Infomotions, Inc.Under the Great Bear / Munroe, Kirk, 1850-1930



Author: Munroe, Kirk, 1850-1930
Title: Under the Great Bear
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): cabot; david gidge; replied cabot; cabot grant; lobster factory; sea bee
Contributor(s): Sims, Barbara R. (Barbara Rutledge), 1918-2002 [Editor]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 63,982 words (short) Grade range: 9-12 (high school) Readability score: 63 (easy)
Identifier: etext19235
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Title: Under the Great Bear

Author: Kirk Munroe

Release Date: September 11, 2006 [EBook #19235]

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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK UNDER THE GREAT BEAR ***




Produced by Al Haines










[Frontispiece: From it was evoked a monstrous shape.]







  "Above this far northern sea Ursa
  Major sailed so directly overhead
  that he seemed like to fall on us."
      --_From an early voyage to the coast of Labrador_.




Under the Great Bear


BY

KIRK MUNROE




AUTHOR OF

"The Flamingo Feather," "Dorymates," "The White Conquerors," Etc.




New York

International Association of Newspapers and Authors

1901




COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY




TABLE OF CONTENTS.


CHAPTER

      I. GRADUATION: BUT WHAT NEXT?
     II. AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT
    III. THE STRANGE FATE OF A STEAMER
     IV. ALONE ON THE LIFE RAFT
      V. WHITE BALDWIN AND HIS "SEA BEE"
     VI. THE FRENCH SHORE QUESTION
    VII. DEFYING A FRIGATE
   VIII. A CLASSMATE TO BE AVOIDED
     IX. SENDING IN A FALSE REPORT
      X. CABOT ACQUIRES A LOBSTER FACTORY
     XI. BLUFFING THE BRITISH NAVY
    XII. ENGLAND AND FRANCE COME TO BLOWS
   XIII. A PRISONER OF WAR
    XIV. THE "SEA BEE" UNDER FIRE
     XV. OFF FOR LABRADOR
    XVI. MOSQUITOES OF THE FAR NORTH
   XVII. IMPRISONED BY AN ICEBERG
  XVIII. FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE NATIVES
    XIX. A MELANCHOLY SITUATION
     XX. COMING OF THE MAN-WOLF
    XXI. A WELCOME MISSIONARY
   XXII. GOOD-BYE TO THE "SEA BEE"
  XXIII. THE COMFORT OF AN ESKIMO LAMP
   XXIV. OBJECTS OF CHARITY
    XXV. LOST IN A BLIZZARD
   XXVI. AN ELECTRICIAN IN THE WILDERNESS
  XXVII. THE MAN-WOLF'S STORY
 XXVIII. CABOT IS LEFT ALONE
   XXIX. DRIFTING WITH THE ICE PACK
    XXX. THE COMING OF DAVID GIDGE
   XXXI. ASSISTANT MANAGER OF THE MAN-WOLF MINE




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


From It Was Evoked A Monstrous Shape . . . _Frontispiece_

On The Deck Of The Steamer "Lavinia"

He Began To Kick At It With The Hope Of Smashing
  One Of Its Panels

At This The Enraged Officer Whipped Out A Revolver

"Did This Come From About Here?"

Others Fell On The New-Comers With Their Fists

Livid With Rage, The Frenchman Whipped Out An
  Ugly-Looking Knife

A Solitary Figure Stood On The Chest Of A Bald Headland

"Yim"

"My Name Is Watson Balfour"

He Reached A Point From Which He Could Look Beyond The Barrier

"My Dear Boy, You Have Done Splendidly"




UNDER THE GREAT BEAR.


CHAPTER I.

GRADUATION: BUT WHAT NEXT?

"Heigh-ho!  I wonder what comes next?" sighed Cabot Grant as he tumbled
wearily into bed.

The day just ended marked the close of a most important era in his
life; for on it he had been graduated from the Technical Institute, in
which he had studied his chosen profession, and the coveted sheepskin
that entitled him to sign M.E. in capital letters after his name had
been in his possession but a few hours.

Although Cabot came of an old New England family, and had been given
every educational advantage, he had not graduated with honours, having,
in fact, barely scraped through his final examination.  He had devoted
altogether too much time to athletics, and to the congenial task of
acquiring popularity, to have much left for study.  Therefore, while it
had been pleasant to be one of the best-liked fellows in the Institute,
captain of its football team, and a leading figure in the festivities
of the day just ended, now that it was all over our lad was regretting
that he had not made a still better use of his opportunities.

A number of his classmates had already been offered fine positions in
the business world now looming so ominously close before him.  Little
pale-faced Dick Chandler, for instance, was to start at once for South
Africa, in the interests of a wealthy corporation.  Ned Burnett was to
be assistant engineer of a famous copper mine; a world-renowned
electrical company had secured the services of Smith Redfield, and so
on through a dozen names, no one of which was as well known as his, but
all outranking it on the graduate list of that day.

Cabot had often heard that the career of Institute students was closely
watched by individuals, firms, and corporations in need of young men
for responsible positions, and had more than once resolved to graduate
with a rank that should attract the attention of such persons.  But
there had been so much to do besides study that had seemed more
important at the time, that he had allowed day after day to slip by
without making the required effort, and now it appeared that no one
wanted him.

Yes, there was one person who had made him a proposition that very day.
Thorpe Walling, the wealthiest fellow in the class, and one of its few
members who had failed to gain a diploma, had said:

"Look here, Grant, what do you say to taking a year's trip around the
world with me, while I coach for a degree next June?  There is no such
educator as travel, you know, and we'll make a point of going to all
sorts of places where we can pick up ideas.  At the same time it'll be
no end of a lark."

"I don't know," Cabot had replied doubtfully, though his face had
lighted at the mere idea of taking such a trip.  "I'd rather do that
than almost anything else I know of, but----"

"If you are thinking of the expense," broke in the other.

"It isn't that," interrupted Cabot, "but it seems somehow as though I
ought to be doing something more in the line of business.  Anyway, I
can't give you an answer until I have seen my guardian, who has sent me
word to meet him in New York day after to-morrow.  I'll let you know
what he says, and if everything is all right, perhaps I'll go with you."

With this the matter had rested, and during the manifold excitements of
the day our lad had not given it another thought, until he tumbled into
bed, wondering what would happen next.  Then for a long time he lay
awake, considering Thorpe's proposition, and wishing that it had been
made by any other fellow in the class.

Until about the time of entering the Technical Institute, from which he
was just graduated, Cabot Grant, who was an only child, had been
blessed with as happy a home as ever a boy enjoyed.  Then in a breath
it was taken from him by a railway accident, that had caused the
instant death of his mother, and which the father had only survived
long enough to provide for his son's immediate future by making a will.
By its terms his slender fortune was placed in the hands of a trust and
investment company, who were constituted the boy's guardians, and
enjoined to give their ward a liberal education along such lines as he
himself might choose.

The corporation thus empowered had been faithful to its trust, and had
carried out to the letter the instructions of their deceased client
during the past five years.  Now less than a twelvemonth of their
guardianship remained and it was to plan for his disposal of this time
that Cabot had been summoned to New York.

He had never met the president of the corporation, and it was with no
little curiosity concerning him that he awaited, in a sumptuously
appointed anteroom, his turn for an audience with the busy man.  At
length he was shown into a plainly furnished private office occupied by
but two persons, one somewhat past middle age, with a shrewd,
smooth-shaven face, and the other much younger, who was evidently a
private secretary.

Of course Cabot instantly knew the former to be President Hepburn; and
also, to his surprise, recognised him as one who had occupied a
prominent position on the platform of the Institute hall when he had
graduated two days earlier.

"Yes," said Mr. Hepburn, in a crisp, business tone, as he noted the
lad's flash of recognition, "I happened to be passing through and
dropped in to see our ward graduate.  I was, of course, disappointed
that you did not take higher rank.  At the same time I concluded not to
make myself known to you, for fear of interfering with some of your
plans for the day.  It also seemed to me better that we should talk
business here.  Now, with your Institute career ended, how do you
propose to spend the remainder of your minority?  I ask because, as you
doubtless know, our instructions are to consult your wishes in all
matters, and conform to them as far as possible."

"I appreciate your kindness in that respect," replied Cabot, who was
somewhat chilled by this business-like reception, "and have decided, if
the funds remaining in your hands are sufficient for the purpose, to
spend the coming year in foreign travel; in fact, to take a trip around
the world."

"With any definite object in view," inquired Mr. Hepburn, "or merely
for pleasure?"

"With the definite object of studying my chosen profession wherever I
may find it practised."

"Um!  Just so.  Do you propose to take this trip alone or in company?"

"I propose to go with Thorpe Walling, one of my classmates."

"Son of the late General Walling, and a man who failed to graduate, is
he not?"

"Yes, sir.  Do you know him?"

"I knew his father, and wish you had chosen some other companion."

"I did not choose him.  He chose me, and invited me to go with him."

"At your own expense, I suppose?"

"Certainly!  I could not have considered his proposition otherwise."

"Of course not," agreed Mr. Hepburn, "seeing that you have funds quite
sufficient for such a venture, if used with economy.  And you have
decided that you would rather spend the ensuing year in foreign travel
with Thorpe Walling than do anything else?"

"I think I have, sir."

"Very well, my boy.  While I cannot say that I consider your decision
the best that could be made, I have no valid objections to offer, and
am bound to grant as far as possible your reasonable desires.  So you
have my consent to this scheme, if not my whole approval.  When do you
plan to start?"

"Thorpe wishes to go at once."

"Then, if you will call here to-morrow morning at about this hour, I
will have arranged for your letter of credit, and anything else that
may suggest itself for making your trip a pleasant one."

"Thank you, sir," said Cabot, who, believing the interview to be ended,
turned to leave the room.

"By the way," continued Mr. Hepburn, "there is another thing I wish to
mention.  Can you recommend one of your recent classmates for an
important mission, to be undertaken at once to an out-of-the-way part
of the world?  He must be a young man of good morals, able to keep his
business affairs to himself, not afraid of hard work, and willing as
well as physically able to endure hardships.  His intelligence and
mental fitness will, of course, be guaranteed by the Institute's
diploma.  Our company is in immediate need of such a person, and will
engage him at a good salary for a year, with certain prospects of
advancement, if he gives satisfaction.  Think it over and let me know
in the morning if you have hit upon one whom you believe would meet
those requirements.  In the meantime please do not mention the subject
to any one."

Charged with this commission, and relieved that the dreaded interview
was ended, Cabot hastened uptown to a small secret society club of
which he was a non-resident member.  There he wrote a note to Thorpe
Walling, accepting his invitation, and expressing a readiness to set
forth at once on their proposed journey.  This done, he joined a group
of fellows who were discussing summer plans in the reading-room.

"What are you going in for, Grant?" asked one.  "Is your summer to be
devoted to work or play?"

"Both," laughed Cabot.  "Thorpe Walling and I are to take an
educational trip around the world, during which we hope to have great
fun and accomplish much work."

"Ho, ho!" jeered he who had put the question.  "That's a good one.  The
idea of coupling 'Torpid' Walling's name with anything that savors of
work.  You'll have a good time fast enough.  But I'll wager anything
you like, that in his company you will circumnavigate the globe without
having done any work harder than spending money.  No, no, my dear boy,
'Torpid' is not the chap to encourage either mental or physical effort
in his associates.  Better hunt some other companion, or even go by
your lonely, if you really want to accomplish anything."

These words recurred to our lad many times during the day, and when he
finally fell asleep that night, after fruitlessly wondering who of his
many friends he should recommend to President Hepburn, they were still
ringing in his ears.




CHAPTER II.

AN OFFER OF EMPLOYMENT.

Thorpe Walling had never been one of Cabot Grant's particular friends,
nor did the latter now regard with unmixed pleasure the idea of a
year's intimate association with him.  He had accepted the latter's
invitation because nothing else seemed likely to offer, and he could
not bear to have the other fellows, especially those whose class
standing had secured them positions, imagine that he was not also in
demand.  Besides, the thought of a trip around the world was certainly
very enticing; any opposition to the plan would have rendered him the
more desirous of carrying it out.  But in his interview with his
guardian he had gained his point so easily that the concession
immediately lost half its value.  Even as he wrote his note to Thorpe
he wondered if he really wanted to go with him, and after that
conversation in the club reading-room he was almost certain that he did
not.  If Mr. Hepburn had only offered him employment, how gladly he
would have accepted it and declined Thorpe's invitation; but his
guardian had merely asked him to recommend some one else.

"Which shows," thought Cabot bitterly, "what he thinks of me, and of my
fitness for any position of importance.  He is right, too, for if ever
a fellow threw away opportunities, I have done so during the past four
years.  And now I am deliberately going to spend another, squandering
my last dollar, in company with a chap who will have no further use for
me when it is gone.  It really begins to look as though I were about
the biggest fool of my acquaintance."

It was in this frame of mind that our young engineer made a second
visit to his guardian's office on the following morning.  There he was
received by Mr. Hepburn with the same business-like abruptness that had
marked their interview of the day before.

"Good-morning, Cabot," he said.  "I see you are promptly on hand, and,
I suppose, anxious to be off.  Well, I don't blame you, for a pleasure
trip around the world isn't offered to every young fellow, and I wish I
were in a position to take such a one myself.  I have had prepared a
letter of credit for the balance of your property remaining in our
hands, and while it probably is not as large a sum as your friend
Walling will carry, it is enough to see you through very comfortably,
if you exercise a reasonable economy.  I have also written letters of
introduction to our agents in several foreign cities that may prove
useful.  Let me hear from you occasionally, and I trust you will have
fully as good a time as you anticipate."

"Thank you, sir," said Cabot.  "You are very kind."

"Not at all.  I am only striving to carry out your father's
instructions, and do what he paid to have done.  Now, how about the
young man you were to recommend?  Have you thought of one?"

"No, sir, I haven't.  You see, all the fellows who graduated with
honours found places waiting for them, and as I knew you would only
want one of the best, I can't think of one whom I can recommend for
your purpose.  I am very sorry, but----"

"I fear I did not make our requirements quite clear," interrupted Mr.
Hepburn, "since I did not mean to convey the impression that we would
employ none but an honour man.  It often happens that he who ranks
highest as a student fails of success in the business world; and under
certain conditions I would employ the man who graduated lowest in his
class rather than him who stood at its head."

Cabot's face expressed his amazement at this statement, and noting it,
Mr. Hepburn smiled as he continued:

"The mere fact that a young man has graduated from your Institute, even
though it be with low rank, insures his possession of technical
knowledge sufficient for our purpose.  If, at the same time, he is a
gentleman endowed with the faculty of making friends, as well as an
athlete willing to meet and able to overcome physical difficulties, I
would employ him in preference to a more studious person who lacked any
of these qualifications.  If you, for instance, had not already decided
upon a plan for spending the ensuing year, I should not hesitate to
offer you the position we desire to fill."

Cabot trembled with excitement.  "I--Mr. Hepburn!" he exclaimed.
"Would you really have offered it to me?"

"Certainly I would.  I desired you to meet me here for that very
purpose; but when I found you had made other arrangements that might
prove equally advantageous, I believed I was meeting your father's
wishes by helping you carry them out."

"Is the place still open, and can I have it?" asked Cabot eagerly.

"Not if you are going around the world; for, although the duties of the
position will include a certain amount of travel, it will not be in
that direction."

"But I don't want to go around the world, and would rather take the
position you have to offer than do anything else I know of," declared
Cabot.

"Without knowing its requirements, what hardships it may present, nor
in what direction it may lead you?" inquired the other.

"Yes, sir.  So long as you offer it I would accept it without question,
even though it should be a commission to discover the North Pole."

"My dear boy," said Mr. Hepburn, in an entirely different tone from
that he had hitherto used, "I trust I may never forfeit nor abuse the
confidence implied by these words.  Although you did not know it, I
have carefully watched every step of your career during the past five
years, and while you have done some things, as well as developed some
traits, that are to be regretted, I am satisfied that you are at least
worthy of a trial in the position we desire to fill.  So, if you are
willing to relinquish your proposed trip around the world, and enter
the employ of this company instead, you may consider yourself engaged
for the term of one year from this date.  During that time all your
legitimate expenses will be met, but no salary will be paid you until
the expiration of the year, when its amount will be determined by the
value of the services you have rendered.  Is that satisfactory?"

"It is, sir," replied Cabot, "and with your permission I will at once
telegraph Thorpe Walling that I cannot go with him."

"Write your despatch here and I will have it sent out.  At the same
time, do not mention that you have entered the employ of this company,
as there are reasons why, for the present at least, that should remain
a secret."

When Cabot's telegram was ready, Mr. Hepburn, who had been glancing
through a number of letters that awaited his signature, handed it to
his secretary, to whom he also gave some instructions that Cabot did
not catch.  As the former left the room, the president turned to our
young engineer and said:

"As perhaps you are aware, Cabot, there is at present an unprecedented
demand all over the world for both iron and copper, and our company is
largely interested in the production of these metals.  As existing
sources of supply are inadequate it is of importance that new ones
should be discovered, and if they can be found on the Atlantic
seaboard, so much the better.  In looking about for new fields that may
be profitably worked, our attention has been directed to the island of
Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador.  While the former has been
partially explored, we desire more definite information as to its
available ore beds.  There is a small island in Conception Bay, not far
from St. Johns, known as Bell Island, said to be a mass of iron ore,
that is already being worked by a local company.  From it I should like
to have a report, as soon as you reach St. Johns, concerning the nature
of the ore, the extent of the deposit, the cost of mining it, the
present output, the facilities for shipment, and so forth.  At the same
time I want you to obtain this information without divulging the nature
of your business, or allowing your name to become in any way connected
with this company.

"Having finished with Bell Island, you will visit such other portions
of Newfoundland as are readily accessible from the coast, and seem to
promise good results, always keeping to yourself the true nature of
your business.  Finally, you will proceed to Labrador, where you will
make such explorations as are possible.  You will report any
discoveries in person, when you return to New York, as I do not care to
have them entrusted to the mails.  Above all, do not fail to bring back
specimens of whatever you may find in the way of minerals.  Are these
instructions sufficiently clear?"

"They seem so, sir."

"Very well, then.  I wish you to start this very day, as I find that a
steamer, on which your passage is already engaged, sails from a
Brooklyn pier for St. Johns this afternoon.  This letter of credit,
which only awaits your signature before a notary, will, if deposited
with the bank of Nova Scotia in St. Johns, more than defray your year's
expenses, and whatever you can save from it will be added to your
salary.  Therefore, it will pay you to practise economy, though you
must not hesitate to incur legitimate expenses or to spend money when
by so doing you can further the objects of your journey.  You have
enough money for your immediate needs, have you not?"

"Yes, sir.  I have about fifty dollars."

"That will be ample, since your ticket to St. Johns is already paid
for.  Here it is."

Thus saying, Mr. Hepburn handed over an envelope containing the
steamship ticket that his secretary had been sent out to obtain.

"I would take as little baggage as possible," he continued, "for you
can purchase everything necessary in St. Johns, and will discover what
you need after you get there.  Now, good-bye, my boy.  God bless you
and bring you back in safety.  Remember that the coming year will
probably prove the most important of your life, and that your future
now depends entirely upon yourself.  Mr. Black here will go with you to
the banker's, where you can sign your letter of credit."

So our young engineer was launched on the sea of business life.  Two
hours later he had packed a dress-suit case and sent his trunk down to
the company's building for storage.  On his way to the steamer he
stopped at his club for a bite of lunch, and as he was leaving the
building he encountered the friend with whom he had discussed his plans
the day before.

"Hello!" exclaimed that individual, "where are you going in such a
hurry.  Not starting off on your year of travel, are you?"

"Yes," laughed Cabot.  "I am to sail within an hour.  Good-bye!"

With this he ran down the steps and jumped into a waiting cab.




CHAPTER III.

THE STRANGE FATE OF A STEAMER.

So exciting had been the day, and so fully had its every minute been
occupied, that not until Cabot stood on the deck of the steamer
"Lavinia," curiously watching the bustling preparations for her
departure, did he have time to realise the wonderful change in his
prospects that had taken place within a few hours.  That morning his
life had seemed wholly aimless, and he had been filled with envy of
those among his recent classmates whose services were in demand.  Now
he would not change places with any one of them; for was not he, too,
entrusted with an important mission that held promise of a brilliant
future in case he should carry it to a successful conclusion?

[Illustration: On the deck of the steamer "Lavinia."]

"And I will," he mentally resolved.  "No matter what happens, if I live
I will succeed."

In spite of this brave resolve our lad could not help feeling rather
forlorn as he watched those about him, all of whom seemed to have
friends to see them off; while he alone stood friendless and unnoticed.

Especially was his attention attracted to a nearby group of girls
gathered about one who was evidently a bride.  They were full of gay
chatter, and he overheard one of them say:

"If you come within sight of an iceberg, Nelly, make him go close to it
so you can get a good photograph.  I should like awfully to have one."

"So should I," cried another.  "But, oh! wouldn't it be lovely if we
could only have a picture of this group, standing just as we are aboard
the ship.  It would make a splendid beginning for your camera."

The bride, who, as Cabot saw, carried a small brand-new camera similar
to one he had recently procured for his own use, promptly expressed her
willingness to employ it as suggested, but was greeted by a storm of
protests from her companions.

"No, indeed!  You must be in it of course!" they cried.

Then it further transpired that all wished to be "in it," and no one
wanted to act the part of photographer.  At this juncture Cabot stepped
forward, and lifting his cap, said:

"I am somewhat of a photographer, and with your permission it would
afford me great pleasure to take a picture of so charming a group."

For a moment the girls looked at the presumptuous young stranger in
silence.  Then the bride, flushing prettily, stepped forward and handed
him her camera, saying as she did so:

"Thank you, sir, ever so much for your kind offer, which we are glad to
accept."

So Cabot arranged the group amid much laughter, and by the time two
plates had been exposed, had made rapid progress towards getting
acquainted with its several members.

The episode was barely ended before all who were to remain behind were
ordered ashore, and, a few minutes later, as the ship began to move
slowly from her dock, our traveller found himself waving his
handkerchief and shouting good-byes as vigorously as though all on the
wharf were assembled for the express purpose of bidding him farewell.

By the time the "Lavinia" was in the stream and headed up the East
River, with her long voyage fairly begun, Cabot had learned that his
new acquaintance was a bride of but a few hours, having been married
that morning to the captain of that very steamer.  She had hardly made
this confession when her husband, temporarily relieved of his
responsibilities by a pilot, came in search of her and was duly
presented to our hero.  His name was Phinney, and he so took to Cabot
that from that moment the latter no longer found himself lonely or at a
loss for occupation.

As he had never before been at sea, the voyage proved full of interest,
and his intelligent questions received equally intelligent answers from
Captain Phinney, who was a well-informed young man but a few years
older than Cabot, and an enthusiast in his calling.

Up Long Island Sound went the "Lavinia," and it was late that night
before our lad turned in, so interested was he in watching the many
lights that were pointed out by his new acquaintance.  The next morning
found the ship threading her way amid the shoals of Nantucket Sound,
after which came the open sea; and for the first time in his life Cabot
lost sight of land.  Halifax was reached on the following day, and here
the steamer remained twenty-four hours discharging freight.

The capital of Nova Scotia marks the half-way point between New York
and St. Johns, Newfoundland, which name Cabot was already learning to
pronounce as do its inhabitants--Newfund-_land_--and after leaving it
the ship was again headed for the open across the wide mouth of the
Gulf of St. Lawrence.  Thus far the weather had been fine, the sea
smooth, and nothing had occurred to break the pleasant monotony of the
voyage.  Its chief interests lay in sighting distant sails, the
tell-tale smoke pennons of far-away steamers, the plume-like spoutings
of sluggishly moving whales, the darting of porpoises about the ship's
fore-foot, the wide circling overhead of gulls, or the dainty skimming
just above the wave crests of Mother Carey's fluffy chickens.

"Who was Mother Carey," asked Cabot, "and why are they her chickens?"

"I have been told that she was the _Mater Cara_ of devout Portuguese
sailors," replied Captain Phinney, "and that these tiny sea-fowl are
supposed to be under her especial protection, since the fiercest of
gales have no power to harm them."

"How queerly names become changed and twisted out of their original
shape," remarked Cabot meditatively.  "The idea of _Mater Cara_
becoming Mother Carey!"

"That is an easy change compared with some others I have run across,"
laughed the captain.  "For instance, I once put up at an English
seaport tavern called the 'Goat and Compasses,' and found out that its
original name, given in Cromwell's time, had been 'God Encompasseth
Us.'  Almost as curious is the present name of that portion of the
Newfoundland coast nearest us at this minute.  It is called
'Ferryland,' which is a corruption of 'Verulam,' the name applied by
its original owner, Lord Baltimore, in memory of his home estate in
England.  In fact, this region abounds in queerly twisted names, most
of which were originally French.  Bai d'espair, for instance, has
become Bay Despair.  Blanc Sablon and Isle du Bois up on the Labrador
coast have been Anglicised as Nancy Belong and Boys' Island.  Cape
Race, which is almost within sight, was the Capo Razzo of its
Portuguese discoverer.  Cape Spear was Cappo Sperenza, and Pointe
l'Amour is now Lammer's Point."

While taking part in conversations of this kind both Cabot and Mrs.
Phinney, who were the only passengers now left on the ship, kept a
sharp lookout for icebergs, which, as they had learned, were apt to be
met in those waters at that season.  Finally, during the afternoon of
the last day they expected to spend on shipboard, a distant white speck
dead ahead, which was at first taken for a sail, proved to be an
iceberg, and from that moment it was watched with the liveliest
curiosity.  Before their rapid approach it developed lofty pinnacles,
and proved of the most dazzling whiteness, save at the water line,
where it was banded with vivid blue.  It was exquisitely chiselled and
carved into dainty forms by the gleaming rivulets that ran down its
steep sides and fell into the sea as miniature cascades.  So
wonderfully beautiful were the icy details as they were successively
unfolded, that the bride begged her husband to take his ship just as
close as possible, in order that she might obtain a perfect photograph.
Anxious to gratify her every wish, Captain Phinney readily consented,
and the ship's course was slightly altered, so as to pass within one
hundred feet of the glistening monster, which was now sharply outlined
against a dark bank of fog rolling heavily in from the eastward.

Both cameras had been kept busy from the time the berg came within
range of their finders, but just as the best point of view was reached,
and when they were so near that the chill of the ice was distinctly
felt, Cabot discovered that he had exhausted his roll of films.
Uttering an exclamation of disgust, he ran aft and down to his
stateroom, that opened from the lower saloon, to secure another
cartridge.  As he entered the room, he closed its door to get at his
dress-suit case that lay behind it.

Recklessly tossing the contents of the case right and left, he had just
laid hands on the desired object and was rising to his feet when,
without warning, he was flung violently to the floor by a shock like
that of an earthquake.  It was accompanied by a dull roar and an awful
sound of crashing and rending.  At the same time the ship seemed to be
lifted bodily.  Then she fell back, apparently striking on her side,
and for several minutes rolled with sickening lurches, as though in the
trough of a heavy sea.

In the meantime Cabot was struggling furiously to open his stateroom
door; but it had so jammed in its casing that his utmost efforts failed
to move it.  The steel deck beams overhead were twisted like willow
wands, the iron side of the ship was crumpled as though it were a sheet
of paper, and with every downward lurch a torrent of icy water poured
in about the air port, which, though still closed, had been wrenched
out of position.  With a horrid dread the prisoner realised that unless
quickly released he must drown where he was, and, unable to open the
door, he began to kick at it with the hope of smashing one of its
panels.

[Illustration: He began to kick at it with the hope of smashing one of
its panels.]

With his first effort in this direction there came another muffled roar
like that of an explosion, and he felt the ship quiver as though it
were being rent in twain.  At the same moment his door flew open of its
own accord, and he was nearly suffocated by an inrush of steam.
Springing forward, and blindly groping his way through this, the
bewildered lad finally reached the stairs he had so recently descended.
In another minute he had gained the deck, where he stood gasping for
breath and vainly trying to discover what terrible thing had happened.

Not a human being was to be seen, and the forward part of the ship was
concealed beneath a dense cloud of steam and smoke that hung over it
like a pall.  Cabot fancied he could distinguish shouting in that
direction, and attempted to gain the point from which it seemed to
come; but found the way barred by a yawning opening in the deck, from
which poured smoke and flame as though it were the crater of a volcano.
Then he ran back, and at length found himself on top of the after
house, cutting with his pocket knife at the lashings of a life raft;
for he realised that the ship was sinking so rapidly that she might
plunge to the bottom at any moment.

Five minutes later he lay prone on the buoyant raft, clutching the
sides of its wooden platform, while it spun like a storm-driven leaf in
the vortex marking the spot where the ill-fated.  "Lavinia" had sunk.




CHAPTER IV.

ALONE ON THE LIFE RAFT.

Anything less buoyant than a modern life raft, consisting of two steel
cylinders stoutly braced and connected by a wooden platform, would have
been drawn under by the deadly clutch of that swirling vortex.  No open
boat could have lived in it for a minute; and even the raft, spinning
round and round with dizzy velocity, was sucked downward until it was
actually below the level of the surrounding water.  But, sturdily
resisting the down-dragging force, its wonderful buoyancy finally
triumphed, and as its rotary motion became less rapid, Cabot sat up and
gazed about him with the air of one who has been stunned.

He was dazed by the awfulness of the catastrophe that had so suddenly
overwhelmed the "Lavinia," and could form no idea of its nature.  Had
there been a collision?  If so, it must have been with the iceberg, for
nothing else had been in sight when he went below.  Yet it was
incredible that such a thing could have happened in broad daylight.
The afternoon had been clear and bright; of that he was certain, though
his surroundings were now shrouded by an impenetrable veil of fog.
Through this he could see nothing, and from it came no sound save the
moan of winds sweeping across a limitless void of waters.

What had become of his recent companions?  Had they gone down with the
ship, and was he sole survivor of the tragedy?  At this thought the lad
sprang to his feet, and shouted, calling his friends by name, and
begging them not to leave him; but the only answer came in shape of
mocking echoes hurled sharply back from close at hand.  Looking in that
direction, he dimly discerned a vast outline of darker substance than
the enveloping mist.  From it came also a sound of falling waters, and
against it the sea was beating angrily.  At the same time he was
conscious of a deadly chill in the air, and came to a sudden
comprehension that the iceberg, to which he attributed all his present
distress, was still close at hand.

Its mere presence brought a new terror; for he knew that unless the
attraction of its great bulk could be overcome, his little raft must
speedily be drawn to it and dashed helplessly against its icy cliffs.
This thought filled him with a momentary despair, for there seemed no
possibility of avoiding the impending fate.  Then his eyes fell on a
pair of oars lashed, together with their metal rowlocks, to the sides
of his raft.  In another minute he had shipped these and was pulling
with all his might away from that ill-omened neighbourhood.

The progress of his clumsy craft was painfully slow; but it did move,
and at the end the dreaded ice monster was beyond both sight and
hearing.  The exercise of rowing had warmed Cabot as well as
temporarily diverted his mind from a contemplation of the terrible
scenes through which he had so recently passed.  Now, however, as he
rested on his oars, a full sense of his wretched plight came back to
him, and he grew sick at heart as he realised how forlorn was his
situation.  He wondered if he could survive the night that was rapidly
closing in on him, and, if he did, whether the morrow would find him
any better off.  He had no idea of the direction in which wind and
current were drifting him, whether further out to sea or towards the
land.  He was again shivering with cold, he was hungry and thirsty, and
so filled with terror at the black waters leaping towards him from all
sides that he finally flung himself face downward on the wet platform
to escape from seeing them.

When he next lifted his head he found himself in utter darkness,
through which he fancied he could still hear the sound of waters
dashing against frigid cliffs, and with an access of terror he once
more sprang to his oars.  Now he rowed with the wind, keeping it as
directly astern as possible; nor did he pause in his efforts until
compelled by exhaustion.  Then he again lay down, and this time dropped
into a fitful doze.

Waking a little later with chattering teeth, he resumed his oars for
the sake of warming exercise, and again rowed as long as he was able.
So, with alternating periods of weary work and unrefreshing rest, the
slow dragging hours of that interminable night were spent.  Finally,
after he had given up all hope of ever again seeing a gleam of
sunshine, a faint gray began to permeate the fog that still held him in
its wet embrace, and Cabot knew that he had lived to see the beginnings
of another day.

To make sure that the almost imperceptible light really marked the
dawn, he shut his eyes and resolutely kept them closed until he had
counted five hundred.  Then he opened them, and almost screamed with
the joy of being able to trace the outlines of his raft.  Again and
again he did this until at length the black night shadows had been
fairly vanquished and only those of the fog remained.

With the assurance that day had fairly come, and that the dreaded
iceberg was at least not close at hand, Cabot again sought
forgetfulness of his misery in sleep.  When he awoke some hours later,
aching in every bone, and painfully hungry, he was also filled with a
delicious sense of warmth; for the sun, already near its meridian, was
shining as brightly as though no such things as fog or darkness had
ever existed.

On standing up and looking about him, the young castaway was relieved
to note that the iceberg from which he had suffered so much was no
longer in sight.  At the same time he was grievously disappointed that
he could discover no sail nor other token that any human being save
himself was abroad on all that lonely sea.

He experienced a momentary exhilaration when, on turning to the west,
he discovered a dark far-reaching line that he believed to be land; but
his spirits fell as he measured the distance separating him from it,
and realised how slight a chance he had of ever gaining the coast.  To
be sure, the light breeze then blowing was in that direction, but it
might change at any moment; and even with it to aid his rowing he
doubted if his clumsy craft could make more than a mile an hour.  Thus
darkness would again overtake him ere he had covered more than half the
required distance, though he should row steadily during the remainder
of the day.  He knew that his growing weakness would demand intervals
of rest with ever-increasing frequency until utter exhaustion should
put an end to his efforts; and then what would become of him?  Still
there was nothing else to be done; and, with a dogged determination to
die fighting, if die he must, the poor lad sat down and resumed his
hopeless task.

A life raft is not intended to be used as a rowboat, and is unprovided
with either seats or foot braces.  Being thus compelled to sit on the
platform, Cabot could get so little purchase that half his effort was
wasted, and the progress made was barely noticeable.  During his
frequent pauses for rest he stood up to gaze longingly at the goal that
still appeared as far away as ever, and grew more unattainable as the
day wore on.  At length the sun was well down the western sky, across
which it appeared to race as never before.  As Cabot watched it, and
vaguely wished for the power once given to Joshua, the bleakness of
despair suddenly enfolded him, and his eyes became blurred with tears.
He covered them with his hands to shut out the mocking sunlight, and
sat down because he was too weak to stand any longer.  He had fought
his fight very nearly to a finish, and his strength was almost gone.
He had perhaps brought his craft five miles nearer to the land than it
was when he set out; but after all what had been the gain?  Apparently
there was none, and he would not further torture his aching body with
useless effort.

In the meantime a small schooner, bringing with her a fair wind, was
running rapidly down the coast, not many miles from where our poor lad
so despairingly awaited the coming of night.  That he had not seen her
while standing up, was owing to the fact that her sails, instead of
being white, were tanned a dull red, that blended perfectly with the
colour of the distant shore line.  A bright-faced, resolute chap,
somewhat younger than Cabot, but of equally sturdy build, held the
tiller, and regarded with evident approval the behaviour of his
speeding craft.

