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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Patrol Of The Sun Dance Trail - Chapter 15. The Outlaw
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The Patrol Of The Sun Dance Trail - Chapter 15. The Outlaw Post by :Wille26 Category :Long Stories Author :Ralph Connor Date :May 2012 Read :921

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The Patrol Of The Sun Dance Trail - Chapter 15. The Outlaw

CHAPTER XV. THE OUTLAW

The bitter weather following an autumn of unusual mildness had set in with the New Year and had continued without a break for fifteen days. A heavy fall of snow with a blizzard blowing sixty miles an hour had made the trails almost impassable, indeed quite so to any but to those bent on desperate business or to Her Majesty's North West Mounted Police. To these gallant riders all trails stood open at all seasons of the year, no matter what snow might fall or blizzard blow, so long as duty called them forth.

The trail from the fort to the Big Horn Ranch, however, was so wind-swept that the snow was blown away, which made the going fairly easy, and the Superintendent, Inspector Dickson and Jerry trotted along freely enough in the face of a keen southwester that cut to the bone. It was surely some desperate business indeed that sent them out into the face of that cutting wind which made even these hardy riders, burned hard and dry by scorching suns and biting blizzards, wince and shelter their faces with their gauntleted hands.

"Deuce of a wind, this!" said the Superintendent.

"It is the raw southwester that gets to the bone," replied Inspector Dickson. "This will blow up a chinook before night."

"I wonder if he has got into shelter," said the Superintendent. "This has been an unusually hard fortnight, and I am afraid he went rather light."

"Oh, he's sure to be all right," replied the Inspector quickly. "He was riding, but he took his snowshoes with him for timber work. He's hardly the man to get caught and he won't quit easily."

"No, he won't quit, but there are times when human endurance fails. Not that I fear anything like that for Cameron," added the Superintendent hastily.

"Oh, he's not the man to fall down," replied the Inspector. "He goes the limit, but he keeps his head. He's no reckless fool."

"Well, you ought to know him," said the Superintendent. "You have been through some things together, but this last week has been about the worst that I have known. This fortnight will be remembered in the annals of this country. And it came so unexpectedly. What do you think about it, Jerry?" continued the Superintendent, turning to the half-breed.

"He good man--cold ver' bad--ver' long. S'pose catch heem on plains--ver' bad."

The Inspector touched his horse to a canter. The vision that floated before his mind's eye while the half-breed was speaking he hated to contemplate.

"He's all right. He has come through too many tight places to fail here," said the Inspector in a tone almost of defiance, and refused to talk further upon the subject. But he kept urging the pace till they drew up at the stables of the Big Horn Ranch.

The Inspector's first glance upon opening the stable door swept the stall where Ginger was wont to conduct his melancholy ruminations. It gave him a start to see the stall empty.

"Hello, Smith!" he cried as that individual appeared with a bundle of hay from the stack in the yard outside. "Boss home?"

"Has Mr. Cameron returned?" inquired the Superintendent in the same breath, and in spite of himself a note of anxiety had crept into his voice. The three men stood waiting, their tense attitude expressing the anxiety they would not put into words. The deliberate Smith, who had transferred his services from old Thatcher to Cameron and who had taken the ranch and all persons and things belonging to it into his immediate charge, disposed of his bundle in a stall, and then facing them said slowly:

"Guess he's all right."

"Is he home?" asked the Inspector sharply.

"Oh, he's home all right. Gone to bed, I think," answered Smith with maddening calmness.

The Inspector cursed him between his teeth and turned away from the others till his eyes should be clear again.

"We will just look in on Mrs. Cameron for a few minutes," said the Superintendent. "We won't disturb him."

Leaving Jerry to put up their horses, they went into the ranch-house and found the ladies in a state of suppressed excitement. Mandy met them at the door with an eager welcome, holding out to them trembling hands.

"Oh, I am so glad you have come!" she cried. "It was all I could do to hold him back from going to you even as he was. He was quite set on going and only lay down on promise that I should wake him in an hour. Sit down here by the fire. An hour, mind you," she continued, talking rapidly and under obvious excitement, "and him so blind and exhausted that--" She paused abruptly, unable to command her voice.

"He ought to sleep twelve hours straight," said the Superintendent with emphasis, "and twenty-four would be better, with suitable breaks for refreshment," he added in a lighter tone, glancing at Mandy's face.

