Infomotions, Inc.The World for Sale, Volume 2. / Parker, Gilbert, 1860-1932



Author: Parker, Gilbert, 1860-1932
Title: The World for Sale, Volume 2.
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): ingolby; manitou; jethro; marchand; jethro fawe; romany; druse; fleda; gabriel druse; lebanon; fawe; jowett; felix marchand; gabriel; madame bulteel; jim; master gorgio; orange funeral
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Title: The World For Sale, Volume 2.

Author: Gilbert Parker

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THE WORLD FOR SALE

By Gilbert Parker



BOOK II

VIII.     THE SULTAN
IX.       MATTER AND MIND AND TWO MEN
X.        FOR LUCK
XI.       THE SENTENCE OF THE PATRIN
XII.      "LET THERE BE LIGHT"
XIII.     THE CHAIN OF THE PAST
XIV.      SUCH THINGS MAY NOT BE
XV.       THE WOMAN FROM WIND RIVER
XVI.      THE MAYOR FILLS AN OFFICE
XVII.     THE MONSEIGNEUR AND THE NOMAD
XVIII.    THE BEACONS
XIX.      THE BEEPER OF THE BRIDGE




CHAPTER VIII

THE SULTAN

Ingolby's square head jerked forwards in stern inquiry and his eyes
fastened those of Jowett, the horsedealer.  "Take care what you're
saying, Jowett," he said.  "It's a penitentiary job, if it can be proved.
Are you sure you got it right?"

Jowett had unusual shrewdness, some vanity and a humorous tongue.  He was
a favourite in both towns, and had had the better of both in horse-
dealing a score of times.

That did not make him less popular.  However, it was said he liked low
company, and it was true that though he had "money in the bank," and
owned a corner lot or so, he seemed to care little what his company was.
His most constant companion was Fabian Osterhaut, who was the common
property of both towns, doing a little of everything for a living, from
bill-posting to the solicitation of an insurance agent.

For any casual work connected with public functions Osterhaut was
indispensable, and he would serve as a doctor's assistant and help cut
off a leg, be the majordomo for a Sunday-school picnic, or arrange a
soiree at a meeting-house with equal impartiality.  He had been known to
attend a temperance meeting and a wake in the same evening.  Yet no one
ever questioned his bona fides, and if he had attended mass at Manitou in
the morning, joined a heathen dance in Tekewani's Reserve in the
afternoon, and listened to the oleaginous Rev. Reuben Tripple in the
evening, it would have been taken as a matter of course.

He was at times profane and impecunious, and he had been shifted from
one boarding-house to another till at last, having exhausted credit in
Lebanon, he had found a room in the house of old Madame Thibadeau in
Manitou.  She had taken him in because, in years gone by, he had nursed
her only son through an attack of smallpox on the Siwash River, and
somehow Osterhaut had always paid his bills to her.  He was curiously
exact where she was concerned.  If he had not enough for his week's board
and lodging, he borrowed it, chiefly of Jowett, who used him profitably
at times to pass the word about a horse, or bring news of a possible
deal.

"It's a penitentiary job, Jowett," Ingolby repeated.  "I didn't think
Marchand would be so mad as that."

"Say, it's all straight enough, Chief," answered Jowett, sucking his
unlighted cigar.  "Osterhaut got wind of it--he's staying at old Mother
Thibadeau's, as you know.  He moves round a lot, and he put me on to it.
I took on the job at once.  I got in with the French toughs over at
Manitou, at Barbazon's Tavern, and I gave them gin--we made it a gin
night.  It struck their fancy--gin, all gin!  'Course there's nothing in
gin different from any other spirit; but it fixed their minds, and took
away suspicion.

"I got drunk--oh, yes, of course, blind drunk, didn't I?  Kissed me, half
a dozen of the Quebec boys did--said I was 'bully boy' and 'hell-fellow';
said I was 'bon enfant'; and I said likewise in my best patois.  They
liked that.  I've got a pretty good stock of monkey-French, and I let
it go.  They laughed till they cried at some of my mistakes, but they
weren't no mistakes, not on your life.  It was all done a-purpose.
They said I was the only man from Lebanon they wouldn't have cut up and
boiled, and they was going to have the blood of the Lebanon lot before
they'd done.  I pretended to get mad, and I talked wild.  I said that
Lebanon would get them first, that Lebanon wouldn't wait, but'd have it
out; and I took off my coat and staggered about--blind-fair blind boozy.
I tripped over some fool's foot purposely, just beside a bench against
the wall, and I come down on that bench hard.  They laughed--Lord, how
they laughed!  They didn't mind my givin' 'em fits--all except one or
two.  That was what I expected.  The one or two was mad.  They begun
raging towards me, but there I was asleep on the bench-stony blind,
and then they only spit fire a bit.  Some one threw my coat over me.
I hadn't any cash in the pockets, not much--I knew better than that--and
I snored like a sow.  Then it happened what I thought would happen.  They
talked.  And here it is.  They're going to have a strike in the mills,
and you're to get a toss into the river.  That's to be on Friday.  But
the other thing--well, they all cleared away but two.  They were the two
that wanted to have it out with me.  They stayed behind.  There was I
snoring like a locomotive, but my ears open all right.

"Well, they give the thing away.  One of 'em had just come from Felix
Marchand and he was full of it.  What was it?  Why, the second night of
the strike your new bridge over the river was to be blown up.
Marchand was to give these two toughs three hundred dollars each for
doing it."

"Blown up with what?" Ingolby asked sharply.

"Dynamite."

"Where would they get it?"

"Some left from blasting below the mills."

"All right!  Go on."

"There wasn't much more.  Old Barbazon, the landlord, come in and they
quit talking about it; but they said enough to send 'em to gaol for ten
years."

Ingolby blinked at Jowett reflectively, and his mouth gave a twist that
lent to his face an almost droll look.

"What good would it do if they got ten years--or one year, if the bridge
was blown up?  If they got skinned alive, and if Marchand was handed over
to a barnful of hungry rats to be gnawed to death, it wouldn't help.
I've heard and seen a lot of hellish things, but there's nothing to equal
that.  To blow up the bridge--for what?  To spite Lebanon, and to hurt
me; to knock the spokes out of my wheel.  He's the dregs, is Marchand."

"I guess he's a shyster by nature, that fellow," interposed Jowett.
"He was boilin' hot when he was fifteen.  He spoiled a girl I knew when
he was twenty-two, not fourteen she was--Lil Sarnia; and he got her away
before--well, he got her away East; and she's in a dive in Winnipeg now.
As nice a girl--as nice a little girl she was, and could ride any broncho
that ever bucked.  What she saw in him--but there, she was only a child,
just the mind of a child she had, and didn't understand.  He'd ha' been
tarred and feathered if it'd been known.  But old Mick Sarnia said hush,
for his wife's sake, and so we hushed, and Sarnia's wife doesn't know
even now.  I thought a lot of Lil, as much almost as if she'd been my
own; and lots o' times, when I think of it, I sit up straight, and the
thing freezes me; and I want to get Marchand by the scruff of the neck.
I got a horse, the worst that ever was--so bad I haven't had the heart to
ride him or sell him.  He's so bad he makes me laugh.  There's nothing he
won't do, from biting to bolting.  Well, I'd like to tie Mr. Felix
Marchand, Esquire, to his back, and let him loose on the prairie, and
pray the Lord to save him if he thought fit.  I fancy I know what the
Lord would do.  And Lil Sarnia's only one.  Since he come back from the
States, he's the limit, oh, the damnedest limit.  He's a pest all round-
and now, this!"

Ingolby kept blinking reflectively as Jowett talked.  He was doing two
things at once with a facility quite his own.  He was understanding all
Jowett was saying, but he was also weighing the whole situation.  His
mind was gone fishing, figuratively speaking.  He was essentially a man
of action, but his action was the bullet of his mind; he had to be quiet
physically when he was really thinking.  Then he was as one in a dream
where all physical motion was mechanical, and his body was acting
automatically.  His concentration, and therefore his abstraction, was
phenomenal.  Jowett's reminiscences at a time so critical did not disturb
him--did not, indeed, seem to be irrelevant.  It was as though Felix
Marchand was being passed in review before him in a series of aspects.
He nodded encouragement to Jowett to go on.

"It's because Marchand hates you, Chief.  The bump he got when you
dropped him on the ground that day at Carillon hurts still.  It's a
chronic inflammation.  Closing them railway offices at Manitou, and
dislodging the officials give him his first good chance.  The feud
between the towns is worse now than it's ever been.  Make no mistake.
There's a whole lot of toughs in Manitou.  Then there's religion, and
there's race, and there's a want-to-stand-still and leave-me-alone-
feeling.  They don't want to get on.  They don't want progress.  They
want to throw the slops out of the top windows into the street; they want
their cesspools at the front door; they think that everybody's got to
have smallpox some time or another, and the sooner they have it the
better; they want to be bribed; and they think that if a vote's worth
having it's worth paying for--and yet there's a bridge between these two
towns!  A bridge--why, they're as far apart as the Yukon and Patagonia."

"What'd buy Felix Marchand?" Ingolby asked meditatively.  "What's his
price?"

Jowett shifted with impatience.  "Say, Chief, I don't know what you're
thinking about.  Do you think you could make a deal with Felix Marchand?
Not much.  You've got the cinch on him.  You could send him to quod, and
I'd send him there as quick as lightning.  I'd hang him, if I could, for
what he done to Lil Sarnia.  Years ago when he was a boy he offered me a
gold watch for a mare I had.  The watch looked as right as could be--
solid fourteen-carat, he said it was.  He got my horse, and I got his
watch.  It wasn't any more gold than he was.  It was filled--just plated
with nine-carat gold.  It was worth about ten dollars."

"What was the mare worth?" asked Ingolby, his mouth twisting again with
quizzical meaning.

"That mare--she was all right."

"Yes, but what was the matter with her?"

"Oh, a spavin--she was all right when she got wound up--go like Dexter or
Maud S."

"But if you were buying her what would you have paid for her, Jowett?
Come now, man to man, as they say.  How much did you pay for her?"

"About what she was worth, Chief, within a dollar or two."

"And what was she worth?"

"What I paid for her-ten dollars."

Then the two men looked at each other full in the eyes, and Jowett threw
back his head and laughed outright--laughed loud and hard.  "Well, you
got me, Chief, right under the guard," he observed.

Ingolby did not laugh outright, but there was a bubble of humour in his
eyes.  "What happened to the watch?" he asked.

"I got rid of it."

"In a horse-trade?"

"No, I got a town lot with it."

"In Lebanon?"

"Well, sort of in Lebanon's back-yard."

"What's the lot worth now?"

"About two thousand dollars!"

"Was it your first town lot?"

"The first lot of Mother Earth I ever owned."

"Then you got a vote on it?"

"Yes, my first vote."

"And the vote let you be a town-councillor?"

"It and my good looks."

"Indirectly, therefore, you are a landowner, a citizen, a public servant,
and an instrument of progress because of Felix Marchand.  If you hadn't
had the watch you wouldn't have had that town lot."

"Well, mebbe, not that lot."

Suddenly Ingolby got to his feet and squared himself, and his face became
alight with purpose.  His mind had come back from fishing, and he was
ready now for action.  His plans were formed.  He was in for a fight, and
he had made up his mind how, with the new information to his hand, he
would develop his campaign further.

"You didn't make a fuss about the watch, Jowett.  You might have gone to
Felix Marchand or to his father and proved him a liar, and got even that
way.  You didn't; you got a corner lot with it.  That's what I'm going to
do.  I can have Felix Marchand put in the jug, and make his old father,
Hector Marchand, sick; but I like old Hector Marchand, and I think he's
bred as bad a pup as ever was.  I'm going to try and do with this
business as you did with that watch.  I'm going to try and turn it to
account and profit in the end.  Felix Marchand's profiting by a mistake
of mine--a mistake in policy.  It gives him his springboard; and there's
enough dry grass in both towns to get a big blaze with a very little
match.  I know that things are seething.  The Chief Constable keeps me
posted as to what's going on here, and pretty fairly as to what's going
on in Manitou.  The police in Manitou are straight enough.  That's one
comfort.  I've done Felix Marchand there.  I guess that the Chief
Constable of Manitou and Monseigneur Lourde and old Mother Thibadeau are
about the only people that Marchand can't bribe.  I see I've got to face
a scrimmage before I can get what I want."

"What you want you'll have, I bet," was the admiring response.

"I'm going to have a good try.  I want these two towns to be one.
That'll be good for your town lots, Jowett," he added whimsically.  "If
my policy is carried out, my town lot'll be worth a pocketful of gold-
plated watches or a stud of spavined mares."  He chuckled to himself, and
his fingers reached towards a bell on the table, but he paused.  "When
was it they said the strike would begin?" he asked.

"Friday."

"Did they say what hour?"

"Eleven in the morning."

"Third of a day's work and a whole day's pay," he mused.  "Jowett," he
added, "I want you to have faith.  I'm going to do Marchand, and I'm
going to do him in a way that'll be best in the end.  You can help as
much if not more than anybody--you and Osterhaut.  And if I succeed,
it'll be worth your while."

"I ain't followin' you because it's worth while, but because I want to,
Chief."

"I know; but a man--every man--likes the counters for the game."  He
turned to the table, opened a drawer, and took out a folded paper.  He
looked it through carefully, wrote a name on it, and handed it to Jowett.

"There's a hundred shares in the Northwest Railway, with my regards,
Jowett.  Some of the counters of the game."

Jowett handed it back at once with a shake of the head.  "I don't live in
Manitou," he said.  "I'm almost white, Chief.  I've never made a deal
with you, and don't want to.  I'm your man for the fun of it, and because
I'd give my life to have your head on my shoulders for one year."

"I'd feel better if you'd take the shares, Jowett.  You've helped me,
and I can't let you do it for nothing."

"Then I can't do it at all.  I'm discharged."  Suddenly, however, a
humorous, eager look shot into Jowett's face.  "Will you toss for it?"
he blurted out.  "Certainly, if you like," was the reply.

"Heads I win, tails it's yours?"

"Good."

Ingolby took a silver dollar from his pocket, and tossed.  It came down
tails.  Ingolby had won.

"My corner lot against double the shares?" Jowett asked sharply, his
face flushed with eager pleasure.  He was a born gambler.

"As you like," answered Ingolby with a smile.  Ingolby tossed, and they
stooped over to look at the dollar on the floor.  It had come up heads.
"You win," said Ingolby, and turning to the table, took out another
hundred shares.  In a moment they were handed over.

"You're a wonder, Jowett," he said.  "You risked a lot of money.  Are you
satisfied?"

"You bet, Chief.  I come by these shares honestly now."

He picked up the silver dollar from the floor, and was about to put it in
his pocket.

"Wait--that's my dollar," said Ingolby.

"By gracious, so it is!" said Jowett, and handed it over reluctantly.

Ingolby pocketed it with satisfaction.

Neither dwelt on the humour of the situation.  They were only concerned
for the rules of the game, and both were gamesters in their way.

After a few brief instructions to Jowett, and a message for Osterhaut
concerning a suit of workman's clothes, Ingolby left his offices and
walked down the main street of the town with his normal rapidity,
responding cheerfully to the passers-by, but not encouraging evident
desire for talk with him.  Men half-started forward to him, but he held
them back with a restraining eye.  They knew his ways.  He was responsive
in a brusque, inquisitive, but good-humoured and sometimes very droll
way; but there were times when men said to themselves that he was to be
left alone; and he was so much master of the place that, as Osterhaut and
Jowett frequently remarked, "What he says goes!"  It went even with those
whom he had passed in the race of power.

He had had his struggles to be understood in his first days in Lebanon.
He had fought intrigue and even treachery, had defeated groups which were
the forces at work before he came to Lebanon, and had compelled the
submission of others.  All these had vowed to "get back at him," but when
it became a question of Lebanon against Manitou they swung over to his
side and acknowledged him as leader.  The physical collision between the
rougher elements of the two towns had brought matters to a head, and
nearly every man in Lebanon felt that his honour was at stake, and was
ready "to have it out with Manitou."

As he walked along the main street after his interview with Jowett, his
eyes wandered over the buildings rising everywhere; and his mind reviewed
as in a picture the same thinly inhabited street five years ago when he
first came.  Now farmers' wagons clacked and rumbled through the prairie
dust, small herds of cattle jerked and shuffled their way to the
slaughter-yard, or out to the open prairie, and caravans of settlers with
their effects moved sturdily forward to the trails which led to a new
life beckoning from three points of the compass.  That point which did
not beckon was behind them.  Flaxen-haired Swedes and Norwegians; square-
jawed, round-headed North Germans; square-shouldered, loose-jointed
Russians with heavy contemplative eyes and long hair, looked curiously at
each other and nodded understandingly.  Jostling them all, with a jeer
and an oblique joke here and there, and crude chaff on each other and
everybody, the settler from the United States asserted himself.  He
invariably obtruded himself, with quizzical inquiry, half contempt and
half respect, on the young Englishman, who gazed round with phlegm upon
his fellow adventurers, and made up to the sandy-faced Scot or the
cheerful Irishman with his hat on the back of his head, who showed in the
throng here and there.  This was one of the days when the emigrant and
settlers' trains arrived both from the East and from "the States," and
Front Street in Lebanon had, from early morning, been alive with the
children of hope and adventure.

With hands plunged deep in the capacious pockets of his grey jacket,
Ingolby walked on, seeing everything; yet with his mind occupied
intently, too, on the trouble which must be faced before Lebanon and
Manitou would be the reciprocating engines of his policy.  Coming to a
spot where a great gap of vacant land showed in the street-land which he
had bought for the new offices of his railway combine--he stood and
looked at it abstractedly.  Beyond it, a few blocks away, was the
Sagalac, and beyond the Sagalac was Manitou, and a little way to the
right was the bridge which was the symbol of his policy.  His eyes gazed
almost unconsciously on the people and the horses and wagons coming and
going upon the bridge.  Then they were lifted to the tall chimneys rising
at two or three points on the outskirts of Manitou.

"They don't know a good thing when they get it," he said to himself.
"A strike--why, wages are double what they are in Quebec, where most of
'em come from!  Marchand--"

A hand touched his arm.  "Have you got a minute to spare, kind sir?"
a voice asked.

Ingolby turned and saw Nathan Rockwell, the doctor.  "Ah, Rockwell," he
responded cheerfully, "two minutes and a half, if you like!  What is it?"

The Boss Doctor, as he was familiarly called by every one, to identify
him from the newer importations of medical men, drew from his pocket a
newspaper.

"There's an infernal lie here about me," he replied.  "They say that I--"

He proceeded to explain the misstatement, as Ingolby studied the paper
carefully, for Rockwell was a man worth any amount of friendship.

"It's a lie, of course," Ingolby said firmly as he finished the
paragraph.  "Well?"

"Well, I've got to deal with it."

"You mean you're going to deny it in the papers?"

"Exactly."

"I wouldn't, Rockwell."

"You wouldn't?"

"No.  You never can really overtake a newspaper lie.  Lots of the people
who read the lie don't see the denial.  Your truth doesn't overtake the
lie--it's a scarlet runner."

"I don't see that.  When you're lied about, when a lie like that--"

"You can't overtake it, Boss.  It's no use.  It's sensational, it runs
too fast.  Truth's slow-footed.  When a newspaper tells a lie about you,
don't try to overtake it, tell another."

He blinked with quizzical good-humour.  Rockwell could not resist the
audacity.  "I don't believe you'd do it just the same," he retorted
decisively, and laughing.

"I don't try the overtaking anyhow; I get something spectacular in my own
favour to counteract the newspaper lie."

"In what way?"

"For instance, if they said I couldn't ride a moke at a village
steeplechase, I'd at once publish the fact that, with a jack-knife, I'd
killed two pumas that were after me.  Both things would be lies, but the
one would neutralize the other.  If I said I could ride a moke, nobody
would see it, and if it were seen it wouldn't make any impression; but to
say I killed two mountain-lions with a jack-knife on the edge of a
precipice, with the sun standing still to look at it, is as good as the
original lie and better; and I score.  My reputation increases."

Nathan Rockwell's equilibrium was restored.  "You're certainly a wonder,"
he declared.  "That's why you've succeeded."

"Have I succeeded?"

"Thirty-three-and what you are!"

"What am I?"

"Pretty well master here."

"Rockwell, that'd do me a lot of harm if it was published.  Don't say it
again.  This is a democratic country.  They'd kick at my being called
master of anything, and I'd have to tell a lie to counteract it."

"But it's the truth, and it hasn't to be overtaken."

A grim look came into Ingolby's face.  "I'd like to be master-boss of
life and death, holder of the sword and balances, the Sultan, here just
for one week.  I'd change some things.  I'd gag some people that are
doing terrible harm.  It's a real bad business.  The scratch-your-face
period is over, and we're in the cut-your-throat epoch."

Rockwell nodded assent, opened the paper again, and pointed to a column.
"I expect you haven't seen that.  To my mind, in the present state of
things, it's dynamite."

Ingolby read the column hastily.  It was the report of a sermon delivered
the evening before by the Rev. Reuben Tripple, the evangelical minister
of Lebanon.  It was a paean of the Scriptures accompanied by a crazy
charge that the Roman Church forbade the reading of the Bible.  It had
a tirade also about the Scarlet Woman and Popish idolatry.

Ingolby made a savage gesture.  "The insatiable Christian beast!" he
growled in anger.  "There's no telling what this may do.  You know what
those fellows are over in Manitou.  The place is full of them going to
the woods, besides the toughs at the mills and in the taverns.  They're
not psalm-singing, and they don't keep the Ten Commandments, but they're
savagely fanatical, and--"

"And there's the funeral of an Orangeman tomorrow.  The Orange Lodge
attends in regalia."

Ingolby started and looked at the paper again.  "The sneaking, praying
liar," he said, his jaw setting grimly.  "This thing's a call to riot.
There's an element in Lebanon as well that'd rather fight than eat.  It's
the kind of lie that--"

"That you can't overtake," said the Boss Doctor appositely; "and I don't
know that even you can tell another that'll neutralize it.  Your
prescription won't work here."

An acknowledging smile played at Ingolby's mouth.  "We've got to have a
try.  We've got to draw off the bull with a red rag somehow."

"I don't see how myself.  That Orange funeral will bring a row on to us.
I can just see the toughs at Manitou when they read this stuff, and know
about that funeral."

"It's announced?"

"Yes, here's an invitation in the Budget to Orangemen to attend the
funeral of a brother sometime of the banks of the Boyne!"

"Who's the Master of the Lodge?" asked Ingolby.  Rockwell told him,
urging at the same time that he see the Chief Constable as well, and
Monseigneur Lourde at Manitou.

"That's exactly what I mean to do--with a number of other things.
Between ourselves, Rockwell, I'd have plenty of lint and bandages ready
for emergencies if I were you."

"I'll see to it.  That collision the other day was serious enough, and
it's gradually becoming a vendetta.  Last night one of the Lebanon
champions lost his nose."

"His nose--how?"

"A French river-driver bit a third of it off."

Ingolby made a gesture of disgust.  "And this is the twentieth century!"

They had moved along the street until they reached a barber-shop, from
which proceeded the sound of a violin.  "I'm going in here," Ingolby
said.  "I've got some business with Berry, the barber.  You'll keep me
posted as to anything important?"

"You don't need to say it.  Shall I see the Master of the Orange Lodge or
the Chief Constable for you?" Ingolby thought for a minute.  "No, I'll
tackle them myself, but you get in touch with Monseigneur Lourde.  He's
grasped the situation, and though he'd like to have Tripple boiled in
oil, he doesn't want broken heads and bloodshed."

"And Tripple?"

"I'll deal with him at once.  I've got a hold on him.  I never wanted to
use it, but I will now without compunction.  I have the means in my
pocket.  They've been there for three days, waiting for the chance."

"It doesn't look like war, does it?" said Rockwell, looking up the
street and out towards the prairie where the day bloomed like a flower.
Blue above--a deep, joyous blue, against which a white cloud rested or
slowly travelled westward; a sky down whose vast cerulean bowl flocks of
wild geese sailed, white and grey and black, while the woods across the
Sagalac were glowing with a hundred colours, giving tender magnificence
to the scene.  The busy eagerness of a pioneer life was still a quiet,
orderly thing, so immense was the theatre for effort and movement.  In
these wide streets, almost as wide as a London square, there was room to
move; nothing seemed huddled, pushing, or inconvenient.  Even the
disorder of building lost its ugly crudity in the space and the sunlight.

"The only time I get frightened in life is when things look like that,"
Ingolby answered.  "I go round with a life-preserver on me when it seems
as if 'all's right with the world.'"

The violin inside the barber-shop kept scraping out its cheap music--a
coon-song of the day.

"Old Berry hasn't much business this morning," remarked Rockwell.
"He's in keeping with this surface peace."

"Old Berry never misses anything.  What we're thinking, he's thinking.
I go fishing when I'm in trouble; Berry plays his fiddle.  He's a
philosopher and a friend."

"You don't make friends as other people do."

"I make friends of all kinds.  I don't know why, but I've always had a
kind of kinship with the roughs, the no-accounts, and the rogues."

"As well as the others--I hope I don't intrude!"

Ingolby laughed.  "You?  Oh, I wish all the others were like you.  It's
the highly respectable members of the community I've always had to
watch."

The fiddle-song came squeaking out upon the sunny atmosphere.
It arrested the attention of a man on the other side of the street--
a stranger in strange Lebanon.  He wore a suit of Western clothes as a
military man wears mufti, if not awkwardly, yet with a manner not wholly
natural--the coat too tight across the chest, too short in the body.
However, the man was handsome and unusual in his leopard way, with his
brown curling hair and well-cared-for moustache.  It was Jethro Fawe.

Attracted by the sound of the violin, he stayed his steps and smiled
scornfully.  Then his look fell on the two figures at the door of the
barber-shop, and his eyes flashed.

Here was the man he wished to see--Max Ingolby, the man who stood between
him and his Romany lass.  Here was a chance of speaking face to face with
the man who was robbing him.  What he should do when they met must be
according to circumstances.  That did not matter.  There was the impulse
storming in his brain, and it drove him across the street as the Boss
Doctor walked away, and Ingolby entered the shop.  All Jethro realized
was that the man who stood in his way, the big, rich, masterful Gorgio
was there.

He entered the shop after Ingolby, and stood for an instant unseen.  The
old negro barber with his curly white head, slave-black face, and large,
shrewd, meditative eyes was standing in a corner with a violin under his
chin, his cheek lovingly resting against it, as he drew his bow through
the last bars of the melody.  He had smiled in welcome as Ingolby
entered, instantly rising from his stool, but continuing to play.  He
would not have stopped in the middle of a tune for an emperor, and he put
Ingolby higher than an emperor.  For one who had been born a slave, and
had still the scars of the overseer's whip on his back, he was very
independent.  He cut everybody's hair as he wanted to cut it, trimmed
each beard as he wished to trim it, regardless of its owner's wishes.
If there was dissent, then his customer need not come again, that was
all.  There were other barbers in the place, but Berry was the master
barber.  To have your head massaged by him was never to be forgotten,
especially if you found your hat too small for your head in the morning.
Also he singed the hair with a skill and care, which had filled many a
thinly covered scalp with luxuriant growth, and his hair-tonic, known as
"Smilax," gave a pleasant odour to every meeting-house or church or
public hall where the people gathered.  Berry was an institution even in
this new Western town.  He kept his place and he forced the white man,
whoever he was, to keep his place.

When he saw Jethro Fawe enter the shop he did not stop playing, but his
eyes searched the newcomer.  Following his glance, Ingolby turned round
and saw the Romany.  His first impression was one of admiration, but
suspicion was quickly added.  He was a good judge of men, and there was
something secluded about the man which repelled him.  Yet he was
interested.  The dark face had a striking racial peculiarity.

The music died away, and old Berry lowered the fiddle from his chin and
gave his attention to the Romany.

"Yeth-'ir?" he said questioningly.

For an instant Jethro was confused.  When he entered the shop he had not
made up his mind what he should do.  It had been mere impulse and the
fever of his brain.  As old Berry spoke, however, his course opened out.

"I heard.  I am a stranger.  My fiddle is not here.  My fingers itch for
the cat-gut.  Eh?"

The look in old Berry's face softened a little.  His instinct had been
against his visitor, and he had been prepared to send him to another
shop-besides, not every day could he talk to the greatest man in the
West.

"If you can play, there it is," he said after a slight pause, and handed
the fiddle over.

It was true that Jethro Fawe loved the fiddle.  He had played it in many
lands.  Twice, in order to get inside the palace of a monarch for a
purpose--once in Berlin and once in London--he had played the second
violin in a Tzigany orchestra.  He turned the fiddle slowly round,
looking at it with mechanical intentness.  Through the passion of emotion
the sure sense of the musician was burning.  His fingers smoothed the
oval brown breast of the instrument with affection.  His eyes found joy
in the colour of the wood, which had all the graded, merging tints of
Autumn leaves.

"It is old--and strange," he said, his eyes going from Berry to Ingolby
and back again with a veiled look, as though he had drawn down blinds
before his inmost thoughts.  "It was not made by a professional."

"It was made in the cotton-field by a slave," observed old Berry sharply,
yet with a content which overrode antipathy to his visitor.

Jethro put the fiddle to his chin, and drew the bow twice or thrice
sweepingly across the strings.  Such a sound had never come from Berry's
violin before.  It was the touch of a born musician who certainly had
skill, but who had infinitely more of musical passion.

"Made by a slave in the cotton-fields!" Jethro said with a veiled look,
and as though he was thinking of something else: "'Dordi', I'd like to
meet a slave like that!"

At the Romany exclamation Ingolby swept the man with a searching look.
He had heard the Romany wife of Ruliff Zaphe use the word many years ago
when he and Charley Long visited the big white house on the hill.  Was
the man a Romany, and, if so, what was he doing here?  Had it anything to
do with Gabriel Druse and his daughter?  But no--what was there strange
in the man being a Romany and playing the fiddle?  Here and there in the
West during the last two years, he had seen what he took to be Romany
faces.  He looked to see the effect of the stranger's remark on old
Berry.

