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<SPAN name="link2HCH0035" id="link2HCH0035"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXXV </h2> <p> Five years passed. </p> <p> In that time Thorpe had succeeded in cutting a hundred million feet of pine. The money received for this had all been turned back into the Company's funds. From a single camp of twenty-five men with ten horses and a short haul of half a mile, the concern had increased to six large, well-equipped communities of eighty to a hundred men apiece, using nearly two hundred horses, and hauling as far as eight or nine miles. </p> <p> Near the port stood a mammoth sawmill capable of taking care of twenty-two million feet a year, about which a lumber town had sprung up. Lake schooners lay in a long row during the summer months, while busy loaders passed the planks from one to the other into the deep holds. Besides its original holding, the company had acquired about a hundred and fifty million more, back near the headwaters of tributaries to the Ossawinamakee. In the spring and early summer months, the drive was a wonderful affair. </p> <p> During the four years in which the Morrison &amp; Daly Company shared the stream with Thorpe, the two firms lived in complete amity and understanding. Northrop had played his cards skillfully. The older capitalists had withdrawn suit. Afterwards they kept scrupulously within their rights, and saw to it that no more careless openings were left for Thorpe's shrewdness. They were keen enough business men, but had made the mistake, common enough to established power, of underrating the strength of an apparently insignificant opponent. Once they understood Thorpe's capacity, that young man had no more chance to catch them napping. </p> <p> And as the younger man, on his side, never attempted to overstep his own rights, the interests of the rival firms rarely clashed. As to the few disputes that did arise, Thorpe found Mr. Daly singularly anxious to please. In the desire was no friendliness, however. Thorpe was watchful for treachery, and could hardly believe the affair finished when at the end of the fourth year the M. &amp; D. sold out the remainder of its pine to a firm from Manistee, and transferred its operations to another stream a few miles east, where it had acquired more considerable holdings. </p> <p> "They're altogether too confounded anxious to help us on that freight, Wallace," said Thorpe wrinkling his brow uneasily. "I don't like it. It isn't natural." </p> <p> "No," laughed Wallace, "neither is it natural for a dog to draw a sledge. But he does it&mdash;when he has to. They're afraid of you, Harry: that's all." </p> <p> Thorpe shook his head, but had to acknowledge that he could evidence no grounds for his mistrust. </p> <p> The conversation took place at Camp One, which was celebrated in three states. Thorpe had set out to gather around him a band of good woodsmen. Except on a pinch he would employ no others. </p> <p> "I don't care if I get in only two thousand feet this winter, and if a boy does that," he answered Shearer's expostulations, "it's got to be a good boy." </p> <p> The result of his policy began to show even in the second year. Men were a little proud to say that they had put in a winter at "Thorpe's One." Those who had worked there during the first year were loyally enthusiastic over their boss's grit and resourcefulness, their camp's order, their cook's good "grub." As they were authorities, others perforce had to accept the dictum. There grew a desire among the better class to see what Thorpe's "One" might be like. In the autumn Harry had more applicants than he knew what to do with. Eighteen of the old men returned. He took them all, but when it came to distribution, three found themselves assigned to one or the other of the new camps. And quietly the rumor gained that these three had shown the least willing spirit during the previous winter. The other fifteen were sobered to the industry which their importance as veterans might have impaired. </p> <p> Tim Shearer was foreman of Camp One; Scotty Parsons was drafted from the veterans to take charge of Two; Thorpe engaged two men known to Tim to boss Three and Four. But in selecting the "push" for Five he displayed most strikingly his keen appreciation of a man's relation to his environment. He sought out John Radway and induced him to accept the commission. </p> <p> "You can do it, John," said he, "and I know it. I want you to try; and if you don't make her go, I'll call it nobody's fault but my own." </p> <p> "I don't see how you dare risk it, after that Cass Branch deal, Mr. Thorpe," replied Radway, almost brokenly. "But I would like to tackle it, I'm dead sick of loafing. Sometimes it seems like I'd die, if I don't get out in the woods again." </p> <p> "We'll call it a deal, then," answered Thorpe. </p> <p> The result proved his sagacity. Radway was one of the best foremen in the outfit. He got more out of his men, he rose better to emergencies, and he accomplished more with the same resources than any of the others, excepting Tim Shearer. As long as the work was done for someone else, he was capable and efficient. Only when he was called upon to demand on his own account, did the paralyzing shyness affect him. </p> <p> But the one feature that did more to attract the very best element among woodsmen, and so make possible the practice of Thorpe's theory of success, was Camp One. The men's accommodations at the other five were no different and but little better than those in a thousand other typical lumber camps of both peninsulas. They slept in box-like bunks filled with hay or straw over which blankets were spread; they sat on a narrow hard bench or on the floor; they read by the dim light of a lamp fastened against the big cross beam; they warmed themselves at a huge iron stove in the center of the room around which suspended wires and poles offered space for the drying of socks; they washed their clothes when the mood struck them. It was warm and comparatively clean. But it was dark, without ornament, cheerless. </p> <p> The lumber-jack never expects anything different. In fact, if he were pampered to the extent of ordinary comforts, he would be apt at once to conclude himself indispensable; whereupon he would become worthless. </p> <p> Thorpe, however, spent a little money&mdash;not much&mdash;and transformed Camp One. Every bunk was provided with a tick, which the men could fill with hay, balsam, or hemlock, as suited them. Cheap but attractive curtains on wires at once brightened the room and shut each man's "bedroom" from the main hall. The deacon seat remained but was supplemented by a half-dozen simple and comfortable chairs. In the center of the room stood a big round table over which glowed two hanging lamps. The table was littered with papers and magazines. Home life was still further suggested by a canary bird in a gilt cage, a sleepy cat, and two pots of red geraniums. Thorpe had further imported a washerwoman who dwelt in a separate little cabin under the hill. She washed the men's belongings at twenty-five cents a week, which amount Thorpe deducted from each man's wages, whether he had the washing done or not. This encouraged cleanliness. Phil scrubbed out every day, while the men were in the woods. </p> <p> Such was Thorpe's famous Camp One in the days of its splendor. Old woodsmen will still tell you about it, with a longing reminiscent glimmer in the corners of their eyes as they recall its glories and the men who worked in it. To have "put in" a winter in Camp One was the mark of a master; and the ambition of every raw recruit to the forest. Probably Thorpe's name is remembered to-day more on account of the intrepid, skillful, loyal men his strange genius gathered about it, than for the herculean feat of having carved a great fortune from the wilderness in but five years' time. </p> <p> But Camp One was a privilege. A man entered it only after having proved himself; he remained in it only as long as his efficiency deserved the honor. Its members were invariably recruited from one of the other four camps; never from applicants who had not been in Thorpe's employ. A raw man was sent to Scotty, or Jack Hyland, or Radway, or Kerlie. There he was given a job, if he happened to suit, and men were needed. By and by, perhaps, when a member of Camp One fell sick or was given his time, Tim Shearer would send word to one of the other five that he needed an axman or a sawyer, or a loader, or teamster, as the case might be. The best man in the other camps was sent up. </p> <p> So Shearer was foreman of a picked crew. Probably no finer body of men was ever gathered at one camp. In them one could study at his best the American pioneer. It was said at that time that you had never seen logging done as it should be until you had visited Thorpe's Camp One on the Ossawinamakee. </p> <p> Of these men Thorpe demanded one thing&mdash;success. He tried never to ask of them anything he did not believe to be thoroughly possible; but he expected always that in some manner, by hook or crook, they would carry the affair through. No matter how good the excuse, it was never accepted. Accidents would happen, there as elsewhere; a way to arrive in spite of them always exists, if only a man is willing to use his wits, unflagging energy, and time. Bad luck is a reality; but much of what is called bad luck is nothing but a want of careful foresight, and Thorpe could better afford to be harsh occasionally to the genuine for the sake of eliminating the false. If a man failed, he left Camp One. </p> <p> The procedure was very simple. Thorpe never explained his reasons even to Shearer. </p> <p> "Ask Tom to step in a moment," he requested of the latter. </p> <p> "Tom," he said to that individual, "I think I can use you better at Four. Report to Kerlie there." </p> <p> And strangely enough, few even of these proud and independent men ever asked for their time, or preferred to quit rather than to work up again to the glories of their prize camp. </p> <p> For while new recruits were never accepted at Camp One, neither was a man ever discharged there. He was merely transferred to one of the other foremen. </p> <p> It is necessary to be thus minute in order that the reader may understand exactly the class of men Thorpe had about his immediate person. Some of them had the reputation of being the hardest citizens in three States, others were mild as turtle doves. They were all pioneers. They had the independence, the unabashed eye, the insubordination even, of the man who has drawn his intellectual and moral nourishment at the breast of a wild nature. They were afraid of nothing alive. From no one, were he chore-boy or president, would they take a single word&mdash;with the exception always of Tim Shearer and Thorpe. </p> <p> The former they respected because in their picturesque guild he was a master craftsman. The latter they adored and quoted and fought for in distant saloons, because he represented to them their own ideal, what they would be if freed from the heavy gyves of vice and executive incapacity that weighed them down. </p> <p> And they were loyal. It was a point of honor with them to stay "until the last dog was hung." He who deserted in the hour of need was not only a renegade, but a fool. For he thus earned a magnificent licking if ever he ran up against a member of the "Fighting Forty." A band of soldiers they were, ready to attempt anything their commander ordered, devoted, enthusiastically admiring. And, it must be confessed, they were also somewhat on the order of a band of pirates. Marquette thought so each spring after the drive, when, hat-tilted, they surged swearing and shouting down to Denny Hogan's saloon. Denny had to buy new fixtures when they went away; but it was worth it. </p> <p> Proud! it was no name for it. Boast! the fame of Camp One spread abroad over the land, and was believed in to about twenty per cent of the anecdotes detailed of it&mdash;which was near enough the actual truth. Anecdotes disbelieved, the class of men from it would have given it a reputation. The latter was varied enough, in truth. Some people thought Camp One must be a sort of hell-hole of roaring, fighting devils. Others sighed and made rapid calculations of the number of logs they could put in, if only they could get hold of help like that. </p> <p> Thorpe himself, of course, made his headquarters at Camp One. Thence he visited at least once a week all the other camps, inspecting the minutest details, not only of the work, but of the everyday life. For this purpose he maintained a light box sleigh and pair of bays, though often, when the snow became deep, he was forced to snowshoes. </p> <p> During the five years he had never crossed the Straits of Mackinaw. The rupture with his sister had made repugnant to him all the southern country. He preferred to remain in the woods. All winter long he was more than busy at his logging. Summers he spent at the mill. Occasionally he visited Marquette, but always on business. He became used to seeing only the rough faces of men. The vision of softer graces and beauties lost its distinctness before this strong, hardy northland, whose gentler moods were like velvet over iron, or like its own summer leaves veiling the eternal darkness of the pines. </p> <p> He was happy because he was too busy to be anything else. The insistent need of success which he had created for himself, absorbed all other sentiments. He demanded it of others rigorously. He could do no less than demand it of himself. It had practically become one of his tenets of belief. The chief end of any man, as he saw it, was to do well and successfully what his life found ready. Anything to further this fore-ordained activity was good; anything else was bad. These thoughts, aided by a disposition naturally fervent and single in purpose, hereditarily ascetic and conscientious&mdash;for his mother was of old New England stock&mdash;gave to him in the course of six years' striving a sort of daily and familiar religion to which he conformed his life. </p> <p> Success, success, success. Nothing could be of more importance. Its attainment argued a man's efficiency in the Scheme of Things, his worthy fulfillment of the end for which a divine Providence had placed him on earth. Anything that interfered with it&mdash;personal comfort, inclination, affection, desire, love of ease, individual liking,&mdash;was bad. </p> <p> Luckily for Thorpe's peace of mind, his habit of looking on men as things helped him keep to this attitude of mind. His lumbermen were tools,&mdash;good, sharp, efficient tools, to be sure, but only because he had made them so. Their loyalty aroused in his breast no pride nor gratitude. He expected loyalty. He would have discharged at once a man who did not show it. The same with zeal, intelligence, effort&mdash;they were the things he took for granted. As for the admiration and affection which the Fighting Forty displayed for him personally, he gave not a thought to it. And the men knew it, and loved him the more from the fact. </p> <p> Thorpe cared for just three people, and none of them happened to clash with his machine. They were Wallace Carpenter, little Phil, and Injin Charley. </p> <p> Wallace, for reasons already explained at length, was always personally agreeable to Thorpe. Latterly, since the erection of the mill, he had developed unexpected acumen in the disposal of the season's cut to wholesale dealers in Chicago. Nothing could have been better for the firm. Thereafter he was often in the woods, both for pleasure and to get his partner's ideas on what the firm would have to offer. The entire responsibility at the city end of the business was in his hands. </p> <p> Injin Charley continued to hunt and trap in the country round about. Between him and Thorpe had grown a friendship the more solid in that its increase had been mysteriously without outward cause. Once or twice a month the lumberman would snowshoe down to the little cabin at the forks. Entering, he would nod briefly and seat himself on a cracker-box. </p> <p> "How do, Charley," said he. </p> <p> "How do," replied Charley. </p> <p> They filled pipes and smoked. At rare intervals one of them made a remark, tersely, </p> <p> "Catch um three beaver las' week," remarked Charley. </p> <p> "Good haul," commented Thorpe. </p> <p> Or: </p> <p> "I saw a mink track by the big boulder," offered Thorpe. </p> <p> "H'm!" responded Charley in a long-drawn falsetto whine. </p> <p> Yet somehow the men came to know each other better and better; and each felt that in an emergency he could depend on the other to the uttermost in spite of the difference in race. </p> <p> As for Phil, he was like some strange, shy animal, retaining all its wild instincts, but led by affection to become domestic. He drew the water, cut the wood, none better. In the evening he played atrociously his violin&mdash;none worse&mdash;bending his great white brow forward with the wolf-glare in his eyes, swaying his shoulders with a fierce delight in the subtle dissonances, the swaggering exactitude of time, the vulgar rendition of the horrible tunes he played. And often he went into the forest and gazed wondering through his liquid poet's eyes at occult things. Above all, he worshipped Thorpe. And in turn the lumberman accorded him a good-natured affection. He was as indispensable to Camp One as the beagles. </p> <p> And the beagles were most indispensable. No one could have got along without them. In the course of events and natural selection they had increased to eleven. At night they slept in the men's camp underneath or very near the stove. By daylight in the morning they were clamoring at the door. Never had they caught a hare. Never for a moment did their hopes sink. The men used sometimes to amuse themselves by refusing the requested exit. The little dogs agonized. They leaped and yelped, falling over each other like a tangle of angleworms. Then finally, when the door at last flung wide, they precipitated themselves eagerly and silently through the opening. A few moments later a single yelp rose in the direction of the swamp; the band took up the cry. From then until dark the glade was musical with baying. At supper time they returned straggling, their expression pleased, six inches of red tongue hanging from the corners of their mouths, ravenously ready for supper. </p> <p> Strangely enough the big white hares never left the swamp. Perhaps the same one was never chased two days in succession. Or it is possible that the quarry enjoyed the harmless game as much as did the little dogs. </p> <p> Once only while the snow lasted was the hunt abandoned for a few days. Wallace Carpenter announced his intention of joining forces with the diminutive hounds. </p> <p> "It's a shame, so it is, doggies!" he laughed at the tried pack. "We'll get one to-morrow." </p> <p> So he took his shotgun to the swamp, and after a half hour's wait, succeeded in killing the hare. From that moment he was the hero of those ecstacized canines. They tangled about him everywhere. He hardly dared take a step for fear of crushing one of the open faces and expectant, pleading eyes looking up at him. It grew to be a nuisance. Wallace always claimed his trip was considerably shortened because he could not get away from his admirers. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0036" id="link2HCH0036"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXXVI </h2> <p> Financially the Company was rated high, and yet was heavily in debt. This condition of affairs by no means constitutes an anomaly in the lumbering business. </p> <p> The profits of the first five years had been immediately reinvested in the business. Thorpe, with the foresight that had originally led him into this new country, saw farther than the instant's gain. He intended to establish in a few years more a big plant which would be returning benefices in proportion not only to the capital originally invested, but also in ratio to the energy, time, and genius he had himself expended. It was not the affair of a moment. It was not the affair of half-measures, of timidity. </p> <p> Thorpe knew that he could play safely, cutting a few millions a year, expanding cautiously. By this method he would arrive, but only after a long period. </p> <p> Or he could do as many other firms have done; start on borrowed money. </p> <p> In the latter case he had only one thing to fear, and that was fire. Every cent, and many times over, of his obligations would be represented in the state of raw material. All he had to do was to cut it out by the very means which the yearly profits of his business would enable him to purchase. For the moment, he owed a great deal; without the shadow of a doubt mere industry would clear his debt, and leave him with substantial acquisitions created, practically, from nothing but his own abilities. The money obtained from his mortgages was a tool which he picked up an instant, used to fashion one of his own, and laid aside. </p> <p> Every autumn the Company found itself suddenly in easy circumstances. At any moment that Thorpe had chosen to be content with the progress made, he could have, so to speak, declared dividends with his partner. Instead of undertaking more improvements, for part of which he borrowed some money, he could have divided the profits of the season's cut. But this he was not yet ready to do. </p> <p> He had established five more camps, he had acquired over a hundred and fifty million more of timber lying contiguous to his own, he had built and equipped a modern high-efficiency mill, he had constructed a harbor break-water and the necessary booms, he had bought a tug, built a boarding-house. All this costs money. He wished now to construct a logging railroad. Then he promised himself and Wallace that they would be ready to commence paying operations. </p> <p> The logging railroad was just then beginning to gain recognition. A few miles of track, a locomotive, and a number of cars consisting uniquely of wheels and "bunks," or cross beams on which to chain the logs, and a fairly well-graded right-of-way comprised the outfit. Its use obviated the necessity of driving the river&mdash;always an expensive operation. Often, too, the decking at the skidways could be dispensed with; and the sleigh hauls, if not entirely superseded for the remote districts, were entirely so in the country for a half mile on either side of the track, and in any case were greatly shortened. There obtained, too, the additional advantage of being able to cut summer and winter alike. Thus, the plant once established, logging by railroad was not only easier but cheaper. Of late years it has come into almost universal use in big jobs and wherever the nature of the country will permit. The old-fashioned, picturesque ice-road sleigh-haul will last as long as north-woods lumbering,&mdash;even in the railroad districts,&mdash;but the locomotive now does the heavy work. </p> <p> With the capital to be obtained from the following winter's product, Thorpe hoped to be able to establish a branch which should run from a point some two miles behind Camp One, to a "dump" a short distance above the mill. For this he had made all the estimates, and even the preliminary survey. He was therefore the more grievously disappointed, when Wallace Carpenter made it impossible for him to do so. </p> <p> He was sitting in the mill-office one day about the middle of July. Herrick, the engineer, had just been in. He could not keep the engine in order, although Thorpe knew that it could be done. </p> <p> "I've sot up nights with her," said Herrick, "and she's no go. I think I can fix her when my head gets all right. I got headachy lately. And somehow that last lot of Babbit metal didn't seem to act just right." </p> <p> Thorpe looked out of the window, tapping his desk slowly with the end of a lead pencil. </p> <p> "Collins," said he to the bookkeeper, without raising his voice or altering his position, "make out Herrick's time." </p> <p> The man stood there astonished. </p> <p> "But I had hard luck, sir," he expostulated. "She'll go all right now, I think." </p> <p> Thorpe turned and looked at him. </p> <p> "Herrick," he said, not unkindly, "this is the second time this summer the mill has had to close early on account of that engine. We have supplied you with everything you asked for. If you can't do it, we shall have to get a man who can." </p> <p> "But I had&mdash;" began the man once more. </p> <p> "I ask every man to succeed in what I give him to do," interrupted Thorpe. "If he has a headache, he must brace up or quit. If his Babbit doesn't act just right he must doctor it up; or get some more, even if he has to steal it. If he has hard luck, he must sit up nights to better it. It's none of my concern how hard or how easy a time a man has in doing what I tell him to. I EXPECT HIM TO DO IT. If I have to do all a man's thinking for him, I may as well hire Swedes and be done with it. I have too many details to attend to already without bothering about excuses." </p> <p> The man stood puzzling over this logic. </p> <p> "I ain't got any other job," he ventured. </p> <p> "You can go to piling on the docks," replied Thorpe, "if you want to." </p> <p> Thorpe was thus explicit because he rather liked Herrick. It was hard for him to discharge the man peremptorily, and he proved the need of justifying himself in his own eyes. </p> <p> Now he sat back idly in the clean painted little room with the big square desk and the three chairs. Through the door he could see Collins, perched on a high stool before the shelf-like desk. From the open window came the clear, musical note of the circular saw, the fresh aromatic smell of new lumber, the bracing air from Superior sparkling in the offing. He felt tired. In rare moments such as these, when the muscles of his striving relaxed, his mind turned to the past. Old sorrows rose before him and looked at him with their sad eyes; the sorrows that had helped to make him what he was. He wondered where his sister was. She would be twenty-two years old now. A tenderness, haunting, tearful, invaded his heart. He suffered. At such moments the hard shell of his rough woods life seemed to rend apart. He longed with a great longing for sympathy, for love, for the softer influences that cradle even warriors between the clangors of the battles. </p> <p> The outer door, beyond the cage behind which Collins and his shelf desk were placed, flew open. Thorpe heard a brief greeting, and Wallace Carpenter stood before him. </p> <p> "Why, Wallace, I didn't know you were coming!" began Thorpe, and stopped. The boy, usually so fresh and happily buoyant, looked ten years older. Wrinkles had gathered between his eyes. "Why, what's the matter?" cried Thorpe. </p> <p> He rose swiftly and shut the door into the outer office. Wallace seated himself mechanically. </p> <p> "Everything! everything!" he said in despair. "I've been a fool! I've been blind!" </p> <p> So bitter was his tone that Thorpe was startled. The lumberman sat down on the other side of the desk. </p> <p> "That'll do, Wallace," he said sharply. "Tell me briefly what is the matter." </p> <p> "I've been speculating!" burst out the boy. </p> <p> "Ah!" said his partner. </p> <p> "At first I bought only dividend-paying stocks outright. Then I bought for a rise, but still outright. Then I got in with a fellow who claimed to know all about it. I bought on a margin. There came a slump. I met the margins because I am sure there will be a rally, but now all my fortune is in the thing. I'm going to be penniless. I'll lose it all." </p> <p> "Ah!" said Thorpe. </p> <p> "And the name of Carpenter is so old-established, so honorable!" cried the unhappy boy, "and my sister!" </p> <p> "Easy!" warned Thorpe. "Being penniless isn't the worst thing that can happen to a man." </p> <p> "No; but I am in debt," went on the boy more calmly. "I have given notes. When they come due, I'm a goner." </p> <p> "How much?" asked Thorpe laconically. </p> <p> "Thirty thousand dollars." </p> <p> "Well, you have that amount in this firm." </p> <p> "What do you mean?" </p> <p> "If you want it, you can have it." </p> <p> Wallace considered a moment. </p> <p> "That would leave me without a cent," he replied. </p> <p> "But it would save your commercial honor." </p> <p> "Harry," cried Wallace suddenly, "couldn't this firm go on my note for thirty thousand more? Its credit is good, and that amount would save my margins." </p> <p> "You are partner," replied Thorpe, "your signature is as good as mine in this firm." </p> <p> "But you know I wouldn't do it without your consent," replied Wallace reproachfully. "Oh, Harry!" cried the boy, "when you needed the amount, I let you have it!" </p> <p> Thorpe smiled. </p> <p> "You know you can have it, if it's to be had, Wallace. I wasn't hesitating on that account. I was merely trying to figure out where we can raise such a sum as sixty thousand dollars. We haven't got it." </p> <p> "But you'll never have to pay it," assured Wallace eagerly. "If I can save my margins, I'll be all right." </p> <p> "A man has to figure on paying whatever he puts his signature to," asserted Thorpe. "I can give you our note payable at the end of a year. Then I'll hustle in enough timber to make up the amount. It means we don't get our railroad, that's all." </p> <p> "I knew you'd help me out. Now it's all right," said Wallace, with a relieved air. </p> <p> Thorpe shook his head. He was already trying to figure how to increase his cut to thirty million feet. </p> <p> "I'll do it," he muttered to himself, after Wallace had gone out to visit the mill. "I've been demanding success of others for a good many years; now I'll demand it of myself." </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_PART4" id="link2H_PART4"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> PART IV. THORPE'S DREAM GIRL </h2> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0037" id="link2HCH0037"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXXVII </h2> <p> The moment had struck for the woman. Thorpe did not know it, but it was true. A solitary, brooding life in the midst of grand surroundings, an active, strenuous life among great responsibilities, a starved, hungry life of the affections whence even the sister had withdrawn her love,&mdash;all these had worked unobtrusively towards the formation of a single psychological condition. Such a moment comes to every man. In it he realizes the beauties, the powers, the vastnesses which unconsciously his being has absorbed. They rise to the surface as a need, which, being satisfied, is projected into the visible world as an ideal to be worshipped. Then is happiness and misery beside which the mere struggle to dominate men becomes trivial, the petty striving with the forces of nature seems a little thing. And the woman he at that time meets takes on the qualities of the dream; she is more than woman, less than goddess; she is the best of that man made visible. </p> <p> Thorpe found himself for the first time filled with the spirit of restlessness. His customary iron evenness of temper was gone, so that he wandered quickly from one detail of his work to another, without seeming to penetrate below the surface-need of any one task. Out of the present his mind was always escaping to a mystic fourth dimension which he did not understand. But a week before, he had felt himself absorbed in the component parts of his enterprise, the totality of which arched far over his head, shutting out the sky. Now he was outside of it. He had, without his volition, abandoned the creator's standpoint of the god at the heart of his work. It seemed as important, as great to him, but somehow it had taken on a strange solidarity, as though he had left it a plastic beginning and returned to find it hardened into the shapes of finality. He acknowledged it admirable,&mdash;and wondered how he had ever accomplished it! He confessed that it should be finished as it had begun,&mdash;and could not discover in himself the Titan who had watched over its inception. </p> <p> Thorpe took this state of mind much to heart, and in combating it expended more energy than would have sufficed to accomplish the work. Inexorably he held himself to the task. He filled his mind full of lumbering. The millions along the bank on section nine must be cut and travoyed directly to the rollways. It was a shame that the necessity should arise. From section nine Thorpe had hoped to lighten the expenses when finally he should begin operations on the distant and inaccessible headwaters of French Creek. Now there was no help for it. The instant necessity was to get thirty millions of pine logs down the river before Wallace Carpenter's notes came due. Every other consideration had to yield before that. Fifteen millions more could be cut on seventeen, nineteen, and eleven,&mdash;regions hitherto practically untouched,&mdash;by the men in the four camps inland. Camp One and Camp Three could attend to section nine. </p> <p> These were details to which Thorpe applied his mind. As he pushed through the sun-flecked forest, laying out his roads, placing his travoy trails, spying the difficulties that might supervene to mar the fair face of honest labor, he had always this thought before him,&mdash;that he must apply his mind. By an effort, a tremendous effort, he succeeded in doing so. The effort left him limp. He found himself often standing, or moving gently, his eyes staring sightless, his mind cradled on vague misty clouds of absolute inaction, his will chained so softly and yet so firmly that he felt no strength and hardly the desire to break from the dream that lulled him. Then he was conscious of the physical warmth of the sun, the faint sweet woods smells, the soothing caress of the breeze, the sleepy cicada-like note of the pine creeper. Through his half-closed lashes the tangled sun-beams made soft-tinted rainbows. He wanted nothing so much as to sit on the pine needles there in the golden flood of radiance, and dream&mdash;dream on&mdash;vaguely, comfortably, sweetly&mdash;dream of the summer&mdash; </p> <p> Thorpe, with a mighty and impatient effort, snapped the silken cords asunder. </p> <p> "Lord, Lord!" he cried impatiently. "What's coming to me? I must be a little off my feed!" </p> <p> And he hurried rapidly to his duties. After an hour of the hardest concentration he had ever been required to bestow on a trivial subject, he again unconsciously sank by degrees into the old apathy. </p> <p> "Glad it isn't the busy season!" he commented to himself. "Here, I must quit this! Guess it's the warm weather. I'll get down to the mill for a day or two." </p> <p> There he found himself incapable of even the most petty routine work. He sat to his desk at eight o'clock and began the perusal of a sheaf of letters, comprising a certain correspondence, which Collins brought him. The first three he read carefully; the following two rather hurriedly; of the next one he seized only the salient and essential points; the seventh and eighth he skimmed; the remainder of the bundle he thrust aside in uncontrollable impatience. Next day he returned to the woods. </p> <p> The incident of the letters had aroused to the full his old fighting spirit, before which no mere instincts could stand. He clamped the iron to his actions and forced them to the way appointed. Once more his mental processes became clear and incisive, his commands direct and to the point. To all outward appearance Thorpe was as before. </p> <p> He opened Camp One, and the Fighting Forty came back from distant drinking joints. This was in early September, when the raspberries were entirely done and the blackberries fairly in the way of vanishing. That able-bodied and devoted band of men was on hand when needed. Shearer, in some subtle manner of his own, had let them feel that this year meant thirty million or "bust." They tightened their leather belts and stood ready for commands. Thorpe set them to work near the river, cutting roads along the lines he had blazed to the inland timber on seventeen and nineteen. After much discussion with Shearer the young man decided to take out the logs from eleven by driving them down French Creek. </p> <p> To this end a gang was put to clearing the creekbed. It was a tremendous job. Centuries of forest life had choked the little stream nearly to the level of its banks. Old snags and stumps lay imbedded in the ooze; decayed trunks, moss-grown, blocked the current; leaning tamaracks, fallen timber, tangled vines, dense thickets gave to its course more the appearance of a tropical jungle than of a north country brook-bed. All these things had to be removed, one by one, and either piled to one side or burnt. In the end, however, it would pay. French Creek was not a large stream, but it could be driven during the time of the spring freshets. </p> <p> Each night the men returned in the beautiful dreamlike twilight to the camp. There they sat, after eating, smoking their pipes in the open air. Much of the time they sang, while Phil, crouching wolf-like over his violin, rasped out an accompaniment of dissonances. From a distance it softened and fitted pleasantly into the framework of the wilderness. The men's voices lent themselves well to the weird minor strains of the chanteys. These times&mdash;when the men sang, and the night-wind rose and died in the hemlock tops&mdash;were Thorpe's worst moments. His soul, tired with the day's iron struggle, fell to brooding. Strange thoughts came to him, strange visions. He wanted something he knew not what; he longed, and thrilled, and aspired to a greater glory than that of brave deeds, a softer comfort than his old foster mother, the wilderness, could bestow. </p> <p> The men were singing in a mighty chorus, swaying their heads in unison, and bringing out with a roar the emphatic words of the crude ditties written by some genius from their own ranks. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "Come all ye sons of freedom throughout old Michigan, Come all ye gallant lumbermen, list to a shanty man. On the banks of the Muskegon, where the rapid waters flow, OH!&mdash;we'll range the wild woods o'er while a-lumbering we go." </pre> <p> Here was the bold unabashed front of the pioneer, here was absolute certainty in the superiority of his calling,&mdash;absolute scorn of all others. Thorpe passed his hand across his brow. The same spirit was once fully and freely his. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "The music of our burnished ax shall make the woods resound, And many a lofty ancient pine will tumble to the ground. At night around our shanty fire we'll sing while rude winds blow, OH!&mdash;we'll range the wild woods o'er while a-lumbering we go!" </pre> <p> That was what he was here for. Things were going right. It would be pitiful to fail merely on account of this idiotic lassitude, this unmanly weakness, this boyish impatience and desire for play. He a woodsman! He a fellow with these big strong men! </p> <p> A single voice, clear and high, struck into a quick measure: </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "I am a jolly shanty boy, As you will soon discover; To all the dodges I am fly, A hustling pine-woods rover. A peavey-hook it is my pride, An ax I well can handle. To fell a tree or punch a bull, Get rattling Danny Randall." </pre> <p> And then with a rattle and crash the whole Fighting Forty shrieked out the chorus: </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "Bung yer eye! bung yer eye!" </pre> <p> Active, alert, prepared for any emergency that might arise; hearty, ready for everything, from punching bulls to felling trees&mdash;that was something like! Thorpe despised himself. The song went on. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "I love a girl in Saginaw, She lives with her mother. I defy all Michigan To find such another. She's tall and slim, her hair is red, Her face is plump and pretty. She's my daisy Sunday best-day girl, And her front name stands for Kitty." </pre> <p> And again as before the Fighting Forty howled truculently: </p> <p> "Bung yer eye! bung yer eye!" </p> <p> The words were vulgar, the air a mere minor chant. Yet Thorpe's mind was stilled. His aroused subconsciousness had been engaged in reconstructing these men entire as their songs voiced rudely the inner characteristics of their beings. Now his spirit halted, finger on lip. Their bravery, pride of caste, resource, bravado, boastfulness,&mdash;all these he had checked off approvingly. Here now was the idea of the Mate. Somewhere for each of them was a "Kitty," a "daisy Sunday best-day girl"; the eternal feminine; the softer side; the tenderness, beauty, glory of even so harsh a world as they were compelled to inhabit. At the present or in the past these woods roisterers, this Fighting Forty, had known love. Thorpe arose abruptly and turned at random into the forest. The song pursued him as he went, but he heard only the clear sweet tones, not the words. And yet even the words would have spelled to his awakened sensibilities another idea,&mdash;would have symbolized however rudely, companionship and the human delight of acting a part before a woman. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "I took her to a dance one night, A mossback gave the bidding&mdash; Silver Jack bossed the shebang, and Big Dan played the fiddle. We danced and drank the livelong night With fights between the dancing, Till Silver Jack cleaned out the ranch And sent the mossbacks prancing." </pre> <p> And with the increasing war and turmoil of the quick water the last shout of the Fighting Forty mingled faintly and was lost. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "Bung yer eye! bung yer eye!" </pre> <p> Thorpe found himself at the edge of the woods facing a little glade into which streamed the radiance of a full moon. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0038" id="link2HCH0038"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXXVIII </h2> <p> There he stood and looked silently, not understanding, not caring to inquire. Across the way a white-throat was singing, clear, beautiful, like the shadow of a dream. The girl stood listening. </p> <p> Her small fair head was inclined ever so little sideways and her finger was on her lips as though she wished to still the very hush of night, to which impression the inclination of her supple body lent its grace. The moonlight shone full upon her countenance. A little white face it was, with wide clear eyes and a sensitive, proud mouth that now half parted like a child's. Here eyebrows arched from her straight nose in the peculiarly graceful curve that falls just short of pride on the one side and of power on the other, to fill the eyes with a pathos of trust and innocence. The man watching could catch the poise of her long white neck and the molten moon-fire from her tumbled hair,&mdash;the color of corn-silk, but finer. </p> <p> And yet these words meant nothing. A painter might have caught her charm, but he must needs be a poet as well,&mdash;and a great poet, one capable of grandeurs and subtleties. </p> <p> To the young man standing there rapt in the spell of vague desire, of awakened vision, she seemed most like a flower or a mist. He tried to find words to formulate her to himself, but did not succeed. Always it came back to the same idea&mdash;the flower and the mist. Like the petals of a flower most delicate was her questioning, upturned face; like the bend of a flower most rare the stalk of her graceful throat; like the poise of a flower most dainty the attitude of her beautiful, perfect body sheathed in a garment that outlined each movement, for the instant in suspense. Like a mist the glimmering of her skin, the shining of her hair, the elusive moonlike quality of her whole personality as she stood there in the ghost-like clearing listening, her fingers on her lips. </p> <p> Behind her lurked the low, even shadow of the forest where the moon was not, a band of velvet against which the girl and the light-touched twigs and bushes and grass blades were etched like frost against a black window pane. There was something, too, of the frost-work's evanescent spiritual quality in the scene,&mdash;as though at any moment, with a puff of the balmy summer wind, the radiant glade, the hovering figure, the filagreed silver of the entire setting would melt into the accustomed stern and menacing forest of the northland, with its wolves, and its wild deer, and the voices of its sterner calling. </p> <p> Thorpe held his breath and waited. Again the white-throat lifted his clear, spiritual note across the brightness, slow, trembling with. The girl never moved. She stood in the moonlight like a beautiful emblem of silence, half real, half fancy, part woman, wholly divine, listening to the little bird's message. </p> <p> For the third time the song shivered across the night, then Thorpe with a soft sob, dropped his face in his hands and looked no more. </p> <p> He did not feel the earth beneath his knees, nor the whip of the sumach across his face; he did not see the moon shadows creep slowly along the fallen birch; nor did he notice that the white-throat had hushed its song. His inmost spirit was shaken. Something had entered his soul and filled it to the brim, so that he dared no longer stand in the face of radiance until he had accounted with himself. Another drop would overflow the cup. </p> <p> Ah, sweet God, the beauty of it, the beauty of it! That questing, childlike starry gaze, seeking so purely to the stars themselves! That flower face, those drooping, half parted lips! That inexpressible, unseizable something they had meant! Thorpe searched humbly&mdash;eagerly&mdash;then with agony through his troubled spirit, and in its furthermost depths saw the mystery as beautifully remote as ever. It approached and swept over him and left him gasping passion-racked. Ah, sweet God, the beauty of it! the beauty of it! the vision! the dream! </p> <p> He trembled and sobbed with his desire to seize it, with his impotence to express it, with his failure even to appreciate it as his heart told him it should be appreciated. </p> <p> He dared not look. At length he turned and stumbled back through the moonlit forest crying on his old gods in vain. </p> <p> At the banks of the river he came to a halt. There in the velvet pines the moonlight slept calmly, and the shadows rested quietly under the breezeless sky. Near at hand the river shouted as ever its cry of joy over the vitality of life, like a spirited boy before the face of inscrutable nature. All else was silence. Then from the waste boomed a strange, hollow note, rising, dying, rising again, instinct with the spirit of the wilds. It fell, and far away sounded a heavy but distant crash. The cry lifted again. It was the first bull moose calling across the wilderness to his mate. </p> <p> And then, faint but clear down the current of a chance breeze drifted the chorus of the Fighting Forty. </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> "The forests so brown at our stroke go down, And cities spring up where they fell; While logs well run and work well done Is the story the shanty boys tell." </pre> <p> Thorpe turned from the river with a thrust forward of his head. He was not a religious man, and in his six years' woods experience had never been to church. Now he looked up over the tops of the pines to where the Pleiades glittered faintly among the brighter stars. </p> <p> "Thanks, God," said he briefly. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0039" id="link2HCH0039"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXXIX </h2> <p> For several days this impression satisfied him completely. He discovered, strangely enough, that his restlessness had left him, that once more he was able to give to his work his former energy and interest. It was as though some power had raised its finger and a storm had stilled, leaving calm, unruffled skies. </p> <p> He did not attempt to analyze this; he did not even make an effort to contemplate it. His critical faculty was stricken dumb and it asked no questions of him. At a touch his entire life had changed. Reality or vision, he had caught a glimpse of something so entirely different from anything his imagination or experience had ever suggested to him, that at first he could do no more than permit passively its influences to adjust themselves to his being. </p> <p> Curiosity, speculation, longing,&mdash;all the more active emotions remained in abeyance while outwardly, for three days, Harry Thorpe occupied himself only with the needs of the Fighting Forty at Camp One. </p> <p> In the early morning he went out with the gang. While they chopped or heaved, he stood by serene. Little questions of expediency he solved. Dilemmas he discussed leisurely with Tim Shearer. Occasionally he lent a shoulder when the peaveys lacked of prying a stubborn log from its bed. Not once did he glance at the nooning sun. His patience was quiet and sure. When evening came he smoked placidly outside the office, listening to the conversation and laughter of the men, caressing one of the beagles, while the rest slumbered about his feet, watching dreamily the night shadows and the bats. At about nine o'clock he went to bed, and slept soundly. He was vaguely conscious of a great peace within him, a great stillness of the spirit, against which the metallic events of his craft clicked sharply in vivid relief. It was the peace and stillness of a river before it leaps. </p> <p> Little by little the condition changed. The man felt vague stirrings of curiosity. He speculated aimlessly as to whether or not the glade, the moonlight, the girl, had been real or merely the figments of imagination. Almost immediately the answer leaped at him from his heart. Since she was so certainly flesh and blood, whence did she come? what was she doing there in the wilderness? His mind pushed the query aside as unimportant, rushing eagerly to the essential point: When could he see her again? How find for the second time the vision before which his heart felt the instant need of prostrating itself. His placidity had gone. That morning he made some vague excuse to Shearer and set out blindly down the river. </p> <p> He did not know where he was going, any more than did the bull moose plunging through the trackless wilderness to his mate. Instinct, the instinct of all wild natural creatures, led him. And so, without thought, without clear intention even,&mdash;most would say by accident,&mdash;he saw her again. It was near the "pole trail"; which was less like a trail than a rail-fence. </p> <p> For when the snows are deep and snowshoes not the property of every man who cares to journey, the old-fashioned "pole trail" comes into use. It is merely a series of horses built of timber across which thick Norway logs are laid, about four feet from the ground, to form a continuous pathway. A man must be a tight-rope walker to stick to the pole trail when ice and snow have sheathed its logs. If he makes a misstep, he is precipitated ludicrously into feathery depths through which he must flounder to the nearest timber horse before he can remount. In summer, as has been said, it resembles nothing so much as a thick one-rail fence of considerable height, around which a fringe of light brush has grown. </p> <p> Thorpe reached the fringe of bushes, and was about to dodge under the fence, when he saw her. So he stopped short, concealed by the leaves and the timber horse. </p> <p> She stood on a knoll in the middle of a grove of monster pines. There was something of the cathedral in the spot. A hush dwelt in the dusk, the long columns lifted grandly to the Roman arches of the frond, faint murmurings stole here and there like whispering acolytes. The girl stood tall and straight among the tall, straight pines like a figure on an ancient tapestry. She was doing nothing&mdash;just standing there&mdash;but the awe of the forest was in her wide, clear eyes. </p> <p> The great sweet feeling clutched the young man's throat again. But while the other,&mdash;the vision of the frost-work glade and the spirit-like figure of silence,&mdash;had been unreal and phantasmagoric, this was of the earth. He looked, and looked, and looked again. He saw the full pure curve of her cheek's contour, neither oval nor round, but like the outline of a certain kind of plum. He appreciated the half-pathetic downward droop of the corners of her mouth,&mdash;her red mouth in dazzling, bewitching contrast to the milk-whiteness of her skin. He caught the fineness of her nose, straight as a Grecian's, but with some faint suggestion about the nostrils that hinted at piquance. And the waving corn silk of her altogether charming and unruly hair, the superb column of her long neck on which her little head poised proudly like a flower, her supple body, whose curves had the long undulating grace of the current in a swift river, her slender white hand with the pointed fingers&mdash;all these he saw one after the other, and his soul shouted within him at the sight. He wrestled with the emotions that choked him. "Ah, God! Ah, God!" he cried softly to himself like one in pain. He, the man of iron frame, of iron nerve, hardened by a hundred emergencies, trembled in every muscle before a straight, slender girl, clad all in brown, standing alone in the middle of the ancient forest. </p> <p> In a moment she stirred slightly, and turned. Drawing herself to her full height, she extended her hands over her head palm outward, and, with an indescribably graceful gesture, half mockingly bowed a ceremonious adieu to the solemn trees. Then with a little laugh she moved away in the direction of the river. </p> <p> At once Thorpe proved a great need of seeing her again. In his present mood there was nothing of the awe-stricken peace he had experienced after the moonlight adventure. He wanted the sight of her as he had never wanted anything before. He must have it, and he looked about him fiercely as though to challenge any force in Heaven or Hell that would deprive him of it. His eyes desired to follow the soft white curve of her cheek, to dance with the light of her corn-silk hair, to delight in the poetic movements of her tall, slim body, to trace the full outline of her chin, to wonder at the carmine of her lips, red as a blood-spot on the snow. These things must be at once. The strong man desired it. And finding it impossible, he raged inwardly and tore the tranquillities of his heart, as on the shores of the distant Lake of Stars, the bull-moose trampled down the bushes in his passion. </p> <p> So it happened that he ate hardly at all that day, and slept ill, and discovered the greatest difficulty in preserving the outward semblance of ease which the presence of Tim Shearer and the Fighting Forty demanded. </p> <p> And next day he saw her again, and the next, because the need of his heart demanded it, and because, simply enough, she came every afternoon to the clump of pines by the old pole trail. </p> <p> Now had Thorpe taken the trouble to inquire, he could have learned easily enough all there was to be known of the affair. But he did not take the trouble. His consciousness was receiving too many new impressions, so that in a manner it became bewildered. At first, as has been seen, the mere effect of the vision was enough; then the sight of the girl sufficed him. But now curiosity awoke and a desire for something more. He must speak to her, touch her hand, look into her eyes. He resolved to approach her, and the mere thought choked him and sent him weak. </p> <p> When he saw her again from the shelter of the pole trail, he dared not, and so stood there prey to a novel sensation,&mdash;that of being baffled in an intention. It awoke within him a vast passion compounded part of rage at himself, part of longing for that which he could not take, but most of love for the girl. As he hesitated in one mind but in two decisions, he saw that she was walking slowly in his direction. </p> <p> Perhaps a hundred paces separated the two. She took them deliberately, pausing now and again to listen, to pluck a leaf, to smell the fragrant balsam and fir tops as she passed them. Her progression was a series of poses, the one of which melted imperceptibly into the other without appreciable pause of transition. So subtly did her grace appeal to the sense of sight, that out of mere sympathy the other senses responded with fictions of their own. Almost could the young man behind the trail savor a faint fragrance, a faint music that surrounded and preceded her like the shadows of phantoms. He knew it as an illusion, born of his desire, and yet it was a noble illusion, for it had its origin in her. </p> <p> In a moment she had reached the fringe of brush about the pole trail. They stood face to face. </p> <p> She gave a little start of surprise, and her hand leaped to her breast, where it caught and stayed. Her childlike down-drooping mouth parted a little more, and the breath quickened through it. But her eyes, her wide, trusting, innocent eyes, sought his and rested. </p> <p> He did not move. The eagerness, the desire, the long years of ceaseless struggle, the thirst for affection, the sob of awe at the moonlit glade, the love,&mdash;all these flamed in his eyes and fixed his gaze in an unconscious ardor that had nothing to do with convention or timidity. One on either side of the spike-marked old Norway log of the trail they stood, and for an appreciable interval the duel of their glances lasted,&mdash;he masterful, passionate, exigent; she proud, cool, defensive in the aloofness of her beauty. Then at last his prevailed. A faint color rose from her neck, deepened, and spread over her face and forehead. In a moment she dropped her eyes. </p> <p> "Don't you think you stare a little rudely&mdash;Mr. Thorpe?" she asked. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0040" id="link2HCH0040"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XL </h2> <p> The vision was over, but the beauty remained. The spoken words of protest made her a woman. Never again would she, nor any other creature of the earth, appear to Thorpe as she had in the silver glade or the cloistered pines. He had had his moment of insight. The deeps had twice opened to permit him to look within. Now they had closed again. But out of them had fluttered a great love and the priestess of it. Always, so long as life should be with him, Thorpe was destined to see in this tall graceful girl with the red lips and the white skin and the corn-silk hair, more beauty, more of the great mysterious spiritual beauty which is eternal, than her father or her mother or her dearest and best. For to them the vision had not been vouchsafed, while he had seen her as the highest symbol of God's splendor. </p> <p> Now she stood before him, her head turned half away, a faint flush still tingeing the chalk-white of her skin, watching him with a dim, half-pleading smile in expectation of his reply. </p> <p> "Ah, moon of my soul! light of my life!" he cried, but he cried it within him, though it almost escaped his vigilance to his lips. What he really said sounded almost harsh in consequence. </p> <p> "How did you know my name?" he asked. </p> <p> She planted both elbows on the Norway and framed her little face deliciously with her long pointed hands. </p> <p> "If Mr. Harry Thorpe can ask that question," she replied, "he is not quite so impolite as I had thought him." </p> <p> "If you don't stop pouting your lips, I shall kiss them!" cried Harry&mdash;to himself. </p> <p> "How is that?" he inquired breathlessly. </p> <p> "Don't you know who I am?" she asked in return. </p> <p> "A goddess, a beautiful woman!" he answered ridiculously enough. </p> <p> She looked straight at him. This time his gaze dropped. </p> <p> "I am a friend of Elizabeth Carpenter, who is Wallace Carpenter's sister, who I believe is Mr. Harry Thorpe's partner." </p> <p> She paused as though for comment. The young man opposite was occupied in many other more important directions. Some moments later the words trickled into his brain, and some moments after that he realized their meaning. </p> <p> "We wrote Mr. Harry Thorpe that we were about to descend on his district with wagons and tents and Indians and things, and asked him to come and see us." </p> <p> "Ah, heart o' mine, what clear, pure eyes she has! How they look at a man to drown his soul!" </p> <p> Which, even had it been spoken, was hardly the comment one would have expected. </p> <p> The girl looked at him for a moment steadily, then smiled. The change of countenance brought Thorpe to himself, and at the same moment the words she had spoken reached his comprehension. </p> <p> "But I never received the letter. I'm so sorry," said he. "It must be at the mill. You see, I've been up in the woods for nearly a month." </p> <p> "Then we'll have to forgive you." </p> <p> "But I should think they would have done something for you at the mill&mdash;" </p> <p> "Oh, we didn't come by way of your mill. We drove from Marquette." </p> <p> "I see," cried Thorpe, enlightened. "But I'm sorry I didn't know. I'm sorry you didn't let me know. I suppose you thought I was still at the mill. How did you get along? Is Wallace with you?" </p> <p> "No," she replied, dropping her hands and straightening her erect figure. "It's horrid. He was coming, and then some business came up and he couldn't get away. We are having the loveliest time though. I do adore the woods. Come," she cried impatiently, sweeping aside to leave a way clear, "you shall meet my friends." </p> <p> Thorpe imagined she referred to the rest of the tenting party. He hesitated. </p> <p> "I am hardly in fit condition," he objected. </p> <p> She laughed, parting her red lips. "You are extremely picturesque just as you are," she said with rather embarrassing directness. "I wouldn't have you any different for the world. But my friends don't mind. They are used to it." She laughed again. </p> <p> Thorpe crossed the pole trail, and for the first time found himself by her side. The warm summer odors were in the air, a dozen lively little birds sang in the brush along the rail, the sunlight danced and flickered through the openings. </p> <p> Then suddenly they were among the pines, and the air was cool, the vista dim, and the bird songs inconceivably far away. </p> <p> The girl walked directly to the foot of a pine three feet through, and soaring up an inconceivable distance through the still twilight. </p> <p> "This is Jimmy," said she gravely. "He is a dear good old rough bear when you don't know him, but he likes me. If you put your ear close against him," she confided, suiting the action to the word, "you can hear him talking to himself. This little fellow is Tommy. I don't care so much for Tommy because he's sticky. Still, I like him pretty well, and here's Dick, and that's Bob, and the one just beyond is Jack." </p> <p> "Where is Harry?" asked Thorpe. </p> <p> "I thought one in a woods was quite sufficient," she replied with the least little air of impertinence. </p> <p> "Why do you name them such common, everyday names?" he inquired. </p> <p> "I'll tell you. It's because they are so big and grand themselves, that it did not seem to me they needed high-sounding names. What do you think?" she begged with an appearance of the utmost anxiety. </p> <p> Thorpe expressed himself as in agreement. As the half-quizzical conversation progressed, he found their relations adjusting themselves with increasing rapidity. He had been successively the mystic devotee before his vision, the worshipper before his goddess; now he was unconsciously assuming the attitude of the lover before his mistress. It needs always this humanizing touch to render the greatest of all passions livable. </p> <p> And as the human element developed, he proved at the same time greater and greater difficulty in repressing himself and greater and greater fear of the results in case he should not do so. He trembled with the desire to touch her long slender hand, and as soon as his imagination had permitted him that much he had already crushed her to him and had kissed passionately her starry face. Words hovered on his lips longing for flight. He withheld them by an effort that left him almost incoherent, for he feared with a deadly fear lest he lose forever what the vision had seemed to offer to his hand. </p> <p> So he said little, and that lamely, for he dreaded to say too much. To her playful sallies he had no riposte. And in consequence he fell more silent with another boding&mdash;that he was losing his cause outright for lack of a ready word. </p> <p> He need not have been alarmed. A woman in such a case hits as surely as a man misses. Her very daintiness and preciosity of speech indicated it. For where a man becomes stupid and silent, a woman covers her emotions with words and a clever speech. Not in vain is a proud-spirited girl stared down in such a contest of looks; brave deeds simply told by a friend are potent to win interest in advance; a straight, muscular figure, a brown skin, a clear, direct eye, a carriage of power and acknowledged authority, strike hard at a young imagination; a mighty passion sweeps aside the barriers of the heart. Such a victory, such a friend, such a passion had Thorpe. </p> <p> And so the last spoken exchange between them meant nothing; but if each could have read the unsaid words that quivered on the other's heart, Thorpe would have returned to the Fighting Forty more tranquilly, while she would probably not have returned to the camping party at all for a number of hours. </p> <p> "I do not think you had better come with me," she said. "Make your call and be forgiven on your own account. I don't want to drag you in at my chariot wheels." </p> <p> "All right. I'll come this afternoon," Thorpe had replied. </p> <p> "I love her, I must have her. I must go&mdash;at once," his soul had cried, "quick&mdash;now&mdash;before I kiss her!" </p> <p> "How strong he is," she said to herself, "how brave-looking; how honest! He is different from the other men. He is