figures.
The scene in the pit was unrivaled i the history of Chicago. Fortunes we: made and unmade by the tick of a tel graph-key.
Many believed the first reports e: aggerated, and that the price woul tumble when the excitement abatei But investigation and later reports onl served to send prices higher.
The storm had been more thoroug than at first reported, and, closely fo lowing, came the news of the Russia revolution, of so mighty an uprising ; the people that crops were left rottm in the fields while the people flocke to the defense of their liberty.
If Lawrence had thought that “Sii gle-L” departed on his pleasure-tri] leaving his operations in the hands ( subordinates, the young man was mi taken.
News of the crisis was sent to th yacht by wireless, and the craft immi diately put in at Marinette, whence special train hurried Wilson and h: crowd to Chicago.
But their efforts were as fruitless t though they had remained on the lab
The second day after his return AVI son was ruined. He knew it, and h
knew with whom he had to settle.
“Drop in and see me before lunch,” he phoned Lawrence.
When the young man knew who was speaking his grip on the receiver tightened, his face became pale.
It was the nearest to a personal contact he had come with this man, and his revulsion made speech impossible.
“We’ll go down to the club for lunch,” Wilson added.
“No,” Lawrence said, when he felt that he could control himself; “if you wish to see me, you can find me here,” and he hung up the receiver.
Fifteen minutes later Wilson was announced. He entered smiling.
Good fellowship and geniality, which had won him many friends, despite his reputation, manifested itself in word and action.
“How are you, ‘Double-L’?” he smiled, extending his hand and stepping quickly to the big, flat-topped desk behind which Lawrence was sitting.
The younger man did not take his gaze from the other’s face, did not extend his hand, nor rise.
“Sit down,” was all he said.
Wilson’s smile lessened, and he looked sharply at Lawrence, endeavoring to detect what might lie behind his manner.
“Come, come,” he said, “there is no use in kicking me just because I am down. A little battle such as we have had should not affect our personal relations.”
“Where do you stand?” Lawrence asked, disregarding the other’s words.
“On my uppers,” laughed Wilson, still endeavoring to place the interview on a friendly footing.
“If I turn the screws the least bit, you are stripped clean?”
“I think that expresses it. The greatest piece of luck that ever happened has made you the greatest little fortunewrecker of the age.”
“What would you say if I did not turn them—did not strip you clean?”
Wilson eyed the other sharply before replying.
“I’d say you were an idiot—and a prince.”
“I’ll let you off on one condition, and that is—”
“Anything you name—”
“Very well. Deliver to me this afternoon every scrap of evidence you have against Franklin Burt, every bit of it, and agree to sign affidavits I have prepared, and I will let you off with enough to allow you to maintain your present position and get a fresh start in the pit.”
“I don’t believe I understand what you are driving at.”
Lawrence could contain himself no longer.
He jumped to his feet, leaned f over the desk, and shook his clench fist in the face of the other.
His eyes blazed, his face was co, torted with passion.
“You contemptible, blackmailii curl” came from between his clench teeth. “I ought to wring you dry aí throw you on the scrap-heap, and tb take you out and give you the wo: beating any man ever had.
“I ought to show you up for wb you are, to make it so hot for you tb no place where a white man lives w be safe for you.
“And, if you even so much as da to evade doing what I say you ha got to do, I will give you the woi man-handling any one ever receive) in addition to making this country t) hot for you.
“Now,” he resumed after he had s down, “bring that evidence this aft* noon. All of it, and a complete stal ment of where you stand in the m* ket.”
“So that’s Burt’s game. I thoug from the first that you were not playn this alone, but I never suspected tb old weakknees had the nerve to i tempt anything like this.”
“Mr. Burt knows nothing of this said Lawrence. “Will you be here tl afternoon?”
“You have a good pinch on the she hair, ‘Double-L’ and I guess you wi But there is this. The papers you wi are on my yacht, up Lake Michigs I expect her in to-night or early 1 morrow morning. I can’t deliver the before. Say we meet to-morrow at ti o’clock.”
Lawrence did not believe this, aí he searched the other’s eyes.
“I’m telling the truth,” declared W son. “I never have let those papi out of my reach before. I general take them with me wherever I go.
“I was not going to let anything sli When I got the news of the little flur we have had I left the boat in such hurry that I forgot the stuff. I caí deliver it before to-morrow.”
“Well, I guess you can’t do any dai age in the mean time,” said Lawrent “But,” and his voice rose, “if they « not here at ten to-morrow I tack yo hide on the wall. Is that plain?”
“I guess so,” said the other as started for the door. Turning, with.l hand on the knob, he looked at t young fellow behind the desk.
“You’re quite a philanthropi; young fellow,” he said. “I don’t qu ! understand it. Oh, ho, I do no ; Say, did you ever see a prettier girl
If Lawrence had been angry befo: his passion now became uncontrollab
As Wilson had started to leave he hj ! slipped down in his chair, his legs thru far forward under the desk, his han in his pockets.
The others taunt caught him unpreared, and before he could spring to
iis feet Wilson had opened the door, lipped out, and closed it.
Lawrence dashed around the desk nd to the door, opened it and sprang ut only to hear the clank of the eleator into which Wilson had stepped. Lawrence saw the other’s face flash ownwards, a malevolent leer on his elfish features.
That night the conference between ,awrence and his father lasted until ite.
It was nearly one o’clock when Law3nce came out of the Union League nd started down Michigan Avenue to is hotel.
His victory won, and won so unexectedly and overwhelmingly , the lackmailer tightly squeezed and the vidence against Mr. Burt as good as i his hands, he knew that he could ¡art at once for the north.
As he walked slowly along he pic* ired his trip back up Cat Lake River nd down the Severn, his return to the xile’s home, the delivery of the evience to the astonished Mr. Burt, and len—
Lawrence barely refrained from givig a yip of joy, the wild, shrill yip liât often had burst from his throat as is canoe was caught in the swirl of lie rapids of a far northern stream.
His great joy, the reaction coming fter weeks of toil, worry, and fear, iade sleep in a stuffy hotel-room imossible.
“I wish there were some place 1 ould go and yell without being pinchd,” he thought, turning back up the venue.
“Taxi, sir?’' and the driver of a car Rich had been following him stopped is machine at the curb.
“Yes,” said Lawrence, seizing the Jggestion of a ride in the open air, take me up through Lincoln Park.” As he opened the door and sprang in íe auto started.
His foot was still on the step and his iwered head thrust into the dark inirior, when a strong arm closed around is neck, and he was jerked forward ito the car.
So suddenly had it happened, he had ot begun to struggle before a second air of arms pinioned his, and a handerchief was pressed over his face. The last bit of strength in the muscles f his legs and back was exerted, but e was in skilled hands, and he could ot even get his face out of the handerchief.
Slowly his exertions ceased, and he iy quietlv across the laps of his capDrs.
From the thumb-nail scratches he had made in the woodwork, Lawrence estimated that it was the last day of October, or the first day of November.
He did not know whether he had lost a day between the time he had stepped into the taxi on Michigan Avenue, and when he had recovered consciousness on board a vessel which he believed to have been Wilson’s yacht.
j For three days he had been held pris1 oner in a stateroom, port-holes covered I so that he could see nothing.
By the trembling of the yacht as she I was forced through the water by her powerful engines, he knew that he was ! traveling swiftly.
But where to, in what direction, unÍ der what circumstances, he had no I means of knowing. His meals were served in the stateroom by a Japanese steward who could not, or would not, j speak English, or indicate that he understood.
i Even Lawrence’s threat of physical j violence failed to bring more than a i grin from the dark-skinned, whitej aproned little man.
At the end of what Lawrence believed I to be the third day three sailors entered I the stateroom, placed handcuffs on his wrists,securely bound his eyes, and’led him onto the deck.
He felt the yacht slow to half speed,
■ and then he was picked up and carried down several steps.
Other arms reached for him, and he heard the clanging of bells, the snorting of an engine, and felt the floor upon which he was standing lurch and shudder.
He knew that in the night he had been transferred from the yacht to another and smaller vessel.
He was taken below, and, after his handcuffs had been removed, the two men who had escorted him left and locked the door. Removing the bandage from his eyes, Lawrence found himself in the small cabin of what was evidently a tug.
From the odor he believed it to be a fisherman’s vessel. It was forging ahead sturdily.
For hours Lawrence heard no one,
! saw no one. Finally he lay down on the bunk and slept.
When he awakened the sun was shining through the window, and the tug was motionless except that it rose and fell on a gentle swell.
Lawrence went quickly to the window and saw that the tug was anchored one hundred yards from a high, rocky shore.
Scrubby Norway and jack-pine grew out of crevices in the rocky cliff and fringed its top.
Beneath the cliff was a little strip of sandy beach which dwindled, at each
md, to points as the perpendicular wall md the water met.
He seemed to be in a little bay for he cliff curved outward on either side ind he could see nothing else.
A key rattled in the door and a coaltained man, evidently just from the ¡ngine-room, entered.
“Grub’s ready,” he said, and went mt, leaving the door open.
Lawrence followed onto the deck. On he side of the tug opposite the cliff was , great stretch of water showing beween two rocky points.
The cliff formed almost a complete ircle, about a quarter of a mile across, nside this little bay the tug was at nchor.
Far across the stretch of water seen hrough the opening Lawrence could tiake out a dim shore-line.
¡ The grimy man who had announced •reakfast motioned to him from a low .oorway and he entered to find a table pread and three men already seated.
, All looked up upon his entrance, but ione spoke. One motioned Lawrence j a vacant seat, and they went on with ieir meal, ignoring his presence.
The food was rough but good, much ike that to which Lawrence had been ccustomed in the woods, and he conumed as much as any of the others.
The meal finished, a heavily bearded ïan at one end of the table motioned ) the others to leave.
“I’m goin’ to tell you a few things )’s you won’t do nothin’ foolish,” he lid to Lawrence.
“In the first place, I ain’t goin’ to nswer none o’ y er questions, so you light as well not ask any. Nor will any t them,” nodding toward the door. “We’re in a bay at a small island, id no one’s goin’ tó come near this
ace, and we ain’t goin’ to leave it. ’s a good twenty mile to the nearest nd, so don’t try no swimmin’.