"I was a slave, and I was like that.  My father made that fiddle in the
cotton-fields of Georgia," the aged barber said.

The son of a race which for centuries had never known country or flag or
any habitat, whose freedom was the soul of its existence, if it had a
soul; a freedom defying all the usual laws of social order--the son of
that race looked at the negro barber with something akin to awe.  Here
was a man who had lived a life which was the staring antithesis of his
own, under the whip as a boy, confined to compounds; whose vision was
constricted to the limits of an estate; who was at the will of one man,
to be sold and trafficked with like a barrel of herrings, to be worked at
another's will--and at no price!  This was beyond the understanding of
Jethro Fawe.  But awe has the outward look of respect, and old Berry who
had his own form of vanity, saw that he had had a rare effect on the
fellow, who evidently knew all about fiddles.  Certainly that was a
wonderful sound he had produced from his own cotton-field fiddle.

In the pause Ingolby said to Jethro Fawe, "Play something, won't you?
I've got business here with Mr. Berry, but five minutes of good music
won't matter.  We'd like to hear him play--wouldn't we, Berry?"

The old man nodded assent.  "There's plenty of music in the thing," he
said, "and a lot could come out in five minutes, if the right man played
it."

His words were almost like a challenge, and it reached to Jethro's
innermost nature.  He would show this Gorgio robber what a Romany could
do, and do as easily as the birds sing.  The Gorgio was a money-master,
they said, but he would find that a Romany was a master, too, in his own
way.  He thought of one of the first pieces he had ever heard, a rhapsody
which had grown and grown, since it was first improvised by a Tzigany in
Hungary.  He had once played it to an English lady at the Amphitryon Club
in London, and she had swooned in the arms of her husband's best friend.
He had seen men and women avert their heads when he had played it, daring
not to look into each other's eyes.  He would play it now--a little of
it.  He would play it to her--to the girl who had set him free in the
Sagalac woods, to the ravishing deserter from her people, to the only
woman who had told him the truth in all his life, and who insulated his
magnetism as a ground-wire insulates lightning.  He would summon her here
by his imagination, and tell her to note how his soul had caught the
music of the spheres.  He would surround himself with an atmosphere of
his own.  His rage, his love, and his malignant hate, his tenderness and
his lust should fill the barber's shop with a flood which would drown the
Gorgio raider.  He laughed to himself, almost unconsciously.  Then
suddenly he leaned his cheek to the instrument and drew the bow across
the strings with a savage softness.  The old cottonfield fiddle cried out
with a thrilling, exquisite pain, but muffled, as a hand at the lips
turns agony into a tender moan.  Some one--some spirit--in the fiddle
was calling for its own.

Five minutes later-a five minutes in which people gathered at the
door of the shop, and heads were thrust inside in ravished wonder--the
palpitating Romany lowered the fiddle from his chin, and stood for a
minute looking into space, as though he saw a vision.

He was roused by old Berry's voice.  "Das a fiddle I wouldn't sell for a
t'ousand dollars.  If I could play like dat I wouldn't sell it for ten
t'ousand.  You kin play a fiddle to make it worth a lot--you."

The Romany handed back the instrument.  "It's got something inside it
that makes it better than it is.  It's not a good fiddle, but it has
something--ah, man alive, it has something!"  It was as though he was
talking to himself.

Berry made a quick, eager gesture.  "It's got the cotton-fields and the
slave days in it.  It's got the whip and the stocks in it; it's got the
cry of the old man that'd never see his children ag'in.  That's what the
fiddle's got in it."

Suddenly, in an apparent outburst of anger, he swept down on the front
door and drove the gathering crowd away.

"Dis is a barber-shop," he said with an angry wave of his hand; "it ain't
a circuse."

One man protested.  "I want a shave," he said.  He tried to come inside,
but was driven back.

"I ain't got a razor that'd cut the bristle off your face," the old
barber declared peremptorily; "and, if I had, it wouldn't be busy on you.
I got two customers, and that's all I'm going to take befo' I have my
dinner.  So you git away.  There ain't goin' to be no more music."

The crowd drew off, for none of them cared to offend this autocrat of the
shears and razor.

Ingolby had listened to the music with a sense of being swayed by a wind
which blew from all quarters of the compass at once.  He loved music;
it acted as a clearing-house to his mind; and he played the piano himself
with the enthusiasm of a wilful amateur, who took liberties with every
piece he essayed.  There was something in this fellow's playing which the
great masters, such as Paganini, must have had.  As the music ceased, he
did not speak, but remained leaning against the great red-plush barber's
chair looking reflectively at the Romany.  Berry, however, said to the
still absorbed musician: "Where did you learn to play?"

The Romany started, and a flush crossed his face.  "Everywhere," he
answered sullenly.

"You've got the thing Sarasate had," Ingolby observed.  "I only heard him
play but once--in London years ago: but there's the same something in it.
I bought a fiddle of Sarasate.  I've got it now."

"Here in Lebanon?"  The eyes of the Romany were burning.  An idea had
just come into his brain.  Was it through his fiddling that he was going
to find a way to deal with this Gorgio, who had come between him and his
own?

"Only a week ago it came," Ingolby replied.  "They actually charged me
Customs duty on it.  I'd seen it advertised, and I made an offer and got
it at last."

"You have it here--at your house here?" asked old Berry in surprise.

"It's the only place I've got.  Did you think I'd put it in a museum?
I can't play it, but there it is for any one that can play.  How would
you like to try it?" he added to Jethro in a friendly tone.  "I'd give a
good deal to see it under your chin for an hour.  Anyhow, I'd like to
show it to you.  Will you come?"

It was like him to bring matters to a head so quickly.

The Romany's eyes glistened.  "To play the Sarasate alone to you?" he
asked.

"That's it-at nine o'clock to-night, if you can."

"I will come--yes, I will come," Jethro answered, the lids drooping over
his eyes in which were the shadows of the first murder of the created
world.

"Here is my address, then."  Ingolby wrote something on his visiting-
card.  "My man'll let you in, if you show that.  Well, good-bye."

The Romany took the card, and turned to leave.  He had been dismissed by
the swaggering Gorgio, as though he was a servant, and he had not even
been asked his name, of so little account was he!  He could come and play
on the Sarasate to the masterful Gorgio at the hour which the masterful
Gorgio fixed--think of that!  He could be--a servant to the pleasure of
the man who was stealing from him the wife sealed to him in the Roumelian
country.  But perhaps it was all for the best--yes, he would make it all
for the best!  As he left the shop, however, and passed down the street
his mind remained in the barber-shop.  He saw in imagination the
masterful Gorgio in the red-plush chair, and the negro barber bending
over him, with black fingers holding the Gorgio's chin, and an open razor
in the right hand lightly grasped.  A flash of malicious desire came into
his eyes as the vision shaped itself in his imagination, and he saw
himself, instead of the negro barber, holding the Gorgio chin and looking
down at the Gorgio throat with the razor, not lightly, but firmly grasped
in his right hand.  How was it that more throats were not cut in that
way?  How was it that while the scissors passed through the beard of a
man's face the points did not suddenly slip up and stab the light from
helpless eyes?  How was it that men did not use their chances?  He went
lightly down the street, absorbed in a vision which was not like the
reality; but it was evidence that his visit to Max Ingolby's house was
not the visit of a virtuoso alone, but of an evil spirit.

As the Romany disappeared, Max Ingolby had his hand on the old barber's
shoulder.  "I want one of the wigs you made for that theatrical
performance of the Mounted Police, Berry," he said.  "Never mind what
it's for.  I want it at once--one with the long hair of a French-Canadian
coureur-de-bois.  Have you got one?"

"Suh, I'll send it round-no, I'll bring it round as I come from dinner.
Want the clothes, too?"

"No.  I'm arranging for them with Osterhaut.  I've sent word by Jowett."

"You want me to know what it's for?"

"You can know anything I know--almost, Berry.  You're a friend of the
right sort, and I can trust you."

"Yeth-'ir, I bin some use to you, onct or twict, I guess."

"You'll have a chance to be of use more than ever presently."

"Suh, there's gain' to be a bust-up, but I know who's comin' out on the
top.  That Felix Marchand and his roughs can't down you.  I hear and see
a lot, and there's two or three things I was goin' to put befo' you;
yeth-'ir."

He unloaded his secret information to his friend, and was rewarded by
Ingolby suddenly shaking his hand warmly.

"That's the line," Ingolby said decisively.  "When do you go over to
Manitou again to cut old Hector Marchand's hair?  Soon?"

"To-day is his day--this evening," was the reply.

"Good.  You wanted to know what the wig and the habitant's clothes are
for, Berry--well, for me to wear in Manitou.  In disguise I'm going there
tonight among them all, among the roughs and toughs.  I want to find out
things for myself.  I can speak French as good as most of 'em, and I can
chew tobacco and swear with the best."

"You suhly are a wonder," said the old man admiringly.  "How you fin' the
time I got no idee."

"Everything in its place, Berry, and everything in its time.  I've got a
lot to do to-day, but it's in hand, and I don't have to fuss.  You'll not
forget the wig--you'll bring it round yourself?"

"Suh.  No snoopin' into the parcel then.  But if you go to Manitou
to-night, how can you have that fiddler?"

"He comes at nine o'clock.  I'll go to Manitou later.  Everything in its
own time."

He was about to leave the shop when some one came bustling in.  Berry was
between Ingolby and the door, and for an instant he did not see who it
was.  Presently he heard an unctuous voice: "Ah, good day, good day, Mr.
Berry.  I want to have my hair cut, if you please," it said.

Ingolby smiled.  The luck was with him to-day so far.  The voice belonged
to the Rev. Reuben Tripple, and he would be saved a journey to the manse.
Accidental meetings were better than planned interviews.  Old Berry's
grizzled beard was bristling with repugnance, and he was about to refuse
Mr. Tripple the hospitality of the shears when Ingolby said: "You won't
mind my having a word with Mr. Tripple first, will you, Berry?  May we
use your back parlour?"

A significant look from Ingolby's eyes gave Berry his cue.

"Suh, Mr. Ingolby.  I'm proud."  He opened the door of another room.

Mr. Tripple had not seen Ingolby when he entered, and he recognized him
now with a little shock of surprise.  There was no reason why he should
not care to meet the Master Man, but he always had an uncanny feeling
when his eye met that of Ingolby.  His apprehension had no foundation in
any knowledge, yet he had felt that Ingolby had no love for him, and this
disturbed the egregious vanity of a narrow nature.  His slouching,
corpulent figure made an effort to resist the gesture with which Ingolby
drew him to the door, but his will succumbed, and he shuffled importantly
into the other room.

Ingolby shut the door quietly behind him, and motioned the minister to a
chair beside the table.  Tripple sank down, mechanically smiling, placed
his hat on the floor, and rested his hands on the table.  Ingolby could
not help but notice how coarse the hands were--with fingers suddenly
ending as though they had been cut off, and puffy, yellowish skin that
suggested fat foods, or worse.

Ingolby came to grips at once.  "You preached a sermon last night which
no doubt was meant to do good, but will only do harm," he said abruptly.

The flabby minister flushed, and then made an effort to hold his own.

"I speak as I am moved," he said, puffing out his lips.  "You spoke on
this occasion before you were moved--just a little while before,"
answered Ingolby grimly.  "The speaking was last night, the moving comes
today."

"I don't get your meaning," was the thick rejoinder.  The man had a
feeling that there was some real danger ahead.

"You preached a sermon last night which might bring riot and bloodshed
between these two towns, though you knew the mess that's brewing."

"My conscience is my own.  I am responsible to my Lord for words which I
speak in His name, not to you."

"Your conscience belongs to yourself, but your acts belong to all of us.
If there is trouble at the Orange funeral to-morrow it will be your
fault.  The blame will lie at your door."

"The sword of the Spirit--"

"Oh, you want the sword, do you?  You want the sword, eh?"  Ingolby's jaw
was set now like a millstone.  "Well, you can have it, and have it now.
If you had taken what I said in the right way, I would not have done what
I'm going to do.  I'm going to send you out of Lebanon.  You're a bad and
dangerous element here.  You must go."

"Who are you to tell me I must go?"

The fat hands quivered on the table with anger and emotion, but also with
fear of something.  "You may be a rich man and own railways, but--"

"But I am not rich and I don't own railways.  Lately bad feeling has been
growing on the Sagalac, and only a spark was needed to fire the ricks.
You struck the spark in your sermon last night.  I don't see the end of
it all.  One thing is sure--you're not going to take the funeral service
to-morrow."

The slack red lips of the man of God were gone dry with excitement, the
loose body swayed with the struggle to fight it out.

"I'll take no orders from you," the husky voice protested.  "My
conscience alone will guide me.  I'll speak the truth as I feel it, and
the people will stand by me."

"In that case you WILL take orders from  me.  I'm going to save the town
from what hurts it, if I can.  I've got no legal rights over you, but I
have moral rights, and I mean to enforce them.  You gabble of conscience
and truth, but isn't it a new passion with you--conscience and truth?"

He leaned over the table and fastened the minister's eyes with his own.
"Had you the same love of conscience and truth at Radley?"

A whiteness passed over the flabby face, and the beady eyes took on a
glazed look.  Fight suddenly died out of them.

"You went on a missionary tour on the Ottawa River.  At Radley you toiled
and rested from your toil--and feasted.  The girl had no father or
brother, but her uncle was a railway-man.  He heard where you were, and
he hired with my company to come out here as a foreman.  He came to drop
on you.  The day after he came he had a bad accident.  I went to see him.
He told me all; his nerves were unstrung, you observe.  He meant to ruin
you, as you ruined the girl.  He had proofs enough.  The girl herself is
in Winnipeg.  Well, I know life, and I know man and man's follies and
temptations.  I thought it a pity that a career and a life like yours
should be ruined--"

A groan broke from the twitching lips before him, and a heavy sweat stood
out on the round, rolling forehead.

"If the man spoke, I knew it would be all up with you, for the world is
very hard on men of God who fall.  I've seen men ruined before this,
because of an hour's passion and folly.  I said to myself that you were
only human, and that maybe you had paid heavy in remorse and fear.  Then
there was the honour of the town of Lebanon.  I couldn't let the thing
take its course.  I got the doctor to tell the man that he must go for
special treatment to a hospital in Montreal, and I--well, I bought him
off on his promising to keep his mouth shut.  He was a bit stiff in
terms, because he said the girl needed the money.  The child died,
luckily for you.  Anyhow I bought him off, and he went.  That was a year
ago.  I've got all the proofs in my pocket, even to the three silly
letters you wrote her when your senses were stronger than your judgment.
I was going to see you about them to-day."

He took from his pocket a small packet, and held them before the other's
face.  "Have a good look at your own handwriting, and see if you
recognize it," Ingolby continued.

But the glazed, shocked eyes did not see.  Reuben Tripple had passed the
several stages of horror during Ingolby's merciless arraignment, and he
had nearly collapsed before he heard the end of the matter.  When he knew
that Ingolby had saved him, his strength gave way, and he trembled
violently.  Ingolby looked round and saw a jug of water.  Pouring out a
glassful, he thrust it into the fat, wrinkled fingers.

"Drink and pull yourself together," he said sternly.  The shaken figure
straightened itself, and the water was gulped down.  "I thank you," he
said in a husky voice.

"You see I treated you fairly, and that you've been a fool?" Ingolby
asked with no lessened determination.

"I have tried to atone, and--"

"No, you haven't had the right spirit to atone.  You were fat with vanity
and self-conceit.  I've watched you."

"In future I will--"

"Well, that rests with yourself, but your health is bad, and you're not
going to take the funeral tomorrow.  You've had a sudden breakdown, and
you're going to get a call from some church in the East--as far East as
Yokohama or Bagdad, I hope; and leave here in a few weeks.  You
understand?  I've thought the thing out, and you've got to go.  You'll do
no good to yourself or others here.  Take my advice, and wherever you go,
walk six miles a day at least, work in a garden, eat half as much as you
do, and be good to your wife.  It's bad enough for any woman to be a
parson's wife, but to be a parson's wife and your wife, too, wants a lot
of fortitude."

The heavy figure lurched to the upright, and steadied itself with a force
which had not yet been apparent.

"I'll do my best--so help me God!" he said and looked Ingolby squarely
in the face for the first time.

"All right, see you keep your word," Ingolby replied, and nodded good-
bye.

The other went to the door, and laid a hand on the knob.

Suddenly Ingolby stopped him, and thrust a little bundle of bills into
his hand.  "There's a hundred dollars for your wife.  It'll pay the
expense of moving," he said.

A look of wonder, revelation and gratitude crept into Tripple's face.  "I
will keep my word, so help me God!" he said again.

"All right, good-bye," responded Ingolby abruptly, and turned away.

A moment afterwards the door closed behind the Rev. Reuben Tripple and
his influence in Lebanon.  "I couldn't shake hands with him," said
Ingolby to himself, "but I'm glad he didn't sniffle.  There's some stuff
in him--if it only has a chance."

"I've done a good piece of business, Berry," he said cheerfully as he
passed through the barber-shop.  "Suh, if you say so," said the barber,
and they left the shop together.




CHAPTER IX

MATTER AND MIND AND TWO MEN

Promptly at nine o'clock Jethro Fawe knocked at Ingolby's door, and was
admitted by the mulatto man-servant Jim Beadle, who was to Ingolby like
his right hand.  It was Jim who took command of his house, "bossed" his
two female servants, arranged his railway tours, superintended his
kitchen--with a view to his own individual tastes; valeted him, kept his
cigars within a certain prescribed limit by a firm actuarial principle
which transferred any surplus to his own use; gave him good advice,
weighed up his friends and his enemies with shrewd sense; and protected
him from bores and cranks, borrowers and "dead-beats."

Jim was accustomed to take a good deal of responsibility, and had more
than once sent people to the right-about who had designs on his master,
even though they came accredited.  On such occasions he did not lie to
protect himself when called to account, but told the truth
pertinaciously.  He was obstinate in his vanity, and carried off his
mistakes with aplomb.  When asked by Ingolby what he called the Governor
General when he took His Excellency over the new railway in Ingolby's
private car, he said, "I called him what everybody called him.  I called
him 'Succelency.'" And "Succelency" for ever after the Governor General
was called in the West.  Jim's phonetic mouthful gave the West a roar of
laughter and a new word to the language.  On another occasion Jim gave
the West a new phrase to its vocabulary which remains to this day.
Having to take the wife of a high personage of the neighbouring Republic
over the line in the private car, he had astounded his master by
presenting a bill for finger-bowls before the journey began.  Ingolby
said to him, "Jim, what the devil is this--finger-bowls in my private
car?  We've never had finger-bowls before, and we've had everybody as was
anybody to travel with us."  Jim's reply was final.  "Say," he replied,
"we got to have 'em.  Soon's I set my eyes on that lady I said: 'She's a
finger-bowl lady.'"

"'Finger-bowl lady' be hanged, Jim, we don't--" Ingolby protested, but
Jim waved him down.

"Say," he said decisively, "she'll ask for them finger-bowls--she'll ask
for 'em, and what'd I do if we hadn't got 'em."

She did ask for them; and henceforth the West said of any woman who put
on airs and wanted what she wasn't born to: "She's a finger-bowl lady."

It was Jim who opened the door to Jethro Fawe, and his first glance was
one of prejudice.  His quick perception saw that the Romany wore clothes
not natural to him.  He felt the artificial element, the quality of
disguise.  He was prepared to turn the visitor away, no matter what he
wanted, but Ingolby's card handed to him by the Romany made him pause.
He had never known his master give a card like that more than once or
twice in the years they had been together.  He fingered the card,
scrutinized it carefully, turned it over, looked heavenward reflectively,
as though the final permission for the visit remained with him, and
finally admitted the visitor.

"Mr. Ingolby ain't in," he said.  "He went out a little while back.  You
got to wait," he added sulkily, as he showed the Romany into Ingolby's
working-room.

As Jim did so, he saw lying on a chair a suit of clothes on top of which
were a wig and false beard and moustache.  Instantly he got between the
visitor and the make-up.  The parcel was closed when he was in the room a
half-hour before.  Ingolby had opened it since, had been called out, and
had forgotten to cover the things up or put them away.

"Sit down," Jim said to the Romany, still covering the disguise.  Then he
raised them in his arms, and passed with them into another room,
muttering angrily to himself.

The Romany had seen, however.  They were the first things on which his
eyes had fallen when he entered the room.  A wig, a false beard, and
workman's clothes!  What were they for?  Were these disguises for the
Master Gorgio?  Was he to wear them?  If so, he--Jethro Fawe--would watch
and follow him wherever he went.  Had these disguises to do with Fleda--
with his Romany lass?

His pulses throbbed; he was in an overwrought mood.  He was ready for any
illusion, susceptible to any vagary of the imagination.

He looked round the room.  So this was the way the swaggering, masterful
Gorgio lived?

Here were pictures and engravings which did not seem to belong to a new
town in a new land, where everything was useful or spectacular.  Here was
a sense of culture and refinement.  Here were finished and unfinished
water-colours done by Ingolby's own hand or bought by him from some hard-
up artist earning his way mile by mile, as it were.  Here were books, not
many, but well-bound and important-looking, covering fields in which
Jethro Fawe had never browsed, into which, indeed, he had never entered.
If he had opened them he would have seen a profusion of marginal notes in
pencil, and slips of paper stuck in the pages to mark important passages.

He turned from them to the welcome array of weapons on the walls-rifles,
shotguns, Indian bows, arrows and spears, daggers, and great sheath-
knives such as are used from the Yukon to Bolivia, and a sabre with a
faded ribbon of silk tied to the handle.  This was all that Max Ingolby
had inherited from his father--that artillery sabre which he had worn in
the Crimea and in the Indian Mutiny.  Jethro's eyes wandered eagerly over
the weapons, and, in imagination, he had each one in his hand.  From the
pained, angry confusion he felt when he looked at the books had emerged a
feeling of fanaticism, of feud and war, in which his spirit regained its
own kind of self-respect.  In looking at the weapons he was as good a man
as any Gorgio.  Brains and books were one thing, but the strong arm, the
quick eye, and the deft lunge home with the sword or dagger were better;
they were of a man's own skill, not the acquired skill of another's
brains which books give.  He straightened his shoulders till he looked
like a modern actor playing the hero in a romantic drama, and with quick
vain motions he stroked and twisted his brown moustache, and ran his
fingers through his curling hair.  In truth he was no coward; and his
conceit would not lessen his courage when the test of it came.

As his eyes brightened from gloom and sullenness to valiant enmity, they
suddenly fell on a table in a corner where lay a black coffin-shaped
thing of wood.  In this case, he knew, was the Sarasate violin.
Sarasate--once he had paid ten lira to hear Sarasate play the fiddle in
Turin, and the memory of it was like the sun on the clouds to him now.
In music such of him as was real found a home.  It fed everything in him
--his passion, his vanity; his vagabond taste, his emotions, his self-
indulgence, his lust.  It was the means whereby he raised himself to
adventure and to pilgrimage, to love and license and loot and spying and
secret service here and there in the east of Europe.  It was the
flagellation of these senses which excited him to do all that man may do
and more.

He was going to play to the masterful Gorgio, and he would play as he had
never played before.  He would pour the soul of his purpose into the
music--to win back or steal back, the lass sealed to him by the Starzke
River.

"Kismet!" he said aloud, and he rose from the chair to go to the violin,
but as he did so the door opened and Ingolby entered.

"Oh, you're here, and longing to get at it," he said pleasantly.

He had seen the look in the eyes of the Romany as he entered, and noted
which way his footsteps were tending.  "Well, we needn't lose any time,
but will you have a drink and a smoke first?" he added.

He threw his hat in a corner, and opened a spirittable where shone a half
dozen cut-glass, tumblers and several well-filled bottles, while boxes of
cigars and cigarettes flanked them.  It was the height of modern luxury
imported from New York, and Jethro eyed it with envious inward comment.
The Gorgio had the world on his key-chain!  Every door would open to him
--that was written on his face--unless Fate stepped in and closed all
doors!

The door of Fleda's heart had already been opened, but he had not yet
made his bed in it, and there was still time to help Fate, if her mystic
finger beckoned.

Jethro nodded in response to Ingolby's invitation to drink.  "But I do
not drink much when I play," he remarked.  "There's enough liquor in the
head when the fiddle's in the hand.  'Dadia', I do not need the spirit to
make the pulses go!"

"As little as you like then, if you'll only play as well as you did this
afternoon," Ingolby said cheerily.  "I will play better," was the reply.

"On Sarasate's violin--well, of course."

"Not only because it is Sarasate's violin, 'Kowadji'!"  "Kowadji!  Oh,
come now, you may be a Gipsy, but that doesn't mean that you're an
Egyptian or an Arab.  Why Arabic--why 'kowadji'?"

The other shrugged his shoulders.  "Who can tell I speak many languages.
I do not like the Mister.  It is ugly in the ear.  Monsieur, signor,
effendi, kowadji, they have some respect in them."

"You wanted to pay me respect, eh?"

"You have Sarasate's violin!"

"I have a lot of things I could do without."

"Could you do without the Sarasate?"

"Long enough to hear you play it, Mr.--what is your name, may I ask?"

"My name is Jethro Fawe."

"Well, Jethro Fawe, my Romany 'chal', you shall show me what a violin can
do."

"You know the Romany lingo?" Jethro asked, as Ingolby went over to the
violin-case.

"A little--just a little."

"When did you learn it?"  There was a sudden savage rage in Jethro's
heart, for he imagined Fleda had taught Ingolby.

"Many a year ago when I could learn anything and remember anything and
forget anything."  Ingolby sighed.  "But that doesn't matter, for I know
only a dozen words or so, and they won't carry me far."

He turned the violin over in his hands.  "This ought to do a bit more
than the cotton-field fiddle," he said dryly.

He snapped the strings, looking at it with the love of the natural
connoisseur.  "Finish your drink and your cigarette.  I can wait," he
added graciously.  "If you like the cigarettes, you must take some away
with you.  You don't drink much, that's clear, therefore you must smoke.
Every man has some vice or other, if it's only hanging on to virtue too
tight."

He laughed eagerly.  Strange that he should have a feeling of greater
companionship for a vagabond like this than for most people he met.  Was
it some temperamental thing in him?  "Dago," as he called the Romany
inwardly, there was still a bond between them.  They understood the glory
of a little instrument like this, and could forget the world in the light
on a great picture.  There was something in the air they breathed which
gave them easier understanding of each other and of the world.

Suddenly with a toss Jethro drained the glass of spirit, though he had
not meant to do so.  He puffed the cigarette an instant longer, then
threw it on the floor, and was about to put his foot on it, when Ingolby
stopped him.

"I'm a slave," he said.  "I've got a master.  It's Jim.  Jim's a hard
master, too.  He'd give me fits if we ground our cigarette ashes into the
carpet."

He threw the refuse into a flower-pot.

"That squares Jim.  Now let's turn the world inside out," he proceeded.
He handed the fiddle over.  "Here's the little thing that'll let you do
the trick.  Isn't it a beauty, Jethro Fawe?"

The Romany took it, his eyes glistening with mingled feelings.  Hatred
was in his soul, and it showed in the sidelong glance as Ingolby turned
to place a chair where he could hear and see comfortably; yet he had the
musician's love of the perfect instrument, and the woods and the streams
and the sounds of night and the whisperings of trees and the ghosts that
walked in lonely places and called across the glens--all were pouring
into his brain memories which made his pulses move far quicker than the
liquor he had drunk could do.

"What do you wish?" he asked as he tuned the fiddle.

Ingolby laughed good-humouredly.  "Something Eastern; something you'd
play for yourself if you were out by the Caspian Sea.  Something that has
life in it."

Jethro continued to tune the fiddle carefully and abstractedly.  His eyes
were half-closed, giving them a sulky look, and his head was averted.  He
made no reply to Ingolby, but his head swayed from side to side in that
sensuous state produced by self-hypnotism, so common among the half-
Eastern races.  By an effort of the will they send through the nerves a
flood of feeling which is half-anaesthetic, half-intoxicant.  Carried
into its fullest expression it drives a man amok or makes of him a
howling dervish, a fanatic, or a Shakir.  In lesser intensity it produces
the musician of the purely sensuous order, or the dancer that performs
prodigies of abandoned grace.  Suddenly the sensuous exaltation had come
upon Jethro Fawe.  It was as though he had discharged into his system
from some cells of his brain a flood which coursed like a stream of soft
fire.

In the pleasurable pain of such a mood he drew his bow across the strings
with a sweeping stroke, and then, for an instant, he ran hither and
thither on the strings testing the quality and finding the range and
capacity of the instrument.  It was a scamper of hieroglyphics which
could only mean anything to a musician.

"Well, what do you think of him?" Ingolby asked as the Romany lowered
the bow.  "Paganini--Joachim--Sarasate--any one, it is good enough," was
the half-abstracted reply.

"It is good enough for you--almost, eh?"

Ingolby meant his question as a compliment, but an evil look shot into
the Romany's face, and the bow twitched in his hand.  He was not Paganini
or Sarasate, but that was no reason why he should be insulted.

Ingolby's quick perception saw, however, what his words had done, and he
hastened to add: "I believe you can get more out of that fiddle than
Sarasate ever could, in your own sort of music anyhow.  I've never heard
any one play half so well the kind of piece you played this afternoon.
I'm glad I didn't make a fool of myself buying the fiddle.  I didn't, did
I?  I gave five thousand dollars for it."

"It's worth anything to the man that loves it," was the Romany's
response.  He was mollified by the praise he had received.

He raised the fiddle slowly to his chin, his eyes wandering round the
room, then projecting themselves into space, from which they only
returned to fix themselves on Ingolby with the veiled look which sees but
does not see--such a look as an oracle, or a death-god, or a soulless
monster of some between-world, half-Pagan god would wear.  Just such a
look as Watts's "Minotaur" wears in the Tate Gallery in London.