"We'll make it, Dave," he cried, cheerily.  "The old 'Sea Bee's' got
the wings of 'em this time."

"Mebbe so," growled the individual addressed, an elderly man who stood
in the companionway, with his head just above the hatch, peering
forward under the swelling sails.  "Mebbe so," he repeated, "and mebbe
not.  Steam's hard to beat on land or water, an' we be a far cry from
Pretty Harbour yet.  So fur that ef they're started they'll overhaul us
before day, and beat us in by a good twelve hour.  It's what I'm
looking fur."

"Oh, pshaw!" replied the young skipper.  "What a gammy old croaker you
are.  They won't start to-day, anyhow.  But here, take her a minute,
while I go aloft for one more look before sundown to make sure."

As the man complied with this request, and waddling aft took the
tiller, his more active companion sprang into the main rigging and ran
rapidly to the masthead, from which point of vantage he gazed back for
a full minute over the course they had come.

"Not a sign," he shouted down at length.  "But hello," he added to
himself, "what's that?"  With a glance seaward his keen eye had
detected a distant floating object that was momentarily uplifted on the
back of a long swell, and flashed white in the rays of the setting sun.

"Luff her, David!  Hard down with your hellum, and trim in all," he
shouted to the steersman.  "There, steady, so."

"Wot's hup?" inquired the man a few minutes later, as the other
rejoined him on deck.

"Don't know for sure; but there's something floating off there that
looks like a bit of wreckage."

"An' you, with all your hurry, going to stop fur a closer look, and
lose time that'll mebbe prove the most wallyable of your life," growled
the man disgustedly.  "Wal, I'll be jiggered!"

"So would I, if I didn't," replied the lad.  "It was one of dad's rules
never to pass any kind of a wreck without at least one good look at it,
and so it's one of mine as well.  There's what I'm after, now.  See,
just off the starboard bow.  It's a raft, and David, there's a man on
it, sure as you live.  Look, he's standing up and waving at us.  Now,
he's down again!  Poor fellow!  In with the jib, David!  Spry now, and
stand by with a line.  I'm going to round up, right alongside."




CHAPTER V.

WHITE BALDWIN AND HIS "SEA BEE."

The hour that preceded the coming of that heaven-sent schooner was the
blackest of Cabot Grant's life, and as he sat with bowed head on the
wet platform of his tossing raft he was utterly hopeless.  He believed
that he should never again hear a human voice nor tread the blessed
land--yes, everything was ended for him, or very nearly so, and
whatever record he had made in life must now stand without addition or
correction.  His thoughts went back as far as he could remember
anything, and every act of his life was clearly recalled.  How mean
some of them now appeared; how thoughtless, indifferent, or selfish he
had been in others.  Latterly how he had been filled with a sense of
his own importance, how he had worked and schemed for a little
popularity, and now who would regret him, or give his memory more than
a passing thought?

Thorpe Walling would say: "Served him right for throwing me over, as he
did," and others would agree with him.  Even Mr. Hepburn, who had
doubtless given him a chance merely because he was his guardian, would
easily find a better man to put in his place.  Some cousins whom he had
never seen nor cared to know would rejoice on coming into possession of
his little property; and so, on the whole, his disappearance would
cause more of satisfaction than regret.  Most bitter of all was the
thought that he would never have the opportunity of changing, or at
least of trying to change, this state of affairs, since he had
doubtless looked at the sun for the last time, and the blackness of an
endless night was about to enfold him.

Had he really seen his last ray of sunlight and hope?  No; it could not
be.  There must be a gleam left.  The sun could not have set yet.  He
lifted his head.  There was no sun to be seen.  With a cry of terror he
sprang to his feet, and, from the slight elevation thus gained, once
more beheld the mighty orb of day, and life, and promise, crowning with
a splendour infinitely beyond anything of this earth, the distant
shore-line that he had striven so stoutly to gain.

Dazzled by its radiance, Cabot saw nothing else during the minute that
it lingered above the horizon.  Then, as it disappeared, he uttered
another cry, but this time it was one of incredulous and joyful
amazement, for close at hand, coming directly towards him from out the
western glory, was a ship bearing a new lease of life and freighted
with new opportunities.

The poor lad tried to wave his cap at the new-comers; but after a
feeble attempt sank to his knees, overcome by weakness and gratitude.
It was in that position they found him as the little schooner was
rounded sharply into the wind, and, with fluttering sails, lay close
alongside the drifting raft.

David flung a line that Cabot found strength to catch and hold to,
while the young skipper of the "Sea Bee" sprang over her low rail and
alighted beside the castaway just as the latter staggered to his feet
with outstretched hand.  The stranger grasped it tightly in both of
his, and for a moment the two gazed into each other's eyes without a
word.  Cabot tried to speak, but something choked him so that he could
not; and, noting this, the other said gently:

"It is all over now, and you are as safe as though you stood on dry
land; so don't try to say anything till we've made you comfortable, for
I know you must have had an almighty hard time."

"Yes," whispered Cabot.  "I've been hungry, and thirsty, and wet, and
cold, and scared; but now I'm only grateful--more grateful than I can
ever tell."

A little later the life raft, its mission accomplished, was left to
toss and drift at will, while the "Sea Bee," with everything set and
drawing finely, was rapidly regaining her course, guided by the
far-reaching flash of Cape Race light.  In her dingy little cabin,
which seemed to our rescued lad the most delightfully snug, warm, and
altogether comfortable place he had ever entered, Cabot lay in the
skipper's own bunk, regarding with intense interest the movements of
that busy youth.

The latter had lighted a swinging lamp, started a fire in a small and
very rusty galley stove, set a tea kettle on to boil, and a pan of cold
chowder to re-warm.  Having thus got supper well under way, he returned
to the cabin, where he proceeded to set the table.  The worst of
Cabot's distress had already been relieved by a cup of cold tea and a
ship's biscuit.  Now, finding that he was able to talk, his host could
no longer restrain his curiosity, but began to ask questions.  He had
already learned Cabot's name, and told his own, which was Whiteway
Baldwin, "called White for short," he had added.  Now he said:

"You needn't talk, if you don't feel like it, but I do wish you could
tell how you came to be drifting all alone on that raft."

"A steamer that I was on was wrecked yesterday, and so far as I know I
am the only survivor," answered Cabot.

"Goodness!  You don't say so!  What steamer was she, where was she
bound, and what part of the coast was she wrecked on?"

"She was the 'Lavinia' from New York for St. Johns, and she wasn't
wrecked on any part of the coast, but was lost at sea."

"_Jiminetty_!  The 'Lavinia'!  It don't seem possible.  How did it
happen?  There hasn't been any gale.  Did she blow up, or what?"

"I don't know," replied Cabot, "for I was down-stairs when it took
place, and my stateroom door was jammed so that I couldn't get out for
a long time.  I only know that there was the most awful crash I ever
heard, and it seemed as though the ship were being torn to pieces.
Then there came an explosion, and when I got on deck the ship was
sinking so fast that I had only time to cut loose the raft before she
went down."

"What became of the others?" asked White excitedly.

"I am afraid they were drowned, for I heard them shouting just before
she sank, but there was such a cloud of steam, smoke, and fog that I
couldn't see a thing, and after it was all over I seemed to be the only
one left."

"Wasn't there a rock or ship or anything she might have run into?"
asked the young skipper, whose tanned face had grown pale as he
listened to this tale of sudden disaster.

"There was an iceberg," replied Cabot, "but when I went down-stairs it
wasn't very close, and the sun was shining, so that it was in plain
sight."

"That must be what she struck, though," declared the other.  Then he
thrust his head up the companionway and shouted: "Hear the news, Dave.
The 'Lavinia's' lost with all on board, except the chap we've just
picked up."

"What happened her?" asked the man laconically.

"He says she ran into an iceberg in clear day, bust up, and sank with
all hands, inside of a minute."

"Rot!" replied the practical sailor.  "The 'Laviny' had collision
bulkheads, and couldn't have sunk in no sich time, ef she could at all.
'Sides Cap'n Phinney ain't no man to run down a berg in clear day, nor
yet in the night, nor no other time.  He's been on this coast and the
Labrador run too long fur any sich foolishness.  No, son, ef the
'Laviny's' lost, which mind, I don't say she ain't, she's lost some
other way 'sides that, an' you can tell your friend so with my
compliments."

Cabot did not overhear these remarks, and wondered at the queer look on
the young skipper's face when he reentered the cabin, as he did at the
silence with which the latter resumed his preparations for supper.  At
the same time he was still too weak, and, in spite of his biscuit, too
ravenously hungry to care for further conversation just then.  So it
was only after a most satisfactory meal and several cups of very hot
tea that he was ready in his turn to ask questions.  But he was not
given the chance; for, as soon as White Baldwin was through with
eating, he went on dock to relieve the tiller, and the other member of
the crew, whose name was David Gidge, came below.

He was a man of remarkable appearance, of very broad shoulders and long
arms; but with legs so bowed outward as to materially lower his
stature, which would have been short at best, and convert his gait into
an absurd waddle.  His face was disfigured by a scar across one cheek
that so drew that corner of his mouth downward as to produce a
peculiarly forbidding expression.  He also wore a bristling iron-grey
beard that grew in form of a fringe or ruff, and added an air of
ferocity to his make up.

As this striking-looking individual entered the cabin and rolled into a
seat at the table, he cast one glance, accompanied by a grunt, at
Cabot, and then proceeded to attend strictly to the business in hand.
He ate in such prodigious haste, and gulped his food in such vast
mouthfuls, that he had cleaned the table of its last crumb, and was
fiercely stuffing black tobacco into a still blacker pipe, before
Cabot, who really wished to talk with him, had decided how to open the
conversation.  Lighting his pipe and puffing it into a ruddy glow, Mr.
Gidge made a waddling exit from the cabin, bestowing on our lad another
grunt as he passed him, and leaving an eddying wake of rank tobacco
smoke to mark his passage.

For some time after this episode Cabot struggled to keep awake in the
hope that White would return and answer some of his questions; but
finally weariness overcame him, and he fell into a sleep that lasted
without a break until after sunrise of the following morning.

In the meantime the little schooner had held her course, and swept
onward past the flashing beacons of Cape Race, Cape Pine, and Cape St.
Mary, until, at daylight, she was standing across the broad reach of
Placentia Bay towards the bald headland of Cape Chapeau Rouge.  She was
making a fine run, and in spite of his weariness after a six hours'
watch on deck, White Baldwin presented a cheery face to Cabot, as the
latter vainly strove to recognise and account for his surroundings.

"Good morning," said the young skipper, "I hope you have slept well,
and are feeling all right again."

"Yes, thank you," replied Cabot, suddenly remembering, "I slept
splendidly, and am as fit as a fiddle.  Have we made a good run?"

"Fine; we have come nearly a hundred miles from the place where we
picked you up."

"Then we must be almost to St. Johns," suggested Cabot, tumbling from
his bunk as he spoke.  "I am glad, for it is important that I should
get there as quickly as possible."

"St. Johns!" replied the other blankly.  "Didn't you know that we had
come from St. Johns, and were going in the opposite direction?  Why, we
are more than one hundred and fifty miles from there at this minute."




CHAPTER VI.

THE FRENCH SHORE QUESTION.

Although Cabot had had no reason to suppose that the "Sea Bee" was on
her way to St. Johns, it had not for a moment occurred to him that she
could be going anywhere else.  Thus the news that they were not only a
long way from the place he wished to reach, but steadily increasing
their distance from it, so surprised him that for a moment he sat on
the edge of his bunk gazing at the speaker as though doubting if he had
heard aright.  Finally he asked: "Where, then, are we bound?"

"To Pretty Harbour, around on the west coast, where I live," was the
answer.

"I'd be willing to give you fifty dollars to turn around and carry me
to St. Johns," said Cabot.

"Couldn't do it if you offered me a hundred, much as I need the money,
and glad as I would be to oblige you, for I've got to get home in a
hurry if I want to find any home to get to.  You see, it's this way,"
continued White, noting Cabot's look of inquiry, "Pretty Harbour being
on the French shore----"

"What do you mean by the French shore?" interrupted Cabot.  "I thought
you lived in Newfoundland, and that it was an English island."

"So it is," explained White; "but, for some reason or other, I don't
know why, England made a treaty with France nearly two hundred years
ago, by which the French were granted fishing privileges from Cape Bay
along the whole west coast to Cape Bauld, and from there down the east
coast as far as Cape St. John.  By another treaty made some years
afterwards France was granted, for her own exclusive use, the islands
of Miquelon and St. Pierre, that lie just ahead of us now.

"In the meantime the French have been allowed to do pretty much as they
pleased with the west coast, until now they claim exclusive rights to
its fisheries, and will hardly allow us natives to catch what we want
for our own use.  They send warships to enforce their demands, and
these compel us to sell bait to French fishermen at such price as they
choose to offer.  Why, I have seen men forced to sell bait to the
French at thirty cents a barrel, when Canadian and American fishing
boats wore offering five times that much for it.  At the same time the
French officers forbid us to sell to any but Frenchmen, declaring that
if we do they will not only prevent us from fishing, but will destroy
our nets."

"I should think you would call on English warships for protection,"
said Cabot.  "There surely must be some on this station."

"Yes," replied the other, bitterly, "there are, but they always take
the part of the French, and do even more than they towards breaking up
our business."

"What?" cried Cabot.  "British warships take part with the French
against their own people!  That is one of the strangest things I ever
heard of, and I can't understand it.  Is not this an English colony?"

"Yes, it is England's oldest colony; but, while I was born in it, and
have lived here all my life, I don't understand the situation any
better than you."

"It seems to me," continued Cabot, "that the conditions here must be
fully as bad as those that led to the American Revolution, and I should
think you Newfoundlanders would rebel, and set up a government of your
own, or join the United States, or do something of that kind."

"Perhaps we would if we could," replied White; "but our country is only
a poor little island, with a population of less than a quarter of a
million.  If we should rebel, we would have to fight both England and
France.  We should have to do it without help, too, for the United
States, which is the only country we desire to join, does not want us.
So you see there is nothing for us to do but accept the situation, and
get along as best we can."

"Why don't you emigrate to the States?" suggested Cabot.

"Plenty of people whom I know have done so," replied the young
Newfoundlander, "and I might, too, if it were not for my mother and
sister; but I don't know how I could make a living for them in the
States, or even for myself.  You see, everything we have in the world
is tied up right here.  Besides, it would be hard to leave one's own
country and go to live among strangers.  Don't you think so?"

"How do you make a living here?" asked Cabot, ignoring the last
question.

"We have made it until now by canning lobsters; but it looks as though
even that business was to be stopped from this on."

"Why?  Is it wrong to can lobsters?"

"On the French shore, it seems to be one of the greatest crimes a
person can commit, worse even than smuggling, and the chief duty of
British warships on this station is to break it up."

"Well, that beats all!" exclaimed Cabot.  "Why is canning lobsters
considered so wicked?"

"I don't know that I can explain it very clearly," replied the young
skipper of the "Sea Bee," "but, so far as I can make out, it is this
way: You see, the west coast of Newfoundland is one of the best places
in the world for lobsters.  So when the settlers there found they were
not allowed to make a living by fishing, they turned their attention to
catching and canning them.  They thought, of course, that in this they
would not be molested, since the French right was only to take and dry
fish, which, in this country, means only codfish.  They were so
successful at the new business that after a while the French also began
to establish lobster canneries.  As no one interfered with them they
finally became so bold as to order the closing of all factories except
their own, and to actually destroy the property of such English
settlers as were engaged in the business.  Then there were riots, and
we colonists appealed to Parliament for protection in our rights."

"Of course they granted it," said Cabot, who was greatly interested.

"Of course they did nothing of the kind," responded White, bitterly.
"The English authorities only remonstrated gently with the French, who
by that time were claiming an exclusive right to all the business of
the west coast, and finally it was agreed to submit the whole question
to arbitration.  It has never yet been arbitrated, though that was some
years ago.  In the meantime an arrangement was made by which all
lobster factories in existence on July 1, 1889, were allowed to
continue their business, but no others might be established."

"Was your factory one of those then in existence?" asked Cabot.

"It was completed, and ready to begin work a whole month before that
date; but the captain of a French frigate told my father that if he
canned a single lobster his factory would be destroyed.  Father
appealed to the commander of a British warship for protection; but was
informed that none could be given, and that if he persisted in the
attempt to operate his factory his own countrymen would be compelled to
aid the French in its destruction.  On that, father went to law, but it
was not until the season was ended that the British captain was found
to have had no authority for his action.  So father sued him for
damages, and obtained judgment for five thousand dollars.  He never got
the money, though, and by the time the next season came round the law
regarding factories in existence on the first of the previous July was
in force.  Then the question came up, whether or no our factory had
been in existence at that time.  The French claim that it was not,
because no work had been done in it, while we claim that, but for
illegal interference, work would have been carried on for a full month
before the fixed date."

"How was the question settled?" asked Cabot.

"It was not settled until a few days ago, when a final decision was
rendered against us, and now the property is liable to be destroyed at
any minute.  Father fought the case until it worried him to death, and
mother has been fighting it ever since.  All our property, except the
factory itself, this schooner, and a few hundred acres of worthless
land, has gone to the lawyers.  While they have fought over the case, I
have made a sort of a living for the family by running the factory at
odd times, when there was no warship at hand to prevent.  This season
promises to be one of the best for lobsters ever known, and we had so
nearly exhausted our supply of cans that I went to St. Johns for more.
While there I got private information that the suit had gone against
us, and that the commander of the warship 'Comattus,' then in port, had
received orders to destroy our factory during his annual cruise along
the French shore.  The 'Comattus' was to start as soon as the 'Lavinia'
arrived.  The minute I heard this I set out in a hurry for home, in the
hope of having time to pack the extra cases I have on board this
schooner, and get them out of the way before the warship arrives.  That
is one reason I am in such a hurry, and can't spare the time to take
you to St. Johns.  I wouldn't even have stopped long enough to
investigate your raft if you had been a mile further off our course
than you were."

"Then all my yesterday's rowing didn't go for nothing," said Cabot.

"I should say not.  It was the one thing that saved you, so far as this
schooner is concerned.  I'm in a hurry for another reason, too.  If the
French get word that a decision has been rendered against us, and that
the factory is to be destroyed, they will pounce down on it in a jiffy,
and carry away everything worth taking, to one of their own factories."

"I don't wonder you are in a hurry," said Cabot.  "I know I should be,
in your place, and I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to take me
back to St. Johns; but I wish you would tell me the next best way of
getting there.  You see, having lost everything in the way of an outfit
it is necessary for me to procure a new one.  Besides that and the
business I have on hand, it seems to me that, as the only survivor of
the 'Lavinia,' I ought to report her loss as soon as possible."

"Yes," agreed White, "of course you ought; though the longer it is
unknown the longer the 'Comattus' will wait for her, and the more time
I shall have."

"Provided some French ship doesn't get after you," suggested Cabot.

"Yes, I realise that, and as I am going to stop at St. Pierre, to sec
whether the frigate 'Isla' is still in that harbour, I might set you
ashore there.  From St. Pierre you can get a steamer for St. Johns, and
even if you have to wait a few days you could telegraph your news as
quickly as you please."

"All right," agreed Cabot.  "I shall be sorry to leave you; but if that
is the best plan you can think of I will accept it, and shall be
grateful if you will set me ashore as soon as possible."

Thus it was settled, and a few hours later the "Sea Bee" poked her nose
around Gallantry Head, and ran into the picturesque, foreign-looking
port of St. Pierre.  The French frigate "Isla," that had more than once
made trouble for the Baldwins, lay in the little harbour, black and
menacing.  Hoping not to be recognized, White gave her as wide a berth
as possible; but he had hardly dropped anchor when a boat--containing
an officer, and manned by six sailors--shot out from her side, and was
pulled directly towards the schooner.




CHAPTER VII.

DEFYING A FRIGATE.

"I wonder what's up now?" said White Baldwin, in a troubled tone, as he
watched the approaching man-of-war's boat.

"Mischief of some kind," growled David Gidge, as he spat fiercely into
the water.  "I hain't never knowed a Frencher to be good fur nawthin'
else but mischief."

"Perhaps it's a health officer," suggested Cabot.

"It's worse than that," replied White.

"A customs officer, then?"

"He comes from the shore."

"Then perhaps it's an invitation for us to go and dine with the French
captain?"

"I've no doubt it's an invitation of some kind, and probably one that
is meant to be accepted."

At this juncture the French boat dashed alongside, and, without leaving
his place, the lieutenant in command said in fair English:

"Is not zat ze boat of Monsieur Baldwin of Pretty Harbour on ze cote
Francaise?"

"It is," replied the young skipper, curtly.

"You haf, of course, ze papaire of health, and ze papaire of clearance
for St. Pierre?"

"No; I have no papers except a certificate of registry."

"Ah!  Is it possible?  In zat case ze commandant of ze frigate 'Isla'
will be please to see you on board at your earlies' convenience."

"I thought so," said White, in a low tone.  Then aloud, he replied:
"All right, lieutenant.  I'll sail over there, and hunt up a good place
to anchor, just beyond your ship, and as soon as I've made all snug
I'll come aboard.  Up with your mud hook, Dave."

As Mr. Gidge began to work the windlass, Cabot sprang to help him, and,
within a minute, the recently dropped anchor was again broken out.
Then, at a sharp order, David hoisted and trimmed the jib, leaving
Cabot to cat the anchor.  The fore and main sails had not been lowered.
Thus within two minutes' time the schooner was again under way, and
standing across the harbour towards the big warship.

The rapidity of these movements apparently somewhat bewildered the
French officer, who, while narrowly watching them, did not utter a word
of remonstrance.  Now, as the "Sea Bee" moved away, his boat was
started in the same direction.

Without paying any further attention to it, White Baldwin luffed his
little craft across the frigate's bow, and the moment he was hidden
beyond her, bore broad away, passing close along the opposite side of
the warship, from which hundreds of eyes watched his movements with
languid curiosity.

The boat, in the meantime, had headed for the stern of the frigate,
with a view to gaining her starboard gangway, somewhere near which its
officer supposed White to be already anchoring.  What was his
amazement, therefore, as he drew within the shadow of his ship, to see
the schooner shoot clear of its further side, and go flying down the
wind, lee rail under.  For a moment he looked to see her round to and
come to anchor.  Then, springing to his feet, he yelled for her to do
so; upon which White Baldwin took off his cap, and made a mocking bow.

At this the enraged officer whipped out a revolver, and began to fire
wildly in the direction of the vanishing schooner, which, for answer,
displayed a British Union Jack at her main peak.  Three minutes later
the saucy craft had rounded a projecting headland and disappeared,
leaving the outwitted officer to get aboard his ship at his leisure,
and make such report as seemed to him best.

[Illustration: At this the enraged officer whipped out a revolver.]

After the exciting incident was ended, and the little "Sea Bee" had
gained the safety of open water, Cabot grasped the young skipper's hand
and shook it heartily.

"It was fine!" he cried, "though I don't see how you dared do it.
Weren't you afraid they would fire at us?"

"Not a bit," laughed White.  "They didn't realise what we were up to
until we were well past them, and then they hadn't time to get ready
before we were out of range.  I don't believe they would dare fire on
the British flag, anyway; especially as we hadn't done a thing to them.
I almost wish they had, though; for I would be willing to lose this
schooner and a good deal besides for the sake of bringing on a war that
should drive the French from Newfoundland."

"But what did they want of you, and what would have happened if you had
not given them the slip?"

"I expect they wanted to hold me here until they heard how our case had
gone, so that I couldn't get back to the factory before they had a
chance to run up there and seize it.  Like as not they would have kept
us on one excuse or another--lack of papers or something of that
sort--for a week or two, and by the time they let us go some one else
would have owned the Pretty Harbour lobster factory."

"Would they really have dared do such a thing?" asked Cabot, to whom
the idea of foreign interference in the local affairs of Newfoundland
was entirely new.

"Certainly they would.  The French dare do anything they choose on this
coast, and no one interferes."

"Well," said Cabot, "it seems a very curious situation, and one that a
stranger finds hard to understand.  However, so long as the French
possess such a power for mischief, I congratulate you more than ever on
having escaped them.  At the same time I am disappointed at not being
able to land at St. Pierre, and should like to know where you are going
to take me next."

"I declare!  In my hurry to get out of that trap, I forgot all about
you wanting to land," exclaimed White, "and now there isn't a place
from which you can get to St. Johns short of Port aux Basques, which is
about one hundred and fifty miles west of here."

"How may I reach St. Johns from there?"

"By the railway across the island, of which Port aux Basques is the
terminus.  A steamer from Sidney, on Cape Breton, connects with a train
there every other day."

"Very good; Port aux Basques it is," agreed Cabot, "and I shan't be
sorry after all for a chance to cross the island by train and see what
its interior looks like."

So our young engineer continued his involuntary voyage, and devoted his
time to acquiring all sorts of information about the great northern
island, as well as to the study of navigation.  In this latter line of
research he even succeeded in producing a favorable impression upon
David Gidge, who finally admitted that it wasn't always safe to judge a
man from his appearance, and that this young feller had more in him
than showed at first sight.

While thus creating a favorable impression for himself, Cabot grew much
interested in the young skipper of the schooner.  He was surprised to
find one in his position so gentlemanly a chap, as well as so generally
well informed, and wondered where he had picked it all up.

"Are there good schools at Pretty Harbour?" he asked, with a view to
solving this problem.

"There is one, but it is only fairly good," answered White.

"Did you go to it?"

"Oh, no," laughed the other.  "I went to school as well as to college
in St. Johns.  You see, father was a merchant there until he bought a
great tract of land on the west coast.  Then he gave up his business in
the city and came over here to establish a lobster factory, which at
that time promised to pay better than anything else on the island.  He
left us all in St. Johns, and it was only after his death that we came
over here to live and try to save something from the wreck of his
property.  Now I don't know what is to become of us; for, unless one is
allowed to can lobsters, there isn't much chance of making a living on
the French shore.  If it wasn't for the others, I should take this
schooner and try a trading trip to Labrador, but mother has become so
much of an invalid that I hate to leave her with only my sister."

"What is your sister's name?"

"Cola."

"That's an odd name, and one I never heard before, but I think I like
it."

"So do I," agreed White; "though I expect I should like any name
belonging to her, for she is a dear girl.  One reason I am so fond of
this schooner is because it is named for her."

"How is that?"

"Why, it is the 'Sea Bee,' and these are her initials."

It was early on the second morning after leaving St. Pierre that the
"Sea Bee" drifted slowly into the harbour of Port aux Basques, where
the yacht-like steamer "Bruce" lay beside its single wharf.  She had
just completed her six-hour run across Cabot Strait, from North Sidney,
eighty-five miles away, and close at hand stood the narrow-gauge train
that was to carry her passengers and mails to St. Johns.  It would
occupy twenty-eight hours in making the run of 550 miles from coast to
coast, and our lad looked forward to the trip with pleasant
anticipations.

But he was again doomed to disappointment; for while the schooner was
still at some distance from the wharf, the train was seen to be in
motion.  In vain did Cabot shout and wave his cap.  No attention was
paid to his signals, and a minute later the train had disappeared.
There would not be another for two days, and the young engineer gazed
about him with dismay.  Port aux Basques appeared to be only a railway
terminus, offering no accommodation for travellers, and presenting,
with its desolate surroundings, a scene of cheerless inhospitality.

"That's what I call tough luck!" exclaimed White Baldwin,
sympathetically.

"Isn't it?" responded Cabot; "and what I am to do with myself in this
dreary place after you are gone, I can't imagine."

"Seems to me you'd better stay right where you are, and run up the
coast with us to St. George's Bay, where there is another station at
which you can take the next train."

"I should like to," replied Cabot, "if you would allow me to pay for my
passage; but I don't want to impose upon your hospitality any longer."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed White.  "You are already doing your full share of
the work aboard here, and even if you weren't of any help, I should be
only too happy to have you stay with us until the end of the run, for
the pleasure of your company."

"That settles it," laughed Cabot.  "I will go with you as far as St.
George's, and be glad of the chance.  But, while we are here, I think I
ought to send in the news about the 'Lavinia.'"

As White agreed that this should be done at once, Cabot was set ashore,
and made his way to the railway telegraph office, where he asked the
operator to whom in St. Johns he should send the news of a wreck.

"What wreck?" asked the operator.

"Steamer 'Lavinia.'"

"There's no need to send that to anybody, for it's old news, and went
through here last night as a press despatch.  'Lavinia' went too close
to an iceberg, that capsized, and struck her with long, under-water
projection.  Lifted steamer from water, broke her back, boiler
exploded, and that was the end of 'Lavinia.'  Mate's boat reached St.
Johns, and 'Comattus' has gone to look for other possible survivors."

As Cabot had nothing to add to this story, he merely sent a short
despatch to Mr. Hepburn, announcing his own safety, and then returned
to the schooner with his news.

"Good!" exclaimed White, when he heard it.  "I hope the 'Comattus' will
find those she has gone to look for; and I'm mighty glad she has got
something to do that will keep her away from here for a few days
longer.  Now, Dave, up with the jib."




CHAPTER VIII.

A CLASSMATE TO BE AVOIDED.

Cabot had been impressed by the rugged scenery of the Nova Scotia shore
line, but it had been tame as compared with the stern grandeur of that
unfolded when the "Sea Bee" rounded Cape Ray and was headed up the west
coast of Newfoundland.  He had caught glimpses of lofty promontories
and precipitous cliffs as the schooner skirted the southern end of the
island; but most of the time it had kept too far from shore for him to
appreciate the marvellous details.  Now, however, as they beat up
against a head wind, they occasionally ran in so close as to be wet by
drifting spray from the roaring breakers that ceaselessly dashed
against the mighty wall, rising, grim and sheer, hundreds of feet above
them.  Everywhere the rock was stained a deep red, indicating the
presence of iron, and everywhere it had been rent or shattered into a
thousand fantastic forms.  At short intervals the massive cliffs were
wrenched apart to make room for narrow fiords, of unknown depth, that
penetrated for miles into the land, where they formed intricate mazes
of placid waterways.  Beside them there were nestled tiny fishing
villages of whitewashed houses, though quite as often these were
perched on apparently inaccessible crags, overlooking sheltered coves
of the outer coast.

On the tossing waters fronting them, fleets of fishing boats, with
sails tanned a ruddy brown, like those of the "Sea Bee," or blackened
by coal tar, darted with the grace and fearlessness of gulls, or rested
as easily on the heaving surface, while the fishermen, clad in yellow
oilskins, pursued their arduous toil.

To our young American the doings of these hardy seafarers proved so
interesting that he never tired of watching them nor of asking
questions concerning their perilous occupation.  And he had plenty of
time in which to acquire information, for so adverse were the winds
that only by the utmost exertion did White Baldwin succeed in getting
his schooner to the St. George's landing in time for Cabot to run to
the railway station just as the train from Port aux Basques was coming
in.

The two lads exchanged farewells with sincere regrets, after White had
extended a most cordial invitation to the other to finish the cruise
with him, and visit his home at Pretty Harbour.  Much as Cabot wished
to accept this invitation, he had declined it for the present, on the
plea that he ought first to go to St. Johns.  At the same time he had
promised to try and make the proposed visit before leaving the island,
to which White had replied:

"Don't delay too long, then, or you may not find us at home, for there
is no knowing what may happen when the warships get there."

Even David Gidge shook hands with the departing guest, and said it was
a pity he couldn't stay with them a while longer, seeing that he might
be made into a very fair sort of a sailor with proper training.

With one regretful backward glance, Cabot left the little schooner on
which he had come to feel so much at home, and sprinted towards the
station, where was gathered half the population of the village--men,
women, children, and dogs.  The train was already at the platform as he
made his way through this crowd, wondering if he had time to purchase a
ticket, and he glanced at it curiously.  It was well filled, and heads
were thrust from most of the car windows on that side.  Through one
window Cabot saw a quartette of men too busily engaged over a game of
cards to take note of their surroundings.  As our lad's gaze fell on
these, he suddenly stood still and stared.  Then he turned, pushed out
from the crowd, and made his way back towards the landing as rapidly as
he had come from it a few minutes before.

The "Sea Bee" was under way, but had not got beyond hail, and was put
back when her crew discovered who was signalling them so vigorously.

"What is the matter?" inquired her young skipper, as Cabot again
clambered aboard.  "Did you miss the train after all?"

"No," replied Cabot.  "I could have caught it; but made up my mind at
the last moment that I might just as well go with you to Pretty Harbour
now as to try and visit it later."

"Good!" cried White, heartily.  "I am awfully glad you did.  We were
feeling blue enough without you, weren't we, Dave?"

"Blue warn't no name for it," replied Mr. Gidge.  "It were worse than a
drop in the price of fish; an' now I feel as if they'd riz a dollar a
kental."

"Thank you both," laughed Cabot.  "I hadn't any idea how much I should
hate to leave the old 'Bee' until I tried to do it.  You said there was
another station that I could reach from your place, didn't you?" he
added, turning to White.

"Yes.  There is one at Bay of Islands that can be reached by a drive of
a few hours from Pretty Harbour; and I'll carry you over there any time
you like," replied the latter.

"That settles it, then; and I'll let St. Johns wait a few days longer."

So the little schooner was again headed seaward, and set forth at a
nimble pace for her run around Cape St. George and up the coast past
Port au Port to the exquisitely beautiful Bay of Islands, on which
Pretty Harbour is located; and, as she bore him away, Cabot hoped he
had done the right thing.

When commissioned to undertake this journey that was proving so full of
incident, our young engineer had been only too glad of an excuse to
break his engagement with Thorpe Walling; for, as has been said, the
latter was not a person whom he particularly liked.  Walling, on the
other hand, had boasted that the most popular fellow in the Institute
had chosen above all things to take a trip around the world in his
company, and was greatly put out by the receipt of Cabot's telegram
announcing his change of plan.  The more Thorpe reflected upon this
grievance the more angry did he become, until he finally swore enmity
against Cabot Grant, and to get even with him if ever he had the chance.

He was provoked that his chosen companion should have dismissed him so
curtly, without any intimation of what he proposed to do, and this he
determined to discover.  So he went to New York and made inquiries at
the offices of the company acting as Cabot's guardian; but could only
learn that the young man had left the city after two private interviews
with President Hepburn.  At the club where Cabot had lunched on the day
of his departure, Thorpe's appearance created surprise.

"Thought you had started off with Grant on a trip around the world?"
said one member in greeting him.

"No," replied Walling; "we are not going."

"But he sailed two days ago.  At least, he said that was what he was
about to do when he bade me good-bye on his way to the steamer."

"What steamer, and where was she bound?" asked Thorpe.

"Don't know.  He only said he was about to sail."

"I'll not be beaten that way," thought Walling, angrily; and, having
plenty of money to expend as best suited him, he straightway engaged
the services of a private detective.  This man was instructed to
ascertain for what port a certain Cabot Grant had sailed from New York
two days earlier, and that very evening the coveted information was in
his possession.

"Sailed on the 'Lavinia' for St. Johns, Newfoundland, has he?" muttered
Thorpe.  "Then I, too, will visit St. Johns, and discover what he is
doing.  I might as well go there as anywhere else; and perhaps Grant
will find out that it would have been wiser to confide in an old friend
than to treat him as shabbily as he has me."

