A LITTLE BIT of CHICKENFEED

ALLEN C. SHORE November 1 1919

A LITTLE BIT of CHICKENFEED

ALLEN C. SHORE November 1 1919

A LITTLE BIT of CHICKENFEED

ALLEN C. SHORE

Who wrote “The Beluchistan League,” etc.

ON the door of the office ran the seductive legend, "John P. Barndyke. Mines and Investments." Mr. Barndyke, within, looked like both. There

was profundity, amplitude, solidity, financial responsibility, all over him, from the summit of his pinkily bald head, down to his pearl spats and glistening shoes. The triple-chinned massiveness of face, the wrinkleless convexity of white waistcoat, resembling the sail of a yacht in a fresh breeze, proclaimed him anything but a man of straw.

He had air and manner matching his appearance, amiably bluff, or bullyingly dictatorial, according to the situation and standing of the person with whom he had to deal. This morning he was perturbed, and, from the nervous fingering of papers on the desk before him, one might suppose he was diligently searching for his accustomed ease, as one might look for a mislaid eyeglass. Standing near the desk, uncomfortably near, was Steve Forbes of the Caribou country, tall and lean, with “frontierman” stamped all over him, despite city clothes that sat on him awkwardly. The brown face was strong, the mouth pleasant yet firm, the eyes kindly, with capacity for humor in them, though they did not show it just now. There was a slight stoop in the stálwart shoulders, and he walked with the straddling gait of a man who has lived much in the saddle. He now leaned an elbow on the top of the desk and looked down on the ornately prosperous man in the revolving chair, as one might regard a strangely unpleasant beast.

“What‘it amounts to, Barndyke, when you get down to square man’s talk, is that you mean to throw me.” Steve spoke with unangered deliberateness.

“Not at all! Not at all!” blustered the other. “If you choose to build castles on imagination, and they fall, don’t blame me, blame yourself.”

“Barndyke!” replied Steve. “Among the kind of men I mix with, you’d only be good for fox bait. You know my option runs out on the sixth, and to-day is the first. You’ve kept me playing round this month past, expecting you to keep your word.”

“If you knew anything about business, you’d know better than to expect any man to put up good money on a mine gamble like yours,” said Barndyke. “I’ve looked into it, of course, as I’ve looked into scores of others, but it’s doubtful whether you have anything of value. If it’s as good, or half as good, as you claim, the street out there is jammed with men crazy to get on to such things.”

“You’re a cloven-footed liar!” drawled the calm voice. “I know now why Kelson, your spy, has been ferreting round my prospect and the adjoining properties, in my absence, and what he’s doing round this town now. He’s been too anxious to dodge >ne for

honesty. I showed you what I had, believing your word, and you promised to find the hundred thousand to swing the deal. I gave you what you asked for your services, and you’ve tricked me with fine talk to keep me from going elsewhere. You’d have fooled me along to the minute the option died, if I hadn’t forced a show-down. It isn’t because you doubt what I’ve got that you’re playing Judas, but because you know how good it is, and want it all, what I’ve slaved for and fought for, in sun and cold, poverty and hunger, all these years. I’ve got to raise a hundred thousand dollars between this and three o’clock of the sixth. I’ve less than twenty-five dollars in the world, and I don’t know a soul in Toronto, but I’ll get it. You take notice, Barndyke, I’ll get it!” And tne hard fist smashed down on the desk to the agitation of Mr. Barndyke’s sensitive nerves. “It takes more than a measly coyote or sneaking wolf to scare me off my holding.”

OUTSIDE the office Steve paused for reflection. Then he headed for the Trust Company who were agents for the property. Doubtless Barndyke had shut that door; but he’d find out. The manager, from whom he asked a month’s extension, if necessary, was sympathetic, but he made it clear that what was asked was impossible. Another option had been granted to run from three o’clock of the sixth, should the first fall through.

“Party of the name of Barndyke?” enquired Steve. “It isn’t my business to tell,” answered the manager. “But I’ve known worse guessers.”

Steve considered a moment. -There was something of the miner’s fatalism in him, and the stoicism that goes with it. It wasn’t the first time he had seen golden promise develop into leaden fulfilment, rosy dawn fade to gray noon. Nor, said the buoyant spirit of the man, would it be the first time he had seen gray noon be the sombre forerunner of a brilliant, glory-filled sunset. After all, it is the end, the balancing, that counts. The big office clock boomed the hour of three. It seemed to Steve like the ring count. Then he laughed and straightened his shoulders.