In an instant he was away in a world which was as far off from this world
as Jupiter is from Mars.  It was the world of his soul's origin--a place
of beautiful and yet of noisome creations also; of white mountains and
green hills, and yet of tarns in which crawled evil things; a place of
vagrant, hurricanes and tidal-waves and cloud-bursts, of forests alive
with quarrelling!  and affrighted beasts.  It was a place where birds
sang divinely, yet where obscene fowls of prey hovered in the blue or
waited by the dying denizens of the desert or the plain; where dark-eyed
women heard, with sidelong triumph, the whispers of passion; where sweet-
faced children fled in fear from terrors undefined; where harpies and
witch-women and evil souls waited in ambush; or scurried through the
coverts where men brought things to die; or where they fled for futile
refuge from armed foes.  It was a world of unbridled will, this, where
the soul of Jethro Fawe had its origin; and to it his senses fled
involuntarily when he put Sarasate's fiddle to his chin this Autumn
evening.

From that well of the First Things--the first things of his own life, the
fount from which his forebears drew, backwards through the centuries,
Jethro Fawe quickly drank his fill; and then into the violin he poured
his own story--no improvisation, but musical legends and classic
fantasies and folk-breathings and histories of anguished or joyous haters
or lovers of life; treated by the impressionist who made that which had
been in other scenes to other men the thing of the present and for the
men who are.  That which had happened by the Starzke River was now of the
Sagalac River.  The passions and wild love and irresponsible deeds of the
life he had lived in years gone by were here.

It was impossible for Ingolby to resist the spell of the music.  Such
abandonment he had never seen in any musician, such riot of musical
meaning he had never heard.  He was conscious of the savagery and the
bestial soul of vengeance which spoke through the music, and drowned the
joy and radiance and almost ghostly and grotesque frivolity of the
earlier passages; but it had no personal meaning to him, though at times
it seemed when the Romany came near and bent over him with the ecstatic
attack of the music, as though there was a look in the black eyes like
that of a man who kills.  It had, of course, nothing to do with him; it
was the abandonment of a highly emotional nature, he thought.

It was only after he had been playing, practically without ceasing, for
three-quarters of an hour, that there came to Ingolby the true
interpretation of the Romany mutterings through the man's white, wolf-
like teeth.  He did not shrink, however, but kept his head and watched.

Once, as the musician flung his body round in a sweep of passion, Ingolby
saw the black eyes flash to the weapons on the wall with a malign look
which did not belong to the music alone, and he took a swift estimate of
the situation.  Why the man should have any intentions against him, he
could not guess, except that he might be one of the madmen who have a
vendetta against the capitalist.  Or was he a tool of Felix Marchand?  It
did not seem possible, and yet if the man was penniless and an anarchist
maybe, there was the possibility.  Or--the blood rushed to his face--or
it might be that the Gipsy's presence here, this display of devilish
antipathy, as though it were all part of the music, was due, somehow, to
Fleda Druse.

The music swelled to a swirling storm, crashed and flooded the feelings
with a sense of shipwreck and chaos, through which a voice seemed to cry-
the quiver and delicate shrillness of one isolated string--and then fell
a sudden silence, as though the end of all things had come; and on the
silence the trembling and attenuated note which had quivered on the
lonely string, rising, rising, piercing the infinite distance and sinking
into silence again.

In the pause which followed the Romany stood panting, his eyes fixed on
Ingolby with an evil exaltation which made him seem taller and bigger
than he was, but gave him, too, a look of debauchery like that on the
face of a satyr.  Generations of unbridled emotion, of license of the
fields and the covert showed in his unguarded features.

"What did the single cry--the motif--express?" Ingolby asked coolly.
"I know there was catastrophe, the tumblings of avalanches, but the voice
that cried-the soul of a lover, was it?"

The Romany's lips showed an ugly grimace.  "It was the soul of one that
betrayed a lover, going to eternal tortures."

Ingolby laughed carelessly.  "It was a fine bit of work.  Sarasate would
have been proud of his fiddle if he could have heard.  Anyhow he couldn't
have played that.  Is it Gipsy music?"

"It is the music of a 'Gipsy,' as you call it."

"Well, it's worth a year's work to hear," Ingolby replied admiringly, yet
acutely conscious of danger.  "Are you a musician by trade?" he asked.

"I have no trade."  The glowing eyes kept scanning the wall where the
weapons hung, and as though without purpose other than to get a pipe from
the rack on the wall, Ingolby moved to where he could be prepared for any
rush.  It seemed absurd that there should be such a possibility; but the
world was full of strange things.

"What brought you to the West?" he asked as he filled a pipe, his back
almost against the wall.

"I came to get what belonged to me."

Ingolby laughed ironically.  "Most of us are here for that purpose.  We
think the world owes us such a lot."

"I know what is my own."

Ingolby lit his pipe, his eyes reflectively scanning the other.

"Have you got it again out here--your own?"

"Not yet, but I will."

Ingolby took out his watch, and looked at it.  "I haven't found it easy
getting all that belongs to me."

"You have found it easier getting what belongs to some one else," was the
snarling response.

Ingolby's jaw hardened.  What did the fellow mean?  Did he refer to
money, or--was it Fleda Druse?  "See here," he said, "there's no need to
say things like that.  I never took anything that didn't belong to me,
that I didn't win, or earn or pay for--market price or 'founder's
shares'"--he smiled grimly.  "You've given me the best treat I've had in
many a day.  I'd walk fifty miles to hear you play my Sarasate--or even
old Berry's cotton-field fiddle.  I'm as grateful as I can be, and I'd
like to pay you for it; but as you're not a professional, and it's one
gentleman to another as it were, I can only thank you--or maybe help you
to get what's your own, if you're really trying to get it out here.
Meanwhile, have a cigar and a drink."

He was still between the Romany and the wall, and by a movement forward
sought to turn Jethro to the spirit-table.  Probably this manoeuvring was
all nonsense, that he was wholly misreading the man; but he had always
trusted his instincts, and he would not let his reason rule him entirely
in such a situation.  He could also ring the bell for Jim, or call to
him, for while he was in the house Jim was sure to be near by; but he
felt he must deal with the business alone.

The Romany did not move towards the spirit-table, and Ingolby became
increasingly vigilant.

"No, I can't pay you anything, that's clear," he said; "but to get your
own--I've got some influence out here--what can I do?  A stranger is up
against all kinds of things if he isn't a native, and you're not.  Your
home and country's a good way from here, eh?"

Suddenly the Romany faced him.  "Yes.  I come from places far from here.
Where is the Romany's home?  It is everywhere in the world, but it is
everywhere inside his tent.  Because his country is everywhere and
nowhere, his home is more to him than it is to any other.  He is alone
with his wife, and with his own people.  Yes, and by long and by last,
he will make the man pay who spoils his home.  It is all he has.  Good or
bad, it is all he has.  It is his own."

Ingolby had a strange, disturbing premonition that he was about to hear
what would startle him, but he persisted.  "You said you had come here to
get your own--is your home here?"

For a moment the Romany did not answer.  He had worked himself into a
great passion.  He had hypnotized himself, he had acted for a while as
though he was one of life's realities; but suddenly there passed through
his veins the chilling sense of the unreal, that he was only acting a
part, as he had ever done in his life, and that the man before him could,
with a wave of the hand, raise the curtain on all his disguises and
pretences.  It was only for an instant, however, for there swept through
him the feeling that Fleda had roused in him--the first real passion, the
first true love--if what such as he felt can be love--that he had ever
known; and he saw her again as she was in the but in the wood defying
him, ready to defend herself against him.  All his erotic anger and
melodramatic fervour were alive in him once more.

He was again a man with a wrong, a lover dispossessed.  On the instant
his veins filled with passionate blood.  The Roscian strain in him had
its own tragic force and reality.

"My home is where my own is, and you, have taken my own from me, as I
said," he burst out.  "There was all the world for you, but I had only my
music and my wife, and you have taken my wife from me.  'Mi Duvel', you
have taken, but you shall give back again, or there will be only one of
us in the world!  The music I have played for you--that has told you all:
the thing that was music from the beginning of Time, the will of the
First of All.  Fleda Druse, she was mine, she is my wife, and you, the
Gorgio, come between, and she will not return to me."

A sudden savage desire came to Ingolby to strike the man in the face--
this Gipsy vagabond the husband of Fleda Druse!  It was too monstrous.
It was an evil lie, and yet she had said she was a Romany, and had said
it with apparent shame or anxiety.  She had given him no promise, had
pledged no faith, had admitted no love, and yet already in his heart of
hearts he thought upon her as his own.  Ever since the day he had held
her in his arms at the Carillon Rapids her voice had sounded in his ears,
and a warmth was in his heart which had never been there in all his days.
This waif of barbarism even to talk of Fleda Druse as though he was of
the same sphere as herself invited punishment-but to claim her as his
wife!  It was shameless.  An ugly mood came on him, the force that had
made him what he was filled all his senses.  He straightened himself;
contempt of the Ishmael showed at his lips.

"I think you lie, Jethro Fawe," he said quietly, and his eyes were hard
and piercing.  "Gabriel Druse's daughter is not--never was--any wife of
yours.  She never called you husband.  She does not belong to the refuse
of the world."

The Romany made a sudden rush towards the wall where the weapons hung,
but two arms of iron were flung out and caught him, and he was hurled
across the room.  He crashed against a table, swayed, missed a chair
where rested the Sarasate violin, then fell to the floor; but he
staggered to his feet again, all his senses in chaos.

"You almost fell on the fiddle.  If you had hurt it I'd have hurt you,
Mr. Fawe," Ingolby said with a grim smile.  "That fiddle's got too much
in it to waste it."

"Mi Duvel!  Mi Duvel!" gasped the Romany in his fury.

"You can say that as much as you like, but if you play any more of your
monkey tricks here, my Paganini, I will wring your neck," Ingolby
returned, his six feet of solid flesh making a movement of menace.

"And look," he added, "since you are here, and I said what I meant, that
I'd help you to get your own, I'll keep my word.  But don't talk in
damned riddles.  Talk white men's language.  You said that Gabriel
Druse's daughter was your wife.  Explain what you meant, and no
nonsense."

The Romany made a gesture of acquiescence.  "She was made mine according
to Romany law by the River Starzke seventeen years ago.  I was the son of
Lemuel Fawe, rightful King of all the Romanys.  Gabriel Druse seized the
headship, and my father gave him three thousand pounds that we should
marry, she and I, and so bring the headship to the Fawes again when
Gabriel Druse should die; and so it was done by the River Starzke in the
Roumelian country."

Ingolby winced, for the man's words rang true.  A cloud came over his
face, but he said nothing.  Jethro saw the momentary advantage.  "You did
not know?" he asked.  "She did not tell you she was made my wife those
years ago?  She did not tell you she was the daughter of the Romany King?
So it is, you see, she is afraid to tell the truth."

Ingolby's knitted bulk heaved with desire to injure.  "Your wife--you
melodious sinner!  Do you think such tomfoolery has any effect in this
civilized country?  She is about as much your wife as I am your brother.
Don't talk your heathenish rot here.  I said I'd help you to get your
own, because you played the fiddle as few men can play it, and I owe you
a lot for that hour's music; but there's nothing belonging to Gabriel
Druse that belongs to you, and his daughter least of all.  Look out--
don't sit on the fiddle, damn you!"

The Romany had made a motion as if to sit down on the chair where the
fiddle was, but stopped short at Ingolby's warning.  For an instant
Jethro had an inclination to seize the fiddle and break it across his
knees.  It would be an exquisite thing to destroy five thousand dollars'
worth of this man's property at a single wrench and blow.  But the spirit
of the musician asserted itself before the vengeful lover could carry out
his purpose; as Ingolby felt sure it would.  Ingolby had purposely given
the warning about the fiddle, in the belief that it might break the
unwelcome intensity of the scene.  He detested melodrama, and the scene
came precious near to it.  Men had been killed before his eyes more than
once, but there had been no rodomontade even when there had been a woman
in the case.

This Romany lover, however, seemed anxious to make a Sicilian drama out
of his preposterous claim, and it sickened him.  Who was the fellow that
he should appear in the guise of a rival to himself!  It was humiliating
and offensive.  Ingolby had his own kind of pride and vanity, and they
were both hurt now.  He would have been less irritable if this rival had
been as good a man as himself or better.  He was so much a gamester that
he would have said, "Let the best man win," and have taken his chances.

His involuntary strategy triumphed for the moment.  The Romany looked at
the fiddle for an instant with murderous eyes, but the cool, quiet voice
of Ingolby again speaking sprayed his hot virulence.

"You can make a good musician quite often, but a good fiddle is a prize-
packet from the skies," Ingolby said.  "When you get a good musician and
a good fiddle together it's a day for a salute of a hundred guns."

Half-dazed with unregulated emotion, Jethro acted with indecision for a
moment, and the fiddle was safe.  But he had suffered the indignity of
being flung like a bag of bones across the room, and the microbe of
insane revenge was in him.  It was not to be killed by the cold humour of
the man who had worsted him.  He returned to the attack.

"She is mine, and her father knows it is so.  I have waited all these
years, and the hour has come.  I will--"

Ingolby's eyes became hard and merciless again.  "Don't talk your Gipsy
rhetoric.  I've had enough.  No hour has come that makes a woman do what
she doesn't want to do in a free country.  The lady is free to do what
she pleases here within British law, and British law takes no heed of
Romany law or any other law.  You'll do well to go back to your Roumelian
country or whatever it is.  The lady will marry whom she likes."

"She will never marry you," the Romany said huskily and menacingly.

"I have never asked her, but if I do, and she said yes, no one could
prevent it."

"I would prevent it."

"How?"

"She is a Romany: she belongs to the Romany people; I will find a way."

Ingolby had a flash of intuition.

"You know well that if Gabriel Druse passed the word, your life wouldn't
be worth a day's purchase.  The Camorra would not be more certain or more
deadly.  If you do anything to hurt the daughter of Gabriel Druse, you
will pay the full price, and you know it.  The Romanys don't love you
better than their rightful chief."

"I am their rightful chief."

"Maybe, but if they don't say so, too, you might as well be their
rightful slave.  You are a genius in your way.  Take my advice and return
to the trail of the Gipsy.  Or, there's many an orchestra would give you
a good salary as leader.  You've got no standing in this country.  You
can't do anything to hurt me except try to kill me, and I'll take my
chance of that.  You'd better have a drink now and go quietly home to
bed.  Try and understand that this is a British town, and we don't settle
our affairs by jumping from a violin rhapsody to a knife or a gun."  He
jerked his head backwards towards the wall.  "Those things are for
ornament, not for use.  Come, Fawe, have a drink and go home like a good
citizen for one night only."

The Romany hesitated, then shook his head and muttered chaotically.

"Very well," was the decisive reply.  Ingolby pressed a bell, and, in an
instant, Jim Beadle was in the room.  He had evidently been at the
keyhole.  "Jim," he said, "show the gentleman out."

But suddenly he caught up a box of cigars from the table and thrust it
into the Romany's hands.  "They're the best to be got this side of
Havana," he said cheerily.  "They'll help you put more fancy still into
your playing.  Good night.  You never played better than you've done
during the last hour, I'll stake my life on that.  Good night.  Show Mr.
Fawe out, Jim."

The Romany had not time to thrust back the cigars upon his host, and
dazed by the strategy of the thing, by the superior force and mind of the
man who a moment ago he would have killed, he took the box and turned
towards the door, taking his hat dazedly from Jim.

At the door, however, catching sight of the sly grin on the mulatto
servant's face, his rage and understanding returned to him, and he faced
the masterful Gorgio once again.

"By God, I'll have none of it!" he exclaimed roughly and threw the box
of cigars on the floor of the room.  Ingolby was not perturbed.  "Don't
forget there's an east-bound train every day," he said menacingly, and
turned his back as the door closed.

In another minute Jim entered the room.  "Get the clothes and the wig and
things, Jim.  I must be off," he said.

"The toughs don't get going till about this time over at Manitou,"
responded Jim.  Then he told his master about the clothes having been
exposed in the room when the Romany arrived.  "But I don't think he seen
them," Jim added with approval of his own conduct.  "I got 'em out quick
as lightning.  I covered 'em like a blanket."

"All right, Jim; it doesn't matter.  That fellow's got other things to
think of than that."

He was wrong, however.  The Romany was waiting outside in the darkness
not far away--watching and waiting.




CHAPTER X

FOR LUCK

Felix Marchand was in the highest spirits.  His clean-shaven face was
wrinkled with smiles and sneers.  His black hair was flung in waves of
triumph over his heavily-lined forehead; one hand was on his hip with
brave satisfaction, the other with lighted cigarette was tossed upwards
in exultation.

"I've got him.  I've got him--like that!" he said transferring the
cigarette to his mouth, and clenching his right hand as though it could
not be loosed by an earthquake.  "For sure, it's a thing finished as the
solder of a pannikin--like that."

He caught up a tin quart-pot from the bar-counter and showed the soldered
bottom of it.

He was alone in the bar of Barbazon's Hotel except for one person--the
youngest of the officials who had been retired from the offices of the
railways when Ingolby had merged them.  This was a man who had got his
position originally by nepotism, and represented the worst elements of a
national life where the spoils system is rooted in the popular mind.  He
had, however, a little residue of that discipline which, working in a
great industrial organization, begets qualms as to extreme courses.

He looked reflectively at the leaden pot and said in reply: "I'd never
believe in anything where that Ingolby is concerned till I had it in the
palm of my hand.  He's as deep as a well, and when he's quietest it's
good to look out.  He takes a lot of skinning, that badger."

"He's skinned this time all right," was Marchand's reply.  "To-morrow'll
be the biggest day Manitou's had since the Indian lifted his wigwam and
the white man put down his store.  Listen--hear them!  They're coming!"

He raised a hand for silence, and a rumbling, ragged roar of voices could
be heard without.

"The crowd have gone the rounds," he continued.  "They started at
Barbazon's and they're winding up at Barbazon's.  They're drunk enough
to-night to want to do anything, and to-morrow when they've got sore
heads they'll do anything.  They'll make that funeral look like a
squeezed orange; they'll show Lebanon and Master Ingolby that we're to be
bosses of our own show.  The strike'll be on after the funeral, and after
the strike's begun there'll be--eh, bien sur!"

He paused sharply, as though he had gone too far.  "There'll be what?"
whispered the other; but Marchand made no reply, save to make a warning
gesture, for Barbazon, the landlord, had entered behind the bar.

"They're coming back, Barbazon," Marchand said to the landlord, jerking
his head towards the front door.  The noise of the crowd was increasing,
the raucous shouts were so loud that the three had to raise their voices.
"You'll do a land-office business to-night," he declared.

Barbazon had an evil face.  There were rumours that he had been in gaol
in Quebec for robbery, and that after he had served his time he had dug
up the money he had stolen and come West.  He had started the first
saloon at Manitou, and had grown with the place in more senses than one.
He was heavy and thick-set, with huge shoulders, big hands, and beady
eyes that looked out of a stolid face where long hours, greed and vices
other than drink had left their mark.  He never drank spirits, and was
therefore ready to take advantage of those who did drink.  More than one
horse and canoe and cow and ox, and acre of land, in the days when land
was cheap, had come to him across the bar-counter.  He could be bought,
could Barbazon, and he sold more than wine and spirits.  He had a wife
who had left him twice because of his misdemeanours, but had returned and
straightened out his house and affairs once again; and even when she went
off with Lick Baldwin, a cattle-dealer, she was welcomed back without
reproaches by Barbazon, chiefly because he had no morals, and her
abilities were of more value to him than her virtue.  On the whole, Gros
Barbazon was a bad lot.

At Marchand's words Barbazon shrugged his shoulders.  "The more spent
to-night, the less to spend to-morrow," he growled.

"But there's going to be spending for a long time," Marchand answered.
"There's going to be a riot to-morrow, and there's going to be a strike
the next day, and after that there's going to be something else."

"What else?" Barbazon asked, his beady eyes fastened on Marchand's face.

"Something worth while-better than all the rest."  Barbazon's low
forehead seemed to disappear almost, as he drew the grizzled shock of
hair down, by wrinkling his forehead with a heavy frown.

"It's no damn good, m'sieu'," he growled.  "Am I a fool?  They'll spend
money to-night, and tomorrow, and the next day, and when the row is on;
and the more they spend then, the less they'll have to spend by-and-by.
It's no good.  The steady trade for me--all the time.  That is my idee.
And the something else--what?  You think there's something else that'll
be good for me?  Nom de Dieu, there's nothing you're doing, or mean to
do, but'll hurt me and everybody."

"That's your view, is it, Barbazon?" exclaimed Marchand loudly, for the
crowd was now almost at the door.  "You're a nice Frenchman and patriot.
That crowd'll be glad to hear you think they're fools.  Suppose they took
it into their heads to wreck the place?"

Barbazon's muddy face got paler, but his eyes sharpened, and he leaned
over the bar-counter, and said with a snarl: "Go to hell, and say what
you like; and then I'll have something to say about something else,
m'sieu'."

Marchand was about to reply angrily, but he instantly changed his mind,
and before Barbazon could stop him, he sprang over the counter and
disappeared into the office behind the bar.

"I won't steal anything, Barbazon," he said over his shoulder as he
closed the door behind him.

"I'll see to that," Barbazon muttered stolidly, but with malicious eyes.

The front door was flung open now, and the crowd poured into the room,
boisterous, reckless, though some were only sullen, watchful and angry.
These last were mostly men above middle age, and of a fanatical and
racially bitter type.  They were not many, but in one sense they were the
backbone and force of the crowd, probably the less intelligent but the
more tenacious and consistent.  They were black spots of gathering storm
in an electric atmosphere.

All converged upon the bar.  Two assistants rushed the drinks along the
counter with flourishes, while Barbazon took in the cash and sharply
checked the rougher element, who were inclined to treat the bar as a
place for looting.  Most of them, however, had a wholesome fear of
Barbazon, and also most of them wished to stand well with him--credit
was a good thing, even in a saloon.

For a little time the room was packed, then some of the more restless
spirits, their thirst assuaged, sallied forth to taste the lager and old
rye elsewhere, and "raise Cain" in the streets.  When they went, it
became possible to move about more freely in the big bar-room, at the end
of which was a billiard-table.  It was notable, however, that the more
sullen elements stayed.  Some of them were strangers to each other.
Manitou was a distributing point for all radiations of the compass, and
men were thrown together in its streets who only saw one another once or
twice a year-when they went to the woods in the Fall or worked the rivers
in the Summer.  Some were Mennonites, Doukhobors and Finlanders, some
Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders.  Others again were birds of passage
who would probably never see Manitou in the future, but they were mostly
French, and mostly Catholic, and enemies of the Orange Lodges wherever
they were, east or west or north or south.  They all had a common ground
of unity--half-savage coureurs-de-bois, river-drivers, railway-men,
factory hands, cattlemen, farmers, labourers; they had a gift for
prejudice, and taking sides on something or other was as the breath
of the nostrils to them.

The greater number of the crowd were, however, excitable, good-natured
men, who were by instinct friendly, save when their prejudices were
excited; and their oaths and exclamations were marvels of droll
ingenuity.  Most of them were still too good-humoured with drink to be
dangerous, but all hoped for trouble at the Orange funeral on principle,
and the anticipated strike had elements of "thrill."  They were of a
class, however, who would swing from what was good-humour to deadly anger
in a minute, and turn a wind of mere prejudice into a hurricane of life
and death with the tick of a clock.  They would all probably go to the
Orange funeral to-morrow in a savage spirit.  Some of them were loud in
denunciation of Ingolby and "the Lebanon gang"; they joked coarsely over
the dead Orangeman, but their cheerful violence had not yet the
appearance of reality.

One man suddenly changed all that.  He was a river-driver of stalwart
proportions, with a red handkerchief round his neck, and with loose
corded trousers tucked into his boots.  He had a face of natural ugliness
made almost repulsive by marks of smallpox.  Red, flabby lips and an
overhanging brow made him a figure which men would avoid on a dark night.

"Let's go over to Lebanon to-night and have it out," he said in French.
"That Ingolby--let's go break his windows and give him a dip in the
river.  He's the curse of this city.  Holy, once Manitou was a place to
live in, now it's a place to die in!  The factories, the mills, they're
full of Protes'ants and atheists and shysters; the railway office is gone
to Lebanon.  Ingolby took it there.  Manitou was the best town in
the West; it's no good now.  Who's the cause?  Ingolby's the cause.  Name
of God, if he was here I'd get him by the throat as quick as winkin'."

He opened and shut his fingers with spasmodic malice, and glared round
the room.  "He's going to lock us out if we strike," he added.  "He's
going to take the bread out of our mouths; he's going to put his heel on
Manitou, and grind her down till he makes her knuckle to Lebanon--to a
lot of infidels, Protes'ants, and thieves.  Who's going to stand it?  I
say-bagosh, I say, who's going to stand it!"

"He's a friend of the Monseigneur," ventured a factory-hand, who had a
wife and children to support, and however partisan, was little ready for
that which would stop his supplies.

"Sacre bapteme!  That's part of his game," roared the big river-driver in
reply.  "I'll take the word of Felix Marchand about that.  Look at him!
That Felix Marchand doesn't try to take the bread out of people's mouths.
He gives money here, he gives it there.  He wants the old town to stay as
it is and not be swallowed up."

"Three cheers for Felix Marchand !" cried some one in the throng.  All
cheered loudly save one old man with grizzled hair and beard, who leaned
against the wall half-way down the room smoking a corncob pipe.  He was a
French Canadian in dress and appearance, and he spat on the floor like a
navvy--he had filled his pipe with the strongest tobacco that one man
ever offered to another.  As the crowd cheered for Felix Marchand, he
made his way up towards the bar slowly.  He must have been tall when he
was young; now he was stooped, yet there was still something very sinewy
about him.

"Who's for Lebanon?" cried the big river-driver with an oath.  "Who's
for giving Lebanon hell, and ducking Ingolby in the river?"

"I am--I am--I am--all of us!" shouted the crowd.  "It's no good waiting
for to-morrow.  Let's get the Lebs by the scruff to-night.  Let's break
Ingolby's windows and soak him in the Sagalac.  Allons--allons gai!"

Uproar and broken sentences, threats, oaths, and objurgations sounded
through the room.  There was a sudden movement towards the door, but the
exit of the crowd was stopped by a slow but clear voice speaking in
French.

"Wait a minute, my friends!" it cried.  "Wait a minute.  Let's ask a few
questions first."

"Who's he?" asked a dozen voices.  "What's he going to say?"  The mob
moved again towards the bar.

The big river-driver turned on the grizzled old man beside the bar-
counter with bent shoulders and lazy, drawling speech.

"What've you got to say about it, son?" he asked threateningly.

"Well, to ask a few questions first--that's all," the old man replied.

"You don't belong here, old cock," the other said roughly.

"A good many of us don't belong here," the old man replied quietly.  "It
always is so.  This isn't the first time I've been to Manitou.  You're a
river-driver, and you don't live here either," he continued.

"What've you got to say about it?  I've been coming and going here for
ten years.  I belong--bagosh, what do you want to ask?  Hurry up.  We've
got work to do.  We're going to raise hell in Lebanon."

"And give hell to Ingolby," shouted some one in the crowd.

"Suppose Ingolby isn't there?" questioned the old man.

"Oh, that's one of your questions, is it?" sneered the big river-driver.
"Well, if you knew him as we do, you'd know that it's at night-time he
sits studyin' how he'll cut Lebanon's throat.  He's home, all right.
He's in Lebanon anyhow, and we'll find him."

"Well, but wait a minute--be quiet a bit," said the old man, his eyes
blinking slowly at the big riverdriver.  "I've been 'round a good deal,
and I've had some experience in the world.  Did you ever give that
Ingolby a chance to tell you what his plans were?  Did you ever get close
to him and try to figure what he was driving at?  There's no chance of
getting at the truth if you don't let a man state his case--but no.  If
he can't make you see his case then is the time to jib, not before."

"Oh, get out!" cried a rowdy English road-maker in the crowd.  "We know
all right what Ingolby's after."

"Eh, well, what is he after?" asked the old man looking the other in the
eye.

"What's he after?  Oof-oof-oof, that's what he's after.  He's for his own
pocket, he's for being boss of all the woolly West.  He's after keeping
us poor and making himself rich.  He's after getting the cinch on two
towns and three railways, and doing what he likes with it all; and we're
after not having him do it, you bet.  That's how it is, old hoss."

The other stroked his beard with hands which, somehow, gave little
indication of age, and then, with a sudden jerk forward of his head, he
said: "Oh, it's like that, eh?  Is that what M'sieu' Marchand told you?
That's what he said, is it?"

The big river-driver, eager to maintain his supreme place as leader,
lunged forward a step, and growled a challenge.

"Who said it?  What does it matter if M'sieu' Marchand said it--it's
true.  If I said it, it's true.  All of us in this room say it, and it's
true.  Young Marchand says what Manitou says."

The old man's eyes grew brighter--they were exceedingly sharp for one so
old, and he said quite gently now:

"M. Marchand said it first, and you all say it afterwards--ah, bah!  But
listen to me; I know Max Ingolby that you think is such a villain; I know
him well.  I knew him when he was a little boy and--"

"You was his nurse, I suppose!" cried the Englishman's voice amid a roar
of laughter.

"Taught him his A-B-C-was his dear, kind teacher, eh?" hilariously cried
another.

The old man appeared not to hear.  "I have known him all the years since.
He has only been in the West a few years, but he has lived in the world
exactly thirty-three years.  He never willingly did anybody harm--never.
Since he came West, since he came to the Sagalac, he's brought work to
Lebanon and to Manitou.  There are hundreds more workmen in both the
towns than there were when he came.  It was he made others come with much
money and build the factories and the mills.  Work means money, money
means bread, bread means life--so."

The big river-driver, seeing the effect of the old man's words upon the
crowd, turned to them with an angry gesture and a sneer.

"I s'pose Ingolby has paid this old skeesicks for talking this swash.
We know all right what Ingolby is, and what he's done.  He's made war
between the two towns--there's hell to pay now on both sides of the
Sagalac.  He took away the railway offices from here, and threw men out
of work.  He's done harm to Manitou--he's against Manitou every time."