"Yes, indeed," she replied, "for he has had little enough to eat the last three days. And that reminds me--" she hurried to the pantry and returned with the teapot--"you must be cold, Superintendent. Ah, this terrible cold! A hot cup of tea will be just the thing. It will take only five minutes--and it is better than punch, though perhaps you men do not think so." She laughed somewhat wildly.

"Why, Mrs. Cameron," said the Superintendent in a shocked, bantering voice, "how can you imagine we should be guilty of such heresy--in this prohibition country, too?"

"Oh, I know you men," replied Mandy. "We keep some Scotch in the house--beside the laudanum. Some people can't take tea, you know," she added with an uncertain smile, struggling to regain control of herself. "But all the same, I am a nurse, and I know that after exposure tea is better."

"Ah, well," replied the Superintendent, "I bow to your experience," making a brave attempt to meet her mood and declining to note her unusual excitement.

In the specified five minutes the tea was ready.

"I could quite accept your tea-drinking theory, Mrs. Cameron," said Inspector Dickson, "if--if, mark you--I should always get such tea as this. But I don't believe Jerry here would agree."

Jerry, who had just entered, stood waiting explanation.

"Mrs. Cameron has just been upholding the virtue of a good cup of tea, Jerry, over a hot Scotch after a cold ride. Now what's your unbiased opinion?"

A slight grin wrinkled the cracks in Jerry's leather-skin face.

"Hot whisky--good for fun--for cold no good. Whisky good for sleep--for long trail no good."

"Thank you, Jerry," cried Mandy enthusiastically.

"Oh, that's all right, Jerry," said the Inspector, joining in the general laugh that followed, "but I don't think Miss Moira here would agree with you in regard to the merits of her national beverage."

"Oh, I am not so sure," cried the young lady, entering into the mood of the others. "Of course, I am Scotch and naturally stand up for my country and for its customs, but, to be strictly honest, I remember hearing my brother say that Scotch was bad training for football."

"Good again!" cried Mandy. "You see, when anything serious is on, the wisest people cut out the Scotch, as the boys say."

"You are quite right, Mrs. Cameron," said the Superintendent, becoming grave. "On the long trail and in the bitter cold we drop the Scotch and bank on tea. As for whisky, the Lord knows it gives the Police enough trouble in this country. If it were not for the whisky half our work would be cut out. But tell me, how is Mr. Cameron?" he added, as he handed back his cup for another supply of tea.

"Done up, or more nearly done up than ever I have seen him, or than I ever want to see him again." Mandy paused abruptly, handed him his cup of tea, passed into the pantry and for some moments did not appear again.

"Oh, it was terrible to see him," said Moira, clasping her hands and speaking in an eager, excited voice. "He came, poor boy, stumbling toward the door. He had to leave his horse, you know, some miles away. Through the window we saw him coming along--and we did not know him--he staggered as if--as if--actually as if he were drunk." Her laugh was almost hysterical. "And he could not find the latch--and when we opened the door his eyes were--oh!--so terrible!--wild--and bloodshot--and blind! Oh, I cannot tell you about it!" she exclaimed, her voice breaking and her tears falling fast. "And he could hardly speak to us. We had to cut off his snow-shoes--and his gauntlets and his clothes were like iron. He could not sit down--he just--just--lay on the floor--till--my sister--" Here the girl's sobs interrupted her story.

"Great Heavens!" cried the Superintendent. "What a mercy he reached home!"

The Inspector had risen and came round to Moira's side.

"Don't try to tell me any more," he said in a husky voice, patting her gently on the shoulder. "He is here with us, safe, poor chap. My God!" he cried in an undertone, "what he must have gone through!"

At this point Mandy returned and took her place again quietly by the fire.

"It was this sudden spell of cold that nearly killed him," she said in a quiet voice. "He was not fully prepared for it, and it caught him at the end of his trip, too, when he was nearly played out. You see, he was five weeks away and he had only expected to be three."

"Yes, I know, Mrs. Cameron," said the Inspector.

"An unexpected emergency seems to have arisen."

"I don't know what it was," replied Mandy. "He could tell me little, but he was determined to go on to the fort."

"I know something about his plans," said the Inspector. "He had proposed a tour of the reserves, beginning with the Piegans and ending with the Bloods."

