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Fables of the Nechaco. A complete novel of one of the most remarkable and romantic districts on the American… Slivers 1895

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Array FABLES OF THE NECHACO

Story of  the  Interior of British Columbia
BY SLIVERS. L.L.D.



Produced by the Dominion Stock & Bond Corporation, Ltd.
Winch Building Vancouver, B.C.  
FABLES OF THE
NECHACO
A complete novel of one of the most remarkable 
and romantic districts on the American Continent. 
BY 
SLIVERS, L.L.D. 
Produced by the 
DOMINION STOCK AND BOND CORPORATION, LTD.
WINCH BUILDING VANCOUVER, B, C. Dedication
To those who love the open, who are
ambitious  to know  the  truth  and  aid
and profit in the  development  of the
last and best great west, this book is
dedicated.
THE  AUTHOR. IL
*^TiferM O.DJ
.J
(All   rights   to   reprint   reserved.)
Once upon a time two brothers set out from London to make
their fortune in British Columbia. They were nearly of the
same age and physique and mental accomplishments. The older
boy was of a venturesome and
roaming nature and the younger
boy was just the opposite. Being of a different turn of mind,
they soon parted after reaching
British Columbia and were lost
to each other. The older boy,
being fond of adventure and
travel, frequented all the larger
cities, working for good wages,
enjoying himself, immensely and
soon gained the sobriquet of
"Happy Jack." He made good
money, but he spent it foolishly.
To all entreaties of real estate
men, who endeavored to get him
to plant. a few dollars of his
earnings in some good farm or
town lot, he turned a deaf ear
and continued on revelling in
the admiration of his companions
who, from a purely selfish desire, lauded his actions and
beamed on his liberality. Age
crept on at a rapid pace and
the once proud and admired
"Happy Jack" found himself a
premature old man, his money
spent, his earning power gone
and friends vanished.    From one
position to another, of less importance, he changed, and soon
found himself dissipated, broke,
friendless and homeless. Too
proud to go among his old
friemls or to ask for aid from
those upon whom he had spent
a life's earnings, he packed his
blankets and "hit the trail" out
into the rural districts where a
great Railway Company were
crying for laborers to complete
their great system. Once out
into the open country where
every thing was free and happy,
he had plenty of time for reflection. The wild flowers gave
off an aroma much more sweet
and fragrant than the fumes
of the artificial life he had led
and intensified his heart-hunger
and lonesomeness. On he trudged along the grade, now and
then stopping at the contractors'
camps to inquire for work.
Everywhere he was met with an
offer of work, but it was not
such work, as he had been accustomed to and he shrank from
the offers. During the days
as he travelled on, it seemed the
grade would never end. On
through the beautiful valleys
along the Great Fraser River,
for a distance the grade would
take   him,    and   again   through farms and past cattle herds,
everything seemed pleasing and
inviting, but foreign to him. He
was in another world. Here he
found sincerity, truthfulness, a
freedom of conscience and real
happiness, nothing in keeping
with his former life of extravagance and artifice. One night
after   a   long,     hard   tramp,   he
him the hospitality of the camp.
The foreman was- a tall, large,
well proportioned man of middle
age, keen eyed and forceful of
manner, a man who was educated and resourceful, who had
made a success in life by spanning many large streams for the
Big Corporation in whose employ he was.    Something in the
After a long, hard tramp, he reached the camp of a  contractor.
reached the camp of a contractor and begged for food and
shelter. He was utterly miserable and wretched. The foreman of the bridge gang, for he
had come upon one of the big
camps building, one of the large
bridges across the Lower Nech-
aco River, met him with a good
natured  handshake   and   offered-
man seemed to attract "Happy
Jack/ for as such we have
come to know him, although the
name ill suited him at the present time. Here was a man who
had done something. He had
made the best of. his early training and had frowned upon all
temptations which had been life
to   the     derelict.     This     bridge foreman was enjoying the fruits
of his labors. Now his task was
a comparatively easy one as he
was at the head of his department with a large force of both
skilled and common laborers at
his command, who regarded him
as a superior being, and who
were, by his instructions and
guidance, slowly but surely
bringing to completion a great
traffic way, across one of the
dangerous passes of the Lower
Neehaco. This day, after the
evening meal, the men all lay
about upon the moss covered
bank of the great river near
where the steam shovels of the
graders had cut a great wound
in the bank on both sides of
the stream, at either end of.
which great steel graders
stretched their length toward
the middle span. The Bridge
Builder was explaining some of
the more important work for the
morrow, while those directly
connected with this particular
work were listening attentively,
while others were enjoying their
pipes and a quiet rest after the
day's toil. To "Happy Jack"
this picture was a revelation.