Murmurs of approval ran through the crowd, though some were silent,
looking curiously at the forceful and confident old man.  Even his bent
shoulders seemed to suggest driving power rather than the weight of
years.  He suddenly stretched out a hand in command as it were.

"Comrades, comrades," he said, "every man makes mistakes.  Even if it was
a mistake for Ingolby to take away the offices from Manitou, he's done a
big thing for both cities by combining the three railways."

"Monopoly," growled a voice from the crowd.  "Not monopoly," the old man
replied with a ring to his voice, which made it younger, fresher.  "Not
monopoly, but better management of the railways, with more wages, more
money to spend on things to eat and drink and wear, more dollars in the
pocket of everybody that works in Manitou and Lebanon.  Ingolby works,
he doesn't loaf."

"Oh, gosh all hell, he's a dynamo," shouted a voice from the crowd.
"He's a dynamo running the whole show-eh!"

The old man seemed to grow shorter, but as he thrust his shoulders
forward, it was like a machine gathering energy and power.

"I'll tell you, friends, what Ingolby is trying to do," he said in a low
voice vibrating with that force which belongs neither to age nor youth,
but is the permanent activity uniting all ages of a man.  "Of course,
Ingolby is ambitious and he wants power.  He tries to do the big things
in the world because there is the big thing to do--for sure.  Without
such men the big things are never done, and other men have less work to
do, and less money and poorer homes.  They discover and construct and
design and invent and organize and give opportunities.  I am a working
man, but I know what Ingolby thinks.  I know what men think who try to do
the big things.  I have tried to do them."

The crowd were absolutely still now, but the big river-driver shook
himself free of the eloquence, which somehow swayed them all, and said:

"You--you look as if you'd tried to do big things, you do, old skeesicks.
I bet you never earned a hundred dollars in your life."  He turned to the
crowd with fierce gestures.  "Let's go to Lebanon and make the place
sing," he roared.  "Let's get Ingolby out to talk for himself, if he
wants to talk.  We know what we want to do, and we're not going to be
bossed.  He's for Lebanon and we're for Manitou.  Lebanon means to boss
us, Lebanon wants to sit on us because we're Catholics, because we're
French, because we're honest."

Again a wave of revolution swept through the crowd.  The big river-driver
represented their natural instincts, their native fanaticism, their
prejudices.  But the old man spoke once more.

"Ingolby wants Lebanon and Manitou to come together, not to fall apart,"
he declared.  "He wants peace.  If he gets rich here he won't get rich
alone.  He's working for both towns.  If he brings money from outside,
that's good for both towns.  If he--"

"Shut your mouth, let Ingolby speak for himself," snarled the big river-
driver.  "Take his dollars out of your pocket and put them on the bar,
the dollars Ingolby gives you to say all this.  Put them dollars of
Ingolby's up for drinks, or we'll give you a jar that'll shake you, old
wart-hog."

At that instant a figure forced itself through the crowd, and broke into
the packed circle which was drawing closer upon the old man.

It was Jethro Fawe.  He flung a hand out towards the old man.

"You want Ingolby--well, that's Ingolby," he shouted.

Like lightning the old man straightened himself, snatched the wig and
beard away from his head and face, and with quiet fearlessness said:

"Yes, I am Ingolby."

For an instant there was absolute silence, in which Ingolby weighed his
chances.  He was among enemies.  He had meant only to move among the
crowd to discover their attitude, to find things out for himself.  He had
succeeded, and his belief that Manitou could be swayed in the right
direction if properly handled, was correct.  Beneath the fanaticism and
the racial spirit was human nature; and until Jethro Fawe had appeared,
he had hoped to prevent violence and the collision at to-morrow's
funeral.

Now the situation was all changed.  It was hard to tell what sharp turn
things might take.  He was about to speak, but suddenly from the crowd
there was spat out at him the words, "Spy!  Sneak!  Spy!"

Instantly the wave of feeling ran against him.  He smiled frankly,
however, with that droll twist of his mouth which had won so many, and
the raillery of his eyes was more friendly than any appeal.

"Spy, if you like, my friends," he said firmly and clearly.  "Moses sent
spies down into the Land of Promise, and they brought back big bunches of
grapes.  Well, I've come down into a land of promise.  I wanted to know
just how you all feel without being told it by some one else.  I knew if
I came here as Max Ingolby I shouldn't hear the whole truth; I wouldn't
see exactly how you see, so I came as one of you, and you must admit, my
French is as good as yours almost."

He laughed and nodded at them.

"There wasn't one of you that knew I wasn't a Frenchman.  That's in my
favour.  If I know the French language as I do, and can talk to you in
French as I've done, do you think I don't understand the French people,
and what you want and how you feel?  I'm one of the few men in the West
that can talk your language.  I learned it when I was a boy, so that I
might know my French fellow-countrymen under the same flag, with the same
King and the same national hope.  As for your religion, God knows, I wish
I was as good a Protestant as lots of you are good Catholics.  And I tell
you this, I'd be glad to have a minister that I could follow and respect
and love as I respect and love Monseigneur Lourde of Manitou.  I want to
bring these two towns together, to make them a sign of what this country
is, and what it can do; to make hundreds like ourselves in Manitou and
Lebanon work together towards health, wealth, comfort and happiness.
Can't you see, my friends, what I'm driving at?  I'm for peace and work
and wealth and power--not power for myself alone, but power that belongs
to all of us.  If I can show I'm a good man at my job, maybe better than
others, then I have a right to ask you to follow me.  If I can't, then
throw me out.  I tell you I'm your friend--Max Ingolby is your friend."

"Spy!  Spy!  Spy!" cried a new voice.

It came from behind the bar.  An instant after, the owner of the voice
leaped up on the counter.  It was Felix Marchand.  He had entered by the
door behind the bar into Barbazon's office.

"When I was in India," Marchand cried, "I found a snake in the bed.  I
killed it before it stung me.  There's a snake in the bed of Manitou--
what are you going to do with it?"

The men swayed, murmured, and shrill shouts of "Marchand!  Marchand!
Marchand !" went up.  The crowd heaved upon Ingolby.  "One minute!" he
called with outstretched arm and commanding voice.  They paused.
Something in him made him master of them even then.

At that moment two men were fiercely fighting their way through the crowd
towards where Ingolby was.  They were Jowett and Osterhaut.  Ingolby saw
them coming.

"Go back--go back!" he called to them.

Suddenly a drunken navvy standing on a table in front of and to the left
of Ingolby seized a horseshoe hanging on the wall, and flung it with an
oath.

It caught Ingolby in the forehead, and he fell to the floor without a
sound.

A minute afterwards the bar was empty, save for Osterhaut, Jowett, old
Barbazon, and his assistants.

Barbazon and Jowett lifted the motionless figure in their arms, and
carried it into a little room.

Then Osterhaut picked up the horseshoe tied with its gay blue ribbons,
now stained with blood, and put it in his pocket.

"For luck," he said.




CHAPTER XI

THE SENTENCE OF THE PATRIN

Fleda waked suddenly, but without motion; just a wide opening of the eyes
upon the darkness, and a swift beating of the heart, but not the movement
of a muscle.  It was as though some inward monitor, some gnome of the
hidden life had whispered of danger to her slumbering spirit.  The waking
was a complete emergence, a vigilant and searching attention.

There was something on her breast weighing it down, yet with a pressure
which was not weight alone, and maybe was not weight at all as weight is
understood.  Instantly there flashed through her mind the primitive
belief that a cat will lie upon the breasts of children and suck their
breath away.  Strange and even absurd as it was, it seemed to her that a
cat was pressing and pressing down upon her breast.  There could be no
mistaking the feline presence.  Now with a sudden energy of the body, she
threw the Thing from her, and heard it drop, with the softness of feline
feet, on the Indian rug upon the floor.

Then she sprang out of bed, and, feeling for the matches, lit a candle on
the small table beside her bed, and moved it round searching for what she
thought to be a cat.  It was not to be seen.  She looked under the bed;
it was not there: under the washstand, under the chest of drawers, under
the improvised dressing-table; and no cat was to be found.  She 173
looked under the chair over which hung her clothes, even behind the
dresses and the Indian deerskin cape hanging on the door.

There was no life of any kind save her own in the room, so far as she
could see.  She laughed nervously, though her heart was still beating
hard.  That it should beat hard was absurd, for what had she to fear--she
who had lived the wild open-air life of many lands, had slept among hills
infested by animals the enemy of man, and who when a little girl had
faced beasts of prey alone.  Yet here in her own safe room on the
Sagalac, with its four walls, but its unlocked doors--for Gabriel Druse
said that he could not bear that last sign of his exile--here in the
fortress of the town-dweller there was a strange trembling of her pulses
in the presence of a mere hallucination or nightmare--the first she had
had ever.  Her dreams in the past had always been happy and without the
black fancies of nightmare.  On the night that Jethro Fawe had first
confronted her father and herself, and he had been carried to the hut in
the Wood, her sleep had been disturbed and restless, but dreamless; in
her sleep on the night of the day of his release, she had been tossed
upon vague clouds of mental unrest; but that was the first really
disordered sleep she had ever known.

Holding the candle above her head, she looked in the mirror on her
dressing-table, and laughed nervously at the shocked look in her eyes,
at the hand pressed upon the bosom whose agitations troubled the delicate
linen at her breast.  The pale light of the candle, the reflection from
the white muslin of her dressing-table and her nightwear, the strange,
deep darkness of her eyes, the ungathered tawny hair falling to her
shoulders, gave an unusual paleness to her face.

"What a ninny I am!" she said aloud as she looked at herself, her tongue
chiding her apprehensive eyes, her laugh contemptuously adding its
comment on her tremulousness.  "It was a real nightmare--a waking
nightmare, that's what it was."

She searched the room once more, however-every corner, under the bed, the
chest of drawers and the dressing-table, before she got into bed again,
her feet icily cold.  And yet again before settling down she looked
round, perplexed and inquiring.  Placing the matches beside the
candlestick, she blew out the light.  Then, half-turning on her side with
her face to the wall, she composed herself to sleep.

Resolutely putting from her mind any sense of the supernatural, she shut
her eyes with confidence of coming sleep.  While she was, however, still
within the borders of wakefulness, and wholly conscious, she felt the
Thing jump from the floor upon her legs, and crouch there with that
deadening pressure which was not weight.  Now with a start of anger she
raised herself, and shot out a determined hand to seize the Thing,
whatever it was.  Her hand grasped nothing, and again she distinctly
heard a soft thud as of something jumping on the floor.  Exasperated, she
drew herself out of bed, lit the candle again, and began another search.
Nothing was to be seen; but she had now the curious sense of an unseen
presence.  She went to the door, opened it, and looked out into the
narrow hall.  Nothing was to be seen there.  Then she closed the door
again, and stood looking at it meditatively for a moment.  It had a lock
and key; yet it had never been locked in the years they had lived on the
Sagalac.  She did not know whether the key would turn in the lock.  After
a moment's hesitation, she shrugged her shoulders and turned the key.  It
rasped, proved stubborn, but at last came home with a click.  Then she
turned to the window.  It was open about three inches at the bottom.  She
closed it tight, and fastened it, then stood for a moment in the middle
of the room looking at both door and window.

She was conscious of a sense of suffocation.  Never in her life had she
slept with door or window or tentflap entirely closed.  Never before had
she been shut in all night behind closed doors and sealed windows.  Now,
as the sense of imprisonment was felt, her body protested; her spirit
resented the funereal embrace of security.  It panted for the freedom
which gives the challenge to danger and the courage to face it.

She went to the window and opened it slightly at the top, and then sought
her bed again; but even as she lay down, something whispered to her mind
that it was folly to lock the door and yet leave the window open, if it
was but an inch.  With an exclamation of self-reproach, and a vague
indignation at something, she got up and closed the window once more.

Again she composed herself to sleep, lying now with her face turned to
the window and the door.  She was still sure that she had been the victim
of a hallucination which, emerging from her sleep, had invaded the
borders of wakefulness, and then had reproduced itself in a waking
illusion--an imitation of its original existence.

Resolved to conquer any superstitious feeling, she invoked sleep, and was
on its borders once more when she was startled more violently than
before.

The Thing had sprung again upon her feet and was crouched there.  Wide
awake, she waited for a moment to make sure that she was not mad, or that
she was not asleep or in a half-dream.  In the pause, she felt the Thing
draw up towards her knees, dragging its body along with tiger-like
closeness, and with that strange pressure which was not weight but power.

With a cry which was no longer doubt, but agonized apprehension, she
threw the Thing from her with a motion of both hands and feet; and, as
she did so, she felt a horrible cold air breathing from a bloodless body,
chill her hand.

In another instant she was on her feet again.  With shaking fingers she
lighted the candle yet once more, after which she lighted a lamp standing
upon the chest of drawers.  The room was almost brilliantly bright now.
With a gesture of incredulity she looked round.  The doors and windows
were sealed tight, and there was nothing to be seen; yet she was more
than ever conscious of a presence grown more manifest.  For a moment she
stood staring straight before her at the place where it seemed to be.
She realized its malice and its hatred, and an intense anger and hatred
took possession of her.  She had always laughed at such things even when
thrilled by wonder and manufactured terrors.  But now there was a sense
of conflict, of evil, of the indefinable things in which so many
believed.

Suddenly she remembered an ancient Sage of her tribe, who, proficient in
mysteries and secret rites gathered from nations as old as Phoenicia and
Egypt and as modern as Switzerland, held the Romanys of the world in awe,
for his fame had travelled where he could not follow.  To Fleda in her
earliest days he had been like one inspired, and as she now stood facing
the intangible Thing, she recalled an exorcism which the Sage had recited
to her, when he had sufficiently startled her senses by tales of the
Between World.  This exorcism was, as he had told her, more powerful than
that which the Christian exorcists used, and the symbol of exorcism was
not unlike the sign of the Cross, to which was added genuflection of
Assyrian origin.

At any other time Fleda would have laughed at the idea of using the
exorcism; but all the ancient superstition of the Romany people latent in
her now broke forth and held her captive.  Standing with candle raised
above her head, her eyes piercing the space before her, she recalled
every word of the exorcism which had caught the drippings from the
fountains of Chaldean, Phoenician, and Egyptian mystery.

Solemnly and slowly the exorcism came from her lips, and at the end her
right hand made the cabalistic sign; then she stood like one transfixed
with her arm extended towards the Thing she could not see.

Presently there passed from her a sense of oppression.  The air seemed to
grow lighter, restored self-possession came; there was a gentle breathing
in the room like that of a sleeping child.  It was a moment before she
realized that the breathing was her own, and she looked round her like
one who had come out of a trance.

"It is gone," she said aloud.  "It is gone."  A great sigh came from her.

Mechanically she put down the candle, smoothed the pillows of her bed,
adjusted the coverings, and prepared to lie down; but, with a sudden
impulse, she turned to the window and the door.

"It is gone," she said again.  With a little laugh of hushed triumph, she
turned and made again the cabalistic sign at the bed, where the Thing had
first assaulted her, and then at that point in the room near the door
where she had felt it crouching.

"Oh, Ewie Gal," she added, speaking to that Romany Sage long since laid
to rest in the Roumelian country, "you did not talk to me for nothing.
You were right--yes, you were right, old Ewie Gal.  It was there,"--she
looked again at the place where the Thing had been--"and your curse drove
it away."

With confidence she went to the door and unlocked it.  Going to the
window she opened it also, but she compromised sufficiently to open it
at the top instead of at the bottom.  Presently she laid her head on her
pillow with a sigh of content.

Once again she composed herself to sleep in the darkness.  But now there
came other invasions, other disturbers of the night.  In her imagination
a man came who had held her in his arms one day on the Sagalac River, who
had looked into her eyes with a masterful but respectful tenderness.  As
she neared the confines of sleep, he was somehow mingled with visions of
things which her childhood had known--moonlit passes in the Bosnian,
Roumelian, and Roumanian hills, green fields by the Danube, with peasant
voices drowsing in song before the lights went out; a gallop after dun
deer far away up the Caspian mountains, over waste places, carpeted with
flowers after a benevolent rain; mornings in Egypt, when the camels
thudded and slid with melancholy ease through the sands of the desert,
while the Arab drivers called shrilly for Allah to curse or bless; a
tender sunset in England seen from the top of a castle when all the
western sky was lightly draped with saffron, gold and mauve and delicate
green and purple.

Now she slept again, with the murmur of the Sagalac in her ears, and
there was a smile at her lips.  If one could have seen her through the
darkness, one would have said that she was like some wild creature of a
virgin world, whom sleep had captured and tamed; for, behind the
refinement which education and the vigilant influence with which Madame
Bulteel had surrounded her, there was in her the spirit of primitive
things: of the open road and the wilderness, of the undisciplined and
vagrant life, however marked by such luxury as the ruler of all the
Romanys could buy and use in pilgrimage.  There was that in her which
would drag at her footsteps in this new life.

For a full hour or more she slept, then there crept through the fantasies
of sleep something that did not belong to sleep--again something from the
wakeful world, strange, alien, troubling.  At first it was only as though
a wind stirred the air of dreams, then it was like the sounds that gather
behind the coming rage of a storm, and again it was as though a night-
prowler plucked at the sleeve of a home-goer.  Presently, with a stir of
fright and a smothered cry, she waked to a sound which was not of the
supernatural or of the mind's illusions, but no less dreadful to her
because of that.  In some cryptic way it was associated with the direful
experience through which she had just passed.

What she heard in the darkness was a voice which sang there by her
window--at it or beneath it--the words of a Romany song.

It was a song of violence, which she had heard but a short time before in
the trees behind her father's house, when a Romany claimed her as his
wife:

                   "Time was I went to my true love,
                    Time was she came to me--"

Only one man would sing that song at her window, or anywhere in this
Western world.  This was no illusion of her overwrought senses.  There,
outside her window, was Jethro Fawe.

She sat up and listened, leaning on one arm, and staring into the half-
darkness beyond the window, the blind of which she had not drawn down.
There was no moon, but the stars were shining brightly, relieving the
intensity of the dark.  Through the whispering of the trees, and hushing
the melancholy of a night-bird's song, came the wild low note of the
Romany epic of vengeance.  It had a thrill of exultation.  Something in
the voice, insistent, vibrating, personal, made every note a thrust of
victory.  In spite of her indignation at the insolent serenade, she
thrilled; for the strain of the Past was in her, and it had been fighting
with her all night, breaking in upon the Present, tugging at the cords of
youth.

The man's daring roused her admiration, even as her anger mounted.  If
her father heard the singing, there could be no doubt that Jethro Fawe's
doom would be sealed.  Gabriel Druse would resent this insolence to the
daughter of the Ry of Rys.  Word would be passed as silently as the
electric spark flies, and one day Jethro Fawe would be found dead, with
no clue to his slayer, and maybe no sign of violence upon him; for while
the Romany people had remedies as old as Buddha, they had poisons as old
as Sekhet.

Suddenly the song ceased, and for a moment there was silence save for the
whispering trees and the night-bird's song.  Fleda rose from her bed, and
was about to put on her dressing-gown, when she was startled by a voice
loudly whispering her name at her window, as it seemed.


"Daughter of the Ry of Rys !" it called.

In anger she started forward to the window, then, realizing that she was
in her nightgown, caught up her red dressing-gown and put it on.  As she
did so she understood why the voice had sounded so near.  Not thirty feet
from her window there was a solitary oak-tree among the pines, in which
was a seat among the branches, and, looking out, she could see a figure
that blackened the starlit duskiness.

"Fleda--daughter of the Ry of Rys," the voice called again.

She gathered her dressing-gown tight about her, and, going to the window,
raised it high and leaned out.

"What do you want?" she asked sharply.

"Wife of Jethro Fawe, I bring you news," the voice said, and she saw a
hat waved with mock courtesy.  In spite of herself, Fleda felt a shiver
of premonition pass through her.  The Thing which had threatened her in
the night seemed to her now like the soul of this dark spirit in the
trees.

Resentment seized her.  "I have news for you, Jethro Fawe," she replied.
"I set you free, and I gave my word that no harm should come to you, if
you went your ways and did not come again.  You have come, and I shall do
nothing now to save you from the Ry's anger.  Go at once, or I will wake
him."

"Will a wife betray her husband?" he asked in soft derision.

Stung by his insolence, "I would not throw a rope to you, if you were
drowning," she declared.  "I am a Gorgio, and the thing that was done by
the Starzke River is nothing to me.  Now, go."

"You have forgotten my news," he said: "It is bad news for the Gorgio
daughter of the Romany Ry."  She was silent in apprehension.  He waited,
but she did not speak.

"The Gorgio of Gorgios of the Sagalac has had a fall," he said.

Her heart beat fast for an instant, and then the presentiment came to her
that the man spoke the truth.  In the presence of the accomplished thing,
she became calm.

"What has happened?" she asked quietly.

"He went prowling in Manitou, and in Barbazon's Tavern they struck him
down."

"Who struck him down?" she asked.  It seemed to her that the night-bird
sang so loud that she could scarcely hear her own voice.

"A drunken Gorgio," he replied.  "The horseshoe is for luck all the world
over, and it brought its luck to Manitou to-night.  It struck down a
young Master Gorgio who in white beard and long grey hair went spying."

She knew in her heart that he spoke the truth.  "He is dead?" she asked
in a voice that had a strange quietness.

"Not yet," he answered.  "There is time to wish him luck."

She heard the ribald laugh with a sense of horror and loathing.  "The
hand that brought him down may have been the hand of a Gorgio, but behind
the hand was Jethro Fawe," she said in a voice grown passionate again.
"Where is he?" she added.

"At his own house.  I watched them take him there.  It is a nice house--
good enough for a Gorgio house-dweller.  I know it well.  Last night I
played his Sarasate fiddle for him there, and I told him all about you
and me, and what happened at Starzke, and then--"

"You told him I was a Romany, that I was married to you?" she asked in a
low voice.

"I told him that, and asked him why he thought you had deceived him, had
held from him the truth.  He was angry and tried to kill me."

"That is a lie," she answered.  "If he had tried to kill you he would
have done so."

Suddenly she realized the situation as it was--that she was standing at
her window in the night, scantily robed, talking to a man in a tree
opposite her window; and that the man had done a thing which belonged to
the wild places which she had left so far behind.

It flashed into her mind--what would Max Ingolby think of such a thing?
She flushed.  The new Gorgio self of her flushed, and yet the old Romany
self, the child of race and heredity had taken no exact account of the
strangeness of this situation.  It had not seemed unnatural.  Even if he
had been in her room itself, she would have felt no tithe of the shame
that she felt now in asking herself what the Master Gorgio would think,
if he knew.  It was not that she had less modesty, that any stir of sex
was in her veins where the Romany chal was concerned; but in the life she
had once lived less delicate cognizance was taken of such things, and
something of it stayed.

"Listen," Jethro said with sudden lowering of the voice, and imparting
into his tones an emotion which was in part an actor's gift, but also in
large degree a passion now eating at his heart, "you are my wife by all
the laws of our people.  Nothing can change it.  I have waited for you,
and I will wait, but you shall be mine in the end.  You see to-night--
'Mi Duvel', you see that fate is with me!  The Gorgio has bewitched you.
He goes down to-night in that tavern there by the hand of a Gorgio, and
the Romany has his revenge.  Fate is always with me, and I will be the
gift of the gods to the woman that takes me.  The luck is mine always.
It will be always with me.  I am poor to-day, I shall be rich to-morrow.
I was rich, and I lost it all; and I was poor, and became rich again.
Ah, yes, there are ways!  Sometimes it is a Government, sometimes a
prince that wants to know, and Jethro Fawe, the Romany, finds it out, and
money fills his pockets.  I am here, poor, because last year when I lost
all, I said, 'It is because my Romany lass is not with me.  I have not
brought her to my tan, but when she comes then the gold will be here as
before, and more when it is wanted.'  So, I came, and I hear the road
calling, and all the camping places over all the world, and I see the
patrins in every lane, and my heart is lifted up.  I am glad.  I rejoice.
My heart burns with love.  I will forget everything, and be true to the
queen of my soul.  Men die, and Gabriel Druse, he will die one day, and
when the time comes, then it would be that you and I would beckon, and
all the world would come to us."

He stretched out a hand to her in the half-darkness.  "I send the blood
of my heart to you," he continued.  "I am a son of kings.  Fleda,
daughter of the Ry of Rys, come to me.  I have been bad, but I can be
good.  I have killed, but I will live at peace.  I have cursed, but I
will speak the word of blessing.  I have trespassed, but I will keep to
my own, if you will come to me."

Suddenly he dropped to the ground, lighting on his feet like an animal
with a soft rebound.  Stretching up his arms, he made soft murmuring of
endearment.

She had listened, fascinated in spite of herself by the fire and meaning
of his words.  She felt that in most part it was true, that it was meant;
and, whatever he was, he was yet a man offering his heart and life,
offering a love that she despised, and yet which was love and passion of
a kind.  It was a passion natural to the people from whom she came, and
to such as Jethro Fawe it was something more than sensual longing and the
aboriginal desire of possession.  She realized it, and was not wholly
revolted by it, even while her mind was fleeing to where the Master
Gorgio lay wounded, it might be unto death; even while she knew that this
man before her, by some means, had laid Ingolby low.  She was all at once
a human being torn by contending forces.

Jethro's drop to the ground broke the sudden trance into which his words
had thrown her.  She shook herself as with an effort of control.  Then
leaning over the window-sill, and, looking down at him, now grown so
distinct that she could see his features, her eyes having become used to
the half-light of the approaching dawn, she said with something almost
like gentleness:

"Once more I say, you must go and come no more.  You are too far off from
me.  You belong to that which is for the ignorant, or the low, the
vicious and the bad.  Behind the free life of the Romany is only the
thing that the beasts of the field have.  I have done with it for ever.
Find a Romany who will marry you.  As for me, I would rather die than do
so, and I should die before it could come to pass.  If you stay here
longer I will call the Ry."

Presently the feeling that he had been responsible for the disaster to
Ingolby came upon her with great force, and as suddenly as she had
softened towards this man she hardened again.

"Go, before there comes to you the death you deserve," she added, and
turned away.

At that moment footsteps sounded near, and almost instantly there emerged
from a pathway which made a short cut to the house, the figure of old
Gabriel Druse.  They had not heard him till he was within a few feet of
where Jethro Fawe stood.  His walking had been muffled in the dust of the
pathway.

The Ry started when he saw Jethro Fawe; then he made a motion as though
he would seize the intruder, who was too dumbfounded to flee; but he
recovered himself, and gazed up at the open window.

"Fleda!" he called.

She came to the window again.

"Has this man come here against your will?" he asked, not as though
seeking information, but confirmation of his own understanding.

"He is not here by my will," she answered.  "He came to sing the Song of
Hate under my window, to tell me that he had--"

"That I had brought the Master Gorgio to the ground," said Jethro, who
now stood with sullen passiveness looking at Gabriel Druse.

"From the Master Gorgio, as you call him, I have just come," returned the
old man.  "When I heard the news, I went to him.  It was you who betrayed
him to the mob, and--"

"Wait, wait," Fleda cried in agitation.  "Is--is he dead?"

"He is alive, but terribly hurt; and he may die," was the reply.

Then the old man turned to the Romany with a great anger and
determination in his face.  He stretched out an arm, making a sign as
cabalistic as that which Fleda had used against her invisible foe in the
bedroom.

"Go, Jethro Fawe of all the Fawes," he said.  "Go, and may no patrins
mark your road!"

Jethro Fawe shrank back, and half raised his arm, as though to fend
himself from a blow.

The patrin is the clue which Gipsies leave behind them on the road they
go, that other Gipsies who travel in it may know they have gone before.
It may be a piece of string, a thread of wool, a twig, or in the dust the
ancient cross of the Romany, which preceded the Christian cross and
belonged to the Assyrian or Phoenician world.  The invocation that no
patrins shall mark the road of a Romany is to make him an outcast, and
for the Ry of Rys to utter the curse is sentence of death upon a Romany,
for thenceforward every hand of his race is against him, free to do him
harm.

It was that which made Jethro Fawe shrink and cower for a moment.  Fleda
raised her hand suddenly in protest to Gabriel Druse.

"No, no, not that," Fleda murmured brokenly to her father, with eyes that
looked the pain and horror she felt.  Though she repudiated the bond by
which the barbarian had dared to call her wife, she heard an inner voice
that said to her: "What was done by the Starzke River was the seal of
blood and race, and this man must be nearer than the stranger, dearer
than the kinsman, forgiven of his crimes like a brother, saved from
shame, danger or death when she who was sealed to him can save him."

She shuddered as she heard the inner voice.  She felt that this Other
Self of her, the inner-seeing soul which had the secret of the far paths,
had spoken truly.  Even as she begged her father to withdraw the
sentence, it flashed into her mind that the grim Thing of the night was
the dark spirit of hatred between Jethro Fawe and the Master Gorgio
seeking embodiment, as though Jethro's evil soul detached itself from his
body to persecute her.

At her appeal, Jethro raised his head.  His courage came back, the old
insolent self-possession took hold of him again.  The sentence which the
Ry had passed was worse than death (and it meant death, too), for it made
him an outcast from his people, and to be outcast was to be thrown into
the abyss.  It was as though a man without race or country was banished
into desolate space.  In a vague way he felt its full significance, and
the shadow of it fell on him.

"No, no, no," Fleda repeated hoarsely, with that new sense of
responsibility where Jethro was concerned.

Jethro's eyes were turned upon her now.  In the starlit night, just
yielding to the dawn, she could faintly see his burning look, could feel,
as it were, his hands reach out to claim her; and she felt that while he
lived she was not wholly free.  She realized that the hand of nomad,
disorderly barbarism was dragging her with a force which was inhuman, or,
maybe, superhuman.

Gabriel Druse could know nothing of the elements fighting in his
daughter's soul; he only knew that her interest in the Master Gorgio was
one he had never seen before, and that she abhorred the Romany who had
brought Ingolby low.  He had shut his eyes to the man's unruliness and
his daughter's intervention to free him; but now he was without pity.  He
had come from Ingolby's bedside, and had been told a thing which shook
his rugged nature to its centre--a thing sad as death itself, which he
must tell his daughter.