Having reached this decision, Walling took a train from New York, and,
travelling by way of Boston, Portland, and Bangor, crossed the St.
Croix River from Maine into New Brunswick at Vanceboro.  From there he
went, via St. John, N.B., and Truro, Nova Scotia, to Port Mulgrave,
where he passed over the Strait of Canso to Cape Breton.  Across that
island his route lay through the Bras d'Or country to North Sidney, at
which point he took steamer for Port aux Basques and the Newfoundland
railway that should finally land him in St. Johns.  On this journey he
became acquainted with several Americans, with whom he played whist,
which is what he was doing when his train pulled up at the St. George's
Bay platform.

At sight of his classmate, Cabot became instantly desirious of avoiding
him and the embarrassing questions he would be certain to ask.
Although our young engineer could not imagine why Thorpe Walling had
come to Newfoundland, he instinctively felt that the visit had
something to do with his own trip to the island.  He knew that Thorpe
delighted to pry into the secrets of others; and also that he was of a
vindictive nature, quick to take offence, and unscrupulous in his
enmities.  Therefore, as his instructions permitted him to visit
whatever part of Newfoundland he chose, he decided to avoid St. Johns
for the present rather than risk the results of a companionship that
now seemed so undesirable.

Somewhat earlier on that same day one of Thorpe's travelling
companions, named Gregg, spoke to him of Newfoundland's mineral wealth,
and referred particularly to the Bell Island iron mines.

"Yes," replied Walling, who had never before heard of Bell Island,
"they must be immensely valuable."

"Oh, I don't know," said the other, carelessly.  "Several American
companies are trying to get control of them; but perhaps they are not
what they are cracked up to be after all."

"Isn't a New York man by the name of Hepburn one of the interested
parties?" asked Thorpe, at a venture.

"Yes, he is," responded Mr. Gregg, turning on him sharply.  "Why, do
you know him?"

"I can't say that I know him; but I know a good deal about him, and
have every reason to believe that he has just sent an acquaintance of
mine, a young mining engineer, up here to examine that very property."

"Is he an expert?"

"Oh, yes.  He and I were classmates at a technical institute."

"Then you also are a mining engineer?"

"I am."

"Have you come to Newfoundland to investigate mineral lands?"

"Not exactly; though I may do something in that line if I find a good
opening.  At present I am merely on a pleasure trip."

"I see, and I am glad to have made your acquaintance, as I am somewhat
interested in mineral lands myself.  When we reach St. Johns I hope you
will introduce me to your friend, and it may happen that I can return
the favour by putting you on to a good thing."

"Certainly, I will introduce you if we run across him," replied Thorpe.
"At the same time I hope you won't mention having any knowledge of his
business, as he is trying to keep it quiet."

"Like most of us who have 'deals' on hand," remarked the other, with a
meaning smile.  "But it is hard to hide them from clever chaps like
yourself."

At which compliment, Thorpe, who had only been making some shrewd
guesses, looked wise, but said nothing.

It happened that these two were playing whist when the train reached
St. George's Bay, and Mr. Gregg remarked to his partner:

"There's a chap staring at this crowd as if he knew some of us."

Thorpe glanced from the window, and started from his seat with an
exclamation.  At the same moment Cabot Grant turned away and hurried
from the station.

"Do you know him?" asked Mr. Gregg.

"He is the very person I was speaking to you about a while ago,"
replied Thorpe.




CHAPTER IX.

SENDING IN A FALSE REPORT.

At sight of Cabot, Thorpe Walling's instinct had been to leave the car
and follow him; but the thought of his luggage, which he knew he could
not get off in time, caused him to hesitate, and then it was too late,
for the train was again in motion.

"The young man did not seem particularly anxious to meet his old
classmate," remarked Mr. Gregg.  "In fact, it rather looked as though
he wished to avoid recognition."

Thorpe pretended to be too busy with his cards to make reply to this
suggestion; but an ugly expression came into his face, and, from that
moment, he hated Cabot Grant.  When, on the following day, he reached
St. Johns and learned of the loss of the "Lavinia," with all on board,
except those saved in the mate's boat, he was more perplexed than ever.
Cabot's name was published as one of those who had gone down with the
ill-fated steamer, and yet he had certainly seen him alive and well
only the day before.  What could it mean?

"Do you suppose Hepburn knows of his escape?" asked Mr. Gregg, who was
stopping at the same hotel, and to whom Thorpe confided this mystery.

"I haven't an idea."

"What do you say to wiring and finding out?  It can't do us any harm,
and might gain us an insight into the old man's plans up here."

"I should say it was a good idea."

As a result of this desire for information the following telegram was
sent to the president of the Gotham Trust and Investment Company:

"St. Johns, N'f'l'd.--Here all right.  What shall I do next?----C. G."


And the answer came promptly:

"Congratulations.  Send B. I. report.  If in need of funds, draw.----H."


"That settles it!" exclaimed Mr. Gregg, exultingly.  "Hepburn is after
Bell Island, and your friend was sent here to report upon its value.
Now, it will be a pity if the old man doesn't get his information,
which he isn't likely to do for some time with that young chap over on
the west coast.  Some one ought to send him a report."

"I have a mind to do it myself," said Thorpe, reflectively.

"It would be an awfully decent thing for you to do.  Be a good joke on
your friend, too, and make him fed ashamed of himself for cutting you
so dead yesterday, when he finds it out.  He is bound to get into
trouble if some sort of a report isn't sent in, now that he is known to
have escaped from the wreck."

"Confound him!" exclaimed Thorpe.  "I don't care how soon he gets into
trouble; nor how much."

"Oh, come.  That isn't a nice way to speak of an old friend and
classmate," remarked Mr. Gregg, reprovingly.  "Now, I always feel sorry
when I see a decent young chap like that throwing away a good chance,
and want to help him if I can.  So in the present case, I think we
really ought to send in a report that will satisfy old Hepburn, and
keep the boy solid with his employers.  I shouldn't know how to word it
myself, but if you, with your expert knowledge of the subject, will
make it out, of course after taking a look at the mine, I'll see that
you don't lose anything by your kindness."

"All right," replied Thorpe, who was quite sharp enough to comprehend
the other's meaning.  "I'll do it."

So the two conspirators drove to the picturesque fishing village of
Portugal Cove, where they hired a boat to carry them across to Bell
Island.  There they paid a hasty visit to the mine, which Mr. Gregg
plausibly belittled and undervalued, until Thorpe really began to
consider it a greatly overestimated piece of property, and this idea he
embodied in a report that he wrote out that very evening.

"I'm glad to see that you think as I do concerning the real
worthlessness of Bell Island," remarked Mr. Gregg, gravely, as he
glanced over the paper, "and the man who would have anything to do with
it after reading this must be a greater fool than I take old Hepburn to
be."

On the following day a type-written copy of Thorpe's report was made,
signed "C. G.," and forwarded by mail to the president of the Gotham
Trust and Investment Company.  As a result, a telegram was received a
week later at the Bank of Nova Scotia in St. Johns addressed to Cabot
Grant, and desiring him to return at once to New York.  As the bank
people wired back that they had no knowledge of any such person, Mr.
Hepburn in reply requested them to keep a sharp lookout for a young man
of that name, who would shortly present a letter of credit to them, and
provide him with a ticket to New York on account of it, but nothing
more.  Mr. Hepburn also explained that, as Cabot Grant's guardian, he
had the right to thus limit his ward's expenditures.

Thus our lad fell into disgrace with his employer, who knew, as well as
any man living, the exact status of the Bell Island iron mine, and had
only requested Cabot to report on it in order to test his fitness for
other work.

While the correspondence with the bank was being carried on, Messrs.
Walling and Gregg watched for the arrival of the young engineer, whom
they expected by every train.  They also anxiously awaited the news
that the Hepburn syndicate had withdrawn its offer for the Bell Island
property, in which event it would fall, at a greatly reduced price, to
the company represented by Mr. Gregg.

Totally unconscious of all this, Cabot Grant was at that very time in a
remote corner of the west coast, happily engaged in aiding certain of
its inhabitants to discomfit the combined naval forces of two of the
most powerful governments of the world.  Moreover, he had become so
interested in this exciting occupation, as well as in certain
discoveries that he was making, as to have very nearly lost sight of
his intention to visit the capital of the island.

When he reembarked on the "Sea Bee" at St. George's Bay, he fully
intended to catch the train of two days later at the station to which
White had promised to convey him.  He was glad of a chance to view some
more of that magnificent west coast scenery, and when the little
schooner finally rounded South Head, and was pointed towards the
massive front of Blomidon, which David Gidge called "Blow-me-down," he
felt well repaid for his delay by the enchanting beauty of the Bay of
Islands that lay outspread before them.

Soon after passing South Head, the "Sea Bee," with flags flying from
both masts, slipped through a narrow passage into the land-locked basin
of Pretty Harbour.  On its further shore stood a handful of white
houses, and a larger building that fronted the water.

"That's our factory!" cried White, "and there is our house, on the
hillside, just beyond.  See, the one with the dormer windows.  There's
Cola waving from one of them now.  Bless her!  She must have been
watching, to sight us so quickly.  Oh, I can't wait.  Dave, you take
the 'Bee' up to the wharf.  Mr. Grant will help you, I know, as well as
excuse me if I go ashore first."

"Of course, I will," replied Cabot; and in another minute the young
skipper was sculling ashore in the dinghy, while the schooner drifted
more slowly in the same direction.

When they finally reached the factory wharf White was on hand to meet
them, and beside him stood the slender, merry-eyed girl for whom the
schooner had been named.  She unaffectedly held out a hand to Cabot
when they were introduced, and at once invited him to the house to meet
her mother.

"Yes," said White, "you two go along, and don't wait for me.  You see,"
he added, apologetically, to Cabot, "there's been a great catch of
lobsters, and if I can only get them packed before we are interfered
with, we'll make a pretty good season of it, after all."

So the new-comer walked with Cola up the straggling village street,
past a score of fisher cottages, each with a tiny porch, pots of
flowers in the front windows, and a bit of a garden fenced with
wattles, to keep out the children, goats, dogs, and pigs, that swarmed
on all sides.  At length they came to the neatly kept and
comfortable-looking house, overlooking the whole, that White Baldwin
called home.  Here Cabot was presented to the sweet-faced invalid
mother, who sat beside a window of the living-room, from which she
could look out on the little harbour, and who was eager to learn the
details of his recent experiences that White had only found time to
outline to her.

Both mother and daughter listened with deepest interest while Cabot
told of the loss of the "Lavinia," and when he had finished Mrs.
Baldwin said:

"You certainly made a wonderful escape, and I am grateful that my boy
was granted the privilege of rescuing you from that dreadful raft.  I
am confident, also, that you have been brought to this place for some
wise purpose, and trust that you are planning to remain with us as long
as your engagements will permit."

"Thank you, madam," replied Cabot.  "I wish I might accept your
hospitality for a week, at least.  For I am certain I should find much
to enjoy in this delightful region.  I feel, however, that I ought to
catch to-morrow's train, as it is rather necessary for me to reach St.
Johns without further delay."

"It seems queer," remarked Cola, "that this stupid place can strike
even a stranger as being delightful, since there is no one to see but
fisherfolk, who can talk of nothing but fish, and there isn't a thing
to do but watch the boats go and come.  For my part, I am so tired of
it all that I wish something would happen to send us away from here
forever."

"My dear!" said Mrs. Baldwin to Cola, reprovingly.

"Some one seems to have found an occupation here in collecting a
cabinet of specimens," suggested Cabot, indicating, as he spoke, some
shelves covered with bits of rock, that had attracted his attention.

"Yes," admitted Cola, "I have found some amusement in gathering those
things; but I don't know what half of them are, and there is no one
here to tell me."

"Possibly I might help you to name some of them," said Cabot, "as I
have a bowing acquaintance with geology."

"Oh! can you?" cried the girl.  "Then I wish you would, right away, for
I am almost certain that several of them contain minerals, and I want
awfully to know if they are gold."

The next moment the two young people were standing before the cabinet,
deep in the mysteries of periods, ages, formations, series, and other
profound geologic terms.  All at once Cabot paused, and, holding a bit
of serpentine in his hand, asked:

"Did this come from about here?"

[Illustration: "Did this come from about here?"]

"Yes; ail of them did."

"Could you show me the place, or somewhere near where you found it?"

"I think I could, if we had time; but not if you are going away in the
morning, for it would take at least half a day."

"Well," said Cabot, "I believe I might wait over long enough for that,
and guess I won't start for St. Johns to-morrow, after all."




CHAPTER X.

CABOT ACQUIRES A LOBSTER FACTORY.

The Baldwins were greatly pleased at Cabot's decision to wait over a
train; for, as Mrs. Baldwin said, a desirable guest in that
out-of-the-way corner of the world was the greatest of luxuries.  White
was glad to prolong the friendship so strangely begun, and also to
escape a present necessity for leaving his work to carry Cabot to the
distant railway station, while Cola was delighted to have found what
she termed a geologic companion.  After it was arranged that these two
should set forth early the following day on a search for specimens,
Cabot strolled down to the factory to learn something of the process of
canning lobsters.

He was amazed at the change effected in so short a time.  When he
landed at Pretty Harbour the factory had been closed, silent, and
deserted.  Now it was a hive of bustling activity, in which every
available person of the village, including women and children, was hard
at work.  Fires were blazing under a number of great kettles half
filled with boiling water.  Into these, green lobsters were tossed by
barrowfuls, to be taken out a little later smoking hot and coloured a
vivid scarlet.  On the packing tables their shells were broken, and the
extracted meat was put into cans, to which covers, each with a tiny
hole in the middle, were soldered.  Then the filled cans were steamed,
by trayfuls, to exhaust their air; a drop of solder closed each vent,
and they were ready for labelling and packing in cases.  White Baldwin,
in person, superintended all these operations, while David Gidge saw to
the unloading of the "Sea Bee," and kept sharp watch on a gang of
shouting urchins, who were withdrawing the live lobsters from the
outside salt-water pens, in which they had been kept while awaiting
their fate.

White was in high spirits, for the travelling agent of a St. Johns
business house had just offered a good cash price for his entire pack.

"Of course," the young proprietor said to Cabot, as they viewed the
busy scone, "we won't make anything like what we would if we were
allowed a whole uninterrupted season; but, if they will only let us
alone for a week, I'll pack a thousand cases.  Those will yield enough
to support us for a year, and before that is up I'm not afraid but that
I'll find some other way of earning a living.  Now, if I can only get
sufficient help, I'm going to run this factory night and day for the
next week, unless compelled by force to stop sooner."

Cabot was already so interested that he promptly volunteered to aid in
making the all-important pack.

"I don't know anything about the business," he said, "but if you can
make use of me in any way, I shall be only too glad of a chance to
repay a small portion of the great debt I owe you."

"Nonsense!" laughed White.  "You don't owe me a thing, and I don't want
you to feel that way.  At the same time I should be ever so glad of
your help in getting things well started; for just now one strong
fellow like you would be worth a dozen of those children."

So, a few minutes later, Cabot, clad in overalls and an old flannel
shirt of White's, was as hard at work as though the canning of lobsters
was the business of his life.  Far into the night he laboured, only
pausing long enough to go up to the house for supper; and, on the
following morning, he was actually pleased that a heavy rain storm
should postpone the trip for specimens, furnish him with an excuse for
prolonging his stay, and leave him at liberty to resume his
self-imposed task in the factory.

The storm lasted for two days, at the end of which time half the pack
had been made, and Cabot had become so familiar with all details of the
work as to be a most valuable assistant.  On the third day, the supply
of lobsters on hand being exhausted, operations were suspended until
the boats could return with a new catch; and, as the weather was again
fine, Cabot and Cola set forth on their geological exploration.

It was a glorious day, with a sky of deepest blue; the hot sunshine
tempered by a cool breeze pouring in from the sea, and all nature
sparkling with joyous life.  To Cabot, who had thought of Newfoundland
as a place of perpetual fog, and almost constant rain, the whole scene
was a source of boundless delight.  As the two young people climbed the
steep ascent behind the village, new beauties were unfolded with each
moment, until, when they reached the crest, and could look far out over
the islanded bay, with the placid cove and its white hamlet nestling at
their feet, Cabot declared his belief that there was not a more
exquisite view in all the world.

After gazing their fill, the explorers plunged into a sweet-scented
forest of spruce and birches, threaded by narrow wood roads, and
tramped for miles, stopping now and then to examine some outcropping
ledge or gather a handful of snow-white capilear berries.  But the main
object of their quest, the copper-bearing serpentine, was not found
until they had gained the summit of the Blomidon range and were in full
view of the sea.  Then they came to a distinct outcrop of
mineral-bearing rock that caused the eyes of the young geologist to
glisten with anticipation.

While he chipped off specimens, studied the trend of the ledge, and
made such estimates of its character as were possible from surface
indications, his companion climbed a rocky eminence that, short of
Blomidon itself, commanded the most extended view of any in that
region.  She had hardly gained the summit when she uttered a cry that
attracted Cabot's attention and caused him to hasten in her direction.
In a few moments he met her running breathlessly down the hill.

"What is it?" he asked.  "Are you hurt?"

"A warship coming up the coast," she panted.  "I saw it plainly, and we
must get back with the news as quick as we can."

Much as Cabot hated to give over the exploration of that wonderful
copper-bearing ledge, he did not hesitate to obey the imperative call
of friendship, and accompanied Cola with all speed back to the village.
When they reached it they found White jubilant over the extraordinary
catch of lobsters that was even then being brought in.

"Hurrah!" he cried, as Cabot appeared.  "Biggest catch of the season,
and you are just in time to help pack it away.  But what brings you
back so early?  I thought you were off for all day."

"Oh, White, they are coming!" gasped Cola.

"Who are coming?"

"A warship.  I saw it from Maintop."

"British or French?"

"I don't know.  I only knew it was a warship because it was so much
bigger than the 'Harlaw' and had tall masts."

"Well, it don't make any difference," growled White, "one is just as
bad as another, and our business is ruined anyway.  Why couldn't they
have kept away for three days longer?"

"What will they do?" inquired Cabot, curiously.

"I don't know," replied White, bitterly.  "Either destroy or seize the
whole plant and leave us to starve at our leisure.  Now, I suppose we
might as well go up to the house and tell mother.  There's no use doing
any more work under the circumstances."

"I don't see why not," objected Cabot, who was not accustomed to
throwing up a fight before it was begun.  "There is a possibility that
the vessel may not be a warship after all, and another that she is not
coming to this place.  Even if she does, you don't know that she has
any warrant for interfering with your business.  So, if I were you, I'd
go right on with the work and keep at it until some one compelled me to
stop.  I say, though, speaking of warrants gives me an idea.  All you
want is three days' delay, isn't it?"

"That is what I want most just now," replied White.

"Well, then, why not place this property in the name of some
friend--David Gidge, for instance--and when those men-of-war people
begin to make trouble let him ask them whose factory it is they are
after.  They will say yours, or your mother's, of course.  Then he'll
speak up and say in that case they've come to the wrong place, since
this is the property of Mr. David Gidge, while their warrant only
mentions that of Mrs. Whiteway Baldwin.  It'll be a big bluff, of
course, and won't work for very long, but it may puzzle 'em a bit and
give the delay of proceedings that you require."

"I believe you are right about keeping on with the work," replied
White, thoughtfully; "though I am not so sure about the other part of
your scheme.  Anyway, I must run to the house for a little talk with
mother, and if you'll just set things going in the factory I shall be
much obliged."

"All right," agreed Cabot, "I'll shake 'em up."

And he was as good as his word, for when, after an absence of more than
an hour, White reappeared on the scene he found the factory in full
blast, with its operatives working as they had never worked before, and
Cabot Grant, the most disreputable-looking of the lot, urging them on
by voice and example to still greater exertions.  He seemed to be
everywhere and doing everything at once.

"Hello, old man!  We've got greenbacks to burn, and we're a-burning
'em," he cried cheerily as he paused to greet his friend, and at the
same time dash the streaming perspiration from his face with a grimy
hand.  "What's the news?"

"The news is that you are a trump!" exclaimed White, "and that in spite
of all you are doing for us we want you to grant us still another
favour."

"Name it, my boy, and if it is anything within reason, including a
defiance of the whole British navy, I'll do it," laughed Cabot.

"I hope you will, for it is something that we all want you to do very
much," responded White.  "You see it's this way.  I spoke of your
suggestion to mother, and she thought so well of it that I went to the
magistrate and got him to draw up a deed transferring this property,
for a nominal consideration, to a friend.  Now it is all ready for
signatures, and we want you to be that friend."

"Me!" cried Cabot, completely staggered by this unexpected result of
his own planning.  "You can't mean that.  Why, you don't know anything
about me.  For all you know I might never give the property back to
you."

"We are willing to risk that," replied White, "and would rather trust
you to act for us in this matter than any one else we know.  It is a
big favour to ask, I know; but you said you felt indebted to me and
only wanted a chance to pay off the debt, so I thought perhaps--but if
you don't want to do it, of course----"

"But I will, if you really want me to," cried Cabot.  "I have always
longed to own a lobster factory.  It never entered my head when I
proposed the plan that I would help carry it out; but if you think I
can be of the slightest assistance in that way, why of course I am only
too glad."

So the papers constituting Cabot Grant, Esq., sole owner of the Pretty
Harbour lobster factory were duly signed and recorded; and at sunset of
that very evening our hero stood regarding his suddenly acquired
property with the air of one who is dubiously pleased at a prospect.




CHAPTER XI.

BLUFFING THE BRITISH NAVY.

Cabot was not long allowed to enjoy his sense of possession before
experiencing some of the anxieties of proprietorship; for, even as he
stood overlooking his newly acquired factory, a clipper-built schooner,
showing the fine lines and tall topmasts of an American, rounded the
outer headland and entered the harbour.  For a few minutes our young
engineer, who was learning to appreciate the good points of a vessel,
watched her admiringly as she glided across the basin and drew near the
factory wharf.  Then he was joined by White, who had been detained at
the house, and they went down together to greet the new-comer.

She proved to be the fishing schooner "Ruth" of Gloucester, and her
skipper, who introduced himself as Cap'n Ezekiel Bland, explained that
he had come to the coast after bait.

"I 'lowed to get it in St. George," he said, "but there was a pesky
French frigate that wouldn't allow the natives to sell us so much as a
herring, though they had a-plenty and were keen to make a trade for the
stuff I've got aboard."

"What kind of stuff?" asked Cabot, curiously.

"Flour and pork mostly.  You see, I'm bound on a long trip, and being
obliged to lay in a big supply of grub anyway, thought I might as well
stow a few extra barrels to trade for bait; but now it looks like I
couldn't get rid of 'em unless I give 'em away."

"There's plenty of bait in the bay," remarked White.

"Yes, so I've heard, and a plenty of frigates, too.  The Frenchy must
have suspicioned where I was bound, for he has followed us up sharp,
and as we came by South Head I seen him jest a bilin' along 'bout ten
mile astarn, and now he'll poke into every hole of the bay till he
finds us.  Anyhow, there won't be no chance to trade long as he's
round, for you folks don't dare say your soul's your own when there's a
Frenchy on the coast."

"Nor hardly at any other time," remarked White, moodily.

"There's another one, too--Britisher, I reckon--went up the bay towards
Humber Arm ahead of us.  I only wish the two tarnal critters would get
into a scrap and blow each other out of the water.  Then there'd be
some chance for honest folks to make a living.  Now I'm up a stump and
don't know what to do, unless some of you people can let me have a few
barrels of bait right off, so's I can clear out again to-night."

"There isn't any to be had here," replied White, "for this is a lobster
factory, and the whole business of the place, just at present, is
catching and canning lobsters.  You'll find some round at York Harbour,
though."

"No use going there now, nor anywhere else, long as that pesky
Frenchman's on the lookout.  Can't think what made him leave St. Pierre
in such a hurry.  Thought he was good to stay there a week longer at
any rate.  But say, who owns this factory?"

"This gentleman is the proprietor," replied White, indicating his
companion as he spoke.

"Hm!" ejaculated the Yankee skipper, regarding Cabot with an air of
interest.  "Never should have took you to be the owner of a
Newfoundland lobster factory.  Sized you up to be a Yankee same as
myself, and reckoned you was here on a visit.  Seeing as you are the
boss, though, how'd you like to trade your pack for my cargo--lobsters
for groceries?  Both of us might make a good thing out of it.  Eh?
I'll take all the risks, and neither of us needn't pay no duty."

"Can't do it," replied Cabot promptly, "because, in the first place,
I'm not in the smuggling business, and in the second our whole pack is
engaged by parties in St. Johns."

"As for the smuggling part," responded Captain Bland, "I wouldn't let
that worry me a little bit.  Everybody smuggles on this coast, which is
neither British, French, nor Newfoundland.  So a man wouldn't rightly
know who to pay duties to, even if he wanted to pay 'em ever so bad,
which most of us don't.  If you have engaged your goods to St. Johns,
though, of course a bargain is a bargain.  Same time I could afford to
pay you twice as much as any St. Johns merchant.  But it don't matter
much one way or another, seeing as the idea of trading was only an idea
as you may say that just popped into my head.  Well, so long.  It's
coming on dark, and I must be getting aboard.  See you to-morrow,
mebbe."

As the Yankee skipper took his departure, Cabot and White turned into
the factory, where all night long fires blazed and roared beneath the
seething kettles.

Until nearly noon of the following day the work of canning lobsters was
continued without interruption, and pushed with all possible energy.
Then a boy, who had been posted outside the harbour as a lookout, came
hurrying in to report that he had seen a naval launch steaming in that
direction.

The emergency for which Cabot had been planning ever since he consented
to become the responsible head of the concern was close at hand, and he
at once began to take measures to meet it.

"Draw your fires," he shouted.  "Empty the kettles and cool them off.
Pass all cans, empty or full, up into the loft, and then every one of
you clear out.  Remember that you are not to know a thing about the
factory, if anybody asks questions, and you don't even want to give any
one a chance to ask questions if you can help it.  Run up to the
house," he added, turning to the boy who had brought tidings of the
enemy's approach, "and tell Mrs. Baldwin, with my compliments, that the
carriage is ready for her drive."

So thoroughly had everything been explained and understood beforehand,
and so promptly were these orders obeyed, that, half an hour later,
when a jaunty man-of-war's launch, flying a British Jack, entered the
little harbour, every preparation had been made for her reception.  The
factory, closed and silent, presented no outward sign that it had been
in operation for months.  Those who had recently worked so
industriously within its weather-stained walls now lounged about their
own house doors, or on the village street, as though they had nothing
to do, and limitless leisure in which to do it.  White Baldwin, with
his mother and sister, had driven away in a cart, leaving their
tenantless house with closed doors and tightly shuttered windows.
Cabot Grant, with hands thrust into his trousers pockets, leaned
against a wharf post and surveyed the oncoming launch with languid
curiosity.  The Yankee schooner swung gracefully at her moorings, and
from her a boat was pulling towards shore; while on the deck of the
"Sea Bee," also anchored in the stream, David Gidge placidly smoked a
pipe.

The launch slowed down as it neared him, and an officer inquired in the
crisp tones of authority:

"What place is this?"

Deliberately taking the pipe from his mouth, and looking about him as
though to refresh his memory, Mr. Gidge answered:

"I've heard it called by a number of names."

"Was one of them Pretty Harbour?"

"Now that you mention it, I believe it were."

"What kind of a building is that?" continued the officer, sharply,
pointing to the factory as he spoke.

David gazed at the building with interest, as though now seeing it for
the first time.

"Looks to me like a barn," he said at length.  "Same time it might be a
church, though I don't reckon it is."

"Isn't it a lobster factory?"

"They might make lobsters in it, but I don't think they does.  Mebbe
that young man on the wharf could tell ye.  He looks knowing."

Disgusted at this exhibition of stupidity, and muttering something
about a chuckle-headed idiot, the officer motioned for his launch to
move ahead, and, in another minute, it lay alongside the wharf.

"Is this the Pretty Harbour lobster factory?" demanded the officer as
he stepped ashore.

"I believe it was formerly used as a lobster cannery," replied Cabot,
guardedly, "but no business of the kind is being carried on here at
present."

"It is owned by the family of the late William Baldwin, is it not?"

"No, sir."

"Who then does own the property?"

"I do."

"You!" exclaimed the officer.  "And pray, sir, who are you?"

"I am an American citizen named Grant, and have recently acquired this
property by purchase."

"Indeed.  Then of course you possess papers showing the transfer of
ownership."

"Certainly."

"I should like to look at them."

"They have been sent for record to the county seat, where any one who
chooses may examine them."

"Where shall I find a person by the name of Whiteway Baldwin?"

"I can't tell you, as he has left the place."

"Is any member of his family here?"

"No.  All of them went with him."

"Have you the keys of this factory?"

"I have."

"Then I must trouble you to open it, as I wish to look inside."

As the two entered the building, and the officer caught sight of the
machinery used in canning lobsters, he said:

"I am very sorry, Mr. Grant, but I have orders to destroy everything
found in this factory that has been, or may be, used in the canning of
lobsters."

"Those orders apply to the property of Mrs. William Baldwin, do they
not?"

"They do."

"Then, sir, since she no longer owns this building, and I do, together
with all that it contains, I warn you that if you destroy one penny's
worth of my property I shall at once bring suit for damages against
both you and your commanding officer.  I can command plenty of money
and a powerful influence at home, both of which shall be brought to
bear on the case.  If it goes against you my claim will be pressed by
the American Government at the Court of St. James.  Moreover, articles
concerning the outrage will be published in all the leading American
papers.  Public sentiment will be aroused, and you doubtless know as
well as any one whether England, with all the troubles now on her
hands, can afford to incur the ill will of the American people for the
sake of a pitiful lobster factory.  You can see for yourself that no
illegal business--nor in fact business of any kind--is being carried on
here at present, and, under the circumstances, I would advise you to
take time for serious reflection before you begin to destroy the
property of an American citizen."

Bewildered by this unexpected aspect of the situation, and remembering
how a suit brought by the proprietors of that same factory had gone
against a former British commander who had interfered with its
operations, the officer hemmed and hawed and made several remarks
uncomplimentary to Americans, but finally decided to lay the case
before his captain.  As he reentered his launch he said:

"Of course you understand, sir, that no work of any kind is to be done
in this building between this and the time of my return, nor may
anything whatever be removed from it."

"I understand perfectly," replied Cabot.  Yet within half an hour the
employees of the factory had returned to their tasks, fires had been
re-lighted, kettles were boiling merrily, and the place again hummed
with busy activity.

"Young feller, it was the biggest bluff I ever see, and it worked!"
exclaimed Captain Ezekiel Bland a few minutes earlier, as he stood on
the wharf with Cabot watching the departing launch.




CHAPTER XII.

ENGLAND AND FRANCE COME TO BLOWS.

The Baldwins returned to their home shortly after the departure of the
discomfited officer, and listened with intense interest to Cabot's
report of all that had taken place during their absence.

"So one but a Yankee would have thought of such a plan!" exclaimed
White, "or had the cheek to carry it out.  But it makes me feel as mean
as dirt to have run away and left you to face the music alone."

"You needn't," replied Cabot, "for your absence was one of the most
important things, and I couldn't possibly have carried out the
programme if you had been there.  Now, though, we've got to hustle, for
I expect that navy chap will be back again to-morrow, and whatever we
can accomplish between now and then will probably end the
lobster-packing business so far as this factory is concerned."

That night the workers received a reinforcement, as unexpected as it
was welcome, from the crew of the Yankee schooner, who, led by Captain
Bland, came to assist their fellow countryman in his struggle against
foreign oppression.  With this timely and expert aid, the canning
business was so rushed that by ten o'clock of the next morning, when
the lookout again reported a launch to be approaching, every can was
filled and the pack was completed.  More than half of it had also been
removed from the factory and stowed aboard the "Sea Bee," ready for
delivery to the St. Johns purchaser.

"I wish he were here now," said White, "so that we might settle up our
business with him before those chaps arrive."

"Well, he isn't," replied Cabot, "and we must protect the goods as best
we can until he comes.  In the meantime I think you'd better disappear
and leave me to manage alone, the same as I did yesterday."

"No.  I won't run away again.  I'm going to stay and face the music."

"All right," agreed Cabot.  "Perhaps it will be just as well, since the
factory is closed sure enough this time.  You must let me do all the
talking, though, and perhaps in some way we'll manage to scare 'em off
again."

"If we could have just one day more we'd be all right," said White,
"but there they come.  Only, I say!  They are Frenchmen this time.  See
the flag."

Sure enough.  Instead of flying the British Union Jack the launch that
now appeared in the harbour displayed the tri-colour of the French
Republic.  Thus, when Cabot and White reached the wharf, they were just
in time to greet their acquaintance of St. Pierre, the lieutenant of
the French frigate "Isla," whom White had so neatly outwitted in that
port.  As he stepped ashore he was accompanied by a sharp-featured,
black-browed individual, whom White recognised as M. Delom, proprietor
of a French lobster factory located on another shore of the bay.

"That chap has come for pickings and stealings," he remarked in a low
tone.

"Shouldn't wonder," returned Cabot, "for he looks like a thief."

"Ah, ha, Monsieur Baldwin!  I haf catch you zis time, an' you cannot
now gif me what you call ze sleep," cried the French lieutenant.  "Also
I am come to siz your property, for you may no more can ze lob of ze
Francaise.  Behol'!  I have ze aut'orization."

So saying, the officer drew forth and unfolded with a flourish a paper
that he read aloud.  It was an order for the confiscation and removal
of all property owned by a person, or persons, named Baldwin, and used
by them contrary to law in canning lobsters on the French territory of
Newfoundland, and it was signed: "Charmian, Capitan de Fregate."

"So, Monsieur Baldwin," continued the officer, when he had finished the
reading, "you will gif to me ze key of your factory zat I may from it
remof ze materiel.  I sall also take your schooner for to convey it to
ze factory of M. Delom.  Is it plain, ma intention?"

"Your intention is only too plain," responded White.  "You are come to
aid that thief in stealing my property; but you are too late, for the
factory no longer belongs to the Baldwin family."

"Ah!  Is it so?  Who zen belong to it?"

"This gentleman is the present owner," replied White, "and you must
arrange your business with him."

"Who is he?" demanded the Frenchman, surveying Cabot contemptuously
from head to foot.  "But I do not care.  Ze material mus all ze same be
remof."

"I am an American citizen," interrupted Cabot, "and I forbid you to
touch my property.  If you do so I shall claim damages through the
American government, and in the meantime I shall call on the British
frigate now in this bay for protection."

"For ze Americains I do not care," cried the Frenchman, assuming a
theatrical attitude.  "For l'Anglais, pouf!  I also care not.  When it
is my duty I do him.  Ze material mus be remof.  Allons, mes garcons."

A dozen French bluejackets, armed with cutlasses and pistols, had
gathered behind their leader, and now these sprang forward with a
shout, clearing a way through the collected throng of villagers.
Advancing upon the main entrance to the factory, they quickly battered
down its door and rushed inside.  With them went swarthy-faced Delom,
who gloated over the spoil that now seemed within his grasp, and which
would make his own factory the best equipped on the coast, he was
especially pleased to note the pack all boxed ready for shipment, and
our lads saw him direct the officer's attention to it.  As a result the
latter gave an order, and in another minute a file of French
bluejackets, each with a case of canned lobster on his shoulder, was
marching towards the door.