For the greater part these men
had never known the kindness
of a good home, such as he had
left many years ago, and still,
uncouth as most of these common laborers were, they were his
masters in happiness and contentment, as well as in health
and finance. Many of them
had small farms along the line
which was now building through
this wonderful, fertile valley.
Others had placed a part of their
earning^ in one or more city
lots in the more important town-
sites along the line and had
found themselves richer by many
8
dollars over their investment.
All of this meant a certain a-
mount of sacrifice and thrift,
something heretofore unknown
to "Happy Jack," and he was
becoming restless and weary. He
was nothing to these people and
they seemed to resent his visit,
although the greater part were
men of his own race and blood,
he felt that he was not wanted
among them. The awful lone-
someness of his wasted life fell
upon him and, for the moment,
he was lost in retrospection. He
could hear the laughter of the
city life, feel the slap upon the
back, of an acquaintance whose
insincerity now chilled him. He
could see the dollars upon dollars that he had made only to
throw away upon those who now
mocked him, and had turned a
deaf ear to his wants before his
taking leave of his former life.
All the wretchedness of a misspent life now crept upon him
and for, perhaps the first time
in his life, he gave a serious
thought to his future welfare.
For the first time in his life,
he wished for a home, if only
a small lot, garden tract or
piece of land upon which he
could stand and say to the
world, "This is mine; upon this
spot I am master of everything."
The laborers had about all disappeared in their cabins, they
were tired from their day's labor and the morning would come
only too soon to start another
day's work' upon the bridge.
These men were accustomed to
retire and rise with, the sun.
There were no night hawks
among them, no wild carousals
with bursting heads and bleary
eyes the morning after. The
more   "Happy   Jack"   knew   of
mmmm
■™ ^r"
these men and the freedom of
the rural life to which they had
been accustomed, the more he
felt the great sacrifice he had
made to make himself a good
fellow, for nothing more than
to earn a few smiles from insincerity. The bridge builder was
the last to rise from where he
had been sitting, upon a huge
coil of steel cable and as he
passed "Happy Jack", he stopped, and eyeing "Happy" for a
moment, said, "What's the matter, old chap? You look sor:
of worn ou,t. You wouhl not do
for a bridge gang, as the work
is too heavy. Better get to bed
over there," pointing in the direction of the bunk house, "you
will find a comfortable cot for
the night, and take my advice,
old man, get all the sleep you
can in the fore part of the night
That "Daredevil," the owner of
the best land from here and Fort
Fraser along the right of
way, will be in here tomorrow
morning before daylight, and
he'll wake us all up with that
great team of his loaded with
farm products for the gang. He
has all my men scared out of
their wits with his dare-devil
driving and fast horses. Only
the other day he wanted to lay
a wager with the time-keeper
that he could ride any one of his
six horses over that girder, out
to the first span, and I believe
he could do it. He had a pretty
hard time of it when he first
located here, but he stuck to the
plow, and now has one of the
best and most productive farms
in all the Nechaco Valley, and
that is saying a whole lot, when
this country is noted for its fine
agricultural land. He just returned   from   the    old    country
with his family, where they had
gone for a trip and visit to his
old home in Lancashire." At the
name of his old home, "Happy"
winced, and the bridge maker
rattled on with his description
of the farmer. "He don't need
to work, but does it for the love
of the out-of-door life, and his
love of fine horses, which he
always drives. He made a lot of
money in Fort Fraser when that
town was put on the market a
few years back, and since that
time he has taken an active,
interest in the politics and the
general welfare and development
of the district. Good night! and
when you hear a sound like a
cyclone hit the camp, you will
know what it is. It is only
Will Brown.' ■ The Bridge Builder
passed on in to his tent
without seeing the frightened
look on "Happy's" face, nor
was he aware of the emotions
of this poor unfortunate at the
sound of Will Brown's name.
Little did the Bridge Builder
dream that this man whom he
admired for his character, wealth
and daring, was the brother of
the unfortunate he had sheltered
this night.