"And we know something of his work, too, Mrs. Cameron," said the Superintendent. "Superintendent Strong has sent us a very fine report indeed of your husband's work. We do not talk about these things, you know, in the Police, but we can appreciate them all the same. Superintendent Strong's letter is one you would like to keep. I shall send it to you. Knowing Superintendent Strong as I do--"

"I know him too," said Mandy with a little laugh.

"Well, then, you will be able to appreciate all the more any word of commendation he would utter. He practically attributes the present state of quiet and the apparent collapse of this conspiracy business to your husband's efforts. This, of course, is no compensation for his sufferings or yours, but I think it right that you should know the facts." The Superintendent had risen to his feet and had delivered his little speech in his very finest manner.

"Thank you," said Mandy simply.

"We had expected him back a week ago," said the Inspector. "We know he must have had some serious cause for delay."

"I do not know about that," replied Mandy, "but I do know he was most anxious to go on to the fort. He had some information to give, he said, which was of the first importance. And I am glad you are here. He will be saved that trip, which would really be dangerous in his present condition. And I don't believe I could have stopped him, but I should have gone with him. His hour will soon be up."

"Don't think of waking him," said the Superintendent. "We can wait two hours, or three hours, or more if necessary. Let him sleep."

"He would waken himself if he were not so fearfully done up. He has a trick of waking at any hour he sets," said Mandy.

A few minutes later Cameron justified her remarks by appearing from the inner room. The men, accustomed as they were to the ravages of the winter trail upon their comrades, started to their feet in horror. Blindly Cameron felt his way to them, shading his blood-shot eyes from the light. His face was blistered and peeled as if he had come through a fire, his lips swollen and distorted, his hands trembling and showing on every finger the marks of frost bite, and his feet dragging as he shuffled across the floor.

"My dear fellow, my dear fellow," cried the Inspector, springing up to meet him and grasping him by both arms to lead him to a chair. "You ran it too close that time. Here is the Superintendent to lecture you. Sit down, old man, sit down right here." The Inspector deposited him in the chair, and, striding hurriedly to the window, stood there looking out upon the bleak winter snow.

"Hello, Cameron," said the Superintendent, shaking him by the hand with hearty cheerfulness. "Glad, awfully glad to see you. Fine bit of work, very fine bit of work. Very complimentary report about you."

"I don't know what you refer to, sir," said Cameron, speaking thickly, "but I am glad you are here, for I have an important communication to make."

"Oh, that's all right," said the Superintendent. "Don't worry about that. And take your own time. First of all, how are you feeling? Snow-blind, I see," he continued, critically examining him, "and generally used up."

"Rather knocked up," replied Cameron, his tongue refusing to move with its accustomed ease. "But shall be fit in a day or two. Beastly sleepy, but cannot sleep somehow. Shall feel better when my mind is at rest. I cannot report fully just now."

"Oh, let the report rest. We know something already."

"How is that?"

"Superintendent Strong has sent us in a report, and a very creditable report, too."

"Oh," replied Cameron indifferently. "Well, the thing I want to say is that though all looks quiet--there is less horse stealing this month, and less moving about from the reserves--yet I believe a serious outbreak is impending."

The Inspector, who had come around and taken a seat beside him, touched his knee at this point with an admonishing pressure.

"Eh?" said Cameron, turning toward him. "Oh, my people here know. You need not have any fear about them." A little smile distorted his face as he laid his hand upon his wife's shoulder. "But--where was I? I cannot get the hang of things." He was as a man feeling his way through a maze.

"Oh, let it go," said the Inspector. "Wait till you have had some sleep."

"No, I must--I must get this out. Well, anyway, the principal thing is that Big Bear, Beardy, Poundmaker--though I am not sure about Poundmaker--have runners on every reserve and they are arranging for a big meeting in the spring, to which every tribe North and West is to send representatives. That Frenchman--what's his name?--I'll forget my own next--"

"Riel?" suggested the Inspector.

"Yes, Riel. That Frenchman is planning a big coup in the spring. You know they presented him with a house the other day, ready furnished, at Batoche, to keep him in the country. Oh, the half-breeds are very keen on this. And what is worse, I believe a lot of whites are in with them too. A chap named Jackson, and another named Scott, and Isbister and some others. These names are spoken of on every one of our reserves. I tell you, sir," he said, turning his blind eyes toward the Superintendent, "I consider it very serious indeed. And worst of all, the biggest villain of the lot, Little Pine, Cree Chief you know, our bitterest enemy--except Little Thunder, who fortunately is cleared out of the country--you remember, sir, that chap Raven saw about that."