“One! Two! Three!” he repeated with a grin. “That aint ‘Ten! and you’re Out!’ Here’s where we stall for the bell and come up smiling again for some more of the same, and maybe a slice of different.”

“Go to it, son!” said the manager, who had sized up the situation. “You look like the kind that takes a mighty lot of stopping.”

OTEVE stepped out into the street again. He wanted ^ air and exercise. His mind worked best when his body was in motion, so he started to walk. Where he went that afternoon he never knew, but it was nearly nine o’clock when he found himself, footsore and hungry, but with the devil distanced, at the head of University Ave. For a month he had been loafing round the streets waiting, and had found the job harder work than the stiffest backaching task he had ever done. That was ended now. He was prospector again in a strange, new country, facing the toughest prospect of his life. How he was going to tackle it, he did not know, and, to-night, he didn’t much care. He had a hunch that he was going to do it. He wondered what would happen if he marched through the money district announcing to the world that he had one of the richest silver mines since Potosí, and demanding a hundred thousand dollars.

The idea tickled him so much that he burst into laughter, to the amazement of passers-by. Then they saw the bronzed face under the broad Stetson, and laughed too, as one laughs at the mirth of children and grown-ups who retain the childlike mind and heart.

When he reached Queen’s Park he hesitated a moment between hunger and weariness. He’d sit awhile and reflect on men and women and things in this vast, sweltering babel. Most of the benches were filled, but he found one, a little apart from the rest, with only

two occupants. At each end sat a woman. One was young, and his swift glance brought away the impression of the most perfectly satisfactory face he had ever seen. He came from a comparatively womanless district, and the greatest charm of cities to him was in their multitudes of pretty faces. There was nothing blasé about Steve Forbes, and he had known camps and bonanza cities, with their womankind. He cherished the wholesome man’s belief that the good among man and womankind formed the vast majority, and that in the bad was an amazing lot of good. He had the simple, clean mind from which springs the fine flower of chivalry and reverence for woman. The face of the girl was not prettier than many he had seen, but it was quite different; he didn’t kv.ow how or why. Rather pale, and, he thought, tired and anxious. He liked the way her hair framed the brow and temples, the large eyes, the grave, oval face. He wondered why she was seated, alone, in a public park, at that hour. He glanced at her again, and felt happier.

The other woman was elderly, with a sharp, rather severe face and plainly dressed.. She wore a widebrimmed straw hat, that even his inexperience in such matters, told him was of the cheapest. Neither woman knew much of the world’s luck, he guessed, and he thought with some self-contempt of his own anxiety during the afternoon because of Barndyke’s treachery. To a man the whole world was open, and strength and courage could hew a path through the densest jungle; how different to a woman, young and pretty or old and feeble!

“You don’t mind me sitting down here, Ma’am, and you, Miss?” he asked. “I’m plumb tired, and these legs of mine aint used to pavement pounding.”

'T'HE girl shot a quick glance at him, and his wholesomeness seemed to satisfy her. She gave a little nod. The other scrutinized him more leisurely, and a dry smile passed over her face.

“They’re long enough in all conscience,” she said, looking critically at the outstretched legs.

“A few more days like this’ll shorten ’em, Mother,” he said. “Guess 1 walked an inch off ’em this afternoon. Terrible place, this city, to wear folks. Look

at all that!” And he nodded to the miscellaneous humanity crowded on the benches. Then he remembered that perhaps these women knew all about it, and rebuked his thoughtless tongue.

“You don’t mind me speaking to you, Mother, and little sister?” he continued. “I know it’s reckoned next door to murder in cities to talk to folks you don’t know. Just fancy you’re in my country where human beings are glad to talk.”

“And where may that be?” asked the woman.

“All the way from Labrador to Vancouver, and from the Lakes to the Arctic Circle, mostly where hupians are the rarest animals,” he laughed. “I carry my skyscraper with me and plant it in the woods, by the lake shore, or up on the mountain side, with God’s sun and stars, trees, winds, and wild things for my neighbors.”

“What do you leave them for at this time of the year, when the wilds must be at their best?” asked the frankly inquisitive woman.

“Mother, you make me homesick,” he replied. “I’m just aching for the open hillside, the soft velvet sky, the stars shining to do you a kindness, the lake below rippling black and silver, and the wind, that comes without the tang of the devil’s limekiln, singing among the trees. We’ve most things there but money, and I’m here on the still hunt for a hundred thousand dollars, so if you hear the next day or two of a wild man standing some fat banker on his head and shaking that much out of his pockets, you’ll know it was Steve Forbes who did it.”