“You can go ashore when you want, it don’t try nothin’ funny. You’ll } watched, and if you do, I’ll lock you 3 in the cabin all the time.
“Those fellows is a bad bunch, and tey got their orders, an’ I got mine. I 3ver fell down on no job yet, and if ni’ll take my advice you’ll do as I
After breakfast two men lowered a >at, attached a line to the tug, and ¡gan rowing toward the farther side of e bay.
Lawrence heard the bearded man iswer their grumbling by declaring at he did not want to show smoke, id that they would not be seen through e opening.
In the days and weeks that followed iwrence tried every device he could ink of to get the bearded man or any his crew to talk of their position, of hy they were there, of how long they 3re going to stay.
He spent much time ashore, and learned every nook and corner of the small island.
It was not more than half a mile long and on every side was a steep and rocky cliff. There were a few pines on top.
From its highest point Lawrence could see the distant shore line to the north. In the other direction there was nothing except the unbroken horizon of the lake.
Many times he saw thin streamers of smoke far to the south, but never did the hulls of vessels rise above the water.
The men on the boat were a surly, evil-minded set, and he spent little time with them.
For hours he walked vigorously the length of the island and ljack to keep himself in condition.
He thought several times of trying to get away in the yawl at night, but he was watched closely all day, and at night was always locked in his cabin.
After three weeks he gave up trying to escape. This only increased the vigilance of the tug’s crew.
The morning that Lawrence estimated, by the thumb-nail scratches, that November was at hand, he saw the engineer going over his machinery.
All day he worked at it, and that night, a fire was built under the boilers.
At ten o’clock they steamed out of the little harbor’s entrance. Before the departure Lawrence was locked in his cabin.
A half-hour after starting Lawrence felt the tug pitching more and more.
He heard the wind whistling, and an hour later felt the craft plunging into the big waves and staggering before the blasts.
At midnight his door was unlocked, and the captain entered.
“We put out to-night to run down the shore and get some supplies,” he said. “We’ve run into a nor’easter, and may not see land again. My orders didn’t extend to wrecks, and I’m goin’ to leave this door open so’s you’ll have a chance with the rest of us.”
“Thanks,” said Lawrence dryly. “Can I go to the wheel-house with you?”
“If you want, but you’ll get wet gettin’ there.”
Law rene? followed him out.
The tug had just plunged her nose into a big wave, and the water cascaded down the deck past the cabin.
The captain waited until it had receded, then hurried forward, Lawrence at his heels.
In the wheel-house the captain took the spokes from a man who went aft, and Lawrence stood behind.
He could see nothing in the blackness, and wondered what prompted the captain to turn the wheel this way and that.
He knew only that they were plunging directly into the storm.
"We’re just movin,’ and that’s all,” said the captain after the tug had made a plunge from which Lawrence thought it would not rise.
"If we could keep goin’ for two hours we might run up under the lee shore and liue it out.”
At the end of two hours the captain began to grow nervous, to lose the certainty with which he had formerly twirled the spokes.
Lawrence, looking out on one «’de, was certain he saw something darker than the blackness which had surrounded them.
Before he could speak there was a shock that threw7 him violently against the captain, whose head snapped for! ward and crashed through the window.
The next moment the tug turned over onto one side. Lawrence, when he regained his feet, found that he was : standing on the port wall of the cabin.
The sea rushed in through the port i door and he felt the icy water around I his waist.
Then above his head he saw the sky, and dimly, the captain scrambling up and out through the starboard door. Lawrence immediately followed.
Once on top he felt the tug slide backward, and the next moment' a big wave picked him up and carried him clear.
Before he could recover his equilibrium and strike out he suddenly found i himself on the surface in comparatively ! quiet water.
As he started to swim he felt the rush of another w7ave lifting him and then hurling him forward.
I As it receded and he again rose to the surface, he shook the water from i his eyes and tried to look about him.
1 He could see nothing, only hear the tumbling of the waves. Again and again great, curling waves hurled him for! ward. Buried often in the boiling water, he got air with difficulty.
He did not try to swim, only to keep his head above water.
Then, suddenly dropped by a wave, he felt his feet touch solid earth. The next moment he was covered with sprayv
He struggled in the smother, and finally, exhausted, was hurled onto a sandy beach.
With a last effort he staggered to his feet and hurried forward, just as the next roller flung its tentacles at his feet.
He tripped, stumbled, and fell headlong against something that was soft, that .grunted as he struck, and then exclaimed:
"What the devil’s your hurry?”
Lawrence sat up on the sand.
Dimlv he could see that a man stood beside him.
"Did you come by water, air, land?” the man asked.
"Water” said Lawrence, rising to b feet.
"You’re luckier than any one I’seen in a long while. Old Superi ain’t that decent as a rule.” "Superior!”’ exclaimed Lawren; "Is this Lake Superior?”
"Guess you thought it was the A lantic Ocean the way she’s pilin’ up t night,” and, as the significance of La’ rence’s question struck him, "Didr you know where you be?”
"No more idea that a rabbit,” sa Lawrence. "Where am I?”
"On Heron Bay, of course.”
"But where is Heron Bay?”
"On the north shore of Lake Supe ior, about one hundred and fifty mil east of Port Arthur. How’s it come ytj don’t know where you are?”
“I haven’t known for two month said Lawrence absently, for he w thinking that it was a question of da; before he could get to Chicago.
"I’ve been kept a prisoner on a bo since the last of August.”
"Didn’t know they was any pirat on these lakes,” said the other skepti ally. "How come that?”
"How far is it to a railroad?” aski Lawrence, disregarding the questioi and beginning to make his plans.
"Peninsula ain’t mor’n two mil from here.”
"What road is that on?”
"When does the next train go west "’Bout six in the mornin’.”
"What time is it now? Can I mai it?”
"Sure; its only ’bout three o’cloc But you’re wet, an’ you’d better cor up and dry out’ before you start.” Lawrence followed the man acre the beach and up the shore to the tii ber, at the edge of which was a smi shack.
While he dried his clothes beside t little stove, which the man soon hi red-hot, his host kept up a rapid seri of questions and observations.
"Most sudden storm I ever see here he said. "‘Never a sign of it at dai Lucky I waked up and heard it, an come down to pull back some nets tb I had dryan’ on the beach, or y wouldn’t knowed where you were.” Lawrence searched his pockets aj found that the thirty dollars and sol small change he had the night he 1; the Union League was still there.
At five o’clock he was dry. Takb a five-dollar bill from his pocket, handed it to the man.
"Take me to the station, will you he asked.
The fisherman fingered the mon for a minute.
"Isn’t that enough?” asked Lá rence.
“I was thinkin’ it was too much for a Ile trip like that, but if you’re satisid, I be,” and he picked up his hat id led the way out.
At the station Lawrence wakened a 3epy operator and sent this message his father:
“Get me on long-distance at Northern otel, Port Arthur, at noon to-day.” It was a little before twelve when awrenee registered at the hotel.
As he finished writing his name the lephone-operator turned and called: mng-distance for Mr. Lawrence Willn. He here?”
“Yes,” exclaimed Lawrence excitedly. Yhere?”
“Booth three,” yawned the girl, rerning to a magazine.
At first Lawrence had trouble hearg his father. Then the “Hello !” me clearly.
“Hello, dad!” cried Lawrence. “I’m Port Arthur, Ontario. Was kidipped on Michigan Avenue that last ght after I left the club.
“Shanghaied on Wilson’s yacht, I tink, and taken to Lake Superior here I’ve been on an island ever since, hey took me off and the boat was recked. What’s happened?”
“I thought it was that fellow,” replied .s father. “I’ve been through this city dh a fine-tooth comb, but I never lought of the lake. I suspected that ackmailer, and I went to him and deanded where you were. He onlv ughed.
“I had trouble getting charge of )ur affairs, because we had kept our •nnection secret, but I did, and I ueezed that cur so hard he didn’t have thing left.
“I just finished up last week, but ÍD aking the settlement I couldn’t get a ing out of him. I had him shadowed 1 the time, and last week, five days ;o, he started for Canada.
“I traced him as far as Winnipeg, here the shadow lost him. I’ve figur! out that he’s bound for Burt’s place, get some more money out of him.” “When did he start?” interrupted iwrence.
“Five days ago.”
“Listen, dad,” said Lawrence. “Wire e one thousand dollars here, at this )tel at once. Make them rush it. heres no time to lose.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to start at once for Lake wem. I’ve got to beat that fellow
He tried to say more, but the connecm was broken. He hung up the reiver and walked to the desk.
“Where is a sporting-goods store?” 3 askedWhen the clerk had given .m the direction Lawience continued: “I’m Lawrence Willson, of Chicago, y father is William W. Willson, of Chicago. I have just been talking with
him over the long-distance. _ You can verify that. He is going to wire me one thousand dollars. I want you to identify me.”
“Surely. Mr. Willson. I knew you soon as you registered from your pictures, you know. They’ve been looking for you all over the States. Gave you up as dead. We will be glad to do anything for you.”
Lawrence stopped the question trembling on the clerk’s lips by thanking him and leaving the hotel.
There was a light fall of snow as he walked up the street, and he shivj ered in the cold northeast wind, for he I still wore the summer suit he had on the night he was kidnapped.
At the store he looked first at firei arms, for he had a feeling that he might ¡ have use for them before the month i was ended.
After listening to the clerk’s rambling arguments, he selected the things he had in mind when he entered.
They were a double-action revolver, with a seven and a half inch barrel, and chambered for the .38-40 cartridge ; a cartridge belt, and open topped holster. Lie took a repeating rifle, also a .38-40, and one hundred ■ rounds of ammunition.
Then he selected a pair of long, narrow snowshoes, a lightweight lean-to tent, closed at the ends, but open on one side; two big pack sacks, a fourpoint blanket, heavy woolen socks, un! derwear, trousers, and shirt, a stiff! brimmed felt hat, a buckskin shirt, heavy woolen gloves, buckskin mittens, a heavy pocket-knife, two or three cook5 ing pails, and a frying pan, sacks to 1 hold food, and an ax.