To Fleda's appeal he turned a stony face.  There was none of that rage in
his words which had marked the scene when Jethro Fawe first came to claim
what he could not have.  There was something in him now more deadly and
inevitable.  It made him like some figure of mythology, implacable,
fateful.  His great height, his bushy beard and stormy forehead, the eyes
over which shaggy eyebrows hung like the shrubs on a cliff-edge, his face
lined and set like a thing in bronze--all were signs of a power which, in
passion, would be like that of OEdipus: in the moment of justice or doom
would, with unblinking eyes, slay and cast aside as debris is tossed upon
the dust-heap.

As he spoke now his voice was toneless.  His mind was flint, and his
tongue was but the flash of the flint.  He looked at his daughter for a
moment with no light of fatherhood in his face, then turned from her to
Jethro Fawe with slow decision and a gesture of authority.  His eyes
fastened on the face of the son of Lemuel Fawe, as though it was that
old enemy himself.

"I have said what I have said, and there is no more to be spoken.  The
rule of the Ry will be as water for ever after if these things may be
done to him and his.  For generations have the Rys of all the Rys been
like the trees that bend only to the whirlwind; and when they speak there
is no more to be said.  When it ceases to be so, then the Rys will vanish
from the world, and be as stubble of the field ready for the burning.  I
have spoken.  Go!  And no patrins shall lie upon your road."

A look of savage obedience and sullen acquiescence came into Jethro
Fawe's face, and he took off his hat as one who stands in the presence of
his master.  The strain of generations, the tradition of the race without
a country was stronger than the revolt in his soul.  He was young, his
blood was hot and brawling in his veins, he was all carnal, with the
superior intelligence of the trained animal, but custom was stronger than
all.  He knew now that whatever he might do, some time, not far, his doom
would fall upon him suddenly, as a wind shoots up a ravine from the
desert, or a nightbird rises from the dark.

He set his feet stubbornly, and raised his sullen face and fanatical
eyes.  The light of morning was creeping through the starshine, and his
features showed plainly.

"I am your daughter's husband," he said.  "Nothing can change that.  It
was done by the River Starzke, and it was the word of the Ry of Rys.  It
stands for ever.  There is no divorce except death for the Romany."

"The patrins cease to mark the way," returned the old man with a swift
gesture.  "The divorce of death will come."

Jethro's face grew still paler, and he opened his lips to speak, but
paused, seeing Fleda, with a backward look of pity and of horror, draw
back into the darkness of her room.

He made a motion of passion and despair.  His voice was almost shrill
when he spoke.  "Till that divorce comes, the daughter of the Ry of Rys
is mine!" he cried sharply.  "I will not give my wife to a Gorgio thief.
His hands shall not caress her, his eyes shall not feed upon her--"

"His eyes will not feed upon her," interrupted the old man, "So cease
the prattle which can alter nothing.  Begone."

For a moment Jethro Fawe stood like one who did not understand what was
said to him, but suddenly a look of triumph and malice came into his
face, and his eyes lighted with a reckless fire.  He threw back his head,
and laughed with a strange, offensive softness.  Then, waving a hand to
the window from which Fleda had gone, he swung his cap on his head and
plunged into the trees.

A moment afterwards his voice came back exultingly, through the morning
air:

              "But a Gorgio sleeps 'neath the greenwood tree
               He'll broach my tan no more:
               And my love, she sleeps afar from me
               But near to the churchyard door."

As the old man turned heavily towards the house, and opened the outer
door, Fleda met him.

"What did you mean when you said that Ingolby's eyes would not feed upon
me?" she asked in a low tone of fear.

A look of compassion came into the old man's face.  He took her hand.

"Come and I will tell you," he said.




CHAPTER XII

"LET THERE BE LIGHT"

In Ingolby's bedroom, on the night of the business at Barbazon's Tavern,
Dr. Rockwell received a shock.  His face, naturally colourless, was
almost white, and his eyes were moist.  He had what the West called
nerve.  That the crisis through which he had passed was that of a
friend's life did not lessen the poignancy of the experience.  He had a
singularly reserved manner and a rare economy of words; also, he had the
refinement and distinction of one who had, oforetime, moved on the higher
ranges of social life.  He was always simply and comfortably and in a
sense fashionably dressed, yet there was nothing of the dude about him,
and his black satin tie gave him an air of old-worldishness which somehow
compelled an extra amount of respect.  This, in spite of the fact that he
had been known as one who had left the East and come into the wilds
because of a woman not his wife.

It was not, however, strictly true to say that he had come West because
of a woman, for it was on account of three women, who by sudden
coincidence or collusion sprang a situation from which the only relief
was flight.  In that he took refuge, not because he was a coward, but
because it was folly to fight a woman, or three women, and because it was
the only real solution of an ungovernable situation.  At first he had
drifted from one town to another, dissolute and reckless, apparently
unable to settle down, or to forget the unwholesome three.  But one day
there was a terrible railway accident on a construction train, and
Lebanon and Manitou made a call upon his skill, and held him in bondage
to his profession for one whole month.  During this time he performed two
operations which the surgeons who had been sent out by the Railway
Directors at Montreal declared were masterpieces.

When that month was up he was a changed man, and he opened an office in
Lebanon.  Men trusted him despite his past, and women learned that there
was never a moment when his pulses beat unevenly in their presence.
Nathan Rockwell had had his lesson and it was not necessary to learn it
again.  To him, woman, save as a subject of his skill, was a closed book.
He regarded them as he regarded himself, with a kindly cynicism.  He
never forgot that his own trouble could and would have been avoided had
it not been for woman's vanity and consequent cruelty.  The unwholesome
three had shared his moral lapse with wide-open eyes, and were in no
sense victims of his; but, disregarding their responsibility, they had,
from sheer jealousy, wrecked his past, and, to their own surprise, had
wrecked themselves as well.  They were of those who act first and then
think--too late.

Thus it was that both men and women called Rockwell a handsome man, but
thought of him as having only a crater of exhausted fires in place of a
heart.  They came to him with their troubles--even the women of Manitou
who ought to have gone to the priest.

He moved about Lebanon as one who had authority, and desired not to use
it; as one to whom life was like a case in surgery to be treated with
scientific, coolness, with humanity, but not with undue sympathy; yet the
early morning of the day after Ingolby had had his accident at Barbazon's
Hotel found him the slave of an emotion which shook him from head to
foot.  He had saved his friend's life by a most skilful operation, but he
had been shocked beyond control when, an hour after the operation was
over, and consciousness returned to the patient in the brilliantly
lighted room, Ingolby said:

"Why don't you turn on the light?"

It was thus Rockwell knew that the Master Man, the friend of Lebanon and
Manitou, was stone blind.  When Ingolby's voice ceased, a horrified
silence filled the room for a moment.  Even Jim Beadle, his servant,
standing at the foot of the bed, clapped a hand to his mouth to stop a
cry, and the nurse turned as white as the apron she wore.

Dumbfounded as Rockwell was, with instant professional presence of mind
he said:

"No, Ingolby, you must be kept in darkness a while yet."  Then he whipped
out a silk handkerchief from his pocket.  "We will have light," he
continued, "but we must bandage you first to keep out the glare and
prevent pain.  The nerves of the eyes have been injured."

Hastily and tenderly he bound the handkerchief round the sightless eyes.
Having done so, he said to the nurse with unintentional quotation from
the Gospel of St. John, and a sad irony: "Let there be light."

It all gave him time to pull himself together and prepare for the moment
when he must tell Ingolby the truth.  In one sense the sooner it was told
the better, lest Ingolby should suddenly discover it for himself.
Surprise and shock must be avoided.  So now he talked in his low,
soothing voice, telling Ingolby that the operation had put him out of
danger, that the pain now felt came chiefly from the nerves of the eye,
and that quiet and darkness were necessary.  He insisted on Ingolby
keeping silent, and he gave a mild opiate which induced several hours'
sleep.

During this time Rockwell prepared himself for the ordeal which must be
passed as soon as possible; gave all needed directions, and had a
conference with the assistant Chief Constable to whom he confided the
truth.  He suggested plans for preserving order in excited Lebanon, which
was determined to revenge itself on Manitou; and he gave some careful and
specific instructions to Jowett the horse-dealer.  Also, he had conferred
with Gabriel Druse, who had helped bear the injured man to his own home.
He had noted with admiration the strange gentleness of the giant Romany
as he, alone, carried Ingolby in his arms, and laid him on the bed from
which he was to rise with all that he had fought for overthrown, himself
the blind victim of a hard fate.  He had noticed the old man straighten
himself with a spring and stand as though petrified when Ingolby said:
"Why don't you turn on the light?"  As he looked round in that instant of
ghastly silence he had observed almost mechanically that the old man's
lips were murmuring something.  Then the thought of Fleda Druse shot into
Rockwell's mind, and it harassed him during the hours Ingolby slept, and
after the giant Gipsy had taken his departure just before the dawn.

"I'm afraid it will mean more there than anywhere else," he said sadly to
himself.  "There was evidently something between those two; and she isn't
the kind to take it philosophically.  Poor girl!  Poor girl!  It's a
bitter dose, if there was anything in it," he added.

He watched beside the sick-bed till the dawn stared in and his patient
stirred and waked, then he took Ingolby's hand, grown a little cooler,
in both his own.  "How are you feeling, old man?" he asked cheerfully.
"You've had a good sleep-nearly three and a half hours.  Is the pain in
the head less?"

"Better, Sawbones, better," Ingolby replied cheerfully.  "They've
loosened the tie that binds--begad, it did stretch the nerves.  I had
gripes of colic once, but the pain I had in my head was twenty times
worse, till you gave the opiate."

"That's the eyes," said Rockwell.  "I had to lift a bit of bone, and the
eyes saw it and felt it, and cried out-shrieked, you might say.  They've
got a sensitiveness all their own, have the eyes."

"It's odd there aren't more accidents to them," answered Ingolby--"just a
little ball of iridescent pulp with strings tied to the brain."

"And what hurts the head may destroy the eyes sometimes," Rockwell
answered cautiously.  "We know so little of the delicate union between
them, that we can't be sure we can put the eyes right again when, because
of some blow to the head, the ricochet puts the eyes out of commission."

"That's what's the matter with me, then?" asked Ingolby, feeling the
bandage on his eyes feverishly, and stirring in his bed with a sense of
weariness.

"Yes, the ricochet got them, and has put them out of commission," replied
Rockwell, carefully dwelling upon each word, and giving a note of meaning
to his tone.

Ingolby raised himself in bed, but Rockwell gently forced him down again.
"Will my eyes have to be kept bandaged long?  Shall I have to give up
work for any length of time?" Ingolby asked.

"Longer than you'll like," was the enigmatical reply.  "It's the devil's
own business," was the weary answer.  "Every minute's valuable to me now.
I ought to be on deck morning, noon, and night.  There's all the trouble
between the two towns; there's the strike on hand; there's that business
of the Orange funeral, and more than all a thousand times, there's--"
he paused.

He was going to say, "There's that devil Marchand's designs on my
bridge," but he thought better of it and stopped.  It had been his
intention to deal with Marchand directly, to get a settlement of their
differences without resort to the law, to prevent the criminal act
without deepening a feud which might keep the two towns apart for years.
Bad as Marchand was, to prevent his crime was far better than punishing
him for it afterwards.  To have Marchand arrested for conspiracy to
commit a crime was a business which would gravely interfere with his
freedom of motion in the near future, would create complications which
might cripple his own purposes in indirect ways.  That was why he had
declared to Jowett that even Felix Marchand had his price, and that he
would try negotiations first.

But what troubled him now, as he lay with eyes bandaged and a knowledge
that to-morrow was the day fixed for the destruction of the bridge, was
his own incapacity.  It was unlikely that his head or his eyes would be
right by to-morrow, or that Rockwell would allow him to get up.  He felt
in his own mind that the injury he had received was a serious one, and
that the lucky horseshoe had done Maxchand's work for him all too well.
This thought shook him.  Rockwell could see his chest heave with an
excitement gravely injurious to his condition; yet he must be told the
worst, or the shock of discovery by himself that he was blind might give
him brain fever.  Rockwell felt that he must hasten the crisis.

"Rockwell," Ingolby suddenly asked, "is there any chance of my discarding
this and getting out to-morrow?"  He touched the handkerchief round his
eyes.  "It doesn't matter about the head bandages, but the eyes--can't I
slough the wraps to-morrow?  I feel scarcely any pain now."

"Yes, you can get rid of the bandages to-morrow--you can get rid of them
to-day, if you really wish," Rockwell answered, closing in on the last
defence.

"But I don't mind being in the dark to-day if it'll make me fitter for
to-morrow and get me right sooner.  I'm not a fool.  There's too much
carelessness about such things.  People often don't give themselves a
chance to get right by being in too big a hurry.  So, keep me in darkness
to-day, if you want to, old man.  For a hustler I'm not in too big a
hurry, you see.  I'm for holding back to get a bigger jump."

"You can't be in a big hurry, even if you want to, Ingolby," rejoined
Rockwell, gripping the wrist of the sick man, and leaning over him.

Ingolby grew suddenly very still.  It was as though vague fear had seized
him and held him in a vice.  "What is it?  What do you want to say to
me?" he asked in a low, nerveless tone.

"You've been hit hard, Chief.  The ricochet has done you up for some
time.  The head will soon get well, but I'm far from sure about your
eyes.  You've got to have a specialist about them.  You're in the dark,
and as for making you see, so am I.  Your eyes and you are out of
commission for some time, anyhow."

He leaned over hastily, but softly and deftly undid the bandages over the
eyes and took them off.  "It's seven in the morning, and the sun's up,
Chief, but it doesn't do you much good, you see."

The last two words were the purest accident, but it was a strange,
mournful irony, and Rockwell flushed at the thought of it.  He saw
Ingolby's face turn grey, and then become white as death itself.

"I see," came from the bluish-white lips, as the stricken man made call
on all the will and vital strength in him.

For a long minute Rockwell held the cold hand in the grasp of one who
loves and grieves, but even so the physician and surgeon in him were
uppermost, as they should be, in the hour when his friend was standing on
the brink of despair, maybe of catastrophe irremediable.  He did not say
a word yet, however.  In such moments the vocal are dumb and the blind
see.

Ingolby heaved himself in the bed and threw up his arms, wresting them
from Rockwell's grasp.

"My God--oh, my God-blind!" he cried in agony.  Rockwell drew the head
with the sightless eyes to his shoulder.

For a moment he laid one hand on the heart, that, suddenly still, now
went leaping under his fingers.  "Steady," he said firmly.  "Steady.  It
may be only temporary.  Keep your head up to the storm.  We'll have a
specialist, and you must not get mired till then.  Steady, Chief."

"Chief!  Chief!" murmured Ingolby.  "Dear God, what a chief!  I risked
everything, and I've lost everything by my own vanity.  Barbazon's--the
horseshoe--among the wolves, just to show I could do things better than
any one else--as if I had the patent for setting the world right.  And
now--now--"

The thought of the bridge, of Marchand's devilish design, shot into his
mind, and once more he was shaken.  "The bridge!  Blind!  Mother!" he
called in a voice twisted in an agony which only those can feel to whom
life's purposes are even more than life itself.  Then, with a moan, he
became unconscious, and his head rolled over against Rockwell's cheek.
The damp of his brow was as the damp of death as Rockwell's lips touched
it.

"Old boy, old boy!" Rockwell said tenderly, "I wish it had been me
instead.  Life means so much to you--and so little to me.  I've seen too
much, and you've only just begun to see."

Laying him gently down, Rockwell summoned the nurse and Jim Beadle and
spoke to them in low tones.  "He knows now, and it has hit him hard, but
not so hard that he won't stiffen to it.  It might have been worse."

He gave instructions as to the care that should be taken, and replaced
the bandages on the eyes.  It was, however, long before Ingolby was
restored to consciousness, and when it came, Rockwell put to his lips a
cooling drink containing a powerful opiate.  Ingolby drank it without
protest and in silence.  He was like one whose sense of life was
automatic and of an inner rather than an outer understanding.  But when
he lay back on the pillow again, he said slowly:

"I want the Chief Constable to come here to-night at eight o'clock.  It
will be dark then.  He must come.  It is important.  Will you see to it,
Rockwell?"

He thrust out a hand as though to find Rockwell's, and there was a
gratitude and an appeal in the pressure of his fingers which went to
Rockwell's heart.

"All right, Chief.  I'll have him here," Rockwell answered briskly, but
with tears standing in his eyes.  Ingolby had, as it were, been stricken
out of the active, sentient, companionable world into a world where he
was alone, detached, solitary.  His being seemed suspended in an
atmosphere of misery and helplessness.

"Blind!  I am blind!"  That was the phrase which kept beating with the
pulses in Ingolby's veins, that throbbed, and throbbed, and throbbed like
engines in a creaking ship which the storm was shaking and pounding in
the vast seas between the worlds.  Here was the one incomprehensible,
stupefying fact: nothing else mattered.  Every plan he had ever had,
every design which he had made his own by an originality that even his
foes acknowledged, were passing before his brain in swift procession,
shining, magnified, and magnificent, and in that sudden clear-seeing of
his soul he beheld their full value, their exact concrete force and
ultimate effect.  Yet he knew himself detached from them, inactive,
incapable, because he could not see with the eyes of the body.  The great
essential thing to him was that one thing he had lost.  A man might be a
cripple and still direct the great concerns of life and the business of
life.  He might be shorn of limb and scarred of body, but with eye sight
still direct the courses of great schemes, in whatever sphere of life his
purposes were at work.  He might be deaf to every sound and forever dumb,
but seeing enabled him still to carry forward every enterprise.  In
darkness, however, those things were naught, because judgment must depend
on the eyes and senses of others.  The report might be true or false, the
deputy might deceive, and his blind chief might never know the truth
unless some other spectator of his schemes should report it; and the
truth could not surely be checked, save by some one, perhaps, whose life
was joined to his, by one that truly loved him, whose fate was his.

His brain was afire.  By one that truly loved him!  Who was there that
loved him?  Who was there at one with him in all his deep designs, in all
he had done and meant to do?  Neither brother, nor sister, nor friend,
nor any other.  None of his blood was there who could share with him the
constructive work he had set out to do.  There was no friend whose fate
was part of his own.  There was the Boss Doctor: but Rockwell was tied to
his own responsibilities, and he could not give up, of course, would not
give up his life to the schemes of another.  There were a dozen men whom
he had helped to forge ahead by his own schemes, but their destinies were
not linked with his.  Only one whose life was linked with his could be
trusted to be his eyes, to be the true reporter of all he did, had done,
or planned to do.  Only one who loved him.

But even one who loved him could not carry through his incompleted work
against the assaults of his enemies, who were powerful, watchful, astute,
and merciless; who had a greed which set money higher than all else in
the world.  They were of the new order of things in the New World.  The
business of life was to them not a system of barter and exchange, a
giving something of value to get something of value, with a margin of
profit for each, and a sense of human equity behind; it was a cockpit
where one man sought to get what another man had--and get it almost
anyhow.

It was the work of the faro-bank man, whose sleight of hand deceived the
man that carried the gun.

All the old humanity and good-fellowship of the trader, the man who
exchanged, as it was in the olden days of the world and continued in
greater or less degree till the present generation--all that was gone.
It was held in contempt.  It had prevailed when men were open robbers and
filibusters and warriors, giving their lives, if need be, to get what
they wanted, making force their god.  It had triumphed over the violence
and robbery of the open road until the dying years of one century and the
young years of a new century.  Then the day of the trickster came--and
men laughed at the idea of fair exchange and strove to give an illusive
value for a thing of real value--the remorseless sleight of hand which
the law could not reach.  The desire to get profit by honest toiling was
dying down to ashes.

Against such men had Ingolby worked--the tricksters, the manipulators.
At the basis of his schemes was organization and the economy which
concentrated and conserved energy begets, together with its profit.
He had been the enemy of waste, the apostle of frugality and thrift;
and it was that which had enabled him, in his short career, to win the
confidence of the big men behind him in Montreal, to make good every
step of the way.  He had worked for profit out of legitimate product
and industry and enterprise, out of the elimination of waste.  It was his
theory (and his practice) that no bit of old iron, no bolt or screw, no
scrap of paper should be thrown away; that the cinders of the engines
could and should be utilized for that which they would make; and that was
why there was a paper-mill and foundry on the Sagalac at Manitou.  That
was why and how, so far, he had beaten the tricksters.

But while his schemes flashed before his mind, as the opiate suspended
him in the middle heaven between sleep and waking, the tricksters and
manipulators came hurrying after him like marauders that waited for the
moment when they could rush the camp in the watches of the night.  His
disordered imagination saw the ruin and wreck of his work, the seizure of
what was his own--the place of control on his railways, the place of the
Master Man who cared infinitely more to see his designs accomplished than
for the profit they would bring to himself.  Yesterday he had been just
at the top of the hill.  The key in his fingers was turning in the lock
which would make safe the securities of his life and career, when it
snapped, and the world grew dark as the black curtain fell and shut out
the lighted room from the wayfarer in the gloom.  Then, it was, came the
opaque blackness which could be felt, and his voice calling in despair:
"Blind!  I am blind!"

He did not know that he had taken an opiate, that his friend had
mercifully atrophied his rebellious nerves.  These visions he was seeing
were terribly true, but they somehow gave him no physical torture.  It
was as though one saw an operation performed upon one's body with the
nerves stilled and deadened by ether.  Yet he was cruelly conscious of
the disaster which had come to him.  For a time at least.  Then his mind
seemed less acute, the visions came, then without seeing them go, they
went.  And others came in broken patches, shreds, and dreams,
phantasmagoria of the brain, and at last all were mingled and confused;
but as they passed they seemed to burn his sight.  How he longed for a
cool bandage over his eyes, for a soft linen which would shut out the
cumuli of broken hopes and designs, life's goals obliterated!  He had had
enough of the black procession of futile things.

His longing was not denied, for even as he roused himself from the
oblivion coming on him, as though by a last effort to remember his dire
misfortune, maybe his everlasting tragedy, something soothing and soft
like linen dipped in dew was laid upon his forehead.  A cool, delicious
hand covered his eyes caressingly; a voice from spheres so far away that
worlds were the echoing points of the sound, came whispering to him like
a stir of wings in a singing grove.  With a last effort to remain in the
waking world, he raised his head so very little, but fell gently back
again with one sighing word on his lips:

"Fleda!"

It was no illusion.  Fleda had come from her own night of trouble to his
motherless, wifeless home, and would not be denied admittance by the
nurse.  It was Jim Beadle who admitted her.

"He'd be mad if he knew we wouldn't let her come," Jim had said to the
nurse.

It was Fleda who had warned Ingolby of the dangers that surrounded him
--the physical as well as business dangers.  She came now to serve the
blind victim of that Fate which she had seen hovering over him.

The renegade daughter of the Romanys, as Jethro Fawe had called her, was,
for the first time, in the house of her master Gorgio.




CHAPTER XIII

THE CHAIN OF THE PAST

For once in its career, Lebanon was absolutely united.  The blow that had
brought down the Master Man had also struck the town between the eyes,
and there was no one--friend or foe of Ingolby--who did not regard it as
an insult and a challenge.  It was now known that the roughs of Manitou,
led by the big river-driver, were about to start on a raid upon Lebanon
and upon Ingolby at the very moment the horseshoe did its work.  All
night there were groups of men waiting outside Ingolby's house.  They
were of all classes-carters, railway workers, bartenders, lawyers,
engineers, bankers, accountants, merchants, ranchmen, carpenters,
insurance agents, manufacturers, millers, horse-dealers, and so on.

Some prayed for Ingolby's life, others swore viciously; and those who
swore had no contempt for those who prayed, while those who prayed were
tolerant of those who swore.  It was a union of incongruous elements.
Men who had nothing in common were one in the spirit of faction; and all
were determined that the Orangeman, whose funeral was fixed for this
memorable Saturday, should be carried safely to his grave.  Civic pride
had almost become civic fanaticism in Lebanon.  One of the men beaten by
Ingolby in the recent struggle for control of the railways said to the
others shivering in the grey dawn: "They were bound to get him in the
back.  They're dagos, the lot of 'em.  Skunks are skunks, even when you
skin 'em."

When, just before dawn, old Gabriel Druse issued from the house into
which he had carried Ingolby the night before, they questioned him
eagerly.  He had been a figure apart from both Lebanon and Manitou, and
they did not regard him as a dago, particularly as it was more than
whispered that Ingolby "had a lien" on his daughter.  In the grey light,
with his long grizzled beard and iron-grey, shaggy hair, Druse looked
like a mystic figure of the days when the gods moved among men like
mortals.  His great height, vast proportions, and silent ways gave him a
place apart, and added to the superstitious feeling by which he was
surrounded.

"How is he?" they asked whisperingly, as they crowded round him.

"The danger is over," was the slow, heavy reply.  He will live, but he
has bad days to face."

"What was the danger?" they asked.  "Fever--maybe brain fever," he
replied.  "We'll see him through," someone said.

"Well, he cannot see himself through," rejoined the old man solemnly.
The enigmatical words made them feel there was something behind.

"Why can't he see himself through?" asked Osterhaut the universal, who
had just arrived from the City Hall.

"He can't see himself through because he is blind," was the heavy answer.

There was a moment of shock, of hushed surprise, and then a voice burst
forth: "Blind--they've blinded him, boys!  The dagos have killed his
sight.  He's blind, boys!"

A profane and angry muttering ran through the crowd, who were thirsty,
hungry, and weary with watching.

Osterhaut held up the horseshoe which had brought Ingolby down.  "Here it
is, the thing that done it.  It's tied with a blue ribbon-for luck," he
added ironically.  "It's got his blood on it.  I'm keeping it till
Manitou's paid the price of it.  Then I'll give it to Lebanon for keeps."

"That's the thing that did it, but where's the man behind the thing?"
snarled a voice.

Again there was a moment's silence, and then Billy Kyle, the veteran
stage-driver, said: "He's in the jug, but a gaol has doors, and doors'll
open with or without keys.  I'm for opening the door, boys."

"What for?" asked a man who knew the answer, but who wanted the thing
said.

"I spent four years in Arizona, same as Jowett," Billy Kyle answered,
"and I got in the way of thinking as they do there, and acting just as
quick as you think.  I drove stage down in the Verde Valley.  Sometimes
there wasn't time to bring a prisoner all the way to a judge and jury,
and people was busy, and hadn't time to wait for the wagon; so they done
what was right, and there was always a tree that would carry that kind o'
fruit for the sake of humanity.  It's the best way, boys."

"This isn't Arizona or any other lyncher's country," said Halliday, the
lawyer, making his way to the front.  "It isn't the law, and in this
country it's the law that counts.  It's the Gover'ment's right to attend
to that drunken dago that threw the horseshoe, and we've got to let the
Gover'ment do it.  No lynching on my plate, thank you.  If Ingolby could
speak to us, you can bet your boots it's what he'd say."

"What's your opinion, boss?" asked Billy Kyle of Gabriel Druse, who had
stood listening, his chin on his breast, his sombre eyes fixed on them
abstractedly.

At Kyle's question his eyes lighted up with a fire that was struck from a
flint in other spheres, and he answered: "It is for the ruler to take
life, not the subject.  If it is a man that rules, it is for him; if it
is the law that rules, it is for the law.  Here, it is the law.  Then it
is not for the subject, and it is not for you."

"If he was your son?" asked Billy Kyle.

"If he was my son, I should be the ruler, not the law," was the grim,
enigmatic reply, and the old man stalked away from them towards the
bridge.

"I'd bet he'd settle the dago's hash that done to his son what the
Manitou dagos done to Ingolby--and settle it quick," remarked Lick
Farrelly, the tinsmith.

"I bet he's been a ruler or something somewhere," remarked Billy Kyle.

"I bet I'm going home to breakfast," interposed Halliday, the lawyer.
"There's a straight day's work before us, gentlemen," he added, "and we
can't do anything here.  Orangemen, let's hoof it."

Twenty Orangemen stepped out from the crowd.  Halliday was a past master
of their lodge, and they all meant what he meant.  They marched away in
procession--to breakfast and to a meeting of the lodge.  Others straggled
after, but a few waited for the appearance of the doctor.  When the sun
came up and Rockwell, pale and downcast, issued forth, they gathered
round him, and walked with him through the town, questioning, listening
and threatening.

A few still remained behind at Ingolby's house.  They were of the devoted
slaves of Ingolby who would follow him to the gates of Hades and back
again, or not back if need be.

The nigger barber, Berry, was one; another was the Jack-of-all-trades,
Osterhaut, a kind of municipal odd-man, with the well-known red hair, the
face that constantly needed shaving, the blue serge shirt with a scarf
for a collar, the suit of canvas in the summer and of Irish frieze in the
winter; the pair of hands which were always in his own pocket, never in
any one else's; the grey eye, doglike in its mildness, and the long nose
which gave him the name of Snorty.  Of the same devoted class also was
Jowett who, on a higher plane, was as wise and discerning a scout as any
leader ever had.

While old Berry and Osterhaut and all the others were waiting at
Ingolby's house, Jowett was scouting among the Manitou roughs for the
Chief Constable of Lebanon, to find out what was forward.  What he had
found was not reassuring, because Manitou, conscious of being in the
wrong, realized that Lebanon would try to make her understand her wrong-
doing; and that was intolerable.  It was clear to Jowett that, in spite
of all, there would be trouble at the Orange funeral, and that the
threatened strike would take place at the same time in spite of Ingolby's
catastrophe.  Already in the early morning revengeful spirits from
Lebanon had invaded the outer portions of Manitou and had taken
satisfaction out of an equal number of "Dogans," as they called the Roman
Catholic labourers, one of whom was carried to the hospital with an elbow
out of joint and a badly injured back.