Thus they chatted for some time, the dry, tart humor of the woman feeding and drawing out the miner’s loquacity, the girl listening amusedly, and now and again joining in the conversation. Weariness passed from Steve, and hunger was uppermost.

“Guess it’s about time I had my supper,” he said. “I wish, Mother, you and little sister here would come and have some supper with me. Toronto swatted me pretty hard this afternoon, so I guess it’s trying to be good to me now. I’ve a sort of fancy we are going to bring luck to each other.”

The woman looked across at the girl.

“What do you say, my dear?” she asked. “Shall we represent Toronto to the stranger within our gates?”

'T'HE girl nodded, her eyes dancing with mirth, and A the three of them went to a near-by restaurant. The meal was a very pleasant one. Steve was in high spirits, and an easy prey to the bantering inquisitiveness of the keen-faced woman. When the odd little party broke up, the elder woman went along the Avenue. Some distance up, she paused under a lamp to look at the folded paper she had seen the man slip into her jacket pocket. She took out of it a five dollar bill.

“A little bit of chickenfeed !’ she chuckled, then called a taxi and drove away.

Steve stood on the pavement and watched the girl go. Then as the slim, graceful figure was passing cut of sight, he did a most reprehensible thing. Reflecting swiftly that exceptional situations demand extraordinary measures, he started off in pursuit. To let the girl walk thus out of his life would be foolish and worse—like throwing away luck that had just come to him.

There was rebuke in her eyes when she saw him, not very severe, perhaps, for they had become rather friendly; but it was still rebuke.

“I’d rather you’d be angry with me to-night, than be mad with myself for ever after,” he said apologetically.

“I didn’t mean to follow you

at first, but then I felt how crazy it was to find a friend and lose her right away.”

It sounded reasonable enough after all, and he was different from city men, the girl reflected. She came from the country herself. So she gave him the benefit of extenuating circumstances, and, so great was her interest in his quest, that she said he might call later and let her know the result of his money hunt.

TlfHEN she reached her room in the apartment ’ ’ house, she lit the gas and sat down on the bed to reflect upon the one adventurous evening in a rather placid life. A few hours before Mary Andrews had been decidedly gloomy. Two weeks earlier, the economical pruning of staffs in the department store where she worked had cast her adrift, and she had learned how fierce competition can be for mere bread. She had been ambitious and had left the duller native northland for tke city. Sometimes she regretted it. If life there had not been so vivid and exciting it had charm and compensations of its own. If the prizes in the lottery were not so splendid there, the heartbreaking blanks were much fewer. Existence rarely resolved itself iijto a razor-edge fight for subsistence.

Oddly enough, it was not the man she thought about now, but the woman she had met that afternoon. Her eyes and ears were keener than the miner’s; she knew that their companion was no woman of the people in hard luck, and wondered if she would soon see her again. The strange woman had asked for her address, and had promised to call upon her. She had a curious sense of protecting friendship as she recalled the keen, powerful face, and the half-veiled interest in the piercing eyes.

When she slept that night, she dreamed of the green fields yellowing to harvest, the maple grove about the old home, the orchard, fruit laden, sloping to the singing river, the cool, scented night winds blowing, and across the stage of dreams flitted the big bronzed miner who had called her “little sister,” and the woman he had called “Mother.” The mere names comforted her tired spirit. When she arose to the new day she felt a fresh gladness. She was glad she had resisted the temptation of the few hundreds to sell the old home.

Like most people of the Celtic strain, she believed secretly in signs, omens, and dreams, in an unseen but ever-present hand that moves a piece here, another there, and with unfathomable wisdom and skill works out far-seeing plans, by mysterious and inexplicable combinations, to ultimate, splendid triumph. Perhaps! Perhaps! Then she laughed—an excellent way

in which to begin.

A GRAY sky over head, her yacht the Xantippe plunging through gray-g reen seas, the wind whistling through the ropes and stays of her rigging, and whipping the spray in clouds across the deck; such was the natural background t o any true portrait of Miss Pandora Fulcher. In the stern gray-grimness of her app e a r a n c e— piercing black eyes, strongly arched nose, Indian-hued face— the spaciousness of mind and heart, the seeming capriciousness o f mood, sweeping wraths and splendid generosities, she rev e a 1 e d her kinship to the sea. Ashore, there was always about her something of the alien air which sailors have

on land.