The talkative clerk was hushed by the seeming recklessness of the young man’s purchases, but he was not wise enough to realize the -wisdom of a selecj tion that did not conform to the dictates I of the sporting outfitters’ catalogues.
“Please deliver these to the Northi ern Hotel, C.O.D., at four o’clock,”
At the hotel he had lunch, but not I until after he had written this telegram to his friend, Ed Randolph, owner of the general store at Raleigh, a station ! on the headwaters of the Manitou ; River, two hundred miles west:
“Get me good man, red or white,
! ready leave three months’ northern trip.
Start to-morrow morning. Have grub,
! Peterborough canoe, toboggan, dogs, ready.”
At four o’clock his money order came, and the clerk got the cash for him immediately.
As he went in to dinner a telegram was handed to him. It read:
“Outfit ready. You’re lucky. Got old Bonnie.” Ed.
Lawrence smiled. He could not have I been more lucky.
: “Bonnie” was a full-blood Ojibway,
hose real name was Bon-ee-quay3e-zick.
Two years before, when the Indian ad been arrested for drunkenness, awrence had saved him from a jail ntence by paying his fine. Since then 3 had had no truer friend in the northnd.
After dinner Lawrence wrote a long tter to his father. Ilis train was to ave at eleven o’clock.
Clothed in his new woolen outfit, he ÍS ready to leave the hotel when he ceived this telegram from his father: Just received an unsigned letter, postarked Winnipeg, reading: “You and iiir cub got the money, but he will wer get the girl.”
When Lawrence stepped from the illman at Raleigh at five o’clock the ixt morning, Bon-ee-quay-gee-zick is the only person on the little platrm.
“B’jou,’ ” said the Indian, a broad in on his face as he stretched forth s hand.
They walked down the platform, eked up the two pack-sacks thrown om the baggage-car, and went down e little street to Randolph’s store. “Where in tarnation you in such a irry to go?” growled the fat storeseper, smiling as he spoke, for Lawnce had been in the woods near there r two years, and was a good customer. “I’m making the fastest trip ever, 'aight north to Lake Severn,” said iwrence. “Let’s put up the grub.” “Better get breakfast first ; the grub’s 1 ready,” said Randolph, still growlg. “What’s all the rush about?”
“I can’t tell you now, Ed., but mayI can when I get back. You haven’t 3n any one start north from here in e last few days—a white man?”
“No. Nobody I know of’s fool ough to start at this time of year, hy, man, the bays are liable to freeze e first night out. It’s winter up here w. You may get to St. Joseph Lake a canoe, but the chances are ten to e that you won’t.
“And you been here emough to know ere’s generally a week or ten days îen a man can’t hardly travel at all, tween the first freeze and the time len you can cross big lakes on the
“I’ve got to take the chance, Ed, and ,rt anyhow. I wish it were two weeks .er, but I can’t wait an hour.
“Well, you’re lucky in one thing, d Bonnie’s got his tepee and family on the north shore of Lac Seul, on 3 east end. It’s a long hundred miles d if you have luck, you may make before things freeze tight.
“He’s got a good team of dogs there, id a toboggan. Your best way is to
make his camp by canoe, and then strike north overland, if there’s enough I snow. You’d make better time that way I than by goin’ up Cat Lake River.
“I’ve got a new sixteen-foot Peterborough down at the river. Y our grub, enough for three months, if you can shoot some meat, is all ready. Come an;
I get breakfast.”
Like all meals in the north country, the breakfast was eaten in silence.
Men who work out of doors in the cold of the north have no time for conversation when at a table.
After they had finished Lawrence stopped only long enough to buy a pair of cloth-topped moose-hide moccasins, settle with Randolph, and write a short'
; note to his father.
Ten minutes later he and Bonnie were paddling up-stream.
It was nearly seven o’clock when they started.
With only a stop at noon to boil tea and eat a lunch Randolph had prepared for them, they kept traveling until long after dark, which was made possible by the Indian’s intimate knowledge of the lakes and streams.
As they made camp snow began to fall. Lawrence was pleased. They had made fifty miles that day, and he knew that, with snow falling, it would not become cold enough to freeze.
With good luck and long hours the next day they would make Bonnie’s teepee.
Bonnie wakened Lawrence at four o’clock. Before five, with still two hours of darkness, they were in the canoe.
Before noon they passed the mouth of Sturgeon River, and just before dark they had crossed to the north side of Lac Seul and were headed north of east, a fresh west breeze behind them.
It had cleared up in the forenoon, and night came with a temperature far below freezing.
They had stopped twice for meals that day, and at eight o’clock they pulled up to a point for a last lunch before the long paddle that lay ahead of them that night.
A new moon set as they started again, the stars shone clearly, and the long, brilliant rays of the northern lights shot j to the zenith.
For hours they paddled. The breeze died away. Lawrence, his back and arms sore from the unaccustomed labor, his toes cold, and his legs cramped, had difficulty in keeping the pace.
At midnight they passed a long point on the north shore and started across a big open stretch.
Lawrence, to keep awake, was forced to resort to several expedients, such as counting the paddle-strokes, humming songs, and using all the Ojibway he knew in talking to Bonnie.
“I guess pretty soon now,” the Indian said after a long silence.
Half an hour later they heard the barking of dogs.
Turning a point into a bay, there was a tiny, silvery tinkling along the side* of the canoe.
At first Lawrence did not understand. Then it grew louder, and he knew that the surface of the bay wae freezing.
When one hundred yards from shore they were forced to stop paddling Lawrence, leaning forward over the bov broke the ice with his paddle, while Bonnie shoved the craft slowly along.
It was three o’clock when they land ed.
Five minutes later Lawrence, wrapped. in his four-point, was sound asleep beside the fire in the teepee.
“No good start now, I guess,” saic Bonnie when he wakened Lawrence a' daylight.
The young man pushed back th blanket-flap over the teepee door anc saw that the bay was frozen over, anc that ice stretched far out into the lake
More snow had fallen than farthei south on the railroad. A cloudy skj promised still more snow.
“I guess fix ’boggan ; get ready to day,” said the Indian, who was busj with a dog-harness. “Maybe snow. To morrow, march on.”
Despite his impatience to be off, Law rence was glad of the opportunity t; rest. ,
He knew what lay before him, anc that the four-hundred-mile journey would require all his strength.
He went through the pack-sacks am placed in the small bags he had pur chased at Port Arthur enough food fo three weeks.
The remainder he left with Bonnie’ squaw. They filled a sack with drie& moosemeat and dried fish for the dogs
The afternoon both men spent in rest ing. At four o’clock it began to snow When they went to sleep, at eigh o’clock, four inches had fallen, and th storm was increasing.
In the morning the snow was a roo deep and still falling.
“Just my luck,” growled Lawrence forgetting that the luck had been witl him ever since the tug had left the is land where he had spent the last tw months; “we’re getting so much snoi we can’t make any sort of time.”
“Squaw, she say white man, Indiam two canoes, go by St. Joseph Lake twe three days,” said Bonnie as they at breakfast.
“Did they stop here?” demande Lawrence.
“Yes, stop, buy moose.”
“Ask her white man big, black hair, said Lawrence.
Bonnie spoke to the squaw in Ojil way, and then nodded to Lawrence.
“Yes, I guess big man. No paddl;
iree Indians paddle. Got dogs, 'bog! n, lots grub, I guess.''
Lawrence knew that Wilson had at ist three days' start, and that his travng by canoe would enable him to ach the mouth of Cat Lake River here the freeze-up.
Once in the stream he could travel ;eral days by water before being forcto take to the ice.
It meant at least four days' start in four-hundred-mile race.
When the team was harnessed and all idy, Lawrence started down toward 3 lake.
“I guess go this way," said Bonnie, inting north. “Me know river mayfifteen miles, small lakes, go fast, t Lake River."
Lawrence did not dispute the Indian, 10 was thoroughly acquainted with 3 country and all the possible shortts.
If they could go directly north and ike Cat Lake River, they might gain lay or two.
But there was no fast travel that day, r the next. The snow was more than ’oot deep, and soft.
Their snowshoes were useless, and iy plowed along, both ahead of the gs.
It was the first travel of the season, that kind, for either dogs or men.
The animals made such slow work of that Bonnie and Lawrence each took lack to lighten the toboggan.
The next day it was warmer, and the iw thawed and made the going hardthan ever.
They toiled on from early morning til long after dark eating four meals. Each night Lawrence tumbled to 3p in the lean-to without lighting his »e.
His summer in the city, and his conament on the island, had softened his iscles, and the Indian, hard as hic■y, traveled as fast in the last hours their fourteen-hour days as in the t.
The morning of the fifth day they rried along the banks of a small 3am, turned a bend, and found them/es on Cat Lake River.
)n the snow covering the ice along edge of the stream they saw the cks of men, dogs, and a toboggan.
‘I guess maybe two days,” said Bon, after examining the trail, and he ing into a trot, the dogs galloping at heels.
They made good time that day and next four days, but never, after an imination of the trail, did Bonnie 3r any encouragement by deducing m the tracks that their quarry was ¡ than two days ahead.
Each night it grew colder, and the er, in the quiet stretches, soon was zen across.
There would be good going along the
edge for miles, and then a series rapids would necessitate taking to tl wooded banks, through thick, smt growth, swamps, and tangled windfall One day a succession of rapids pe mitted only five miles for the entire da and Lawrence’s impatience increase His strength and powers of enduran grew, however.
After they had been six days on tl trail he was able to keep Bonnie’s pa without difficulty.
The eighth day they made the loi portage from Cat Lake into the hea waters of the Severn.
That morning Bonnie declared th Wilson was no more than a day and half ahead. But in the forenoon heavy snowfall began.
It did not cease until forty-two hou later.
As the soft, fluffy snow increased : depth the snowshoes were brought oi At the end of the second day of ne snow both Lawrence and Bonnie cor plained of sharp pains in their thigl and shins.
But they did not lessen their toil, aí day after day pushed on down riv now on the better open going on the i( and then through the brush, swamp aí windfalls.