magnificent." </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0041" id="link2HCH0041"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLI </h2> <p> That afternoon Thorpe met the other members of the party, offered his apologies and explanations, and was graciously forgiven. He found the personnel to consist of, first of all, Mrs. Cary, the chaperone, a very young married woman of twenty-two or thereabouts; her husband, a youth of three years older, clean-shaven, light-haired, quiet-mannered; Miss Elizabeth Carpenter, who resembled her brother in the characteristics of good-looks, vivacious disposition and curly hair; an attendant satellite of the masculine persuasion called Morton; and last of all the girl whom Thorpe had already so variously encountered and whom he now met as Miss Hilda Farrand. Besides these were Ginger, a squab negro built to fit the galley of a yacht; and three Indian guides. They inhabited tents, which made quite a little encampment. </p> <p> Thorpe was received with enthusiasm. Wallace Carpenter's stories of his woods partner, while never doing more than justice to the truth, had been of a warm color tone. One and all owned a lively curiosity to see what a real woodsman might be like. When he proved to be handsome and well mannered, as well as picturesque, his reception was no longer in doubt. </p> <p> Nothing could exceed his solicitude as to their comfort and amusement. He inspected personally the arrangement of the tents, and suggested one or two changes conducive to the littler comforts. This was not much like ordinary woods-camping. The largest wall-tent contained three folding cots for the women, over which, in the daytime, were flung bright-colored Navajo blankets. Another was spread on the ground. Thorpe later, however, sent over two bear skins, which were acknowledgedly an improvement. To the tent pole a mirror of size was nailed, and below it stood a portable washstand. The second tent, devoted to the two men, was not quite so luxurious; but still boasted of little conveniences the true woodsman would never consider worth the bother of transporting. The third, equally large, was the dining tent. The other three, smaller, and on the A tent order, served respectively as sleeping rooms for Ginger and the Indians, and as a general store-house for provisions and impedimenta. </p> <p> Thorpe sent an Indian to Camp One for the bearskins, put the rest to digging a trench around the sleeping tents in order that a rain storm might not cause a flood, and ordered Ginger to excavate a square hole some feet deep which he intended to utilize as a larder. </p> <p> Then he gave Morton and Cary hints as to the deer they wished to capture, pointed out the best trout pools, and issued advice as to the compassing of certain blackberries, not far distant. </p> <p> Simple things enough they were to do&mdash;it was as though a city man were to direct a newcomer to Central Park, or impart to him a test for the destinations of trolley lines&mdash;yet Thorpe's new friends were profoundly impressed with his knowledge of occult things. The forest was to them, as to most, more or less of a mystery, unfathomable except to the favored of genius. A man who could interpret it, even a little, into the speech of everyday comfort and expediency possessed a strong claim to their imaginations. When he had finished these practical affairs, they wanted him to sit down and tell them more things, to dine with them, to smoke about their camp fire in the evening. But here they encountered a decided check. Thorpe became silent, almost morose. He talked in monosyllables, and soon went away. They did not know what to make of him, and so were, of course, the more profoundly interested. The truth was, his habitual reticence would not have permitted a great degree of expansion in any case, but now the presence of Hilda made any but an attitude of hushed waiting for her words utterly impossible to him. He wished well to them all. If there was anything he could do for them, he would gladly undertake it. But he would not act the lion nor tell of his, to them, interesting adventures. </p> <p> However, when he discovered that Hilda had ceased visiting the clump of pines near the pole trail, his desire forced him back among these people. He used to walk in swiftly at almost any time of day, casting quick glances here and there in search of his divinity. </p> <p> "How do, Mrs. Cary," he would say. "Nice weather. Enjoying yourself?" </p> <p> On receiving the reply he would answer heartily, "That's good!" and lapse into silence. When Hilda was about he followed every movement of hers with his eyes, so that his strange conduct lacked no explanation nor interpretation, in the minds of the women at least. Thrice he redeemed his reputation for being an interesting character by conducting the party on little expeditions here and there about the country. Then his woodcraft and resourcefulness spoke for him. They asked him about the lumbering operations, but he seemed indifferent. </p> <p> "Nothing to interest you," he affirmed. "We're just cutting roads now. You ought to be here for the drive." </p> <p> To him there was really nothing interesting in the cutting of roads nor the clearing of streams. It was all in a day's work. </p> <p> Once he took them over to see Camp One. They were immensely pleased, and were correspondingly loud in exclamations. Thorpe's comments were brief and dry. After the noon dinner he had the unfortunate idea of commending the singing of one of the men. </p> <p> "Oh, I'd like to hear him," cried Elizabeth Carpenter. "Can't you get him to sing for us, Mr. Thorpe?" </p> <p> Thorpe went to the men's camp, where he singled out the unfortunate lumber-jack in question. </p> <p> "Come on, Archie," he said. "The ladies want to hear you sing." </p> <p> The man objected, refused, pleaded, and finally obeyed what amounted to a command. Thorpe reentered the office with triumph, his victim in tow. </p> <p> "This is Archie Harris," he announced heartily. "He's our best singer just now. Take a chair, Archie." </p> <p> The man perched on the edge of the chair and looked straight out before him. </p> <p> "Do sing for us, won't you, Mr. Harris?" requested Mrs. Cary in her sweetest tones. </p> <p> The man said nothing, nor moved a muscle, but turned a brick-red. An embarrassed silence of expectation ensued. </p> <p> "Hit her up, Archie," encouraged Thorpe. </p> <p> "I ain't much in practice no how," objected the man in a little voice, without moving. </p> <p> "I'm sure you'll find us very appreciative," said Elizabeth Carpenter. </p> <p> "Give us a song, Archie, let her go," urged Thorpe impatiently. </p> <p> "All right," replied the man very meekly. </p> <p> Another silence fell. It got to be a little awful. The poor woodsman, pilloried before the regards of this polite circle, out of his element, suffering cruelly, nevertheless made no sign nor movement one way or the other. At last when the situation had almost reached the breaking point of hysteria, he began. </p> <p> His voice ordinarily was rather a good tenor. Now he pitched it too high; and went on straining at the high notes to the very end. Instead of offering one of the typical woods chanteys, he conceived that before so grand an audience he should give something fancy. He therefore struck into a sentimental song of the cheap music-hall type. There were nine verses, and he drawled through them all, hanging whiningly on the nasal notes in the fashion of the untrained singer. Instead of being a performance typical of the strange woods genius, it was merely an atrocious bit of cheap sentimentalism, badly rendered. </p> <p> The audience listened politely. When the song was finished it murmured faint thanks. </p> <p> "Oh, give us 'Jack Haggerty,' Archie," urged Thorpe. </p> <p> But the woodsman rose, nodded his head awkwardly, and made his escape. He entered the men's camp, swearing, and for the remainder of the day made none but blasphemous remarks. </p> <p> The beagles, however, were a complete success. They tumbled about, and lolled their tongues, and laughed up out of a tangle of themselves in a fascinating manner. Altogether the visit to Camp One was a success, the more so in that on the way back, for the first time, Thorpe found that chance&mdash;and Mrs. Cary&mdash;had allotted Hilda to his care. </p> <p> A hundred yards down the trail they encountered Phil. The dwarf stopped short, looked attentively at the girl, and then softly approached. When quite near to her he again stopped, gazing at her with his soul in his liquid eyes. </p> <p> "You are more beautiful than the sea at night," he said directly. </p> <p> The others laughed. "There's sincerity for you, Miss Hilda," said young Mr. Morton. </p> <p> "Who is he?" asked the girl after they had moved </p> <p> "Our chore-boy," answered Thorpe with great brevity, for he was thinking of something much more important. </p> <p> After the rest of the party had gone ahead, leaving them sauntering more slowly down the trail, he gave it voice. </p> <p> "Why don't you come to the pine grove any more?" he asked bluntly. </p> <p> "Why?" countered Hilda in the manner of women. </p> <p> "I want to see you there. I want to talk with you. I can't talk with all that crowd around." </p> <p> "I'll come to-morrow," she said&mdash;then with a little mischievous laugh, "if that'll make you talk." </p> <p> "You must think I'm awfully stupid," agreed Thorpe bitterly. </p> <p> "Ah, no! Ah, no!" she protested softly. "You must not say that." </p> <p> She was looking at him very tenderly, if he had only known it, but he did not, for his face was set in discontented lines straight before him. </p> <p> "It is true," he replied. </p> <p> They walked on in silence, while gradually the dangerous fascination of the woods crept down on them. Just before sunset a hush falls on nature. The wind has died, the birds have not yet begun their evening songs, the light itself seems to have left off sparkling and to lie still across the landscape. Such a hush now lay on their spirits. Over the way a creeper was droning sleepily a little chant,&mdash;the only voice in the wilderness. In the heart of the man, too, a little voice raised itself alone. </p> <p> "Sweetheart, sweetheart, sweetheart!" it breathed over and over again. After a while he said it gently in a half voice. </p> <p> "No, no, hush!" said the girl, and she laid the soft, warm fingers of one hand across his lips, and looked at him from a height of superior soft-eyed tenderness as a woman might look at a child. "You must not. It is not right." </p> <p> Then he kissed the fingers very gently before they were withdrawn, and she said nothing at all in rebuke, but looked straight before her with troubled eyes. </p> <p> The voices of evening began to raise their jubilant notes. From a tree nearby the olive thrush sang like clockwork; over beyond carolled eagerly a black-throat, a myrtle warbler, a dozen song sparrows, and a hundred vireos and creepers. Down deep in the blackness of the ancient woods a hermit thrush uttered his solemn bell note, like the tolling of the spirit of peace. And in Thorpe's heart a thousand tumultuous voices that had suddenly roused to clamor, died into nothingness at the music of her softly protesting voice. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0042" id="link2HCH0042"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLII </h2> <p> Thorpe returned to Camp One shortly after dark. He found there Scotty Parsons, who had come up to take charge of the crew engaged in clearing French Creek. The man brought him a number of letters sent on by Collins, among which was one from Wallace Carpenter. </p> <p> After commending the camping party to his companion's care, and giving minute directions as to how and where to meet it, the young fellow went on to say that affairs were going badly on the Board. </p> <p> "Some interest that I haven't been able to make out yet has been hammering our stocks down day after day," he wrote. "I don't understand it, for the stocks are good&mdash;they rest on a solid foundation of value and intrinsically are worth more than is bid for them right now. Some powerful concern is beating them down for a purpose of its own. Sooner or later they will let up, and then we'll get things back in good shape. I am amply protected now, thanks to you, and am not at all afraid of losing my holdings. The only difficulty is that I am unable to predict exactly when the other fellows will decide that they have accomplished whatever they are about, and let up. It may not be before next year. In that case I couldn't help you out on those notes when they come due. So put in your best licks, old man. You may have to pony up for a little while, though of course sooner or later I can put it all back. Then, you bet your life, I keep out of it. Lumbering's good enough for yours truly. </p> <p> "By the way, you might shine up to Hilda Farrand and join the rest of the fortune-hunters. She's got it to throw to the birds, and in her own right. Seriously, old fellow, don't put yourself into a false position through ignorance. Not that there is any danger to a hardened old woodsman like you." </p> <p> Thorpe went to the group of pines by the pole trail the following afternoon because he had said he would, but with a new attitude of mind. He had come into contact with the artificiality of conventional relations, and it stiffened him. No wonder she had made him keep silence the afternoon before! She had done it gently and nicely, to be sure, but that was part of her good-breeding. Hilda found him formal, reserved, polite; and marvelled at it. In her was no coquetry. She was as straightforward and sincere as the look of her eyes. </p> <p> They sat down on a log. Hilda turned to him with her graceful air of confidence. </p> <p> "Now talk to me," said she. </p> <p> "Certainly," replied Thorpe in a practical tone of voice, "what do you want me to talk about?" </p> <p> She shot a swift, troubled glance at him, concluded herself mistaken, and said: </p> <p> "Tell me about what you do up here&mdash;your life&mdash;all about it." </p> <p> "Well&mdash;" replied Thorpe formally, "we haven't much to interest a girl like you. It is a question of saw logs with us"&mdash;and he went on in his dryest, most technical manner to detail the process of manufacture. It might as well have been bricks. </p> <p> The girl did not understand. She was hurt. As surely as the sun tangled in the distant pine frond, she had seen in his eyes a great passion. Now it was coldly withdrawn. </p> <p> "What has happened to you?" she asked finally out of her great sincerity. </p> <p> "Me? Nothing," replied Thorpe. </p> <p> A forced silence fell upon him. Hilda seemed gradually to lose herself in reverie. After a time she said softly. </p> <p> "Don't you love this woods?" </p> <p> "It's an excellent bunch of pine," replied Thorpe bluntly. "It'll cut three million at least." </p> <p> "Oh!" she cried drawing back, her hands pressed against the log either side of her, her eyes wide. </p> <p> After a moment she caught her breath convulsively, and Thorpe became conscious that she was studying him furtively with a quickening doubt. </p> <p> After that, by the mercy of God, there was no more talk between them. She was too hurt and shocked and disillusioned to make the necessary effort to go away. He was too proud to put an end to the position. They sat there apparently absorbed in thought, while all about them the accustomed life of the woods drew nearer and nearer to them, as the splash of their entrance into it died away. </p> <p> A red squirrel poised thirty feet above them, leaped, and clung swaying to a sapling-top a dozen yards from the tree he had quitted. Two chickadees upside down uttering liquid undertones, searched busily for insects next their heads. Wilson's warblers, pine creepers, black-throats, myrtle and magnolia warblers, oven birds, peewits, blue jays, purple finches, passed silently or noisily, each according to his kind. Once a lone spruce hen dusted herself in a stray patch of sunlight until it shimmered on a tree trunk, raised upward, and disappeared, to give place to long level dusty shafts that shot here and there through the pines laying the spell of sunset on the noisy woods brawlers. </p> <p> Unconsciously the first strain of opposition and of hurt surprise had relaxed. Each thought vaguely his thoughts. Then in the depths of the forest, perhaps near at hand, perhaps far away, a single hermit thrush began to sing. His song was of three solemn deep liquid notes; followed by a slight rhetorical pause as of contemplation; and then, deliberately, three notes more on a different key&mdash;and so on without haste and without pause. It is the most dignified, the most spiritual, the holiest of woods utterances. Combined with the evening shadows and the warm soft air, it offered to the heart an almost irresistible appeal. The man's artificial antagonism modified; the woman's disenchantment began to seem unreal. </p> <p> Then subtly over and through the bird-song another sound became audible. At first it merely repeated the three notes faintly, like an echo, but with a rich, sad undertone that brought tears. Then, timidly and still softly, it elaborated the theme, weaving in and out through the original three the glitter and shimmer of a splendid web of sound, spreading before the awakened imagination a broad river of woods-imagery that reflected on its surface all the subtler moods of the forest. The pine shadows, the calls of the wild creatures, the flow of the brook, the splashes of sunlight through the trees, the sigh of the wind, the shout of the rapid,&mdash;all these were there, distinctly to be felt in their most ethereal and beautiful forms. And yet it was all slight and tenuous as though the crack of a twig would break it through&mdash;so that over it continually like a grand full organ-tone repeated the notes of the bird itself. </p> <p> With the first sigh of the wonder-music the girl had started and caught her breath in the exquisite pleasure of it. As it went on they both forgot everything but the harmony and each other. </p> <p> "Ah, beautiful!" she murmured. </p> <p> "What is it?" he whispered marvelling. </p> <p> "A violin,&mdash;played by a master." </p> <p> The bird suddenly hushed, and at once the strain abandoned the woods-note and took another motif. At first it played softly in the higher notes, a tinkling, lightsome little melody that stirred a kindly surface-smile over a full heart. Then suddenly, without transition, it dropped to the lower register, and began to sob and wail in the full vibrating power of a great passion. </p> <p> And the theme it treated was love. It spoke solemnly, fearfully of the greatness of it, the glory. These as abstractions it amplified in fine full-breathed chords that swept the spirit up and up as on the waves of a mighty organ. Then one by one the voices of other things were heard,&mdash;the tinkling of laughter, the roar of a city, the sob of a grief, a cry of pain suddenly shooting across the sound, the clank of a machine, the tumult of a river, the puff of a steamboat, the murmuring of a vast crowd,&mdash;and one by one, without seeming in the least to change their character, they merged imperceptibly into, and were part of the grand-breathed chords, so that at last all the fames and ambitions and passions of the world came, in their apotheosis, to be only parts of the master-passion of them all. </p> <p> And while the echoes of the greater glory still swept beneath their uplifted souls like ebbing waves, so that they still sat rigid and staring with the majesty of it, the violin softly began to whisper. Beautiful it was as a spirit, beautiful beyond words, beautiful beyond thought. Its beauty struck sharp at the heart. And they two sat there hand in hand dreaming&mdash;dreaming&mdash;dreaming&mdash; </p> <p> At last the poignant ecstacy seemed slowly, slowly to die. Fainter and fainter ebbed the music. Through it as through a mist the solemn aloof forest began to show to the consciousness of the two. They sought each other's eyes gently smiling. The music was very soft and dim and sad. They leaned to each other with a sob. Their lips met. The music ceased. </p> <p> Alone in the forest side by side they looked out together for a moment into that eternal vision which lovers only are permitted to see. The shadows fell. About them brooded the inscrutable pines stretching a canopy over them enthroned. A single last shaft of the sun struck full upon them, a single light-spot in the gathering gloom. They were beautiful. </p> <p> And over behind the trees, out of the light and the love and the beauty, little Phil huddled, his great shaggy head bowed in his arms. Beside him lay his violin, and beside that his bow, broken. He had snapped it across his knee. That day he had heard at last the Heart Song of the Violin, and uttering it, had bestowed love. But in accordance with his prophecy he had that day lost what he cared for most in all the world, his friend. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0043" id="link2HCH0043"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLIII </h2> <p> That was the moon of delight. The days passed through the hazy forest like stately figures from an old masque. In the pine grove on the knoll the man and the woman had erected a temple to love, and love showed them one to the other. </p> <p> In Hilda Farrand was no guile, no coquetry, no deceit. So perfect was her naturalism that often by those who knew her least she was considered affected. Her trust in whomever she found herself with attained so directly its reward; her unconsciousness of pose was so rhythmically graceful; her ignorance and innocence so triumphantly effective, that the mind with difficulty rid itself of the belief that it was all carefully studied. This was not true. She honestly did not know that she was beautiful; was unaware of her grace; did not realize the potency of her wealth. </p> <p> This absolute lack of self-consciousness was most potent in overcoming Thorpe's natural reticence. He expanded to her. She came to idolize him in a manner at once inspiring and touching in so beautiful a creature. In him she saw reflected all the lofty attractions of character which she herself possessed, but of which she was entirely unaware. Through his words she saw to an ideal. His most trivial actions were ascribed to motives of a dignity which would have been ridiculous, if it had not been a little pathetic. The woods-life, the striving of the pioneer kindled her imagination. She seized upon the great facts of them and fitted those facts with reasons of her own. Her insight perceived the adventurous spirit, the battle-courage, the indomitable steadfastness which always in reality lie back of these men of the frontier to urge them into the life; and of them constructed conscious motives of conduct. To her fancy the lumbermen, of whom Thorpe was one, were self-conscious agents of advance. They chose hardship, loneliness, the strenuous life because they wished to clear the way for a higher civilization. To her it seemed a great and noble sacrifice. She did not perceive that while all this is true, it is under the surface, the real spur is a desire to get on, and a hope of making money. For, strangely enough, she differentiated sharply the life and the reasons for it. An existence in subduing the forest was to her ideal; the making of a fortune through a lumbering firm she did not consider in the least important. That this distinction was most potent, the sequel will show. </p> <p> In all of it she was absolutely sincere, and not at all stupid. She had always had all she could spend, without question. Money meant nothing to her, one way or the other. If need was, she might have experienced some difficulty in learning how to economize, but none at all in adjusting herself to the necessity of it. The material had become, in all sincerity, a basis for the spiritual. She recognized but two sorts of motives; of which the ideal, comprising the poetic, the daring, the beautiful, were good; and the material, meaning the sordid and selfish, were bad. With her the mere money-getting would have to be allied with some great and poetic excuse. </p> <p> That is the only sort of aristocracy, in the popular sense of the word, which is real; the only scorn of money which can be respected. </p> <p> There are some faces which symbolize to the beholder many subtleties of soul-beauty which by no other method could gain expression. Those subtleties may not, probably do not, exist in the possessor of the face. The power of such a countenance lies not so much in what it actually represents, as in the suggestion it holds out to another. So often it is with a beautiful character. Analyze it carefully, and you will reduce it generally to absolute simplicity and absolute purity&mdash;two elements common enough in adulteration; but place it face to face with a more complex personality, and mirror-like it will take on a hundred delicate shades of ethical beauty, while at the same time preserving its own lofty spirituality. </p> <p> Thus Hilda Farrand reflected Thorpe. In the clear mirror of her heart his image rested transfigured. It was as though the glass were magic, so that the gross and material was absorbed and lost, while the more spiritual qualities reflected back. So the image was retained in its entirety, but etherealized, refined. It is necessary to attempt, even thus faintly and inadequately, a sketch of Hilda's love, for a partial understanding of it is necessary to the comprehension of what followed the moon of delight. </p> <p> That moon saw a variety of changes. </p> <p> The bed of French Creek was cleared. Three of the roads were finished, and the last begun. So much for the work of it. </p> <p> Morton and Cary shot four deer between them, which was unpardonably against the law, caught fish in plenty, smoked two and a half pounds of tobacco, and read half of one novel. Mrs. Cary and Miss Carpenter walked a total of over a hundred miles, bought twelve pounds of Indian work of all sorts, embroidered the circle of two embroidery frames, learned to paddle a birch-bark canoe, picked fifteen quarts of berries, and gained six pounds in weight. All the party together accomplished five picnics, four explorations, and thirty excellent campfires in the evening. So much for the fun of it. </p> <p> Little Phil disappeared utterly, taking with him his violin, but leaving his broken bow. Thorpe has it even to this day. The lumberman caused search and inquiry on all sides. The cripple was never heard of again. He had lived his brief hour, taken his subtle artist's vengeance of misplayed notes on the crude appreciation of men too coarse-fibered to recognize it, brought together by the might of sacrifice and consummate genius two hearts on the brink of misunderstanding;&mdash;now there was no further need for him, he had gone. So much for the tragedy of it. </p> <p> "I saw you long ago," said Hilda to Thorpe. "Long, long ago, when I was quite a young girl. I had been visiting in Detroit, and was on my way all alone to catch an early train. You stood on the corner thinking, tall and straight and brown, with a weather-beaten old hat and a weather-beaten old coat and weather-beaten old moccasins, and such a proud, clear, undaunted look on your face. I have remembered you ever since." </p> <p> And then he told her of the race to the Land Office, while her eyes grew brighter and brighter with the epic splendor of the story. She told him that she had loved him from that moment&mdash;and believed her telling; while he, the unsentimental leader of men, persuaded himself and her that he had always in some mysterious manner carried her image prophetically in his heart. So much for the love of it. </p> <p> In the last days of the month of delight Thorpe received a second letter from his partner, which to some extent awakened him to the realities. </p> <p> "My dear Harry," it ran. "I have made a startling discovery. The other fellow is Morrison. I have been a blind, stupid dolt, and am caught nicely. You can't call me any more names than I have already called myself. Morrison has been in it from the start. By an accident I learned he was behind the fellow who induced me to invest, and it is he who has been hammering the stock down ever since. They couldn't lick you at your game, so they tackled me at mine. I'm not the man you are, Harry, and I've made a mess of it. Of course their scheme is plain enough on the face of it. They're going to involve me so deeply that I will drag the firm down with me. </p> <p> "If you can fix it to meet those notes, they can't do it. I have ample margin to cover any more declines they may be able to bring about. Don't fret about that. Just as sure as you can pay that sixty thousand, just so sure we'll be ahead of the game at this time next year. For God's sake get a move on you, old man. If you don't&mdash;good Lord! The firm'll bust because she can't pay; I'll bust because I'll have to let my stock go on margins&mdash;it'll be an awful smash. But you'll get there, so we needn't worry. I've been an awful fool, and I've no right to do the getting into trouble and leave you to the hard work of getting out again. But as partner I'm going to insist on your having a salary&mdash;etc." </p> <p> The news aroused all Thorpe's martial spirit. Now at last the mystery surrounding Morrison &amp; Daly's unnatural complaisance was riven. It had come to grapples again. He was glad of it. Meet those notes? Well I guess so! He'd show them what sort of a proposition they had tackled. Sneaking, underhanded scoundrels! taking advantage of a mere boy. Meet those notes? You bet he would; and then he'd go down there and boost those stocks until M. &amp; D. looked like a last year's bird's nest. He thrust the letter in his pocket and walked buoyantly to the pines. </p> <p> The two lovers sat there all the afternoon drinking in half sadly the joy of the forest and of being near each other, for the moon of delight was almost done. In a week the camping party would be breaking up, and Hilda must return to the city. It was uncertain when they would be able to see each other again, though there was talk of getting up a winter party to visit Camp One in January. The affair would be unique. </p> <p> Suddenly the girl broke off and put her fingers to her lips. For some time, dimly, an intermittent and faint sound had been felt, rather than actually heard, like the irregular muffled beating of a heart. Gradually it had insisted on the attention. Now at last it broke through the film of consciousness. </p> <p> "What is it?" she asked. </p> <p> Thorpe listened. Then his face lit mightily with the joy of battle. </p> <p> "My axmen," he cried. "They are cutting the road." </p> <p> A faint call echoed. Then without warning, nearer at hand the sharp ring of an ax sounded through the forest. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2H_PART5" id="link2H_PART5"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> PART V. THE FOLLOWING OF THE TRAIL </h2> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0044" id="link2HCH0044"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLIV </h2> <p> For a moment they sat listening to the clear staccato knocking of the distant blows, and the more forceful thuds of the man nearer at hand. A bird or so darted from the direction of the sound and shot silently into the thicket behind them. </p> <p> "What are they doing? Are they cutting lumber?" asked Hilda. </p> <p> "No," answered Thorpe, "we do not cut saw logs at this time of year. They are clearing out a road." </p> <p> "Where does it go to?" </p> <p> "Well, nowhere in particular. That is, it is a logging road that starts at the river and wanders up through the woods where the pine is." </p> <p> "How clear the axes sound. Can't we go down and watch them a little while?" </p> <p> "The main gang is a long distance away; sound carries very clearly in this still air. As for that fellow you hear so plainly, he is only clearing out small stuff to get ready for the others. You wouldn't see anything different from your Indian chopping the cordwood for your camp fire. He won't chop out any big trees." </p> <p> "Let's not go, then," said Hilda submissively. </p> <p> "When you come up in the winter," he pursued, "you will see any amount of big timber felled." </p> <p> "I would like to know more about it," she sighed, a quaint little air of childish petulance graving two lines between her eyebrows. "Do you know, Harry, you are a singularly uncommunicative sort of being. I have to guess that your life is interesting and picturesque,&mdash;that is," she amended, "I should have to do so if Wallace Carpenter had not told me a little something about it. Sometimes I think you are not nearly poet enough for the life you are living. Why, you are wonderful, you men of the north, and you let us ordinary mortals who have not the gift of divination imagine you entirely occupied with how many pounds of iron chain you are going to need during the winter." She said these things lightly as one who speaks things not for serious belief. </p> <p> "It is something that way," he agreed with a laugh. </p> <p> "Do you know, sir," she persisted, "that I really don't know anything at all about the life you lead here? From what I have seen, you might be perpetually occupied in eating things in a log cabin, and in disappearing to perform some mysterious rites in the forest." She looked at him with a smiling mouth but tender eyes, her head tilted back slightly. </p> <p> "It's a good deal that way, too," he agreed again. "We use a barrel of flour in Camp One every two and a half days!" </p> <p> She shook her head in a faint negation that only half understood what he was saying, her whole heart in her tender gaze. </p> <p> "Sit there," she breathed very softly, pointing to the dried needles on which her feet rested, but without altering the position of her head or the steadfastness of her look. </p> <p> He obeyed. </p> <p> "Now tell me," she breathed, still in the fascinated monotone. </p> <p> "What?" he inquired. </p> <p> "Your life; what you do; all about it. You must tell me a story." </p> <p> Thorpe settled himself more lazily, and laughed with quiet enjoyment. Never had he felt the expansion of a similar mood. The barrier between himself and self-expression had faded, leaving not the smallest debris of the old stubborn feeling. </p> <p> "The story of the woods," he began, "the story of the saw log. It would take a bigger man than I to tell it. I doubt if any one man ever would be big enough. It is a drama, a struggle, a battle. Those men you hear there are only the skirmishers extending the firing line. We are fighting always with Time. I'll have to hurry now to get those roads done and a certain creek cleared before the snow. Then we'll have to keep on the keen move to finish our cutting before the deep snow; to haul our logs before the spring thaws; to float them down the river while the freshet water lasts. When we gain a day we have scored a victory; when the wilderness puts us back an hour, we have suffered a defeat. Our ammunition is Time; our small shot the minutes, our heavy ordnance the hours!" </p> <p> The girl placed her hand on his shoulder. He covered it with his own. </p> <p> "But we win!" he cried. "We win!" </p> <p> "That is what I like," she said softly, "the strong spirit that wins!" She hesitated, then went on gently, "But the battlefields, Harry; to me they are dreadful. I went walking yesterday morning, before you came over, and after a while I found myself in the most awful place. The stumps of trees, the dead branches, the trunks lying all about, and the glaring hot sun over everything! Harry, there was not a single bird in all that waste, a single green thing. You don't know how it affected me so early in the morning. I saw just one lonesome pine tree that had been left for some reason or another, standing there like a sentinel. I could shut my eyes and see all the others standing, and almost hear the birds singing and the wind in the branches, just as it is here." She seized his fingers in her other hand. "Harry," she said earnestly, "I don't believe I can ever forget that experience, any more than I could have forgotten a battlefield, were I to see one. I can shut my eyes now, and can see this place our dear little wooded knoll wasted and blackened as that was." </p> <p> The man twisted his shoulder uneasily and withdrew his hand. </p> <p> "Harry," she said again, after a pause, "you must promise to leave this woods until the very last. I suppose it must all be cut down some day, but I do not want to be here to see after it is all over." </p> <p> Thorpe remained silent. </p> <p> "Men do not care much for keepsakes, do they, Harry?&mdash;they don't save letters and flowers as we girls do&mdash;but even a man can feel the value of a great beautiful keepsake such as this, can't he, dear? Our meeting-place&mdash;do you remember how I found you down there by the old pole trail, staring as though you had seen a ghost?&mdash;and that beautiful, beautiful music! It must always be our most sacred memory. Promise me you will save it until the very, very last." </p> <p> Thorpe said nothing because he could not rally his faculties. The sentimental association connected with the grove had actually never occurred to him. His keepsakes were impressions which he carefully guarded in his memory. To the natural masculine indifference toward material bits of sentiment he had added the instinct of the strictly portable early developed in the rover. He had never even possessed a photograph of his sister. Now this sudden discovery that such things might be part of the woof of another person's spiritual garment came to him ready-grown to the proportions of a problem. </p> <p> In selecting the districts for the season's cut, he had included in his estimates this very grove. Since then he had seen no reason for changing his decision. The operations would not commence until winter. By that time the lovers would no longer care to use it as at present. Now rapidly he passed in review a dozen expedients by which his plan might be modified to permit of the grove's exclusion. His practical mind discovered flaws in every one. Other bodies of timber promising a return of ten thousand dollars were not to be found near the river, and time now lacked for the cutting of roads to more distant forties. </p> <p> "Hilda," he broke in abruptly at last, "the men you hear are clearing a road to this very timber." </p> <p> "What do you mean?" she asked. </p> <p> "This timber is marked for cutting this very winter." </p> <p> She had not a suspicion of the true state of affairs. "Isn't it lucky I spoke of it!" she exclaimed. "How could you have forgotten to countermand the order! You must see to it to-day; now!" </p> <p> She sprang up impulsively and stood waiting for him. He arose more slowly. Even before he spoke her eyes dilated with the shock from her quick intuitions. </p> <p> "Hilda, I cannot," he said. </p> <p> She stood very still for some seconds. </p> <p> "Why not?" she asked quietly. </p> <p> "Because I have not time to cut a road through to another bunch of pine. It is this or nothing." </p> <p> "Why not nothing, then?" </p> <p> "I want the money this will bring." </p> <p> His choice of a verb was unfortunate. The employment of that one little word opened the girl's mind to a flood of old suspicions which the frank charm of the northland had thrust outside. Hilda Farrand was an heiress and a beautiful girl. She had been constantly reminded of the one fact by the attempts of men to use flattery of the other as a key to her heart and her fortune. From early girlhood she had been sought by the brilliant impecunious of two continents. The continued experience had varnished her self-esteem with a glaze of cynicism sufficiently consistent to protect it against any but the strongest attack. She believed in no man's protestations. She distrusted every man's motives as far as herself was concerned. This attitude of mind was not unbecoming in her for the simple reason that it destroyed none of her graciousness as regards other human relations besides that of love. That men should seek her in matrimony from a selfish motive was as much to be expected as that flies should seek the sugar bowl. She accepted the fact as one of nature's laws, annoying enough but inevitable; a thing to guard against, but not one of sufficient moment to grieve over. </p> <p> With Thorpe, however, her suspicions had been lulled. There is something virile and genuine about the woods and the men who inhabit them that strongly predisposes the mind to accept as proved in their entirety all the other virtues. Hilda had fallen into this state of mind. She endowed each of the men whom she encountered with all the robust qualities she had no difficulty in recognizing as part of nature's charm in the wilderness. Now at a word her eyes were opened to what she had done. She saw that she had assumed unquestioningly that her lover possessed the qualities of his environment. </p> <p> Not for a moment did she doubt the reality of her love. She had conceived one of those deep, uplifting passions possible only to a young girl. But her cynical experience warned her that the reality of that passion's object was not proven by any test besides the fallible one of her own poetizing imagination. The reality of the ideal she had constructed might be a vanishable quantity even though the love of it was not. So to the interview that ensued she brought, not the partiality of a loving heart, nor even the impartiality of one sitting in judgment, but rather the perverted prejudice of one who actually fears the truth. </p> <p> "Will you tell me for what you want the money?" she asked. </p> <p> The young man caught the note of distrust. At once, instinctively, his own confidence vanished. He drew within himself, again beyond the power of justifying himself with the needed word. </p> <p> "The firm needs it in the business," said he. </p> <p> Her next question countered instantaneously. </p> <p> "Does the firm need the money more than you do me?" </p> <p> They stared at each other in the silence of the situation that had so suddenly developed. It had come into being without their volition, as a dust cloud springs up on a plain. </p> <p> "You do not mean that, Hilda," said Thorpe quietly. "It hardly comes to that." </p> <p> "Indeed it does," she replied, every nerve of her fine organization strung to excitement. "I should be more to you than any firm." </p> <p> "Sometimes it is necessary to look after the bread and butter," Thorpe reminded her gently, although he knew that was not the real reason at all. </p> <p> "If your firm can't supply it, I can," she answered. "It seems strange that you won't grant my first request of you, merely because of a little money." </p> <p> "It isn't a little money," he objected, catching manlike at the practical question. "You don't realize what an amount a clump of pine like this stands for. Just in saw logs, before it is made into lumber, it will be worth about thirty thousand dollars,&mdash;of course there's the expense of logging to pay out of that," he added, out of his accurate business conservatism, "but there's ten thousand dollars' profit in it." </p> <p> The girl, exasperated by cold details at such a time, blazed out. "I never heard anything so ridiculous in my life!" she cried. "Either you are not at all the man I thought you, or you have some better reason than you have given. Tell me, Harry; tell me at once. You don't know what you are doing." </p> <p> "The firm needs it, Hilda," said Thorpe, "in order to succeed. If we do not cut this pine, we may fail." </p> <p> In that he stated his religion. The duty of success was to him one of the loftiest of abstractions, for it measured the degree of a man's efficiency in the station to which God had called him. The money, as such, was nothing to him. </p> <p> Unfortunately the girl had learned a different language. She knew nothing of the hardships, the struggles, the delight of winning for the sake of victory rather than the sake of spoils. To her, success meant getting a lot of money. The name by which Thorpe labelled his most sacred principle, to her represented something base and sordid. She had more money herself than she knew. It hurt her to the soul that the condition of a small money-making machine, as she considered the lumber firm, should be weighed even for an instant against her love. It was a great deal Thorpe's fault that she so saw the firm. He might easily have shown her the great forces and principles for which it stood. </p> <p> "If I were a man," she said, and her voice was tense, "if I were a man and loved a woman, I would be ready to give up everything for her. My riches, my pride, my life, my honor, my soul even,&mdash;they would be as nothing, as less than nothing to me,&mdash;if I loved. Harry, don't let me think I am mistaken. Let this miserable firm of yours fail, if fail it must for lack of my poor little temple of dreams," she held out her hands with a tender gesture of appeal. The affair had gone beyond the preservation of a few trees. It had become the question of an ideal. Gradually, in spite of herself, the conviction was forcing itself upon her that the man she had loved was no different from the rest; that the greed of the dollar had corrupted him too. By the mere yielding to her wishes, she wanted to prove the suspicion wrong. </p> <p> Now the strange part of the whole situation was, that in two words Thorpe could have cleared it. If he had explained that he needed the ten thousand dollars to help pay a note given to save from ruin a foolish friend, he would have supplied to the affair just the higher motive the girl's clear spirituality demanded. Then she would have shared enthusiastically in the sacrifice, and been the more loving and repentant from her momentary doubt. All she needed was that the man should prove himself actuated by a noble, instead of a sordid, motive. The young man did not say the two words, because in all honesty he thought them unimportant. It seemed to him quite natural that he should go on Wallace Carpenter's note. That fact altered not a bit the main necessity of success. It was a man's duty to make the best of himself,&mdash;it was Thorpe's duty to prove himself supremely efficient in his chosen calling; the mere coincidence that his partner's troubles worked along the same lines meant nothing to the logic of the situation. In stating baldly that he needed the money to assure the firm's existence, he imagined he had adduced the strongest possible reason for his attitude. If the girl was not influenced by that, the case was hopeless. </p> <p> It was the difference of training rather than the difference of ideas. Both clung to unselfishness as the highest reason for human action; but each expressed the thought in a manner incomprehensible to the other. </p> <p> "I cannot, Hilda," he answered steadily. </p> <p> "You sell me for ten thousand dollars! I cannot believe it! Harry! Harry! Must I put it to you as a choice? Don't you love me enough to spare me that?" </p> <p> He did not reply. As long as it remained a dilemma, he would not reply. He was in the right. </p> <p> "Do you need the money more than you do me? more than you do love?" she begged, her soul in her eyes; for she was begging also for herself. "Think, Harry; it is the last chance!" </p> <p> Once more he was face to face with a vital decision. To his surprise he discovered in his mind no doubt as to what the answer should be. He experienced no conflict of mind; no hesitation; for the moment, no regret. During all his woods life he had been following diligently the trail he had blazed for his conduct. Now his feet carried him unconsciously to the same end. There was no other way out. In the winter of his trouble the clipped trees alone guided him, and at the end of them he found his decision. It is in crises of this sort, when a little reflection or consideration would do wonders to prevent a catastrophe, that all the forgotten deeds, decisions, principles, and thoughts of a man's past life combine solidly into the walls of fatality, so that in spite of himself he finds he must act in accordance with them. In answer to Hilda's question he merely inclined his head. </p> <p> "I have seen a vision," said she simply, and lowered her head to conceal her eyes. Then she looked at him again. "There can be nothing better than love," she said. </p> <p> "Yes, one thing," said Thorpe, "the duty of success." </p> <p> The man had stated his creed; the woman hers. The one is born perfect enough for love; the other must work, must attain the completeness of a fulfilled function, must succeed, to deserve it. </p> <p> She left him then, and did not see him again. Four days later the camping party left. Thorpe sent Tim Shearer over, as his most efficient man, to see that they got off without difficulty, but himself retired on some excuse to Camp Four. Three weeks gone in October he received a marked newspaper announcing the engagement of Miss Hilda Farrand to Mr. Hildreth Morton of Chicago. </p> <p> He had burned his ships, and stood now on an unfriendly shore. The first sacrifice to his jealous god had been consummated, and now, live or die, he stood pledged to win his fight. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0045" id="link2HCH0045"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLV </h2> <p> Winter set in early and continued late; which in the end was a good thing for the year's cut. The season was capricious, hanging for days at a time at the brink of a thaw, only to stiffen again into severe weather. This was trying on the nerves. For at each of these false alarms the six camps fell into a feverish haste to get the job finished before the break-up. It was really quite extraordinary how much was accomplished under the nagging spur of weather conditions and the cruel rowelling of Thorpe. </p> <p> The latter had now no thought beyond his work, and that was the thought of a madman. He had been stern and unyielding enough before, goodness knows, but now he was terrible. His restless energy permeated every molecule in the economic structure over which he presided, roused it to intense vibration. Not for an instant was there a resting spell. The veriest chore-boy talked, thought, dreamed of nothing but saw logs. Men whispered vaguely of a record cut. Teamsters looked upon their success or failure to keep near the top on the day's haul as a signal victory or a disgraceful defeat. The difficulties of snow, accident, topography which an ever-watchful nature threw down before the rolling car of this industry, were swept aside like straws. Little time was wasted and no opportunities. It did not matter how smoothly affairs happened to be running for the moment, every advantage, even the smallest, was eagerly seized to advance the work. A drop of five degrees during the frequent warm spells brought out the sprinklers, even in dead of night; an accident was white-hot in the forge almost before the crack of the iron had ceased to echo. At night the men fell into their bunks like sandbags, and their last conscious thought, if indeed they had any at all, was of eagerness for the morrow in order that they might push the grand total up another notch. It was madness; but it was the madness these men loved. </p> <p> For now to his old religion Thorpe had added a fanaticism, and over the fanaticism was gradually creeping a film of doubt. To the conscientious energy which a sense of duty supplied, was added the tremendous kinetic force of a love turned into other channels. And in the wild nights while the other men slept, Thorpe's half-crazed brain was revolving over and over again the words of the sentence he had heard from Hilda's lips: "There can be nothing better than love." </p> <p> His actions, his mind, his very soul vehemently denied the proposition. He clung as ever to his high Puritanic idea of man's purpose. But down deep in a very tiny, sacred corner of his heart a very small voice sometimes made itself heard when other, more militant voices were still: "It may be; it may be!" </p> <p> The influence of this voice was practically nothing. It made itself heard occasionally. Perhaps even, for the time being, its weight counted on the other side of the scale; for Thorpe took pains to deny it fiercely, both directly and indirectly by increased exertions. But it persisted; and once in a moon or so, when the conditions were quite favorable, it attained for an instant a shred of belief. </p> <p> Probably never since the Puritan days of New England has a community lived as sternly as did that winter of 1888 the six camps under Thorpe's management. There was something a little inspiring about it. The men fronted their daily work with the same grim-faced, clear-eyed steadiness of veterans going into battle;&mdash;with the same confidence, the same sure patience that disposes effectively of one thing before going on to the next. There was little merely excitable bustle; there was no rest. Nothing could stand against such a spirit. Nothing did. The skirmishers which the wilderness threw out, were brushed away. Even the inevitable delays seemed not so much stoppages as the instant's pause of a heavy vehicle in a snow drift, succeeded by the momentary acceleration as the plunge carried it through. In the main, and by large, the machine moved steadily and inexorably. </p> <p> And yet one possessed of the finer spiritual intuitions could not have shaken off the belief in an impending struggle. The feel of it was in the air. Nature's forces were too mighty to be so slightly overcome; the splendid energy developed in these camps too vast to be wasted on facile success. Over against each other were two great powers, alike in their calm confidence, animated with the loftiest and most dignified spirit of enmity. Slowly they were moving toward each other. The air was surcharged with the electricity of their opposition. Just how the struggle would begin was uncertain; but its inevitability was as assured as its magnitude. Thorpe knew it, and shut his teeth, looking keenly about him. The Fighting Forty knew it, and longed for the grapple to come. The other camps knew it, and followed their leader with perfect trust. The affair was an epitome of the historic combats begun with David and Goliath. It was an affair of Titans. The little courageous men watched their enemy with cat's eyes. </p> <p> The last month of hauling was also one of snow. In this condition were few severe storms, but each day a little fell. By and by the accumulation amounted to much. In the woods where the wind could not get at it, it lay deep and soft above the tops of bushes. The grouse ate browse from the slender hardwood tips like a lot of goldfinches, or precipitated themselves headlong down through five feet of snow to reach the ground. Often Thorpe would come across the irregular holes of their entrance. Then if he took the trouble to stamp about a little in the vicinity with his snowshoes, the bird would spring unexpectedly from the clear snow, scattering a cloud with its strong wings. The deer, herded together, tramped "yards" where the feed was good. Between the yards ran narrow trails. When the animals went from one yard to another in these trails, their ears and antlers alone were visible. On either side of the logging roads the snow piled so high as to form a kind of rampart. When all this water in suspense should begin to flow, and to seek its level in the water-courses of the district, the logs would have plenty to float them, at least. </p> <p> So late did the cold weather last that, even with the added plowing to do, the six camps beat all records. On the banks at Camp One were nine million feet; the totals of all five amounted to thirty-three million. About ten million of this was on French Creek; the remainder on the main banks of the Ossawinamakee. Besides this the firm up-river, Sadler &amp; Smith, had put up some twelve million more. The drive promised to be quite an affair. </p> <p> About the fifteenth of April attention became strained. Every day the mounting sun made heavy attacks on the snow: every night the temperature dropped below the freezing point. The river began to show more air holes, occasional open places. About the center the ice looked worn and soggy. Someone saw a flock of geese high in the air. Then came rain. </p> <p> One morning early, Long Pine Jim came into the men's camp bearing a huge chunk of tallow. This he held against the hot stove until its surface had softened, when he began to swab liberal quantities of grease on his spiked river shoes, which he fished out from under his bunk. </p> <p> "She's comin', boys," said he. </p> <p> He donned a pair of woolen trousers that had been chopped off at the knee, thick woolen stockings, and the river shoes. Then he tightened his broad leather belt about his heavy shirt, cocked his little hat over his ear, and walked over in the corner to select a peavey from the lot the blacksmith had just put in shape. A peavey is like a cant-hook except that it is pointed at the end. Thus it can be used either as a hook or a pike. At the same moment Shearer, similarly attired and equipped, appeared in the doorway. The opening of the portal admitted a roar of sound. The river was rising. </p> <p> "Come on, boys, she's on!" said he sharply. </p> <p> Outside, the cook and cookee were stowing articles in the already loaded wanigan. The scow contained tents, blankets, provisions, and a portable stove. It followed the drive, and made a camp wherever expediency demanded. </p> <p> "Lively, boys, lively!" shouted Thorpe. "She'll be down on us before we know it!" </p> <p> Above the soft creaking of dead branches in the wind sounded a steady roar, like the bellowing of a wild beast lashing itself to fury. The freshet was abroad, forceful with the strength of a whole winter's accumulated energy. </p> <p> The men heard it and their eyes brightened with the lust of battle. They cheered. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0046" id="link2HCH0046"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLVI </h2> <p> At the banks of the river, Thorpe rapidly issued his directions. The affair had been all prearranged. During the week previous he and his foremen had reviewed the situation, examining the state of the ice, the heads of water in the three dams. Immediately above the first rollways was Dam Three with its two wide sluices through which a veritable flood could be loosened at will; then four miles farther lay the rollways of Sadler &amp; Smith, the up-river firm; and above them tumbled over a forty-five foot ledge the beautiful Siscoe Falls; these first rollways of Thorpe's&mdash;spread in the broad marsh flat below the dam&mdash;contained about eight millions; the rest of the season's cut was scattered for thirty miles along the bed of the river. </p> <p> Already the ice cementing the logs together had begun to weaken. The ice had wrenched and tugged savagely at the locked timbers until they had, with a mighty effort, snapped asunder the bonds of their hibernation. Now a narrow lane of black rushing water pierced the rollways, to boil and eddy in the consequent jam three miles below. </p> <p> To the foremen Thorpe assigned their tasks, calling them to him one by one, as a general calls his aids. </p> <p> "Moloney," said he to the big Irishman, "take your crew and break that jam. Then scatter your men down to within a mile of the pond at Dam Two, and see that the river runs clear. You can tent for a day or so at West Bend or some other point about half way down; and after that you had better camp at the dam. Just as soon as you get logs enough in the pond, start to sluicing them through the dam. You won't need more than four men there, if you keep a good head. You can keep your gates open five or six hours. And Moloney." </p> <p> "Yes, sir." </p> <p> "I want you to be careful not to sluice too long. There is a bar just below the dam, and if you try to sluice with the water too low, you'll center and jam there, as sure as shooting." </p> <p> Bryan Moloney turned on his heel and began to pick his way down stream over the solidly banked logs. Without waiting the command, a dozen men followed him. The little group bobbed away irregularly into the distance, springing lightly from one timber to the other, holding their quaintly-fashioned peaveys in the manner of a rope dancer's balancing pole. At the lowermost limit of the rollways, each man pried a log into the water, and, standing gracefully erect on this unstable craft, floated out down the current to the scene of his dangerous labor. </p> <p> "Kerlie," went on Thorpe, "your crew can break rollways with the rest until we get the river fairly filled, and then you can move on down stream as fast as you are needed. Scotty, you will have the rear. Tim and I will boss the river." </p> <p> At once the signal was given to Ellis, the dam watcher. Ellis and his assistants thereupon began to pry with long iron bars at the ratchets of the heavy gates. The chore-boy bent attentively over the ratchet-pin, lifting it delicately to permit another inch of raise, dropping it accurately to enable the men at the bars to seize a fresh purchase. The river's roar deepened. Through the wide sluice-ways a torrent foamed and tumbled. Immediately it spread through the brush on either side to the limits of the freshet banks, and then gathered for its leap against the uneasy rollways. Along the edge of the dark channel the face of the logs seemed to crumble away. Farther in towards the banks where the weight of timber still outbalanced the weight of the flood, the tiers grumbled and stirred, restless with the stream's calling. Far down the river, where Bryan Moloney and his crew were picking at the jam, the water in eager streamlets sought the interstices between the logs, gurgling excitedly like a mountain brook. </p> <p> The jam creaked and groaned in response to the pressure. From its face a hundred jets of water spurted into the lower stream. Logs up-ended here and there, rising from the bristling surface slowly, like so many arms from lower depths. Above, the water eddied back foaming; logs shot down from the rollways, paused at the slackwater, and finally hit with a hollow and resounding BOOM! against the tail of the jam. A moment later they too up-ended, so becoming an integral part of the "chevaux de frise." </p> <p> The crew were working desperately. Down in the heap somewhere, two logs were crossed in such a manner as to lock the whole. They sought those logs. </p> <p> Thirty feet above the bed of the river six men clamped their peaveys into the soft pine; jerking, pulling, lifting, sliding the great logs from their places. Thirty feet below, under the threatening face, six other men coolly picked out and set adrift, one by one, the timbers not inextricably imbedded. From time to time the mass creaked, settled, perhaps even moved a foot or two; but always the practiced rivermen, after a glance, bent more eagerly to their work. </p> <p> Outlined against the sky, big Bryan Moloney stood directing the work. He had gone at the job on the bias of indirection, picking out a passage at either side that the center might the more easily "pull." He knew by the tenseness of the log he stood on that, behind the jam, power had gathered sufficient to push the whole tangle down-stream. Now he was offering it the chance. </p> <p> Suddenly the six men below the jam scattered. Four of them, holding their peaveys across their bodies, jumped lightly from one floating log to another in the zigzag to shore. When they stepped on a small log they re-leaped immediately, leaving a swirl of foam where the little timber had sunk under them; when they encountered one larger, they hesitated for a barely perceptible instant. Thus their progression was of fascinating and graceful irregularity. The other two ran the length of their footing, and, overleaping an open of water, landed heavily and firmly on the very ends of two small floating logs. In this manner the force of the jump rushed the little timbers end-on through the water. The two men, maintaining marvellously their balance, were thus ferried to within leaping distance of the other shore. </p> <p> In the meantime a barely perceptible motion was communicating itself from one particle to another through the center of the jam. A cool and observant spectator might have imagined that the broad timber carpet was changing a little its pattern, just as the earth near the windows of an arrested railroad train seems for a moment to retrogress. The crew redoubled its exertions, clamping its peaveys here and there, apparently at random, but in reality with the most definite of purposes. A sharp crack exploded immediately underneath. There could no longer exist any doubt as to the motion, although it was as yet sluggish, glacial. Then in silence a log shifted&mdash;in silence and slowly&mdash;but with irresistible force. Jimmy Powers quietly stepped over it, just as it menaced his leg. Other logs in all directions up-ended. The jam crew were forced continually to alter their positions, riding the changing timbers bent-kneed, as a circus rider treads his four galloping horses. </p> <p> Then all at once down by the face something crashed. The entire stream became alive. It hissed and roared, it shrieked, groaned and grumbled. At first slowly, then more rapidly, the very forefront of the center melted inward and forward and downward until it caught the fierce rush of the freshet and shot out from under the jam. Far up-stream, bristling and formidable, the tons of logs, grinding savagely together, swept forward. </p> <p> The six men and Bryan Moloney&mdash;who, it will be remembered, were on top&mdash;worked until the last moment. When the logs began to cave under them so rapidly that even the expert rivermen found difficulty in "staying on top," the foreman set the example of hunting safety. </p> <p> "She 'pulls,' boys," he yelled. </p> <p> Then in a manner wonderful to behold, through the smother of foam and spray, through the crash and yell of timbers protesting the flood's hurrying, through the leap of destruction, the drivers zigzagged calmly and surely to the shore. </p> <p> All but Jimmy Powers. He poised tense and eager on the crumbling face of the jam. Almost immediately he saw what he wanted, and without pause sprang boldly and confidently ten feet straight downward, to alight with accuracy on a single log floating free in the current. And then in the very glory and chaos of the jam itself he was swept down-stream. </p> <p> After a moment the constant acceleration in speed checked, then commenced perceptibly to slacken. At once the rest of the crew began to ride down-stream. Each struck the caulks of his river boots strongly into a log, and on such unstable vehicles floated miles with the current. From time to time, as Bryan Moloney indicated, one of them went ashore. There, usually at a bend of the stream where the likelihood of jamming was great, they took their stands. When necessary, they ran out over the face of the river to separate a congestion likely to cause trouble. The rest of the time they smoked their pipes. </p> <p> At noon they ate from little canvas bags which had been filled that morning by the cookee. At sunset they rode other logs down the river to where their camp had been made for them. There they ate hugely, hung their ice-wet garments over a tall framework constructed around a monster fire, and turned in on hemlock branches. </p> <p> All night long the logs slipped down the moonlit current, silently, swiftly, yet without haste. The porcupines invaded the sleeping camp. From the whole length of the river rang the hollow BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, of timbers striking one against the other. </p> <p> The drive was on. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0047" id="link2HCH0047"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLVII </h2> <p> In the meantime the main body of the crew under Thorpe and his foremen were briskly tumbling the logs into the current. Sometimes under the urging of the peaveys, but a single stick would slide down; or again a double tier would cascade with the roar of a little Niagara. The men had continually to keep on the tension of an alert, for at any moment they were called upon to exercise their best judgment and quickness to keep from being carried downward with the rush of the logs. Not infrequently a frowning sheer wall of forty feet would hesitate on the brink of plunge. Then Shearer himself proved his right to the title of riverman. </p> <p> Shearer wore caulks nearly an inch in length. He had been known to ride ten miles, without shifting his feet, on a log so small that he could carry it without difficulty. For cool nerve he was unexcelled. </p> <p> "I don't need you boys here any longer," he said quietly. </p> <p> When the men had all withdrawn, he walked confidently under the front of the rollway, glancing with practiced eye at the perpendicular wall of logs over him. Then, as a man pries jack-straws, he clamped his peavey and tugged sharply. At once the rollway flattened and toppled. A mighty splash, a hurl of flying foam and crushing timbers, and the spot on which the riverman had stood was buried beneath twenty feet of solid green wood. To Thorpe it seemed that Shearer must have been overwhelmed, but the riverman always mysteriously appeared at one side or the other, nonchalant, urging the men to work before the logs should have ceased to move. Tradition claimed that only once in a long woods life had Shearer been forced to "take water" before a breaking rollway: and then he saved his peavey. History stated that he had never lost a man on the river, simply and solely because he invariably took the dangerous tasks upon himself. </p> <p> As soon as the logs had caught the current, a dozen men urged them on. With their short peaveys, the drivers were enabled to prevent the timbers from swirling in the eddies&mdash;one of the first causes of a jam. At last, near the foot of the flats, they abandoned them to the stream, confident that Moloney and his crew would see to their passage down the river. </p> <p> In three days the rollways were broken. Now it became necessary to start the rear. </p> <p> For this purpose Billy Camp, the cook, had loaded his cook-stove, a quantity of provisions, and a supply of bedding, aboard a scow. The scow was built of tremendous hewn timbers, four or five inches thick, to withstand the shock of the logs. At either end were long sweeps to direct its course. The craft was perhaps forty feet long, but rather narrow, in order that it might pass easily through the chute of a dam. It was called the "wanigan." </p> <p> Billy Camp, his cookee, and his crew of two were now doomed to tribulation. The huge, unwieldy craft from that moment was to become possessed of the devil. Down the white water of rapids it would bump, smashing obstinately against boulders, impervious to the frantic urging of the long sweeps; against the roots and branches of the streamside it would scrape with the perverseness of a vicious horse; in the broad reaches it would sulk, refusing to proceed; and when expediency demanded its pause, it would drag Billy Camp and his entire crew at the rope's end, while they tried vainly to snub it against successively uprooted trees and stumps. When at last the wanigan was moored fast for the night,&mdash;usually a mile or so below the spot planned,&mdash;Billy Camp pushed back his battered old brown derby hat, the badge of his office, with a sigh of relief. To be sure he and his men had still to cut wood, construct cooking and camp fires, pitch tents, snip browse, and prepare supper for seventy men; but the hard work of the day was over. Billy Camp did not mind rain or cold&mdash;he would cheerfully cook away with the water dripping from his battered derby to his chubby and cold-purpled nose&mdash;but he did mind the wanigan. And the worst of it was, he got no sympathy nor aid from the crew. From either bank he and his anxious struggling assistants were greeted with ironic cheers and facetious remarks. The tribulations of the wanigan were as the salt of life to the spectators. </p> <p> Billy Camp tried to keep back of the rear in clear water, but when the wanigan so disposed, he found himself jammed close in the logs. There he had a chance in his turn to become spectator, and so to repay in kind some of the irony and facetiousness. </p> <p> Along either bank, among the bushes, on sandbars, and in trees, hundreds and hundreds of logs had been stranded when the main drive passed. These logs the rear crew were engaged in restoring to the current. </p> <p> And as a man had to be able to ride any kind of a log in any water; to propel that log by jumping on it, by rolling it squirrel fashion with the feet, by punting it as one would a canoe; to be skillful in pushing, prying, and poling other logs from the quarter deck of the same cranky craft; as he must be prepared at any and all times to jump waist deep into the river, to work in ice-water hours at a stretch; as he was called upon to break the most dangerous jams on the river, representing, as they did, the accumulation which the jam crew had left behind them, it was naturally considered the height of glory to belong to the rear crew. Here were the best of the Fighting Forty,&mdash;men with a reputation as "white-water birlers"&mdash;men afraid of nothing. </p> <p> Every morning the crews were divided into two sections under Kerlie and Jack Hyland. Each crew had charge of one side of the river, with the task of cleaning it thoroughly of all stranded and entangled logs. Scotty Parsons exercised a general supervisory eye over both crews. Shearer and Thorpe traveled back and forth the length of the drive, riding the logs down stream, but taking to a partly submerged pole trail when ascending the current. On the surface of the river in the clear water floated two long graceful boats called bateaux. These were in charge of expert boatmen,&mdash;men able to propel their craft swiftly forwards, backwards and sideways, through all kinds of water. They carried in racks a great supply of pike-poles, peaveys, axes, rope and dynamite, for use in various emergencies. Intense rivalry existed as to which crew "sacked" the farthest down stream in the course of the day. There was no need to urge the men. Some stood upon the logs, pushing mightily with the long pike-poles. Others, waist deep in the water, clamped the jaws of their peaveys into the stubborn timbers, and, shoulder bent, slid them slowly but surely into the swifter waters. Still others, lining up on either side of one of the great brown tree trunks, carried it bodily to its appointed place. From one end of the rear to the other, shouts, calls, warnings, and jokes flew back and forth. Once or twice a vast roar of Homeric laughter went up as some unfortunate slipped and soused into the water. When the current slacked, and the logs hesitated in their run, the entire crew hastened, bobbing from log to log, down river to see about it. Then they broke the jam, standing surely on the edge of the great darkness, while the ice water sucked in and out of their shoes. </p> <p> Behind the rear Big Junko poled his bateau backwards and forwards exploding dynamite. Many of the bottom tiers of logs in the rollways had been frozen down, and Big Junko had to loosen them from the bed of the stream. He was a big man, this, as his nickname indicated, built of many awkwardnesses. His cheekbones were high, his nose flat, his lips thick and slobbery. He sported a wide, ferocious straggling mustache and long eye-brows, under which gleamed little fierce eyes. His forehead sloped back like a beast's, but was always hidden by a disreputable felt hat. Big Junko did not know much, and had the passions of a wild animal, but he was a reckless riverman and devoted to Thorpe. Just now he exploded dynamite. </p> <p> The sticks of powder were piled amidships. Big Junko crouched over them, inserting the fuses and caps, closing the openings with soap, finally lighting them, and dropping them into the water alongside, where they immediately sank. Then a few strokes of a short paddle took him barely out of danger. He huddled down in his craft, waiting. One, two, three seconds passed. Then a hollow boom shook the stream. A cloud of water sprang up, strangely beautiful. After a moment the great brown logs rose suddenly to the surface from below, one after the other, like leviathans of the deep. And Junko watched, dimly fascinated, in his rudimentary animal's brain, by the sight of the power he had evoked to his aid. </p> <p> When night came the men rode down stream to where the wanigan had made camp. There they slept, often in blankets wetted by the wanigan's eccentricities, to leap to their feet at the first cry in early morning. Some days it rained, in which case they were wet all the time. Almost invariably there was a jam to break, though strangely enough almost every one of the old-timers believed implicitly that "in the full of the moon logs will run free at night." </p> <p> Thorpe and Tim Shearer nearly always slept in a dog tent at the rear; though occasionally they passed the night at Dam Two, where Bryan Moloney and his crew were already engaged in sluicing the logs through the chute. </p> <p> The affair was simple enough. Long booms arranged in the form of an open V guided the drive to the sluice gate, through which a smooth apron of water rushed to turmoil in an eddying pool below. Two men tramped steadily backwards and forwards on the booms, urging the logs forward by means of long pike poles to where the suction could seize them. Below the dam, the push of the sluice water forced them several miles down stream, where the rest of Bryan Moloney's crew took them in charge. </p> <p> Thus through the wide gate nearly three-quarters of a million feet an hour could be run&mdash;a quantity more than sufficient to keep pace with the exertions of the rear. The matter was, of course, more or less delayed by the necessity of breaking out such rollways as they encountered from time to time on the banks. At length, however, the last of the logs drifted into the wide dam pool. The rear had arrived at Dam Two, and Thorpe congratulated himself that one stage of his journey had been completed. Billy Camp began to worry about shooting the wanigan through the sluice-way. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0048" id="link2HCH0048"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLVIII </h2> <p> The rear had been tenting at the dam for two days, and was about ready to break camp, when Jimmy Powers swung across the trail to tell them of the big jam. </p> <p> Ten miles along the river bed, the stream dropped over a little half-falls into a narrow, rocky gorge. It was always an anxious spot for the river drivers. In fact, the plunging of the logs head-on over the fall had so gouged out the soft rock below, that an eddy of great power had formed in the basin. Shearer and Thorpe had often discussed the advisability of constructing an artificial apron of logs to receive the impact. Here, in spite of all efforts, the jam had formed, first a little center of a few logs in the middle of the stream, dividing the current, and shunting the logs to right and left; then "wings" growing out from either bank, built up from logs shunted too violently; finally a complete stoppage of the channel, and the consequent rapid piling up as the pressure of the drive increased. Now the bed was completely filled, far above the level of the falls, by a tangle that defied the jam crew's best efforts. </p> <p> The rear at once took the trail down the river. Thorpe and Shearer and Scotty Parsons looked over the ground. </p> <p> "She may 'pull,' if she gets a good start," decided Tim. </p> <p> Without delay the entire crew was set to work. Nearly a hundred men can pick a great many logs in the course of a day. Several times the jam started, but always "plugged" before the motion had become irresistible. This was mainly because the rocky walls narrowed at a slight bend to the west, so that the drive was throttled, as it were. It was hoped that perhaps the middle of the jam might burst through here, leaving the wings stranded. The hope was groundless. </p> <p> "We'll have to shoot," Shearer reluctantly decided. </p> <p> The men were withdrawn. Scotty Parsons cut a sapling twelve feet long, and trimmed it. Big Junko thawed his dynamite at a little fire, opening the ends of the packages in order that the steam generated might escape. Otherwise the pressure inside the oiled paper of the package was capable of exploding the whole affair. When the powder was warm, Scotty bound twenty of the cartridges around the end of the sapling, adjusted a fuse in one of them, and soaped the opening to exclude water. Then Big Junko thrust the long javelin down into the depths of the jam, leaving a thin stream of smoke behind him as he turned away. With sinister, evil eye he watched the smoke for an instant, then zigzagged awkwardly over the jam, the long, ridiculous tails of his brown cutaway coat flopping behind him as he leaped. A scant moment later the hoarse dynamite shouted. </p> <p> Great chunks of timber shot to an inconceivable height; entire logs lifted bodily into the air with the motion of a fish jumping; a fountain of water gleamed against the sun and showered down in fine rain. The jam shrugged and settled. That was all; the "shot" had failed. </p> <p> The men ran forward, examining curiously the great hole in the log formation. </p> <p> "We'll have to flood her," said Thorpe. </p> <p> So all the gates of the dam were raised, and the torrent tried its hand. It had no effect. Evidently the affair was not one of violence, but of patience. The crew went doggedly to work. </p> <p> Day after day the CLANK, CLANK, CLINK of the peaveys sounded with the regularity of machinery. The only practicable method was to pick away the flank logs, leaving a long tongue pointing down-stream from the center to start when it would. This happened time and again, but always failed to take with it the main jam. It was cruel hard work; a man who has lifted his utmost strength into a peavey knows that. Any but the Fighting Forty would have grumbled. </p> <p> Collins, the bookkeeper, came up to view the tangle. Later a photographer from Marquette took some views, which, being exhibited, attracted a great deal of attention, so that by the end of the week a number of curiosity seekers were driving over every day to see the Big Jam. A certain Chicago journalist in search of balsam health of lungs even sent to his paper a little item. This, unexpectedly, brought Wallace Carpenter to the spot. Although reassured as to the gravity of the situation, he remained to see. </p> <p> The place was an amphitheater for such as chose to be spectators. They could stand or sit on the summit of the gorge cliffs, overlooking the river, the fall, and the jam. As the cliff was barely sixty feet high, the view lacked nothing in clearness. </p> <p> At last Shearer became angry. </p> <p> "We've been monkeying long enough," said he. "Next time we'll leave a center that WILL go out. We'll shut the dams down tight and dry-pick out two wings that'll start her." </p> <p> The dams were first run at full speed, and then shut down. Hardly a drop of water flowed in the bed of the stream. The crews set laboriously to work to pull and roll the logs out in such flat fashion that a head of water should send them out. </p> <p> This was even harder work than the other, for they had not the floating power of water to help them in the lifting. As usual, part of the men worked below, part above. </p> <p> Jimmy Powers, curly-haired, laughing-faced, was irrepressible. He badgered the others until they threw bark at him and menaced him with their peaveys. Always he had at his tongue's end the proper quip for the occasion, so that in the long run the work was lightened by him. When the men stopped to think at all, they thought of Jimmy Powers with very kindly hearts, for it was known that he had had more trouble than most, and that the coin was not made too small for him to divide with a needy comrade. To those who had seen his mask of whole-souled good-nature fade into serious sympathy, Jimmy Powers's poor little jokes were very funny indeed. </p> <p> "Did 'je see th' Swede at the circus las' summer?" he would howl to Red Jacket on the top tier. </p> <p> "No," Red Jacket would answer, "was he there?" </p> <p> "Yes," Jimmy Powers would reply; then, after a pause&mdash;"in a cage!" </p> <p> It was a poor enough jest, yet if you had been there, you would have found that somehow the log had in the meantime leaped of its own accord from that difficult position. </p> <p> Thorpe approved thoroughly of Jimmy Powers; he thought him a good influence. He told Wallace so, standing among the spectators on the cliff-top. </p> <p> "He is all right," said Thorpe. "I wish I had more like him. The others are good boys, too." </p> <p> Five men were at the moment tugging futilely at a reluctant timber. They were attempting to roll one end of it over the side of another projecting log, but were continually foiled, because the other end was jammed fast. Each bent his knees, inserting his shoulder under the projecting peavey stock, to straighten in a mighty effort. </p> <p> "Hire a boy!" "Get some powder of Junko!" "Have Jimmy talk it out!" "Try that little one over by the corner," called the men on top of the jam. </p> <p> Everybody laughed, of course. It was a fine spring day, clear-eyed and crisp, with a hint of new foliage in the thick buds of the trees. The air was so pellucid that one distinguished without difficulty the straight entrance to the gorge a mile away, and even the West Bend, fully five miles distant. </p> <p> Jimmy Powers took off his cap and wiped his forehead. </p> <p> "You boys," he remarked politely, "think you are boring with a mighty big auger." </p> <p> "My God!" screamed one of the spectators on top of the cliff. </p> <p> At the same instant Wallace Carpenter seized his friend's arm and pointed. </p> <p> Down the bed of the stream from the upper bend rushed a solid wall of water several feet high. It flung itself forward with the headlong impetus of a cascade. Even in the short interval between the visitor's exclamation and Carpenter's rapid gesture, it had loomed into sight, twisted a dozen trees from the river bank, and foamed into the entrance of the gorge. An instant later it collided with the tail of the jam. </p> <p> Even in the railroad rush of those few moments several things happened. Thorpe leaped for a rope. The crew working on top of the jam ducked instinctively to right and left and began to scramble towards safety. The men below, at first bewildered and not comprehending, finally understood, and ran towards the face of the jam with the intention of clambering up it. There could be no escape in the narrow canyon below, the walls of which rose sheer. </p> <p> Then the flood hit square. It was the impact of resistible power. A great sheet of water rose like surf from the tail of the jam; a mighty cataract poured down over its surface, lifting the free logs; from either wing timbers crunched, split, rose suddenly into wracked prominence, twisted beyond the semblance of themselves. Here and there single logs were even projected bodily upwards, as an apple seed is shot from between the thumb and forefinger. Then the jam moved. </p> <p> Scotty Parsons, Jack Hyland, Red Jacket, and the forty or fifty top men had reached the shore. By the wriggling activity which is a riverman's alone, they succeeded in pulling themselves beyond the snap of death's jaws. It was a narrow thing for most of them, and a miracle for some. </p> <p> Jimmy Powers, Archie Harris, Long Pine Jim, Big Nolan, and Mike Moloney, the brother of Bryan, were in worse case. They were, as has been said, engaged in "flattening" part of the jam about eight or ten rods below the face of it. When they finally understood that the affair was one of escape, they ran towards the jam, hoping to climb out. Then the crash came. They heard the roar of the waters, the wrecking of the timbers, they saw the logs bulge outwards in anticipation of the break. Immediately they turned and fled, they knew not where. </p> <p> All but Jimmy Powers. He stopped short in his tracks, and threw his battered old felt hat defiantly full into the face of the destruction hanging over him. Then, his bright hair blowing in the wind of death, he turned to the spectators standing helpless and paralyzed, forty feet above him. </p> <p> It was an instant's impression,&mdash;the arrested motion seen in the flash of lightning&mdash;and yet to the onlookers it had somehow the quality of time. For perceptible duration it seemed to them they stared at the contrast between the raging hell above and the yet peaceable river bed below. They were destined to remember that picture the rest of their natural lives, in such detail that each one of them could almost have reproduced it photographically by simply closing his eyes. Yet afterwards, when they attempted to recall definitely the impression, they knew it could have lasted but a fraction of a second, for the reason that, clear and distinct in each man's mind, the images of the fleeing men retained definite attitudes. It was the instantaneous photography of events. </p> <p> "So long, boys," they heard Jimmy Powers's voice. Then the rope Thorpe had thrown fell across a caldron of tortured waters and of tossing logs. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0049" id="link2HCH0049"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XLIX </h2> <p> During perhaps ten seconds the survivors watched the end of Thorpe's rope trailing in the flood. Then the young man with a deep sigh began to pull it towards him. </p> <p> At once a hundred surmises, questions, ejaculations broke out. </p> <p> "What happened?" cried Wallace Carpenter. </p> <p> "What was that man's name?" asked the Chicago journalist with the eager instinct of his profession. </p> <p> "This is terrible, terrible, terrible!" a white-haired physician from Marquette kept repeating over and over. </p> <p> A half dozen ran towards the point of the cliff to peer down stream, as though they could hope to distinguish anything in that waste of flood water. </p> <p> "The dam's gone out," replied Thorpe. "I don't understand it. Everything was in good shape, as far as I could see. It didn't act like an ordinary break. The water came too fast. Why, it was as dry as a bone until just as that wave came along. An ordinary break would have eaten through little by little before it burst, and Davis should have been able to stop it. This came all at once, as if the dam had disappeared. I don't see." </p> <p> His mind of the professional had already began to query causes. </p> <p> "How about the men?" asked Wallace. "Isn't there something I can do?" </p> <p> "You can head a hunt down the river," answered Thorpe. "I think it is useless until the water goes down. Poor Jimmy. He was one of the best men I had. I wouldn't have had this happen&mdash;" </p> <p> The horror of the scene was at last beginning to filter through numbness into Wallace Carpenter's impressionable imagination. </p> <p> "No, no!" he cried vehemently. "There is something criminal about it to me! I'd rather lose every log in the river!" </p> <p> Thorpe looked at him curiously. "It is one of the chances of war," said he, unable to refrain from the utterance of his creed. "We all know it." </p> <p> "I'd better divide the crew and take in both banks of the river," suggested Wallace in his constitutional necessity of doing something. </p> <p> "See if you can't get volunteers from this crowd," suggested Thorpe. "I can let you have two men to show you trails. If you can make it that way, it will help me out. I need as many of the crew as possible to use this flood water." </p> <p> "Oh, Harry," cried Carpenter, shocked. "You can't be going to work again to-day after that horrible sight, before we have made the slightest effort to recover the bodies!" </p> <p> "If the bodies can be recovered, they shall be," replied Thorpe quietly. "But the drive will not wait. We have no dams to depend on now, you must remember, and we shall have to get out on freshet water." </p> <p> "Your men won't work. I'd refuse just as they will!" cried Carpenter, his sensibilities still suffering. </p> <p> Thorpe smiled proudly. "You do not know them. They are mine. I hold them in the hollow of my hand!" </p> <p> "By Jove!" cried the journalist in sudden enthusiasm. "By Jove! that is magnificent!" </p> <p> The men of the river crew had crouched on their narrow footholds while the jam went out. Each had clung to his peavey, as is the habit of rivermen. Down the current past their feet swept the debris of flood. Soon logs began to swirl by,&mdash;at first few, then many from the remaining rollways which the river had automatically broken. In a little time the eddy caught up some of these logs, and immediately the inception of another jam threatened. The rivermen, without hesitation, as calmly as though catastrophe had not thrown the weight of its moral terror against their stoicism, sprang, peavey in hand, to the insistent work. </p> <p> "By Jove!" said the journalist again. "That is magnificent! They are working over the spot where their comrades died!" </p> <p> Thorpe's face lit with gratification. He turned to the young man. </p> <p> "You see," he said in proud simplicity. </p> <p> With the added danger of freshet water, the work went on. </p> <p> At this moment Tim Shearer approached from inland, his clothes dripping wet, but his face retaining its habitual expression of iron calmness. "Anybody caught?" was his first question as he drew near. </p> <p> "Five men under the face," replied Thorpe briefly. </p> <p> Shearer cast a glance at the river. He needed to be told no more. </p> <p> "I was afraid of it," said he. "The rollways must be all broken out. It's saved us that much, but the freshet water won't last long. It's going to be a close squeak to get 'em out now. Don't exactly figure on what struck the dam. Thought first I'd go right up that way, but then I came down to see about the boys." </p> <p> Carpenter could not understand this apparent callousness on the part of men in whom he had always thought to recognize a fund of rough but genuine feeling. To him the sacredness of death was incompatible with the insistence of work. To these others the two, grim necessity, went hand in hand. </p> <p> "Where were you?" asked Thorpe of Shearer. </p> <p> "On the pole trail. I got in a little, as you see." </p> <p> In reality the foreman had had a close call for his life. A toughly-rooted basswood alone had saved him. </p> <p> "We'd better go up and take a look," he suggested. "Th' boys has things going here all right." </p> <p> The two men turned towards the brush. </p> <p> "Hi, Tim," called a voice behind them. </p> <p> Red Jacket appeared clambering up the cliff. </p> <p> "Jack told me to give this to you," he panted, holding out a chunk of strangely twisted wood. </p> <p> "Where'd he get this?" inquired Thorpe, quickly. "It's a piece of the dam," he explained to Wallace, who had drawn near. </p> <p> "Picked it out of the current," replied the man. </p> <p> The foreman and his boss bent eagerly over the morsel. Then they stared with solemnity into each other's eyes. </p> <p> "Dynamite, by God!" exclaimed Shearer. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0050" id="link2HCH0050"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter L </h2> <p> For a moment the three men stared at each other without speaking. </p> <p> "What does it mean?" almost whispered Carpenter. </p> <p> "Mean? Foul play!" snarled Thorpe. "Come on, Tim." </p> <p> The two struck into the brush, threading the paths with the ease of woodsmen. It was necessary to keep to the high inland ridges for the simple reason that the pole trail had by now become impassable. Wallace Carpenter, attempting to follow them, ran, stumbled, and fell through brush that continually whipped his face and garments, continually tripped his feet. All he could obtain was a vanishing glimpse of his companions' backs. Thorpe and his foreman talked briefly. </p> <p> "It's Morrison and Daly," surmised Shearer. "I left them 'count of a trick like that. They wanted me to take charge of Perkinson's drive and hang her a purpose. I been suspecting something&mdash;they've been layin' too low." </p> <p> Thorpe answered nothing. Through the site of the old dam they found a torrent pouring from the narrowed pond, at the end of which the dilapidated wings flapping in the current attested the former structure. Davis stood staring at the current. </p> <p> Thorpe strode forward and shook him violently by the shoulder. </p> <p> "How did this happen?" he demanded hoarsely. "Speak!" </p> <p> The man turned to him in a daze. "I don't know," he answered. </p> <p> "You ought to know. How was that 'shot' exploded? How did they get in here without you seeing them? Answer me!" </p> <p> "I don't know," repeated the man. "I jest went over in th' bresh to kill a few pa'tridges, and when I come back I found her this way. I wasn't goin' to close down for three hours yet, and I thought they was no use a hangin' around here." </p> <p> "Were you hired to watch this dam, or weren't you?" demanded the tense voice of Thorpe. "Answer me, you fool." </p> <p> "Yes, I was," returned the man, a shade of aggression creeping into his voice. </p> <p> "Well, you've done it well. You've cost me my dam, and you've killed five men. If the crew finds out about you, you'll go over the falls, sure. You get out of here! Pike! Don't you ever let me see your face again!" </p> <p> The man blanched as he thus learned of his comrades' deaths. Thorpe thrust his face at him, lashed by circumstances beyond his habitual self-control. </p> <p> "It's men like you who make the trouble," he stormed. "Damn fools who say they didn't mean to. It isn't enough not to mean to. They should MEAN NOT TO! I don't ask you to think. I just want you to do what I tell you, and you can't even do that." </p> <p> He threw his shoulder into a heavy blow that reached the dam watcher's face, and followed it immediately by another. Then Shearer caught his arm, motioning the dazed and bloody victim of the attack to get out of sight. Thorpe shook his foreman off with one impatient motion, and strode away up the river, his head erect, his eyes flashing, his nostrils distended. </p> <p> "I reckon you'd better mosey," Shearer dryly advised the dam watcher; and followed. </p> <p> Late in the afternoon the two men reached Dam Three, or rather the spot on which Dam Three had stood. The same spectacle repeated itself here, except that Ellis, the dam watcher, was nowhere to be seen. </p> <p> "The dirty whelps," cried Thorpe, "they did a good job!" </p> <p> He thrashed about here and there, and so came across Ellis blindfolded and tied. When released, the dam watcher was unable to give any account of his assailants. </p> <p> "They came up behind me while I was cooking," he said. "One of 'em grabbed me and the other one kivered my eyes. Then I hears the 'shot' and knows there's trouble." </p> <p> Thorpe listened in silence. Shearer asked a few questions. After the low-voiced conversation Thorpe arose abruptly. </p> <p> "Where you going?" asked Shearer. </p> <p> But the young man did not reply. He swung, with the same long, nervous stride, into the down-river trail. </p> <p> Until late that night the three men&mdash;for Ellis insisted on accompanying them&mdash;hurried through the forest. Thorpe walked tirelessly, upheld by his violent but repressed excitement. When his hat fell from his head, he either did not notice the fact, or did not care to trouble himself for its recovery, so he glanced through the trees bare-headed, his broad white brow gleaming in the moonlight. Shearer noted the fire in his eyes, and from the coolness of his greater age, counselled moderation. </p> <p> "I wouldn't stir the boys up," he panted, for the pace was very swift. "They'll kill some one over there, it'll be murder on both sides." </p> <p> He received no answer. About midnight they came to the camp. </p> <p> Two great fires leaped among the trees, and the men, past the idea of sleep, grouped between them, talking. The lesson of twisted timbers was not lost to their experience, and the evening had brought its accumulation of slow anger against the perpetrators of the outrage. These men were not given to oratorical mouthings, but their low-voiced exchanges between the puffings of a pipe led to a steadier purpose than that of hysteria. Even as the woodsmen joined their group, they had reached the intensity of execution. Across their purpose Thorpe threw violently his personality. </p> <p> "You must not go," he commanded. </p> <p> Through their anger they looked at him askance. </p> <p> "I forbid it," Thorpe cried. </p> <p> They shrugged their indifference and arose. This was an affair of caste brotherhood; and the blood of their mates cried out to them. </p> <p> "The work," Thorpe shouted hoarsely. "The work! We must get those logs out! We haven't time!" </p> <p> But the Fighting Forty had not Thorpe's ideal. Success meant a day's work well done; while vengeance stood for a righting of the realities which had been unrighteously overturned. Thorpe's dry-eyed, burning, almost mad insistence on the importance of the day's task had not its ordinary force. They looked upon him from a standpoint apart, calmly, dispassionately, as one looks on a petulant child. The grim call of tragedy had lifted them above little mundane things. </p> <p> Then swiftly between the white, strained face of the madman trying to convince his heart that his mind had been right, and the fanatically exalted rivermen, interposed the sanity of Radway. The old jobber faced the men calmly, almost humorously, and somehow the very bigness of the man commanded attention. When he spoke, his coarse, good-natured, everyday voice fell through the tense situation, clarifying it, restoring it to the normal. </p> <p> "You fellows make me sick," said he. "You haven't got the sense God gave a rooster. Don't you see you're playing right in those fellows' hands? What do you suppose they dynamited them dams for? To kill our boys? Don't you believe it for a minute. They never dreamed we was dry pickin' that jam. They sent some low-lived whelp down there to hang our drive, and by smoke it looks like they was going to succeed, thanks to you mutton-heads. </p> <p> "'Spose you go over and take 'em apart; what then? You have a scrap; probably you lick 'em." The men growled ominously, but did not stir. "You whale daylights out of a lot of men who probably don't know any more about this here shooting of our dams than a hog does about a ruffled shirt. Meanwhile your drive hangs. Well? Well? Do you suppose the men who were back of that shooting, do you suppose Morrison and Daly give a tinker's dam how many men of theirs you lick? What they want is to hang our drive. If they hang our drive, it's cheap at the price of a few black eyes." </p> <p> The speaker paused and grinned good-humoredly at the men's attentive faces. Then suddenly his own became grave, and he swung into his argument all the impressiveness of his great bulk, </p> <p> "Do you want to know how to get even?" he asked, shading each word. "Do you want to know how to make those fellows sing so small you can't hear them? Well, I'll tell you. TAKE OUT THIS DRIVE! Do it in spite of them! Show them they're no good when they buck up against Thorpe's One! Our boys died doing their duty&mdash;the way a riverman ought to. NOW HUMP YOURSELVES! Don't let 'em die in vain!" </p> <p> The crew stirred uneasily, looking at each other for approval of the conversion each had experienced. Radway, seizing the psychological moment, turned easily toward the blaze. </p> <p> "Better turn in, boys, and get some sleep," he said. "We've got a hard day to-morrow." He stooped to light his pipe at the fire. When he had again straightened his back after rather a prolonged interval, the group had already disintegrated. A few minutes later the cookee scattered the brands of the fire from before a sleeping camp. </p> <p> Thorpe had listened non-committally to the colloquy. He had maintained the suspended attitude of a man who is willing to allow the trial of other methods, but who does not therefore relinquish his own. At the favorable termination of the discussion he turned away without comment. He expected to gain this result. Had he been in a more judicial state of mind he might have perceived at last the reason, in the complicated scheme of Providence, for his long connection with John Radway. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0051" id="link2HCH0051"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LI </h2> <p> Before daylight Injin Charley drifted into the camp to find Thorpe already out. With a curt nod the Indian seated himself by the fire, and, producing a square plug of tobacco and a knife, began leisurely to fill his pipe. Thorpe watched him in silence. Finally Injin Charley spoke in the red man's clear-cut, imitative English, a pause between each sentence. </p> <p> "I find trail three men," said he. "Both dam, three men. One man go down river. Those men have cork-boot. One man no have cork-boot. He boss." The Indian suddenly threw his chin out, his head back, half closed his eyes in a cynical squint. As by a flash Dyer, the scaler, leered insolently from behind the Indian's stolid mask. </p> <p> "How do you know?" said Thorpe. </p> <p> For answer the Indian threw his shoulders forward in Dyer's nervous fashion. </p> <p> "He make trail big by the toe, light by the heel. He make trail big on inside." </p> <p> Charley arose and walked, after Dyer's springy fashion, illustrating his point in the soft wood ashes of the immediate fireside. </p> <p> Thorpe looked doubtful. "I believe you are right, Charley," said he. "But it is mighty little to go on. You can't be sure." </p> <p> "I sure," replied Charley. </p> <p> He puffed strongly at the heel of his smoke, then arose, and without farewell disappeared in the forest. </p> <p> Thorpe ranged the camp impatiently, glancing often at the sky. At length he laid fresh logs on the fire and aroused the cook. It was bitter cold in the early morning. After a time the men turned out of their own accord, at first yawning with insufficient rest, and then becoming grimly tense as their returned wits reminded them of the situation. </p> <p> From that moment began the wonderful struggle against circumstances which has become a by-word among rivermen everywhere. A forty-day drive had to go out in ten. A freshet had to float out thirty million feet of logs. It was tremendous; as even the men most deeply buried in the heavy hours of that time dimly realized. It was epic; as the journalist, by now thoroughly aroused, soon succeeded in convincing his editors and his public. Fourteen, sixteen, sometimes eighteen hours a day, the men of the driving crew worked like demons. Jams had no chance to form. The phenomenal activity of the rear crew reduced by half the inevitable sacking. Of course, under the pressure, the lower dam had gone out. Nothing was to be depended on but sheer dogged grit. Far up-river Sadler &amp; Smith had hung their drive for the season. They had stretched heavy booms across the current, and so had resigned themselves to a definite but not extraordinary loss. Thorpe had at least a clear river. </p> <p> Wallace Carpenter could not understand how human flesh and blood endured. The men themselves had long since reached the point of practical exhaustion, but were carried through by the fire of their leader. Work was dogged until he stormed into sight; then it became frenzied. He seemed to impart to those about him a nervous force and excitability as real as that induced by brandy. When he looked at a man from his cavernous, burning eyes, that man jumped. </p> <p> It was all willing enough work. Several definite causes, each adequate alone to something extraordinary, focussed to the necessity. His men worshipped Thorpe; the idea of thwarting the purposes of their comrade's murderers retained its strength; the innate pride of caste and craft&mdash;the sturdiest virtue of the riverman&mdash;was in these picked men increased to the dignity of a passion. The great psychological forces of a successful career gathered and made head against the circumstances which such careers always arouse in polarity. </p> <p> Impossibilities were puffed aside like thistles. The men went at them headlong. They gave way before the rush. Thorpe always led. Not for a single instant of the day nor for many at night was he at rest. He was like a man who has taken a deep breath to reach a definite goal, and who cannot exhale until the burst of speed be over. Instinctively he seemed to realize that a let-down would mean collapse. </p> <p> After the camp had fallen asleep, he would often lie awake half of the few hours of their night, every muscle tense, staring at the sky. His mind saw definitely every detail of the situation as he had last viewed it. In advance his imagination stooped and sweated to the work which his body was to accomplish the next morning. Thus he did everything twice. Then at last the tension would relax. He would fall into uneasy sleep. But twice that did not follow. Through the dissolving iron mist of his striving, a sharp thought cleaved like an arrow. It was that after all he did not care. The religion of Success no longer held him as its devoutest worshiper. He was throwing the fibers of his life into the engine of toil, not because of moral duty, but because of moral pride. He meant to succeed in order to prove to himself that he had not been wrong. </p> <p> The pain of the arrow-wound always aroused him from his doze with a start. He grimly laughed the thought out of court. To his waking moments his religion was sincere, was real. But deep down in his sub-consciousness, below his recognition, the other influence was growing like a weed. Perhaps the vision, not the waking, had been right. Perhaps that far-off beautiful dream of a girl which Thorpe's idealism had constructed from; the reactionary necessities of Thorpe's harsh life had been more real than his forest temples of his ruthless god! Perhaps there were greater things than to succeed, greater things than success. Perhaps, after all, the Power that put us here demands more that we cleave one to the other in loving-kindness than that we learn to blow the penny whistles it has tossed us. And then the keen, poignant memory of the dream girl stole into the young man's mind, and in agony was immediately thrust forth. He would not think of her. He had given her up. He had cast the die. For success he had bartered her, in the noblest, the loftiest spirit of devotion. He refused to believe that devotion fanatical; he refused to believe that he had been wrong. In the still darkness of the night he would rise and steal to the edge of the dully roaring stream. There, his eyes blinded and his throat choked with a longing more manly than tears, he would reach out and smooth the round rough coats of the great logs. </p> <p> "We'll do it!" he whispered to them&mdash;and to himself. "We'll do it! We can't be wrong. God would not have let us!" </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0052" id="link2HCH0052"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LII </h2> <p> Wallace Carpenter's search expedition had proved a failure, as Thorpe had foreseen, but at the end of the week, when the water began to recede, the little beagles ran upon a mass of flesh and bones. The man was unrecognizable, either as an individual or as a human being. The remains were wrapped in canvas and sent for interment in the cemetery at Marquette. Three of the others were never found. The last did not come to light until after the drive had quite finished. </p> <p> Down at the booms the jam crew received the drive as fast as it came down. From one crib to another across the broad extent of the river's mouth, heavy booms were chained end to end effectually to close the exit to Lake Superior. Against these the logs caromed softly in the slackened current, and stopped. The cribs were very heavy with slanting, instead of square, tops, in order that the pressure might be downwards instead of sidewise. This guaranteed their permanency. In a short time the surface of the lagoon was covered by a brown carpet of logs running in strange patterns like windrows of fallen grain. Finally, across the straight middle distance of the river, appeared little agitated specks leaping back and forth. Thus the rear came in sight and the drive was all but over. </p> <p> Up till now the weather had been clear but oppressively hot for this time of year. The heat had come suddenly and maintained itself well. It had searched out with fierce directness all the patches of snow lying under the thick firs and balsams of the swamp edge, it had shaken loose the anchor ice of the marsh bottoms, and so had materially aided the success of the drive by increase of water. The men had worked for the most part in undershirts. They were as much in the water as out of it, for the icy bath had become almost grateful. Hamilton, the journalist, who had attached himself definitely to the drive, distributed bunches of papers, in which the men read that the unseasonable condition prevailed all over the country. </p> <p> At length, however, it gave signs of breaking. The sky, which had been of a steel blue, harbored great piled thunder-heads. Occasionally athwart the heat shot a streak of cold air. Towards evening the thunder-heads shifted and finally dissipated, to be sure, but the portent was there. </p> <p> Hamilton's papers began to tell of disturbances in the South and West. A washout in Arkansas derailed a train; a cloud-burst in Texas wiped out a camp; the cities along the Ohio River were enjoying their annual flood with the usual concomitants of floating houses and boats in the streets. The men wished they had some of that water here. </p> <p> So finally the drive approached its end and all concerned began in anticipation to taste the weariness that awaited them. They had hurried their powers. The few remaining tasks still confronting them, all at once seemed more formidable than what they had accomplished. They could not contemplate further exertion. The work for the first time became dogged, distasteful. Even Thorpe was infected. He, too, wanted more than anything else to drop on the bed in Mrs. Hathaway's boarding house, there to sponge from his mind all colors but the dead gray of rest. There remained but a few things to do. A mile of sacking would carry the drive beyond the influence of freshet water. After that there would be no hurry. </p> <p> He looked around at the hard, fatigue-worn faces of the men about him, and in the obsession of his wearied mood he suddenly felt a great rush of affection for these comrades who had so unreservedly spent themselves for his affair. Their features showed exhaustion, it is true, but their eyes gleamed still with the steady half-humorous purpose of the pioneer. When they caught his glance they grinned good-humoredly. </p> <p> All at once Thorpe turned and started for the bank. </p> <p> "That'll do, boys," he said quietly to the nearest group. "She's down!" </p> <p> It was noon. The sackers looked up in surprise. Behind them, to their very feet, rushed the soft smooth slope of Hemlock Rapids. Below them flowed a broad, peaceful river. The drive had passed its last obstruction. To all intents and purposes it was over. </p> <p> Calmly, with matter-of-fact directness, as though they had not achieved the impossible; as though they, a handful, had not cheated nature and powerful enemies, they shouldered their peaveys and struck into the broad wagon road. In the middle distance loomed the tall stacks of the mill with the little board town about it. Across the eye spun the thread of the railroad. Far away gleamed the broad expanses of Lake Superior. </p> <p> The cook had, early that morning, moored the wanigan to the bank. One of the teamsters from town had loaded the men's "turkeys" on his heavy wagon. The wanigan's crew had thereupon trudged into town. </p> <p> The men paired off naturally and fell into a dragging, dogged walk. Thorpe found himself unexpectedly with Big Junko. For a time they plodded on without conversation. Then the big man ventured a remark. </p> <p> "I'm glad she's over," said he. "I got a good stake comin'." </p> <p> "Yes," replied Thorpe indifferently. </p> <p> "I got most six hundred dollars comin'," persisted Junko. </p> <p> "Might as well be six hundred cents," commented Thorpe, "it'd make you just as drunk." </p> <p> Big Junko laughed self-consciously but without the slightest resentment. </p> <p> "That's all right," said he, "but you betcher life I don't blow this stake." </p> <p> "I've heard that talk before," shrugged Thorpe. </p> <p> "Yes, but this is different. I'm goin' to git married on this. How's THAT?" </p> <p> Thorpe, his attention struck at last, stared at his companion. He noted the man's little twinkling animal eyes, his high cheek bones, his flat nose, his thick and slobbery lips, his straggling, fierce mustache and eyebrows, his grotesque long-tailed cutaway coat. So to him, too, this primitive man reaching dully from primordial chaos, the great moment had yielded its vision. </p> <p> "Who is she?" he asked abruptly. </p> <p> "She used to wash at Camp Four." </p> <p> Thorpe dimly remembered the woman now&mdash;an overweighted creature with a certain attraction of elfishly blowing hair, with a certain pleasing full-cheeked, full-bosomed health. </p> <p> The two walked on in re-established silence. Finally the giant, unable to contain himself longer, broke out again. </p> <p> "I do like that woman," said he with a quaintly deliberate seriousness. "That's the finest woman in this district." </p> <p> Thorpe felt the quick moisture rush to his eyes. There was something inexpressibly touching in those simple words as Big Junko uttered them. </p> <p> "And when you are married," he asked, "what are you going to do? Are you going to stay on the river?" </p> <p> "No, I'm goin' to clear a farm. The woman she says that's the thing to do. I like the river, too. But you bet when Carrie says a thing, that's plenty good enough for Big Junko." </p> <p> "Suppose," suggested Thorpe, irresistibly impelled towards the attempt, "suppose I should offer you two hundred dollars a month to stay on the river. Would you stay?" </p> <p> "Carrie don't like it," replied Junko. </p> <p> "Two hundred dollars is big wages," persisted Thorpe. "It's twice what I give Radway." </p> <p> "I'd like to ask Carrie." </p> <p> "No, take it or leave it now." </p> <p> "Well, Carrie says she don't like it," answered the riverman with a sigh. </p> <p> Thorpe looked at his companion fixedly. Somehow the bestial countenance had taken on an attraction of its own. He remembered Big Junko as a wild beast when his passions were aroused, as a man whose honesty had been doubted. </p> <p> "You've changed, Junko," said he. </p> <p> "I know," said the big man. "I been a scalawag all right. I quit it. I don't know much, but Carrie she's smart, and I'm goin' to do what she says. When you get stuck on a good woman like Carrie, Mr. Thorpe, you don't give much of a damn for anything else. Sure! That's right! It's the biggest thing top o' earth!" </p> <p> Here it was again, the opposing creed. And from such a source. Thorpe's iron will contracted again. </p> <p> "A woman is no excuse for a man's neglecting his work," he snapped. </p> <p> "Shorely not," agreed Junko serenely. "I aim to finish out my time all right, Mr. Thorpe. Don't you worry none about that. I done my best for you. And," went on the riverman in the expansion of this unwonted confidence with his employer, "I'd like to rise to remark that you're the best boss I ever had, and we boys wants to stay with her till there's skating in hell!" </p> <p> "All right," murmured Thorpe indifferently. </p> <p> His momentary interest had left him. Again the reactionary weariness dragged at his feet. Suddenly the remaining half mile to town seemed very long indeed. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0053" id="link2HCH0053"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LIII </h2> <p> Wallace Carpenter and Hamilton, the journalist, seated against the sun-warmed bench of Mrs. Hathaway's boarding-house, commented on the band as it stumbled in to the wash-room. </p> <p> "Those men don't know how big they are," remarked the journalist. "That's the way with most big men. And that man Thorpe belongs to another age. I'd like to get him to telling his experiences; he'd be a gold mine to me." </p> <p> "And would require about as much trouble to 'work,'" laughed Wallace. "He won't talk." </p> <p> "That's generally the trouble, confound 'em," sighed Hamilton. "The fellows who CAN talk haven't anything to say; and those who have something to tell are dumb as oysters. I've got him in though." He spread one of a roll of papers on his knees. "I got a set of duplicates for you. Thought you might like to keep them. The office tells me," he concluded modestly, "that they are attracting lots of attention, but are looked upon as being a rather clever sort of fiction." </p> <p> Wallace picked up the sheet. His eye was at once met by the heading, "'So long, boys,'" in letters a half inch in height, and immediately underneath in smaller type, "said Jimmy Powers, and threw his hat in the face of death." </p> <p> "It's all there," explained the journalist, "&mdash;the jam and the break, and all this magnificent struggle afterwards. It makes a great yarn. I feel tempted sometimes to help it out a little&mdash;artistically, you know&mdash;but of course that wouldn't do. She'd make a ripping yarn, though, if I could get up some motive outside mere trade rivalry for the blowing up of those dams. That would just round it off." </p> <p> Wallace Carpenter was about to reply that such a motive actually existed, when the conversation was interrupted by the approach of Thorpe and Big Junko. The former looked twenty years older after his winter. His eye was dull, his shoulders drooped, his gait was inelastic. The whole bearing of the man was that of one weary to the bone. </p> <p> "I've got something here to show you, Harry," cried Wallace Carpenter, waving one of the papers. "It was a great drive and here's something to remember it by." </p> <p> "All right, Wallace, by and by," replied Thorpe dully. "I'm dead. I'm going to turn in for a while. I need sleep more than anything else. I can't think now." </p> <p> He passed through the little passage into the "parlor bed-room," which Mrs. Hathaway always kept in readiness for members of the firm. There he fell heavily asleep almost before his body had met the bed. </p> <p> In the long dining room the rivermen consumed a belated dinner. They had no comments to make. It was over. </p> <p> The two on the veranda smoked. To the right, at the end of the sawdust street, the mill sang its varying and lulling keys. The odor of fresh-sawed pine perfumed the air. Not a hundred yards away the river slipped silently to the distant blue Superior, escaping between the slanting stone-filled cribs which held back the logs. Down the south and west the huge thunderheads gathered and flashed and grumbled, as they had done every afternoon for days previous. </p> <p> "Queer thing," commented Hamilton finally, "these cold streaks in the air. They are just as distinct as though they had partitions around them." </p> <p> "Queer climate anyway," agreed Carpenter. </p> <p> Excepting always for the mill, the little settlement appeared asleep. The main booms were quite deserted. Not a single figure, armed with its picturesque pike-pole, loomed athwart the distance. After awhile Hamilton noticed something. </p> <p> "Look here, Carpenter," said he, "what's happening out there? Have some of your confounded logs SUNK, or what? There don't seem to be near so many of them somehow." </p> <p> "No, it isn't that," proffered Carpenter after a moment's scrutiny, "there are just as many logs, but they are getting separated a little so you can see the open water between them." </p> <p> "Guess you're right. Say, look here, I believe that the river is rising!" </p> <p> "Nonsense, we haven't had any rain." </p> <p> "She's rising just the same. I'll tell you how I know; you see that spile over there near the left-hand crib? Well, I sat on the boom this morning watching the crew, and I whittled the spile with my knife&mdash;you can see the marks from here. I cut the thing about two feet above the water. Look at it now." </p> <p> "She's pretty near the water line, that's right," admitted Carpenter. </p> <p> "I should think that might make the boys hot," commented Hamilton. "If they'd known this was coming, they needn't have hustled so to get the drive down. </p> <p> "That's so," Wallace agreed. </p> <p> About an hour later the younger man in his turn made a discovery. </p> <p> "She's been rising right along," he submitted. "Your marks are nearer the water, and, do you know, I believe the logs are beginning to feel it. See, they've closed up the little openings between them, and they are beginning to crowd down to the lower end of the pond." </p> <p> "I don't know anything about this business," hazarded the journalist, "but by the mere look of the thing I should think there was a good deal of pressure on that same lower end. By Jove, look there! See those logs up-end? I believe you're going to have a jam right here in your own booms!" </p> <p> "I don't know," hesitated Wallace, "I never heard of its happening." </p> <p> "You'd better let someone know." </p> <p> "I hate to bother Harry or any of the rivermen. I'll just step down to the mill. Mason&mdash;he's our mill foreman&mdash;he'll know." </p> <p> Mason came to the edge of the high trestle and took one look. </p> <p> "Jumping fish-hooks!" he cried. "Why, the river's up six inches and still a comin'! Here you, Tom!" he called to one of the yard hands, "you tell Solly to get steam on that tug double quick, and have Dave hustle together his driver crew." </p> <p> "What you going to do?" asked Wallace. </p> <p> "I got to strengthen the booms," explained the mill foreman. "We'll drive some piles across between the cribs." </p> <p> "Is there any danger?" </p> <p> "Oh, no, the river would have to rise a good deal higher than she is now to make current enough to hurt. They've had a hard rain up above. This will go down in a few hours." </p> <p> After a time the tug puffed up to the booms, escorting the pile driver. The latter towed a little raft of long sharpened piles, which it at once began to drive in such positions as would most effectually strengthen the booms. In the meantime the thunder-heads had slyly climbed the heavens, so that a sudden deluge of rain surprised the workmen. For an hour it poured down in torrents; then settled to a steady gray beat. Immediately the aspect had changed. The distant rise of land was veiled; the brown expanse of logs became slippery and glistening; the river below the booms was picked into staccato points by the drops; distant Superior turned lead color and seemed to tumble strangely athwart the horizon. </p> <p> Solly, the tug captain, looked at his mooring hawsers and then at the nearest crib. </p> <p> "She's riz two inches in th' las' two hours," he announced, "and she's runnin' like a mill race." Solly was a typical north-country tug captain, short and broad, with a brown, clear face, and the steadiest and calmest of steel-blue eyes. "When she begins to feel th' pressure behind," he went on, "there's goin' to be trouble." </p> <p> Towards dusk she began to feel that pressure. Through the rainy twilight the logs could be seen raising their ghostly arms of protest. Slowly, without tumult, the jam formed. In the van the logs crossed silently; in the rear they pressed in, were sucked under in the swift water, and came to rest at the bottom of the river. The current of the river began to protest, pressing its hydraulics through the narrowing crevices. The situation demanded attention. </p> <p> A breeze began to pull off shore in the body of rain. Little by little it increased, sending the water by in gusts, ruffling the already hurrying river into greater haste, raising far from the shore dimly perceived white-caps. Between the roaring of the wind, the dash of rain, and the rush of the stream, men had to shout to make themselves heard. </p> <p> "Guess you'd better rout out the boss," screamed Solly to Wallace Carpenter; "this damn water's comin' up an inch an hour right along. When she backs up once, she'll push this jam out sure." </p> <p> Wallace ran to the boarding house and roused his partner from a heavy sleep. The latter understood the situation at a word. While dressing, he explained to the younger man wherein lay the danger. </p> <p> "If the jam breaks once," said he, "nothing top of earth can prevent it from going out into the Lake, and there it'll scatter, Heaven knows where. Once scattered, it is practically a total loss. The salvage wouldn't pay the price of the lumber." </p> <p> They felt blindly through the rain in the direction of the lights on the tug and pile-driver. Shearer, the water dripping from his flaxen mustache, joined them like a shadow. </p> <p> "I heard you come in," he explained to Carpenter. At the river he announced his opinion. "We can hold her all right," he assured them. "It'll take a few more piles, but by morning the storm'll be over, and she'll begin to go down again." </p> <p> The three picked their way over the creaking, swaying timber. But when they reached the pile-driver, they found trouble afoot. The crew had mutinied, and refused longer to drive piles under the face of the jam. </p> <p> "If she breaks loose, she's going to bury us," said they. </p> <p> "She won't break," snapped Shearer, "get to work." </p> <p> "It's dangerous," they objected sullenly. </p> <p> "By God, you get off this driver," shouted Solly. "Go over and lie down in a ten-acre lot, and see if you feel safe there!" </p> <p> He drove them ashore with a storm of profanity and a multitude of kicks, his steel-blue eyes blazing. </p> <p> "There's nothing for it but to get the boys out again," said Tim; "I kinder hate to do it." </p> <p> But when the Fighting Forty, half asleep but dauntless, took charge of the driver, a catastrophe made itself known. One of the ejected men had tripped the lifting chain of the hammer after another had knocked away the heavy preventing block, and so the hammer had fallen into the river and was lost. None other was to be had. The pile driver was useless. </p> <p> A dozen men were at once despatched for cables, chains, and wire ropes from the supply at the warehouse. </p> <p> "I'd like to have those whelps here," cried Shearer, "I'd throw them under the jam." </p> <p> "It's part of the same trick," said Thorpe grimly; "those fellows have their men everywhere among us. I don't know whom to trust." </p> <p> "You think it's Morrison &amp; Daly?" queried Carpenter astonished. </p> <p> "Think? I know it. They know as well as you or I that if we save these logs, we'll win out in the stock exchange; and they're not such fools as to let us save them if it can be helped. I have a score to settle with those fellows; and when I get through with this thing I'll settle it all right." </p> <p> "What are you going to do now?" </p> <p> "The only thing there is to be done. We'll string heavy booms, chained together, between the cribs, and then trust to heaven they'll hold. I think we can hold the jam. The water will begin to flow over the bank before long, so there won't be much increase of pressure over what we have now; and as there won't be any shock to withstand, I think our heavy booms will do the business." </p> <p> He turned to direct the boring of some long boom logs in preparation for the chains. Suddenly he whirled again to Wallace with so strange an expression in his face that the