Just as they reached it there came a shout and a tramp of heavy feet
from the outside.  Then a stern voice cried:

"Halt!  What are you doing here, you French beggars?  Drop those boxes
and clear out."

As the Frenchmen halted irresolute, their officer, who could not see
what was going on, but imagined that some of the villagers were
blocking the entrance, shouted for them to march on and clear away the
canaille who dared oppose them.

The French bluejackets attempted to obey, but, with their first forward
movement, they were met by an inrush of sturdy British sailors, who
sent them and their burdens crashing to the floor in every direction.
Some of them as they regained their feet drew their cutlasses, while
others fell upon the new-comers with their fists.  A pistol shot rang
out, and a British sailor pitched heavily forward.  At the same instant
both officers sprang into the melee, beating back their men with the
flat of their swords, and fiercely ordering them to desist from further
fighting.

[Illustration: Others fell on the new-comers with their fists.]

So sharp had been the brief encounter between these hereditary enemies,
that as they sullenly withdrew their clutch from each other's throats a
British sailor remained on the floor striving to staunch the blood that
spurted from a bullet wound in his leg, while near at hand lay a French
bluejacket, as white and motionless as though dead.  Another Frenchman
had a broken arm, while several others on both sides looked askance at
their enemies from blackened eyes and swollen faces.

"Sir!" cried the French lieutenant, the moment order was so far
restored that he could make himself heard, "I am bidden by my
commandant, ze Chevalier Charmian, capitan de frigate 'Isla,' to remof
all material from zis building, and in his name I protest against zis
mos outrage interference."

"Sir," answered the British officer, "I am ordered by my captain to
destroy all property contained in this building, and not permit the
removal of a single article."

"But I will not allow it destroyed!"

"And I will not allow it removed."

For a moment the two glared at each other in speechless rage.  Then the
Frenchman said:

"As humanity compels me to gif immediate attention to my men, wounded
by ze unprovoked assault of your barbarians, I sall at once carry zem
to my sheep, where I sail immediately also report zis outrage to my
commandant."

"Same here," replied the Englishman, laconically, and with this both
officers ordered their men to fall back to the launches, carrying with
them their wounded comrades.

During the progress of this thrilling episode our two lads had watched
it in breathless excitement without once thinking of leaving the
building, though a back door opened close at hand.  So intent were they
upon what was taking place that they did not notice the approach of a
third person until he was close beside them and had addressed White by
name.  He was the St. Johns travelling man, who had engaged the Baldwin
pack for his firm, and now he said in low, hurried tones:

"You fellows want to skip out of this while you can, for that British
officer has got orders to arrest you both and carry you to St. Johns
for trial.  Charges--contempt of court and carrying on an illegal
business.  Awfully sorry I can't take your goods, but order has been
issued that any one handling them will also be arrested and subject to
heavy fine.  Hurry up.  They are making a move, and he'll be looking
for you directly.  Don't let on that I gave you the tip."

With this the man moved away, and without exchanging a word our lads
slipped out of the nearby door.

So fully was the British officer occupied in getting his men back to
their launch without making another attack upon their hated rivals,
that not until all were safely on board did he remember that he had
been charged to bring off two prisoners.  Now he was in a quandary.
Those whom he desired were nowhere to be seen, and he dared not leave
his men, whose fighting blood was still at fever heat, long enough to
go in search of them.  Also the French launch was about to depart, and
it would never do for the captain of the "Isla" to be informed of the
recent unfortunate encounter in advance of his own commander.  So, with
a last futile look ashore, he reluctantly gave the order to shove off,
and side by side, their crews screaming taunts at each other, the two
launches raced out of the harbour.

As Cabot and White watched them from a place of snug concealment, the
latter heaved a sigh of relief, saying:

"Well, I'm mighty glad they're gone, and haven't got us with them; but
I do wish that fight could have lasted a few minutes longer."

"Wasn't it lovely!" retorted Cabot, "and isn't the lobster industry on
this coast just about the most exciting business in the world!"




CHAPTER XIII.

A PRISONER OF WAR.

With the disappearance of the launches our lads realised that it was
time to make new plans for immediate action.  So, as they walked slowly
back towards the village, they earnestly discussed the situation.

"It is too bad that I have drawn you into such a scrape," said White,
"and the very first thing for me to do is to make an effort to get you
out of it.  So, if you like, I will drive you over to the station this
afternoon, where you can take the morning train for St. Johns."

"No," replied Cabot, "that wouldn't do at all.  In the first place, you
didn't draw me into the scrape.  I went into it with my eyes open, and
am quite ready to stand by what I have done.  In fact I rather enjoy it
than otherwise.  At the same time I do not propose to be arrested if I
can help it, and for that reason do not care to visit St. Johns at
present.  Even at the railway station we should be very likely to meet
and be recognised by some of our recent unpleasant naval acquaintances.
Besides, I am going to see this thing through, and shall stand by you
just as long as I can be of any service, for I hope you don't think so
meanly of me as to imagine that I would desert in the time of his
trouble the fellow who saved my life."

"I never for one moment thought meanly of you," declared White, "and I
know that in rescuing you from that raft I also gained for myself one
of the best friends I ever had.  For that very reason, though, I don't
want to abuse your friendship."

"All right," laughed Cabot.  "Whenever I feel abused I'll let you know.
And now, it being settled that we are to fight this thing out together,
what do you propose to do with the pack we have worked so hard to make?"

"I don't know," replied White, despondently; "but, as it is legally
your property, I think you ought to decide what is to be done with it."

"Nonsense!" retorted Cabot.  "It no more really belongs to me than it
does to that black-faced Frenchman.  At the same time I'd fight rather
than let him have it."

"I'd toss every case into the sea first," cried White, "and everything
the factory contains besides."

"'Same here,' as the Englishman said; but I guess we can do better than
that.  Why not accept Captain Bland's offer, and trade it to him for
groceries?"

"I thought you were opposed to receiving smuggled goods?"

"So I am on general principles," admitted Cabot, "but circumstances
alter cases.  I consider the highway robbery that two of the most
powerful nations of the world are attempting right here a circumstance
strong enough to alter any case.  So I would advise you to accept the
only offer now remaining open.  You will at least get enough groceries
to keep your family supplied for a year."

"I should say so, and for two years more, provided the goods didn't
spoil."

"Then you might sell what you couldn't use."

"Where?" asked White.  "Not in Newfoundland, for they would be seized
as contraband in any part of the island.  Besides, you seem to forget
that as both of us are liable to arrest, we are hardly in a position to
go into the grocery business just at present."

"That's so.  Well, then, why not carry them somewhere else in the 'Sea
Bee'?  To Canada, or--I have it!  You said something once about making
a trading trip to Labrador, and now is the very opportunity.  Why
shouldn't we take the goods to Labrador?  I don't believe we'd be
arrested in that country, even for smuggling, and they must need a lot
of provisions up there.  It's the very thing, and the sooner we can
arrange to be off the better."

"But you don't want to go to Labrador," protested White.

"Don't I?  There's where you make a big mistake; for I do want to go to
Labrador more than to any other place I know of.  Also I would rather
go there with you in the 'Sea Bee' than in any other company, or by any
other conveyance.  So there you are, and if you don't invite me to
start for Labrador before that brass-bound navy chap has a chance to
arrest me, I shall consider myself a victim of misplaced confidence."

"I do believe you have hit upon the very best way out of our troubles,"
said White, thoughtfully.  "If I could arrange to leave mother, and if
the Yankee captain would make a part payment in cash, so that she and
Cola could get along until my return, I believe I would go."

"You can leave your mother and sister now as well as when you went to
St. Johns, and better, for I am sure David Gidge would look out for
them during the month or so that we'll be away."

"But David would have to go along to help work the schooner."

"I don't see why.  You and I could manage without him, and so save his
wages, or his share of the voyage, which would amount to the same
thing.  If one man can sail a 30-foot boat around the world alone, as
Captain Slocum did, two of us certainly ought to be able to take a
50-foot schooner up to Labrador and back.  Any way I'm game to try it,
if you are, and I'd a heap rather risk it than stay here to be
arrested.  There is Captain Bland now.  Let's go and talk with him."

The Yankee skipper stood near the shattered door of the factory in
company with a number of villagers, all of whom seemed greatly
interested in something going on inside.  As our lads drew near these
made way for them, and Captain Bland said:

"'Pears like the new owner is making himself perfectly at home."

Inside the factory the Frenchman Delom, who had remained behind to make
good his claim to the confiscated property of his rival, was too busily
at work to pay any attention to the disparaging remarks and muttered
threats of those whom he had forbidden to enter.  He had collected all
the tools and lighter machinery into a pile ready for removal, and was
now marking with his own stencil such of the filled cases as remained
on the lower floor.

So dreaded was the power of France on that English coast that up to
that moment no one had dared interfere with him, but Cabot Grant was
not troubled by a fear of France or any other nation, and, as he
realised what was going on, he sprang into the building.  The next
instant our young football player had that Frenchman by the collar and
was rushing him towards the doorway.  From it he projected him so
violently that the man measured his length on the ground a full rod
beyond it.

Livid with rage at this assault, the Frenchman scrambled to his feet,
whipped out an ugly-looking knife, and started towards Cabot with
murderous intent.

[Illustration: Livid with rage, the Frenchman whipped out an
ugly-looking knife.]

"No you don't," shouted Captain Bland, and in another moment Monsieur
Delom's arms were pinioned behind him, while he struggled helplessly in
the iron grasp of the Yankee skipper.

"I think we'd better tie him," remarked the latter quietly.  "'Tain't
safe to let a varmint like this loose on any community."

White produced a rope and was stepping forward with it, but Cabot took
it from him, saying: "For the sake of your family you mustn't have
anything to do with this affair."  So he and Captain Bland bound the
Frenchman hand and foot, took away his knife, and carried him for
present safe keeping to a small, dark building that was used for the
storage of fish oil.  Here they locked him in, and left him to meditate
at leisure on the fate of those who have done to them, what they would
do to others if they could.

"Well," said Captain Bland, at the conclusion of this incident, "you
young fellers always seem to have something interesting on hand; what
are you going to do next?  Are you going to skin out, or wait for the
return of the French and English fleets?  I'd like to know, 'cause I
want to be getting a move on; but if there's going to be any more fun I
expect I'll have to wait and take it in."

"I expect our next move depends very largely on you, captain," replied
White.  "Are you still willing to trade your cargo for our pack?"

"I might be, and then again I mightn't," answered the Yankee, as he
meditatively chewed a blade of grass.  "You see, the risk of the thing
has been so increased during the past two days that I couldn't make
nigh so good an offer now as I could at first.  Also, here's so many
claiming the pack of this factory that I'm in considerable doubt as to
who is the rightful owner.  First there's the Baldwin interest and the
American interest, represented by you two chaps.  Then there's the St.
Johns interest, represented by that travelling man; the British
interest, which is a mighty powerful one, seeing that it is supported
by the English navy; the French government interest, which is likewise
backed up by a fleet of warships, and the French factory interest,
represented by our friend in limbo, who, though he isn't saying much
just now, seems to have a pretty strong political pull.  So, on the
whole, the ownership appears to be muddled, and the pack itself subject
to a good many conflicting claims.  I expect also that the factory
workmen and the lobster catchers have some sort of a lien on it for
services rendered."

"Look here, Captain Bland," said Cabot, "we understand perfectly that
all you have just said is trade talk, made to depreciate the value of
our goods, and you know as well as I do that they have but one rightful
owner."

"Who is that?" asked the skipper with an air of interest.

"Mrs. William Baldwin."

"But I thought she deeded the property to you."

"So she did; but as I am not yet of age that deed is worth no more than
the paper on which it is written."

"You don't mean it.  What a whopping big bluff it was then!" cried
Captain Bland, admiringly.  "Beats any I ever heard of, and I'm proud
to know 'twas a Yankee that worked it.  What you say does alter the
situation considerable, and I'd like to have Miss Baldwin's own views
on the subject of a trade."

In accordance with this wish an adjournment was made to the house,
where Mrs. Baldwin assured the Yankee skipper of her willingness to
abide by any agreement made with him by her son and Mr. Grant.

"Which so simplifies matters, ma'am," replied the captain, "that I
think we may consider a trade as already effected, and make bold to say
that this season's pack of the Pretty Harbour lobster factory will be
sold somewhere's else besides Newfoundland."




CHAPTER XIV.

THE "SEA BEE" UNDER FIRE.

The arrangement made with the Yankee skipper was satisfactory, save in
one respect.  He was willing to trade provisions for canned lobsters to
the extent of taking the entire pack, and he also offered to remove the
machinery outfit of the factory on the chance of finding a purchaser
for it in the States, but he refused to make any cash advance on the
goods.

"I'm willing," he said, "to risk considerable for the sake of being
accommodating, and with the hope of making a little something, but I
can't afford to risk cold cash."

"I don't see how we can make a trade, then," remarked White, as he and
Cabot discussed the situation.  "It will take every penny I've got to
pay off the hands, and though I believe we could make a good thing out
of a Labrador trip, I can't leave mother and Cola without a cent while
I'm away.  If he would only let me have fifty dollars----"

"He won't, though," interrupted Cabot, "but I will.  I have got just
that amount of money with me, and, as I shan't have any use for it in
Labrador, I should be more than pleased to leave it here for safe
keeping."

White at first refused to take his friend's money; but on Cabot's
declaring that he had plenty more on deposit in St. Johns, he
gratefully accepted the loan, which he promised to repay from the very
first sale of goods they should make.

Everything being thus arranged, preparations for departure were pushed
with all speed.  Such of the pack as remained in the factory was
hurried aboard the "Ruth" by a score of willing workers, who also
transferred to her every tool and bit of machinery, including the big
kettles.  Then she and the "Sea Bee," the latter manned by two of the
Yankee sailors, with David Gidge as pilot, sailed from the harbour, and
were lost to sight beyond its protecting headland.

The next hour was spent in settling with the lobster catchers and those
who had been employed in the factory, each of whom was warned to give
no information concerning the movements of the two schooners.  This was
barely finished when the boy who had been posted outside immediately
after the departure of the naval launches came hurrying in with news
that both of them were returning.

"My!" cried Cabot, "but I'd like to see the fun when they get here."

"I am afraid you'd see more than enough of it," replied White, "for
they'll be keen on getting us this time.  So we'd best be starting.
Hold on a minute, though; I want to leave proof behind that we haven't
gone off with either of the schooners."

With this he ran down to the oil house, in which their well-nigh
forgotten prisoner was still confined.  Flinging open the door, he
said, in a tone of well-feigned regret:

"It is too bad, Monsieur Delom, that you should have been kept so long
in this wretched place, but I dared not attempt your release while
those terrible Yankees were here.  Now, however, they are gone and you
are once more free.  Also, as I realise that I can no longer maintain
my factory here, you are at liberty to make what use you please of its
contents.  Accept my congratulations on your good fortune, monsieur.
As for me, I must now leave you to prepare for my journey to St. Johns."

With this White bade the bewildered Frenchman a mocking adieu, and left
him still blinking at the sunlight from which he had been so long
secluded.

A few minutes later the Baldwin house again stood, closed and
tenantless, while a cart driven by Cola, and accompanied by the two
young men on foot, climbed the hill back of the village by a road
leading to the nearest railway station.  Monsieur Delom witnessed this
departure, as did many others, but no one saw the cart leave the
highway a little later and turn into a dim trail leading through an
otherwise pathless forest.  After a time it emerged from this on
another road and came to a farmhouse to which Mrs. Baldwin had
previously been taken.  Here mother and son bade each other farewell,
while the former also prayed for a blessing upon the stranger who had
so befriended them, and whose fortunes had become so curiously linked
with theirs.  Then the cart with Cola still acting as driver rattled
away, and was quickly lost to sight.

It lacked but an hour of sunset when our refugees reached a pocket on
the outer coast, in which the two schooners lay snugly, side by side,
nearly filling the tiny harbour.  On the beach David Gidge already
waited, and, as the lads transferred their few effects to the boat that
had brought him ashore, he climbed stiffly into the cart which Cola was
to guide back over the way it had just come.

"Good-bye, Cola," said Cabot, as he held for a moment the hand of the
girl he had come to regard almost as a sister.  "Try and have a lot of
specimens ready for me when we come back."

"Good-bye, sister!" cried White.  "Take care of mother, and don't let
her worry about us.  We'll be back almost before you have time to miss
us.  Good-bye, David!  I trust you to look out for them because you
have promised."

"Oh! how I wish I were a boy and going with you," exclaimed Cola.  "It
is so stupid to be left behind with nothing to do but just wait.  Do
please hurry back."

"All right," replied her brother.  "With good luck we'll sail into
Pretty Harbour inside of a month, and perhaps with money enough to take
us all to the States."

"Oh, wouldn't that be splendid!   Do get started, for the sooner you
are off the quicker you'll come back," cried the girl.

"That's so.  Come on, Cabot," and in another minute the boat had shot
out from the beach, while the cart was slowly climbing the rugged trail
that led inland.

On reaching the schooners our lads found Captain Bland impatiently
awaiting them, since the transfer of goods was nearly completed, and he
was anxious to get his compromising cargo away from the coast patrolled
by those meddlesome frigates.

"Let me once get beyond the three-mile limit," he said, "and I wouldn't
mind meeting a fleet of 'em; if either one of 'em caught me in here,
though, I'd not only stand to lose cargo, but schooner as well.  So I
reckon we'd best get a move on at once, and talk business while we tow
out."

As our lads wore equally desirous of gaining a safe distance from the
authorities they had so openly defied, they readily agreed to Captain
Bland's proposal, and four dories, each manned by a couple of stalwart
Yankee fishermen, were ordered to tow the schooners from their snug
hiding place.  While this was going on, and White was busily engaged on
the deck of the "Sea Bee," Cabot and Captain Bland were examining
invoices and price lists in her cabin.

"Here's a list of all I've put aboard," said the latter, "and you'll
see I've only made a small freight charge over and above the cost price
in Boston.  Same time I've allowed for your pack the full market price
on canned lobsters according to latest St. Johns quotations, and you
ought not to sell a single barrel at less 'n one hundred per cent.
clear profit.  As for the kettles and tools, here's an order on my
owners in Gloucester for them, or what they'll fetch less a freight
charge, provided I get 'em there all right; but I want both you and
young Baldwin to sign this release that frees me from all claims for
loss of property in case anything happens to 'em."

"I am perfectly willing to sign it," replied Cabot, "because I have no
ownership in the property, but I shouldn't think Baldwin would care to
give such a release."

"I guess he will, though," said the skipper.

And he was right, for White readily consented to sign the paper, saying
that the property would have been lost anyhow if it had been left
behind.  "I have also full faith that Captain Bland will do the right
thing about it," he added, "for, while I have always found you Yankees
sharp as knives in a trade, I have yet to meet one whom I wouldn't
trust."

"Thank you, Mr. Baldwin," said the skipper, "and I shall try my best
not to be the first to abuse your confidence."

So the paper was signed, and White had barely laid down his pen when
the occupants of the cabin were startled by a loud cry from above,
followed almost immediately by a distant shot.  Hurrying on deck they
found that the schooner had reached open water and was beginning to
feel the influence of an offshore breeze.  At the same time the man
whom White had left at the tiller was pointing up the coast, where they
caught sight of a steam launch that had just cleared South Head.

"He fired a shot at us," announced the steersman.

"That's all right 'long's he didn't hit us," replied Captain Bland.
"It is our French friend, and he only took that way of hinting that he
wished us to wait for him.  I don't think we can afford the time just
now, though--leastways, I can't.  Hello there in boats!  Drop your tow
lines and come alongside."

"Do you think there is any chance of our getting away from him?" asked
Cabot.

"Dunno.  Mebbe, if the breeze freshens, as I believe it will.  Anyhow,
I'm going to give him a race for his money.  Good-bye!  Good luck, and
I hope we'll meet again before long."

So saying Captain Bland, taking the steersman with him, stepped into a
dory that had come alongside and was rowed towards his own schooner.
He had hardly gained her deck before she set main and jib topsails and
a big main staysail.  Our lads also sprang to their own sails, and
spread to the freshening breeze every stitch of canvas that the "Sea
Bee" possessed.  When they next found time to look at the "Ruth," White
uttered an exclamation of astonishment, for she had already gained a
good half mile on them and was moving with the speed of a steam yacht.

"There's no chance of the Yankee being caught," he said enviously, "but
there's a mighty big one that we will."

Although the "Sea Bee" was holding a course in the wake of the "Ruth,"
and was heeled handsomely over before the same freshening breeze, she
was not doing so well by a half, and it was evident that in a long run
the launch must overtake her.

"She is certainly gaining on us," said Cabot, after a long look, and he
had hardly spoken before a second shot from the launch plumped a ball
into the water abreast of the little schooner and not two rods away.

White, who was at the tiller, glanced nervously backward.  "Do you want
to heave to and let them overhaul us?" he asked.

"Certainly not," replied Cabot promptly.  "They have no right to meddle
with us out here, and I would keep straight on without paying the
slightest attention to them until they either sink us or get alongside."

"All right," laughed the other.  "I only wanted to make sure how you
felt.  Some fellows, you know, don't like to have cannon balls fired at
them."




CHAPTER XV.

OFF FOR LABRADOR.

Slowly but surely the launch gained on the flying schooner, until, as
the sun was sinking behind its western horizon of water, she fired a
shot that passed through the "Sea Bee's" mainsail and fell a hundred
yards beyond her.

"Wh-e-e-w!" exclaimed White, as he glanced up at the clean-cut hole.
"That's rather too close for comfort, and I shouldn't be surprised if
the next one made splinters fly.  However, it will soon be dark, and
then, if we are not disabled, we may be able to give them the slip."

"I don't believe there's going to be another shot," cried Cabot, who
was gazing eagerly astern.  "No--yes--hurrah!  They are turning back.
They have given it up, old man, and we are safe.  Bully for us!  I
wonder what possesses them to do such a thing, though, when they had so
nearly caught us?"

"Can't imagine," replied White, who was also staring at the launch,
which certainly had circled back and was making towards the place
whence she had come.  "They are afraid to be caught out at sea after
dark perhaps.  I always understood that Frenchmen made mighty poor
sailors.  Lucky thing for us she wasn't a British launch, for they'd
have kept on around the world but what they'd had us."

In justice to the Frenchmen it should be said that their reason for
turning back, which our lads did not learn until long afterwards, was
the imminent exhaustion of their coal supply, which, not calculated for
a long cruise, would barely serve to carry them back to the Bay of
Islands.

By the time the launch was lost to sight in the growing dusk the "Ruth"
had also disappeared.  She was headed southward when last seen, and now
White said it was time that they, too, were turning towards their
ultimate destination.  So, topsails and mainstaysail were taken in, and
the helm was put down until fore and mainsails jibed over.  Then sheets
were trimmed until the little schooner, with lee rail awash, was
running something east of north, on an easy bowline, carrying a bone in
her teeth and leaving a bubbling wake trailing far astern.  With
everything thus satisfactorily in shape, White lighted the binnacle
lamp, and giving Cabot a course to steer, went below to prepare the
first meal of their long cruise.  "You must keep a sharp lookout," he
said as he disappeared down the companionway, "for I don't dare show
any lights.  So if we are run into we'll have only ourselves to blame."

Left thus to his own devices, Cabot realised for the first time the
responsibility of his position and began to reflect seriously upon what
he had done.  Until this time one disturbing event had followed another
so rapidly that he had been borne along almost without a thought of
what he was doing or of the consequences.  As a result, instead of
carrying out the purpose for which he had been sent to Newfoundland,
and studying its mineral resources, he now found himself forced into
flight for having defied the authorities of the island, embarked upon a
doubtful trading venture into one of the wildest and least known
portions of the continent, and, with but a slight knowledge of
seamanship, engaged in navigating a small sailing vessel across one of
its stormiest seas.  What would his guardian and employer say could he
know all this and see him at the present moment?

"I wish he could, though," exclaimed Cabot half aloud, "for it would be
fun to watch his look of amazement and hear his remarks.  I suppose he
is wondering what has become of that Bell Island report I was to send
in the first thing, and I guess he'll have to wonder for some time
longer, as St. Johns is about the last place I feel like visiting just
at present.  I certainly have made a mess of my affairs, though, so
far, and it looks as if I had only just begun, too.  At the same time I
don't see how I could have acted differently.  I tried hard enough to
reach St. Johns, and would have got there all right if it hadn't been
for this factory business.  But when the fellow who saved my life got
into trouble, from which I could help him out, I'm sure even Mr.
Hepburn would say I was bound to do it.  Besides, I have found one
promising outcrop of copper, and now I'm off for Labrador; so perhaps
things will turn out all right after all.  Anyway I'm learning how to
sail a boat, and that is something every fellow ought to know.  I wish
it wasn't so awfully dark though, and that White would hurry up with
that supper, for I am powerful hungry.  How good it smells, and what a
fine chap he is.  Falling in with him was certainly a great bit of
luck.  But how this confounded compass wabbles, and how the schooner
jumps off her course if I lift my eyes from it for a single instant.  I
don't see why she can't go straight if I hold the tiller perfectly
still.  There's a star dead ahead, and I guess I'll steer by it.  Then
I can keep the sharp lookout White spoke of at the same time."

Thus deciding, the anxious helmsman fixed his gaze upon the newly risen
star that he had just discovered, and wondered admiringly at its rapid
increase in brilliancy.  After a little he rubbed his eyes and looked
again at two more stars that had suddenly appeared above the horizon
directly below the first one.

"Never saw red and green stars before," Cabot muttered.  "Must be
peculiar to this high latitude.  Wonder if they can be stars, though?
Oh! what a chump I am.  White!  I say, White, come up here quick!"

In obedience to this summons the young skipper thrust his head from the
companionway.

"What's up?" he asked.

"Don't know exactly," replied Cabot, "but there is a lighthouse or a
dock or something right in front of us."

"Steamer!" cried White as he sprang on deck and glanced ahead.  "Keep
her away, quick.  I don't want them to sight us."

"Steamer," repeated Cabot as he obeyed this order and let the schooner
fall off to leeward.  "I never thought of such a thing as a steamer
away up here.  Do you mean that she is a frigate?"

"No," laughed White.  "There are other steamers besides frigates even
in these waters, and that is one of them.  She is the 'Harlaw,' from
Flower Cove, near the northern end of the island, and bound for
Halifax.  It's mighty lucky she didn't pass us by daylight."

"Why?"

"Because she is already heading in for the Bay of Islands and would
have reported us as soon as she got there.  Then we would have had a
frigate after us sure enough."

"But how do you know she's a steamer?  Mightn't she be a sailing
vessel!"

"Not with that white light at her foremast head.  Sailing vessels
aren't allowed to show any above their side lights.  Now go below and
eat your supper while I take her."

This eating alone was such an unpleasant feature of the cruise that, as
Cabot sat down to his solitary meal, he regretted having persuaded
White to leave David Gidge behind.

"I am afraid this going to sea shorthanded will prove a false economy
after all," he said to himself, thereby reaching a conclusion that has
been forced upon seafaring men since ships first sailed the ocean.

Finishing his supper as quickly as possible, Cabot rejoined his
companion, and begged him also to hurry that they might bear each other
company on deck.

"All right," agreed White, "only, of course, I shall be longer than you
were, for I have to wash and put away the dishes."

"Oh, bother the dishes!" exclaimed Cabot "Let them go till morning."

"Not much.  We haven't any too many dishes as it is, nor a chance of
getting any more, and if I should leave them where they are we probably
wouldn't have any by morning.  Besides, it wouldn't be tidy, and an
untidy ship is worse than an untidy house, because you can't get away
from it.  But I won't be long."

True to his promise, White, bringing with him a heavy oilskin coat and
an armful of blankets, speedily rejoined his comrade, who was by this
time shivering in the chill night air.

"Put this on," said the young skipper, tendering Cabot the oilskin,
"and then I am going to ask you to stand first watch.  I will roll up
in these blankets and sleep here on deck, so that you can get me up at
a moment's notice.  You want to wake me at midnight, anyhow, when I
will take the morning watch."

"Very well," agreed Cabot resignedly.  "I suppose you know what is best
to be done, but it seems to me that we are arranging for a very
lonesome cruise on regular Box and Cox lines."

As White had no knowledge of Box and Cox he did not reply to this
grumble, but, rolling up in his blankets until he resembled a huge
cocoon, almost instantly dropped asleep.

During the next four hours Cabot, shivering with cold and aching with
weariness, but never once allowing his tired eyes to close, remained at
his post.  Through the black night, and over the still darker waters,
he guided the flying schooner according to the advice of the unstable
compass card that formed the only spot of light within his whole range
of vision.  At the same time, knowing how little of skill he possessed
in this new line of business, and not yet having a sailor's confidence
in the craft that bore him, he was filled with such a fear of the
night, the wind, the leaping waters, and a thousand imaginary dangers
that his hardest struggle was against an ever-present impulse to arouse
his sleeping comrade.  But he would not yield, and finally had the
satisfaction of coming unaided to the end of his watch.

"Midnight, and all hands on deck," he shouted, and White, springing up,
asked:

"What's happened?  Anything gone wrong?"

"Nothing yet," replied Cabot, "but something will happen if you leave
me at this wretched tiller a minute longer."

"I won't," laughed the other.  "It will only take me half a minute to
get an eye-opener in shape of a cup of cold tea, and then you can turn
in."

When Cabot was at length free to seek his bunk he turned in all
standing, only kicking off his boots.  The very next thing of which he
was conscious was being shaken and told that breakfast was ready.

It was broad daylight; the sun was shining; the breeze had so moderated
that White had been able to leave the schooner to herself with a lashed
helm while he prepared breakfast, and as Cabot tumbled out he wondered
if he had really been anxious and fearful a few hours earlier.

All that day and through the following night our lads kept watch and
watch while the "Sea Bee" travelled up the coast.  Early on the second
morning they passed Flower Cove, and from this point White headed
directly across the Strait of Belle Isle, which, here, is but a dozen
miles in width.  Then, as Newfoundland grew dim behind them, a new
coast backed by a range of lofty hills came into view ahead; and, in
answer to Cabot's eager question, White said:

"Yes, that is Labrador, and those are the Bradore Hills back of
Forteau."




CHAPTER XVI.

MOSQUITOES OF THE FAR NORTH.

While Cabot gazed eagerly at the lofty but still distant coast towards
which all their hopes were now directed, his companion was casting
anxious glances to the eastward, where a low hanging bank of cloud
betokened an advancing fog.  He had good reason to be apprehensive, for
this northern entrance to the gulf of St. Lawrence forms the shortest
route for steamers plying between Canadian and European ports.
Consequently many of them use it during the brief summer season when it
is free from ice.  At the same time it is a stormy stretch of water,
tormented by powerful currents, and generally shrouded in fog.

Early in the season countless icebergs, borne southward by the Arctic
current that hugs the Labrador coast, drift aimlessly over its troubled
surface, and even at midsummer it is a passage to be dreaded.  White,
being familiar with its many dangers, had good cause for anxiety, as he
saw one of them about to enfold his little craft.  He consulted the
compass, took his bearings with the utmost care, and then as Cabot,
finding his view obscured, turned to him with a look of inquiry,
remarked:

"Yes, we are in for it, and you'd better keep a sharp lookout for
steamers.  It wouldn't be very pleasant to run one down and sink it,
you know."

"I should say not," responded Cabot as he started for the bow of the
schooner, where, steadying himself by a stay, he peered into the
thickening mist curtain.  For half an hour or so he saw nothing, though
during that time the hoarse bellowing of a steam whistle, approaching
closely and then receding, told of a passing ship.  While the lookout
was still listening to this a black form, magnified to gigantic size by
his apprehensions and the opaqueness through which he saw it, loomed up
directly ahead and apparently not a rod away.  With a sharp cry of
warning the lad sprang aft, while a yell of dismay came from the
stranger.  The next moment, both vessels having been headed sharply
into the wind, lay side by side, heaving and grinding against each
other, with their sails slatting noisily overhead.

As our lads realised the true character of the other craft, they were
ready to laugh at their fright of a minute earlier, for she was only an
open fishing boat, carrying three men, a woman, and a couple of
children.

"We took ye for a steamer, first sight," remarked one of the men.

"And we did the same by you," laughed White.  "Who are you and where
are you bound?"

"Mail boat from L'Anse Au Loup for Flower Cove," replied the man, "and
as we're not sure of our compass we'd be obleeged if you'd give us a
bearing."

"With pleasure.  Come aboard and take it for yourself.  If you'll wait
just a minute I'll have a letter ready for you."

So saying the young skipper dived below and hastily pencilled a line to
his mother, telling of their safety up to that time.

While he was thus engaged Cabot learned that owing to the recent
arrival of a steamer from St. Johns provisions were plentiful on that
part of the Labrador coast, but were believed to be scarce further
north.

As a result of this information the "Sea Bee" was headed more to the
eastward after the boats had again parted company, for, as White said,
there was no use wasting time running in to Blanc Sablon, Forteau, or
any of those places at which the trading steamer had touched.  "It is
too bad," he continued, "for I did hope to dispose of our cargo
somewhere along here.  If we could do that we might be home again
inside of ten days.  Now, if we have to go far to the northward, it may
be two or three weeks longer before we again sight Blomidon."

"I am sorry for your sake," replied Cabot, "though I would just as soon
spend a month up here as not.  I only wish we could land somewhere
along here, for I am curious to see what land of a country Labrador is."

This wish was gratified late that afternoon, when the fog lifted in
time to disclose the fine harbour of Red Bay, into which, White said,
they would run, so as to spend the night quietly at anchor, with both
watches turned in at once.

At Red Bay, therefore, Cabot had his first taste of life in Labrador.
The shores looked so green and attractive that he wondered why the only
settlement in sight--a collection of a dozen huts and fish houses,
should be located on a rocky islet, bare and verdureless.  He asked
White, who only laughed, and said he'd find out soon enough by
experience.

After they had come to anchor and lowered the sails, White got an empty
water cask into the dinghy, saying that first of all they must go about
a mile to a trout stream at the head of the bay for some fresh water.

"Trout stream!" cited Cabot.  "How I wish I had my fishing tackle.
Trout for supper would be fine."

"There are other things equally important with tackle for trout fishing
in this country," remarked White.

"What, for instance?"

"You'll know inside of half an hour," was the significant reply.

So they rowed up the bay, Cabot filled with curiosity and White
chuckling with anticipation.  The further they went the more was Cabot
charmed with the beauty of the scene and the more desirous did he
become to ramble over the green slopes on which, as White assured him,
delicious berries of several varieties were plentiful.  At length they
opened a charming valley, through which wound and tumbled a sparkling
brook thickly bordered by alders and birches.  At one side were several
substantial log cabins, but as they were evidently uninhabited Cabot
began to undress, declaring that he must have a bath in that tempting
water.

"Better keep your shirt on until we have filled the cask," advised
White, at the same time stepping overboard in the shallows at the mouth
of the stream without removing any of his clothing.  They pulled the
boat up until it grounded, and then White began hurriedly to fill the
water barrel, while Cabot waded a short distance up stream to see if he
could discover any trout.  All at once he stopped, looked bewildered,
and then started back on a run.  At the same time he slapped vigorously
at his bare legs, brushed his face, waved his arms, and uttered
exclamations of frantic dismay.  The air about him had been suddenly
blackened by an incredible swarm of insects that issued in dense clouds
from the low growth bordering the stream, and attacked the unfortunate
youth with the fury of starvation.