A day and a half after the hea1 snow they struck the packed trail Wilson and his Indians, and Lawren j knew they had gained a half-day. j Two days later this lead had been c j down to seven hours, but Lawrence i I stead of being elated began to despa The mouth of the river, which w I only five miles from Burt’s house w ! no more than fifty miles ahead.
1 The point where he had been ups j with Hardy in the spring, and whe j he had found Uarda on a rock in tl I rapids, had been passed more than day before.
"You go Burt’s house?” asked Bo nie, halting that afternoon at the mou of a small stream entering the riv from the east.
Lawrence nodded, surprised that tl Indian should have suspected his d; tination—should even have heard of : Bonnie turned up the tributary wit out a word, and Lawrence protested.
"River much crooked, lots rapids said Bonnie without stopping. “Lit! river short way.”
That night they camped at the hei of the stream, and early in the mornii crossed a low divide and plow« through the snow on the frozen su face of a river that flowed direct north.
All that forenoon they followed i course, and Lawrence began to dou the wisdom of having left the beat« trail on the Severn. But he said not ing until the mid-afternoon lunc when he asked Bonnie how much ft ther it was to Lake Severn.
“I guess pretty soon, now,” said Bonnie. An hour latpr they swung around a bend and out onto the lake.
Across to the east, on a point, Lawrence saw Burt’s house.
He looked back to the northwest toward the mouth of Severn River. There was nothing in sight on the frozen surface of the lake. He knew he had gained fully half a day by the short cut.
He had—won! Then he heard Bonnie say :
“I guess urn too late.”
The Indian pointed toward the house.
There, three miles away, Lawrence saw a dog-team and four men racing along, not more than a quarter of a mile from the house.
“Come on, Bonnie, quick,” Lawrence cried, snatching up the rifle from the toboggan and pulling his holster around to examine his revolver. He passed the rifle to Bonnie, saying:
“May be big fight!”
The Indian’s eyes danced, and he sprang into a lope, Lawrence following.
Thirty minutes later, when Lawrence, panting, left the ice and climbed the point in front of the house, there was no one to be seen.
He looked eagerly at the wide library window, but he could not see through the glass thickly coated with frost.
Telling Bonnie to leave the dogs and follow, he kicked off his snow-shoes and ran for the veranda.
Pausing a moment at the door, he heard voices. Cautiously opening the door, he looked in. The long, wide hall was empty.
Motioning to Bonnie to follow, he stepped softly to the library door and stooped to the keyhole.
“This is not like one of the old touches,” he heard Wilson say. “I have forgotten there ever was so little money as five thousand dollars. I want five hundred thousand this time, and not a cent less.”
“You will never get any more,” Lawrence heard Mr. Burt say, and he was glad to note the quiet determination in his tone.
“Oh, I believe I will,” Wilson laughed, “and, moreover, remember that I have an engagement with your daughter here on December 15. This is November 25. I guess we will have time to get out to a priest.”
“She will never go with you,” said Burt quietly.
“Oh, don’t try to delay, although, of course, I don’t care if we are a little late reaching the preacher. The preacher will be only a matter of form —then.”
Lawrence, chilled, and completely ossified by the man’s remark, feit powerless to move.
Lie heard a low roar from Mr. Bui a loud smacking crash, Uarda’s screar and the falling of a body to the floo He threw open the door and sprang i
Wilson, revolver in hand, stood aero the room.
At the sight of the young man 1 raised his gun and fired. Lawrenc rushing toward him, tripped and fc with a crash across Mr. Burt’s body
Then there was an explosion behii him, and Wilson, his revolver dro ping from limp fingers, swayed ba against the wall and crumpled into little heap.
Lawrence, springing to his feet, ss him go down.
Afterward he wondered how so lar: a man could sink into so small a spa(
Turning, he saw Bonnie, his rifle his hands, smiling in the door.
“I guess all same moose,” he gri ned, pointing with the rifle-barrel Wilson’s body.
A smothered “Oh!” from the wi dow caused Lawrence to spin aroui in that direction.
Uarda, her face pale, her eyes wi with horror, was staring at him.
Lawrence smiled, and the horror the girl’s eyes became greater.
“You smile, smile, and your—yo father—there—dead!” she cried.
“Father!” exclaimed Lawrence, wc deringly. “Oh, that!” and he point at the heap against the wall from g der which a little red stream v crawling toward the middle of the flo
“Why, Uarda, he never was i father. My father is in Chicago, 1 grandest dad who ever lived, never knew your father and he help me to wring this fellow’s neck.”
“Dad, are you hurt?” exclain Uarda, and Lawrence turned to see J Burt slowly getting to his feet.
“No, a clean knockout never hurl said Mr. Burt smiling. “My boy heard what you said, I am glad,” a he held out his hand.
“Thanks,” said Lawrence, not no ing the hand, for he had turned Uarda.
The girl’s expression had undergo a wonderful change.
There was a smile on her lips, £ from her eyes there came a light light that had a wondrous glow beca it was new, pure; because it had ne been there before.
“Uarda!” he exclaimed, striding ward her.
For the second time in her life blood pushed out through the tan. 1 eyelids drooped, and she held out hands.
“Larry, I’m so glad you came bac
The lean man threw up his hands at iis juncture, and fell back frothing in lilepsv. But he had spoken words at had the effect of oil poured upon a ickened furnace. The hubbub of »ices that ensued reduced even the rchbishop to dumb show. Stones bein to fly, no longer levelled at the om behind the balcony, where the gh-domed head and pale, worn profile the prelate were descried, as he parked with the unwished-for visitors.
. The lower windows suffered tack ; and with the larger missiles me hopping the coppers and silver | ts that had been scattered from Stey-1 gg’s bag. Those who grudged parting | ost threw hardest of all. . . . The ash and tinkle of breaking glass went i until every window-frame in the ratage of “The Three Crowns” prented a central void befringed with Enters—until the landlord, hysterical th loss, rushed out bareheaded into i e Market Place, and, falling upon his ! lees, solemnly swore that if the work destruction did but cease, the loathed traders should then and there depart ran his house.
His piercing accents reached the beiguered garrison in the room behind e balcony. . . . The Archbishop
rned to Dunoisse. and said, slightly rugging his shoulders:
“Compliance will be your only pós
Dunoisse was about to expostulate but Henriette panted at her lover’s ear “Yes!—let us go from this dreadfu place! Oh!—mad that I was to háv set my foot in it!”
Then Dunoisse rang the bell. Wit! its broken rope in his hand, he shoute to the scared and chalk-faced waiter: “Bring the bill! Order both caí riages! Instantly! Do you hear?” The affrighted man gasped out : “Sir, they are ready !”
And almost instantly, as it seemec the green chariot and the brow] landau, horsed, and heaped with ur locked and unpacked portmanteau} empty valises, and the garments an articles of toilet that these had cor tained, were rattled out of the posting yard and brought to the front door c “The Three Crowns.”
No bill appeared. The banknote and gold Dunoisse would have thru« upon the landlord the man refused, pel haps out of conscientiousness, perhap in fear of further damage to his prop erty. . . . Throwing the moue; down upon the table, Dunoisse graspo his hat and cane, and offered his arc to Henriette. She placed her little hau upon it, and shrank in terror as a sa\ age, ominous growl came from th angry throng outside. . . .
“They shall not harm you!” Dm oisse muttered between his teeth, au urged her forwards.
“They will not harm you, Madame ! the Archbishop said, who had quitte' the room a moment previously, and noi returning, gravely offered his own arc to Henriette upon the outer side. Sh cast him a swimming, eloquent look o reproach that' said : “My touch pollute —you yourself have said it!” Then, a another growl came from the Marke Place, she gulped her resentment dowr and set her little frightened clutch upoi the red-piped cassock-sleeve. . . .
And so, protected by the church tha had denounced her, Henriette wen forth, her livid lover bulwarking he frail charms upon the other side. A sight of her it was as if the great cattis! crowd crouched before springing. I wagged from side to side, and the eye in it flickered yellow and savage throat were checked when the red-buttonei black cassock and high domed hea were recognized by her side. The crow' fell back into its former stolid imme bility, and Dunoisse opened the cai riage door, instead of the shrinkin ostler, and the Archbishop handed ii Madame de Roux, and, to the astonist ment of all, followed her. Dunoiss took his seat in the vehicle at a sigi from the prelate, who then gave th postillions—who had slewed round ii their great boots, the better to view sieht so unusual—the signal to mov on. . . .
And then, at a walking pace, through a lane that continually opened in the great mass of grim-faced people, and as continually closed behind the green chariot and the brown landau—containing only the scared valet and the quaking maid—(the Marshal’s agents having mysteriously disappeared), both vehicles passed through the Market Place, down the Promenade, and rolled under the portcullis of the Peace Gate. Only when their wheels resounded on the gravel-covered drawbridge did the Archbishop give the signal to pull up. Bareheaded, Dunoisse lent aid to his descent, stammering out some broken phrases of gratitude.
“¡Sir, I have done no more,” said the Archbishop, “than was enjoined on me by my calling and profession. See to the lady, who has suffered much alarm. And—I have not yet given you the message from your mother. She has a dispensation to receive you. She will expect you at dark, at the Convent of the | Carmelites in the Old Town. It must be reached by a different route, but that need not concern you. . . . Put up for the night at “The Heron” posting-house, fourteen miles from here; you will remember the inn—you passed it on your journey. I have sent on a servant with swift horses in advance of you—you will mount and ride back with the man; he will guide you in perfect safety ! As for Madame, you need be under no apprehension—the landlord of “The Heron” is a trustworthy person. . . . Dear me ! What have we here? How truly deplorable a spectacle!” . . Was
there a twinkle of amusement in the bright gray eyes that regarded it?
. . . “These two gentlemen who approach in such haste,” said the Archbishop, “I take to be those members of your party who preferred to remain behind !”
Despite the water that dripped from their garments, proving them to have been ducked in one of the fountains of the Market Place, and the adhering filth that proved them to have been subsequently rolled in the kennel, the two bounding figures were recognizable as Kohler and von Steyregg. Forhaving concealed themselves in the cellar of “The Three Crowns,” with the intention of remaining there perdu until darkness should favor their departure from Widinitz—the confederates had been discovered amongst the vats and barrels by a hireling; plucked thence, and thrust by the maddened landlord and his willing servitors forth upon the pavement, but a few minutes after the departure of the Colonel and Madame.