With as much information as he needed, Jowett made his way back to
Lebanon, when, at the approach to the bridge, he met Fleda hurrying with
bent head and pale, distressed face in his own direction.  Of all Western
men none had a better appreciation of the sex that takes its toll of
every traveller after his kind than Aaron Jowett.  He had been a real
buck in his day among those of his own class, and though the storm of his
romances had become but a faint stirring of leaves which had tinges of
days that are sear, he still had an eye unmatched for female beauty.  The
sun which makes that northern land a paradise in summer caught the gold-
brown hair of Gabriel Druse's daughter, and made it glint and shine.  It
coquetted with the umber of her eyes and they grew luminous as a jewel;
it struck lightly across the pale russet of her cheek and made it like an
apple that one's lips touch lovingly, when one calls it "too good to
eat."  It made an atmosphere of half-silver and half-gold with a touch of
sunrise crimson for her to walk in, translating her form into melting
lines of grace.

Jowett knew that Druse's daughter was on her way to the man who had
looked once, looked twice, looked thrice into her eyes and had seen there
his own image; and that she had done the same; and that the man, it might
be, would never look into their dark depths again.  He might speak once,
he might speak twice, he might speak thrice, but would it ever be the
same as the look that needed no words?

When he crossed Fleda Druse's pathway she stopped short.  She knew that
Jowett was Ingolby's true friend.  She had seen him often, and he was
intimately associated with that day when she had run the Carillon Rapids
and had lain (for how long she never dared to think) in Ingolby's arms in
the sight of all the world.  First among those who crowded round her at
Carillon that day were Jowett and Osterhaut, who had tried to warn her.

"You are going to him?" she said now with confidence in her eyes, and by
the intimacy of the phrase (as though she could speak of Ingolby only as
him) their own understanding was complete.

"To see how he is and then to do other things," Jowett answered.

There was silence for a moment in which they moved slowly forward, and
then she said: "You were at Barbazon's last night?"

"When that Gipsy son of a dog gave him away!" he assented.  "I never
heard anything like the speech Ingolby made.  He had them in the throat.
The Gipsy would have had nothing out of it, if it hadn't been for the
horseshoe.  But in spite of the giveaway, Ingolby was getting them where
they were soft-fairly drugging them with good news.  You never heard such
dope.  My, he was smooth!  The golden, velvet truth it was, too.  That's
the only kind he has in stock; and they were sort of stupefied and locoed
as they chewed his word-plant.  Cicero must have been a saucy singer of
the dictionary, and Paul the Apostle had a dope of his own you couldn't
buy, but the gay gamut that Ingolby run gives them all the cold good-
bye."

She held herself very still as he spoke.  There was, however, a strange,
lonely look in her eyes.  The man lying asleep in the darkness of body
and mind yonder was not really her lover, for he had said no word direct
of love to her, and she knew him so little, how could she love him?  Yet
there was something between them which had its authority over their
lives, overcoming even that maiden modesty which was in contrast to the
bold, physical thing she had done in running the Carillon Rapids those
centuries ago when she was young and glad-wistfully glad.  So much had
come since that day, she had travelled so far on the highway of Fate,
that she looked back from peak to peak of happening to an almost
invisible horizon.  So much had occurred and she felt so old this
morning; and yet there was in her heart the undefined feeling that she
must keep her radiant Spring of life for the blind Gorgio if he needed
it-if he needed it.  Would he need it, robbed of sight and with his life-
work murdered?

She shuddered as she thought of what it meant to him.  If a man is to
work, he must have eyes to see.  Yet what had she to do with it, after
all?  She had no right to go to him even as she was going.  Yet had she
not the right of common humanity?  This Gorgio was her friend.  Did not
the world know that he had saved her life?

As they came to the Lebanon end of the bridge, Fleda turned to Jowett
and, commenting on his description of the scene at Barbazon, said:
"He is a great man, but he trusts too much and risks too much.  That was
no place for him."

"Big men like him think they can do anything," Jowett replied, a little
ironically, subtly trying to force a confession of her preference for
Ingolby.

He succeeded.  Her eye lighted with indignation.  She herself might
challenge him, but she would not allow another to do so.

"It is not the truth," she rejoined sharply.  "He does not measure
himself against the world so.  He is like--like a child," she added.

"It seems to me all big men are like that," Jowett rejoined; "and he's
the biggest man the West has seen.  He knows about every man's business
as though it was his own.  I can get a margin off most any man in the
West on a horse-trade, but I'd look shy about doing a trade with him.
You can't dope a horse so he won't know.  He's on to it, sees it-sees it
like as if it was in glass.  Sees anything and everything, and--" He
stopped short.  The Master Gorgio could no longer see, and his henchman
flushed like a girl at his "break"; though, as a horse-dealer, he had in
his time listened without shame to wilder, angrier reproaches than most
men living.

She glanced at him, saw his confusion, forgave and understood him.

"It was not the horseshoe, it was not the Gipsy," she returned.  "They
did not set it going.  It would not have happened but for one man."

"Yes, it's Marchand, right enough," answered Jowett, "but we'll get him
yet.  We'll get him with the branding-iron hot."

"That will not put things right if--" she paused, then with a great
effort she added: "Does the doctor think he will get it back and that--"

She stopped suddenly in an agitation he did not care to see and he turned
away his head.

"Doctor doesn't know," he answered.  "There's got to be an expert.  It'll
take time before he gets here, but--" he could not help but say it,
seeing how great her distress was--"but it's going to come back.  I've
seen cases--I saw one down on the Border"--how easily he lied!--"just
like his.  It was blasting that done it--the shock.  But the sight come
back all right, and quick too--like as I've seen a paralizite get up all
at once and walk as though he'd never been locoed.  Why, God Almighty
don't let men like Ingolby be done like that by reptiles same's
Marchand."

"You believe in God Almighty?" she said half-wonderingly, yet with
gratitude in her tone.  "You understand about God?"

"I've seen too many things not to try and deal fair with Him and not try
to cheat Him," he answered.  "I see things lots of times that wasn't ever
born on the prairie or in any house.  I've seen--I've seen enough," he
said abruptly, and stopped.

"What have you seen?" she asked eagerly.  "Was it good or bad?"

"Both," he answered quickly.  "I was stalked once--stalked I was by night
and often in the open day, by some sickly, loathsome thing, that even
made me fight it with my hands--a thing I couldn't see.  I used to fire
buckshot at it, enough to kill an army, till I near went mad.  I was
really and truly getting loony.  Then I took to prayin' to the best woman
I ever knowed.  I never had a mother, but she looked after me--my sister,
Sara, it was.  She brought me up, and then died and left me without
anything to hang on to.  I didn't know all I'd lost till she was gone.
But I guess she knew what I thought of her; for she come back--after I'd
prayed till I couldn't see.  She come back into my room one night when
the cursed 'haunt' was prowling round me, and as plain as I see you, I
saw her.  'Be at peace,' she said, and I spoke to her, and said, 'Sara-
why, Sara' and she smiled, and went away into nothing--like a bit o'
cloud in the sun."

He stopped, and was looking straight before him as though he saw a
vision.

"It went?" she asked breathlessly.

"It went like that--" He made a swift, outward gesture.  "It went and it
never came back; and she didn't either--not ever.  My idee is," he added,
"that there's evil things that mebbe are the ghost-shapes of living men
that want to do us harm; though, mebbe, too, they're the ghost-shapes of
men that's dead, but that can't get on Over There.  So they try to get
back to us here; and they can make life Hell while they're stalking us."

"I am sure you are right," she said.

She was thinking of the loathsome thing which haunted her room last
night.  Was it the embodied second self of Jethro Fawe, doing the evil
that Jethro Fawe, the visible corporeal man, wished to do?  She
shuddered, then bent her head and fixed her mind on Ingolby, whose house
was not far away.  She felt strangely, miserably alone this morning.  She
was in that fluttering state which follows a girl's discovery that she is
a woman, and the feeling dawns that she must complete herself by joining
her own life with the life of another.

She showed no agitation, but her repression gave an almost statuesque
character to her face and figure.  The adventurous nature of her early
life had given her a power to meet shock and danger with coolness, and
though the news of Ingolby's tragedy had seemed to freeze the vital
forces in her, and all the world became blank for a moment, she had
controlled herself and had set forth to go to him, come what might.

As she entered the street where Ingolby lived, she suddenly realized the
difficulty before her.  She might go to him, but by only one right could
she stay and nurse him, and that right she did not possess.  He would,
she knew, understand her, no matter how the world babbled.  Why should
the world babble?  What woman could have designs upon a blind man?  Was
not humanity alone sufficient warrant for staying by his side?  Yet would
he wish it?  Suddenly her heart sank; but again she remembered their last
parting, and once more she was sure he would be glad to have her with
him.

It flashed upon her how different it would have been, if he and she had
been Romanys, and this thing had happened over there in the far lands she
knew so well.  Who would have hinted at shame, if she had taken him to
her father's tan or gone to his tan and tended him as a man might tend a
man?  Humanity would have been the only convention; there would have been
no sex, no false modesty, no babble, no reproach.  If it had been a man
as old as the oldest or as young as Jethro Fawe it would have made no
difference.

As young as Jethro Fawe!  Why was it that now she could never think of
the lost and abandoned Romany life without thinking also of Jethro Fawe?
Why should she hate him, despise him, revolt against him, and yet feel
that, as it were by invisible cords, he drew her back to that which she
had forsworn, to the Past which dragged at her feet?  The Romany was not
dead in her; her real struggle was yet to come; and in a vague but
prophetic way she realized it.  She was not yet one with the settled
western world.

As they came close to Ingolby's house she heard marching footsteps, and
in the near distance she saw fourscore or more men tramping in military
order.  "Who are they?" she asked of Jowett.

"Men that are going to see law and order kept in Lebanon," he answered.




CHAPTER XIV

SUCH THINGS MAY NOT BE

A few hours later Fleda slowly made her way homeward through the woods on
the Manitou side of the Sagalac.  Leaving Ingolby's house, she had seen
men from the ranches and farms and mines beyond Lebanon driving or riding
into the town, as though to a fair or fete-day.  Word of anticipated
troubles had sped through the countryside, and the innate curiosity of
a race who greatly love a row brought in sensation-lovers.  Some were
skimming along in one-horse gigs, a small bag of oats dangling beneath
like the pendulum of a great clock.  Others were in double or triple-
seated light wagons--"democrats" they were called.  Women had a bit of
colour in their hats or at their throats, and the men had on clean white
collars and suits of "store-clothes"--a sign of being on pleasure bent.
Young men and girls on rough but serviceable mounts cantered past,
laughing and joking, and their loud talking grated on the ear of the girl
who had seen a Napoleon in the streets of his Moscow.

Presently there crossed her path a gruesomely ugly hearse, with glass
sides and cheap imitation ostrich plumes drawn by gorged ravens of horses
with egregiously long tails, and driven by an undertaker's assistant,
who, with a natural gaiety of soul, displayed an idiotic solemnity by
dragging down the corners of the mouth.  She turned away in loathing.

Her mind fled to a scene far away in the land of the Volga when she was a
child, where she had seen buried two men, who had fought for their
insulted honour till both had died of their wounds.  She remembered the
white and red sashes and the gay scarfs worn by the women at the burial,
the jackets with great silver buttons worn by the men, and the silver-
mounted pistols and bright steel knives in the garish belts.  She saw
again the bodies of the two gladiators, covered with crimson robes,
carried shoulder-high on a soft bed of interlaced branches to the graves
beneath the trees.  There, covered with flowers and sprigs and
evergreens, ribbons and favours, the kindly earth hid them, cloaked for
their long sleep, while women wept, and men praised the dead, and went
back to the open road again cheerily, as the dead would have them do.

If he had died--the man she had just left behind in that torpid sleep
which opiates bring--his body would have been carried to his last home in
just such a hideous equipage as this hearse.  A shiver of revolt went
through her frame, and her mind went to him as she had seen him lying
between the white sheets of his bed, his hands, as they had lain upon the
coverlet, compact of power and grace, knit and muscular and vital--not
the hand for a violin but the hand for a sword.

As she had laid her hand upon his hot forehead and over his eyes, he had
unconsciously spoken her name.  That had told her more of what really was
between them than she had ever known.  In the presence of the catastrophe
that must endanger, if not destroy the work he had done, the career he
had made, he thought of her, spoke her name.

What could she do to prevent his ruin?  She must do something, else she
had no right to think of him.  As though her thoughts had summoned him,
she came suddenly upon Felix Marchand at a point where her path resolved
itself into two, one leading to Manitou, the other to her own home.

There was a malicious glint in the greenish eyes of the dissolute
demagogue as he saw her.  His hat made a half-circle before it found his
head again.

"You pay early visits, mademoiselle," he said, his teeth showing rat-
like.

"And you late ones?" she asked meaningly.

"Not so late that I can't get up early to see what's going on," he
rejoined in a sour voice.

"Is it that those who beat you have to get up early?" she asked
ironically.

"No one has got up earlier than me lately," he sneered.

"All the days are not begun," she remarked calmly.

"You have picked up quite an education since you left the road and the
tan," he said with the look of one who delivers a smashing blow.

"I am not yet educated enough to know how you get other people to commit
your crimes for you," she retorted.

"Who commits my crimes for me?"  His voice was sharp and even anxious.

"The man who told you I was once a Gipsy--Jethro Fawe."

Her instinct had told her this was so.  But had Jethro told all?  She
thought not.  It would need some catastrophe which threw him off his
balance to make him speak to a Gorgio of the inner things of Romany life;
and child--marriage was one of them.

He scoffed.  "Once a Gipsy always a Gipsy.  Race is race, and you can't
put it off and on like--your stocking."

He was going to say chemise, but race was race, and vestiges of native
French chivalry stayed the gross simile on the lips of the degenerate.
Fleda's eyes, however, took on a dark and brooding look which, more
than anything else, showed the Romany in her.  With a murky flood of
resentment rising in her veins, she strove to fight back the half-savage
instincts of a bygone life.  She felt as though she could willingly
sentence this man to death as her father had done Jethro Fawe that very
morning.  Another thought, however, was working and fighting in her--that
Marchand was better as a friend than an enemy; and that while Ingolby's
fate was in the balance, while yet the Orange funeral had not taken place
and the strikes had not yet come, it might be that he could be won over
to Ingolby.  Her mind was thus involuntarily reproducing Ingolby's
policy, as he had declared it to Jowett and Rockwell.  It was to find
Felix Marchand's price, and to buy off his enmity--not by money, for
Marchand did not need that, but by those other coins of value which are
individual to each man's desires, passions and needs.

"Once a Frenchman isn't always a Frenchman," she replied coolly,
disregarding the coarse insolence of his last utterance.  "You yourself
do not now swear faith to the tricolour or the fleur-de-lis."

He flushed.  She had touched a tender nerve.

"I am a Frenchman always," he rejoined angrily.  "I hate the English.
I spit on the English flag."

"Yes, I've heard you are an anarchist," she rejoined.  "A man with no
country and with a flag that belongs to no country--quelle affaire et
quelle drolerie!"

She laughed.  Taken aback in spite of his anger, he stared at her.  How
good her French accent was!  If she would only speak altogether in that
beloved language, he could smother much malice.  She was beautiful and--
well, who could tell?  Ingolby was wounded and blind, maybe for ever, and
women are always with the top dog--that was his theory.  Perhaps her
apparent dislike of him was only a mood.  Many women that he had
conquered had been just like that.  They had begun by disliking him--from
Lil Sarnia down--and had ended by being his.  This girl would never be
his in the way that the others had been, but--who could tell?--perhaps he
would think enough of her to marry her?  Anyway, it was worth while
making such a beauty care for him.  The other kind of women were easy
enough to get, and it would be a piquant thing to have one irreproachable
affaire.  He had never had one; he was not sure that any girl or woman he
had ever known had ever loved him, and he was certain that he had never
loved any girl or woman.  To be in love would be a new and piquant
experience for him.  He did not know love, but he knew what passion was.
He had ever been the hunter.  This trail might be dangerous, too, but he
would take his chances.  He had seen her dislike of him whenever they had
met in the past, and he had never tried to soften her attitude towards
him.  He had certainly whistled, but she had not come.  Well, he would
whistle again--a different tune.

"You speak French much?" he asked almost eagerly, the insolence gone from
his tone.  "Why didn't I know that?"

"I speak French in Manitou," she replied, "but nearly all the French
speak English there, and so I speak more English than French."

"Yes, that's it," he rejoined almost angrily again.  "The English will
not learn French, will not speak French.  They make us learn English,
and--"

"If you don't like the flag and the country, why don't you leave it?" she
interrupted, hardening, though she had meant to try and win him over to
Ingolby's side.

His eyes blazed.  There was something almost real in the man after all.

"The English can kill us, they can grind us to the dust," he rejoined in
French, "but we will not leave the land which has always been ours.  We
settled it; our fathers gave their lives for it in a thousand places.
The Indians killed them, the rivers and the storms, the plague and the
fire, the sickness and the cold wiped them out.  They were burned alive
at the stake, they were flayed; their bones were broken to pieces by
stones--but they blazed trails with their blood in the wilderness from
New Orleans to Hudson's Bay.  They paid for the land with their lives.
Then the English came and took it, and since that time--one hundred and
fifty years--we have been slaves."

"You do not look like a slave," she answered, "and you have not acted
like a slave.  If you were to do the things in France that you've done
here, you wouldn't be free as you are to-day."

"What have I done?" he asked darkly.

"You were the cause of what happened at Barbazon's last night,"--he
smiled evilly--"you are egging on the roughs to break up the Orange
funeral to-day; and there is all the rest you know so well."

"What is the rest I know so well?"  He looked closely at her, his long,
mongrel eyes half-closing with covert scrutiny.

"Whatever it is, it is all bad and it is all yours."

"Not all," he retorted coolly.  "You forget your Gipsy friend.  He did
his part last night, and he's still free."

They had entered the last little stretch of wood in which her home lay,
and she slackened her footsteps slightly.  She felt that she had been
unwise in challenging him; that she ought to try persistently to win him
over.  It was repugnant to her, still it must be done even yet.  She
mastered herself for Ingolby's sake and changed her tactics.

"As you glory in what you have done, you won't mind being responsible
for all that's happened," she replied in a more friendly tone.

She made an impulsive gesture towards him.

"You have shown what power you have--isn't that enough?" she asked.
"You have made the crowd shout, 'Vive Marchand !' You can make everything
as peaceful as it is now upset.  If you don't do so, there will be much
misery.  If peace must be got by force, then the force of government will
get it in the end.  You have the gift of getting hold of the worst men
here, and you have done it; but won't you now master them again in the
other way?  You have money and brains; why not use them to become a
leader of those who will win at last, no matter what the game may be?"

He came close to her.  She shrank inwardly, but she did not move.  His
greenish eyes were wide open in the fulness of eloquence and desire.

"You have a tongue like none I ever heard," he said impulsively.  "You've
got a mind that thinks, you've got dash and can take risks.  You took
risks that day on the Carillon Rapids.  It was only the day before that
I'd met you by the old ford of the Sagalac, and made up to you.  You
choked me off as though I was a wolf or a devil on the loose.  The next
day when I saw Ingolby hand you out to the crowd from his arms, I got
nasty--I have fits like that sometimes, when I've had a little too much
liquor.  I felt it more because you're the only kind of woman that could
ever get a real hold on me.  It was you made me get the boys rampaging
and set the toughs moving.  As you say, I can get hold of a crowd.  It's
not hard--with money and drink.  You can buy human nature cheap.  Every
man has his price they say--and every woman too--bien sur!  The thing is
to find out what is the price, and then how to buy.  You can't buy
everyone in the same way, even if you use a different price.  You've got
to find out how they want the price--whether it's to be handed over the
counter, so to speak, or to be kept on the window-sill, or left in a
pocket, or dropped in a path, or dug up like a potato, with a funny make-
believe that fools nobody, but just plays to the hypocrite in everyone
everywhere.  I'm saying this to you because you've seen more of the
world, I bet, than one in a million, even though you're so young.  I
don't see why we can't come together.  I'm to be bought.  I don't say
that my price isn't high.  You've got your price, too.  You wouldn't fuss
yourself about things here in Manitou and Lebanon, if there wasn't
something you wanted to get.  Tout ca!  Well, isn't it worth while making
the bargain?  You've got such gift of speech that I'm just as if I'd been
drugged, and all round, face, figure, eyes, hair, foot, and girdle,
you're worth giving up a lot for.  I've seen plenty of your sex, and I've
heard crowds of them talk, but they never had anything for me beyond the
minute.  You've got the real thing.  You're my fancy.  You've been
thinking and dreaming of Ingolby.  He's done.  He's a back number.
There's nothing he's done that isn't on the tumble since last night.
The financial gang that he downed are out already against him.  They'll
have his economic blood.  He made a splash while he was at it, but the
alligator's got him.  It's 'Exit Ingolby,' now."

She made a passionate gesture, and seemed about to speak, but he went on:
"No, don't say anything.  I know how you feel.  You've had your face
turned his way, and you can't look elsewhere all at once.  But Time cures
quick, if you're a good healthy human being.  Ingolby was the kind likely
to draw a girl.  He's a six-footer and over; he spangled a lot, and he
smiled pretty--comme le printemps, and was sharp enough to keep clear of
women that could hurt him.  That was his strongest point after all, for a
little, sly sprat of a woman that's made eyes at you and led you on, till
you sent her a note in a hurry some time with some loose hot words in it,
and she got what she'd wanted, will make you pay a hundred times for the
goods you get.  Ingolby was sharp enough to walk shy, until you came his
way, and then he lost his underpinning.  But last night got him in the
vitals--hit him between the eyes; and his stock's not worth ten cents in
the dollar to-day.  But though the pumas are out, and he's done, and'll
never see his way out of the hole he's in"--he laughed at his grisly
joke"--it's natural to let him down easy.  You've looked his way; he did
you a good turn at the Carillon Rapids, and you'd do one for him if you
could.  I'm the only one can stop the worst from happening.  You want to
pay your debt to him.  Good.  I can help you do it.  I can stop the
strikes on the railways and in the mills.  I can stop the row at the
Orange funeral.  I can stop the run on his bank and the drop in his
stock.  I can fight the gang that's against him--I know how.  I'm the
man that can bring things to pass."

He paused with a sly, mean smile of self-approval and conceit, and his
tongue licked the corners of his mouth in a way that drunkards have in
the early morning when the effect of last night's drinking has worn off.
He spread out his hands with the air of a man who had unpacked his soul,
but the chief characteristic of his manner was egregious belief in
himself.

At first, in her desire to find a way to meet the needs of Ingolby, Fleda
had listened to him with fortitude and even without revolt.  But as he
began to speak of women, and to refer to herself with a look of gloating
which men of his breed cannot hide, her angry pulses beat hard.  She did
not quite know where he was leading, but she was sure he meant to say
something which would vex her beyond bearing.  At one moment she meant to
cut short his narrative, but he prevented her, and when at last he ended,
she was almost choking with agitation.  It had been borne in upon her as
his monologue proceeded, that she would rather die than accept anything
from this man--anything of any kind.  To fight him was the only thing.
Nothing else could prevail in the end.  His was the service of the
unpenitent thief.

"And what is it you want to buy from me?" she asked evenly.

He did not notice, and he could not realize that ominous thing in her
voice and face.  "I want to be friends with you.  I want to see you here
in the woods, to meet you as you met Ingolby.  I want to talk with you,
to hear you talk; to learn things from you I never learned before; to--"

She interrupted him with a swift gesture.  "And then--after that?  What
do you want at the end of it all?  One cannot spend one's time talking
and wandering in the woods and teaching and learning.  After that, what?"

"I have a house in Montreal," he said evasively.  "I don't want to live
there alone."  He laughed.  "It's big enough for two, and at the end it
might be us two, if--"

With sharp anger, yet with coolness and dignity, she broke in on his
words.  "Might be us two!" she exclaimed.  "I have never thought of
making my home in a sewer.  Do you think--but, no, it isn't any use
talking!  You don't know how to deal with man or woman.  You are
perverted."

"I did not mean what you mean; I meant that I should want to marry you,"
he protested.  "You think the worst of me.  Someone has poisoned your
mind against me."

"Everyone has poisoned my mind against you," she returned, "and yourself
most of all.  I know you will try to injure Mr. Ingolby; and I know that
you will try to injure me; but you will not succeed."

She turned and moved away from him quickly, taking the path towards her
own front door.  He called something after her, but she did not or would
not hear.

As she entered the open space in front of the house, she heard footsteps
behind her and turned quickly, not without apprehension.  A woman came
hurrying towards her.  She was pale, agitated, haggard with fatigue.

"May I speak with you?" she asked in French.  "Surely," replied Fleda.




CHAPTER XV

THE WOMAN FROM WIND RIVER

"What is it?" asked Fleda, opening the door of the house.

"I want to speak to you about m'sieu'," replied the sad-faced woman.
She made a motion of her head backwards towards the wood.  "About M'sieu'
Marchand."

Fleda's face hardened; she had had more than enough of "M'sieu'
Marchand."  She was bitterly ashamed that she had, even for a moment,
thought of using diplomacy with him.  But this woman's face was so
forlorn, apart, and lonely, that the old spirit of the Open Road worked
its will.  In far-off days she had never seen a human being turned away
from a Romany tent, or driven from a Romany camp.  She opened the door
and stood aside to admit the wayfarer.

A few moments later, the woman, tidied and freshened, sat at the ample
breakfast which was characteristic of Romany home-life.  The woman's
plate was bountifully supplied by Fleda, and her cup filled more than
once by Madame Bulteel, while old Gabriel Druse bulked friendly over all.
His face now showed none of the passion and sternness which had been
present when he passed the Sentence of the Patrin upon Jethro Fawe;
nothing of the gloom filling his eyes as he left Ingolby's house.  The
gracious, bountiful look of the patriarch, of the head of the clan, was
upon him.

The husband of one wife, the father of one child, yet the Ry of Rys had
still the overlooking, protective sense of one who had the care of great
numbers of people.  His keen eyes foresaw more of the story the woman was
to tell presently than either of the women of his household.  He had seen
many such women as this, and had inflexibly judged between them and those
who had wronged them.

"Where have you come from?" he asked, as the meal drew to a close.

"From Wind River and under Elk Mountain," the woman answered with a look
of relief.  Her face was of those who no longer can bear the soul's
secrets.

There was silence while the breakfast things were cleared away, and the
window was thrown wide to the full morning sun.  It broke through the
branches of pine and cedar and juniper; it made translucent the leaves of
the maples; it shimmered on Fleda's brown hair as she pulled a rose from
the bush at the window, and gave it to the forlorn creature in the grey
"linsey-woolsey" dress and the loose blue flannel jacket, whose skin was
coarsened by outdoor life, but who had something of real beauty in the
intense blue of her eyes.  She had been a very comely figure in her best
days, for her waist was small, her bosom gently and firmly rounded, and
her hands were finer than those of most who live and work much in the
open air.

"You said there was something you wished to tell me," said Fleda, at
last.

The woman gazed slowly round at the three, as though with puzzled appeal.
There was the look of the Outlander in her face; of one who had been
exiled from familiar things and places.  In manner she was like a child.
Her glance wandered over the faces of the two women, then her eyes met
those of the Ry, and stayed there.

"I am old and I have seen many sorrows," said Gabriel Druse, divining
what was in her mind.  "I will try to understand."

"I have known all the bitterness of life," interposed the low, soft voice
of Madame Bulteel.

"All ears are the same here," Fleda added, looking the woman in the eyes.

"I will tell everything," was the instant reply.  Her fingers twined and
untwined in her lap with a nervousness shown by neither face nor body.
Her face was almost apathetic in its despair, but her body had an upright
courage.

She sighed heavily and began.

"My name is Arabella Stone.  I was married from my home over against Wind
River by the Jumping Sandhills.

"My father was a lumberman.  He was always captain of the gang in the
woods, and captain of the river in the summer.  My mother was deaf and
dumb.  It was very lonely at times when my father was away.  I loved a
boy--a good boy, and he was killed breaking horses.  When I was twenty-
one years old my mother died.  It was not good for me to be alone, my
father said, so he must either give up the woods and the river, or he or
I must marry.  Well, I saw he would not marry, for my mother's face was
one a man could not forget."

The old man stirred in his seat.  "I have seen such," he said in his deep
voice.

"So it was I said to myself I would marry," she continued, "though I had
loved the Boy that died under the hoofs of the black stallion.  There
weren't many girls at the Jumping Sandhills, and so there were men, now
one, now another, to say things to me which did not touch my heart; but I
did not laugh, because I understood that they were lonely.  Yet I liked
one of them more than all the others.

"So, for my father's sake, I came nearer to Dennis, and at last it seemed
I could bear to look at him any time of the day or night he came to me.
He was built like a pine-tree, and had a playful tongue, and also he was
a ranchman like the Boy that was gone.  It all came about on the day he
rode in from the range the wild wicked black stallion which all range-
riders had tried for years to capture.  It was like a brother of the
horse which had killed my Boy, only bigger.  When Dennis mastered him and
rode him to my door I made up my mind, and when he whispered to me over
the dipper of buttermilk I gave him, I said, 'Yes.' I was proud of him.
He did things that a woman likes, and said the things a woman loves to
hear, though they be the same thing said over and over again."

Madame Bulteel nodded her head as though in a dream, and the Ry of Rys
sat with his two great hands on the chair-arm and his chin dropped on his
chest.  Fleda's hands were clasped in her lap, and her big eyes never
left the woman's face.

"Before a month was gone I had married him," the, low, tired voice went
on.  "It was a gay wedding; and my father was very happy, for he thought
I had got the desire of a woman's life--a home of her own.  For a time
all went well.  Dennis was gay and careless and wilful, but he was easy
to live with, too, except when he came back from the town where he sold
his horses.  Then he was different, because of the drink, and he was
quarrelsome with me--and cruel, too.

"At last when he came home with the drink upon him, he would sleep on the
floor and not beside me.  This wore upon my heart.  I thought that if I
could only put my hand on his shoulder and whisper in his ear, he would
get better of his bad feeling; but he was sulky, and he would not bear
with me.  Though I never loved him as I loved my Boy, still I tried to be
a good wife to him, and never turned my eyes to any other man."

Suddenly she stopped as though the pain of speaking was too great.
Madame Bulteel murmured something, but the only word that reached the
ears of the others was the Arabic word 'mafish'.  Her pale face was
suffused as she said it.