The Superintendent nodded.

"Well--where was I?--Oh, yes, Little Pine, the biggest villain of them all, is somewhere about here. I got word of him when I was at the Blood Reserve on my way home some ten days ago. I heard he was with the Blackfeet, but I found no sign of him there. But he is in the neighborhood, and he is specially bound to see old Crowfoot. I understand he is a particularly successful pleader, and unusually cunning, and I am afraid of Crowfoot. I saw the old Chief. He was very cordial and is apparently loyal enough as yet, but you know, sir, how much that may mean. I think that is all," said Cameron, putting his hand up to his head. "I have a great deal more to tell you, but it will not come back to me now. Little Pine must be attended to, and for a day or two I am sorry I am hardly fit--awfully sorry." His voice sank into a kind of undertone.

"Sorry?" cried the Superintendent, deeply stirred at the sight of his obvious collapse. "Sorry? Don't you use that word again. You have nothing to be sorry for, but everything to be proud of. You have done a great service to your country, and we will not forget it. In a few days you will be fit and we shall show our gratitude by calling upon you to do something more. Hello, who's that?" A horseman had ridden past the window toward the stables. Moira ran to look out.

"Oh!" she cried, "it is that Mr. Raven. I would know his splendid horse anywhere."

"Raven!" said Cameron sharply and wide awake.

"Raven, by Jove!" muttered the Inspector.

"Raven! Well, I call that cool!" said the Superintendent, a hard look upon his face.

But the laws of hospitality are nowhere so imperative as on the western plains. Cameron rose from his chair muttering, "Must look after his horse."

"You sit down," said Mandy firmly. "You are not going out."

"Well, hardly," said the Inspector. "Here, Jerry, go and show him where to get things, and--" He hesitated.

"Bring him in," cried Mandy heartily. The men stood silent, looking at Cameron.

"Certainly, bring him in," he said firmly, "a day like this," he added, as if in apology.

"Why, of course," cried Mandy, looking from one to the other in surprise. "Why not? He is a perfectly splendid man."

"Oh, he is really splendid!" replied Moira, her cheeks burning and her eyes flashing. "You remember," she cried, addressing the Inspector, "how he saved my life the day I arrived at this ranch."

"Oh, yes," replied the Inspector briefly, "I believe I did hear that." But there was little enthusiasm in his voice.

"Well, I think he is splendid," repeated Moira. "Do not you think so?"

The Inspector had an awkward moment.

"Eh?--well--I can't say I know him very well."

"And his horse! What a beauty it is!" continued the girl.

"Ah, yes, a most beautiful animal, quite remarkable horse, splendid horse; in fact one of the finest, if not the very finest, in this whole country. And that is saying a good deal, too, Miss Moira. You see, this country breeds good horses." And the Inspector went on to discourse in full detail and with elaborate illustration upon the various breeds of horses the country could produce, and to classify the wonderful black stallion ridden by Raven, and all with such diligence and enthusiasm that no other of the party had an opportunity to take part in the conversation till Raven, in the convoy of Jerry, was seen approaching the house. Then the Superintendent rose.

"Well, Mrs. Cameron, I fear we must take our departure. These are rather crowded days with us."

"What?" exclaimed Mandy. "Within an hour of dinner? We can hardly allow that, you know. Besides, Mr. Cameron wants to have a great deal more talk with you."

The Superintendent attempted to set forth various other reasons for a hasty departure, but they all seemed to lack sincerity, and after a few more ineffective trials he surrendered and sat down again in silence.

The next moment the door opened and Raven, followed by Jerry, stepped into the room. As his eye fell upon the Superintendent, instinctively he dropped his hands to his hips and made an involuntary movement backward, but only for an instant. Immediately he came forward and greeted Mandy with fine, old-fashioned courtesy.

"So delighted to meet you again, Mrs. Cameron, and also to meet your charming sister." He shook hands with both the ladies very warmly. "Ah, Superintendent," he continued, "delighted to see you. And you, Inspector," he said, giving them a nod as he laid off his outer leather riding coat. "Hope I see you flourishing," he continued. His debonair manner had in it a quizzical touch of humor. "Ah, Cameron, home again I see. I came across your tracks the other day."

The men, who had risen to their feet upon his entrance, stood regarding him stiffly and made no other sign of recognition than a curt nod and a single word of greeting.