You saw the pair, running the gauntlet of thumps, buffets, clouts, and whacks, down the lane that kept opening in the crowd in front of them and
closing up behind. . . . The sug gestion of a citizen that they should b tumbled into the city fosse met wit some approval, but the majority wei against the proceeding. In that case th Archbishop might have intervened, ir stead of taking snuff and looking th other way. . . .
_ The fugitives gained the rear ca: riage, and leaped in, each at a doo: the impromptu harlequinade provol ing roars of laughter. Neither had hat, or breath to lavish. Steyregg ha parted with an entire coat-tail. His 0: der was missing from its soiled, watere ribbon—a loss which caused him ii finite torment. Kohler was collarlei and bleeding from the nose.
The accommodation offered by “Th| Heron” posting-house, upon the fores road fourteen miles from Widiniti subsequently appeared to both th worthies too near the city to be health; Therefore, without taking formal lea\ of His Serene Highness or Her Exce lency (so lately the recipients of thei heartfelt homage), the baron and tb attorney hired a post-chaise; and, racl ed by grievous bodily aches and pain, it may be conjectured, as well as twing; spiritual and mental, pushed upon th road to France.
“And so,” said von Steyregg, upo the day that saw the return of th precious pair to Paris, “because ; Prince Cocky-Locky’s béguin for Mi dame ITenny-Penny, a plot of the fir order is fudged, dished, and done fo Devil take the woman !”
"Tell me one thing," said Kohie `Who was it kiss-kissed the people Vidinitz on to break the windows the inn of "The Three Crowns," frigh n Madame de Roux into hysteric provoke Monsieur the Colonel into a di play of determination, duck both of i in one of the public fountains, and to me in a horse-blanket? For all h mealy mouth, I say the Archbishop Von Steyregg said, rolling a blooi shot eye in rapture: "Undoubtedly, the Archbisho1 Assuredly, the Archbishop I" He hea ed an elephantine sigh. "With a co federate like that priest to back me, could break the bank of every gamblir hell in Europe. What a waste that I should be an honest man! At~ revoi dear friend! You shall visit me at m baronial castle in beloved Hungary, sure as I am a Magyar of the pu~ blood !" "Farewell for ever, old comrade~ said Kohler, with emotion, as he hail a passing cab. CHAPTER LX. That wild night-ride through ti beech-forest back to Widinitz, and tI [nterview with his mother at. the Coi vent f the Carmelites, was ever
Lmoisse the most unreal, the most •ange of all those adventures that îmed as though woven upon the loom sleep.
He remembered his lost mother as so 1—yet, when the dark woollen curins hanging behind the double gratg that halved the Convent parlor had en drawn back, revealing two brownbed, black-veiled figures—the shape !at had put its veil aside with a little, runken hand, and called him by his tme—had appeared to be barely above e stature of a child.
Only the voice, so soaked with tears, changed from that of her son’s reembrance, retained tones that' wellgh wrought Dunoisse to a wild outeak of weeping, though sometimes in e dim and sunken eyes there shone a msient ray of the dear light of old.
Ah! could he have realised the wild nflict of emotions surging under the lite guimpe and the coarse brown ibit. . . . • But if the weak body Sister Térèse de Saint Francois was aken as a reed, her determination was imovable; her word was not to be insaid.
Never, never!—though the Plenum the Federative Council should throw I its “Ayes!” into the house of Widitz and their heirs in the dynastic ccession, would the nun-Princess connt to her son’s occupying the throne. Saying the word so softly in her .readlike, feeble voice, her “Never!” ared between Hector and the heredity dignities a Titanic wall of rock, that ) tempered tool might pierce, no fulinate shatter and biast.
So it was quashed and ended, thi xed question of the Claim of Succesm. And Dunoisse drew breath with most a sensation of relief. Of re’oach there was not a shadow in her dee or expression. She had not heard possibly she had not heard?—that her n had not lacked a companion on his urney. Those scathing reproaches of e> Archbishop’s were not to be voiced ain by Sister Térèse. She spoke of e Marshal—asked of his health? aeir son felt himself flushing guiltily the sheer ability to reply with authorT. Who knew less of Achille D wisse, weH or ill, jaundiced or jovial, •uty or in good fettle, than the son ! had begotten? Tardy Conscience, iking from a nodding sleep in the sade, dug both spurs rowel-deep in unoisse’s smarting sides. His. eyes unned the sunken eyes that quested with such degenerate eagerness, dying the sparse, meagre utterance, e carefully colorless tone. He stamered a conventional reply.
“You will give him a message from e, when you return to him,” she said, id dropped the faded curtains of her 'elids between them. . . . “Tell
him that I who know him to be ii finitely generous and noble at heart”— Dunoisse barely restrained a start of ii credulous surprise at the new idea c nobility in connection with th Marshal—“tell him that I was neve led by any act of his to doubt the di iuterestedness of his regard. And sa to him, that what he wildly dreams ma one day be brought about, cannot an will not! That in the parched an dried-up skeleton you have seen here i the Convent there is no beauty left t covet. Entreat of him to think of h: wife and your mother as one who ht passed for ever beyond the gate of th: world. . . . For I have chosen t be dead whilst living,” said the threac thin, trembling voice, “that by th Divine Mercy not only I, but others— may not taste of the Death that is etei nal.” She added, almost inaudibly “My strength is not great, Hector, have suffered much lately. . .
Take my blessing now, and go.”
She rose from what was now r vealed as a wooden stool, and as he son knelt down before the inexorabl grating, she thrust a slender, waste linger between the iron wires of the lai tice, and lightly traced the Sign of th Cross upon his brow. How its touc’ thrilled him—the withered little finge that Achille Dunoisse had kissed wit; such exuberant rapture ! Her son woul have pressed his lips to it, but that sh drew it quickly away. He said in tone of bitter sadness, for the slight ir voluntary recoil had wounded :
“Ah!—you do well to shrink fror me, my mother!—could you kno1 all!
She put up her little shaking han and swiftly pulled her close black vei down, and breathed from behind it
e1eeH. "I do know all. . . . It is no for me to judge you-whose veins ver filled from mine. . .
; “Mother!” broke from Hector hoarst ly, for her terrible humility appallet him. It was as though she had bare* lier scarred shoulders in his sight, am bent her frail strength to the scourge She silenced him by a gesture, and cor tinued, in a whisper so faint that i barely reached his ears :
“But if you can—atone !”
The veil was lifted, the sunken eye met Hector’s. . . . What infinit tenderness shone in their dark gra? depths. She said, in the voice that flut ! tered like a cobweb in the wind: “Fo there’is but one road to peace, and tha ; is the Way of Expiation. My feet haw stumbled amidst its thorns for mam years now . . . Farewell! Prai for me ! Tell your father I
Dunoisse had no more words of her ! The little figure had swayed and wav j ered, the watchful sister in attendant ! had stepped forwards and thrown ar
arm about it and pulled the curtainrope with her disengaged hand. And the black woollen drapery had fallen, with a rattling of metal rings—and Dunoisse as he stumbled from the parlor, blinded by rushing tears, knew that he had looked his last, in this world, upon his mother. . . .
Dunoisse and Remorse rode back through the shadowy forest roads, to the | inn of “The Heron,” where waited Henriette.
She had not been to bed. She had paced the single guest-room of the posting-house all niglit, waiting in passionate impatience for her lover’s return. When she heard his step upon the uncarpeted stair, she ran to the door and opened it, and opened the flood-gates of her fury, that had been pent up all those hours. . .
“So! . . . You have returned!
. . . I, who have spent a night of ; horror in this miserable place with a : pair of frightened servants for my sole protectors and companions. . . .”
“Are not von Steyregg and Kohler
-?” Dunoisse began. She answered
before he had completed the sentence:
“They have taken what conveyance they could procure, and posted on to Paris; and had I been wiser I would i have accompanied them. . . . ‘Had I been wiser’ do I say? . . .” She laughed angrily, plucking at the ribbon of velvet that confined her swelling j throat. “One grain of sense would have saved me from the fatal error of accomI partying you to that den among the mountains—that hot-bed of bigotry and i intolerance—whence we have heen— like a pair of lepers!—cast out.”
“For you have made me blush for you! Why could you not have gone out upon the balcony and spoken to the people? Where were your courage— your manliness—your strength?”
“How can a woman of spirit love a man who is not manly? You will have yourself to thank for whatever happens now! . . . Where have you been all this night? What have you done? Into what new kennel of degradation will you next drag me? Or having gone so far, will you abandon your undeniable right, and seek no longer to obtain recognition of your claim of sucj cession from the Council of the Federaj tion? That you intend to do so I am quite prepared to hear !”
“Dearest, my mother has put her veto on the affair—it is for her to decide— and I am bound to respect her wishes.” He added, in a breaking voice: “Would to Heaven they had been known to me before !”
“Your mother!—your mother!” she raved. “Is no one to be considered—• no one obeyed but she? You fool!— your wife might meekly submit to be thrust aside because of your duty to
your mother. . . . But not ye mistress!—not a woman like me!”
She was beside herself—a beautij fury—her lovely face distorted—l mouth wrung crooked with the bit flood of invective, insult, upbraidii that came pouring from it He ro and said, in a tone that was hostile a menacing, while the cold light in ] black eyes chilled and daunted her:
“When you speak of my moth Madame, you will do so with conside tion, and respect, and reverence. 1 that for the future be understood.”
She laughed harshly, setting his tet on edge with a sensation that was sh» loathing of her. She said, shruggi her shoulders, driven on to the verge self-degradation by her resentment, a her contempt, and her weariness; w ing to break her spell over the man : ever, if only she might wound h sufficiently deep:
“With all my heart, Monsieur ! I at the same time, accord to me a me ure of the consideration, respect, a so forth you lavish so abundantly up Madame there! I may lay claim to I fancy. . . , After all, we are the same galley; though, let me po out, I was not chained to the bench an irrevocable vow.” She added, Dunoisse stared at her speechless “Good Heavens ! it is inconceivable t! nobody has ever told you, when peo are so malicious ! Have you never hei that I was a novice in the Convent Cartagena when de Roux saw me, a fell in love with me, and begged me run away with him ? . .