Two or three times the woman essayed to speak again, but could not.  At
last, however, she overcame her emotion and said: "So it was when M'sieu'
Felix Marchand came up from the Sagalac."

The old man started and muttered harshly, but Fleda had foreseen the
entrance of the dissolute Frenchman into the tale, and gave no sign of
surprise.

"M'sieu' Marchand bought horses," the sad voice trailed on.  "One day he
bought the mining-claims Dennis had been holding till he could develop
them or sell them for good money.  When Dennis went to town again he
brought me back a present of a belt with silver clasps; but yet again
that night he slept upon the floor alone.  So it went on.  M. Marchand,
he goes on to the mountains and comes back; and he buys more horses, and
Dennis takes them to Yargo, and M. Marchand goes with him, but comes back
before Dennis does.  It was then M'sieu' begun to talk to me; to say
things that soothe a woman when she is hurt.  I knew now Dennis did not
want me as when he first married me.  He was that kind of man--quick to
care and quicker to forget.  He was weak, he could not fasten where he
stood.  It pleased him to be gay and friendly with me when he was sober,
but there was nothing behind it--nothing, nothing at all.  At last I
began to cry when I thought of it, for it went on and on, and I was too
much alone.  I looked at myself in the glass, and I saw I was not old or
lean.  I sang in the trees beside the brook, and my voice was even a
little better than in the days when Dennis first came to my father's
house.  I looked to my cooking, and I knew that it was as good as ever.
I thought of my clothes, and how I did my hair, and asked myself if I
was as fresh to see as when Dennis first came to me.  I could see no
difference.  There was a clear pool not far away under the little hills
where the springs came together.  I used to bathe in it every morning and
dry myself in the sun; and my body was like a child's.  That being so,
should my own man turn his head away from me day or night?  What had I
done to be used so, less than two years after I had married!"

She paused and hung her head, weeping gently.  "Shame stings a woman like
nothing else," Madame Bulteel said with a sigh.

"It was so with me," continued Dennis's wife.  "Then at last the thought
came that there was another woman.  And all the time M. Marchand kept
coming and going, at first when Dennis was there, and always with some
good reason for coming--horses, cattle, shooting, or furs bought of the
Indians.  When Dennis was not there, he came at first for an hour or two,
as if by chance, then for a whole day, because he said he knew I was
lonely.  One day, I was sitting by the pool--it was in the evening.
I was crying because of the thought that followed me of another woman
somewhere, who made Dennis turn from me.  Then it was M'sieu' came and
put a hand on my shoulder--he came so quietly that I did not hear him
till he touched me.  He said he knew why I cried, and it saddened his
soul."

"His soul--the jackal!" growled the old man in his beard.

The woman nodded wearily and went on.  "For all of ten days I had been
alone, except for the cattlemen camping a mile away and an old Indian
helper who slept in his tepee within call.  Loneliness makes you weak
when there's something tearing at the heart.  So I let M'sieu' Marchand
talk to me.  At last he told me that there was a woman at Yargo--that
Dennis did not go there for business, but to her.  Everyone knew it
except me, he said.  He told me to ask old Throw Hard, the Indian helper,
if he had spoken the truth.  I was shamed, and angry and crazy, too, I
think, so I went to old Throw Hard and asked him.  He said he could not
tell the truth, and that he would not lie to me.  So I knew it was all
true.

"How do I know what was in my mind?  Is a woman not mad at such a time!
There I was, tossed aside for a flyaway, who was for any man that would
come her way.  Yes, I think I was mad.  The pride in me was hurt--as only
a woman can understand."  She paused and looked at the two women who
listened to her.  Fleda's eyes were on the world beyond the window
of the room.

"Surely we understand," whispered Madame Bulteel.

The woman's courage returned, and she continued: "I could not go to my
father, for he was riding the river scores of miles away.  I was terribly
alone.  It was then that M'sieu' Marchand, who had bribed the woman to
draw Dennis away, begged me to go away with him.  He swore I should marry
him as soon as I could be free of Dennis.  I scarcely knew what I said or
thought; but the place I had loved was hateful to me, so I went away with
him."

A sharp, pained exclamation broke from the lips of Madame Bulteel, but
presently she reached out and laid a hand upon the woman's arm.  "Of
course you went with him," she said.  "You could not stay where you were
and face the return of Dennis.  There was no child to keep you, and the
man that tempted you said he adored you?"

The woman looked gratefully at her.  "That was what he said," she
answered.  "He said he was tired of wandering, and that he wanted a home-
and there was a big house in Montreal."

She stopped suddenly upon an angry, smothered word from Fleda's lips.  A
big house in Montreal!  Fleda's first impulse was to break in upon the
woman's story and tell her father what had happened just now outside
their own house; but she waited.

"Yes, there was a big house in Montreal?" said Fleda, her eyes now
resting sadly upon the woman.

"He said it should be mine.  But that did not count.  To be far away from
all that had been was more than all else.  I was not thinking of the man,
or caring for him, I was flying from my shame.  I did not see then the
shame to which I was going.  I was a fool, and I was mad and bad also.
When I waked--and it was soon--there was quick understanding between us.
The big house in Montreal--that was never meant for me.  He was already
married."

The old man stretched heavily to his feet, leaned both hands on the
table, and looked at the woman with glowering eyes, while Fleda's heart
seemed to stop beating.

"Married!" growled Gabriel Druse, with a blur of passion in his voice.
He knew that Felix Marchand had followed his daughter as though he were a
single man.

Fleda saw what was working in his mind.  Since her father suspected, he
should know all.

"He almost offered me the big house in Montreal this morning," she said
evenly and coldly.

A malediction broke from the old man's lips.

"He almost thought he wanted me to marry him," Fleda added scornfully.

"And what did you say?" Druse asked.

"There could only be one thing to say.  I told him I had never thought of
making my home in a sewer."  A grim smile broke over the old man's face,
and he sat down again.

"Because I saw him with you I wanted to warn you," the woman continued.
"Yesterday, I came to warn him of his danger, and he laughed at me.  From
Madame Thibadeau I heard he had said he would make you sing his song.
When I came to tell you, there he was with you.  But when he left you I
was sure there was no need to speak.  Still I felt I must tell you--
perhaps because you are rich and strong, and will stop him from doing
more harm."

"How do you know we are rich?" asked Druse in a rough tone.

"It is what the world says," was the reply.  "Is there harm in that?  In
any case it was right to tell you all; so that one who had herded with a
woman like me should not be friends with you."

"I have seen worse women than you," murmured the old man.

"What danger did you come to warn M. Marchand about?" asked Fleda.

"To his life," answered the woman.

"Do you want to save his life?" asked the old man.

"Ah, is it not always so?" intervened Madame Bulteel in a low, sad
voice.  "To be wronged like that does not make a woman just."

"I am just," answered the woman.  "He deserves to die, but I want to save
the man that will kill him when they meet."

"Who will kill him?" asked Fleda.  "Dennis--he will kill Marchand if he
can."

The old man leaned forward with puzzled, gloomy interest.  "Why?  Dennis
left you for another.  You say he had grown cold.  Was that not what he
wanted--that you should leave him?"

The woman looked at him with tearful eyes.  "If I had known Dennis
better, I should have waited.  What he did is of the moment only.  A man
may fall and rise again, but it is not so with a woman.  She thinks and
thinks upon the scar that shows where she wounded herself; and she never
forgets, and so her life becomes nothing--nothing."

No one saw that Madame Bulteel held herself rigidly, and was so white
that even the sunlight was gold beside her look.  Yet the strangest,
saddest smile played about her lips; and presently, as the eyes of the
others fastened on the woman and did not leave her, she regained her
usual composure.

The woman kept looking at Gabriel Druse.  "When Dennis found that I had
gone, and knew why--for I left word on a sheet of paper--he went mad like
me.  Trailing to the south, to find M'sieu' Marchand, he had an accident,
and was laid up in a shack for weeks on the Tanguishene River, and they
could not move him.  But at last a ranchman wrote to me, and the letter
found me on the very day I left M'sieu'.  When I got that letter begging
me to go to the Tanguishene River, to nurse Dennis who loved me still, my
heart sank.  I said to myself I could not go; and Dennis and I must be
apart always to the end of time.  But then I thought again.  He was ill,
and his body was as broken as his mind.  Well, since I could do his mind
no good, I would try to help his body.  I could do that much for him.  So
I went.  But the letter to me had been long on the way, and when I got to
the Tanguishene River he was almost well."

She paused and rocked her body to and fro for a moment as though in pain.

"He wanted me to go back to him then.  He said he had never cared for the
woman at Yargo, and that what he felt for me now was different from what
it had ever been.  When he had settled accounts we could go back to the
ranch and be at peace.  I knew what he meant by settling accounts, and it
frightened me.  That is why I am here.  I came to warn the man, Marchand,
for if Dennis kills him, then they will hang Dennis.  Do you not see?
This is a country of law.  I saw that Dennis had the madness in his
brain, and so I left him again in the evening of the day I found him, and
came here--it is a long way.  Yesterday, M'sieu' Marchand laughed at me
when I warned him.  He said he could take care of himself.  But such men
as Dennis stop at nothing; there will be killing, if M'sieu' stays here."

"You will go back to Dennis?" asked Fleda gently.  "Some other woman
will make him happy when he forgets me," was the cheerless, grey reply.

The old man got up and, coming over, laid a hand upon her shoulder.

"Where did you think of going from here?" he asked.

"Anywhere--I don't know," was the reply.

"Is there no work here for her?" he asked, turning to Madame Bulteel.

"Yes, plenty," was the reply.  "And room also?" he asked again.

"Was ever a tent too full, when the lost traveller stumbled into camp in
the old days?" rejoined Fleda.  The woman trembled to her feet, a glad
look in her eyes.  "I ought to go, but I am tired and I will gladly
stay," she said and swayed against the table.

Madame Bulteel and Fleda put their arms round her, steadying her.

"This is not the way to act," said Fleda with a touch of sharp reproof.
Had she not her own trouble to face?

The stricken woman drew herself up and looked Fleda in the eyes.  "I will
find the right way, if I can," she said with courage.

A half-hour later, as the old man sat alone in the room where he had
breakfasted, a rifle-shot rang out in the distance.

"The trouble begins," he said, as he rose and hastened into the hallway.

Another shot rang out.  He caught up his wide felt hat, reached for a
great walking-stick in the corner, and left the house hurriedly.




CHAPTER XVI

THE MAYOR FILLS AN OFFICE

It was a false alarm which had startled Gabriel Druse, but it had
significance.  The Orange funeral was not to take place until eleven
o'clock, and it was only eight o'clock when the Ry left his home.  A
rifle-shot had, however, been fired across the Sagalac from the Manitou
side, and it had been promptly acknowledged from Lebanon.  There was a
short pause, and then came another from the Lebanon side.  It was merely
a warning and a challenge.  The only man who could have controlled the
position was blind and helpless.

As Druse walked rapidly towards the bridge, he met Jowett.  Jowett was
one of the few men in either town for whom the Ry had regard, and the
friendliness had had its origin in Jowett's knowledge of horseflesh.
This was a field in which the Ry was himself a master.  He had ever been
too high-placed among his own people to trade and barter horses except
when, sending a score of Romanys on a hunt for wild ponies on the hills
of Eastern Europe, he had afterwards sold the tamed herd to the highest
bidders in some Balkan town; but he had an infallible eye for a horse.

It was a curious anomaly also that the one man in Lebanon who would not
have been expected to love and pursue horse-flesh was the Reverend Reuben
Tripple to whom Ingolby had given his conge, but who loved a horse as he
loved himself.

He was indeed a greater expert in horses than in souls.  One of the
sights of Lebanon had been the appearance in the field of the "Reverend
Tripple," who owned a great, raw-boned bay mare of lank proportions, the
winner of a certain great trotting-race which had delighted the mockers.

For two years Jowett had eyed Mr. Tripple's rawbone with a piratical eye.

Though it had won only a single great race, that, in Jowett's view, was
its master's fault.  As the Arabs say, however, Allah is with the
patient; and so it was that on the evening of the day in which Ingolby
met disaster, Mr. Tripple informed Jowett that he was willing to sell his
rawbone.

He was mounted on the gawky roadster when he met Gabriel Druse making for
the bridge.  Their greeting was as cordial as hasty.  Anxious as was the
Ry to learn what was going on in the towns, Jowett's mount caught his
eye.  It was but a little time since they had met at Ingolby's house, and
they were both full of the grave events afoot, but here was a horse-deal
of consequence, and the bridle-rein was looseflung.

"Yes, I got it," said Jowett, with a chuckle, interpreting the old man's
look.  "I got it for good--a wonder from Wonderville.  Damned queer-
looking critter, but there, I guess we know what I've got.  Outside like
a crinoline, inside like a pair of ankles of the Lady Jane Plantagenet.
Yes, I got it, Mr. Druse, got it dead-on!"

"How?" asked the Ry, feeling the clean fetlocks with affectionate
approval.

"He's off East, so he says," was the joyous reply; "sudden but sure, and
I dunno why.  Anyway, he's got the door-handle offered, and he's off
without his camel."  He stroked the neck of the bay lovingly.  "How
much?"

Jowett held up his fingers.  The old man lifted his eyebrows quizzically.
"That-h'm!  Does he preach as well as that?" he asked.

Jowett chuckled.  "He knows the horse-country better than the New
Jerusalem, I guess; and I wasn't off my feed, nor hadn't lost my head
neither.  I wanted that dust-hawk, and he knew it; but I got in on him
with the harness and the sulky.  The bridle he got from a Mexican that
come up here a year ago, and went broke and then went dead; and there
being no padre, Tripple did the burying, and he took the bridle as his
fee, I s'pose.  It had twenty dollars' worth of silver on it--look at
these conchs."

He trifled with the big beautiful buttons on the head-stall.  "The
sulky's as good as new, and so's the harness almost; and there's the
nose-bag and the blankets, and a saddle and a monkey-wrench and two
bottles of horse-liniment, and odds and ends.  I only paid that"--and he
held up his fingers again as though it was a sacred rite--"for the lot.
Not bad, I want to say.  Isn't he good for all day, this one?"

The old man nodded, then turned towards the bridge.  "The gun-shots--
what?" he asked, setting forward at a walk which taxed the rawbone's
stride.

"An invite--come to the wedding; that's all.  Only it's a funeral this
time, and, if something good doesn't happen, there'll be more than one
funeral on the Sagalac to-morrow.  I've had my try, but I dunno how it'll
come out.  He's not a man of much dictionary is the Monseenoor."

"The Monseigneur Lourde?  What does he say?"

"He says what we all say, that he is sorry.  'But why have the Orange
funeral while things are as they are?' he says, and he asks for the red
flag not to be shook in the face of the bull."

"That is not the talk of a fool, as most priests are," growled the other.

"Sure.  But it wants a real wind-warbler to make them see it in Lebanon.
They've got the needle.  They'll pray to-day with the taste of blood in
their mouths.  It's gone too far.  Only a miracle can keep things right.
The Mayor has wired for the mounted police--our own battalion of militia
wouldn't serve, and there'd be no use ordering them out--but the Riders
can't get here in time.  The train's due the very time the funeral's to
start, but that train's always late, though they say the ingine-driver is
an Orangeman!  And the funeral will start at the time fixed, or I don't
know the boys that belong to the lodge.  So it's up to We, Us & Co.  to
see the thing through, or go bust.  It don't suit me.  It wouldn't have
been like this, if it hadn't been for what happened to the Chief last
night.  There's no holding the boys in.  One thing's sure, the Gipsy that
give Ingolby away has got to lie low if he hasn't got away, or there'll
be one less of his tribe to eat the juicy hedgehog.  Yes, sir-ee!"

To the last words of Jowett the Ry seemed to pay no attention, though his
lips shut tight and a menacing look came into his eyes.  They were now
upon the bridge, and could see what was forward on both sides of the
Sagalac.  There was unusual bustle and activity in the streets and on the
river-bank of both towns.  It was noticeable also that though the mills
were running in Manitou, there were fewer chimneys smoking, and far more
men in the streets than usual.  Tied up to the Manitou shore were a half-
dozen cribs or rafts of timber which should be floating eastward down the
Sagalac.

"If the Monseenoor can't, or don't, step in, we're bound for a shindy
over a corpse," continued Jowett after a moment.

"Can the Monseigneur cast a spell over them all?" remarked the Ry
ironically, for he had little faith in priests, though he had for this
particular one great respect.

"He's a big man, that preelate," answered Jowett quickly and forcibly.
"He kept the Crees quiet when they was going to rise.  If they'd got up,
there'd have been hundreds of settlers massacreed.  He risked his life to
do that--went right into the camp in face of levelled rifles, and sat
down and begun to talk.  A minute afterwards all the chiefs was
squatting, too.  Then the tussle begun between a man with a soul and a
heathen gang that eat dog, kill their old folks, their cripples and their
deformed children, and run sticks of wood through their bleeding chests,
just to show that they're heathens.  But he won out, this Jesueete friend
o' man.  That's why I'm putting my horses and my land and my pants and my
shirt and the buff that's underneath on the little preelate."

Gabriel Druse's face did not indicate the same confidence.  "It is not an
age of miracles; the priest is not enough," he said sceptically.

By twos, by threes, by tens, men from Manitou came sauntering across the
bridge into Lebanon, until a goodly number were scattered at different
points through the town.  They seemed to distribute themselves by a
preconceived plan, and they were all habitants.  There were no Russians,
Finns, Swedes, Norwegians, or Germans among them.  They were low-browed,
sturdy men, dressed in red or blue serge shirts, some with sashes around
their waists, some with ear-rings in their ears, some in knee-boots, and
some with the heavy spiked boots of the river-driver.  None appeared to
carry any weapon that would shoot, yet in their belts was the sheath-
knife, the invariable equipment of their class.  It would have seemed
more suspicious if they had not carried them.  The railwaymen, miners,
carters, mill-hands, however, appeared to carry nothing save their strong
arms and hairy hands, and some were as hairy as animals.  These
backwoodsmen also could, without weapons, turn a town into a general
hospital.  In battle they fought not only with hands but also with teeth
and hoofs like wild stallions.  Teeth tore off an ear or sliced away a
nose, hands smote like hammers or gouged out eyes, and their nailed boots
were weapons of as savage a kind as could be invented.  They could spring
and strike an opponent with one foot in the chest or in the face, and
spoil the face for many a day, or for ever.  It was a gift of the
backwoods and the lumber-camps, practised in hours of stark monotony when
the devils which haunt places of isolation devoid of family life, where
men herd together like dogs in a kennel, break loose.  There the man that
dips his fingers "friendly-like" in the dish of his neighbour one minute
wants the eye of that neighbour the next not so much in innate or
momentary hatred, as in innate savagery and the primeval sense of combat,
the war which was in the blood of the first man.

The unarmed appearance of these men did not deceive the pioneer folk
of Lebanon.  To them the time had come when the reactionary forces of
Manitou must receive a check.  Even those who thought the funeral
fanatical and provocative were ready to defend it.

The person who liked the whole business least was Rockwell.  He was
subject to the same weariness of the flesh and fatigue of the spirit as
all men; yet it was expected of him that at any hour he should be at the
disposal of suffering humanity--of criminal or idiotic humanity--patient,
devoted, calm, nervestrung, complete.  He was the one person in the
community who was the universal necessity, and yet for whom the community
had no mercy in its troubles or out of them.  There were three doctors in
Lebanon, but none was an institution, none had prestige save Rockwell,
and he often wished that he had less prestige, since he cared nothing for
popularity.

He had made his preparations for possible "accidents" in no happy mood.
Fresh from the bedside of Ingolby, having had no sleep, and with many
sick people on his list, he inwardly damned the foolishness of both
towns.  He even sharply rebuked the Mayor, who urged surgical
preparations upon him, for not sending sooner to the Government for a
force which could preserve order or prevent the procession.

It was while he was doing so that Jowett appeared with Gabriel Druse to
interview the Mayor.

"It's like this," said Jowett.  "In another hour the funeral will start.
There's a lot of Manitou huskies in Lebanon now, and their feet is
loaded, if their guns ain't.  They're comin' by driblets, and by-and-bye,
when they've all distributed themselves, there'll be a marching column of
them from Manitou.  It's all arranged to make trouble and break the law.
It's the first real organized set-to we've had between the towns, and
it'll be nasty.  If the preelate doesn't dope them, there'll be pertikler
hell to pay."

He then gave the story of his visit to Monseigneur Lourde, and the
details of what was going forward in Manitou so far as he had learned.
Also the ubiquitous Osterhaut had not been idle, and his bulletin had
just been handed to Jowett.

"There's one thing ought to be done and has got to be done," Jowett
added, "if the Monseenoor don't pull if off.  The leaders have to be
arrested, and it had better be done by one that, in a way, don't belong
to either Lebanon or Manitou."

The Mayor shook his head.  "I don't see how I can authorize Marchand's
arrest--not till he breaks the law, in any case."

"It's against the law to conspire to break the law," replied Jowett.
"You've been making a lot of special constables.  Make Mr. Gabriel Druse
here a special constable, then if the law's broke, he can have a right to
take a hand in."

The giant Ry had stood apart, watchful and ruminant, but he now stepped
forward, as the Mayor turned to him and stretched out a hand.

"I am for peace," the old man said.  "To keep the peace the law must be
strong."

In spite of the gravity of the situation the Mayor smiled.  "You wouldn't
need much disguise to stand for the law, Mr. Druse," he remarked.  "When
the law is seven feet high, it stands well up."

The Ry did not smile.  "Make me the head of the constables, and I will
keep the peace," he said.  There was a sudden silence.  The proposal had
come so quietly, and it was so startling, that even the calm Rockwell was
taken aback.  But his eye and the eye of the Mayor met, and the look in
both their faces was the same.

"That's bold play," the Mayor said, "but I guess it goes.  Yesterday it
couldn't be done.  To-day it can.  The Chief Constable's down with
smallpox.  Got it from an Injun prisoner days ago.  He's been bad for
three days, but hung on.  Now he's down, and there's no Chief.  I was
going to act myself, but the trouble was, if anything happened to me,
there'd be no head of anything.  It's better to have two strings to your
bow.  It's a go-it's a straight go, Mr. Druse.  Seven foot of Chief
Constable ought to have its weight with the roughnecks."

A look of hopefulness came into his face.  This sage, huge, commanding
figure would have a good moral effect on the rude elements of disorder.

"I'll have you read the Riot Act instead of doing it myself," added the
Mayor.  "It'll be a good introduction for you, and as you live in
Manitou, it'll be a knock-out blow to the toughs.  Sometimes one man is
as good as a hundred.  Come on to the Courthouse with me," he continued
cheerfully.  "We'll fix the whole thing.  All the special constables are
waiting there with the regular police.  An extra foot on a captain's
shoulders is as good as a battery of guns."

"You're sure it's according to Hoyle?" asked Jowett quizzically.

He was so delighted that he felt he must "make the Mayor show off self,"
as he put it afterwards.  He did not miscalculate; the Mayor rose to his
challenge.

"I'm boss of this show," he said, "and I can go it alone if necessary
when the town's in danger and the law's being hustled.  I've had a
meeting of the Council and I've got the sailing-orders I want.  I'm boss
of the place, and Mr. Druse is my--" he stopped, because there was a look
in the eyes of the Ry which demanded consideration--"And Mr. Druse is
lawboss," he added.

The old ineradicable look of command shone in the eyes of Gabriel Druse.
Leadership was written all over him.  Power spoke in every motion.  The
square, unbowed shoulders, the heavily lined face, with the patriarchal
beard, the gnarled hands, the rough-hewn limbs, the eye of bright,
brooding force proclaimed authority.

Indeed in that moment there came into the face of the old Nomad the look
it had not worn for many a day.  The self-exiled ruler had paid a heavy
price for his daughter's vow, though he had never acknowledged it to
himself.  His self-ordained impotency, in a camp that was never moved,
within walls which never rose with the sunset and fell with the morning;
where his feet trod the same roadway day after day; where no man asked
for justice or sought his counsel or fell back on his protection; where
he drank from the same spring and tethered his horse in the same paddock
from morn to morn: all these things had eaten at his heart and bowed his
spirit in spite of himself.

He was not now of the Romany world, and he was not of the Gorgio world;
but here at last was the old thing come back to him in a new way, and his
bones rejoiced.  He would entitle his daughter to her place among the
Gorgios.  Perhaps also it would be given him, in the name of the law, to
deal with a man he hated.

"We've got Mister Marchand now," said Jowett softly to the old chieftain.

The Ry's eyes lighted and his jaw set.  He did not speak, but his hands
clenched, opened and clenched again.  Jowett saw and grinned.

"The Mayor and the law-boss'll win out, I guess," he said to himself.




CHAPTER XVII

THE MONSEIGNEUR AND THE NOMAD

Even more than Dr. Rockwell, Berry, the barber, was the most troubled man
in Lebanon on the day of the Orange funeral.  Berry was a good example of
an unreasoning infatuation.  The accident which had come to his idol,
with the certain fall of his fortunes, hit him so hard, that, for the
first time since he became a barber, his razor nipped the flesh of more
than one who sat in his red-upholstered chair.

In his position, Berry was likely to hear whatever gossip was going.  Who
shall have perfect self-control with a giant bib under the chin, tipped
back on a chair that cannot be regulated, with a face covered by lather,
and two plantation fingers holding the nose?  In these circumstances,
with much diplomacy, Berry corkscrewed his way into confidence, and when
he dipped a white cloth in bay-rum and eau-de-cologne, and laid it over
the face of the victim, with the finality of a satisfied inquisitor, it
was like giving the last smother to human individuality.  An artist after
his kind, he no sooner got what he wanted than he carefully coaxed his
victim away from thoughts of the disclosures into the vague distance of
casual gossip once more.

Gradually and slowly he shepherded his patient back to the realms of
self-respect and individual personality.  The border-line was at the
point where the fingers of his customer fluttered at a collar-button; for
Berry, who realized the power that lies in making a man look ridiculous,
never allowed a customer to be shaved or have his hair cut with a collar
on.  When his customers had corns, off came the boots also, and then
Berry's triumph over the white man was complete.  To call attention to an
exaggerated bunion when the odorous towel lay upon the hidden features of
what once was a "human," was the last act in the drama of the Unmaking of
Man.

Only when the client had felt in his pocket for the price of the flaying,
and laid it, with a ten-cent fee, on the ledge beneath the mirror, where
all the implements of the inquisition and the restoration were assembled,
did he feel manhood restored.  If, however, he tried to keep a vow of
silence in the chair of execution, he paid a heavy price; for Berry had
his own methods of punishment.  A little tighter grasp of the nose; a
little rougher scrape of the razor, and some sharp, stinging liquid
suddenly slapped with a cold palm on the excoriated spot, with the
devilish hypocrisy of healing it; a longer smothering-period under the
towel, when the corners of it were tucked behind the ears and a crease of
it in the mouth-all these soon induced vocal expression again, and Berry
started on his inquisition with gentle certainty.  When at last he dusted
the face with a little fine flour of oatmeal, "to heal the cuticle and
'manoor' the roots," and smelled with content the hands which had
embalmed the hair in verbena-scented oil, a man left his presence
feeling that he was ready for the wrath to come.

Such was Berry when he had under his razor one of Ingolby's business foes
of Manitou, who had of late been in touch with Felix Marchand.  Both were
working for the same end, but with different intentions.  Marchand worked
with that inherent devilishness which sometimes takes possession of low
minds; but the other worked as he would have done against his own
brother, for his own business success; and it was his view that one man
could only succeed by taking the place of another, as though the Age of
Expansion had ceased and the Age of Smother had begun.

From this client while in a state of abject subjection, Berry, whose
heart was hard that day, but whose diplomacy was impeccable, discovered
a thing of moment.  There was to be a procession of strikers from two
factories in Manitou, who would throw down their tools or leave their
machines at a certain moment.  Falling into line these strikers would
march across the bridge between the towns at such time as would bring
them into touch with the line of the Orange funeral--two processions
meeting at right angles.  If neither procession gave way, the Orange
funeral could be broken up, ostensibly not from religious fanaticism,
but from the "unhappy accident" of two straight lines colliding.  It was
a juicy plot; and in a few minutes the Mayor and Gabriel Druse knew of
it from the faithful Berry.

The bell of the meeting-house began to toll as the Orangeman whose death
had caused such commotion was carried to the waiting carriage where he
would ride alone.  Almost simultaneously with the starting of the gaudy
yet sombre Orange cortege, with its yellow scarfs, glaring banners,
charcoal plumes and black clothes, the labour procession approached the
Manitou end of the Sagalac bridge.  The strikers carried only three or
four banners, but they had a band of seven pieces, with a drum and a pair
of cymbals.  With frequent discord, but with much spirit, the Bleaters,
as these musicians were called in Lebanon, inspired the steps of the
Manitou fanatics and toughs.  As they came upon the bridge they were
playing a gross paraphrase of The Marseillaise.

At the head of the Orange procession was a silver-cornet band which the
enterprise of Lebanon had made possible.  Its leader was a ne'er-do-well
young Welshman, who had been dismissed from leadership after leadership
of bands in the East till at last he had drifted into Lebanon.  Here,
strange to say, he had never been drunk but once; and that was the night
before he married the widow of a local publican, who had a nice little
block of stock in one of Ingolby's railways, which yielded her seven per
cent., and who knew how to handle the citizens of the City of Booze.
When she married Tom Straker, her first husband, he drank on an average
twenty whiskies a day.  She got him down to one; and then he died and had
as fine a funeral as a judge.  There were those who said that if Tom's
whiskies hadn't been cut down so--but there it was: Tom was in the bosom
of Abraham, and William Jones, who was never called anything else than
Willy Welsh, had been cut down from his unrecorded bibulations to none at
all; but he smoked twenty-cent cigars at the ex-widow's expense.

To-day Willy Welsh played with heart and courage, "I'm Going Home to
Glory," at the head of the Orange procession; for who that has faced such
a widow as was his for one whole year could fear the onset of faction
fighters!  Besides, as the natives of the South Seas will never eat a
Chinaman, so a Western man will never kill a musician.  Senators,
magistrates, sheriffs, police, gamblers, horse-stealers, bankers, and
broncho-riders all die unnatural deaths at times, but a musician in the
West is immune from all except the hand of Fate.  Not one can be spared.
Even a tough convicted of cheating at cards, or breaking a boom on a
river, has escaped punishment because he played the concertina.