young man almost cried out. The uncertain light of the lanterns showed dimly the streaks of rain across his countenance, and, his eye flared with a look almost of panic. </p> <p> "I never thought of it!" he said in a low voice. "Fool that I am! I don't see how I missed it. Wallace, don't you see what those devils will do next?" </p> <p> "No, what do you mean?" gasped the younger man. </p> <p> "There are twelve million feet of logs up river in Sadler &amp; Smith's drive. Don't you see what they'll do?" </p> <p> "No, I don't believe&mdash;" </p> <p> "Just as soon as they find out that the river is booming, and that we are going to have a hard time to hold our jam, they'll let loose those twelve million on us. They'll break the jam, or dynamite it, or something. And let me tell you, that a very few logs hitting the tail of our jam will start the whole shooting match so that no power on earth can stop it." </p> <p> "I don't imagine they'd think of doing that&mdash;" began Wallace by way of assurance. </p> <p> "Think of it! You don't know them. They've thought of everything. You don't know that man Daly. Ask Tim, he'll tell you." </p> <p> "Well, the&mdash;" </p> <p> "I've got to send a man up there right away. Perhaps we can get there in time to head them off. They have to send their man over&mdash;By the way," he queried, struck with a new idea, "how long have you been driving piles?" </p> <p> "Since about three o'clock." </p> <p> "Six hours," computed Thorpe. "I wish you'd come for me sooner." </p> <p> He cast his eye rapidly over the men. </p> <p> "I don't know just who to send. There isn't a good enough woodsman in the lot to make Siscoe Falls through the woods a night like this. The river trail is too long; and a cut through the woods is blind. Andrews is the only man I know of who could do it, but I think Billy Mason said Andrews had gone up on the Gunther track to run lines. Come on; we'll see." </p> <p> With infinite difficulty and caution, they reached the shore. Across the gleaming logs shone dimly the lanterns at the scene of work, ghostly through the rain. Beyond, on either side, lay impenetrable drenched darkness, racked by the wind. </p> <p> "I wouldn't want to tackle it," panted Thorpe. "If it wasn't for that cursed tote road between Sadler's and Daly's, I wouldn't worry. It's just too EASY for them." </p> <p> Behind them the jam cracked and shrieked and groaned. Occasionally was heard, beneath the sharper noises, a dull BOOM, as one of the heavy timbers forced by the pressure from its resting place, shot into the air, and fell back on the bristling surface. </p> <p> Andrews had left that morning. </p> <p> "Tim Shearer might do it," suggested Thorpe, "but I hate to spare him." </p> <p> He picked his rifle from its rack and thrust the magazine full of cartridges. </p> <p> "Come on, Wallace," said he, "we'll hunt him up." </p> <p> They stepped again into the shriek and roar of the storm, bending their heads to its power, but indifferent in the already drenched condition of their clothing, to the rain. The saw-dust street was saturated like a sponge. They could feel the quick water rise about the pressure at their feet. From the invisible houses they heard a steady monotone of flowing from the roofs. Far ahead, dim in the mist, sprayed the light of lanterns. </p> <p> Suddenly Thorpe felt a touch on his arm. Faintly he perceived at his elbow the high lights of a face from which the water streamed. </p> <p> "Injin Charley!" he cried, "the very man!" </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0054" id="link2HCH0054"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LIV </h2> <p> Rapidly Thorpe explained what was to be done, and thrust his rifle into the Indian's hands. The latter listened in silence and stolidity, then turned, and without a word departed swiftly in the darkness. The two white men stood a minute attentive. Nothing was to be heard but the steady beat of rain and the roaring of the wind. </p> <p> Near the bank of the river they encountered a man, visible only as an uncertain black outline against the glow of the lanterns beyond. Thorpe, stopping him, found Big Junko. </p> <p> "This is no time to quit," said Thorpe, sharply. </p> <p> "I ain't quittin'," replied Big Junko. </p> <p> "Where are you going, then?" </p> <p> Junko was partially and stammeringly unresponsive. </p> <p> "Looks bad," commented Thorpe. "You'd better get back to your job." </p> <p> "Yes," agreed Junko helplessly. In the momentary slack tide of work, the giant had conceived the idea of searching out the driver crew for purposes of pugilistic vengeance. Thorpe's suspicions stung him, but his simple mind could see no direct way to explanation. </p> <p> All night long in the chill of a spring rain and windstorm the Fighting Forty and certain of the mill crew gave themselves to the labor of connecting the slanting stone cribs so strongly, by means of heavy timbers chained end to end, that the pressure of a break in the jam might not sweep aside the defenses. Wallace Carpenter, Shorty, the chore-boy, and Anderson, the barn-boss, picked a dangerous passage back and forth carrying pails of red-hot coffee which Mrs. Hathaway constantly prepared. The cold water numbed the men's hands. With difficulty could they manipulate the heavy chains through the auger holes; with pain they twisted knots, bored holes. They did not complain. Behind them the jam quivered, perilously near the bursting point. From it shrieked aloud the demons of pressure. Steadily the river rose, an inch an hour. The key might snap at any given moment, they could not tell,&mdash;and with the rush they knew very well that themselves, the tug, and the disabled piledriver would be swept from existence. The worst of it was that the blackness shrouded their experience into uselessness; they were utterly unable to tell by the ordinary visual symptoms how near the jam might be to collapse. </p> <p> However, they persisted, as the old-time riverman always does, so that when dawn appeared the barrier was continuous and assured. Although the pressure of the river had already forced the logs against the defenses, the latter held the strain well. </p> <p> The storm had settled into its gait. Overhead the sky was filled with gray, beneath which darker scuds flew across the zenith before a howling southwest wind. Out in the clear river one could hardly stand upright against the gusts. In the fan of many directions furious squalls swept over the open water below the booms, and an eager boiling current rushed to the lake. </p> <p> Thorpe now gave orders that the tug and driver should take shelter. A few moments later he expressed himself as satisfied. The dripping crew, their harsh faces gray in the half-light, picked their way to the shore. </p> <p> In the darkness of that long night's work no man knew his neighbor. Men from the river, men from the mill, men from the yard all worked side by side. Thus no one noticed especially a tall, slender, but well-knit individual dressed in a faded mackinaw and a limp slouch hat which he wore pulled over his eyes. This young fellow occupied himself with the chains. Against the racing current the crew held the ends of the heavy booms, while he fastened them together. He worked well, but seemed slow. Three times Shearer hustled him on after the others had finished, examining closely the work that had been done. On the third occasion he shrugged his shoulder somewhat impatiently. </p> <p> The men straggled to shore, the young fellow just described bringing up the rear. He walked as though tired out, hanging his head and dragging his feet. When, however, the boarding-house door had closed on the last of those who preceded him, and the town lay deserted in the dawn, he suddenly became transformed. Casting a keen glance right and left to be sure of his opportunity, he turned and hurried recklessly back over the logs to the center booms. There he knelt and busied himself with the chains. </p> <p> In his zigzag progression over the jam he so blended with the morning shadows as to seem one of them, and he would have escaped quite unnoticed had not a sudden shifting of the logs under his feet compelled him to rise for a moment to his full height. So Wallace Carpenter, passing from his bedroom, along the porch, to the dining room, became aware of the man on the logs. </p> <p> His first thought was that something demanding instant attention had happened to the boom. He therefore ran at once to the man's assistance, ready to help him personally or to call other aid as the exigency demanded. Owing to the precarious nature of the passage, he could not see beyond his feet until very close to the workman. Then he looked up to find the man, squatted on the boom, contemplating him sardonically. </p> <p> "Dyer!" he exclaimed </p> <p> "Right, my son," said the other coolly. </p> <p> "What are you doing?" </p> <p> "If you want to know, I am filing this chain." </p> <p> Wallace made one step forward and so became aware that at last firearms were taking a part in this desperate game. </p> <p> "You stand still," commanded Dyer from behind the revolver. "It's unfortunate for you that you happened along, because now you'll have to come with me till this little row is over. You won't have to stay long; your logs'll go out in an hour. I'll just trouble you to go into the brush with me for a while." </p> <p> The scaler picked his file from beside the weakened link. </p> <p> "What have you against us, anyway, Dyer?" asked Wallace. His quick mind had conceived a plan. At the moment, he was standing near the outermost edge of the jam, but now as he spoke he stepped quietly to the boom log. </p> <p> Dyer's black eyes gleamed at him suspiciously, but the movement appeared wholly natural in view of the return to shore. </p> <p> "Nothing," he replied. "I didn't like your gang particularly, but that's nothing." </p> <p> "Why do you take such nervy chances to injure us?" queried Carpenter. </p> <p> "Because there's something in it," snapped the scaler. "Now about face; mosey!" </p> <p> Like a flash Wallace wheeled and dropped into the river, swimming as fast as possible below water before his breath should give out. The swift current hurried him away. When at last he rose for air, the spit of Dyer's pistol caused him no uneasiness. A moment later he struck out boldly for shore. </p> <p> What Dyer's ultimate plan might be, he could not guess. He had stated confidently that the jam would break "in an hour." He might intend to start it with dynamite. Wallace dragged himself from the water and commenced breathlessly to run toward the boarding-house. </p> <p> Dyer had already reached the shore. Wallace raised what was left of his voice in a despairing shout. The scaler mockingly waved his hat, then turned and ran swiftly and easily toward the shelter of the woods. At their border he paused again to bow in derision. Carpenter's cry brought men to the boarding-house door. From the shadows of the forest two vivid flashes cut the dusk. Dyer staggered, turned completely about, seemed partially to recover, and disappeared. An instant later, across the open space where the scaler had stood, with rifle a-trail, the Indian leaped in pursuit. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0055" id="link2HCH0055"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LV </h2> <p> "What is it?" "What's the matter?" "What's happened?" burst on Wallace in a volley. </p> <p> "It's Dyer," gasped the young man. "I found him on the boom! He held me up with a gun while he filed the boom chains between the center piers. They're just ready to go. I got away by diving. Hurry and put in a new chain; you haven't much time!" </p> <p> "He's a gone-er now," interjected Solly grimly.&mdash;"Charley is on his trail&mdash;and he is hit." </p> <p> Thorpe's intelligence leaped promptly to the practical question. </p> <p> "Injin Charley, where'd he come from? I sent him up Sadler &amp; Smith's. It's twenty miles, even through the woods." </p> <p> As though by way of colossal answer the whole surface of the jam moved inward and upward, thrusting the logs bristling against the horizon. </p> <p> "She's going to break!" shouted Thorpe, starting on a run towards the river. "A chain, quick!" </p> <p> The men followed, strung high with excitement. Hamilton, the journalist, paused long enough to glance up-stream. Then he, too, ran after them, screaming that the river above was full of logs. By that they all knew that Injin Charley's mission had failed, and that something under ten million feet of logs were racing down the river like so many battering rams. </p> <p> At the boom the great jam was already a-tremble with eagerness to spring. Indeed a miracle alone seemed to hold the timbers in their place. </p> <p> "It's death, certain death, to go out on that boom," muttered Billy Mason. </p> <p> Tim Shearer stepped forward coolly, ready as always to assume the perilous duty. He was thrust back by Thorpe, who seized the chain, cold-shut and hammer which Scotty Parsons brought, and ran lightly out over the booms, shouting, </p> <p> "Back! back! Don't follow me, on your lives! Keep 'em back, Tim!" </p> <p> The swift water boiled from under the booms. BANG! SMASH! BANG! crashed the logs, a mile upstream, but plainly audible above the waters and the wind. Thorpe knelt, dropped the cold-shut through on either side of the weakened link, and prepared to close it with his hammer. He intended further to strengthen the connection with the other chain. </p> <p> "Lem' me hold her for you. You can't close her alone," said an unexpected voice next his elbow. </p> <p> Thorpe looked up in surprise and anger. Over him leaned Big Junko. The men had been unable to prevent his following. Animated by the blind devotion of the animal for its master, and further stung to action by that master's doubt of his fidelity, the giant had followed to assist as he might. </p> <p> "You damned fool," cried Thorpe exasperated, then held the hammer to him, "strike while I keep the chain underneath," he commanded. </p> <p> Big Junko leaned forward to obey, kicking strongly his caulks into the barked surface of the boom log. The spikes, worn blunt by the river work already accomplished, failed to grip. Big Junko slipped, caught himself by an effort, overbalanced in the other direction, and fell into the stream. The current at once swept him away, but fortunately in such a direction that he was enabled to catch the slanting end of a "dead head" log whose lower end was jammed in the crib. The dead head was slippery, the current strong; Big Junko had no crevice by which to assure his hold. In another moment he would be torn away. </p> <p> "Let go and swim!" shouted Thorpe. </p> <p> "I can't swim," replied Junko in so low a voice as to be scarcely audible. </p> <p> For a moment Thorpe stared at him. </p> <p> "Tell Carrie," said Big Junko. </p> <p> Then there beneath the swirling gray sky, under the frowning jam, in the midst of flood waters, Thorpe had his second great Moment of Decision. He did not pause to weigh reasons or chances, to discuss with himself expediency, or the moralities of failure. His actions were foreordained, mechanical. All at once the great forces which the winter had been bringing to power, crystallized into something bigger than himself or his ideas. The trail lay before him; there was no choice. </p> <p> Now clearly, with no shadow of doubt, he took the other view: There could be nothing better than Love. Men, their works, their deeds were little things. Success was a little thing; the opinion of men a little thing. Instantly he felt the truth of it. </p> <p> And here was Love in danger. That it held its moment's habitation in clay of the coarser mould had nothing to do with the great elemental truth of it. For the first time in his life Thorpe felt the full crushing power of an abstraction. Without thought, instinctively, he threw before the necessity of the moment all that was lesser. It was the triumph of what was real in the man over that which environment, alienation, difficulties had raised up within him. </p> <p> At Big Junko's words, Thorpe raised his hammer and with one mighty blow severed the chains which bound the ends of the booms across the opening. The free end of one of the poles immediately swung down with the current in the direction of Big Junko. Thorpe like a cat ran to the end of the boom, seized the giant by the collar, and dragged him through the water to safety. </p> <p> "Run!" he shouted. "Run for your life!" </p> <p> The two started desperately back, skirting the edge of the logs which now the very seconds alone seemed to hold back. They were drenched and blinded with spray, deafened with the crash of timbers settling to the leap. The men on shore could no longer see them for the smother. The great crush of logs had actually begun its first majestic sliding motion when at last they emerged to safety. </p> <p> At first a few of the loose timbers found the opening, slipping quietly through with the current; then more; finally the front of the jam dove forward; and an instant later the smooth, swift motion had gained its impetus and was sweeping the entire drive down through the gap. </p> <p> Rank after rank, like soldiers charging, they ran. The great fierce wind caught them up ahead of the current. In a moment the open river was full of logs jostling eagerly onward. Then suddenly, far out above the uneven tossing skyline of Superior, the strange northern "loom," or mirage, threw the specters of thousands of restless timbers rising and falling on the bosom of the lake. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0056" id="link2HCH0056"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LVI </h2> <p> They stood and watched them go. </p> <p> "Oh, the great man! Oh, the great man!" murmured the writer, fascinated. </p> <p> The grandeur of the sacrifice had struck them dumb. They did not understand the motives beneath it all; but the fact was patent. Big Junko broke down and sobbed. </p> <p> After a time the stream of logs through the gap slackened. In a moment more, save for the inevitably stranded few, the booms were empty. A deep sigh went up from the attentive multitude. </p> <p> "She's GONE!" said one man, with the emphasis of a novel discovery; and groaned. </p> <p> Then the awe broke from about their minds, and they spoke many opinions and speculations. Thorpe had disappeared. They respected his emotion and did not follow him. </p> <p> "It was just plain damn foolishness;&mdash;but it was great!" said Shearer. "That no-account jackass of a Big Junko ain't worth as much per thousand feet as good white pine." </p> <p> Then they noticed a group of men gathering about the office steps, and on it someone talking. Collins, the bookkeeper, was making a speech. </p> <p> Collins was a little hatchet-faced man, with straight, lank hair, nearsighted eyes, a timid, order-loving disposition, and a great suitability for his profession. He was accurate, unemotional, and valuable. All his actions were as dry as the saw-dust in the burner. No one had ever seen him excited. But he was human; and now his knowledge of the Company's affairs showed him the dramatic contrast. HE KNEW! He knew that the property of the firm had been mortgaged to the last dollar in order to assist expansion, so that not another cent could be borrowed to tide over present difficulty. He knew that the notes for sixty thousand dollars covering the loan to Wallace Carpenter came due in three months; he knew from the long table of statistics which he was eternally preparing and comparing that the season's cut should have netted a profit of two hundred thousand dollars&mdash;enough to pay the interest on the mortgages, to take up the notes, and to furnish a working capital for the ensuing year. These things he knew in the strange concrete arithmetical manner of the routine bookkeeper. Other men saw a desperate phase of firm rivalry; he saw a struggle to the uttermost. Other men cheered a rescue: he thrilled over the magnificent gesture of the Gambler scattering his stake in largesse to Death. </p> <p> It was the simple turning of the hand from full breathed prosperity to lifeless failure. </p> <p> His view was the inverse of his master's. To Thorpe it had suddenly become a very little thing in contrast to the great, sweet elemental truth that the dream girl had enunciated. To Collins the affair was miles vaster than the widest scope of his own narrow life. </p> <p> The firm could not take up its notes when they came due; it could not pay the interest on the mortgages, which would now be foreclosed; it could not even pay in full the men who had worked for it&mdash;that would come under a court's adjudication. </p> <p> He had therefore watched Thorpe's desperate sally to mend the weakened chain, in all the suspense of a man whose entire universe is in the keeping of the chance moment. It must be remembered that at bottom, below the outer consciousness, Thorpe's final decision had already grown to maturity. On the other hand, no other thought than that of accomplishment had even entered the little bookkeeper's head. The rescue and all that it had meant had hit him like a stroke of apoplexy, and his thin emotions had curdled to hysteria. Full of the idea he appeared before the men. </p> <p> With rapid, almost incoherent speech he poured it out to them. Professional caution and secrecy were forgotten. Wallace Carpenter attempted to push through the ring for the purpose of stopping him. A gigantic riverman kindly but firmly held him back. </p> <p> "I guess it's just as well we hears this," said the latter. </p> <p> It all came out&mdash;the loan to Carpenter, with a hint at the motive: the machinations of the rival firm on the Board of Trade; the notes, the mortgages, the necessity of a big season's cut; the reasons the rival firm had for wishing to prevent that cut from arriving at the market; the desperate and varied means they had employed. The men listened silent. Hamilton, his eyes glowing like coals, drank in every word. Here was the master motive he had sought; here was the story great to his hand! </p> <p> "That's what we ought to get," cried Collins, almost weeping, "and now we've gone and bust, just because that infernal river-hog had to fall off a boom. By God, it's a shame! Those scalawags have done us after all!" </p> <p> Out from the shadows of the woods stole Injin Charley. The whole bearing and aspect of the man had changed. His eye gleamed with a distant farseeing fire of its own, which took no account of anything but some remote vision. He stole along almost furtively, but with a proud upright carriage of his neck, a backward tilt of his fine head, a distention of his nostrils that lent to his appearance a panther-like pride and stealthiness. No one saw him. Suddenly he broke through the group and mounted the steps beside Collins. </p> <p> "The enemy of my brother is gone," said he simply in his native tongue, and with a sudden gesture held out before them&mdash;a scalp. </p> <p> The medieval barbarity of the thing appalled them for a moment. The days of scalping were long since past, had been closed away between the pages of forgotten histories, and yet here again before them was the thing in all its living horror. Then a growl arose. The human animal had tasted blood. </p> <p> All at once like wine their wrongs mounted to their heads. They remembered their dead comrades. They remembered the heart-breaking days and nights of toil they had endured on account of this man and his associates. They remembered the words of Collins, the little bookkeeper. They hated. They shook their fists across the skies. They turned and with one accord struck back for the railroad right-of-way which led to Shingleville, the town controlled by Morrison &amp; Daly. </p> <p> The railroad lay for a mile straight through a thick tamarack swamp, then over a nearly treeless cranberry plain. The tamarack was a screen between the two towns. When half-way through the swamp, Red Jacket stopped, removed his coat, ripped the lining from it, and began to fashion a rude mask. </p> <p> "Just as well they don't recognize us," said he. </p> <p> "Somebody in town will give us away," suggested Shorty, the chore-boy. </p> <p> "No, they won't; they're all here," assured Kerlie. </p> <p> It was true. Except for the women and children, who were not yet about, the entire village had assembled. Even old Vanderhoof, the fire-watcher of the yard, hobbled along breathlessly on his rheumatic legs. In a moment the masks were fitted. In a moment more the little band had emerged from the shelter of the swamp, and so came into full view of its objective point. </p> <p> Shingleville consisted of a big mill; the yards, now nearly empty of lumber; the large frame boarding-house; the office; the stable; a store; two saloons; and a dozen dwellings. The party at once fixed its eyes on this collection of buildings, and trudged on down the right-of-way with unhastening grimness. </p> <p> Their approach was not unobserved. Daly saw them; and Baker, his foreman, saw them. The two at once went forth to organize opposition. When the attacking party reached the mill-yard, it found the boss and the foreman standing alone on the saw-dust, revolvers drawn. </p> <p> Daly traced a line with his toe. </p> <p> "The first man that crosses that line gets it," said he. </p> <p> They knew he meant what he said. An instant's pause ensued, while the big man and the little faced a mob. Daly's rivermen were still on drive. He knew the mill men too well to depend on them. Truth to tell, the possibility of such a raid as this had not occurred to him; for the simple reason that he did not anticipate the discovery of his complicity with the forces of nature. Skillfully carried out, the plan was a good one. No one need know of the weakened link, and it was the most natural thing in the world that Sadler &amp; Smith's drive should go out with the increase of water. </p> <p> The men grouped swiftly and silently on the other side of the sawdust line. The pause did not mean that Daly's defense was good. I have known of a crew of striking mill men being so bluffed down, but not such men as these. </p> <p> "Do you know what's going to happen to you?" said a voice from the group. The speaker was Radway, but the contractor kept himself well in the background. "We're going to burn your mill; we're going to burn your yards; we're going to burn your whole shooting match, you low-lived whelp!" </p> <p> "Yes, and we're going to string you to your own trestle!" growled another voice harshly. </p> <p> "Dyer!" said Injin Charley, simply, shaking the wet scalp arm's length towards the lumbermen. </p> <p> At this grim interruption a silence fell. The owner paled slightly; his foreman chewed a nonchalant straw. Down the still and deserted street crossed and recrossed the subtle occult influences of a half-hundred concealed watchers. Daly and his subordinate were very much alone, and very much in danger. Their last hour had come; and they knew it. </p> <p> With the recognition of the fact, they immediately raised their weapons in the resolve to do as much damage as possible before being overpowered. </p> <p> Then suddenly, full in the back, a heavy stream of water knocked them completely off their feet, rolled them over and over on the wet sawdust, and finally jammed them both against the trestle, where it held them, kicking and gasping for breath, in a choking cataract of water. The pistols flew harmlessly into the air. For an instant the Fighting Forty stared in paralyzed astonishment. Then a tremendous roar of laughter saluted this easy vanquishment of a formidable enemy. </p> <p> Daly and Baker were pounced upon and captured. There was no resistance. They were too nearly strangled for that. Little Solly and old Vanderhoof turned off the water in the fire hydrant and disconnected the hose they had so effectively employed. </p> <p> "There, damn you!" said Rollway Charley, jerking the millman to his feet. "How do YOU like too much water? hey?" </p> <p> The unexpected comedy changed the party's mood. </p> <p> It was no longer a question of killing. A number broke into the store, and shortly emerged, bearing pails of kerosene with which they deluged the slabs on the windward side of the mill. The flames caught the structure instantly. A thousand sparks, borne by the off-shore breeze, fastened like so many stinging insects on the lumber in the yard. </p> <p> It burned as dried balsam thrown on a camp fire. The heat of it drove the onlookers far back in the village, where in silence they watched the destruction. From behind locked doors the inhabitants watched with them. </p> <p> The billow of white smoke filled the northern sky. A whirl of gray wood ashes, light as air, floated on and ever on over Superior. The site of the mill, the squares where the piles of lumber had stood, glowed incandescence over which already a white film was forming. </p> <p> Daly and his man were slapped and cuffed hither and thither at the men's will. Their faces bled, their bodies ached as one bruise. </p> <p> "That squares us," said the men. "If we can't cut this year, neither kin you. It's up to you now!" </p> <p> Then, like a destroying horde of locusts, they gutted the office and the store, smashing what they could not carry to the fire. The dwellings and saloons they did not disturb. Finally, about noon, they kicked their two prisoners into the river, and took their way stragglingly back along the right-of-way. </p> <p> "I surmise we took that town apart SOME!" remarked Shorty with satisfaction. </p> <p> "I should rise to remark," replied Kerlie. Big Junko said nothing, but his cavernous little animal eyes glowed with satisfaction. He had been the first to lay hands on Daly; he had helped to carry the petroleum; he had struck the first match; he had even administered the final kick. </p> <p> At the boarding-house they found Wallace Carpenter and Hamilton seated on the veranda. It was now afternoon. The wind had abated somewhat, and the sun was struggling with the still flying scuds. </p> <p> "Hello, boys," said Wallace, "been for a little walk in the woods?" </p> <p> "Yes, sir," replied Jack Hyland, "we&mdash;" </p> <p> "I'd rather not hear," interrupted Wallace. "There's quite a fire over east. I suppose you haven't noticed it." </p> <p> Hyland looked gravely eastward. </p> <p> "Sure 'nough!" said he. </p> <p> "Better get some grub," suggested Wallace. </p> <p> After the men had gone in, he turned to the journalist. </p> <p> "Hamilton," he began, "write all you know about the drive, and the break, and the rescue, but as to the burning of the mill&mdash;" </p> <p> The other held out his hand. </p> <p> "Good," said Wallace offering his own. </p> <p> And that was as far as the famous Shingleville raid ever got. Daly did his best to collect even circumstantial evidence against the participants, but in vain. He could not even get anyone to say that a single member of the village of Carpenter had absented himself from town that morning. This might have been from loyalty, or it might have been from fear of the vengeance the Fighting Forty would surely visit on a traitor. Probably it was a combination of both. The fact remains, however, that Daly never knew surely of but one man implicated in the destruction of his plant. That man was Injin Charley, but Injin Charley promptly disappeared. </p> <p> After an interval, Tim Shearer, Radway and Kerlie came out again. </p> <p> "Where's the boss?" asked Shearer. </p> <p> "I don't know, Tim," replied Wallace seriously. </p> <p> "I've looked everywhere. He's gone. He must have been all cut up. I think he went out in the woods to get over it. I am not worrying. Harry has lots of sense. He'll come in about dark." </p> <p> "Sure!" said Tim. </p> <p> "How about the boy's stakes?" queried Radway. "I hear this is a bad smash for the firm." </p> <p> "We'll see that the men get their wages all right," replied Carpenter, a little disappointed that such a question should be asked at such a time. </p> <p> "All right," rejoined the contractor. "We're all going to need our money this summer." </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0057" id="link2HCH0057"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LVII </h2> <p> Thorpe walked through the silent group of men without seeing them. He had no thought for what he had done, but for the triumphant discovery he had made in spite of himself. This he saw at once as something to glory in and as a duty to be fulfilled. </p> <p> It was then about six o'clock in the morning. Thorpe passed the boarding-house, the store, and the office, to take himself as far as the little open shed that served the primitive town as a railway station. There he set the semaphore to flag the east-bound train from Duluth. At six thirty-two, the train happening on time, he climbed aboard. He dropped heavily into a seat and stared straight in front of him until the conductor had spoken to him twice. </p> <p> "Where to, Mr. Thorpe?" he asked. </p> <p> The latter gazed at him uncomprehendingly. </p> <p> "Oh! Mackinaw