"What's the matter?" inquired White innocently, as his companion rushed
past him towards the open.

"Matter!" retorted the other.  "I'm on fire with the bites of these
infernal things, and we want to get out of here in a hurry or they'll
sting us to death."

"Oh, pshaw!" laughed White, though he also was suffering greatly.
"You've only struck a few ordinary Labrador mosquitoes and black flies."

"Mosquitoes and black flies!" cried Cabot.  "Hornets and red-hot coals,
you'd better say.  How can you stand them?  Your skin must be thicker
than sole leather."

"I can't very well," admitted White, "but this cask has got to be
filled, and the sooner we do it the quicker we can get away.  Break off
a couple of leafy branches to fight with and then keep 'em off both of
us as well as you can.  It will only take a few minutes longer."

In spite of their efforts at self-defence, faces, hands, and Cabot's
bare legs were covered with blood before their task was completed, and
they were once more in the boat pulling furiously for the wind-swept
water of the open bay.

"I never expected to find mosquitoes this far north," said Cabot, as
the pests began to disappear before the freshening breeze and the
rowers paused for breath.

"Strangers are apt to be unpleasantly surprised by them," replied
White, "but they are here all the same, and they extend as far north as
any white man has ever been.  I have been told that they are as bad in
Greenland as here, and I expect they flourish at the North Pole itself.
They certainly are the curse of Labrador, and until ice makes in the
fall they effectually prevent all travel into the interior.  Even the
Indians have to come to the coast in summer to escape them, while the
whites who visit this country for the fishing make their settlements on
the barest and most wind-swept places.  The few who live here the year
round have summer homes on the coast, but build their winter houses
inland, at the heads of bays or the mouths of rivers, where there is
timber to afford some protection from the cold.  Those are winter
houses back there."

"I wondered why they were abandoned," said Cabot, "but I don't any
longer."

"By the way," suggested White, "you forgot to try the trout fishing.
Shall we go back?"

"I wouldn't go fishing on that stream if every trout in it was of solid
gold and I could scoop them out with my hands," asserted Cabot.  "In
fact, I don't know of anything short of starvation, or dying of thirst,
that would take me back there."

After supper our lads went ashore at the island settlement, and were
hospitably received by the dwellers in its half-dozen stoutly built,
earthen-roofed houses.  These were constructed of logs, set on end like
palisades, and while they were scantily furnished, they were warm and
comfortable.  In them Cabot, who was regarded with great curiosity on
account of having come from the far foreign city of New York, asked
many questions, and acquired much information concerning the strange
country to which Fate had brought him.  Thus he learned that Labrador
is a province of Newfoundland, and that while its prolific fisheries
attract some 20,000 people to its bleak shores every summer, its entire
resident white population hardly exceeds one thousand souls.  He was
told that from June to October news of the outside world is received by
steamer from St. Johns every two or three weeks, but that during the
other eight months of the year only three mails reach the country,
coming by dog sledge from far-away Quebec.

While Cabot was gathering these and many other interesting bits of
information, White was becoming confirmed in his belief that to make a
successful trading trip he must carry his goods far to the northward.

So at daybreak of the following morning the "Sea Bee" was once more got
under way, and ran up the rock-bound coast past Chateau Bay, with its
superb Castle Rock, to Battle Harbour, the metropolis of Labrador,
which place was reached late the same evening.

At this point, which is at the eastern end of the Belle Isle Strait, is
a resident population of some two hundred souls, a hospital, a church,
a schoolhouse, and a prosperous mercantile establishment.  Here our
lads found a large steamer loading with dried fish for Gibraltar, and
here Cabot became greatly interested in the rose-tinted quartz that
forms so striking a feature of Labrador scenery.

At Battle Harbour they were still advised to push farther on, and so,
bidding farewell to this outpost of civilisation, the "Sea Bee" again
spread her dusky wings and set forth for the mission stations of the
far North, where it was hoped a profitable market might be found.




CHAPTER XVII.

IMPRISONED BY AN ICEBERG.

The brief northern summer was nearly ended.  Its days were growing
short and chill, its nights long and cold.  The month of October was
well advanced, and flurries of snow heralded the approach of winter.
Most of the Labrador fishing fleet had already sailed away, and the few
boats still left were preparing for a speedy departure.  The last
steamer of the season had come and gone, and the few permanent
residents of the country were moving back from the coast into winter
quarters.  Great flocks of geese streamed southward, and with harsh
cries gave warning of the icy terrors that had driven them from their
Arctic nesting places.  Night after night the wonderful beauties of the
aurora borealis were flashed across the northern heavens with ever
increasing brilliancy.  Every one predicted a hard winter, and
everything pointed to its early coming.

Nearly two months had elapsed since the little schooner "Sea Bee,"
manned by a couple of plucky lads, sailed out of Battle Harbour on a
trading venture to the northern missions, and from that day no tidings
had been received concerning her.  The few who remembered her,
occasionally speculated as to what success she had met and why she had
not put in ah appearance on her return voyage, but generally dismissed
the subject by saying that she must have been in too great a hurry to
get south, as any one having a chance to leave that forsaken country
naturally would be.  But the "Sea Bee" had not gone to the southward,
nor was there any likelihood of her doing so for many long months to
come.

On one of the mildest of these October days, when the sunshine still
held a trace of its summer warmth, a solitary figure stood on the crest
of a bald headland, some hundreds of miles to the north of Battle
Harbour, gazing wistfully out over the lead-coloured waters that came
leaping and snarling towards the red rocks far beneath him.  He had on
great sea boots that stood sadly in need of mending, and was clad in
heavy woollens, faded and worn, that showed many a rent and patch.  As
he leaned on the stout staff that had assisted him in climbing, his
figure seemed bent as though by age, but when he lifted his, face,
tanned brown by long exposure, the downy moustache on his upper lip
proclaimed his youth.  Altogether the change in his appearance was so
great that his most intimate friend would hardly have recognised in him
the youth who had been called the best dressed man in the T. I. class
of '99 a few months earlier.  But the voice with which he finally broke
the silence of his long reverie was unmistakably that of Cabot Grant.

[Illustration: A solitary figure stood on the crest of a bald headland.]

"Heigh ho!" he sighed, as he cast a sweeping glance over the widespread
waste of waters on which nothing floated save a few belated icebergs,
and then inland over weary miles of desolate upland barrens, treeless,
moss-covered, and painfully rugged.  "It is tough luck to be shut up
here like birds in a cage, with no chance of the door being opened
before next summer.  It is tougher on Baldwin, though, than on me, and
if he can stand it I guess I can.  But I suppose I might as well be
getting back or he will be worrying about me."

Thus saying, Cabot picked up a canvas bag that lay at his feet and
moved slowly away.

A very serious misfortune had befallen our lads, and for more than a
month the "Sea Bee," though still afloat and as sound as ever, had been
unable to move from the position she now occupied.  After leaving
Battle Harbour her voyage to the northward had not been more than
ordinarily eventful, though subject to many and irritating delays.  Not
only had there been adverse winds, but she had twice been stormbound
for days in harbours to which she had run for shelter.  Then, too,
White had insisted on stopping at every settlement that promised a
chance for trading, and had even run fifty miles up Hamilton Inlet with
the hope of finding customers for his goods at the half-breed village
of Rigoulette.  But he had always been disappointed.  Either his goods
were not in demand, or those who desired them had nothing to offer in
exchange but fish, which he did not care to take.  And always he was
told of a scarcity of food still farther north.  So the voyage had been
continued in that direction along a coast that ever grew wilder,
grander, and more inhospitable.

In the meantime Cabot was delighted at the opportunities thus given him
for getting acquainted with the country, and made short exploring trips
from every port at which they touched.  From some of these he came back
sadly bitten by the insect pests of the interior, and from others he
brought quantities of blueberries, pigeon berries that looked and
tasted like wild cranberries, or yellow, raspberry-like "bake apples,"
resembling the salmon berries of Alaska.  Also he picked up numerous
rock and mineral specimens that he afterwards carefully labelled.

Finally, when they had passed the last fishing station of which they
had any knowledge, and had only the missions to look forward to, they
were overtaken, while far out at sea, by a furious gale that sorely
buffeted them for twenty-four hours, and, in spite of their strenuous
efforts, drove them towards the coast.  The gale was accompanied by
stinging sleet and blinding snow squalls, and at length blew with such
violence that they could no longer show the smallest patch of canvas.

In this emergency White constructed a sea anchor, by means of which he
hoped to prolong their struggle for at least a few hours.  It was
hardly got overboard, however, before a giant surge snapped its cable
and hurled the little craft helplessly towards the crash and smother
with which the furious seas warred against an iron coast.

In addition to the other perils surrounding our lads, the gloom of
impending night was upon them, and they could only dimly distinguish
the towering cliffs against which they expected shortly to be dashed.
Both of them stood by the tiller, grimly silent, and using the last of
their strength to keep their craft head on, for in the trough of that
awful sea she would have rolled over like a log.  Neither of them
flinched nor showed a sign of fear, though both fully realised the fate
awaiting them.

At last, with the send of a giant billow, the little schooner was flung
bodily into the roaring whiteness, and, with hearts that seemed already
to have ceased their beating, the poor lads braced themselves for the
final shock.  To their unbounded amazement the "Sea Bee," instead of
dashing against the cliffs, appeared to pass directly into them as
though they were but shadows of a solid substance, and in another
minute had shot, like an arrow from a bow, through a rift barely wide
enough to afford her passage.

As her stupefied crew slowly realised that a reprieve from death had
been granted at the last moment, they also became aware that they were
in a place of absolute darkness, and, save for the muffled outside roar
of furious seas, of absolute quiet.  At the same time they were so
exhausted after their recent prolonged struggle that they found barely
strength to get overboard an anchor.  Then, careless of everything
else, they tumbled into their bunks for the rest and sleep they so
sadly needed.

When they next awoke it was broad daylight, and their first move was to
hasten on deck for a view of their surroundings.  Their craft lay as
motionless as a painted ship, in the middle of a placid pool black as a
highland tarn.  In no place was it more than a pistol shot in width,
and it was enclosed by precipitous cliffs that towered hundreds of feet
above her.  The schooner could not have been more happily located by
one possessed of an absolute knowledge of the coast under the most
favourable conditions, and that she should have come there as she had
was nothing short of a miracle.

Filled with thankfulness for their marvellous escape the lads gazed
about them curious to discover by what means they had gained this haven
of refuge.  On three sides they could see only the grim fronts of
inaccessible cliffs.  On the fourth was a strip of beach and a cleft
through which poured a plume-like waterfall white as a wreath of driven
snow.

"Did we come in that way?" asked Cabot, pointing to this torrent of
silver spray.

"I suppose we must have," rejoined White soberly; "for I can't see any
other opening, and it certainly felt last night as though we were
sailing over the brink of a dozen waterfalls.  But let's get breakfast,
for I'm as hungry as a wolf.  Then there'll be time enough to find out
how we got in here, as well as how we are to get out again."

After a hearty meal they got the dinghy overboard and started on a tour
of exploration.  First they visited the beach and found a rude pathway
leading up beside the waterfall that promised exit from the basin to an
active climber.

"In spite of all the wonderful happenings of last night I don't believe
we came in that way," said Cabot.

"No," laughed White, "the old 'Bee's' wings aren't quite strong enough
for that yet, though there's no saying what she may do with practice."

Satisfied that there was no outlet for a sailing craft in this
direction, they pulled towards the opposite side of the basin, but not
until they were within a few rods of its cliffs did they discover an
opening which was so black with shadow that it had heretofore escaped
their notice.

"Here it is," cried Cabot, "though----"

His speech was cut suddenly short, and for a moment he stared in silent
amazement.  The farther end of the passage was completely filled by
what appeared a gigantic mass of white rock.

"An iceberg!" exclaimed the young skipper, who was the first to
recognise the true nature of the obstacle.  "An iceberg driven in by
the gale and jammed.  Now we are in a fix."

"I should say as much," responded Cabot, "for there isn't space enough
to let a rowboat out, much less a schooner.  No wonder this water is as
still as that in a corked bottle.  What shall we do now?"

"Wait until it melts, I suppose," replied White gloomily, "or until the
outside seas batter it away."

So our lads had waited unhappily and impatiently for more than a month,
and still the ice barrier was as immovable as ever.  Also, as the
weather was growing steadily cooler, its melting became less and less
with each succeeding day.

During this period of enforced imprisonment they had made several
exploring trips into the interior, but had failed to find trace of
human life; nor were they able to go far either north or south on
account of impassable waterways.  Neither could they discover any
timber from which to obtain firewood, and as the supply on the schooner
was nearly exhausted their outlook for the future grew daily more and
more gloomy.

For a while they had hoped to signal some passing vessel, and one or
the other of them made daily trips to the most prominent headland of
the vicinity, where he kept a lookout for hours.  But this also proved
fruitless, for but two vessels had been sighted, and neither of these
paid any attention to their signals.

Thus the open season passed, and with the near approach of an Arctic
winter the situation of our imprisoned lads grew so desperate that they
were filled with the gloomiest forebodings.




CHAPTER XVIII.

FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE NATIVES.

Only once during their tedious imprisonment had our lads received
evidence that human beings existed in that desolate country, and after
they gained this information they hardly knew whether to rejoice or to
regret that it had come to them.  One morning, some weeks after their
arrival in the basin, to which they had given the name of "Locked
Harbour," Cabot, going on deck for a breath of air, made a discovery so
startling that, for a moment, he could hardly credit the evidence of
his eyes.  Then he shouted to White:

"Come up here quick, old man, and take in the sight."

As the latter, who had been lighting a fire in the galley stove, obeyed
this call, Cabot pointed to the beach, on which stood a row of human
figures, gazing at the schooner as stolidly as so many graven images.

"Indians!" cried White, "and perhaps we can get them to show us the way
to the nearest mission."

"Good enough!" rejoined Cabot in high excitement.  "Let's go ashore and
interview them before they have a chance to disappear as mysteriously
as they have appeared.  Where do you suppose they came from?"

"Can't imagine, and doubt if they'll ever tell.  Probably they are
wondering the same thing about us.  I suppose, though, they are on
their way towards the interior for the winter.  But hold on a minute.
We must take them some sort of a present.  Grub is what they'll be most
likely to appreciate, for the natives of this country are always
hungry."

Acting upon his own suggestion, White dived below, to reappear a minute
later with a bag of biscuit and a generous piece of salt pork, which he
tossed into the dinghy.  Then the excited lads pulled for the beach on
which the strangers still waited in motionless expectation.

"Only a woman, a baby, and three children," remarked White, in a tone
of disappointment, as they approached near enough to scrutinise the
group.  "Still, I suppose they can guide us out of here as well as any
one else if they only will."

The strangers were as White had discovered--a woman and children, but
one of these latter was a half-grown boy of such villainous appearance
that Cabot promptly named him "Arsenic," because his looks were enough
to poison anything.  They were clad in rags, and were so miserably thin
that they had evidently been on short rations for a long time.  White's
belief that they were hungry was borne out by the ravenous manner with
which they fell upon the provisions he presented to them.

Arsenic seized the piece of pork and whipping out a knife cut it into
strips, which he, his mother, and his sisters devoured raw, as though
it were a delicacy to which they had long been strangers.  The hard
biscuit also made a magical disappearance, and when all were gone,
Arsenic, looking up with a hideous grin, uttered the single word:
"More."

"Good!" cried Cabot, "he can talk English.  Now look here, young man,
if we give you more--all you can carry, in fact, of pork, bread, flour,
tea, and sugar, will you show us the road to the nearest
mission--Ramah, Nain, or Hopedale?"

"Tea, shug," replied the boy, with an expectant grin.

"Yes, tea, sugar, and a lot of other things if you'll show us the way
to Nain.  You understand?"

"Tea, shug," repeated the young Indian, again grinning.

"We wantee git topside Nain.  You sabe, Nain?" asked Cabot, pointing to
his companion and himself, and then waving his hand comprehensively at
the inland landscape.

"Tea, shug, more," answered the young savage, promptly, while his
relatives regarded him admiringly as one who had mastered the art of
conversing with foreigners.

"Perhaps he understands English better, or rather more, than he speaks
it," suggested White.

"It is to be hoped that he does," replied Cabot.  "Even then he might
not comprehend more than one word in a thousand.  But I tell you what.
Let's go and get our own breakfast, pack up what stuff we intend to
carry, make the schooner as snug as possible, and come back to the
beach.  Here we'll show these beggars what stuff we've brought, and
give them to understand that it shall all be theirs when they get us to
Nain.  Then we'll start them up the trail, and follow wherever they
lead.  They are bound to fetch up somewhere.  Even if they don't take
us where we want to go, we will have provisions enough to last us a
week or more, and can surely find our way back."

"I hate to leave them, for they might skip out while we were gone,"
objected White.

"That's so.  Well then, why not invite them on board?  They'll be safe
there until we are ready to go.  Say, Arsenic, you all come with we all
to shipee, sabe?  Get tea, sugar, plenty, eat heap, you understand?"

As Cabot said this he made motions for all the natives to enter the
dinghy, and then pointed to the schooner.

It was evident that he was understood, and equally so that the woman
declined his proposition, for she sat motionless, holding her baby, and
with the younger children close by her side.  The boy, however,
expressed his willingness to visit the schooner by entering the dinghy
and seating himself in its stern.

"That will do," said White.  "The others won't run away without him,
and he is the only one we want anyhow."

So the boat was rowed out to the anchored schooner, while those left on
the beach watched the departure of their son and brother with the same
apathy that they had shown towards all the other happenings of that
eventful morning.

"Look at the young scarecrow, taking things as coolly as though he had
always been used to having white men row him about a harbour," laughed
Cabot, "and yet I don't suppose he was ever in a regular boat before."

"No," agreed White, "I don't suppose he ever was."

They did not allow Arsenic to enter the "Sea Bee's" cabin, but made him
stay on deck, where, however, he appeared perfectly contented and at
his ease.  Here Cabot brought the various supplies for their proposed
journey and put them up in neat packages while White prepared
breakfast.  The former had supposed that their guest would be greatly
interested in what he was doing, but the young savage manifested the
utmost indifference to all that took place.  In fact he seemed to pay
no attention to Cabot's movements, but squatted on the deck, and gazed
in silent meditation at the beach, where his mother and sisters could
be seen also seated in motionless expectation.

"I believe he is a perfect idiot," muttered Cabot, "and wonder that he
knows enough to eat when he's hungry."

Then White called him, and he went below to breakfast.

"Do you think it is safe to leave that chap alone on deck with all
those things?" asked the former.

"Take a look at him and see for yourself," replied Cabot.

So White crept noiselessly up the companion ladder and peeped
cautiously out.  Arsenic still squatted where Cabot had left him,
gazing idiotically off into space.  At the same time a close observer
might have imagined that his beady eyes twinkled with a gleam of
interest as White's head appeared above the companion coaming.

"I guess it is all right," said White, rejoining his friend.

"Of course it is.  He couldn't swim ashore with the things, and there
isn't any other way he could make off with them, except by taking them
in the dinghy, and that chump couldn't any more manage a boat than a
cow."

In spite of this assertion Cabot finished his meal with all speed, and
then hurried on deck, where he uttered a cry of dismay.  A single
glance showed him that their guest, together with all the supplies
prepared for their journey, was no longer where he had left him.  A
second glance disclosed the dinghy half way to the beach, while in her
stern, sculling her swiftly along with practised hand, stood the
wooden-headed young savage who didn't know how to manage a boat.

"Come back here, you sneak thief, or I'll fill you full of lead,"
yelled Cabot, and as the Indian paid not the slightest attention he
drew his revolver and fired.  He never knew where the bullet struck,
but it certainly did not reach the mark he intended, for Arsenic merely
increased the speed of his boat without even looking back.

So angry that he hardly realised what he was doing, Cabot cocked his
pistol and attempted to fire again, but the lock only snapped
harmlessly, and there was no report.  Then he remembered that he had
expended several shots the day before in a fruitless effort to attract
attention on board a distant vessel seen from the lookout, and had
neglected to reload.

As he started for the cabin in quest of more cartridges he came into
collision with White hurrying on deck.

"What is the matter?" inquired the latter, as soon as he regained the
breath thus knocked out of him.

"Oh, nothing at sill," replied Cabot, with ironical calmness, "only
we've been played for a couple of hayseeds by a wooden-faced young
heathen who don't know enough to go in when it rains.  In his childish
folly he has gone off with the dinghy, taking our provisions along as a
souvenir of his visit, and he didn't even have the politeness to look
round when I spoke to him.  Oh! but it will be a chilly day for little
Willy if I catch him again."

"I am glad you only spoke," remarked White.  "When I heard you shoot I
didn't know but what you had murdered him."

"Wish I had," growled Cabot, savagely.  "Look at him now, and consider
the cheek of the plain, every-day North American savage."

It was aggravating to see the young thief gain the beach and lift from
the boat the provisions he had so deftly acquired.  It was even more
annoying to see the embryo warrior's grateful family pounce upon the
prizes of his bow and spear, and to be forced to listen to the joyous
cries with which they greeted their returned hero.  Filled now with a
bustling activity, the Indians quickly divided the spoil according to
their strength; and then, without one backward glance, or a single look
towards the schooner, they started up the narrow trail by the
waterfall, with the triumphant Arsenic heading the procession, and in
another minute had disappeared.

As the last fluttering rag vanished from sight, our lads, who had
watched the latter part of this performance in silent wrath, turned to
each other and burst out laughing.

"It was a dirty, mean, low-down trick!" cried Cabot.  "At the same time
he played it with a dexterity that compels my admiration.  Now, what
shall we do?"

"I suppose one of us will have to swim ashore and get that boat."

"What, through ice water?  You are right, though, and as I am the
biggest chump, I'll go."

Cabot was as good as his word, and did swim to the beach, though, as he
afterwards said, he did not know whether his first plunge was made into
ice water or molten lead.  Then he and White followed the trail of
their recent guests to the crest of the bluffs, but could not discover
what direction they had taken from that point.  So they returned to the
schooner sadder but wiser than before, and wondered whether they were
better or worse off on account of the recent visitation.

"If they carry news of us to one of the missions we will be better
off," argued Cabot.

"But, if they don't, we are worse off, by at least the value of our
stolen provisions," replied White.




CHAPTER XIX.

A MELANCHOLY SITUATION.

In Labrador, under ordinary circumstances, the loss of such a quantity
of provisions as Arsenic had carried away would have been a very
serious misfortune.  But food was the one thing our lads had in
abundance, and they were more unhappy at having lost a guide, who might
have shown them a way out of their prison, than over the theft he had
so successfully accomplished.

"The next time we catch an Indian we'll tie a string to him," said
Cabot.

"Yes," agreed White, "and it will be a stout one, too; but I am afraid
there won't be any more Indians on the coast this season."

"How about Eskimo?"

"Some of them may come along later, when the snowshoeing and sledging
get good enough, for they are apt to travel pretty far south during the
winter.  Still, there's no knowing how far back from the coast their
line of travel may lie at this point, and dozens of them might pass
without our knowledge."

"Couldn't we go up or down the coast as well as an Eskimo, whenever
these miserable waterways freeze over?" asked Cabot.

"Of course, if we had sledges, dogs, snowshoes, and fur clothing,"
replied White; "but without all these things we might just as well
commit suicide before starting."

"Well, I'll tell you what we can do right off, and the sooner we set
about it the better.  We can go inland as far as possible, and leave a
line of flags or some sort of signals that will attract attention to
this place."

"I don't know but what that is a good idea," remarked White,
thoughtfully.  "At any rate, it would be better than doing nothing, and
if we don't get help in some way we shall certainly freeze to death in
this place long before the winter is over."

So Cabot's suggestion was adopted, and the remainder of that day was
spent in preparing little flags of red and white cloth, attaching them
to slender sticks, and in making a number of wooden arrows.  On a
smooth side of these they wrote:

"Help!  We are stranded on the coast."

"I wish we could write it in Eskimo and Indian," said Cabot, "for
English doesn't seem to be the popular language of this country."

"The flags and arrows will be a plain enough language for any natives
who may run across them," responded White, "and I only hope they'll see
them; but it is a slim chance, and we'll probably be frozen stiff long
before any one finds us."

"Oh, I don't know," said Cabot, cheerfully.  "There's firewood enough
in the schooner itself to last quite a while."

"Burn the 'Sea Bee'!" cried White, aghast at the suggestion.  "I
couldn't do it."

"Neither could I at present; but I expect both of us could and would,
long before our blood reached the freezing point."

"But if we destroyed the schooner, how would we get out of here next
summer?"

"I'm sure I don't know, and don't care to try and think yet a while.
Just now I am much more interested in the nearby winter than in a very
distant summer."

The next day, and for a number of days thereafter, our lads worked at
the establishment of their signal line.  They erected stone cairns at
such distances apart that every one was visible from those on either
side, and on the summit of each they planted a flag with its
accompanying pointer.  In this way they ran an unbroken range of
signals for ten miles, and would have carried it further had they dared
expend any more of their precious firewood.

While they were engaged upon this task the weather became noticeably
colder, the mercury falling below the freezing point each night, and
the whole country was wrapped in the first folds of the snow blanket
under which it would sleep for months.  About the time their signal
line was completed, however, there came a milder day, so suggestive of
the vanished summer that Cabot declared his intention of spending an
hour or so at the lookout.  "There might be such a thing as a belated
vessel," he argued, "and I might have the luck to signal it.  Anyhow, I
am going to make one more try before agreeing to settle down here for
the winter."

As White was busy moving the galley stove into the cabin, and making
other preparations for their coming struggle against Arctic cold, Cabot
rowed himself ashore and left the dinghy on the beach.  Then he climbed
to the summit of the lofty headland, where, for a long time, he leaned
thoughtfully on the rude Alpine-stock that had aided his steps, and
gazed out over the vacant ocean.

While Cabot thus watched for ships that failed to come, White was
putting the finishing touches to his new cabin fixtures.  He was just
beginning to wonder if it were not time for his comrade's return when
he felt the slight jar of some floating object striking against the
side of the schooner.  Thinking that Cabot had arrived, he shouted a
cheery greeting, but turned to survey the general effect of what he had
done before going on deck.  The next minute some one softly entered the
cabin and sprang upon the unsuspecting youth, overpowering him and
flinging him to the floor before he had a chance to offer resistance.
Here he was securely bound and left to make what he could of the
situation, while his captors swarmed through the schooner with
exclamations of delight at the richness of their prize.

As White slowly recovered from the bewilderment of his situation he saw
that his assailants were Indians, and even recognised in one of them
the hideous features of the lad whom Cabot had named Arsenic.

"What fools we have been," he thought, bitterly.  "We might have known
that he would come back with the first band of his friends that he ran
across.  And to make sure that they would find us we filled the country
with sign posts all pointing this way.  Seems to me that was about as
idiotic a thing as we could have done, and if ever a misfortune was
deserved this one is.  I wonder what has become of Cabot, and if they
have caught him yet.  I only hope he won't try to fight 'em, for they'd
just as soon kill him as not.  Probably they'll kill us both, though,
so that no witnesses can ever appear against them.  Poor chap!  It was
a sad day for him when he attempted to help a fellow as unlucky as I am
out of his troubles.  Now I wonder what's up."

A shrill cry of triumph had come from the shore, and the savages on the
schooner's deck were replying to it with exultant yells.

The cry from shore announced the capture of Cabot by two Indians who
had been left behind for that express purpose.  Of course the
new-comers had known as soon as they discovered the dinghy that at
least one of the schooner's defenders was on shore, and had made their
arrangements accordingly.  As we have seen, the naval contingent
experienced no difficulty in capturing the schooner, and a little later
the land forces carried out their part of the programme with equal
facility.  They merely hid themselves behind some boulders, and leaping
out upon the young American, as he came unsuspectingly swinging down
the trail, overpowered him before he could make a struggle.  Tying him
beyond a possibility of escape, they carried him down to the beach,
where they uttered the cries that informed their comrades of their
triumph.

Until this time the schooner had been left at her anchorage, for fear
lest any change in her position might arouse Cabot's suspicions.  Now
that they were free to do as they pleased with her the Indians cut her
cable, and, after much awkward effort, succeeded in towing her to the
beach, where they made her fast.

As the darkness and cold of night were now upon them, and as they had
no longer any use for the dinghy, they smashed it in pieces and started
a fire with its shattered timbers.  At the same time they broke out
several barrels of provisions, and the entire band, gathering about the
fire, began to feast upon their contents.

In the meantime Cabot and White, in their respective places of
captivity, were equally miserable through their ignorance of what had
happened to each other, and of the fate awaiting them.  Of course Cabot
had seen the schooner brought to the beach, while White, still lying on
her cabin floor, was able to guess at her position from such sounds as
came to his ears.

During that eventful afternoon, while the savages were still preparing
the plan that had resulted in such complete success, a white man,
setting a line of traps for fur-bearing animals, had run across the
outermost of the signals established by our lads a few days earlier.
Its fluttering pennon had attracted his attention while he was still at
a distance, and, filled with curiosity, he had gone to it for a closer
examination.  On reaching the signal he read the pencilled writing on
its arrow, and then stood irresolute, evidently much perturbed, for
several minutes.  Finally, heaving a great sigh, he set forth in the
direction indicated by the arrow.

He was a gigantic man, and presented a strange spectacle as he strode
swiftly across the country with the long, sliding gait of a practised
snowshoer.  Although his wide-set blue eyes were frank and gentle in
expression, a heavy mass of blonde hair, streaming over his shoulders
like a mane, and a shaggy beard, gave him an air of lion-like ferocity.
This wildness of aspect, as well as his huge proportions, were both
increased by his garments, which were entirely of wolf skins.  Even his
cap was of this material, ornamented by a wolf's tail that streamed out
behind and adorned in front with a pair of wolf ears pricked sharply
forward.  He carried a rifle and bore on his shoulders, as though it
were a feather weight, a pack of such size than an ordinarily strong
man would have found difficulty in lifting it.

As this remarkable stranger, looking more like a Norse war god than a
mere human being, reached one signal after another, he passed it
without pausing for examination until he had gained a point about half
way to the coast.  Then he came to an abrupt halt and studied the
surrounding snow intently.  He had run across the trail made by Arsenic
and his fellows a few hours earlier.  After an examination of the
sprawling footprints, the big man uttered a peculiar snort of
satisfaction, and again pushed on with increased speed.  An hour later
he stood, concealed by darkness, on the verge of the cliffs enclosing
Locked Harbour, gazing interestedly down on the fire-lit beach, the
half-revealed schooner, the feasting savages, and the recumbent, dimly
discerned figure of Cabot Grant, their prisoner.




CHAPTER XX.

COMING OF THE MAN-WOLF.

Once Arsenic went to where Cabot was lying, and, grinning cheerfully,
remarked: "Tea, shug.  Plenty, yes."  Then he laughed immoderately, as
did several other Indians who were listening admiringly to this flight
of eloquence in the white man's own tongue.

"Oh, clear out, you grinning baboon," growled Cabot.  "I only hope I'll
live to get even with you for this day's work."

The Indians were evidently so pleased at having drawn a retort from
their prisoner that he declined to gratify them further, or to speak
another word, though for some time Arsenic continued to beguile him
with his tiresome "Tea, shug," etc.  When the latter finally gave it up
and started away to get his share of the feast, Cabot's gaze followed
him closely.

All this time our lad was filled with vague terrors concerning White,
of whose fate he had not received the slightest intimation, as well as
of what might be in store for himself.  Would he be carried to the
distant interior to become a slave in some filthy Indian village, or
would he be killed before they took their departure?  Perhaps they
would simply leave him there to freeze and starve to death, or they
might amuse themselves by burning him at the stake.  Did these far
northern Indians still do such things?  He wondered, but could not
remember ever to have heard.

While considering these unpleasant possibilities, Cabot was also
suffering with cold, from the pain of his bonds, and from lying
motionless on the bed of rocks to which he had been carelessly flung.
But, with all his pain and his mental distress, he still glared at the
young savage who had so basely betrayed his kindness, and at length
Arsenic seemed to be uneasily aware of the steady gaze.  He changed his
position several times, and his noisy hilarity was gradually succeeded
by a sullen silence.  Suddenly he lifted his head and listened
apprehensively.  His quick ear had caught an ominous note in the
distant, long-drawn howl of a wolf.  He spoke of it to his comrades,
and several of them joined him in listening.  It came again, a
blood-curdling yell, now so distinct that all heard it.  They stopped
their feasting to consult in low tones and peer fearfully into the
surrounding blackness.

Cabot had also recognised the sound, but, uncanny as it was, he
wondered why the howl of a wolf should disturb a lot of Indians who
must know, even better than he, the cowardly nature of the beast, and
that there was no chance of his coming near a fire.

Even as these thoughts passed through his mind, the terrible cry was
uttered again--this time so close at hand that it was taken up and
repeated by a chorus of echoes from the nearby cliffs.  The Indians
sprang to their feet in terror, while at the same moment an avalanche
of stones, gravel, and small boulders rushed down the face of the cliff
close to where Cabot lay.  From it was evolved a monstrous shape that,
with unearthly howlings, leaped towards the frightened natives.  As it
did so flashes of lightning, that seemed to dart from it, gleamed with
a dazzling radiance on their distorted faces.  In another moment they
were in full flight up the rugged pathway leading from the basin, hotly
pursued by their mysterious enemy.

The latter seemed to pass directly through the fire, scattering its
blazing brands to all sides.  At the same time he snatched up a flaming
timber for use as a weapon against such of the panic-stricken savages
as still remained within reach.

The flashes of light that accompanied the apparition, while
illuminating all nearby objects, had left it shrouded in darkness, and
only when it crouched for an instant above the fire did Cabot gain a
clear glimpse of the gigantic form.  To his dismay it appeared to be a
great beast with a human resemblance.  It had the gleaming teeth, the
horrid jaws, the sharp ears, in fact the face and head of a wolf, the
tawny mane of a lion, and was covered with thick fur; but it stood
erect and used its arms like a man.  At the same time, the sounds
issuing from its throat seemed a combination of incoherent human cries
and wolfish howlings.  Cabot only saw it for a moment, and then it was
gone, leaping up the pathway, whirling the blazing timber above its
head, and darting its mysterious lightning flashes after the flying
Indians.

As the clamour of flight and pursuit died away, to be followed by a
profound silence, there came a muffled call:

"Cabot.  Cabot Grant."

"Hello!" shouted our lad.  "Who is it?  Where are you?"

"It is I, White," came the barely heard answer.  "I am here in the
cabin.  Can't you come and let me out?"

"No," replied Cabot.  "I am tied hand and foot."

"So am I.  Are you wounded?"

"No.  Are you?"

"No.  What are the Indians doing?"

"Running for dear life from a Labrador devil--half wolf and half
man--armed with soundless thunder-bolts."

During the short silence that followed, White meditated upon this
extraordinary statement, and decided that his comrade's brain must be
affected by his sufferings.

"If I could only twist out of these ropes," he groaned, and then he
began again a struggle to free his hands from their bonds.  At the same
time Cabot, who had long since discovered the futility of such effort,
was anxiously listening, and wondering what would happen next.