As she passed into the dingy street, a casual glance would have left one with the impression of a highly militant female suffragist or inexpugnable book canvasser, rather than the mistress of millions, whose ten thousand workpeople at Fulcherville produced dress fabrics that rivalled the daintiest put forth by the looms of England and France. Nearer approach showed the poise, the self-assuredness, and those instinctive subtleties of manner that proclaim the grande dame. Of restless energy, she was an early riser. When a task had to be done she never dallied with it. Adventure was to her the very breath of life; chance, coincidence, unexpectedness, the avenues to much of its interest and charm.

Mary Andrews was at home, preparing to go out on the work hunt, when her acquaintance of the night before arrived.

“Pity we have not our cowboy friend with us,” said the visitor as she made herself comfortable in Mary’s armchair. “I suppose you have seen him since I did?” The girl colored in slight confusion.

“I was sure of it,” laughed the lady. “He had the lonely look in his eyes when I came away. Well, he looked a clean, wholesome boy. Brought you home, of course? I shouldn’t be surprised to hear he made love to you.”

The girl laughed and shook her head.

“He will then,” declared the visitor with conviction. “He’s that kind of a man. I don’t mean one of the mushy sort, but he’s pretty green, and looks what he thinks. I’m an old maid, and lookers-on see most of the game. Why, bless my soul! What have you got on the wall up there?” And she stared at a large photograph.

“That is a view of Fulcherville and the mills there,” said Mary. “My mother used to live there.”

The lady sprang up, took the girl by the shoulders, and searched her face eagerly.

“I know now why your face haunted me all night,” she said. “You are Alice Maynard’s girl?”

“Yes, Alice Maynard was my mother,” said Mary in utter amazement.

“I knew it. My instinct where Fulcherville is concerned never fails. You don’t know me, I suppose?” she asked. “Your mother did. I am Pandora Fulcher.”

Mary looked part of the awe she felt upon hearing that august name which her mother had always spoken almost with reverence.

“Your mother, my dear, was one of my pet girls,” said Miss Pandora. “But in the name of the great Hornspoon, what are you doing down here in Toronto, and alone? Why didn’t you come to see me, knowing I was your mother’s friend? I ought to shake you, rambling all over this God-forsaken city, seeking work of strangers when I’d have been happy to find a comfortable place for you. I wonder how it is that the people I’d love to help keep away from me? Think I’m an ill-tempered old crank, I suppose, because I’ve no wisp of a man tied to my apron strings, and a raft of children of my own. Bah!”

“I think you did enough for us, Miss Fulcher,” replied the girl. “I can’t forget that we, that I, owe you five hundred dollars yet. I hope one day to sell the farm and pay back what you lent mother when we were in trouble. So far I’ve never been able to do more than pay the interest.”

“You’ve been paying interest!” cried Miss Pandora. “In the name of all the Shylocks in Jewry, to whom?” “To your cashier at the mills,” the girl replied. “And I never knew it,” mourned Miss Pandora. “It’s the very devil to have other folks do your work. The sharks! When I sent the money to your mother in her trouble I meant it as a gift. No wonder you kept away from me. Well, we’ll see about that later.”

They sat and talked for hours, and when Miss Fulcher left, Mary Andrews knew that her present troubles were over.

On her return to her house on St. George Street, the old brownstone Fulcher mansion. Miss Pandora had as guest at luncheon Mr. Richard Ambler, relative, friend, legal adviser, and sportsman. Her relatives, as a rule, she detested. Flatteries spoken or acted, she despised. Young Dick Ambler treated his cousin of nearly sixty as if she were his man chum of eight and twenty; he was more candidly plain-spoken to her than if she had not a dollar, and she thought him just the kind of a boy she would have liked her son to be had she condescended to marriage. She regaled him with the story of the girl and the cowboy, as she persisted in calling Steve Forbes, who addressed her as “Mother,” took her out to supper in a beanery, and slipped a five-dollar bill into her pocket when he thought she wasn’t looking.

“I wonder if he’s succeeded in standing his fat

banker on his head yet?” she mused pensively. “There might be something in his story. There was the man who tried to sell sovereigns on London Bridge for pennies, and couldn’t trade.

If he’d tried to sell pennies for sovereigns, h e probably would have done a land office business.

It’s the fake that catches the man who won’t look at an honest thing. I suppose it’s the Lord’« provision for the sharks, they’ve got to feed on something. What was it the Tichborne claimant said in London! ‘The Lord sends them as has money and no brains for them as has brains and no money.’ Guess he wasn t far wrong.”