“I had had the White Veil of Rec tion from the bishop on my sixteei birthday . . . my behavior g
great edification to the Sisters, and Lordship, and the clergy . .
everybody said, ‘That young girl t one day become a Saint!’ And » night, a week later, I got over the f den wall because a band was playing the Calle Major—I walked down middle of the great, crowded street, my little old cast-off black alpaca c vent frock and blue ribbon. . ,
I had left the habit and the White *\ folded on the pillow of my bed . ,
A French officer accosted me anc^ as! my name. It was Eugene—I thou, him splendid!—perhaps he was—c( pared with the bishop, and the chapli and the gardener. . . . And never went back to the Convent of Soledad. De Roux married me. i other man might have been less hor able. . . . Perhaps it would h been wiser to have waited, you D think?” She laughed jeeringly. “Sc odd chance might have brought yoi Cartagena. Some lucky wind mi have blown you over the convent i den wall !”
The tale was a trumped-up oneleast as regards the novice’s habit i
i White Veil—yet her gift of decepü lent it such reality that shame and rror struggled in the heart of the m who heard. To kill her—and nself—was an almost ungovernable pulse, but he drove the nails of his nched hands deep into their palms, 1 moved stiffly to the door, and Hentte shrank away. . . . And so at from her out into the clear morn; sunshine, and fled blindly, hunted all the devils she had roused, into 1 dew-wet forest, and flung himself e downwards amidst the tall golden eken at the knees of a graybeard oak t spread its giant boughs and brown; foliage as though to afford sanctuary such hunted, desperate creatures— 1 wept, with groans and chokings— at bitter, scalding, shameful tears.
lut he dried them, and controlled iself, and returned to “The Heron”
[, and from thence travelled with his ¡ ■ companion back to Paris. Some t of a truce was patched up before 1 ending of the first day’s journey— Teek, and Monsieur the Colonel and dame were upon almost their old I ns of familiar, easy intimacy. Relied to Paris, the tenor of the old was resumed, but sometimes the •nt-in memory of that November ! ht of his return from London would e and throb, and at other times he ild hear the voice of his mistress ! ing:
'You will have yourself to thank for atever happens now!”
)o you wonder that a man bedevilled ' obsessed after this fashion should w moody and suspicious? And does ■urprise you that, after a succession ™ scenes of jealousy, Henriette uld have seized an early opportunity lonfiding her disillusions and anxiety the sympathetic ear at the ■see?
Vhen it came to stretching a point to ige a pretty woman, who was useful nm, that woman could depend upon goodness of Monseigneur.
'Jealousy, dear friend,” said he, with most oracular manner, “is—once traded—a vice as incurable as cribJig m a horse. . . I should sug! t service with the Foreign Legion the gentleman in question—if you quite certain that as soon as he has ' íe you will not wish him back an?” I
N Henriette crumpled her beautiful S [brows in doubt, bit her red lips, and dated, he added:
i Besides—would it be wise to banish :m your side a young, attractive man I? has brilliant expectations? . . is question of the Widinitz Succesj i—are we to hear no more of that?” i
“I fear not, Monseigneur! . . You cannot imagine the strength of hi prejudices. ... He is quite con vinced that to put himself at the hea; of the Catholic electors of the Princi pality would be an insult to Heaven' because his mother happened to be j professed nun. Ah ! how I weary of hi eternal arguments.”
“Indeed !” said Monseigneur, with j curious inflection. His dull eyes had i faded twinkle in them as they reste« on the lovely speaker’s face. Mon seigneur hastened to soothe the sensibili fies he had ruffled :
“Take my advice,” he said, “wb ¡have so often taken yours, arid foun« 'it excellent. Do not hurry on a crisis Wait !—and let me think out some effec five, easy method of relieving the ten sion of affairs.”
His tone was mellifluous as that o a dentist who thinks that the toothach may be eased without extraction—th doubtful molar saved. * She thankej him in silvery tones, made her dee) reverence, and glided from the aparj ment where Monseigneur had receive« her.
You are to understand that he há« lunched early that winter day, and wa taking his cigar and coffee and Benedic tine at a little table by the fireside
Monseigneur stretched out the neai small hand that held his cigar, an« touched a little golden chimney-bell Dunoisse appeared in obedience to th summons, crossed the deep-piled caa pet with long, light, noiseless footsteps and placed, with a respectful hand, ola in the regulation white kid glove, a pil of letters on the little coffee-table, besid the elbow of Monseigneur.
Monseigneur, generally sceptical a regarded things unseen, firmly believe in his guiding genius. That invisibl personage, he was subsequently cor vinced, dictated the question he sue denly put to Dunoisse; an interrogatio: that broached his own long-cherishe purpose, and gave a clue to the deep an dark and secret workings of his sträng« cold, snaky mind.
“Monsieur—supposing that Franc had determined to espouse' the interèsl of the Sultan of Turkey, to the poir of becoming his ally in war—wage with Russia in alliance with a certai insular maritime Power, upon the d batable ground of Eastern Eu ropehow should she proceed so as to insui to her armv the maximum of advantag with the minimum of loss? . . . D
not answer hastily. I beg of you! R( fleet before you reply.”
Dunoisse thought for a minute, an« gave the answer, clearly and promptlj and very much to the point. It short ened Monseigneur’s breathing incon! veniently. His small flat' eyes, usuallj so devoid of lustre, assumed the shallot
glitter of aluminium. lie said, composedly, urbanely, stroking his heavy brown moustache:
“The most plausible theories sometimes evaporate when one tries to set them down on paper. You would oblige me very much, my dear Colonel,
by putting yours in black upon white
Dunoisse bowed, and said he thought it would be possible to oblige Monseigneur. His theory, set forth in halfa-dozen pages of small, neat manuscript, illustrated by plans, and maps with dotted lines traced in divers-colored inks upon them, was laid before Monseigneur on the very next day. / . . Monseigneur studied these papers with close attention ; rolled them up, retied, and locked them away in a secret hiding place. And said, regarding his own features in a Venetian mirror that hung above the secretaire :
“My friend, you have been saved by your lucky star from committing an irreparable error. This young man is a genius of the first water. Even to gratify the wish of a still singularlycharming woman, you would be mad, my friend, to part with Colonel Dunoisse!”
Thenceforwards, Dunoisse’s active duties as assistant' aide-de-camp gave place to the more sedentary occupations of military private secretary, with a step in rank, a salary raised in accordance with his elevation in the estimation of his employer. It being presently discovered that he was master of Arabic, Turkish, Albanian, Greek. German, Russian and English, and possessed besides of a fair command of the Slavonic dialects of Roumania and Bulgaria, the office of private military interpreter was created, and conferred on him by Monseigneur.
There was a little study, looking on a corner of the leafy gardens of the palace which communicated by a hidden door with Monseigneur’s private cabinet. Dunoisse was installed in this snug den, into which none of the associates of Monseigneur ever thought of penetrating. And with his notes, and maps, and works of reference about him, was given_ a free hand, and bidden to carry out his plan.
And now at last the studies prosecuted in spare hours at the Training Institute for Staff Officers; those years of dogged, diligent acquirement of knowledge, began to bear fruit. ... At last the man had found the severe, arduous employment that gave full play to his brilliant faculties. His face grew strange to his associates and friends, as his task absorbed him more.
Masses of papers, methodically filed and docketed, accumulated about Dunoisse. A vast correspondence in many European and several Oriental lan-
guages was carried on by him. ï became the centre of a vast web of i telligence, the active brain of a formi able working system that centralized the little room adjoining the priva cabinet with the bullet-chipped c( nices; crossed the Alps and leaped t Carpathians; threw a spider-line fre Odessa to Bucharest—linked Sevast pol with Batum—and traveled ba again via the great roaring world-fj of Constantinolpe to the cabinet at t Elysee.
Men of many nationalities, tongi and colors, and convictions, came a went, by day and night; gave their : formation, received instructio: verbal or otherwise, took their mom and departed. But they never came went in couples, nor was the busin of one known to the next.
Nor had Dunoisse, who day and nif sat spinning at the colossal web of M; seigneur’s private purpose, and hat; ing out the egg of that potentate’s sec plan, any definite knowledge of 1 breed of basilisk that would presen chip the shell.
Balls, dinners, concerts, receptie and hunting-parties at the Tuile: and at Versailles, St. Cloud, and C( piegne, succeeded in dazzling rotati Round the little study where Duno wrought and planned and labo] driven on by a very demon of wc the active, busy, vari-colored life of j palace hummed and buzzed and swir Strains of music, gay or voluptu«
! and sounds of fast and furious rev came, midnight after midnight, to ears of the solitary toiler.
Henriette was as beautiful as e At the most splendid state functions the vicinity of her most brilliant rh her charms shone with undiminis fire. Men paid her court as ardenti ever, and her accredited lover was a man keenly-envied. But in des of this, and although his pressing di at the Elysee debarred him from i place at her side in society, Dun; had ceased to be jealous
The green-eyed demon even lef taunting Dunoisse with de Moulny, Representative of the Right for Moi upon Upper Drame, and Secrel Chancellor at the Ministry of the terior.
Rivers of plundered gold, dei from the sale of great family tates, flowed away between Dunoi fingers. None of it stuck to them, n to the surprise of Monseigneur. Dunoisse wanted money; and the ; reason at length become known t patron, who had a peculiar knack ol ting at the secrets of men.
To repay the three hundred thou thalers that had been the dowry oí
ir Terese de íLfint Francois had been, rer since the hour of their meeting, te abiding steadfast purpose of her son.
. . For never, Dunoisse knew, ould he ho happy until he had earned id rc )aid every centime of that acirsed dowry. That debt discharged, ere would be a turn of the tide. De oux would die; his widow would heme the wife of her lover ; there would i happiness, children, a home. . . . ir these he spent himself, allured by e glitter of Monseigneur’s golden omiseas other victims had been— )uld he until the end.