With all his listening he did not hear the soft approach of furred
footsteps, and when a blinding light was flashed full in his face he
was so startled that he cried out with terror.  Instantly the light
vanished, and he shuddered as he realised that the furry monster had
returned, and, bending over him, was fumbling at his bonds.

In another moment these were severed, he was picked up as though he had
been an infant, and carried to the fire, whose scattered embers were
speedily re-assembled.  As it blazed up, Cabot gazed eagerly at the
mysterious figure, which had thus far worked in silence.  Curious as he
was to see it, he yet dreaded to look upon its wolfish features.
Therefore, as the fire blazed up, he uttered a cry of amazement, for,
fully revealed by its light, was a man; clad in furs, it is true, but
bare-headed and having a pleasant face lighted by kindly blue eyes.

"You are really human after all!" gasped Cabot.

The stranger smiled but said nothing.

"And can understand English?"

A nod of the head was the only answer.

"Then," continued Cabot, hardly noting that his deliverer had not
spoken, "won't you please go aboard the schooner and find my friend?
He is in the cabin, where those wretches left him, tied up."

This was the first intimation the stranger had received that any one
besides Cabot needed his assistance, but without a word he did as
requested, swinging himself aboard the "Sea Bee" by her head chains and
her bowsprit, which overhung the beach.  Directly afterwards a flash of
light streamed from the cabin windows.  Then White Baldwin, assisted by
the fur-clad giant, emerged from his prison, walked stiffly along the
deck, and was helped down to the beach, where Cabot eagerly awaited him.

After a joyous greeting of his friend the young American said
anxiously: "But are you sure you are all right, old man--not wounded
nor hurt in any way?"

"No; I am sound as a nut," replied White.  "Only a little stiff, that's
all."

"Same here," declared Cabot, industriously rubbing his legs to restore
their circulation.  "I was rapidly turning into a human icicle, though,
when our big friend dropped down from the sky in a chariot of flame and
gave those Indian beggars such a scare that I don't suppose they've
stopped running yet.  But how did you happen to let 'em aboard, old
man?  Couldn't you stand them off with a gun?"

For answer White gave a full account of all that had taken place, so
far as he knew, and in return Cabot described his own exciting
experiences, while the stranger listened attentively, but in silence,
to both narratives.  When Cabot came to the end of his own story, he
said:

"Now, sir, won't you please tell us how you happened to find us out and
come to our rescue just in the nick of time?  I should also very much
like to know how you managed to tumble down that precipice unharmed, as
well as how you produced those flashes of light that scared the savages
so badly--me too, for that matter."

For answer the stranger only smiled gravely, pointed to his lips, and
shook his head.

"Oh!" exclaimed both Cabot and White, shocked by this intimation, and
the former said:

"I beg your pardon, sir.  While I noticed that you didn't do much
talking, it never occurred to me that you were dumb.  I am awfully
sorry, and it must be a terrible trial.  At the same time, I am glad
you can hear me say how very grateful we are to you for getting us out
of a nasty fix in the splendid way you did.  Now, I move we adjourn to
the cabin of the schooner, where we can make some hot tea and be rather
more comfortable than out here.  That is, if you think those Indians
won't come back."

The stranger smiled again, and shook his head so reassuringly that the
lads had no longer a doubt as to the expediency of returning to the
cabin.  There they started a fire in the stove, boiled water, made tea,
and prepared a meal, of which the stranger ate so heartily, and with
such evident appreciation, that it was a pleasure to watch him.

While supper was being made ready, the big man removed his outer
garments of wolf fur and stood in a close-fitting suit of tanned
buckskin that clearly revealed the symmetry of his massive proportions.

"If I were as strong as you look, and, as I know from experience, you
are," exclaimed Cabot, admiringly, "I don't think I would hesitate to
attack a whole tribe of Indians single handed.  My! but it must be fine
to be so strong."

After supper Cabot, who generally acted as spokesman, again addressed
himself to their guest, saying:

"If you don't mind, sir, we'd like to have you know just what sort of a
predicament we've got into, and ask your advice as to how we can get
out of it."  With this preamble Cabot explained the whole situation,
and ended by saying:

"Now you know just how we are fixed, and if you can guide us to the
nearest Mission Station or, if you haven't time to go with us, if you
will give us directions how to find it--we shall be under a greater
obligation to you than ever."

For a minute the stranger looked thoughtful but made no sign.  Then,
dipping his finger in a bowl of water, he wrote on the table the single
word: "To-morrow."  Having thus dismissed the subject for the present,
he stretched his huge frame on a transom and almost instantly fell
asleep.

Our tired lads were not long in following his example, and, though
several times during the alight one or the other of them got up to
replenish the fire, they always found their guest quietly sleeping.
But when they both awoke late the following morning and looked for him
he had disappeared.




CHAPTER XXI.

A WELCOME MISSIONARY.

Although the outer garments of wolf fur belonging to the mysterious
stranger were also missing, our lads were not at first at all uneasy
concerning his absence, but imagined that their guest had merely gone
for a breath of fresh air or to examine the situation of the schooner
by daylight.  So they mended the fire and got breakfast ready,
expecting with each moment that he would return.  As he did not, Cabot
finally went on deck to look for him.

The morning was bitterly cold, and the harbour was covered with ice
sufficiently strong to bear a man.

"The old 'Bee's' found her winter berth at last," reflected Cabot, as
he glanced about him, shivering in the keen air.

To his disappointment he could discover no trace of the man upon whom
they were depending to aid their escape from this icy prison.  Cabot
even dropped to the beach and made his way to the crest of the inland
bluffs, but could see no living thing on all the vast expanse of snow
outspread before him.

"I guess he has gone, all right," muttered the lad, "and we are again
left to our own resources, only a little worse off than we were before.
Why he came and helped us out at all, though, is a mystery to me."

With this he retraced his steps and conveyed the unwelcome news to
White.

"It is evident then," said the latter, "that we must stay here, alive
or dead, all winter.  And I expect we'll be a great deal more dead than
alive long before it is over."

"Oh, I don't know," replied Cabot.  "This doesn't seem to be such a
very uninhabited place, after all.  I'm sure we've had a regular job
lot of visitors during the past week, and a good many of them, too.  So
I don't see why we shouldn't have other callers before the winter is
over.  When the next one comes, though, we'll take care and not let him
out of our sight.  Why didn't you tie a string to one of those Indians,
as I advised?"

"Because they tied me first," answered White, laughing in spite of his
anxiety.  "Why didn't you do it yourself?"

"Because all the tying apparatus was aboard the schooner, and I hadn't
so much as a shoe-string about me.  I wish I could have tied that
scoundrel Arsenic, though.  If ever I meet him again I'll try to teach
him a lesson in gratitude.  But what do you propose to do to-day,
skipper?"

"I suppose we might as well unbend and stow our canvas, since the 'Bee'
'll not want to use sails again for a while.  We might also send down
topmasts, stow away what we can of the running rigging, get those
provisions on the beach aboard again, and----"

"Hold on!" cried Cabot, "you've already laid out all the work I care to
tackle in one day, and if you want any more done you'll have to ship a
new crew."

It was well that the lads had ample occupation for that day, otherwise
they would have been very unhappy.  Even Cabot, for all his assumed
cheerfulness, realised the many dangers with which they were beset.  He
believed that their unknown friend had deserted them, and that the
Indians might return at any moment in over-powering numbers.  He knew
that without outside assistance and guidance it would be impossible to
traverse the vast frozen wilderness lying between them and
civilisation.  He knew also that if he and White remained where they
were they must surely perish before the winter was over.  So the
prospect was far from cheerful, and that evening the "Sea Bee's" crew,
wearied with their hard day's work, ate their supper in thoughtful
silence.

While they were thus engaged both suddenly sprang to their feet with
startled faces.  A gun had been fired from close at hand, and with its
report came a confusion of shouts.  Evidently more visitors had
arrived; but were they friends or foes?

White thought the latter, and snatched up a loaded revolver, declaring
that the Indians should not again get possession of his schooner
without fighting for it; but Cabot believed the new-comers to be
friends.

"If they were enemies," he argued, "they would have got aboard and
taken us by surprise before making a sound."  So saying he hurried up
the companionway, with White close at his heels.

"Hello!" shouted Cabot.  "Who are you?"

"We are friends," answered a voice from the beach in English, but with
a strong German accent.  "Can you show us a light?"

"Of course we can, and will in a moment," replied Cabot joyously.
"White, get a----"

But White had already darted back into the cabin for a lantern, with
which he speedily emerged, and led the way to the beach.  Here our lads
found a dog sledge with its team, and an Eskimo driver, who was already
collecting wood for a fire, together with a white man, tall, straight,
middle-aged, and wearing a long beard streaked with grey.

"God be with you and keep you," he said, as he shook hands with Cabot
and White.  "Where is the captain of this schooner?"

Cabot pointed to his companion.

"Where then is the crew?"

At this both lads laughed, and Cabot replied:

"I am the crew."

"You don't mean to tell me that you two boys navigated that vessel to
this place unaided."

"We certainly did, sir, though we have not done much navigating for
more than a month now.  But will you please tell us who you are, where
you came from, and how you happened to discover us?  Though we are not
surprised at being discovered, for we seem to be located on a highway
of travel and have visitors nearly every day."

"Indeed," replied the stranger; "and yet you are stranded in one of the
least known and most inaccessible bays of the coast.  It is rarely
visited even by natives, and I doubt if any white man was ever here
before your arrival."

"Then how did you happen to come?" asked Cabot.

"I came by special request to find you and offer whatever assistance I
may render.  I am the Rev. Ostrander Mellins, Director of a Moravian
Mission Station located on the coast some twenty-five miles from this
point."

"But how did you know of us?" cried Cabot, in amazement.  "We haven't
sent any telegrams nor even written any letters since coming here."

"Did not you send a messenger yesterday?"

"No, sir.  Most of yesterday we were prisoners in the hands of some
rascally Indians."

"I perceive," said the missionary, "that I have much to hear as well as
to tell, and, being both tired and cold, would suggest that we seek a
more sheltered spot than this, where we may converse while my man
prepares supper."

At these words both our lads were covered with confusion, and, with
profuse apologies for their lack of hospitality, besought the
missionary to accompany them into the schooner's cabin.

"We should have asked you long ago," declared White, "only we were so
overcome with joy at meeting a white man who could talk to us that we
really didn't know what we were about."

"Won't your man and dogs also come aboard?" asked Cabot, anxious to
show how hospitable they really were.

"No, thank you," laughed the missionary.  "They will do very well where
they are."

In the cabin, which had never seemed more cheerful and comfortable, the
lads helped the new-comer remove his fur garments, plied him with hot
tea, together with everything they could think of in the way of
eatables, and at the same time told him their story as they had told it
to their other guest of the night before.

"And you did not send me any message?" he asked, with a quizzical smile.

"I know!" cried Cabot.  "It was the man-wolf.  But where did you meet
him, and why didn't he come back with you?  How did he manage to
explain the situation?  We thought he couldn't talk."

"I don't know that he can," replied the missionary, "for I have never
heard him speak, nor do I know any one who has.  Neither did I meet
him.  In fact I have never seen him, but I think your messenger must be
one and the same with your man-wolf, since he signed his note
'Homolupus.'"

"His note," repeated Cabot curiously.  "Did he send you a note?"

"Not exactly; but he left one for me at a place near the station, where
he has often left furs to be exchanged for goods, and called my
attention to it by a signal of rifle shots.  When I reached the place I
was not surprised to find him gone, for he always disappears when it is
certain that his signal has been understood.  I was, however, greatly
surprised to find, instead of the usual bundle of furs, only a slip of
paper supported by a cleft stick.  On it was written:

"'Schooner laden with provisions stranded in pocket next South of
Nukavik Arm.  Crew in distress.  Need immediate assistance.
Homolupus.'"


"With such a message to urge me, I made instant preparation, and came
here with all speed."

"It was awfully good of you," said White.

"Perhaps not quite so good as you may think, since our annual supply
ship having thus far failed to make her appearance, the mission is very
short of provisions, and the intimation that there was an abundance
within reach relieved me of a load of anxiety.  So if you are disposed
to sell----"

"Excuse me for interrupting," broke in Cabot, "but, before you get to
talking business, please tell us something more about the man who sent
you to our relief.  Who is he?  Where does he live?  What does he look
like?  Why does he disappear when you go in answer to his signals?  Why
do you call him a wolf-man?  What----"

"Seems to me that is about as many questions as I can remember at one
time," said the missionary, smiling at Cabot's eagerness, "and I am
sorry that, with my slight knowledge of the subject, I cannot answer
them satisfactorily.  The man-wolf was well known to this country
before I came to it, which was three years ago, and dwells somewhere to
the southward of this place, though no one, to my knowledge, has ever
seen his habitation.  Some of the Eskimo can point out its location,
but they are in such terror of him that they give it a wide berth
whenever travelling in that direction.  As I said, I have never seen
him, nor have I ever known of his holding communication other than by
writing with any human being.  The natives describe him as a man of
great size with the head of a wolf."

"There!  I was sure it wasn't imagination," interrupted Cabot
excitedly.  "When I first saw him his head and face were those of a
wolf, but the next time they were those of a man, and so I thought I
must have dreamed the wolf part.  I wonder how he manages it, and I
wish I knew how he produces those lightning flashes.  If this were a
more civilised part of the world I should say that they resulted from
electricity--but of course that couldn't be away off here in the
wilderness.  I asked him about them but got no answer."

"Have you, then, seen and spoken with him?" asked the missionary.

"Of course we have seen him, for he spent last night in this very
cabin, and we have spoken to him, though not with him, for he is dumb."

"I envy you the privilege of having met him, and am greatly relieved to
learn that he is so wholly human; for the natives regard him as either
a god or a devil, I can't tell which, and ascribe to him superhuman
powers.  He has righted many a wrong, punished many an evil-doer, saved
many a poor soul from starvation, and performed innumerable deeds of
kindness.  He dares everything and seems able to do anything.  He is at
once the guardian angel and the terror of this region, and, on the
whole, I doubt if there is in all the world to-day a more remarkable
being than the man-wolf of Labrador."




CHAPTER XXII.

GOOD-BYE TO THE "SEA BEE."

White Baldwin was of course interested in this talk of the man-wolf,
but he was, at the same time, anxious to hear what the new-comer had to
say concerning the cargo of provisions for which he had so long sought
a purchaser.  His heart beat high with the hope of a speedy return to
his home and its loved ones; for he had already planned to leave the
"Sea Bee" where she was until the following season.  In case he could
dispose of her cargo, he would insist that transportation and a
guide--at least as far as Indian Harbour--should form part of the
bargain.  From Indian Harbour they would surely find some way of
continuing the journey.  He might even reach home by Christmas!
Wouldn't it be great if he could, and if, at the same time, he could
carry with him enough money to relieve all present anxieties?  Perhaps
he might even be able to take his mother and Cola to St. Johns for a
long visit.  Of course Cabot would accompany them, for with the
warships all gone south for the winter there would be no danger of
arrest, and then he would find out what a splendid city the capital of
Newfoundland really was.  Oh! if they could only start at once; but of
course there were certain preliminaries to be settled first, and the
sooner they got at them the better.

Thus thinking, White took advantage of a pause in the conversation to
remark: "What a very fortunate thing it is that you who want to
purchase provisions and we who have them for sale should come together
in this remarkable fashion."

"It is so fortunate and so remarkable that I must regard it as a
distinct leading of the Divine Providence that knows our every need and
guides our halting footsteps," replied the missionary.

"And do you think," continued the young trader anxiously, "that you
want our entire cargo?"

"I am sure of it; and even then we may be put on short rations before
the winter is ended, for there are many to be fed."

With this opening the conversation drifted so easily into business
details that, before the occupants of the cabin turned in for the
night, everything had been arranged.  White had been somewhat
disappointed when the missionary said that, having no funds in St.
Johns, he would be obliged to give a sight draft on New York in payment
for the goods.  This slight annoyance was, however, speedily smoothed
away by Cabot, who offered to cash the draft immediately upon their
arrival in St. Johns, where, he said, he had ample funds for the
purpose.  It was also agreed that our lads should be provided with fur
clothing, snowshoes, a dog sledge, and a guide as far as Indian
Harbour.  In addition to taking the cargo of the "Sea Bee," the
missionary proposed to purchase the schooner itself, at a sum much less
than her real value, but one that constituted a very fair offer under
the circumstances.

White hesitated over this proposition, but finally accepted it upon
condition that at any time during the following summer he should be
allowed to buy the schooner back at the same price he now received for
her.

"Isn't it fine," he whispered to Cabot, after all hands had sought
their bunks, "to think that our venture has turned out so splendidly
after all?"

"Fine is no name for it," rejoined the other.  "But I do hope we will
have the chance of meeting Mr. Homolupus once more and of thanking him
for what he has done.  We owe so much to him that, man-wolf or no
man-wolf, I consider him a splendid fellow."

In spite of their impatience to start southwards, our lads were still
compelled to spend two weeks longer at Locked Harbour.  First the
missionary was obliged to make a visit to his station, and, on his
return, the snow was not in condition for a long sledge journey.
Furious winds had piled it into drifts, with intervening spaces of bare
ground, over which sledge travel would be impossible.  So they must
wait until the autumnal storms were over and winter had settled down in
earnest.  But, impatient as they were, time no longer hung heavily on
their hands, nor did they now regard their place of abode as a prison.
Its solitude and dreariness had fled before the advent of half a
hundred Eskimo--short, squarely built men, moon-faced women, and
roly-poly children, looking like animated balls of fur, all of whom had
been brought from the mission to form a settlement on the beach.  It
was easier to bring them to the Heaven-sent provisions that were to
keep them until spring than it would have been to transport the heavy
barrels of flour and pork to the mission.  At the same time, they could
protect the schooner from depredations by other wandering natives.

So they came, bag and baggage, babies, dogs, and all, and at once set
to work constructing snug habitations, in which, with plenty of food
and plenty of seal oil, they could live happily and comfortably during
the long winter months.  These structures were neither large nor
elegant.  In fact they were only hovels sunk half underground, with low
stone walls, supporting roofs of whale ribs, covered thick with earth.
A little later they would be buried beneath warm, shapeless mounds of
snow.  To most of them outside light and air could only be admitted
through the low doorways, but one, more pretentious than the others,
was provided with an old window sash, in which the place of missing
panes was filled by dried intestines tightly stretched.  In every hovel
a stone lamp filled with seal oil burned night and day, furnishing
light, warmth, and the heat for melting ice into drinking water,
boiling tea, drying wet mittens, and doing the family cooking.

Cabot and White were immensely interested in watching the construction
of these primitive Labrador homes.  They were also amazed at the
readiness with which the natives made themselves snugly safe and
comfortable, in a place where they had despaired of keeping alive.
Besides watching the Eskimo prepare for the winter and picking up many
words of their language, Cabot took daily lessons in snowshoeing and
the management of dog teams, in both of which arts White was already an
adept.

According to contract, both lads had been provided with complete
outfits for Arctic travel, including fur clothing, boots, and sleeping
bags.  A sledge with a fine team of dogs had also been placed at their
disposal, and an intelligent young Eskimo, who could speak some
English, was ready to guide them on their southward journey.  He was
introduced to his future travelling companions as Ildlat-Netschillik,
whereupon Cabot remarked:

"That is an elegant name for special occasions, such as might occur
once or twice in a lifetime, but seems to me something less ornamental,
like 'Jim,' for instance, would be better for everyday use.  I wonder
if he would mind being called Jim?"

On being asked this question the young Eskimo, grinning broadly, said:

"A' yite.  Yim plenty goot," and afterwards he always answered promptly
and cheerfully to the name of "Yim."

[Illustration: "Yim."]

At length snow fell for several days almost without intermission.  Then
a fierce wind took it in hand, kneading it, packing it, and stuffing it
into every crack and cranny of the landscape until hollows were filled,
ridges were nicely rounded, and rocks had disappeared.  In the
meantime, strong white bridges had been thrown across lake and stream,
and the great Labrador highway for winter travel was formally opened to
the public.

November was well advanced, and our lads had been prisoners in Locked
Harbour for more than two months when this way of escape was opened to
them.  It had been decided that they should take a single large sledge,
having broad runners, and a double team of dogs--ten in all.  On this,
therefore, was finally lashed a great load of provisions, frozen walrus
meat for dog food, sleeping bags, the three all-important cooking
utensils of the wilderness--kettle, fry-pan, and teapot--an axe, and
Cabot's bag of specimens.  With this outfit Yim was to conduct them
over the first half of their 400-mile journey, or to Indian Harbour,
where, through a letter from the missionary, they expected to procure a
fresh team, renew their supply of provisions, and obtain another guide,
who should go with them to Battle Harbour.

When the time for starting arrived, the entire population of the new
settlement turned out to see them off and help get their heavily laden
sledge up the steep ascent from the beach.  At the crest of the bluffs
the men fired a parting salute from their smooth-bore guns, the women
and children uttered shrill cries of farewell, and the missionary gave
them his final blessing, Yim cracked his eighteen-foot whiplash like a
pistol shot, shouted to his dogs, and the yelping team sprang forward.
Our lads gave a fond backward glance at their loved schooner, so far
below them that she looked like a toy boat, and then, with hearts too
full for words, they faced the vast white wilderness outspread like a
frozen sea before them.

All that day they pushed steadily forward almost without a pause,
holding a westerly course to pass around a deep fiord that penetrated
far inland, and might not yet be crossed with safety.  Yim ran beside
his straining dogs, encouraging the laggards with whip and voice; White
led the way and broke the trail, while Cabot brought up the rear and
helped the sledge over difficult places.

For several hours they followed the signal line with its fluttering
flags, and felt that they were still on familiar ground.  At length
even these were left behind, and for three hours longer they plodded
sturdily forward, guided only by Yim's unerring instinct.  Then the
short day came to an end and night descended with a chill breath of
bitter winds.  Cabot was nearly exhausted, and even White was painfully
weary, but both had been buoyed up by a hope that they might reach
timber and have abundant firewood for their first camp.  Now, when Yim,
throwing down his whip and giving his dogs the command to halt, calmly
announced that they would make camp where they were, both lads looked
at him in dismay.

"We surely can't camp here in the snow without a fire or any kind of
shelter!" exclaimed Cabot.  "Why, man, we'll be frozen stiff long
before morning."

"A' yite.  Me fix um.  You see," responded Yim, cheerfully.




CHAPTER XXIII.

THE COMFORT OF AN ESKIMO LAMP.

In that dreary waste of snow, unrelieved so far as the eye could reach
by so much as a single bush, the making of a camp that should contain
even the rudiments of comfort seemed as hopeless to White, who had
always been accustomed to a timbered country, as it did to Cabot, who
knew nothing of real camp life, and had only played at camping in the
Adirondacks.  Left to their own devices, they would have passed a most
uncomfortable if not a perilous night, for the mercury stood at many
degrees below zero.  But they had Yim with them, and he, being
perfectly at home amid all that desolation, was determined to enjoy all
the home comforts it could be made to yield.

First he marked out a circular space some twelve feet in diameter, from
which he bade his companions excavate the snow with their snowshoes,
and throw it out on the windward side.  While they were doing this he
went a short distance away, and, from a mass of closely compacted snow,
carved out with his knife a number of blocks, as large as could be
handled without breaking, to each of which he gave a slight curve.
With time enough Yim could have constructed from such slabs a perfect
igloo or snow hut, but the fading daylight was very precious, and he
did not consider that the cold was yet sufficiently severe to demand a
complete enclosure.  So he merely built a low, hood-like structure on
the windward side of the space the others had cleared.  One side of
this was still further extended by the sledge, relieved of its load and
set on edge.

The precious provisions were placed inside the rude shelter, the
sleeping bags covered its floor, and, when all was completed, Yim
surveyed his work with great satisfaction.

"It is pretty good so far as it goes," admitted.  White, dubiously,
"but I don't see how we are to get along without at least enough fire
to boil a pot of tea, and of course we can't have a fire without wood."

"That's so," agreed Cabot, shivering.

Yim only smiled knowingly as he groped among the miscellaneous articles
piled at the back of the hut.  From them he finally drew forth a
shallow soapstone bowl having one straight side about six inches long.
It was shaped something like a clam shell, and was a specimen of the
world-famed Eskimo cooking lamp.  He also produced a bladder full of
seal oil.

"Good enough!" cried Cabot.  "Yim has remembered to bring along his
travelling cook stove."

Setting the lamp in the most sheltered corner of the hut, Yim filled it
with oil, and then, drawing forth a pouch that hung from his neck, he
produced a wick made of sphagnum moss previously dried, rolled, and
oiled.  This he laid carefully along the straight side of the lamp.
Then, turning to Cabot, he uttered the single word: "Metches."

"Great Scott!" exclaimed the young engineer, "I forgot to bring any.
But of course you must have some, White."

"No, I haven't.  Matches were among the things you were to look after,
and so I never gave them a thought."

The spirits of the lads, raised to a high pitch of expectation by the
sight of Yim's lamp, suddenly sank to zero with the discovery that they
had no means for lighting it.  Yim, however, only smiled at their
dismay.  Of course he had long since learned the use of matches, and to
appreciate them at their full value; but he also knew how to produce
fire without their aid in the simplest manner ever devised by primitive
man.  It is the friction method of rubbing wood against wood, and, in
one form or another, is used all over the world.  It was known to the
most ancient Egyptians, and is practised to-day by natives of the
Amazon valley, dwellers on South Pacific islands, inhabitants of Polar
regions, Indians of North America, and the negroes of Central Africa.
These widely scattered peoples use various models of wooden drills,
ploughs, or saws.  But Yim's method is the simplest of all.  When he
saw that no matches were forthcoming, he said:

"A' yite.  Me fix um."  At the same time he produced two pieces of soft
wood from some hiding place in his garments.  One of these, known as
the "spindle," was a stick about two feet long by three-quarters of an
inch in diameter and having a rounded point.  The other, called the
"hearth," was flat, about eighteen inches in length, half an inch
thick, and three inches wide.  On its upper surface, close to one edge,
were several slight cavities, each just large enough to hold the
rounded end of the spindle, and from each was cut a narrow slot down
the side of the hearth.  This slot is an indispensable feature, and
without it all efforts to produce fire by wood-friction must fail.

Laying the hearth on the flat side of a sledge runner and kneeling on
it to hold it firmly in position, Yim set the rounded end of his
spindle in one of its depressions, and holding the upper end between
the palms of his hands, began to twirl it rapidly, at the same time
exerting all possible downward pressure.  As his hands moved towards
the lower end of the spindle he dexterously shifted them back to the
top, without lifting it or allowing air to get under its lower end.

With the continuation of the twirling process a tiny stream of wood
meal, ground off by friction, poured through the slot at the side of
the hearth, and accumulated in a little pile, that all at once began to
smoke.  In two seconds more it was a glowing coal of fire.  Then Yim
dropped his spindle, covered the coal with a bit of tinder previously
made ready, and blew it into a flame, which he deftly transferred to
the wick of his lamp.

At sight of the first spiral of smoke our lads had been filled with
amazement.  As the coal began to glow they uttered exclamations of
delight, and when the actual flame appeared they broke into such
enthusiastic cheering as set all the dogs to barking in sympathy.

"It is one of the most wonderful things I ever saw," cried Cabot.
"I've often read of fire being produced by wood friction, and I have
tried it lots of times myself, but as I never could raise even a smoke,
and never before met any one who could, I decided that it was all a
fake got up by story writers."

"I was rather doubtful about it myself," admitted White.  "But, I say!
Isn't that a great lamp, and doesn't it make things look cheery?"

White's approval of "Yim's cook stove," as Cabot called it, was well
merited, for its five inches of blazing wick yielded as much light and
twice the heat of a first-class kerosene lamp.  Over it Yim had already
suspended a kettle full of snow, and now he laid a slab of frozen pork
close beside it to be thawed out.

While waiting for these he fed the dogs, who had been watching him with
wistful eyes and impatient yelpings.  To each he threw a two-pound
chunk of frozen walrus meat, and each devoured his portion with such
ravenous rapidity that Cabot declared they swallowed them whole.

Half an hour after the lamp was lighted it had converted enough snow
into boiling water to provide three steaming cups of tea, and while our
lads sipped at these Yim cut slices of thawed pork, laid them in the
fry-pan, and holding this over his lamp soon had them sizzling and
browning in the most appetising manner.  This, with tea and ship
biscuit, constituted their supper.

When Yim no longer needed his lamp for cooking he removed two-thirds of
its wick and allowed the flame thus reduced to burn all night.  Over it
hung a kettle of melting snow, and above this, on a snowshoe, supported
by two others, wet mittens and moccasins were slowly but thoroughly
dried.

In spite of the hot tea, their fur-lined sleeping bags, and the
effective wind-break behind which they were huddled, our lads suffered
with cold long before the night was over, and were quite willing to
make a start when Yim, after a glance at the stars, announced that
daylight was only three hours away.  For breakfast they had more
scalding tea and a quantity of hard bread, broken into small bits,
soaked in warm water, fried in seal oil, and eaten with sugar.  White
pronounced this fine, but Cabot only ate it under protest, because, as
he said, he must fill up with something.

The travel of that day, with its accompaniments of blisters and
strained muscles, was much harder than that of the day before, and our
weary lads were thankful when, towards its close, they entered a belt
of timber that had been in sight for hours.

That night they slept warmly and soundly on luxurious beds of spruce
boughs beside a great fire frequently replenished by Yim.

"I tell you what," said Cabot, as, early in the evening, he basked in
the heat of this blaze, "there's nothing in all this world so good as
that.  For my part I consider fire to be the greatest blessing ever
conferred upon mankind."

"How about light, air, water, food, and sleep?" asked White.

"Those are necessaries, but fire is a luxury.  Not only that, but it is
the first of all luxuries and the one upon which nearly all others
depend."

When, a little later, Cabot lay so close to the blaze that his sleeping
bag caught on fire, and he burned his hands in putting it out, White
laughingly asked:

"What do you think of your luxury now?"

"I think," was the reply, "that it proves itself the greatest of
luxuries by punishing over-indulgence in it with the greatest amount of
pain."

"Umph!" remarked Yim, who was listening, "Big fire, goot.  Baby fire,
more goot.  Innuit yamp mos' goot of any."

"Oh, pshaw!" retorted Cabot, "your sooty little lamp isn't in it with a
blaze like that."

On the third day of their journey the party had skirted the edge of the
timber for several hours, when all at once Yim held his head high with
dilated nostrils.  At the same time it was noticed that the dogs were
also sniffing eagerly.

"What is it, Yim?"

"Fire.  Injin fire," was the reply.

"I'd like to know how you can tell an Indian fire from any other," said
Cabot.  "Especially when it is so far away that I can't smell anything
but cold air."

But Yim was right, for, after a while, his companions also smelled
smoke, and a little later the yelping of their dogs was answered by
shrill cries from within the timber.  Suddenly two tattered scarecrows
of children emerged from the thick growth, stared for an instant, and
then, with terrified expressions, darted back like frightened rabbits.

"The Arsenic kids!" cried Cabot, who had recognised them.  "Now I'll
catch that scoundrel."  As he spoke he sprang after the children, and
was instantly lost to view in the low timber.

"Hold on!" shouted White.  "You'll run into an ambush."

But Cabot, crashing through the undergrowth, failed to hear the
warning, and with the loyalty of true friendship White started after
him.  A minute later he overtook his impulsive comrade standing still
and gazing irresolute at a canvas tent, black with age and smoke, and
patched in many places.  It stood on the edge of a small lake, and
showed no sign of occupancy save a slender curl of smoke that drifted
from a vent hole in its apex.

"Get behind cover," cried White.  "They may take a pot shot at any
moment."

"I don't believe it," replied Cabot.  "Any way, I'm bound to see what's
inside."

Thus saying he stepped forward and lifted the dingy flap.




CHAPTER XXIV.

OBJECTS OF CHARITY.

While Cabot felt very bitter against the young Indian whom he had named
"Arsenic," on account of the base ingratitude with which the latter had
repaid the kindness shown him, and was determined to punish him for it
in some way, he had not the slightest idea what form the punishment
would take.  Of course he did not intend to kill Arsenic, nor even to
severely injure him, but he had thought of giving the rascal a sound
thrashing, and only hoped he could make him understand what it was for.
In the excitement of the past two weeks he had forgotten all about
Arsenic, but the sight of those ragged children had awakened his
animosity, and he had followed them, hoping that they would lead him to
the object of his just wrath.  It was only when he reached the
sorry-looking tent that he remembered the other savages whom Arsenic
had brought with him on his second visit to the schooner, and wondered
if some of them might not be concealed behind the canvas screen ready
to spring upon him.

With this thought he stepped nimbly to one side as he threw open the
flap, and stood for a moment waiting for what might happen.  There was
no rush of men and no sound, save only a faint cry of terror, hearing
which Cabot peered cautiously around the edge of the opening.

A poor little fire of sticks smouldered on the ground in the middle,
filling the place with a pungent smoke.  Through this Cabot could at
first make out only a confused huddle at one side, from which several
pairs of eyes glared at him like those of wild beasts.  As he entered
the tent a human figure detached itself from this and strove to rise,
but fell back weakly helpless.  In another moment a closer view
disclosed to Cabot the whole dreadful situation.  The huddle resolved
itself into a woman, hollow-cheeked and gaunt with sickness and hunger,
two children in slightly better plight, and a little dead baby.  There
was no other person in the tent, and it contained no furnishing except
the heap of boughs, rags, and scraps of fur that passed for a bed, and
a broken kettle that lay beside the fire.  On the floor were scattered
a few bones picked clean, from which even the marrow had been
extracted; but otherwise there was no vestige of food.

"I believe they are starving to death!" cried Cabot, as he made these
discoveries.

"It certainly looks like it," replied White, who had followed his
friend into the tent.  "I wonder what they did with all the provisions
they stole from us."

"Probably they were taken from them in turn to feed those other
Indians.  At any rate, they are destitute enough now, and we can't
leave them here to die.  Go and bring Yim with the sled as quick as you
can, while I wake up this fire."

"All right," replied White, "only I'm afraid he won't come."

"He must come," said Cabot decisively.

The hatred between Eskimo and Indian is so bitter that it took all
White's powers of persuasion, together with certain threats, to bring
Yim to the tent, but once there even he was sufficiently roused by its
spectacle of suffering to bestir himself most actively.

During the next hour, while the starving, half-frozen Indians were
warmed and fed, the rescuers discussed the situation and what should be
done.  They could not leave the helpless family as they had found them,
neither could they carry them away, and it would be folly to remain
with them longer than was absolutely necessary.  They could not gain a
word of information from the woman or children as to how they had
arrived at such a pitiable plight, what they had done with the stolen
provisions, why their friends had abandoned them, or what had become of
Arsenic.

"I'll tell you what," said Cabot at length; "we'll provide them with a
supply of wood and leave all the provisions we can possibly spare.
Then we will hurry on to Indian Harbour, send back some more provisions
from there by Yim, and get him to report the case to Mr. Mellins."

As there seemed nothing better to be done, this plan was carried out,
though dividing the provisions made each portion look woefully small,
and by noon the sledge was again on its way southward.

The head of the fiord having been reached, the trail now left the
sheltering timber and struck across an open country, which was also
extremely rugged, abounding in hills and hollows.  Over these the
sledge pulled heavily, in spite of its lightened load, because one of
the ice shoes, with which its runners were shod, had broken and could
not be repaired until camp was made.