"You have had quite a trip," he continued, addressing himself to Cameron, and taking the chair offered by Mandy. "I followed you part way, but you travel too fast for me. Much too strenuous work I found it. Why," he continued, looking narrowly at Cameron, "you are badly punished. When did you get in?"

"Two hours ago, Mr. Raven," said Mandy quickly, for her husband sat gazing stupidly into the fire. "And he is quite done up."

"Two hours ago?" exclaimed Raven in utter surprise. "Do you mean to say that you have been traveling these last three days?"

Cameron nodded.

"Why, my dear sir, not even the Indians face such cold. Only the Mounted Police venture out in weather like this--and those who want to get away from them. Ha! ha! Eh? Inspector? Ha! ha!" His gay, careless laugh rang out in the most cheery fashion. But only the ladies joined. The men stood grimly silent.

Mandy could not understand their grim and gloomy silence. By her cordiality she sought to cover up and atone for the studied and almost insulting indifference of her husband and her other guests. In these attempts she was loyally supported by her sister-in-law, whose anger was roused by the all too obvious efforts on the part of her brother and his friends to ignore this stranger, if not to treat him with contempt. There was nothing in Raven's manner to indicate that he observed anything amiss in the bearing of the male members of the company about the fire. He met the attempt of the ladies at conversation with a brilliancy of effort that quite captivated them, and, in spite of themselves, drew the Superintendent and the Inspector into the flow of talk.

As the hour of the midday meal approached Mandy rose from her place by the fire and said:

"You will stay with us to dinner, Mr. Raven? We dine at midday. It is not often we have such a distinguished and interesting company."

"Thank you, no," said Raven. "I merely looked in to give your husband a bit of interesting information. And, by the way, I have a bit of information that might interest the Superintendent as well."

"Well," said Mandy, "we are to have the pleasure of the Superintendent and the Inspector to dinner with us to-day, and you can give them all the information you think necessary while you are waiting."

Raven hesitated while he glanced at the faces of the men beside him. What he read there drew from him a little hard smile of amused contempt.

"Please do not ask me again, Mrs. Cameron," he said. "You know not how you strain my powers of resistance when I really dare not--may not," he corrected himself with a quick glance at the Superintendent, "stay in this most interesting company and enjoy your most grateful hospitality any longer. And now my information is soon given. First of all for you, Cameron--I shall not apologize to you, Mrs. Cameron, for delivering it in your presence. I do you the honor to believe that you ought to know--briefly my information is this. Little Pine, in whose movements you are all interested, I understand, is at this present moment lodging with the Sarcee Indians, and next week will move on to visit old Crowfoot. The Sarcee visit amounts to little, but the visit to old Crowfoot--well, I need say no more to you, Cameron. Probably you know more about the inside workings of old Crowfoot's mind than I do."

"Visiting Crowfoot?" exclaimed Cameron. "Then I was there too soon."

"That is his present intention, and I have no doubt the program will be carried out," said Raven. "My information is from the inside. Of course," he continued, "I know you have run across the trail of the North Cree and Salteaux runners from Big Bear and Beardy. They are not to be despised. But Little Pine is a different person from these gentlemen. The big game is scheduled for the early spring, will probably come off in about six weeks. And now," he said, rising from his chair, "I must be off."

At this point Smith came in and quietly took a seat beside Jerry near the door.

"And what's your information for me, Mr. Raven?" inquired the Superintendent. "You are not going to deprive me of my bit of news?"

"Ah, yes--news," replied Raven, sitting down again. "Briefly this. Little Thunder has yielded to some powerful pressure and has again found it necessary to visit this country, I need hardly add, against my desire."

"Little Thunder?" exclaimed the Superintendent, and his tone indicated something more than surprise. "Then there will be something doing. And where does this--ah--this--ah--friend of yours propose to locate himself?"

"This friend of mine," replied Raven, with a hard gleam in his eye and a bitter smile curling his lips, "who would gladly adorn his person with my scalp if he might, will not ask my opinion as to his location, and probably not yours either, Mr. Superintendent." As Raven ceased speaking he once more rose from his chair, put on his leather riding coat and took up his cap and gauntlets. "Farewell, Mrs. Cameron," he said, offering her his hand. "Believe me, it has been a rare treat to see you and to sit by your fireside for one brief half-hour."

"Oh, but Mr. Raven, you are not to think of leaving us before dinner. Why this haste?"