And in the fever of toil that conmed li'ir, the man aged and wasted äibly. His black eyes lost their fire, s vivid coloring faded, his hair, no nger thick and glossy, showed broad ■eaks of gray. Lines graved themIves between his eyebrows, as month ter month Dunoisse sat diligently inbating the egg of Monseigneur.
It hastened matters sensibly, that lysical decadence—that wreck of the an’s good looks upon the rocks of meress mental toil. The very day that owed the stupendous task all but acmplished, brought home to Dunoisse -by the medium of an unsigned letter a delicate feminine hand—the ¡ îowledge that, in the estimation of his »rid, at least—he was held to have been | pplanted by de Moulny. The closing ntence of the anonymous writer reI oduced, almost in the very words, the iforgettable utterance of Henriette at ¡ e inn of “The Heron":
“You only have yourself to thank for lat has happened now!”
It seemed the very voice of his Fate ¡ eaking, and Dunoisse grew pale as hes, and laid the letter down. He had en much weakened by his unremitig labors, and the drumming of the )od in his ears and the violent beating his heart made him deaf to the quiet ening and closing of the door. But voice spoke to him, and he looked ¡ ■, with the sharp-fanged fox of desperi jealousy gnawing under his uniform ¡it had possibly gnawed under that of ¡ Roux, and became aware that Mongneur had entered, and was looking ! him with a somewhat sinister smile.
3 said—as Dunoisse stumbled to his 3t and saluted—looking narrowly at ¡8 haggard handsome face and smooths' his thick brown moustache with the tie hand that was so like a pretty •man’s. :
“So! We drew near the end! We Ive at last the goal in view, according i the report I received from you this orning.” He added, as Dunoisse bowin assent: “Accept my sincere conatulations upon the excellent service u have rendered, General-of-Brigade n Widinitz Dunoisse.”
His glance, as keen as dull and lusiless, had recognized the writing of
the letter lying on the blotting-pad. H had calculated and rightly, that to gran the coveted step at the moment of reve' ation would inconceivably intensify th torment of its sting. He did not delà to receive the halting thanks of the vi; tim. He went on in his cool, mellifluoi tones, showing a docketed paper in hi hand:
“You mention at the close of you summary of the work that has been a; complished,. that without diligent an painstaking revision of the maps of Ea: tern Europe at present in use at ou military schools, and employed at ou War Department, the coping-stone ( perfection must be lacking still.” II added, “This, I will own, surprises m our Government Survey Department b ing considered—I believe with justici —as pre-eminent in skill and accurac; How then, do you suggest that the ma] should be improved!”
“Monseigneur, the network of inte ligence being complete,” answered Dm oisse, “a minute sanitary survey of tl ground most likely to become the scei of militant operations should necessar! follow. Fever-breeding districts mu be plainly labelled ‘Pestilential, doubtfully-salubrious regions must 1 indicated for what they are. . . No detail should be neglected. Speci qualifications—precise scientific knov edge will be necessarily required of t! Staff officer who is deputed to carry o this mission.” He added, “For up the health of the army depends : fighting-power. One cannot win battl with sick men !”
“An excellent apophthegm,” Mo seigneur pronounced, with that pec liarly amiable smile of his. He tapp his teeth thoughtfully with the pap in his hand. “As regards the staff oi cer who is to be despatched on this would you call it a perilous mission —lie went on, Dunoisse having adm ted it to be a deeidely perilous mission “I know of but one individual p; sessing the necessary, indispensal qualifications, and he is yourself!” 1 added, turning the poisoned poma in the wound: “Fair eyes will weep your departure, my dear Dunoisse lovely lips will call me cruel. But i doubtedlv—you must be the man go!”
So Dunoisse, with a step in rank lieu of the promised heap of. gold, a the suspicion rankling m him that ; banishment had long been contempl ed, went back to the Rue de Sevres a found Henriette and de Moulny th together.
There was a silence, poignant a tense. They had risen upon Dunoiss entrance—both faces wore a set, ai ficial smile of greeting. Dunoisse co\
Bar de Moulny’s deep, even respiration id Henriette’s agitated hurried breath¡g. It seemed to him that his heart did A beat—that he himself did not
•eathe at all. And then the spell was 'oken bv a woman’s soft utterance, enriette said:
“Dear friend, your arrival is opporne. M. de Moulny has called upon e to entreat that I would use such inîence as I am—perhaps mistakenlyedited with possessing—to effect a renciliation between you both. . . . íe misunderstanding that has divided ai so long shall be cleared up, shall it >t—as he wishes?.” She added, lookg from one man tQ the other with ftly-beaming eyes: “I too wish this, very greatly. .. f ... Will you not friends,, to please me?”
De Moulny’s deep voice said:
“Have we ever been enemies?”
And he held out to Dunoisse s large, thick, white hand with the shy, round-tipped fingers; and, as a an in a dream will unquestioningly tept some inconceivable, impossible luation, Dunoisse took the hand in his.
I loosely grasped and was withdrawn, îen there had followed some moments conventional, ordinary, social commplace. And then de Moulny had cen his leave, and, freed from the teful oppression of his presence, Duisse could think clearly again.
He broke to Henriette the news of 3 eastern mission. She paled . . . ed out . . . threw herself halfooning—bathed in tears, upon his Bast Cruel, cruel Monseigneur ! . . . îr beautiful bosom heaved as she inched against the implacable tyrant the Elysee. She vowed she would not unit to such a heartless abuse of auirity. . . . She would go to the nee, she declared—throw herself be■e him—plead upon her knees for a 7ersal of the pitiless appointment, id Dunoisse dissauded her with diffiIty from adopting such a course; inrdly blessing the power she reviled,
• the discovery that, after all, he was ed. . . .
And indeed, during the few, the very 7, days that intervened between the onciliation.with de Moulny and Dunse’s departure, Henriette’s passion, it shrivelled rose of Jericho, soaked in rm_ tears from lovely eyes, regained pristine color, bloom and fragrance, e ancient glamor was upon all earth i heaven, and the cup once more ofed by those exquisite hands to the rsting lips of her lover brimmed with : intoxicating wine of old.
Their parting. ... Ah! what pen lid do justice to their parting, when, ¡on a certain fateful morning, some ht days subsequently to the decision
of Monseigneur, Dunoisse tore himself away from Henriette and his revived and radiant happiness, and left Paris, en route for Eastern Roumelia, and the debatable ground one day to be contested by the forces of the Sultan and the Czar
Not without pith of meaning is the old saw that warns the traveller never, once having started, to retrace his steps. But the overworked pointsman’s blunder that sent the engine of the SouthEastern express crashing into the rearwagon of a goods train outside the station of Joigny—a disaster without resultant loss of life to any portion of the human freight—must be held responsible for Dunoisse’s return. _
His route had officially been pricked out via Marseilles and Constantinople.. Owing to the lapse of hours that would intervene before the next Southwardgoing mail could be boarded, the bimonthly steamer plying between the ports above named must certainly sail without Dunoisse. Somewhat bruised and shaken by the shock of the accident, and furthermore possessed with an intense nostalgia for Paris and Henriette, her lover yielded to the tempting, urgent voice; left his baggage—soldierly in its economy of bulk—in charge of the officials at Joigny—and burdened with nothing more cumbrous than a travelling-bag—took the next train for home.
The city clocks were striking twelve when he left the terminus of the Rue Mazas and rattled in a hired coupe over the Bridge of Austerlitz.
It seemed a long drive. But at last it was over. He dismissed his cab at the street-corner, in the interests of the joyful surprise he had in view—and reached the familiar gates on foot. No need to use the little pass-key, carried in Dunoisse’s waistcoat-pocket, and admitting by the smaller portal, framed in the corner of the larger one, for— thanks to some neglect of the portress— the little door stood ajar; it swung inwards at the first touch. . . . And thus Dunoisse stepped noiselessly into the dark, foggy courtyard, passed under the tall, stately, familiar portico—conjectured rather than seen in the draping veil of fog—and drew out the latch-key of the de Roux’s hall-door. But that door was also open—upon this night of wonders even7 obstacle seemed to dissolve like foam or mist-wreath under the touch of the man who was hurrying to prove his mistress faithful. For, stripped of all ornament or pretence, you have in these five plain words the reason of Dunoisse’s return.
The senants had gone to bed, or had been given leave to spend the night elsewhere.
Moving with long, swift, eager strides over the velvety carpets, Dun-
isse reached the open door of the bedoom. With a heart that throbbed as aadly as on the first night that had sen him cross its threshold, he looked 1.
In sharpest contrast with the brilliany of the green-and-gold boudoir, the [»se-coloured bedroom, save for the lazing wood-billets that dispensed a ancing light and a delicious warmth, :as all in shadow. At an angle, facing | »wards the fire, stood a low, broad ; pony couch without a back or footiece, covered in rose-colour matching íe shade of the draperies of the win3ws, the walls, and the tent that in the raceful fashion of the era, sheltered íe bed. And Henriette lay—in beauty ¡vealed rather than covered by a thin laphanous robe of lawn and lace—outretched upon the couch beside the fire.
Surely, surely, she was very pale. . .
. But not until Dunoisse had crossed her side—bent down and set his irning kiss upon those smiling lips, d he realise that they were icy cold; at the teeth were rigidly clenched bend them, and that the half-open eyes 3re fixed in a glassy stare. And in e poignant horror of the discovery he ied her name aloud, imploring her to vive ... to look at him . . . answer ... if only by a sigh.
In vain his prayers. She was cold, lite and silent as the dead.
Could this be Death indeed? . . . anoisse drove the haunting query desrately from him. Lie struck a match id lighted, with what a shaking hand I •the rose-tinted wax candles upheld • porcelain Cupids on the mantelshelf, olding one of the candlesticks on gh, he sent a questioning glance about search of smelling-salts or some more werful restorative. And not until en did the tell-tale disorder of the ice yield up its ugly secret. He knew
The disorder of the luxurious bed . . the little table of two covers that iod near its foot, bearing a plate of dare sandwiches partly consumed, a t pate and two champagne-bottles,
:e prone and empty, the other partly 111, gave testimony there was no disjpving. Even without the clinching jidence furnished by the heavy, furled overcoat that sprawled over the ;ck of a chair. And was not that a Sin’s white glove, lying where it had |3n dropped upon the rose-coloured rpet? . . . Mechanically Dunoisse ;ssed the room and picked it up. And was no glove, but a crumpled note, ined in violet ink, in llenriette’s ar, delicate characteristic hand, on r white, satin-striped paper. And it d all, crudely and without reserve, to Î poor dupe whom it flouted and >cked.