When they had gone about three miles, and while our lads were still
talking of the suffering they had so recently witnessed, they were
attracted by an exclamation from Yim, who was pointing eagerly ahead.
Looking in that direction, they saw a line of dark objects, that had
just topped a distant ridge, running swiftly towards them.

"Caribou!" shouted White, in great excitement, at the same time seizing
his rifle from the sledge and hastily removing it from its sealskin
case.  In another minute sledge and dogs were concealed in a bit of a
gully, with Cabot to watch them, while Yim and White, lying flat behind
the crest of a low ridge, were eagerly noting the course of the
approaching animals.  When it became evident that they would pass at
some distance on the right, White, crouching low, ran in that direction.

The caribou appeared badly frightened, pausing every few moments to
face about and cast terrified glances over the way they had come.  All
at once, during one of these pauses, a shot rang out, followed quickly
by another, and, as the terrified animals dashed madly away in a new
direction, one of their number dropped behind, staggered, and fell.

"I've got him!  I've got him!" yelled White, wild with the joy of his
achievement.

"Hurrah for us!" shouted Cabot.  "Steaks and spare-ribs for supper
to-night."

"Yip, yip, yip!" screamed Yim to his dogs, and with a jubilant chorus
of yells and yelpings, the entire outfit streamed over the ridge to the
place where the unfortunate caribou lay motionless.

In his broken English Yim gave the lads to understand that it would be
advisable to camp where they were, in order to prepare their meat for
transportation, and also to mend their broken sledge shoe.  This
latter, he explained, could be done much better with a mixture of blood
and snow than with any other available material.  He furthermore
intimated that he feared they might be overtaken by a blizzard before
morning, in which case they could best defy it in a regularly built
igloo.

All these reasons for delay seemed so good that the others accepted
them, and the work outlined by Yim was immediately begun.  In cutting
up the caribou, as in building the snow hut, Cabot, from lack of
experience, could give but slight assistance, and, realising this, he
made a proposal.

"Look here," he said.  "The wood we have brought along won't last long
and I want a good fire to-night.  I also want to carry some of this
meat to those poor wretches we have just left.  We have got more than
we can take with us, anyhow.  So I am going back with a leg of venison,
and on my return I'll bring all the wood I can pack."

"But you might lose the way," objected White.

"No one could lose so plain a trail as the one we have just made,"
replied Cabot, scornfully.

"Suppose it should be dark before you got back?"

"There will be three hours of daylight yet, and I won't be gone more
than two at the most.  Anyhow, I must get some of this meat to those
starving children."

White's protests were ineffectual before Cabot's strong resolve, and,
as soon as a forequarter of the caribou could be made ready, the latter
get forth on his errand of mercy.  Although he had no difficulty in
finding the trail, it was so much harder to walk with a heavy load than
it had been without one that a full hour had passed before he again
came within sight of the lonely tent in the forest.

One of the children who was outside spied him and announced his coming,
so that when he entered the tent he again found a frightened group
huddled together and apprehensively awaiting him.  But they were
stronger now, and the children uttered little squeals of joy at sight
of the meat he had brought, while even the haggard face of their mother
was lighted by a fleeting smile.

For the pleasure of seeing the children eat Cabot toasted a few strips
of venison over the coals, and these smelled so good that he cut off
some more for himself.  In this occupation he spent another hour
without realising the flight of time, and had eaten a quantity of meat
that he would have deemed impossible had it all been placed before him
at once.

As he was bending over the fire toasting a strip that he said to
himself should be the last, a slight cry from one of the children
caused him to look up.  He barely caught a glimpse of a face at the
entrance as it was hastily withdrawn, but in that moment he recognised
the features of Arsenic.  At sight of the ill-favoured young Indian all
of Cabot's former resentment flamed up, and springing to his feet he
dashed from the tent, determined to give Arsenic the thrashing he
deserved.

Of course Cabot had removed his snowshoes, but, as the young Indian had
done the same thing, both were compelled to readjust these
all-important articles, without which they would have floundered
helplessly in the deep snow.

Arsenic was off first, and though Cabot chased him hotly he could not
overcome the advantage thus gained.  Being also much less expert in the
management of snowshoes, he tripped several times, and finally pitched
headlong.  When he next regained his feet Arsenic had disappeared in
the timber, and our lad realised the futility of a further pursuit.
Now, too, he noticed that the sky had become heavily overcast, and that
a strong wind was soughing ominously through the tree tops.

"It must be later than I thought," he reflected, "and high time for me
to be getting back to camp."  With this he hastily gathered a bundle of
sticks to be used as firewood and started, as he supposed, towards the
open; but so confused was he, and so many turns did he make, that more
than half an hour was wasted before he finally emerged from the timber.
Here he was dismayed to find that snow was falling, or rather being
driven in straight lines by the wind, which had increased to the force
of a gale.

"I've got to hump myself to reach camp before dark, but I'll make it
all right," he remarked to himself, as he set forth across the white
plain.

He took a diagonal course that he hoped would lead him to the trail,
but by the time all landmarks were obliterated by the descending night
he had failed to find it.  In looking back he could not even
distinguish the timber line from which he had come.  Then the awful
conviction slowly forced itself upon him that he was lost in a
trackless wilderness, swept by the first fury of an Arctic blizzard.




CHAPTER XXV.

LOST IN A BLIZZARD.

So numbed was our poor lad by the shock of his discovery that, for a
few moments, he stood motionless.  Of course it would be of no use to
continue his hopeless struggle.  Even if he had come in the right
direction he must ere this have passed the place where his companions
were encamped.  If he could only regain the timber there might be a
slight chance of surviving the night; but even its location was lost to
him, and a certain death stared him in the face.  At any rate it would
be a painless ending, for he had only to lie down to be quickly covered
by a soft blanket of snow.  Then he could go to sleep never again to
waken.  He was very weary, and already so drowsy that the thought of
sleep was pleasant to him.  Such a death would certainly not be so
terrible as drowning after a hopeless struggle with black waters.

With this thought every incident of that awful night after the loss of
the "Lavinia" flashed into his mind.  How utterly hopeless had seemed
his situation then and how desperately he had fought for his life.  But
he had fought, and had won the fight.  What was the use of learning a
lesson of that kind if he could not profit by it?  Was not his life as
well worth fighting for now as then?  Of course it was; nor was his
present position any more hopeless than that one had been.  Then he had
drifted with the wind, and now he would do the same thing.  If he could
hold out long enough he would fetch up somewhere sometime.  It was
merely a question of endurance.  Even in that howling wilderness, with
death on all sides, there were still three chances for life.  The drift
with the wind might take him to the igloo that Yim must have built ere
this.  How bright, and warm, and cosey its lamplighted interior would
be.  How glad they would be to see him, and how he would laugh at all
his recent fears.  But of course there was not one chance in a million
of his finding the igloo.  It was not at all unlikely, though, that the
drift might take him to a belt of timber, into which the bitter wind
could not penetrate; and where he could crawl under the thick,
low-hanging branches of some tent-like spruce.  Even such a shelter now
seemed very desirable, and would be accepted with thankfulness.  If he
failed to reach timber, the wind might blow him to some region of
cliffs and rocks that would shelter him from its cutting blasts.  If he
missed all these chances, and if worse came to worst, he could always
go to sleep beneath the snow blanket, and it would be better to do that
with the consciousness of having made a good fight than to yield now
like a coward.

All these thoughts flashed through Cabot's mind within the space of a
minute, and, having determined to fight until the battle was either won
or lost, he flung away his now useless burden of firewood and started
off down the wind.  Tramping through that newly fallen snow, even with
the support of racquets, was exhausting work, but the effort at least
kept him warm, and, before he came to the end of his strength, some
hours later, he had covered a number of miles.  He had also come to the
least promising of the three places he had hoped for, and found himself
in a region of cliffs, precipices, and huge rocks, among which he could
no longer make headway, even though he had not reached the limit of
endurance.

But he had reached that limit, and now only sought a spot in which he
might lie down and go to sleep.  Of course the snow would quickly cover
him, and doubtless he would be buried deep ere the fury of the storm
was past.  But he had a vague plan for putting his snowshoes over his
head like an inverted V, and hoped in that way to be kept from
smothering.  At the same time he had little thought that he should ever
see the light of another day.

"Only a bit further and then I can rest," he muttered, as he pushed
into the blackness of a rift between two tall cliffs, and experienced a
partial relief from the furious wind.  It seemed as though he ought to
penetrate this as far as possible, and so he struggled weakly forward.
Then he stumbled over something that lay across his path and fell
heavily.  As he lay wondering whether an attempt to regain his feet
would be worth while, he seemed to hear the distant but strenuous
ringing of an electric bell, and almost smiled at the absurdity of such
a fancy in such a place.  The thought carried him back to the
electrical laboratory of the Institute, and he began to dream that he
was still a student of ohms, volts, and amperes.

In another moment his consciousness would have been wholly merged in
dreams, but suddenly the place where he lay was filled with a blaze of
light that apparently streamed from the solid rock on either side.  So
intense was this light that it penetrated even Cabot's closed eyes, and
aroused him from the stupor into which he had fallen.  He lifted his
head, and, still bewildered, wondered why the laboratory was so
brilliantly illuminated.

Then, through the glare, he saw the driving snow-flakes with their
dancing shadows magnified a hundred fold, and, all at once, he
remembered.  Staggering to his feet, and groping with outstretched
arms, he pushed forward along the narrow pathway outlined by the
mysterious light.  He no longer heard the sound of bells, but in its
place came strains of music that blended weirdly with the shrieking
wind, and irresistibly compelled him forward.  The pathway sloped
downward and then took a sharp turn.  As Cabot passed this the light
behind him was extinguished as suddenly as it had appeared, the wild
music sounded louder than ever, and directly in front of him gleamed
two squares of light like windows.  Between them was a dark space,
towards which he instinctively stumbled.  It proved to be as he had
hoped, a door massive and without any means of unclosing that his blind
fumblings could discover.  So he beat against it feebly and uttered a
hoarse cry for help.  In another moment it was opened, and Cabot,
leaning heavily against it, fell into a room, small, warm, and brightly
lighted.

For a few minutes he lay with closed eyes, barely conscious that his
struggle for life had been successful, and that in some mysterious
manner he had gained a place of safety.  Gradually he became aware that
some one was bending over him, and opening his eyes he gazed full into
a face that he instantly recognised, though it had sadly changed since
he last saw it.  At that time it had expressed strength in every line,
but now it was haggard and worn by suffering.

"The Man-wolf!" gasped Cabot, in a voice hardly above a whisper.

A slight smile flitted across the man's face, and then, without
warning, he sank to the floor in a dead faint.  His mighty strength had
been turned to the weakness of water, and the iron will had at length
relaxed its hold upon the enfeebled body.  As the man-wolf fell, a
stream of blood trickled from his mouth, and he choked for breath as
though strangling.

There is nothing so effective in restoring spent strength as a demand
upon it from one who is weaker, and at sight of the big man's
helplessness Cabot was instantly nerved to renewed effort.  He sat up,
cut loose his snowshoes, closed the open door, and rid himself of his
snow-laden outer garments.  Then, by a supreme effort, he managed to
drag the unconscious man to a bed that was piled with robes and lean
him against it.  His eyes had already lighted on a jug of water, and
fetching this he bathed the sufferer's face, washed the blood from his
mouth, and finally had the satisfaction of seeing his eyes unclose.
Then he helped him on to the bed, and though during the operation the
man's face expressed the most intense pain, he uttered no sound.  But
the movement was accompanied by another hemorrhage, so severe that it
seemed to our distressed lad as though the man must surely bleed to
death before it was checked.  When it finally ceased the exhausted
sufferer dropped asleep, and, for the first time since entering that
place of mysteries, Cabot found an opportunity for looking about him.

Although the room was small it was comfortably furnished with a table,
chairs--one of which was a rocker--a lounge, and the bed on which the
man-wolf lay.  There were no windows nor doors except those in front.
The ceiling was of heavy canvas tightly stretched, while the walls were
hung with the skins of fur-bearing animals, and the floor was covered
with rugs of the same material.  At first Cabot paid no attention to
these details, for his eyes were fixed upon the most astonishing thing
he had seen in all Labrador.  It was a lamp that, depending from the
ceiling, gave to the room an illumination as brilliant as daylight.

"Electric, as I live!" gasped the young engineer.  "A regular
incandescent, and those lights out on the trail must have been the
same.  That was an electric bell too.  I know it now, though I couldn't
believe my ears at the time.  The light he scared the Indians with must
have been an electric flash, worked by a storage battery.  But it is
all so incredible!  I wonder if I am really awake or still dreaming?"

To assure himself on this point Cabot went to the light, and, as he did
so, came upon another surprise greater than any that had preceded it.
He had wondered at the comfortable temperature of the room, for there
was nowhere a fire to be seen, and the blizzard still howled outside
with unabated fury.  Now, on drawing near to the lamp, he found himself
also approaching some heretofore unobserved source of heat, which he
discovered to be a drum of sheet iron.  It stood by itself, unconnected
with any chimney, and apparently had no receptacle for any form of
fuel, solid, liquid, or gaseous.

"A Balfour electric heater," murmured Cabot, in an awe-stricken tone,
"and I didn't even know they had been perfected.  I don't suppose there
are half-a-dozen in use in all the world, and yet here is one of them
doing its full duty up here in the Labrador wilderness, a thousand
miles from anywhere.  It is fully equal to any tale of the Arabian
Nights, and Mr. Homolupus must, as the natives say, be either a god or
a devil.  I do wonder who he is, where he came from, what has happened
to him, where he gets his electricity, and a thousand other things.  I
wish he would wake up, and I wish he could talk."

Cabot's curiosity concerning the weird music that had drawn him to that
place had been partially satisfied by the discovery of a violin on the
floor beside the sick man's bed.  Now, as he flung himself wearily down
on the lounge for a bit of rest, he became conscious of the muffled
b-r-r-r of a dynamo.  That accounted in a measure for the electric
lights, but still left our lad in a daze of wonder at the nature of his
surroundings.




CHAPTER XXVI.

AN ELECTRICIAN IN THE WILDERNESS.

When Cabot threw himself down on that lounge he fully intended to
remain awake, or at most to take only a series of short naps, always
holding himself in readiness to assist the sufferer on the opposite
side of the room.  But exhausted nature proved too much for his good
intentions, and he had hardly lain down before he fell into a dead,
dreamless sleep that lasted for many hours.  When he next awoke it was
with a start, and he sat up bewildered by the strangeness of his
environment.  Daylight was streaming in at the frost-covered windows
and the storm of the night before had evidently spent its fury.

Almost the first thing he saw was the tall form of his host bending
feebly over the electric stove.  His face was drawn with pain, and he
was so weak that he was compelled to support himself by grasping the
table with one hand while with the other he stirred the contents of a
simmering kettle.

"Let me do that, sir!" cried Cabot, springing to his feet.  "You are
not fit to be out of your bed, and I am perfectly familiar with the
management of electrical cooking apparatus, though I don't know much
about cooking itself."

The man hesitated a moment, and then permitted the other to lead him
back to his bed, on which he sank with a groan.  Here Cabot made him as
comfortable as possible before turning his attention to the stove.  On
it he found two kettles, each having its own wire connections, in one
of which was boiling water while the other contained a meat stew.  On
the table was a box of tea, a bowl of sugar, and a plate heaped with
hard bread.  Finding other dishes in a cupboard, Cabot made a pot of
tea, turned off the electric current, and served breakfast.  Before
eating a mouthful himself he prepared a bowl of broth for his patient,
which the latter managed to swallow after many attempts and painful
effort.

Cabot ate ravenously, and, after his meal, felt once more ready to face
any number of difficulties.  First he went to the bedside of his host
and said:

"Now, Mr. Homolupus, I want to find out what is the trouble and what I
can do for you.  Are you wounded, or just naturally ill?"

The man looked at his questioner for a moment, as though he were on the
point of speaking.  Then he seemed to change his mind, and, reaching
for a pencil and pad that lay close at hand, he wrote:

"I am shot in the chest."

"Who--I mean how----" began Cabot, and then, realising that his
curiosity could well wait, he added: "But, with your permission, I will
examine the wound and see if there is anything I can do."

With this he sought and gently removed a blood-soaked bandage, thereby
disclosing a sight so ghastly that it almost unnerved him.  The wound
was so terrible, and the loss of blood from it had evidently been so
great, that how even the giant frame of the man-wolf could have
survived it was amazing.  Having no knowledge of surgery, Cabot could
only bathe and rebandage it.  Then he said:

"Now, I am going to be your nurse, and you must lie perfectly still
without attempting to get up again until I give you leave."

Seeing an expression of dissent in the man's face, he continued:

"It's all right.  I am under the greatest of obligations to you, and am
only too glad of a chance to pay some of it back.  So I shall stay
right here just as long as you need me.  Fortunately I know something
about both electricity and machinery, having been educated at a
technical institute, so that I shall be able to manage very well with
your plant.  But I do wish you could explain a few things to me.  Is
your name really 'Homolupus'?"

The sufferer smiled and wrote on his pad:

"My name is Watson Balfour."

[Illustration: "My name is Watson Balfour."]

"Of London?" queried Cabot.

The man nodded.

"Is it possible that you can be Watson Balfour, the celebrated English
electrician, who is supposed to have been lost at sea some years ago?"

Again the man smiled and made a sign of assent.

For a moment Cabot stared, well nigh speechless with the wonder and
excitement of this discovery.  Then he broke into a torrent of
exclamations and questions.

"Why, Mr. Balfour, I know you so well by reputation that you seem like
an old friend.  Your 'Handbook of Electricity' and your 'Comparative
Voltage' are text books at the Institute.  The whole scientific world
mourned your supposed death.  But how do you happen to be up here, and
how have you managed to establish an electric plant in this wilderness?
Why are you masquerading as a man-wolf?  How did you lose the power of
speech?  How did you become so severely wounded?  Can't you tell me
some of these things?"

For answer Mr. Balfour wrote: "Perhaps, some time.  Tell first how you
came here."

So Cabot, forced to curb for the present his own overpowering
curiosity, sat down and told of all that had happened since the
departure of the man-wolf from Locked Harbour.  When he had finished he
said:

"And now, I ought to go outside and see if I can discover any trace of
my companions, who must be awfully cut up over my disappearance.  But
don't be uneasy, Mr. Balfour, I shan't go far, and whether I find them
or not I shall certainly come back to stay just as long as you need me.
I hope you will sleep while I am gone, and I wish you would promise not
to leave your bed, or move more than is absolutely necessary, before my
return."

When Cabot first stepped outside the shelter that had proved such a
haven of safety to him, he was dazzled by the brilliancy of the day.
After becoming somewhat accustomed to the glare of sunlight on
new-fallen snow, he turned to see what sort of a house he had just
left.  To his surprise there was no house; the only suggestion of one
being two windows and a door set in a wall of rock that was built at
the base of a cliff.

"It is a cavern," thought Cabot, "and that is the reason the room is so
easily kept warm.  Mighty good thing to have in this country,
especially when it is lined with furs."

The snow lay unbroken, and there was no sign of the trail he had made
the night before.  For a short distance, however, he could go in but
one direction, for the only way out was through the narrow defile by
which he had entered.  At its mouth he found the wire over which he had
fallen, and thereby given notice of his approach by causing the ringing
of an electric bell.

"When he heard it he turned on the lights," said Cabot to himself.
"It's a great scheme for scaring off Indians and attracting white men.
I wonder if any other person ever found the place?  What a marvellous
thing my stumbling on it was, anyhow.  Now, which way did I come?"

Gazing blankly at the surrounding chaos of snow-covered rocks, our lad
could form no idea of the route by which he had been led to that place,
through the storm and darkness of the preceding night, nor of how he
might leave it.

"There is no use wandering aimlessly," he decided at length, "and I'll
either have to gain a bird's-eye view of the country or get Mr. Balfour
to make me a map.  To think that I should have discovered him, and here
of all places in the world.  What a sensation it will make when I tell
of it.  Of course I shall do so, for I'll get out of this fix all right
somehow.  What a state of mind poor White must be in this morning.  I
know I should be in his place.  He's all right, though, with Yim to
pull him through, and they'll make Indian Harbour easy enough.  Then I
shall be reported lost, and after a while Mr. Hepburn will hear the
news.  Wonder what he thinks has become of me anyhow?  I am following
out instructions, and wintering in Labrador fast enough.  Only I don't
seem to have much time to investigate mining properties, and of course
it's no use trying to find 'em buried under feet of snow.  Perhaps Mr.
Balfour has discovered some while roaming around the country as a
man-wolf.  How absurd to think of 'Voltage' Balfour as a man-wolf!
Wonder why he did it?  How I wish he could talk!  Wonder why he can't?"

While thus cogitating, Cabot had also been climbing a nearby eminence
that promised a view of the outlying country, but from it he could see
nothing save other hills rising still higher and an unbroken waste of
snow.

"It's no use," he sighed.  "I don't believe I could find them, even if
I had plenty of time.  As it is, I don't dare stay away from Mr.
Balfour any longer.  I'm afraid he's a very sick man, with a slim
chance of ever pulling through."

So Cabot, after an absence of several hours, turned back towards the
snug shelter so providentially provided for him, and for which he was
just then more grateful than he could express.  He was thinking of the
many wonders of the place when he reached its door; but, as he opened
it and stepped inside the room, he was greeted by a greater surprise
than he had yet encountered.  Nothing was changed about the interior,
and the wounded man lay as Cabot had left him, but with the appearance
of the latter he exclaimed:

"Thank God, dear lad, that you have come back to me!  It seemed as
though I should go crazy if left alone a minute longer."

Cabot stared in amazement.  "Is it a miracle?" he finally asked, "and
has your speech been restored to you, or have you been able to speak
all the time?"

"I have been able, but not willing," was the reply.  "I had thought to
die without speaking to a human being.  I even avoided my fellows,
believing myself sufficient unto myself.  But God has punished my
arrogance and shown me my weakness.  Until you came no stranger has
ever set foot within this dwelling, to none have I spoken, and not even
to you did I intend to speak, but with your going my folly became
plain.  I feared you might never return; the horror of living alone,
and the greater horror of dying alone, swept over me.  Then I prayed
for you to come.  I promised to speak as soon as you were within
hearing.  Every moment since then I have watched for you and longed for
your coming as a dying man longs for the breath of life.  Promise that
you will not leave me again."

"I have already promised, and now I repeat, that I will not leave you
so long as you have need of me," replied Cabot.  "But tell me----"

"I will tell you everything," interrupted the wounded man, "but first
you must look after the dynamo.  It has stopped, and if you cannot set
it going again we must both perish."




CHAPTER XXVII.

THE MAN-WOLF'S STORY.

An accident to the dynamo in that place where there was no fuel, and
electricity must be depended upon for light and heat, was so serious a
matter that, for a moment, even Cabot's curiosity concerning his host
was merged in anxiety.

"Where shall I find it?" he asked.

"In the cavern back of this room.  The doorway is behind that bearskin.
This upper row of keys connects with the storage battery, and the
second key controls the lights of the dynamo room.  If there is a bad
break I can manage to get to it, but I wouldn't try until you came,
because I promised not to move."

All this was said in a voice that faltered from weakness, and a wave of
pity surged in Cabot's breast as he realised how dependent upon him
this man, so recently a mental as well as a physical giant, had become.

"I expect I shall be able to attend to it all right," he said
decisively, as he turned on the stored current that would light the
unknown cavern.  "At any rate, I shall be able to report the condition
of things, so that you can advise me what to do, or else my training is
a greater failure than I think."

With this he lifted the bearskin, opened a door thus disclosed, and
found himself in a small, well-lighted cavern that was at once a dynamo
room, a workshop, and a storehouse for a confused miscellany of
articles.  Without pausing to investigate any of these he went directly
to a dynamo that had been set up at one side and examined it carefully.
It appeared in perfect order, and the trouble must evidently be sought
elsewhere.

Cabot had wondered by what power the dynamo was driven, and now,
hearing a sound of running water, he stepped in that direction.  A
short distance away he discovered a swift-flowing subterranean stream,
in which revolved a water wheel of rude, but serviceable, construction.
As nothing seemed wrong with it, he was obliged to look further, and
finally found the cause of trouble to be a transmitting belt, the
worn-out lacing of which had parted.  As portions of the belt itself
had been caught in the pulleys and badly cut, it was necessary to hunt
through the pile of material for a new one, and for leather suitable
for lacing.  Then the new belt must be accurately measured, laced
together, and adjusted to its pulleys.

Although the temperature of the cavern was many degrees above that of
the outside air, it was still so low that Cabot worked slowly and with
numbed fingers.  Thus more than an hour had elapsed before the dynamo
was again in running order, and he was at liberty to return to the
living room.  In the meantime his curiosity concerning this strange
place of abode and its mysterious tenant was increased by the
remarkable collection of articles stored on all sides.  There was no
end of machinery, tools, and electrical apparatus of all kinds,
including miles of copper wire and chemicals for charging batteries.
Besides these, there were ropes, canvas, furniture, boxes, barrels, and
other things too numerous to mention.

"What a prize this place would have been for the Indians if they had
ever discovered it," reflected the young engineer.  "I wonder that he
dared go off and leave it unguarded."

When he finally returned to the outer room, he found it even colder
than the cavern in which he had been working, and realised, as never
before, the value of the knowledge that had enabled him to restore the
usefulness of that electric heater.  After getting it into operation,
and making his report to the sick man, who had impatiently awaited him,
there was another meal to prepare.

So, in spite of Cabot's overwhelming desire to hear Mr. Balfour's
story, there was so much to be done first that the short day had merged
into another night before the opportunity arrived.  When it came, our
lad drew a chair to the bedside of his patient and said:

"Now, sir, if you feel able to talk, and are willing to tell me how you
happen to be living in this place, I shall be more than glad to listen."

"I am willing," replied the other, "but must be brief, since talking
has become an exertion.  As perhaps you know, I was a working
electrician in London, where, though I had a good business, I had not
accumulated much money.  Consequently I was greatly pleased to receive
what promised to be a lucrative contract from a Canadian railway
company for supplying and installing a quantity of electrical apparatus
along their line.  I at once invested every penny I could raise in the
purchase of material and in the charter of a sailing vessel to
transport it to this country.  On the eve of sailing I married a young
lady to whom I had long been engaged, and, with light hearts, we set
forth on our wedding trip across the Atlantic.

"The first two weeks of that voyage were filled with such happiness
that I trembled for fear it should be snatched from me.  During that
time we had fair weather and favouring winds.  Then we ran into a gale
that lasted for days, and drove us far out of our course.  One mast
went by the board, the other was cut away to save the ship, and, while
in this helpless condition, she struck at night, what I afterwards
learned to be, a mass of floating ice.  At the time all hands believed
us to be on the coast, and the crew, taking our only seaworthy boat,
put off in a panic, while I was below preparing my wife for departure.
Thus deserted, we awaited the death that we expected with each passing
moment, but it failed to come and the ship still floated.  With
earliest daylight I was on deck, and, to my amazement, saw land on both
sides.  We had been driven into the mouth of a broad estuary, up which
wind and tide were still carrying us.

"For three days our helpless drift, to and fro, was continued, and then
our ship grounded on a ledge at the foot of these cliffs.  Getting
ashore with little difficulty, we were dismayed to find ourselves in an
uninhabited wilderness, devoid even of vegetation other than moss and
low growing shrubs.  One of my first discoveries was this cavern with
its subterranean stream of water, and two openings, one of which gives
easy access to the sea.  Knowing that our ship must, sooner or later,
go to pieces, and desirous of saving what property I might, I rigged up
a derrick at the mouth of the cavern, and, with the aid of my brave
wife, transferred everything movable from the wreck; a labour of months.

"Winter was now at hand, and, foreseeing that we must spend it where we
were, I walled up the openings and made all possible preparations to
fight the coming cold.  We burned wood from the wreck while it lasted,
and in the meantime I labored almost night and day at the establishment
of an electric plant.  But the awful winter came and found it still
unfinished, and before the coming of another spring I was left alone."

Here the speaker paused, overcome as much by his feelings as by
weakness, and, during the silence that followed, Cabot stole away,
ostensibly to see that the dynamo was running smoothly.  When he
returned the narrator had recovered his calmness, and was ready to
continue his story.

"She had never been strong," he said, "and I so cruelly allowed her to
overwork herself that she had no strength left with which to fight the
winter.  She died in my arms in this very room, and I promised never to
leave her.  Also, after her death, I vowed that my last words to her
should be my last to any human being, and, until this day, I have kept
that vow, foolish and wicked though it was.  I have talked and read
aloud when alone, but to no man have I spoken.  I have also avoided
intercourse with my fellows, selfishly preferring to nurse my sorrow in
sinful rebellion against God's will.  Now am I justly punished by being
stricken down in the pride of my strength.  At the same time God has
shown his everlasting mercy by sending you to me in the time of my sore
need.  And you have promised to stay with me until the end, which I
feel assured is not far off."

"I trust it may be," said Cabot, "for the world can ill afford to spare
a man of your attainments."

"The world has forgotten me ere this," replied Mr. Balfour, with a
faint smile, "and has also managed to get along very well without me.
Whether it has or has not I feel that I am shortly to rejoin my dear
one."

"How did it happen?  I mean your wound," asked Cabot, abruptly changing
the subject.  "Was it an accident?"

"It may have been, but I believe not.  Dressed in wolf skins, I was
creeping up on a small herd of caribou two days ago, when I was shot by
some unknown person, probably an Indian hunting the same game, though I
never saw him.  I managed to crawl home, and as I lay here, filled with
the horror of dying alone, the ringing of my alarm bell announced a
coming of either man or beast.  I found strength to turn on the outer
lights and to sound a call for aid on my violin that I hoped would be
heard and understood."

"It was fortunate for me that you did both those things," said Cabot,
"for I should certainly have remained where I fell after stumbling over
the wire if it had not been for the combination of light and music.
But tell me, sir, why have you masqueraded as a man-wolf?"

"For convenience in hunting, as well as to inspire terror in the minds
of savages and keep them at a respectful distance from this place."

"Have they ever troubled you?"

"At first they were inclined to, but not of late years."

"Not of late years!   Why, sir, how many years have you dwelt in this
place?"

"A little more than five."

"Five years alone and cut off from the world!  I should think you would
feel like a prisoner shut in a dungeon."

"No, for I have led the life of my own choice, and it has been full of
active interests.  I have had to hunt, trap, and fish for my own
support.  I have tried to redress some wrongs, and have been able to
relieve much distress among the improvident natives.  I have busied
myself with electrical experiments, and have explored the surrounding
country for a hundred miles on all sides."

"Have you discovered any indications of mineral wealth during your
explorations?" asked the young engineer, recalling his previous thought
on this subject.

"Quite a number, of which the most important is right here; for this
range of cliffs is so largely composed of red hematite as to form one
of the richest ore beds in the world."




CHAPTER XXVIII.

CABOT IS LEFT ALONE.

Deeply interested and affected as Cabot had been by the electrician's
story, his excitement over its conclusion caused him momentarily to
forget everything else.

"Does the ore show anywhere about here?" he asked eagerly.

"Yes.  Lift one of the skins hanging against the wall and you will find
it.  It is better, though, in the lower portions of the inner cavern,
for the deeper you go the richer it gets."

In another moment our young engineer was chipping bits of rock from the
nearest wall, and then he must need explore those of the storeroom,
where, on a bank of the subterranean stream, he found ore as rich as
any he had ever seen, even in museums.  Returning with hands and
pockets full of specimens, he said:

"This is the very thing for which I came to Labrador, but have thus far
failed to find.  Of course I have discovered plenty of indications, for
the whole country is full of iron, but nowhere else have I found it in
quantity or of a quality that would pay to work.  Here you have both,
and close to a navigable waterway."

"On which the largest ships may moor to the very cliffs," added Mr.
Balfour.

"It means a fortune to the owner, and I congratulate you, sir."

"My dear lad, I don't want it!  I am an electrician, not a miner.  Even
if I were inclined to work it, which I am not, I should not be
permitted to do so, for my earthly interests are very nearly ended.
Therefore I cheerfully relinquish in your favour whatever claim I may
have acquired by discovery or occupation.  If you want it, take it, and
may God's blessing go with the gift.  Also, under this bed, you will
find a bag containing more specimens that may interest you.  Of them we
will talk at another time, for now I am weary."

With this the man turned his face to the wall, while Cabot, securing
the bag, quickly became absorbed in an examination of its contents.
Among these he found rich specimens of iron and copper ores, slabs of
the rare and exquisitely beautiful Labradorite, with its sheen of
peacock-blue, and even bits of gold-bearing quartz.  For a long time he
examined and tested these; then, with a sigh of content, he laid them
aside and went to bed.  His mission to Labrador was at length
accomplished, and now he had only to get back to New York as quickly as
possible.

But getting to New York from that place, under existing circumstances,
was something infinitely easier to plan than to accomplish.  To begin
with, he had promised to remain with the new-found friend, who was also
so greatly his benefactor, so long as he should be needed, and he meant
to fulfil the promise to the letter.  But to do so taxed his patience
to the utmost; for, in spite of the electrician's belief that he had
not long to live, the passing of many weeks found his condition but
little changed.  At the same time, in spite of Cabot's best nursing and
ceaseless attention, he failed to gain strength.

Having once broken his years of silence, he now found his greatest
pleasure in talking, and Cabot had frequently to interrupt his
conversation on the pretence of taking outside exercise, to prevent him
from exhausting himself in that way.  He hated to do this, for Mr.
Balfour's words were always instructive, and he so freely yielded the
established secrets of his profession, as well as those of his own
recent discoveries, to his young friend that Cabot acquired a rich
store of valuable information during the short days and long nights of
that Labrador winter.

With the apparatus at hand, he was able to conduct many experiments and
put into practice a number of his newly acquired theories.  The sick
man followed these with keenest interest, and aided his pupil with
shrewd suggestions.  At other times they discussed the mineral wealth
of Labrador, and Mr. Balfour drew rough diagrams to show localities
from which his various specimens had been brought.  He also gave much
time to a sketch map of the surrounding country, especially the coast
between the place where the "Sea Bee" had been left and Indian Harbour,
beyond which his knowledge did not extend.

With these congenial occupations, time never hung heavily in the
wilderness home of the Man-wolf, and, though bitter cold might reign
outside, fierce storms rage, and driving snows pile themselves into
mountainous drifts, neither hunger nor cold could penetrate its snug
interior, warmed and lighted by the magic of modern science.  With the
passing weeks the old year died and a new one was born.  January merged
into February, and days began noticeably to lengthen.  Through all
these weeks Cabot kept up his strength by frequent exercise in the
open, where, in conflict with storm and cold, he ever won some part of
their own ruggedness.  At the same time, his patient grew slowly but
surely weaker, until at length he could converse only in whispers, and
experienced such difficulty in swallowing that he had almost ceased to
take nourishment.  One evening while affairs stood thus, he roused
himself sufficiently to inquire what day of the month it was.

"The thirteenth of February," replied Cabot, who had kept careful note
of the calendar.