Dick looked over at her with a smile. The gruffest, sharpesttongued woman in all creation, and the most tender hearted. She took out the five-dollar bill, and smoothed it on the table.

“The boy is staying at the National, and his name is Steve Forbes. I pumped that much out of him while we were eating fried eggs and the most damnable bacon that ever was intended for briny shoe leather,” she said. “I wish you’d look him up, Dick. Perhaps you could steer him against the right people. We’ve got to live up to this little bit of chickenfeed, and what the fivespot represents. The boy took me for a tired-out old charwoman or office cleaner in hard luck. That eleven cent hat I wore was worth the money it cost, though it’s an awful trial to the stylish ladies I’ve got in the kitchen downstairs.”

“I’ll drop in on the cowboy as I go downtown,” said Dick. “If the man’s strike is good enough to draw the vultures, it might be worth while.”

At this moment a servant entered with a card. “John P. Barndyke. Mines and Investments,” she read aloud frowningly. “Why, Morgan, you’ll be bringing up mousetrap merchants and toasting-fork inventors next,” she said to the man.

“Beg pardon, Miss Fulcher, but ’e looks quite a gentleman,” said Morgan deferentially.

“He does, does he? That makes it all the more suspicious,” she remarked drily.

“Seems to be running into the mine zone, Aunt Pandy,” said Dick. He always called his cousin Aunt. “Perhaps Heaven has sent your visitor to help out with your cowboy person.”

“Heaven has nothing to do with Mines and Investments,” replied Miss Pandora dogmatically.

“Well bye-bye, old dear,” said Dick. “I’ll call up and let you know the result of my interview with the five-spot disseminator.”

jV/fR. BARNDYKE’S card had not prejudiced Miss 1V1 Fuichej. jn his favor. Mines she regarded as devilish agencies, invented for the purposes of commercial piracy. Investments were to her the grimyhanded ministers of fraud. That Mr. Barndyke was plump and Solomonically attired, formed an additional two-pronged indictment against him.

“Pardon my intrusion, Miss Fulcher,” he began. “Had I known your legal representative, I should not have troubled you personally. I am about to acquire property in Caribou County, a rather picturesque spot in the northern wildernesses, with excellent shooting and fishing. I find that a portion of the property, known as Andrews Farm, is encumbered with a mortgage in your favor for five hundred dollars. I am prepared to purchase it from you, if you are desirous of selling.”

“If you are buying the property why trouble about purchasing the mortgage?” she asked abruptly. “All you’ll have to do then will be to pay me off, and have done with it, with or without my consent.”

“Precisely,” he replied, rather abashed. “I hope I may succeed in my endeavor to purchase, but it occurred to me that as an investment the mortgage can-

not be very desirable to you, and you might wish to be rid of it.”

“Philanthropic inducements never appeal to me,” answered Miss Pandora tartly. “The owner of the place is, as you probably know, a young working-girl who might find it difficult to raise five hundred dollars. In that event I suppose you would foreclose on her. The mortgage is not for sale at any price.”

CHE rang the bell and Mr. Barndyke vanished, much ^ crestfallen. Ordering her car to be brought round, she drove downtown to the offices of Mr. Ambler. He had been to see Forbes, who was to call upon him later in the afternoon.

“He claims,” said Dick, “to have found rich silver veins in the Caribou district. A man named Barndyke-”

Miss Pandora chuckled aloud, her eyes dancing with glee. He looked at her enquiringly.

“Never mind, Dicky, old top, it’s only one of my spasms. Go ahead!” she explained. “What about the man named Barndyke?”

A grin overspread Dick’s countenance.

“Wasn’t that the chap’s name who called at luncheon to-day?” he asked.

“Don’t be inquisitive, Dick, fire away,” she replied impatiently.

“Well, this fellow, shark evidently, became interested in Forbes’ property, agreed to find the hundred thousand to swing the option held by your cowboy, that expires on the sixth. Steve showed him everything, and yesterday the man backed out. He has secretly bought a second option on the land, believing that Forbes, an unknown man without friends, cannot come to time. He means to grab the strike. A hundred thousand is needed to cinch the property, then Steve wants to purchase or make terms with the owner of an adjoining place called Andrews Farm, into which the veins run. He’s on the track of the owner, some woman living here in Toronto, and he’s half scared to death lest the Barndyke man finds her first.”