"The trail I take," said Raven in a grave voice, "is full of pitfalls and I must take it when I can. The Superintendent knows," he added. But his smile awoke no response in the Superintendent, who sat rigidly silent.

"It's a mighty cold day outside," interjected Smith, "and blowing up something I think."

"Oh, hang it, Raven!" blurted out Cameron, who sat stupidly gazing into the fire, "Stay and eat. This is no kind of day to go out hungry. It is too beastly cold."

"Thanks, Cameron, it IS a cold day, too cold to stay."

"Do stay, Mr. Raven," pleaded Moira.

He turned swiftly and looked into her soft brown eyes now filled with warm kindly light.

"Alas, Miss Cameron," he replied in a low voice, turning his back upon the others, his voice and his attitude seeming to isolate the girl from the rest of the company, "believe me, if I do not stay it is not because I do not want to, but because I cannot."

"You cannot?" echoed Moira in an equally low tone.

"I cannot," he replied. Then, raising his voice, "Ask the Superintendent. He knows that I cannot."

"Do you know?" said Moira, turning upon the Superintendent, "What does he mean?"

The Superintendent rose angrily.

"Mr. Raven chooses to be mysterious," he said. "If he cannot remain here he knows why without appealing to me."

"Ah, my dear Superintendent, how unfeeling! You hardly do yourself justice," said Raven, proceeding to draw on his gloves. His drawling voice seemed to irritate the Superintendent beyond control.

"Justice?" he exclaimed sharply. "Justice is a word you should hesitate to use."

"You see, Miss Cameron," said Raven with an injured air, "why I cannot remain."

"No, I do not!" cried Moira in hot indignation. "I do not see," she repeated, "and if the Superintendent does I think he should explain." Her voice rang out sharp and clear. It wakened her brother as if from a daze.

"Tut, tut, Moira!" he exclaimed. "Do not interfere where you do not understand."

"Then why make insinuations that cannot be explained?" cried his sister, standing up very straight and looking the Superintendent fair in the face.

"Explained?" echoed the Superintendent in a cool, almost contemptuous, voice. "There are certain things best not explained, but believe me if Mr. Raven desires explanation he can have it."

The men were all on their feet. Quickly Moira turned to Raven with a gesture of appeal and a look of loyal confidence in her eyes. For a moment the hard, cynical face was illumined with a smile of rare beauty, but only for a moment. The gleam passed and the old, hard, cynical face turned in challenge to the Superintendent.

"Explain!" he said bitterly, defiantly. "Go on if you can."

The Superintendent stood silent.

"Ah!" breathed Moira, a thrill of triumphant relief in her voice, "he cannot explain."

With dramatic swiftness the explanation came. It was from Jerry.

"H'explain?" cried the little half-breed, quivering with rage. "H'explain? What for he can no h'explain? Dem horse he steal de night-tam'--dat whiskee he trade on de Indian. Bah! He no good--he one beeg tief. Me--I put him one sure place he no steal no more!"

A few moments of tense silence held the group rigid. In the center stood Raven, his face pale, hard, but smiling, before him Moira, waiting, eager, with lips parted and eyes aglow with successive passions, indignation, doubt, fear, horror, grief. Again that swift and subtle change touched Raven's face as his eyes rested upon the face of the girl before him.

"Now you know why I cannot stay," he said gently, almost sadly.

"It is not true," murmured Moira, piteous appeal in voice and eyes. A spasm crossed the pale face upon which her eyes rested, then the old cynical look returned.

"Once more, thank you, Mrs. Cameron," he said with a bow to Mandy, "for a happy half-hour by your fireside, and farewell."

"Good-by," said Mandy sadly.

He turned to Moira.

"Oh, good-by, good-by," cried the girl impulsively, reaching out her hand.

"Good-by," he said simply. "I shall not forget that you were kind to me." He bent low before her, but did not touch her outstretched hand. As he turned toward the door Jerry slipped in before him.

"You let him go?" he cried excitedly, looking at the Superintendent; but before the latter could answer a hand caught him by the coat collar and with a swift jerk landed him on the floor. It was Smith, his face furiously red. Before Jerry could recover himself Raven had opened the door and passed out.

"Oh, how awful!" said Mandy in a hushed, broken voice.

Moira stood for a moment as if dazed, then suddenly turned to Smith and said:

"Thank you. That was well done."

And Smith, red to his hair roots, murmured, "You wanted him to go?"

"Yes," said Moira, "I wanted him to go."

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