Instantly the man brightened, and said, with an unexpected strength of
voice: "Six years to-morrow since we were married.  Five years to-day
since she left me, and to-night I shall rejoin her.  Wish me joy, lad,
for the long period of our separation is ended.  Good-night, good-bye,
God bless you!"

With this final utterance, he again lapsed into silence, closed his
eyes, and seemed to sleep.  Several times during that night Cabot stole
softly to his patient's bedside, but the latter was always asleep, and
he would not disturb him.  Only in the morning, when daylight revealed
the marble-like repose of feature, did he know that a glad reunion of
long parted lovers had been effected, and that it was he who was left
alone.

Although the position in which our lad now found himself was a very
trying one, he had anticipated and planned for it.  He had no boards
with which to make a coffin, but there was plenty of stout canvas, and
in a double thickness of this he sewed the body of his friend.  Before
doing so he dug away the snow beside a cairn of rocks that marked the
last resting place of her who had gone before, and placed the electric
heater, with extended wire connections, on the ground thus exposed.
Within a few hours this soil became sufficiently thawed to permit him
to dig a shallow grave, to which, by great effort, he managed to remove
the shrouded body.  After covering it, and piling above it rocks as
large as he could lift, he returned to the empty dwelling, having
completed the hardest and saddest day's work of his life.

So terrible was the loneliness of that night, and so anxious was Cabot
to take his departure, that he was again astir long before daylight,
completing his preparations.  He had previously built a light sled that
he proposed to drag, and had planned exactly what it should carry.  Now
he loaded this with a canvas-wrapped package of cooked provisions, a
sleeping bag, a rifle together with a few rounds of ammunition, a light
axe, his precious bag of specimens, and the Man-wolf's electric
flashlight with its battery newly charged.

With everything thus in readiness he ate a hearty meal, threw the
dynamo out of gear, closed the door and shutters of the place that had
given him the shelter of a home, adjusted the hauling straps of his
sled, and set resolutely forth on his venturesome journey across the
frozen wilderness.

In his mittened hands Cabot carried a stout staff tipped with a
boathook, and this proved of inestimable service in aiding him down the
face of the cliffs to the frozen surface of the estuary; for, by Mr.
Balfour's advice, he had determined to follow the coast line rather
than attempt the shorter but more uncertain inland route.

Although the distance to be covered was but little over one hundred
miles, the journey was so beset with difficulties and hardships that
only our young engineer's splendid physical condition and recently
acquired skill, combined with indomitable pluck, enabled him to
accomplish it.  While he sometimes met with smooth stretches of
snow-covered ice, it was generally piled in huge wind-rows, incredibly
rugged and difficult to surmount.  Again it would be broken away from
the base of sheer cliffs, where stretches of open water would
necessitate toilsome inland detours over or around lofty headlands.  He
was always buffetted by strong winds, and often halted by blinding
snowstorms.  He had no fire, no warm food, and no shelter save such as
he could make by burrowing into snowdrifts.  During the weary hours of
one whole night he held a pack of snarling wolves at bay by means of
his flashlight.  But always he pushed doggedly forward, and after ten
days of struggle, exhausted almost beyond the power for further effort,
but immensely proud of his achievement, he reached the goal of his long
desire.

Indian Harbour--with its hospital, its church, its two or three houses,
and score of native huts, seemed to our lad almost a metropolis after
his months of wilderness life, and the welcome he received from its
warm-hearted inhabitants when he made known his identity was that of
one raised from the dead.  White Baldwin and Yim had been there many
weeks earlier, and had reported his disappearance under circumstances
that left no hope of his ever again being seen alive.  Then the latter
had set forth on his return journey, while White had joined a mail
carrier and started for Battle Harbour.

Now occurred what promised to be a serious interruption to Cabot's
southward advance, for no one was proposing to travel in that
direction, and, in spite of their hospitality, his new acquaintances
were not inclined to undertake the arduous task of guiding him to
Battle Harbour, 250 miles away, without being well paid for their
labour, and our young engineer had no money.  Nor, after his recent
experience, did he care to again encounter the perils of the wilderness
alone.

But fortune once more favoured him; for while he was chafing against
this enforced detention, Dr. Graham Aspland, house surgeon of the
Battle Harbour Hospital, who makes a heroic sledge journey to the far
north every winter, arrived on his annual errand of mercy.  He would
set out on his return trip a few days later, and would be more than
pleased to have Cabot for a companion.

Thus it happened that one bright day in early March the music of sledge
bells and the cracking of a dog driver's whip attracted the inmates of
the Battle Harbour Hospital to doors and windows to witness an arrival.
Two fur-clad figures followed a great travelling sledge, and one of
them dragged a small sled of his own.  As he came to a halt, and began
wearily to loosen his hauling gear, he cast a glance at one of the
upper windows, and uttered an exclamation of amazement.  Then, with a
joyful cry, he shouted:

"Hello!  White, old man!  Run down here and say you're glad I've come!"




CHAPTER XXIX.

DRIFTING WITH THE ICE PACK.

Cabot had learned from Dr. Aspland of White's arrival at Battle Harbour
two months before, with a leg so badly wrenched by slipping into an ice
crevice that he had gone to the hospital for treatment, but had
expected that he would long ere this have taken his departure.  At the
same time White had, of course, given up all hope of ever again seeing
the friend to whom he had become so deeply attached.  He had been
terribly cut up over Cabot's disappearance on the night of the
blizzard, and, with the faithful Yim, had spent days in searching for
him.  They had gone back to the timber, only to find the Indian camp
deserted, and that its recent occupants had made a hasty departure.
Finally they had given over the hopeless search and had sadly continued
their southward journey.

Now to again behold Cabot alive and well filled poor White with such
joyful amazement that for some minutes he could not frame an
intelligent sentence.  He flew down to where the new arrival still
struggled with his hauling gear, and flung himself so impulsively upon
him that both rolled over in the snow.  There, with gasping
exclamations of delight, they wrestled themselves into a mood of
comparative calmness that enabled them to regain their feet and begin
to ask questions.

For some time White had been sufficiently recovered to resume his
journey, had an opportunity offered for so doing, but, as none had come
to him, he had earned his board by acting as nurse in the hospital.  If
he had been anxious to depart before, he was doubly so now that he had
regained his comrade, and Cabot fully shared his impatience of further
delay.  But how they were to reach the coast of Newfoundland they could
not imagine.  It would still be many weeks before vessels of any kind
could be expected at Battle Harbour, and they had no money with which
to undertake the expensive journey by way of Quebec.

"If only the ocean would freeze over, we could walk home!" exclaimed
Cabot one day, as the two friends sat gloomily discussing their
prospects.  And then that very thing came to pass.

A dog sledge arrived from Forteau, that same evening, bringing a
wounded man to the hospital for treatment, and its driver reported the
Strait of Belle Isle as being so solidly packed with ice that several
persons had traversed it from shore to shore.

"If others have made the trip, why can't we?" cried Cabot.

"I am willing to try it, if you are," replied White, and by daylight of
the following morning the impatient lads were on their way up the coast
in search of the ice bridge to Newfoundland.  Cabot had traded his
electric flashlight for a supply of provisions sufficient to load his
sled, which they took turns at hauling, and four days after leaving
Battle Harbour they reached L'Anse au Loup.  At that point the strait
is only a dozen miles wide, and there, if anywhere, they could cross
it.  It was midday when they came to the winter huts of L'Anse au Loup,
and they had intended remaining in one of them over night, but a short
conversation with its owner caused them to change their plans.

"Yas, there be solid pack clear to ither side all right," he said, "but
happen it 'll go out any time.  Fust change o' wind 'll loose it, and
one's to be looked for.  Ah wouldn't resk it on no account mahself, but
if Ah had it to do, Ah'd go in a hurry 'ithout wasting no time."

"It is a case of necessity with us," said Cabot.

"Yes," agreed White, "we simply must go, and the quicker we set about
it the better.  If we make haste I believe we can get across by dark."

Thus determined, and disregarding a further expostulation from the
fisherman, our lads set their faces resolutely towards the confusion of
hummocks, "pans," floes tilted on edge, and up-reared masses of blue
ice forming the "strait's pack" of that season.  Five minutes later
they were lost to sight amid the frozen chaos.

"Wal," soliloquized the man left standing on shore, "Ah 'opes they'll
make it, but it's a fearsome resk, an' Gawd 'elp 'em if come a shift o'
wind afore they're over."

Nothing, in all their previous experience of Labrador travel, had
equalled the tumultuous ruggedness of the way by which Cabot and White
were now attempting to bridge that boisterous arm of the stormy
northern ocean, and to advance at all taxed their strength to the
utmost.  To transport their laden sled was next to impossible, but they
dared not leave it behind, and with their progress thus impeded they
were barely half way to the Newfoundland coast when night overtook
them.  Even though the gathering darkness had not compelled a halt,
their utter exhaustion would have demanded a rest.  For an hour White
had been obliged to clinch his teeth to keep from crying out with the
pain of his weakened, and now overstrained, ankle, and when Cabot
announced that it was no use trying to get further before morning, he
sank to the ice with a groan.

Full of sympathy for his comrade's suffering, the Yankee lad at once
set to work to make him as comfortable as circumstances would permit,
and soon had him lying on a sleeping bag, in a niche formed by two
uptilted slabs of ice.  Profiting by past experience, they had procured
and brought with them an Eskimo lamp with its moss wick, a small
quantity of seal oil, and a supply of matches, so that, after a while,
Cabot procured enough boiling water to furnish a small pot of tea.
When they had eaten their simple meal of tea, hard bread, and pemmican,
White's ankle was bathed with water as hot as he could bear it, and
then the weary lads turned in for such sleep as their cheerless
quarters might yield.  About midnight the wind that had for many days
blown steadily from the eastward changed to northwest, and, with the
coming of daylight, it was blowing half a gale from that direction.

To Cabot this change meant little or nothing, and he was suggesting
that they remain where they were until White's leg should be thoroughly
rested, when the other interrupted him with:

"But we can't stay here.  Don't you feel the change of wind?"

"What of it?" asked Cabot.

"Oh, nothing at all, only that it will drive the ice out to sea, and,
if we haven't reached land before it begins to move, we'll go with it."

"You don't mean it!" cried Cabot, now thoroughly alarmed.  "In that
case we'd best get a move on in a hurry.  Do you think your leg will
stand the trip?"

"It will have to," rejoined White, grimly; and a few minutes later they
had resumed the toilsome progress that was now a race for life.  But it
was a snail's race, for the task of moving the sled had devolved
entirely upon Cabot, White having all he could do to drag himself
along.  Each step gave him such exquisite pain that, by the time they
had accomplished a couple of miles, he was crawling on hands and knees.

Still, as Cabot hopefully pointed out, the Newfoundland coast was in
plain sight, and the ice held as firm as ever.  He had hardly spoken
when there came a distant roaring, that quickly developed into a sound
of crashing and grinding not to be mistaken.

"The ice is moving!" gasped White.

"Then," said Cabot bravely, "we'll move too.  Come on, old man.  We'll
leave the sled, and I'll get you ashore even if I have to carry you.
It isn't so very far now."

With this the speaker disengaged his hauling straps and turned to
assist his comrade, but, to his dismay, the latter lay on the ice pale
and motionless.  What with pain, over-exertion, and excitement, White
had fainted, and Cabot must either carry him to the shore, remain
beside him until he recovered, or leave him to his fate and save
himself by flight over the still unbroken ice.  He tried the first
plan, picked White up, staggered a few steps with his helpless burden,
and discovered its futility.  Then he proceeded to put the second into
execution by calmly unloading the sled and making such arrangements as
his slender means would allow for his comrade's comfort.  The third
plan came to him merely as a thought, to be promptly dismissed as
unworthy of consideration.

In the meantime the ominous sounds of cracking, grinding, rending, and
splitting grew ever louder, and came ever closer, until, at length,
Cabot could see and feel that the ice all about him was in motion.  By
the time White recovered consciousness, a broad lane of black water had
opened between that place and the Newfoundland coast, while others
could be seen in various directions.

"What are you doing?" asked White, feebly, after he had struggled back
to a knowledge of passing events, and had, for some minutes, been
watching his friend's movements.

"Building an igloo," answered Cabot, cheerily.  "We might as well be
comfortable while we can, and though my hut won't have the
architectural beauty that Yim could give it, I believe it will keep us
warm."

It would have been more than easy, and perfectly natural, under the
circumstances, to give way to utter despair; for of the several
hopeless situations in which our lads had been placed during the past
few months, the present was, by far, the worst.  At any moment the ice
beneath them might open and drop them into fathomless waters.  Even if
it held fast, they were certainly being carried out to sea, where they
would be exposed to furious gales that must ultimately work their
destruction.  In spite of all this, Cabot Grant insisted on remaining
hopefully cheerful.  He said he had squeezed out of just as tight
places before, and believed he would get out of this one somehow.  At
any rate, as crying wouldn't help it, he wasn't going to cry.  Besides
all sorts of things might happen.  They might drift ashore somewhere or
into the track of passing steamers.  Wouldn't it be fine to be picked
up and carried straight to New York?  If steamers failed them, they
were almost certain to sight fishing boats sooner or later.

"Yes," added White, catching some of his companion's hopefulness, "or
we may meet with the sealers who leave St. Johns about this time every
year and hunt seals on the ice pack off shore."

"Of course," agreed the other.  "So what's the use of worrying?"

In spite of the brave front and cheerful aspect that Cabot maintained
before his helpless comrade, he often broke down when off by himself,
vainly straining his eyes from the summit of some ice hummock for any
hopeful sign, and acknowledged that their situation was indeed
desperate.

That first night, spent sleeplessly and in momentary expectation that
the ice beneath them would break, was the worst.  After that they
dreaded more than anything the fate that would overtake them with the
disappearance of their slender stock of provisions.  While this
diminished with alarming rapidity, despite their efforts at economy,
their ice island drifted out from the strait, and soon afterwards
became incorporated with the great Arctic pack that always in the
spring forces its resistless way steadily south-ward towards the
melting waters of the Gulf Stream.

Land had disappeared with the second day of the ice movement, and after
that, for a week, nothing occurred to break the terrible monotony of
life on the pack, as experienced by our young castaways.  Then came the
dreaded announcement that one portion of their supplies was exhausted.
There was no longer a drop of oil for their lamp.




CHAPTER XXX.

THE COMING OF DAVID GIDGE.

White, who was still confined to the hut with his strained ankle,
announced that they no longer had any oil upon Cabot's return at dusk
from a day of fruitless hunting and outlook duty on the ice.

"That's bad," replied the latter, in a tone whose cheerfulness strove
to conceal his anxiety.  "Now we'll have to burn the sled.  Lucky thing
for us that it's of wood instead of being one of those bone affairs
such as we saw at Locked Harbour."

"Our provisions are nearly gone too," added White.  "In fact we've only
enough for one more day."

"Oh, well!  A lot of things can happen in a day, and some of them may
happen to us."

But the only thing worthy of note that happened on the following day
was a storm of such violence as to compel even stout-hearted Cabot to
remain behind the sheltering walls of the hut, and, while it raged, our
shivering lads, crouched above a tiny blaze of sled wood, ate their
last morsel of food.  They still had a small quantity of tea, but that
was all.  As soon, therefore, as the storm abated Cabot sallied forth
with his gun, still hopeful, in spite of many disappointments, of
finding some bird or beast that, by a lucky shot, might be brought to
the table.

The ice pack was of such vast extent that it seemed as though it must
support animal life of some kind, but Cabot traversed it that day for
many miles without finding so much as a track or a feather.  That
night's supper was a pot of tea, and a similar one formed the sole
nourishment upon which Cabot again set forth the next morning for
another of those weary hunts.

This time he went further from the hut than he had dared go on previous
expeditions; but on them he had been hopeful and knew that even though
he failed in his hunting he would still find food awaiting him on his
return.  Now he was desperate with hunger, and the knowledge that
failing in his present effort he would not have strength for another.
In his mind, too, he carried a vivid picture of poor White, crouching
in that wretched hut over an expiring blaze fed by the very last of
their wood.

"I simply can't go back empty-handed!" he cried aloud.  "It would be
better not to go back at all, and let him hope for my coming to the
last."

So the young hunter pushed wearily and hopelessly on, until he found
himself at the foot of a line of icebergs that had been frozen into the
pack, where they resembled a range of fantastically shaped hills.
Cabot had seen them from a distance on a previous expedition, and had
wondered what lay beyond.  Now he determined to find out, though he
knew if he once crossed them there would be little chance of regaining
the hut before dark.  It was a laborious climb, and several times he
slid back to the place of starting, but each mishap of this kind only
made him the more determined to gain the top.  At length, breathless
and bruised, crawling on hands and knees, he reached a point from which
he could look beyond the barrier.  As he did so, he turned sick and
uttered a choking cry.

[Illustration: He reached a point from which he could look beyond the
barrier.]

What he saw in that first glance was so utterly incredible that it
could not be true, though if it were it would be the most welcome and
beautiful sight in all the world.  Yet it was only a ship!  Just one
ship and a lot of men!  The ship was not even a handsome one, being
merely a three-masted steam sealer, greasy and smeared in every part
with coal soot from her tall smoke stack.  She lay a mile or so away,
but well within the pack, through the outer edge of which she had
forced a passage.  The men, evidently her crew, who were on the ice
near the foot of Cabot's ridge, were a disreputable looking lot,
ragged, dirty, unkempt, and as bloody as so many butchers.  And that is
exactly what they were--butchers engaged in their legitimate business
of killing the seals that, coming up from the south to meet the
drifting ice pack, had crawled out on it by thousands to rear their
young.

This was all that Cabot saw; yet the sight so affected him that he
laughed and sobbed for joy.  Then he stood up, and, with glad tears
blinding his eyes, tried to shout to the men beneath him, but could
only utter hoarse whispers; for, in his overpowering happiness, he had
almost lost the power of speech.  As he could not call to them he began
to wave his arms to attract their attention, and then, all at once, he
was nearly paralysed by a hail from close at hand of:

"Hello there, ye bloomin' idjit!  Wot's hup?"

Whirling around, Cabot saw, standing only a few rods away, a man who
had evidently just climbed the opposite side of the ridge.  He
recognised him in an instant, as he must have done had he met him in
the most crowded street of a great city, so distinctively peculiar was
his figure.

"David!  David Gidge!" he gasped, recovering his voice for the effort,
and in another moment, flinging his arms about the astonished mariner's
neck, he was pouring out a flood of incoherent words.

"Wal, I'll be jiggered!" remarked Mr. Gidge, as he disengaged himself
from Cabot's impulsive embrace and stepped back for a more
comprehensive view.  "Your voice sounds familiar, Mister, but I can't
say as I ever seen you before.  I took ye fust off fer a b'ar, and then
fer a Huskie.  When I seen you was white, I 'lowed ye might be one of
the 'Marmaid's' crew, seeing as she was heading fer the pack 'bout the
time we struck it.  Now, though, as I say, I'm jiggered ef I know
exectly who ye be."

"Why, Mr. Gidge, I'm Cabot Grant, who----"

"Of course.  To be sartin!  Now I know ye!" interrupted the other.
"But where's White?  What hev ye done with Whiteway Baldwin?"

"He's back there on the ice helpless with a crippled leg, freezing and
starving to death; but if you'll come at once I'll show you the way,
and we may still be in time to save him."

With instant comprehension of the necessity for prompt action, Mr.
Gidge, who, as Cabot afterwards learned, was first mate of the sealer
"Labrador," turned and shouted in stentorian tones to the men who were
working below:

"Knock off, all hands, and follow me.  Form a line and keep hailing
distance apart, so's we'll find our way back after dark.  There's white
men starving on the ice.  One of ye go to the ship and report.  Move
lively!  Now, lad, I'm ready."

Two hours later Cabot and David Gidge, with, a long line of men
streaming out behind them, reached the little hut.  There was no answer
to the cheery shouts with which they approached it, and, as they
crawled through its low entrance, they were filled with anxious
misgivings.  What if they were too late after all?  No spark of fire
lighted the gloom or took from the deadly chill of the interior, and no
voice bade them welcome.  But, as David Gidge struck a match, a low
moaning sounded from one side, and told them that White was at least
alive.

It took but a minute to remove him from the hut, together with the few
things worth taking away that it contained.  Then it was left without a
shadow of regret, and the march to the distant ship was begun.  Four
men carried White, who seemed to have sunk into a stupor, while two
more supported Cabot, who had become suddenly weak and so weary that he
begged to be allowed to sleep where he was.

"It's been a close call for both of 'em," said David Gidge, "and now,
men, we've got to make the quickest kind of time getting 'em back to
the ship."

Fortunately there were plenty of willing hands to which the burdens
might be shifted, for the "Labrador" carried a crew two hundred strong,
and, as the little party moved swiftly from one shouting man to
another, it constantly gained accessions.

At length the sealer was reached, and the rescued lads were taken to
her cabin, where the ship's doctor, having made every possible
preparation for their reception, awaited them.  They were given hot
drinks, rubbed, fed, and placed between warm blankets, where poor,
weary Cabot was at last allowed to fall asleep without further
interruption.

The animal sought by the sealers of Newfoundland amid the furious
storms and crashing floes of the great ice pack is not the fur-bearing
seal of Alaska, but a variety of the much less important hair seal,
which may be seen almost anywhere along the Atlantic coast.  From its
skin seal leather is made, but it is chiefly valuable for the oil
yielded by the layer of fat lying directly beneath the skin and
enveloping the entire body.  These seals would hardly be worth hunting
unless they could be captured easily and in quantities; but, on their
native ice in early spring, the young seals are found in prime
condition and in vast numbers.  Each helpless victim is killed by a
blow on the head, "sculped" or stripped of his pelt, and the flayed
body is left lying in a pool of its own blood.

The crew of a single vessel will thus destroy thousands of seals in a
day, and in some prosperous years the total kill of seals has passed
the half million mark.  Now only about a dozen steamers are engaged in
the business, but by them from 200,000 to 300,000 seals are destroyed
each spring.  The movements of sealing vessels are governed by rigidly
enforced laws that forbid them to leave port before the 12th of March,
to kill a seal before the 14th of the same month, or after the 20th of
April, and prohibit any steamer from making more than one trip during
this short open season.  The crews are paid in shares of the catch, and
men are never difficult to obtain for the work, as the sealing season
comes when there is nothing else to be done.

As March was not yet ended when our lads were received aboard the
"Labrador," and as she would not return to port until the last minute
of the open season had expired, they had before them nearly a month in
which to recover their exhausted energies and learn the business of
sealing.  White had suffered so severely, and reached such a precarious
condition, that he required every day of the allotted time for
recuperation, and even at its end his strength was by no means fully
restored.  Cabot, on the other hand, woke after a thirty-six-hour nap,
ravenously hungry, and as fit as ever for anything that might offer.
After that, although he could never bring himself to assist in clubbing
baby seals to death, he took an active part in the other work of the
ship, thereby fully repaying the cost of the food eaten by himself and
White.

Of course, with their very first opportunity, both lads eagerly plied
David Gidge with questions concerning the welfare of the Baldwin family
and everything that had happened during their long absence.  Thus they
learned to their dismay that another suit had been brought against the
Baldwin estate that threatened to swallow what little property had been
left, and that White, having been convicted of contempt of court for
continuing the lobster factory after an adverse decision had been
rendered, was now liable to a fine of one thousand dollars, or
imprisonment, as soon as he landed.

"But what has become of my mother and sister?" asked White.

"They are in Harbour Grace," answered David Gidge, "stopping with some
kin of mine.  You see, all three of us was brung to St. Johns as
witnesses, and there wasn't money enough to take us back till I could
come sealing and make some."

"You are a trump, David Gidge!" exclaimed Cabot, while White gratefully
squeezed the honest fellow's hand.

"I promised to look arter 'em till you come back," said the sailorman,
simply.

At length the sealing season closed, and the prow of the "Labrador" was
turned homeward, but even now, after many an anxious discussion, our
lads were undecided as to what they should do upon landing.  But a
solution of the problem came to Cabot on the day that the steamer
entered Conception Bay and anchored close off Bell Island, to await the
moving of a great ice mass that had drifted into the harbour.

"I know what we'll do!" he cried.




CHAPTER XXXI.

ASSISTANT MANAGER OF THE MAN-WOLF MINE.

As the deeply laden sealer drew near to land, Cabot had impatiently
scanned the coast of the great island that he had once thought so remote,
but which, after his long sojourn in the Labrador wilderness, now seemed
almost the same as New York itself.  When the "Labrador" entered
Conception Bay, at the head of which lies Harbour Grace, her home port,
and was forced by ice to anchor, he inquired concerning a small island
that lay close at hand.

"Bell Island," he repeated meditatively, on being told its name.  "Isn't
there an iron mine on it?"

"Sartain," replied David Gidge.  "The whole island is mostly made of
iron."

"Then it is a place that I particularly want to visit, and I know what we
will do.  Of course, White, we can't let you go to prison, but at the
same time you haven't, immediately available, the money with which to pay
that fine.  I have, though, right in St. Johns.  So, if you will endorse
that New York draft to me, I will carry it into the city, deposit it at
the bank, draw out the cash, and take the first train for Harbour Grace,
so as to be there with more than enough money to pay your fine when you
arrive.  After that I propose that we both go on to New York, where I am
almost certain I can get you something to do that will pay even better
than a lobster factory.  If that plan strikes you as all right, and if
Mr. Gidge will set me ashore here, I'll just take a look at Bell Island
and then hurry on to St. Johns."

The plan appearing feasible to White, Cabot--taking with him only his bag
of specimens, to which he intended to add others of the Bell Island
ore--bade his friends a temporary farewell, and was set ashore.  As the
country was still covered with snow, he had slung his snowshoes on his
back, and as he was still clad in the well-worn fur garments that had
been so necessary in Labrador, his appearance was sufficiently striking
to attract attention as soon as he landed.  One of the very first persons
who spoke to him proved to be the young superintendent of the mine he
wished to visit, and, when this gentleman learned that Cabot had just
returned from Labrador, he offered him every hospitality.  Not only did
he show him over the mine and give him all possible information
concerning it, but he kept him over night in his own bachelor quarters,
and provided a boat to take him across to Portugal Cove on the mainland
in the morning.

From that point, there being no conveyance, Cabot was forced to walk the
nine miles into St. Johns, which city he did not reach until nearly noon.
Even there, where fur-clad Arctic explorers are not uncommon, Cabot's
costume attracted much attention.  Disregarding this, he inquired his way
to the Bank of Nova Scotia, where he presented the letter of credit that
he had carefully treasured amid all the vicissitudes of the past ten
months.  The paying teller of the bank examined it closely, and then took
a long look at the remarkable-appearing young man who had presented it.
Finally he said curtly:

"Sign your name."

Cabot did so, and the other, after comparing the two signatures, retired
to an inner room.  From it he reappeared a few moments later and
requested Cabot to follow him inside, where the manager wished to see him.

The manager also regarded our lad with great curiosity as he said:

"You have retained this letter a long time without presenting it."

"And I might have retained it longer if I had not been in need of money,"
rejoined Cabot, somewhat nettled by the man's manner.

"You are Cabot Grant of New York?"

"I am."

"Not yet of age?"

"Not quite."

"And you have a guardian?"

"I have."

"Do you mind telling his name and address?"

"Is that a necessary preliminary to drawing money on a letter of credit?"

"In this case it is."

"Well, then, he is James Hepburn, President of the Gotham Trust and
Investment Company."

"Just so, and you will doubtless be interested in this communication from
him."

So saying, the manager handed over the telegram in which Mr. Hepburn
instructed the St. Johns branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia to advance
only the price of a ticket to New York on a letter of credit that would
be presented by his ward, Cabot Grant.

"What does it mean?" asked Cabot in bewilderment, as he finished reading
this surprising order.

"I've no idea," replied the manager dryly.  "I only know that we are
bound to follow those instructions, and can let you have but forty
dollars, which is the price of a first-class ticket to New York by
steamer.  Moreover, as this is sailing day, and the New York steamer
leaves in a couple of hours, I would advise you to engage passage and go
on board at once, if you do not want to be indefinitely detained here."

"In what way?"

"Possibly by the sheriff, who has wanted you for some time in connection
with a certain French Shore lobster case that the government is
prosecuting."

Perplexed and indignant as he was, Cabot realised that only in New York
could his tangled affairs be straightened out, and that the quicker he
got there the better.  Determined, however, to make one more effort in
behalf of his friend, he produced the missionary's draft and asked if the
manager would cash it.

"Certainly not," replied that individual promptly.  "Under present
circumstances, Mr. Grant, we must decline to have any business dealings
with you other than to accept your receipt for forty dollars, which will
be paid you in the outer office."

So Cabot swallowed his pride, took what he could get, and left the bank a
little more downcast than he had been at any time since the day on which
President Hepburn had entrusted him with his present mission.

"I don't understand it at all," he muttered to himself, as he sought an
eating-house, where he proposed to expend a portion of his money in
satisfying his keen appetite.  "Seems to me it is a mighty mean return
for all I have gone through, and Mr. Hepburn will have to explain matters
pretty clearly when I get back to New York."

From the eating-house Cabot sent a letter to White, explaining his
inability to secure the money he had expected, begging him to lie low for
a few days, and announcing his own immediate departure for New York, from
which place he promised to send back the amount of the draft immediately
upon his arrival.  In this letter Cabot also enclosed fifteen dollars,
just to help White out until he could send him some more money.  This
outlay left our young engineer but twenty-five dollars, but that would
pay for a steerage passage, which, he reflected, would be plenty good
enough for one in his reduced circumstances, and leave a few dollars for
emergencies when he reached New York.

Two hours later, still clutching the bag of specimens that now formed his
sole luggage, he stood on the forward deck of the steamer "Amazon" as she
slipped through the narrow passage leading out from the land-locked
harbour, gazing back at the city of St. Johns climbing its steep hillside
and dominated by the square towers of its Roman Catholic cathedral.  He
was feeling very forlorn and lonely, and was wondering how he should
manage to exist on steerage fare in steerage company during the next five
days, when a familiar voice, close at hand, said:

"Hello, young man in furs!  Where do you come from?  Been to the North
Pole with Peary?"

Turning quickly, Cabot gasped out:

"Captain Phinney!"

"No, not cap'n, but second mate Phinney," retorted the other.  "But how
do you know my name?  I don't recognise you."

"I am Cabot Grant, who was with you on the 'Lavinia' when----"

"Good heavens, man!  It can't be."

"It is, though, and I never was more glad to see any one, not even David
Gidge, than I am to see you at this minute.  But why are you second mate
instead of captain?"

"Because," replied the other bitterly, "it was the only berth they would
give me after I lost my ship, and I had to take it or beg."

"But I thought you went down with the 'Lavinia'?"

"So I thought you did, but it seems both of us were mistaken.  All but
you got off in two of the boats, and ours was picked up the next day by a
liner bound for New York.  But how, in the name of all that is
wonderful--  Hold on, though.  Let us go up to my room, where we can talk
comfortably."

As a result of this happy meeting, Cabot's voyage was made very pleasant
after all.  Much as he had to tell and to hear, he also found time to
write out a full report on the Bell Island mine, and also a series of
notes concerning the ore specimens that he was carrying to New York.

At length the great city was reached, the "Amazon" was made fast to her
Brooklyn pier, and Cabot went to bid the second mate good-bye.  "Hold on
a bit," said the latter, "and run up to the house with me.  You can't go
without seeing Nelly and the baby."

"Nice calling rig I've got on, haven't I?" laughed Cabot.  "Why, it would
scare 'em stiff.  So not to-day, thank you; but I'll come to-morrow."

The carriage that Cabot engaged to carry him across to the city cost him
his last cent of money, but he knew it was well worth it when, still in
furs and with his snowshoes still strapped to his back, he entered the
Gotham building.  Such a sensation did he create that he would have been
mobbed in another minute had he not dodged into an elevator and said:

"President's room, please."

He so petrified Mr. Hepburn's clerks and office boys by his remarkable
appearance that they neglected to check his progress, and allowed him to
walk unchallenged into the sacred private office.  Its sole occupant was
writing, and did not notice the entrance until Cabot, laying a folded
paper on his desk, said:

"Here is that Bell Island report, Mr. Hepburn."

The startled man sprang to his feet with a face as pale as though he had
seen a ghost, and for a few moments stared in speechless amazement at the
fur-clad intruder.  Then the light of recognition flashed into his eyes,
and holding out a cordial hand he said:

"My dear boy, how you frightened me!  Where on earth did you come from?"

"From the steerage of the steamer 'Amazon,'" replied Cabot, stiffly,
ignoring his guardian's proffered hand.  "I only dropped in to hand you
that Bell Island report, and to say that, as this happens to be my
twenty-first birthday, I shall be pleased to receive whatever of my
property you may still hold in trust at your earliest convenience.  With
that business transacted, it is perhaps needless to add, that I shall
trouble no further the man who was cruel enough to leave me penniless
among strangers."

"Cabot, are you crazy, or what do you mean?  I received your Bell Island
report months ago, and it was that caused me to recall you.  Why did you
not come at once?"

"I never sent a Bell Island report.  In fact I never wrote one until
yesterday, and there it lies.  Nor did I ever receive any notice of
recall, and I did not come back sooner because I have been following your
instructions and wintering in Labrador.  There I have acquired one of the
most remarkable iron properties in the world, which I intend to develop
as far as possible with my own resources, seeing that not one cent of
your money has been used in defraying the expenses of my recent trip,"
replied Cabot, hotly.

But Mr. Hepburn did not hear the last of this speech, for he had opened
the report laid on his desk and was glancing rapidly through it.

"This is exactly what I expected and wanted!" he exclaimed.  "Why didn't
you send it in before, instead of that other one?"

"I never sent any other," repeated Cabot, and then they sat down to
mutual explanations.

For that whole morning President Hepburn denied himself to all callers
and devoted his entire attention to Cabot's recital.  When it was
finished, and when the bag full of specimens had been examined, the elder
man grasped the other's hand and said:

"My dear boy, you have done splendidly!  I am not only satisfied with you
as an agent, but am proud of you as a ward.  Yes, this is your day of
freedom from our guardianship, and I shall take pleasure in turning over
to you the balance of the property left by your father.  It, together
with the balance remaining on your letter of credit, and your salary for
the past year, will amount to about ten thousand dollars, a portion of
which at least I would advise you to invest in the Man-wolf mine."

[Illustration: "My dear boy, you have done splendidly!"]

"Then you intend to develop it, sir?" cried Cabot.

"Certainly, provided we can acquire your claim to the property, and
engage a certain Mr. Cabot Grant to act as our assistant Labrador
manager."

"Do you think me capable of filling so responsible a position, sir?"

"I am convinced of it," replied Mr. Hepburn, smiling.

"And may I find places for White, and David Gidge, and Captain Phinney,
and----"

"One of the duties of your new position will be the selection of your
subordinates," interrupted the other, "and I should hope you would give
preference to those whose fidelity you have already tested."

Within an hour after this happy conclusion of the interview, Cabot had
wired White Baldwin the full amount of the missionary's draft and invited
him to come as quickly as possible to New York.  He had also written to
Captain Phinney asking him to resign at once his position as second mate,
in order that he might assume command of a steamer shortly to be put on a
run between New York and Labrador.

With these pleasant duties performed, our young engineer prepared to
accept President Hepburn's invitation to a dinner that was to be given in
his honour, and with which the happiest day of his life was to be
concluded.




THE END.











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