"Yes! ’tis true! Don Quixote hr departed. Naturally I am inconso able!—but since you profess y ourseconvinced -if the contrary, you ma come at the usual hour. The servan will be disposed of—the doors will 1 open. . . . When we meet, perhaj I may be—--
"THY HENRIETTE.” LXV.
The porcelain clock upon the mai telshelf struck one and the half-hou as Dunoisse sat thrashing the questic out—to go or stay with her? AE presently he raised his wrung and ra aged face, and got up and stood besi( the sofa, looking down at Henriette.
"Poor soul!” he said. I am a pu blind idiot, Henriette, who, havir profited by your unfaith—looked be faithful. Now I am paid in my ow1 coin—it is my pride that suffers—n my love. Yet, love or none, becau; that other man has fled and left yoi and because that viler self that lur] within counsels me to follow—I st£ beside you here.”
When the porcelain clock upon tl mantelshelf had chimed the hour, cautious footstep had crossed the flaj ged pavement of the foggy courtyar Dunoisse had not heard it. But no that the stealthy footsteps travers« the parquet of the vestibule—stumbl« over an unseen ottoman in the darl ness of the large drawing-roomthreaded the next, and crossed tl threshold of the green-and-gold boi doir, he heard it, with a creeping it chill, and a rising of the hairs upon b scalp and body. He remembered th) he had not shut the courtyard gate, « the hall-door behind him, upon th fatal night of revelation. . . . !
occurred to him that some prowlin night-hawk of the Paris streets migl have entered in search of food an plunder, or that the intruder migl prove to be a sergent de ville, or tl watchman of the quarter, or even gendarme of the city patrol. . . . Bí when a large, powerful, well-kept whiî hand, with fleshy, round-topped fil gers, came stealing about the edge Î the partly-open door, and pushed cautiously inwards—Dunoisse, with savage leaping of the blood, kneweven before the tall, bulky figure looiï ed dark upon the threshold, see against the brilliance and glitter of tb boudoir—that the man who had lei her had returned.
That the man was de Moulny he hai never for one instant doubted.
In the first moment of his entranc«
je Moulny—newly out of fog and darkäpss—blinking from the radiance of íe boudoir, did not observe that the Bdroom held any occupant besides the jgid, white form upon the rose-colored ffa. Llis light blue, strained and jightly blood-shot eyes went to that irectl y.
Then a purposely-made movement ! Dunoisse jerked de Moulny’s head rund. A sudden reddish flame leapl into the pale eyes as they took in the änder, upright figure in the rough ay travelling surtout, standing at the ot of the couch with folded arms. .
. . And though de Moulny did not
Ipably start, yet his big jowl dropped hair’s-breadth. A slight hissing inke of the breath betrayed his perturbLOD and surprise.
“Th’h’h!” . . . And then in an stant the old de Moulny was back, rogant, cool, self-possessed as ever, is blue eyes were hard as polished »nes as they met the black eyes of moisse. He said, pouting his fleshy >s, sticking his long obstinate chin t, looking arrogantly down his big ick nose in the old familiar manner: “An unexpected return invariably ids to unpleasant explanations. But the present case I design to make u none, further than that I came re by appointment.” His smile was tolerable as he added: “Not for the st time. And I will meet you when u please, and where you please. You ve your choice of weapons, under,nd me—from ordinary duelling-piss to a buttonless foil!”
Meeting no response from Dunoisse, added, with his insufferable smile, incing towards the still sleeper on the ie-hued sofa:
“At the climax of a love-passage of iental fervour, she swooned in my ns. . . . And the servants had all ;n sent out of the way !... Imne my predicament! ... A .seless woman on my hands, and not Aber woman within cry. . . Thus was, that in my present, slightly «promising state of déshabillé, I sal1 out to fetch a surgeon—an excelt, discreet, and reliable person, who is luck would have it—has gone into country to operate upon a patient,
1 until to-morrow is not expected to irn. . . . Failing him, I knockup a chemist, who supplied me with se drops—warranted infallible”— held up the little parcel—” adding íe advice gratis as to treatment of sufferer, involving—unless I err— ff.ion over the region of that conjecal feminine organ, the heart. . ,” )e Moulny, seeming bigger and re blond and brutal than ever, movwith his long, padding elastic step, ■eoalling the gait of a puma—to the i. Dunoisse, even quicker than he,
interposed, and said, baldly and sii ply, speaking between his close-sh teeth, and looking straight in t other’s stony eyes :
“If you touch her I shall kill yo Take care ! . . .”
“Oh, as to killing I” de Moulny sa with a shrug. . . .
“Permit me to point out that yo utterance savours of the dog in t manger. You have failed :to revi Madame—and I am not to try. Y would rather Death laid his bony hai upon that eminently lovely pers; than that I did. . . . Weill . . Be it so !”
He shrugged with an elaborate i fectation of indifference—even feign to yawn. Dunoisse answered hoarse! turning away his sickened eyes fro him:
“Death has already touched aí claimed her. She is DEATH’S-D mine or yours!”
De Moulny’s big jowl dropped. I shot into an erect attitude, dropped 1 coat-tails and made, rapidly aí stealthily, the Sign of the Cross. E widely-open eyes, their distended p pils swallowing up the pale blue iris« seemed to leap at the white shape up the sofa; and then relief relaxed t tension of his muscles, and his thi lips curled back in an almost, goo humored smile. He said, in Alaii old way :
“Nom d’un petit bonhomme!—b you are mistaken, my excellent Dun isse!—fortunately most damnably m: taken, as it turns out! Even fro where I stand, the quiver of an eyeli —the stirring of a finger—the faintc heaving of the bosom I am not touch, may occasionally be perceive Use you own eyes, and they will co vince you.” He went on jeeringl “Aha! I am now enlightened as to t! secret of your phlegm—your apathyyour air of fatalistic composure !'Dead/ not a bit of it! She will live dance over de Roux’s grave and youi my good sir, and possibly* mine. . .
“Be silent—be silent!” said Dunois in the thick quivering voice of ove mastering anger. “Have you no sen of decency?—no manhood left you?” he demanded, “that you moi and jeer at a woman who cannot ev( answer in her own defence? Oi meeting cannot be too soon !—rr friends will wait upon you in a fe hours. Meanwhile, relieve me of yoi presence!” He pointed to the opi door.
De Moulny, maintaining his poí tion on the hearthrug, hunched h shoulders as though a shrug were t( elaborate a method of conveying indi ference. He said:
“You have anticipated me—foresta led me, General, in pointing out that-
to quote the old adage, ‘Two are company.’ . . . Might I suggest that I
you should prove your own claim to decency and so forth by effacing yourself from a scene where—to put it obviously—you are de trop. ... ! The equally obvious fact that your presence here will not conduce to Madame’s complete recovery, does not seem to have occurred to you.”
“Since neither of us will give place, one must listen to the other. . . .
Whether Madame there hears matters very little to me. . . . There is very little of either delicacy or decency in the present situation. We might with truth be likened,” said de Moulny, “to a couple of dogs growling over a bone, and—since you will not take your dismissal from me—take it from Madame there. Look !... She is coming to herself! ... In an instant she will speak !”
It was true. Long shudders rippled through Henriette’s beautiful, helpless body. Pier bosom heaved with shallow, gasping breaths. The eyes between the parted eyelids rolled and wandered blindly. She moaned a little, as though in pain.
A new idea struck de Moulny. He looked at Dunoisse, standing white and haggard and shame-stricken on the other side of the sofa. And he said, in a changed, less smoothly brutal tone, and without his hateful smile:
“This is a strange, unusual method of settling a dispute for possession, but un conventionality pleases me. . . . Understand, I am ready to abide by the issue, be it what it may. He glanced at the wall beyond the bed-foot, where Dunoisse knew well there hung an ivory Crucifix. The Figure was covered with a drapery of black velvet. And at the sight the banished light of mockery came back into de Moulny’s | hard blue eyes.
“Ah no! There shall be no oath, my good Dunoisse,” he went on, almost gently. . . . “Both us us have proved the brittleness of such things ! :
. . . But listen, and if my plan appeals to you, accept it. . . . When
-” He rose up, and turned his j
eyes_ to the sofa. He asked himself, -| musingly, with cold considering eyes studying what lay there: “Was I mistaken, or did I hear her speak?”
She had only moaned, and muttered something incoherent. De Moulny went on :
“Long years ago—when one whose name is too sacred to be uttered within these walls—lay in a swoon as death! like and protracted as this—the first name she uttered upon her recovery, I was that of her youngest son. . . . And I knew then—though she had j never made any parade of difference !
between us,—that of all her childrer she loved me best. Then listen. Whosi name this woman speaks, his she shal be, soul and body ! Is that agreed, im virtuous Dunoisse?”
The cold blue eyes and the burning black eyes met and struck out a white hot flame between them.
“It is agreed!” said Dunoisse in : barely audible voice.
A silence fell. The ashes of the dy ing fire dropped upon the tiled heart! with a little clicking echo. . . . Th rivals waited by the moaning figure o: the sofa in the disarranged, disordere bedchamber. . . .
“Ah, Jesu Christ!......”
The Name came from the pale lip of Henriette in a sighing whispe: Then silence fell again like a blac velvet pall. . . .
De Moulny spoke at last, in a shal ing whisper, a strange light, burnin behind the eyes that were like polishe blue stones:
“Do you hear? . . . She is GocV this woman for whose body and soi we have disputed. . . . Christ hi claimed her ! . . . She is no long» yours or mine! . . .”
He thought he spoke to Dunoiss but Dunoisse had already left the Ri de Sèvres behind him. With despa eating at his heart, and Remorse aí Shame for travelling-companions, 1 had resumed his interrupted journ; —he was speeding to the Pestilenti Places of South-Eastern Europe carry out the secret mission of Mo: seigneur.
This story will be continued in the Novemt issue of this magazine.