The discord and jangle between the two bands was the first collision of
this fateful day.  While yet there was a space between the two
processions, the bands broke into furious contest.  It was then that,
through the long funeral line, men with hard-set faces came closer up
together, and forty, detaching themselves from the well-kept run of
marching lodgemen, closed up around the horses and the hearse, making a
solid flanking force.  At stated intervals also, outside the lodgemen in
the lines, were special constables, many of whom had been the stage-
drivers, hunters, cattlemen, prospectors, and pioneers of the early days.
Most of them had come of good religious stock-Presbyterians, Baptists,
Methodists, Unitarians; and though they had little piety, and had never
been able to regain the religious customs and habits of their childhood,
they "Stood for the Thing the Old Folks stand for."  They were in a mood
which would tear cotton, as the saying was.  There was not one of them
but expected that broken heads and bloodshed would be the order of the
day, and they were stonily, fearlessly prepared for the worst.

Since the appearance of Gabriel Druse on the scene, the feeling had grown
that the luck would be with them.  When he started at the head of the
cortege, they could scarce forbear to cheer.  Such a champion in
appearance had never been seen in the West, and, the night before,
he had proved his right to the title by shaking a knot of toughs into
spots of disconcerted humanity.

As they approached the crossroads of the bridge, his voice, clear and
sonorous, could be heard commanding the Orange band to cease playing.

When the head of the funeral procession was opposite the bridge--the
band, the hearse, the bodyguard of the hearse--Gabriel Druse stood aside,
and took his place at the point where the lines of the two processions
would intersect.

It was at this moment that the collision came.  There were only about
sixty feet of space between the two processions, when a voice rang out in
a challenge so offensive, that the men of Manitou got their cue for
attack without creating it themselves.  Every Orangeman of the Lodge of
Lebanon afterwards denied that he had raised the cry; and the chances are
that every one spoke the truth.  It was like Felix Marchand to arrange
for just such an episode, and so throw the burden of responsibility on
the Orangemen.

"To hell with the Pope!  To hell with the Pope!" the voice rang out, and
it had hardly ceased before the Manitou procession made a rush forward.
The apparent leader of the Manitou roughs was a blackbearded man of
middle height, who spoke raucously to the crowd behind him.

Suddenly a powerful voice rang out.

"Halt, in the name of the Queen!" it called.  Surprise is the very
essence of successful war.  The roughs of Manitou had not looked for
this.  They had foreseen the appearance of the official Chief Constable
of Lebanon; they had expected his challenge and warning in the
vernacular; but here was something which struck them with consternation
--first, the giant of Manitou in the post of command, looking like some
berserker; and then the formal reading of that stately document in the
name of the Queen.

Far back in the minds of every French habitant present was the old
monarchical sense.  He makes, at worst, a poor anarchist, though he is a
good revolutionist; and the French colonials had never been divorced from
monarchical France.

In the eyes of the most forward of those on the Sagalac bridge, there
was a sudden wonderment and confusion.  To the dramatic French mind,
ceremonial is ever welcome; and for a moment it had them in its grip,
as old Gabriel Druse read out in his ringing voice, the trenchant royal
summons.

It was a strange and dramatic scene--the Orange funeral standing still,
garish yet solemn, with hundreds of men, rough and coarse, quiet and
refined, dissolute and careless, sober and puritanic, broad and tolerant,
sharp and fanatical; the labour procession, polyglot in appearance, but
with Gallic features and looseness of dress predominating; excitable,
brutish, generous, cruel; without intellect, but with an intelligence
which in the lowest was acute, and with temperaments responsive to drama.

As Druse read, his eyes now and then flashed, at first he knew not why,
to the slim, bearded figure of the apparent leader.  At length he caught
the feverish eye of the man, and held it for a moment.  It was familiar,
but it eluded him; he could not place it.

He heard, however, Jowett's voice say to him, scarce above a whisper:

"It's Felix Marchand, boss!"

Jowett also had been puzzled at first by the bearded figure, but it
suddenly flashed upon him that the beard and wig were a disguise, that
Marchand had resorted to Ingolby's device.  It might prove as dangerous
a stratagem with him as it had to Ingolby.

There was a moment's hesitation after Druse had finished reading--as
though the men of Manitou had not quite recovered from their surprise--
then the man with the black beard said something to those nearest him.
There was a start forward, and someone cried, "Down with the Orangemen
--et bas l'Orange!"

Like a well-disciplined battalion the Orangemen rolled up quickly into a
compact mass, showing that they had planned their defence well, and the
moment was black with danger, when, suddenly, Druse strode forward.
Flinging right and left two or three river-drivers, he caught the man
with the black beard, snatched him out from among the oncoming crowd,
and tore off the black beard and wig.  Felix Marchand stood exposed.

A cry of fury rang out from the Orangemen behind, and a dozen men rushed
forward, but Gabriel Druse acted with the instant decision of a real
commander.  Seeing that it would be a mistake to arrest Marchand at that
moment, he raised the struggling figure of the wrecker above his head
and, with Herculean effort, threw him up over the heads of the Frenchmen
in front of him.

So extraordinary was the sight that, as if fascinated, the crowd before
and behind followed the action with staring eyes and tense bodies.  The
faces of all the contending forces were as concentrated for the instant,
as though the sun were falling out of the sky.  It was so great a feat,
one so much in consonance with the spirit of the frontier world, that
gasps of praise broke from both crowds.  As though it were a thunderbolt,
the Manitou roughs standing where Marchand was like to fall, instead of
trying to catch him, broke away from beneath the bundle of falling
humanity, and Marchand fell on the dusty cement of the bridge with a dull
thud, like a bag of bones.

For a moment there was no motion on the part of either procession.
Banners drooped and swayed as the men holding them were lost in the
excitement.

Time had only been gained, however.  There was no reason to think that
the trouble was over, or that the special constables who had gathered
close behind Gabriel Druse would not have to strike heavy blows for the
cause of peace.

The sudden appearance of a new figure in the narrow, open space between
the factions in that momentary paralysis was not a coincidence.  It was
what Jowett had planned for, the factor for peace in which he most
believed.

A small, spare man in a scarlet cassock, white chasuble, and black
biretta, suddenly stole out from the crowd on the Lebanon side of the
bridge, carrying the elements of the Mass.  His face was shining white,
and in the eyes was an almost unearthly fire.  It was the beloved
Monseigneur Lourde.

Raising the elements before him toward his own people on the bridge, he
cried in a high, searching voice:

"I prayed with you, I begged you to preserve the peace.  Last night I
asked you in God's name to give up your disorderly purposes.  I thought
then I had done my whole duty; but the voice of God has spoken to me.
An hour ago I carried the elements to a dying woman here in Lebanon, and
gave her peace.  As I did so the funeral bell rang out, and it came to
me, as though the One above had spoken, that peace would be slain and His
name insulted by all of you--by all of you, Catholic and Protestant.
God's voice bade me come to you from the bed of one who has gone hence
from peace to Peace.  In the name of Christ, peace, I say!  Peace, in the
name of Christ!"

He raised the sacred vessel high above his head, so that his eyes looked
through the walls of his uplifted arms.  "Kneel!" he called in a clear,
ringing voice which yet quavered with age.

There was an instant's hush, and then great numbers of the crowd in front
of him, toughs and wreckers, blasphemers, turbulent ones and evil-livers,
yet Catholics all, with the ancient root of the Great Thing in them, sank
down; and the banners of the labour societies drooped before the symbol
of peace won by sacrifice.

Even the Orangemen bared their heads in the presence of that Popery which
was anathema to them, which they existed to combat, and had been taught
to hate.  Some, no doubt, would rather have fought than have had peace at
the price; but they could not free their minds from the sacred force
which had brought most of the crowd of faction-fighters to their knees.

With a wave of the hand, Gabriel Druse ordered the cortege forward, and
silently the procession with its yellow banners and its sable, drooping
plumes moved on.

Once on its way again, Willy Welsh and his silver-cornet band struck up
the hymn, "Lead, Kindly Light."  It was the one real coincidence of the
day that this moving hymn was written by a cardinal of the Catholic
Church.  It was also an irony that, as the crowd of sullen Frenchmen
turned back to Manitou, the train bearing the Mounted Police, for whom
the Mayor had sent to the capital, steamed noisily in, and redcoats
showed at its windows and on the steps of the cars.

The only casualty that the day saw was the broken arm and badly bruised
body of Felix Marchand, who was gloomily helped back to his home across
the Sagalac.




CHAPTER XVIII

THE BEACONS

There were few lights showing in Lebanon or Manitou; but here and
there along the Sagalac was the fading glimmer of a camp-fire, and in
Tekewani's reservation one light glowed softly like a star.  It came
from a finely-made and chased safety-lantern given to Tekewani by the
Government, as a symbol of honour for having kept the braves quiet when
an Indian and half-breed rising was threatened; and to the powerless
chief it had become a token of his authority, the sign of the Great White
Mother's approval.  By day a spray of eagle's feathers waved over his
tepee, but the gleam of the brass lantern every night was like a sentry
at the doorway of a monarch.

It was a solace to his wounded spirit; it allayed the smart of
subjection; made him feel himself a ruler in retirement, even as Gabriel
Druse was a self-ordained exile.

These two men, representing the primitive nomad life, had been drawn
together in friendship.  So much so, that to Tekewani alone of all the
West, Druse gave his confidence and told his story.  It came in the
springtime, when the blood of the young bucks was simmering and, the
ancient spell was working.  There had preceded them generations of
hunters who had slain their thousands and their tens of thousands of wild
animals and the fowls of the air; had killed their enemies in battle; had
seized the comely women of their foes and made them their own.  No thrill
of the hunter's trail now drew off the overflow of desire.  In the days
of rising sap, there were only the young maidens or wives of their own
tribe to pursue, and it lacked in glory.  Also in the springtime,
Tekewani himself had his own trials, for in his blood the old medicine
stirred.  His face turned towards the prairie North and the mountain West
where yet remained the hunter's quarry; and he longed to be away with
rifle and gun, with his squaw and the papooses trailing after like camp-
followers, to eat the fruits of victory.  But that could not be; he must
remain in the place the Great White Mother had reserved for him; he and
his braves must assemble, and draw their rations at the appointed times
and seasons, and grunt thanks to those who ruled over them.

It was on one of these virginal days, when there was a restless stirring
among the young bucks, who smelled the wide waters, the pines and the
wild shrubs; who heard the cry of the loon on the lonely lake and the
whir of the wild duck's wings, who answered to the phantom cry of ancient
war; it was on such a day that the two chiefs opened their hearts to each
other.

Near to the boscage on a little hill overlooking the great river, Gabriel
Druse had come upon Tekewani seated in the pine-dust, rocking to and fro,
and chanting a low, sorrowful refrain, with eyes fixed on the setting
sun.  And the Ry of Rys understood, with the understanding which only
those have who live close to the earth, and also near to the heavens of
their own gods.  He sat down beside the forlorn chief, and in the silence
their souls spoke to each other.  There swept into the veins of the
Romany ruler something of the immitigable sadness of the Indian chief;
and, with a sudden premonition that he also was come to the sunset of his
life, his big nomad eyes sought the westering rim of the heavens, and his
breast heaved.

In that hour the two men declared themselves to each other, and Gabriel
Druse told Tekewani all that he had hidden from the people of the
Sagalac, and was answered in kind.  It seemed to them that they were as
brothers who were one and who had parted in ages long gone; and having
met were to part and disappear once more, beginning still another trail
in an endless reincarnation.

"Brother," said Tekewani, "it was while there was a bridge of land
between the continents at the North that we met.  Again I see it.  I
forgot it, but again I see.  There was war, and you went upon one path
and I upon another, and we met no more under all the moons till now."

"'Dordi', so it was and at such a time," answered the Ry of Rys.  "And
once more we will follow after the fire-flies which give no light to the
safe places but only lead farther into the night."

Tekewani rocked to and fro again, muttering to himself, but presently he
said:

"We eat from the hands of those who have driven away the buffalo, the
deer, and the beaver; and the young bucks do naught to earn the joy of
women.  They are but as lusting sheep, not as the wild-goat that chases
its mate over the places of death, till it comes upon her at last, and
calls in triumph over her as she kneels at his feet.  So it is.  Like
tame beasts we eat from the hand of the white man, and the white man
leaves his own camp where his own women are, and prowls in our camps,
so that not even our own women are left to us."

It was then that Gabriel Druse learned of the hatred of Tekewani for
Felix Marchand, because of what he had done in the reservation, prowling
at night like a fox or a coyote in the folds.

They parted that hour, believing that the epoch of life in which they
were and the fortunes of time which had been or were to come, were but
turns of a wheel that still went on turning; and that whatever chanced
of good or bad fortune in the one span of being, might be repaired in
the next span, or the next, or the next; so, through their creed of
reincarnation, taking courage to face the failure of the life they now
lived.  Not by logic or the teaching of any school had they reached this
revelation, but through an inner sense.  They were not hopeful and
wondering and timid; they were only sure.  Their philosophy, their
religion, whether heathen or human, was inborn.  They had comfort in it
and in each other.

After that day Gabriel Druse always set a light in his window which
burned all night, answering to the lantern-light at the door of
Tekewani's home--the lights of exile and of an alliance which had
behind it the secret influences of past ages and vanished peoples.

There came a night, however, when the light at the door of Tekewani's
tepee did not burn.  At sunset it was lighted, but long before midnight
it was extinguished.  Looking out from the doorway of his home (it was
the night after the Orange funeral), Gabriel Druse, returned from his new
duties at Lebanon, saw no light in the Indian reservation.  With anxiety,
he set forth in the shine of the moon to visit it.

Arrived at the chief's tepee, he saw that the lantern of honour was gone,
and waking Tekewani, he brought him out to see.  When the old Indian knew
his loss, he gave a harsh cry and stooped, and, gathering a handful of
dust from the ground, sprinkled it on his head.  Then with arms
outstretched he cursed the thief who had robbed him of what had been
to him like a never-fading mirage, an illusion blinding his eyes to the
bitter facts of his condition.

To his mind all the troubles come to Lebanon and Manitou had had one
source; and now the malign spirit had stretched its hand to spoil those
already dispossessed of all but the right to live.  One name was upon the
lips of both men, as they stood in the moonlight by Tekewani's tepee.

"There shall be an end of this," growled the Romany.

"I will have my own," said Tekewani, with malediction on the thief who
had so shamed him.

Black anger was in the heart of Gabriel Druse as he turned again towards
his own home, and he was glad of what he had done to Felix Marchand at
the Orange funeral.





CHAPTER XIX

THE KEEPER OF THE BRIDGE

     "Like the darkness of the grave, which is darkness itself--"

Most of those who break out of the zareba of life, who lay violent hands
upon themselves, do so with a complete reasoning, which in itself is
proof of their insanity.  It may be domestic tragedy, or ill-health,
or crime, or broken faith, or shame, or insomnia, or betrayed trust--
whatever it is, many a one who suffers from such things, tries to end it
all with that deliberation, that strategy, and that cunning which belong
only to the abnormal.

A mind which has known a score or more of sleepless nights acquires an
invincible clearness of its own, seeing an end which is without
peradventure.  It finds a hundred perfect reasons for not going on, every
one of which is in itself sufficient; every one of which knits into the
other ninety and nine with inevitable affinity.

To the mind of Ingolby came a hundred such reasons for breaking out of
life's enclosure, as the effect of the opiate Rockwell had given him wore
off, and he regained consciousness.  As he did so, someone in the room
was telling of that intervention of Gabriel Druse and the Monseigneur at
the Orange funeral, which had saved the situation.  At first he listened
to what was said--it was the nurse talking to Jim Beadle with no sharp
perception of the significance of the story; though it slowly pierced the
lethargy of his senses, and he turned over in the bed to face the
watchers.

"What time is it, Jim?" he asked heavily.  They told him it was sunset.

"Is it quiet in both towns?" he asked after a pause.  They told him that
it was.

"Any telegrams for me?" he asked.

There was an instant's hesitation.  They had had no instructions on this
point, and they hardly knew what to say; but Jim's mind had its own
logic, and the truth seemed best to him now.  He answered that there were
several wires, but that they "didn't amount to nothin'."

"Have they been opened?" Ingolby asked with a frown, half-raising
himself.  It was hard to resign the old masterfulness and self-will.

"I'd like to see anybody open 'em 'thout my pe'mision," answered Jim
imperiously.  "When you's asleep, Chief, I'm awake; and I take care of
you' things, same as ever I done.  There ain't no wires been opened, and
there ain't goin' to be whiles I'm runnin' the show for you."

"Open and read them to me," commanded Ingolby.  Again Ingolby was
conscious of hesitation on Jim's part.  Already the acuteness of the
blind was possessing him, sharpening the senses left unimpaired.
Although Jim moved, presumably, towards the place where the telegrams
lay, Ingolby realized that his own authority was being crossed by that
of the doctor and the nurse.

"You will leave the room for a moment, nurse," he said with a brassy
vibration in the voice--a sign of nervous strain.  With a smothered
protest the nurse left, and Jim stood beside the bed with the telegrams.

"Read them to me, Jim," Ingolby repeated irritably.  "Be quick."

They were not wires which Ingolby should have heard at the time, when his
wound was still inflamed, when he was still on the outer circle of that
artificial sleep which the opiates had secured.  They were from Montreal
and New York, and, resolved from their half-hidden suggestion into bare
elements, they meant that henceforth others would do the work he had
done.  They meant, in effect, that save for the few scores of thousand
dollars he had made, he was now where he was when he came West.

When Jim had finished reading them, Ingolby sank back on the pillows and
said quietly:

"All right, Jim.  Put them in the drawer of the table and I'll answer
them to-morrow.  I want to get a little more sleep, so give me a drink,
and then leave me alone--both nurse and you--till I ring the bell.
There's a bell on the table, isn't there?"

He stretched out a hand towards the table beside the bed, and Jim softly
pushed the bell under his fingers.

"That's right," he added.  "Now, I'm not to be disturbed unless the
doctor comes.  I'm all right, and I want to be alone and quiet.  No one
at all in the room is what I want.  You understand, Jim?"

"My head's just as good to get at what you want as ever it was, and you
goin' have what you want, I guess, while I'm on deck," was Jim's reply.

Jim put a glass of water into his hand.  He drank very slowly, was indeed
only mechanically conscious that he was drinking, for his mind was far
away.

After he had put the glass down, Jim still stood beside the bed, looking
at him.

"Why don't you go, as I tell you, Jim?" Ingolby asked wearily.

"I'm goin'"--Jim tucked the bedclothes in carefully--"I'm goin', but,
boss, I jes' want to say dat dis thing goin' to come out all right bime-
by.  There ain't no doubt 'bout dat.  You goin' see everything, come jes'
like what you want--suh!"

Ingolby did not reply.  He held out his hand, and black fingers shot over
and took it.  A moment later the blind man was alone in the room.

The light of day vanished, and the stars came out.  There was no moon,
but it was one of those nights of the West when millions of stars glimmer
in the blue vault above, and every planet and every star and cluster of
stars are so near that it might almost seem they could be caught by an
expert human hand.  The air was very still, and a mantle of peace was
spread over the tender scene.  The window and the glass doors that gave
from Ingolby's room upon the veranda on the south side of the house, were
open, and the air was warm as in Midsummer.  Now and then the note of a
night-bird broke the stillness, but nothing more.

It was such a night as Ingolby loved; it was such a night as often found
him out in the restful gloom of the trees, thinking and brooding,
planning, revelling in memories of books he had read, and in dreaming of
books he might write-if there were time.  Such a night insulated the dark
moods which possessed him occasionally almost as effectively as fishing
did; and that was saying much.

But the darkest mood of all his days was upon him now.  When Rockwell
came, soon after Jim and the nurse left him, he simulated sleep, for he
had no mind to talk; and the doctor, deceived by his even breathing, had
left, contented.  At last he was wholly alone with his own thoughts, as
he desired.  From the moment Jim had read him the wires, which were the
real revelation of the situation to which he had come, he had been
travelling hard on the road leading to a cul-de-sac, from which there
was no egress save by breaking through the wall.  Never, it might have
seemed, had his mind been clearer, but it was a clearness belonging to
the abnormal.  It was a straight line of thought which, in its intensity,
gathered all other thoughts into its wake, reduced them to the control of
an obsession.  It was borne in on his mind that his day was done, that
nothing could right the disorder which had strewn his path with broken
hopes and shattered ambitions.  No life-work left, no schemes to
accomplish, no construction to achieve, no wealth to gain, no public
good to be won, no home to be his, no woman, his very own, to be his
counsellor and guide in the natural way!

As myriad thoughts drove through his brain on this Indian-summer night,
they all merged into the one obsession that he could no longer stay.  The
irresistible logic of the brain stretched to an abnormal tenuity, and an
intolerable brightness was with him.  He was in the throes of that
intense visualization which comes with insomnia, when one is awake yet
apart from the waking world, where nothing is really real and nothing
normal.  He had a call to go hence, and he must go.  Minute after minute
passed, hours passed, and the fight of the soul to maintain itself
against the disordered mind went on.  All his past seemed but part
of a desert, lonely and barren and strange.

In the previous year he had made a journey to Arizona with Jowett, to see
some railway construction there, and at a ranch he had visited he came
upon some verses which had haunted his mind ever since.  They fastened
upon his senses now.  They were like a lonesome monotone which at length
gave calm to his torturing reflections.  In his darkness the verses kept
repeating themselves:

         "I heard the desert calling, and my heart stood still
          There was Winter in my world and in my heart:
          A breath came from the mesa and a message stirred my will,
          And my soul and I arose up to depart.

          I heard the desert calling; and I knew that over there,
          In an olive-sheltered garden where the mesquite grows,
          Was a woman of the sunrise, with the starshine in her hair,
          And a beauty that the almond-blossom blows.

          In the night-time when the ghost-trees glimmered in the moon,
          Where the mesa by the watercourse was spanned,
          Her loveliness enwrapped me like the blessedness of June,
          And all my life was thrilling in her hand.

          I hear the desert calling, and my heart stands still;
          There is Summer in my world and in my heart;
          A breath comes from the mesa, and a will beyond my will
          Binds my footsteps as I rise up to depart."

This strange, half-mystic song of the mesa and the olive-groves, of the
ghost-trees and the moon, kept playing upon his own heated senses like
the spray from a cooling stream, and at last it quieted him.  The dark
spirit of self-destruction loosened its hold.

His brain had been strained beyond the normal, almost unconsciously his
fingers had fastened on the pistol in the drawer of the table by his bed.
It had been there since the day when he had travelled down from Alaska--
loaded as it had been when he had carried it down the southern trail.
But as his fingers tightened on the little engine of death, from the
words which had been ringing in his brain came the flash of a revelation:

              ".  .  .  And a will beyond my will
               Binds my footsteps as I rise up to depart."

A will beyond his will!  It was as though Fleda's fingers were laid upon
his own; as though she whispered in his ear and her breath swept his
cheek; as though she was there in the room beside him, making the
darkness light, tempering the wind of chastisement to his naked soul.
In the overstrain of his nervous system the illusion was powerful.  He
thought he heard her voice.  The pistol slipped from his fingers, and he
fell back on the pillow with a sigh.  The will beyond his will bound his
footsteps.

Who can tell?  The grim, malign experience of Fleda in her bedroom with
the Thing she thought was from beyond the bounds of her own life; the
voice that spoke to Ingolby, and the breath that swept over his cheek
were, perhaps, as real in a sense as would have been the corporeal
presence of Jethro Fawe in one case and of Fleda Druse in the other.
It may be that in very truth Fleda Druse's spirit with its poignant
solicitude controlled his will as he "rose up to depart."  But if it was
only an illusion, it was not less a miracle.  Some power of suggestion
bound his fleeing footsteps, drew him back from the Brink.

He slept.  Once the nurse came and looked at him and returned to the
other room; and twice Jim stole in silently for a moment and retired
again to his own chamber.  The stars shone in at the doors that opened
out from the quiet room into the night, the watch beside the bed ticked
on, the fox-terrier which always slept on a mat at the foot of the bed
sighed in content, while his master breathed heavily in a sleep full of
dreams that hurried past like phantasmagoria--of a hundred things that
had been in his life, and that had never been; of people he had known,
distorted, ridiculous and tremendous.  There were dreams of fiddlers and
barbers, of crowds writhing in passion in a room where there was a
billiard-table and a lucky horseshoe on the wall.  There were dreams that
tossed and mingled in one whirlpool vision; and then at last came a dream
which was so cruel and clear that it froze his senses.

It was the dream of a great bridge over a swiftflowing river; of his own
bridge over the Sagalacof that bridge being destroyed by men who crept
through the night with dynamite in their hands.

With a hoarse, smothered cry he awoke.  His eyes opened wide.  His heart
was beating like a hammer against his side.  Only the terrier at his feet
heard the muttered agony.  With an instinct all its own, it slipped to
the floor.

It watched its master get out of bed, cross the room and feel for a coat
along the wall--an overcoat which he used as a dressing-gown at times.
Putting it on hastily, with outstretched hands Ingolby felt his way to
the glass doors opening on the veranda.  The dog, as though to let him
know he was there, rubbed against his legs.  Ingolby murmured a soft,
unintelligible word, and, in his bare feet, passed out on to the veranda,
and from there to the garden and towards the gate at the front of the
house.

The nurse heard the gate click lightly, but she was only half-awake, and
as all was quiet in the next room, she composed herself in her chair
again with the vain idea that she was not sleeping.  And Jim the faithful
one, as though under a narcotic of fate, was snoring softly beside the
vacant room.  The streets were still.  No lights burned anywhere so far
as eye could see.  But now and then, in the stillness through which the
river flowed on, murmuring and rhythmic, there rose the distant sounds of
disorderly voices.  Ingolby was in a state which was neither sleep nor
waking, which was in part delirium, in part oblivion to all things in the
world save one--an obsession so complete, that he moved automatically
through the street in which he lived towards that which led to the
bridge.

His terrier, as though realizing exactly what he wished, seemed to guide
him by rubbing against his legs, and even pressing hard against them when
he was in any danger of losing the middle of the road, or swerving
towards a ditch or some obstruction.  Only once did they pass any human
being, and that was when they came upon a camp of road-builders, where a
red light burned, and two men slept in the open by a dying fire.  One of
them raised his head when Ingolby passed, but being more than half-
asleep, and seeing only a man and a dog, thought nothing of it, and
dropped back again upon his rough pillow.  He was a stranger to Lebanon,
and there was little chance of his recognizing Ingolby in the semi-
darkness.

As they neared the river, Ingolby became deeply agitated.  He moved with
his hands outstretched.  Had it not been for his dog he would probably
have walked into the Sagalac; for though he seemed to have an instinct
that was extra-natural, he swayed and staggered in the delirium driving
him on.  There was one dreadful moment when, having swerved from the road
leading on to the bridge, he was within a foot of the river-bank.  One
step farther, and he would have plunged down thirty feet into the stream,
to be swept to the Rapids below.

But for the first time the terrier made a sound.  He gave a whining bark
almost human in its meaning, and threw himself at the legs of his master,
pushing him backwards and over towards the road leading upon the bridge,
as a collie guides sheep.  Presently Ingolby felt the floor of the bridge
under his feet; and now he hastened on, with outstretched arms and head
bent forward, listening intently, the dog trotting beside, with what
knowledge working in him Heaven alone knew.

The roar of the Rapids below was a sonorous accompaniment to Ingolby's
wild thoughts.  One thing only he felt, one thing only heard--the men in
Barbazon's Tavern saying that the bridge should be blown up on the
Saturday night; and this was Saturday night--the night of the day
following that of the Orange funeral.  He had heard the criminal hireling
of Felix Marchand say that it should be done at midnight, and that the
explosive should be laid under that part of the bridge which joined the
Manitou bank of the Sagalac.  As though in very truth he saw with his
eyes, he stopped short not far from the point where the bridge joined the
land, and stood still, listening.

For several minutes he was motionless, intent, as an animal waiting for
its foe.  At last his newly-sensitive ears heard footsteps approaching
and low voices. The footsteps came nearer, the voices, though so low,
became more distinct.  They were now not fifty feet away, but to the
delirious Ingolby they were as near as death had been when his fingers
closed on the pistol in his room.

He took a step forward, and with passionate voice and arms outstretched,
he cried:

    "You shall not do it-by God, you shall not touch my bridge!
     I built it.  You shall not touch it.  Back, you devils-back!"


The terrier barked loudly.

The two men in the semi-darkness in front of him cowered at the sight of
this weird figure holding the bridge they had come to destroy.  His
words, uttered in so strange and unnatural a voice, shook their nerves.
They shrank away from the ghostly form with the outstretched arms.

In the minute's pause following on his words, a giant figure suddenly
appeared behind the dynamiters.  It was the temporary Chief Constable of
Lebanon, returning from his visit to Tekewani.  He had heard Ingolby's
wild words, and he realized the situation.

"Ingolby--steady  there,  Ingolby !" he  called.  "Steady!  Steady!
Gabriel Druse is here.  It's all right."

At the first sound of Druse's voice the two wreckers turned and ran.

As they did so, Ingolby's hands fell to his side, and he staggered
forward.

"Druse--Fleda," he murmured, then swayed, trembled and fell.

With words that stuck in his throat Gabriel Druse stooped and lifted him
up in his arms.  At first he turned towards the bridge, as though to
cross over to Lebanon, but the last word Ingolby had uttered rang
in his ears, and he carried him away into the trees towards his own
house, the faithful terrier following.  "Druse--Fleda !"  They were the
words of one who had suddenly emerged from the obsession of delirium into
sanity, and then had fallen into as sudden unconsciousness.

"Fleda!  Fleda!" called Gabriel Druse outside the door of his house a
quarter of an hour later, and her voice in reply was that of one who knew
that the feet of Fate were at her threshold.




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