“Dick!” said Miss Fulcher. “Get hold of a couple of first-class mining engineers, and start with them and Forbes for the Caribou to-night. If their report is all right I’ll take a flyer in a mine for the first time

in my life. That boy’s dhickenfeed burns my pocket, and if there’s a good thing afloat, I might as well do the salvaging as a mining shark. As for the Andrew* girl, I’ve found her.” And she told him of her call on the girl and of Barndyke’s proposal* “R e m e m b e r, though, I’m to be kept out of this. You’re acting for a silent client.”

ON the morning of the sixth, Ambler’s party returned. Forbes had made a great find, the veins had been uncovered in places and traced, and the optioned property, together with the Andrews Farm would, in the experts’ opinions, prove one oí the most sensational strikes the northland had known.

“Well, what’s the verdict?” asked Steve, smiling but anxi o u s as he strolled into Ambler’s office at noon.

“Stick your fist

your to this agreement, Forbes,” said Dick in reply. “Read it, man! Read it first! We might be Barndyking you, for all you know. All right, eh?”

“Right as rain. You’re treating me mighty white, Mr. Ambler,” answered Steve.

“There are other kinds of fish in Toronto waters besides sharks,” laughed Ambler. “Now for the Trust Company.”

Steve’s friend, the manager, received them, and the provisional papers were carefully examined by Ambler.

“Here’s your dough, Forbes,” said Dick. “Pay up and smile.” The manager looked at the signature on the cheque and whistled.

“You get the big fish when you go anglin’, son,” he said. “Good luck to you, my boy. You came round fine after the knockdown swipe, and I’m damn glad.”

Steve walked on the clouds to Ambler’s office. There were clients in the private sanctum, so they stepped into the empty waiting-room.

“Well, that’s all fixed,” said the lawyer. “Pretty much of a rush job, but now, what about that Andrews Farm? We’ve been at work and found the girl. She has no idea of the value of her property. I daresay she’s only expected a thousand or so for it, and if she’s awkward we’ve got hold of the mortgage on the place and can foreclose on her and fix things our way cheaply.”

Steve looked at his new friend in bewilderment, and the smile died off his face. He had taken a great liking to Ambler, but he was gravely silent for some moments.

“Mr. Ambler,” he said at length. “You’ll have to excuse me. I don’t know much about business and city ways, but it seems to me that w'hite’s white, and black’s black, city or country. I ain’t so all-fired fond of money that I can pick up any kind. When I go in for stealing I’ll just pack guns and hold up men. I’m no hand at robbing women and girls, and I’m damned if I’m going to learn now.”

“What the devil are you going to do then, Steve, give half that stuff away as soon as your hand is on it?” asked Dick.

“You say you’ve found the girl,” replied Steve

stolidly. “I’m no Barndyke. Bring her here and show

her what she’s got. If she wants to come in we’ll take

Continued on page 101

Continued from page 22

her in, if she doesn’t, we’ve got plenty to go on with without hers. I aim to be a square man, and—ah, Mr. Ambler, quit your kidding! I might have known a man that treated me white as you’ve done wouldn’t wrong a girl. And, well —if there aint my luck here, Mother and little -”

“Little what?” asked Miss Pandora, as she and Mary entered the room.

“I aint saying—yet,” replied Steve, looking into the shining eyes of the girl. “But—it sure is lucky to meet you both again.”

“You’ve no idea just how lucky it was when you three first met,” declared Ambler. “This young lady,” indicating Mary, “is the owner of the property you are so anxious to acquire!”

“What!” exclaimed Steve, in amazement.

“And this is Miss Pandora Fulcher, who will be associated with you in your mining enterprise. Perhaps you have heard of Miss Fulcher?”

The flush that spread over the young prospector’s sun-burned face bore eloquent testimony to the fact that he had heard of Miss Fulcher right enough. He blushed harder than ever when he thought of the five dollar bill he had surreptitiously handed her on the night of their three-cornered meeting.

“And now,” went on Ambler, briskly, to cover Steve’s embarrassment, “what are we to do about this young lady’s farm? Want to make her an offer for it, Steve, or do you think anything could be done in the way of a joining of interests?”

It was Mary’s turn to blush. But she made it quite clear, later, that she favored the latter plan quite as much as the impulsive Steve.

LIKES iMACLEAN’S

Quill Lake, Sask.

I like the magazine for it seems to tell the truth about matters which most publications lack backbone enough to condemn. . . .

Tell Colonel MacLean for me that I never thought, pure Tory that he is, he would give such a favorable report of Mackenzie King.

Your “Ebb and Flow” story I consider to be one of the best I have read.

W. L. MacKenzie.