City," he replied at last. </p> <p> "How're things going up your way?" inquired the conductor by way of conversation while he made out the pay-slip. </p> <p> "Good!" responded Thorpe mechanically. </p> <p> The act of paying for his fare brought to his consciousness that he had but a little over ten dollars with him. He thrust the change back into his pocket, and took up his contemplation of nothing. The river water dripped slowly from his "cork" boots to form a pool on the car floor. The heavy wool of his short driving trousers steamed in the car's warmth. His shoulders dried in a little cloud of vapor. He noticed none of these things, but stared ahead, his gaze vacant, the bronze of his face set in the lines of a brown study, his strong capable hands hanging purposeless between his knees. The ride to Mackinaw City was six hours long, and the train in addition lost some ninety minutes; but in all this distance Thorpe never altered his pose nor his fixed attitude of attention to some inner voice. </p> <p> The car-ferry finally landed them on the southern peninsula. Thorpe descended at Mackinaw City to find that the noon train had gone. He ate lunch at the hotel,&mdash;borrowed a hundred dollars from the agent of Louis Sands, a lumberman of his acquaintance; and seated himself rigidly in the little waiting room, there to remain until the nine-twenty that night. When the cars were backed down from the siding, he boarded the sleeper. In the doorway stood a disapproving colored porter. </p> <p> "Yo'll fin' the smokin' cab up fo'wu'd, suh," said the latter, firmly barring the way. </p> <p> "It's generally forward," answered Thorpe. </p> <p> "This yeah's th' sleepah," protested the functionary. "You pays extry." </p> <p> "I am aware of it," replied Thorpe curtly. "Give me a lower." </p> <p> "Yessah!" acquiesced the darkey, giving way, but still in doubt. He followed Thorpe curiously, peering into the smoking room on him from time to time. A little after twelve his patience gave out. The stolid gloomy man of lower six seemed to intend sitting up all night. </p> <p> "Yo' berth is ready, sah," he delicately suggested. </p> <p> Thorpe arose obediently, walked to lower six, and, without undressing, threw himself on the bed. Afterwards the porter, in conscientious discharge of his duty, looked diligently beneath the seat for boots to polish. Happening to glance up, after fruitless search he discovered the boots still adorning the feet of their owner. </p> <p> "Well, for th' LANDS sake!" ejaculated the scandalized negro, beating a hasty retreat. </p> <p> He was still more scandalized when, the following noon, his strange fare brushed by him without bestowing the expected tip. </p> <p> Thorpe descended at Twelfth Street in Chicago without any very clear notion of where he was going. For a moment he faced the long park-like expanse of the lake front, then turned sharp to his left and picked his way south up the interminable reaches of Michigan Avenue. He did this without any conscious motive&mdash;mainly because the reaches seemed interminable, and he proved the need of walking. Block after block he clicked along, the caulks of his boots striking fire from the pavement. Some people stared at him a little curiously. Others merely glanced in his direction, attracted more by the expression of his face than the peculiarity of his dress. At that time rivermen were not an uncommon sight along the water front. </p> <p> After an interval he seemed to have left the smoke and dirt behind. The street became quieter. Boarding-houses and tailors' shops ceased. Here and there appeared a bit of lawn, shrubbery, flowers. The residences established an uptown crescendo of magnificence. Policemen seemed trimmer, better-gloved. Occasionally he might have noticed in front of one of the sandstone piles, a besilvered pair champing before a stylish vehicle. By and by he came to himself to find that he was staring at the deep-carved lettering in a stone horse-block before a large dwelling. </p> <p> His mind took the letters in one after the other, perceiving them plainly before it accorded them recognition. Finally he had completed the word "Farrad." He whirled sharp on his heel, mounted the broad white stone steps, and rang the bell. </p> <p> It was answered almost immediately by a cleanshaven, portly and dignified man with the most impassive countenance in the world. This man looked upon Thorpe with lofty disapproval. </p> <p> "Is Miss Hilda Farrand at home?" he asked. </p> <p> "I cannot say," replied the man. "If you will step to the back door, I will ascertain." </p> <p> "The flowers will do. Now see that the south room is ready, Annie," floated a voice from within. </p> <p> Without a word, but with a deadly earnestness, Thorpe reached forward, seized the astonished servant by the collar, yanked him bodily outside the door, stepped inside, and strode across the hall toward a closed portiere whence had come the voice. The riverman's long spikes cut little triangular pieces from the hardwood floor. Thorpe did not notice that. He thrust aside the portiere. </p> <p> Before him he saw a young and beautiful girl. She was seated, and her lap was filled with flowers. At his sudden apparition, her hands flew to her heart, and her lips slightly parted. For a second the two stood looking at each other, just as nearly a year before their eyes had crossed over the old pole trail. </p> <p> To Thorpe the girl seemed more beautiful than ever. She exceeded even his retrospective dreams of her, for the dream had persistently retained something of the quality of idealism which made the vision unreal, while the woman before him had become human flesh and blood, adorable, to be desired. The red of this violent unexpected encounter rushed to her face, her bosom rose and fell in a fluttering catch for breath; but her eyes were steady and inquiring. </p> <p> Then the butter pounced on Thorpe from behind with the intent to do great bodily harm. </p> <p> "Morris!" commanded Hilda sharply, "what are you doing?" </p> <p> The man cut short his heroism in confusion. </p> <p> "You may go," concluded Hilda. </p> <p> Thorpe stood straight and unwinking by the straight portiere. After a moment he spoke. </p> <p> "I have come to tell you that you were right and I was wrong," said he steadily. "You told me there could be nothing better than love. In the pride of my strength I told you this was not so. I was wrong." </p> <p> He stood for another instant, looking directly at her, then turned sharply, and head erect walked from the room. </p> <p> Before he had reached the outer door the girl was at his side. </p> <p> "Why are you going?" she asked. </p> <p> "I have nothing more to say." </p> <p> "NOTHING?" </p> <p> "Nothing at all." </p> <p> She laughed happily to herself. </p> <p> "But I have&mdash;much. Come back." </p> <p> They returned to the little morning room, Thorpe's caulked boots gouging out the little triangular furrows in the hardwood floor. Neither noticed that. Morris, the butler, emerged from his hiding and held up the hands of horror. </p> <p> "What are you going to do now?" she catechised, facing him in the middle of the room. A long tendril of her beautiful corn-silk hair fell across her eyes; her red lips parted in a faint wistful smile; beneath the draperies of her loose gown the pure slender lines of her figure leaned toward him. </p> <p> "I am going back," he replied patiently. </p> <p> "I knew you would come," said she. "I have been expecting you." </p> <p> She raised one hand to brush back the tendril of hair, but it was a mechanical gesture, one that did not stir even the surface consciousness of the strange half-smiling, half-wistful, starry gaze with which she watched his face. </p> <p> "Oh, Harry," she breathed, with a sudden flash of insight, "you are a man born to be much misunderstood." </p> <p> He held himself rigid, but in his veins was creeping a molten fire, and the fire was beginning to glow dully in his eye. Her whole being called him. His heart leaped, his breath came fast, his eyes swam. With almost hypnotic fascination the idea obsessed him&mdash;to kiss her lips, to press the soft body of the young girl, to tumble her hair down about her flower face. He had not come for this. He tried to steady himself, and by an effort that left him weak he succeeded. Then a new flood of passion overcame him. In the later desire was nothing of the old humble adoration. It was elemental, real, almost a little savage. He wanted to seize her so fiercely as to hurt her. Something caught his throat, filled his lungs, weakened his knees. For a moment it seemed to him that he was going to faint. </p> <p> And still she stood there before him, saying nothing, leaning slightly towards him, her red lips half parted, her eyes fixed almost wistfully on his face. </p> <p> "Go away!" he whispered hoarsely at last. The voice was not his own. "Go away! Go away!" </p> <p> Suddenly she swayed to him. </p> <p> "Oh, Harry, Harry," she whispered, "must I TELL you? Don't you SEE?" </p> <p> The flood broke through him. He seized her hungrily. He crushed her to him until she gasped; he pressed his lips against hers until she all but cried out with the pain of it, he ran his great brown hands blindly through her hair until it came down about them both in a cloud of spun light. </p> <p> "Tell me!" he whispered. "Tell me!" </p> <p> "Oh! Oh!" she cried. "Please! What is it?" </p> <p> "I do not believe it," he murmured savagely. </p> <p> She drew herself from him with gentle dignity. </p> <p> "I am not worthy to say it," she said soberly, "but I love you with all my heart and soul!" </p> <p> Then for the first and only time in his life Thorpe fell to weeping, while she, understanding, stood by and comforted him. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0058" id="link2HCH0058"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LVIII </h2> <p> The few moments of Thorpe's tears eased the emotional strain under which, perhaps unconsciously, he had been laboring for nearly a year past. The tenseness of his nerves relaxed. He was able to look on the things about him from a broader standpoint than that of the specialist, to front life with saving humor. The deep breath after striving could at last be taken. </p> <p> In this new attitude there was nothing strenuous, nothing demanding haste; only a deep glow of content and happiness. He savored deliberately the joy of a luxurious couch, rich hangings, polished floor, subdued light, warmed atmosphere. He watched with soul-deep gratitude the soft girlish curves of Hilda's body, the poise of her flower head, the piquant, half-wistful, half-childish set of her red lips, the clear starlike glimmer of her dusky eyes. It was all near to him; his. </p> <p> "Kiss me, dear," he said. </p> <p> She swayed to him again, deliciously graceful, deliciously unselfconscious, trusting, adorable. Already in the little nothingnesses of manner, the trifles of mental and bodily attitude, she had assumed that faint trace of the maternal which to the observant tells so plainly that a woman has given herself to a man. </p> <p> She leaned her cheek against her hand, and her hand against his shoulder. </p> <p> "I have been reading a story lately," said she, "that has interested me very much. It was about a man who renounced all he held most dear to shield a friend." </p> <p> "Yes," said Thorpe. </p> <p> "Then he renounced all his most valuable possessions because a poor common man needed the sacrifice." </p> <p> "Sounds like a medieval story," said he with unconscious humor. </p> <p> "It happened recently," rejoined Hilda. "I read it in the papers." </p> <p> "Well, he blazed a good trail," was Thorpe's sighing comment. "Probably he had his chance. We don't all of us get that. Things go crooked and get tangled up, so we have to do the best we can. I don't believe I'd have done it." </p> <p> "Oh, you are delicious!" she cried. </p> <p> After a time she said very humbly: "I want to beg your pardon for misunderstanding you and causing you so much suffering. I was very stupid, and didn't see why you could not do as I wanted you to." </p> <p> "That is nothing to forgive. I acted like a fool." </p> <p> "I have known about you," she went on. "It has all come out in the Telegram. It has been very exciting. Poor boy, you look tired." </p> <p> He straightened himself suddenly. "I have forgotten,&mdash;actually forgotten," he cried a little bitterly. "Why, I am a pauper, a bankrupt, I&mdash;" </p> <p> "Harry," she interrupted gently, but very firmly, "you must not say what you were going to say. I cannot allow it. Money came between us before. It must not do so again. Am I not right, dear?" </p> <p> She smiled at him with the lips of a child and the eyes of a woman. </p> <p> "Yes," he agreed after a struggle, "you are right. But now I must begin all over again. It will be a long time before I shall be able to claim you. I have my way to make." </p> <p> "Yes," said she diplomatically. </p> <p> "But you!" he cried suddenly. "The papers remind me. How about that Morton?" </p> <p> "What about him?" asked the girl, astonished. "He is very happily engaged." </p> <p> Thorpe's face slowly filled with blood. </p> <p> "You'll break the engagement at once," he commanded a little harshly. </p> <p> "Why should I break the engagement?" demanded Hilda, eying him with some alarm. </p> <p> "I should think it was obvious enough." </p> <p> "But it isn't," she insisted. "Why?" </p> <p> Thorpe was silent&mdash;as he always had been in emergencies, and as he was destined always to be. His was not a nature of expression, but of action. A crisis always brought him, like a bull-dog, silently to the grip. </p> <p> Hilda watched him puzzled, with bright eyes, like a squirrel. Her quick brain glanced here and there among the possibilities, seeking the explanation. Already she knew better than to demand it of him. </p> <p> "You actually don't think he's engaged to ME!" she burst out finally. </p> <p> "Isn't he?" asked Thorpe. </p> <p> "Why no, stupid! He's engaged to Elizabeth Carpenter, Wallace's sister. Now WHERE did you get that silly idea?" </p> <p> "I saw it in the paper." </p> <p> "And you believe all you see! Why didn't you ask Wallace&mdash;but of course you wouldn't! Harry, you are the most incoherent dumb old brute I ever saw! I could shake you! Why don't you say something occasionally when it's needed, instead of sitting dumb as a sphinx and getting into all sorts of trouble? But you never will. I know you. You dear old bear! You NEED a wife to interpret things for you. You speak a different language from most people." She said this between laughing and crying; between a sense of the ridiculous uselessness of withholding a single timely word, and a tender pathetic intuition of the suffering such a nature must endure. In the prospect of the future she saw her use. It gladdened her and filled her with a serene happiness possible only to those who feel themselves a necessary and integral part in the lives of the ones they love. Dimly she perceived this truth. Dimly beyond it she glimpsed that other great truth of nature, that the human being is rarely completely efficient alone, that in obedience to his greater use he must take to himself a mate before he can succeed. </p> <p> Suddenly she jumped to her feet with an exclamation. </p> <p> "Oh, Harry! I'd forgotten utterly!" she cried in laughing consternation. "I have a luncheon here at half-past one! It's almost that now. I must run and dress. Just look at me; just LOOK! YOU did that!" </p> <p> "I'll wait here until the confounded thing is over," said Thorpe. </p> <p> "Oh, no, you won't," replied Hilda decidedly. "You are going down town right now and get something to put on. Then you are coming back here to stay." </p> <p> Thorpe glanced in surprise at his driver's clothes, and his spiked boots. </p> <p> "Heavens and earth!" he exclaimed, "I should think so! How am I to get out without ruining the floor?" </p> <p> Hilda laughed and drew aside the portiere. </p> <p> "Don't you think you have done that pretty well already?" she asked. "There, don't look so solemn. We're not going to be sorry for a single thing we've done today, are we?" She stood close to him holding the lapels of his jacket in either hand, searching his face wistfully with her fathomless dusky eyes. </p> <p> "No, sweetheart, we are not," replied Thorpe soberly. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0059" id="link2HCH0059"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LIX </h2> <p> Surely it is useless to follow the sequel in detail, to tell how Hilda persuaded Thorpe to take her money. She aroused skillfully his fighting blood, induced him to use one fortune to rescue another. To a woman such as she this was not a very difficult task in the long run. A few scruples of pride; that was all. </p> <p> "Do not consider its being mine," she answered to his objections. "Remember the lesson we learned so bitterly. Nothing can be greater than love, not even our poor ideals. You have my love; do not disappoint me by refusing so little a thing as my money." </p> <p> "I hate to do it," he replied; "it doesn't look right." </p> <p> "You must," she insisted. "I will not take the position of rich wife to a poor man; it is humiliating to both. I will not marry you until you have made your success." </p> <p> "That is right," said Thorpe heartily. </p> <p> "Well, then, are you going to be so selfish as to keep me waiting while you make an entirely new start, when a little help on my part will bring your plans to completion?" </p> <p> She saw the shadow of assent in his eyes. </p> <p> "How much do you need?" she asked swiftly. </p> <p> "I must take up the notes," he explained. "I must pay the men. I may need something on the stock market. If I go in on this thing, I'm going in for keeps. I'll get after those fellows who have been swindling Wallace. Say a hundred thousand dollars." </p> <p> "Why, it's nothing," she cried. </p> <p> "I'm glad you think so," he replied grimly. </p> <p> She ran to her dainty escritoire, where she scribbled eagerly for a few moments. </p> <p> "There," she cried, her eyes shining, "there is my check book all signed in blank. I'll see that the money is there." </p> <p> Thorpe took the book, staring at it with sightless eyes. Hilda, perched on the arm of his chair, watched his face closely, as later became her habit of interpretation. </p> <p> "What is it?" she asked. </p> <p> Thorpe looked up with a pitiful little smile that seemed to beg indulgence for what he was about to say. </p> <p> "I was just thinking, dear. I used to imagine I was a strong man, yet see how little my best efforts amount to. I have put myself into seven years of the hardest labor, working like ten men in order to succeed. I have foreseen all that mortal could foresee. I have always thought, and think now, that a man is no man unless he works out the sort of success for which he is fitted. I have done fairly well until the crises came. Then I have been absolutely powerless, and if left to myself, I would have failed. At the times when a really strong man would have used effectively the strength he had been training, I have fallen back miserably on outer aid. Three times my affairs have become critical. In the crises I have been saved, first by a mere boy; then by an old illiterate man; now by a weak woman!" </p> <p> She heard him through in silence. </p> <p> "Harry," she said soberly when he had quite finished, "I agree with you that God meant the strong man to succeed; that without success the man hasn't fulfilled his reason for being. But, Harry, ARE YOU QUITE SURE GOD MEANT HIM TO SUCCEED ALONE?" </p> <p> The dusk fell through the little room. Out in the hallway a tall clock ticked solemnly. A noiseless servant appeared in the doorway to light the lamps, but was silently motioned away. </p> <p> "I had not thought of that," said Thorpe at last. </p> <p> "You men are so selfish," went on Hilda. "You would take everything from us. Why can't you leave us the poor little privilege of the occasional deciding touch, the privilege of succor. It is all that weakness can do for strength." </p> <p> "And why," she went on after a moment, "why is not that, too, a part of a man's success&mdash;the gathering about him of people who can and will supplement his efforts. Who was it inspired Wallace Carpenter with confidence in an unknown man? You. What did it? Those very qualities by which you were building your success. Why did John Radway join forces with you? How does it happen that your men are of so high a standard of efficiency? Why am I willing to give you everything, EVERYTHING, to my heart and soul? Because it is you who ask it. Because you, Harry Thorpe, have woven us into your fortune, so that we have no choice. Depend upon us in the crises of your work! Why, so are you dependent on your ten fingers, your eyes, the fiber of your brain! Do you think the less of your fulfillment for that?" </p> <p> So it was that Hilda Farrand gave her lover confidence, brought him out from his fanaticism, launched him afresh into the current of events. He remained in Chicago all that summer, giving orders that all work at the village of Carpenter should cease. With his affairs that summer we have little to do. His common-sense treatment of the stock market, by which a policy of quiescence following an outright buying of the stock which he had previously held on margins, retrieved the losses already sustained, and finally put both partners on a firm financial footing. That is another story. So too is his reconciliation with and understanding of his sister. It came about through Hilda, of course. Perhaps in the inscrutable way of Providence the estrangement was of benefit,&mdash;even necessary, for it had thrown him entirely within himself during his militant years. </p> <p> Let us rather look to the end of the summer. It now became a question of re-opening the camps. Thorpe wrote to Shearer and Radway, whom he had retained, that he would arrive on Saturday noon, and suggested that the two begin to look about for men. Friday, himself, Wallace Carpenter, Elizabeth Carpenter, Morton, Helen Thorpe, and Hilda Farrand boarded the north-bound train. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0060" id="link2HCH0060"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter LX </h2> <p> The train of the South Shore Railroad shot its way across the broad reaches of the northern peninsula. On either side of the right-of-way lay mystery in the shape of thickets so dense and overgrown that the eye could penetrate them but a few feet at most. Beyond them stood the forests. Thus Nature screened her intimacies from the impertinent eye of a new order of things. </p> <p> Thorpe welcomed the smell of the northland. He became almost eager, explaining, indicating to the girl at his side. </p> <p> "There is the Canada balsam," he cried. "Do you remember how I showed it to you first? And yonder the spruce. How stuck up your teeth were when you tried to chew the gum before it had been heated. Do you remember? Look! Look there! It's a white pine! Isn't it a grand tree? It's the finest tree in the forest, by my way of thinking, so tall, so straight, so feathery, and so dignified. See, Hilda, look quick! There's an old logging road all filled with raspberry vines. We'd find lots of partridges there, and perhaps a bear. Wouldn't you just like to walk down it about sunset?" </p> <p> "Yes, Harry." </p> <p> "I wonder what we're stopping for. Seems to me they are stopping at every squirrel's trail. Oh, this must be Seney. Yes, it is. Queer little place, isn't it? but sort of attractive. Good deal like our town. You have never seen Carpenter, have you? Location's fine, anyway; and to me it's sort of picturesque. You'll like Mrs. Hathaway. She's a buxom, motherly woman who runs the boarding-house for eighty men, and still finds time to mend my clothes for me. And you'll like Solly. Solly's the tug captain, a mighty good fellow, true as a gun barrel. We'll have him take us out, some still day. We'll be there in a few minutes now. See the cranberry marshes. Sometimes there's a good deal of pine on little islands scattered over it, but it's very hard to log, unless you get a good winter. We had just such a proposition when I worked for Radway. Oh, you'll like Radway, he's as good as gold. Helen!" </p> <p> "Yes," replied his sister. </p> <p> "I want you to know Radway. He's the man who gave me my start." </p> <p> "All right, Harry," laughed Helen. "I'll meet anybody or anything from bears to Indians." </p> <p> "I know an Indian too&mdash;Geezigut, an Ojibwa&mdash;we called him Injin Charley. He was my first friend in the north woods. He helped me get my timber. This spring he killed a man&mdash;a good job, too&mdash;and is hiding now. I wish I knew where he is. But we'll see him some day. He'll come back when the thing blows over. See! See!" </p> <p> "What?" they all asked, breathless. </p> <p> "It's gone. Over beyond the hills there I caught a glimpse of Superior." </p> <p> "You are ridiculous, Harry," protested Helen Thorpe laughingly. "I never saw you so. You are a regular boy!" </p> <p> "Do you like boys?" he asked gravely of Hilda. </p> <p> "Adore them!" she cried. </p> <p> "All right, I don't care," he answered his sister in triumph. </p> <p> The air brakes began to make themselves felt, and shortly the train came to a grinding stop. </p> <p> "What station is this?" Thorpe asked the colored porter. </p> <p> "Shingleville, sah," the latter replied. </p> <p> "I thought so. Wallace, when did their mill burn, anyway? I haven't heard about it." </p> <p> "Last spring, about the time you went down." </p> <p> "Is THAT so? How did it happen?" </p> <p> "They claim incendiarism," parried Wallace cautiously. </p> <p> Thorpe pondered a moment, then laughed. "I am in the mixed attitude of the small boy," he observed, "who isn't mean enough to wish anybody's property destroyed, but who wishes that if there is a fire, to be where he can see it. I am sorry those fellows had to lose their mill, but it was a good thing for us. The man who set that fire did us a good turn. If it hadn't been for the burning of their mill, they would have made a stronger fight against us in the stock market." </p> <p> Wallace and Hilda exchanged glances. The girl was long since aware of the inside history of those days. </p> <p> "You'll have to tell them that," she whispered over the back of her seat. "It will please them." </p> <p> "Our station is next!" cried Thorpe, "and it's only a little ways. Come, get ready!" </p> <p> They all crowded into the narrow passage-way near the door, for the train barely paused. </p> <p> "All right, sah," said the porter, swinging down his little step. </p> <p> Thorpe ran down to help the ladies. He was nearly taken from his feet by a wild-cat yell, and a moment later that result was actually accomplished by a rush of men that tossed him bodily onto its shoulders. At the same moment, the mill and tug whistles began to screech, miscellaneous fire-arms exploded. Even the locomotive engineer, in the spirit of the occasion, leaned down heartily on his whistle rope. The saw-dust street was filled with screaming, jostling men. The homes of the town were brilliantly draped with cheesecloth, flags and bunting. </p> <p> For a moment Thorpe could not make out what had happened. This turmoil was so different from the dead quiet of desertion he had expected, that he was unable to gather his faculties. All about him were familiar faces upturned to his own. He distinguished the broad, square shoulders of Scotty Parsons, Jack Hyland, Kerlie, Bryan Moloney; Ellis grinned at him from the press; Billy Camp, the fat and shiny drive cook; Mason, the foreman of the mill; over beyond howled Solly, the tug captain, Rollway Charley, Shorty, the chore-boy; everywhere were features that he knew. As his dimming eyes travelled here and there, one by one the Fighting Forty, the best crew of men ever gathered in the northland, impressed themselves on his consciousness. Saginaw birlers, Flat River drivers, woodsmen from the forests of Lower Canada, bully boys out of the Muskegon waters, peavey men from Au Sable, white-water dare-devils from the rapids of the Menominee&mdash;all were there to do him honor, him in whom they had learned to see the supreme qualities of their calling. On the outskirts sauntered the tall form of Tim Shearer, a straw peeping from beneath his flax-white mustache, his eyes glimmering under his flax-white eyebrows. He did not evidence as much excitement as the others, but the very bearing of the man expressed the deepest satisfaction. Perhaps he remembered that zero morning so many years before when he had watched the thinly-clad, shivering chore-boy set his face for the first time towards the dark forest. </p> <p> Big Junko and Anderson deposited their burden on the raised platform of the office steps. Thorpe turned and fronted the crowd. </p> <p> At once pandemonium broke loose, as though the previous performance had been nothing but a low-voiced rehearsal. </p> <p> The men looked upon their leader and gave voice to the enthusiasm that was in them. He stood alone there, straight and tall, the muscles of his brown face set to hide his emotion, his head thrust back proudly, the lines of his strong figure tense with power,&mdash;the glorification in finer matter of the hardy, reliant men who did him honor. </p> <p> "Oh, aren't you PROUD of him?" gasped Hilda, squeezing Helen's arm with a little sob. </p> <p> In a moment Wallace Carpenter, his countenance glowing with pride and pleasure, mounted the platform and stood beside his friend, while Morton and the two young ladies stopped half way up the steps. </p> <p> At once the racket ceased. Everyone stood at attention. </p> <p> "Mr. Thorpe," Wallace began, "at the request of your friends here, I have a most pleasant duty to fulfill. They have asked me to tell you how glad they are to see you; that is surely unnecessary. They have also asked me to congratulate you on having won the fight with our rivals." </p> <p> "You done 'em good." "Can't down the Old Fellow," muttered joyous voices. </p> <p> "But," said Wallace, "I think that I first have a story to tell on my own account. </p> <p> "At the time the jam broke this spring, we owed the men here for a year's work. At that time I considered their demand for wages ill-timed and grasping. I wish to apologize. After the money was paid them, instead of scattering, they set to work under Jack Radway and Tim Shearer to salvage your logs. They have worked long hours all summer. They have invested every cent of their year's earnings in supplies and tools, and now they are prepared to show you in the Company's booms, three million feet of logs, rescued by their grit and hard labor from total loss." </p> <p> At this point the speaker was interrupted. "Saw off," "Shut up," "Give us a rest," growled the audience. "Three million feet ain't worth talkin' about," "You make me tired," "Say your little say the way you oughter," "Found purty nigh two millions pocketed on Mare's Island, or we wouldn't a had that much," "Damn-fool undertaking, anyhow." </p> <p> "Men," cried Thorpe, "I have been very fortunate. From failure success has come. But never have I been more fortunate than in my friends. The firm is now on its feet. It could afford to lose three times the logs it lost this year&mdash;" </p> <p> He paused and scanned their faces. </p> <p> "But," he continued suddenly, "it cannot now, nor ever can afford to lose what those three million feet represent,&mdash;the friends it has made. I can pay you back the money you have spent and the time you have put in&mdash;" Again he looked them over, and then for the first time since they have known him his face lighted up with a rare and tender smile of affection. "But, comrades, I shall not offer to do it: the gift is accepted in the spirit with which it was offered&mdash;" </p> <p> He got no further. The air was rent with sound. Even the members of his own party cheered. From every direction the crowd surged inward. The women and Morton were forced up the platform to Thorpe. The latter motioned for silence. </p> <p> "Now, boys, we have done it," said he, "and so will go back to work. From now on you are my comrades in the fight." </p> <p> His eyes were dim; his breast heaved; his voice shook. Hilda was weeping from excitement. Through the tears she saw them all looking at their leader, and in the worn, hard faces glowed the affection and admiration of a dog for its master. Something there was especially touching in this, for strong men rarely show it. She felt a great wave of excitement sweep over her. Instantly she was standing by Thorpe, her eyes streaming, her breast throbbing with emotion. </p> <p> "Oh!" she cried, stretching her arms out to them passionately, "Oh! I love you; I love you all!" </p> <p> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </p> <pre xml:space="preserve"> End of Project Gutenberg's The Blazed Trail, by Stewart Edward White
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