6
I CHAPTER II.
"Happy" sat for a long time
in the same position as the
Bridge Builder left him, after
the first shock, at the mention of
his brother's name, looking out
into the night with a blank stare.
It had been several years since
he and his brother had parted.
There had been some misunderstanding at the parting owing to
their entirely different temperaments, arid Will had been almost
forgotten by the older brother,
which   fact   and   the   additional fact that his brother had prospered and was one of the richest
men in the Nechaco Valley did
not relieve ' * Happy's'- present
mental condition. He had plenty
of natural ability and even more
than his brother; he boasted of
an excellent education which his
younger brother did not possess,
or at least did not have at the
time   of   their   separation.    But
as the eye could reach, one of
the characters peculiar to the
western world, where big men
are developed and big things accomplished. "Happy" knew the
history of many such men. He
had lived the greater part of his
life among such conditions and
had known of scores of incidents
where a poor man had made himself    rich    beyond    description,
The Bridge Builder's Camp.
a
Happy" felt now that his
brother, owing to the Bridge
Builder's description, whom he
had come < to look upon ; as his
workmen did, a superior being,
must have developed into one of
the big ranchers, with land and
stock and beautiful fields as far
almost in a day, by having the
forethought, judgment and courage to secure a land holding
somewhere in one of the many
small towns that had grown into
cities in the remarkable short
time for which the West was
noted. < i
Happy" thought over the
many advantages which had come
to him. He lived over and over
again the many, opportunities
which he had lost. The many
lost opportunities now loomed up
before "Happy's" vision like a
horrible nightmare, and the follies of his life seemed to crowd
themselves all at once upon him.
Long after the midnight bell had
struck "Happy" sat motionless,
his chin resting upon his chest
and in a sort of semi-conscious
condition his mind flew on over
the events, of his life, leading up
to the present day. In his reverie,
he had forgotten for the time
that the night air had chilled
his body or that everything about
was wet from the dew which invariably falls in the Nechaco at
that time of the year. "Happy"
was alone, alone in a great new
land where everything was life
and hustle. It was a new world
to "Happy" that had suddenly
burst upon his vision. He felt,
with keen regret, the humiliation
his brother would of necessity
feel at his present miserable condition. Would his brother recognize him? There was a possibility that he would not, and
in this thought "Happy" was
both consoled and startled. One
moment he felt as if he would
leave before his identity became
known and the next moment his
longing to see and talk with his
brother riveted him to the spot.
What excuse could he give?
What reparation could he make
for his useless, selfish' and unimportant life? Arousing himself from his present stupor, he
got up and walked slowly into
the tent where the camp mess
cook had prepared*' for him a
bed.   Throwing himself upon the
cot, his troubled mind and body
were soon resting in sleep.
CHAPTER m.
How long "Happy" slept he
did not know. It was still dark
when he suddenly sprang to his
feet, aroused by a distant rumble
that shook the ground upon
which he stood in front of his
tent. On the sound came, nearer
and nearer. As he listened he
thought he could distinguish the
sound of horses' hoofs as they
travelled at a wild gait upon,
the hardened surface of the
Nechaco Road, a road upon which
the Government had expended
large sums of money, making it
a renowned drive, 'way from
Fort Fraser, out through rich
fields of hay and grain, past
beautiful lakes fringed about
their moss-covered edges with
wild roses and berry bushes, and
backed in many spots by stately
poplars that cast their shadows
during the long summer days,
into the clear sparkling waters
of the Nechaco Valley lakes.
From where "Happy" stood he
had a clear vantage of the surrounding tents and cabins and
saw lights appearing one after
another in all directions. Morning rays were just visible in the
east, and "Happy" knew the
camp was awake and soon the
workmen would be preparing for
another day's labor. On the
sound of hoofs came, and now
the rattle of wheels could be in-
audibly heard. The next moment,
before "Happy" could bring his
■mind to a solution of the uproar,
he heard distinctly the sound of
a man's voice ring out upon
the morning air. That voice!
"Happy" grasped a feuy rope in
one   hand  and   clutched   at   his
8 shirt over his heart with the
other. He leaned forward, as if
in mortal fear, heedless of the
emotion the unusual occasion had
aroused in the camp. Men came
hurrying from their sleeping
quarters, looking first in one direction and then another, seemingly conscious of some imminent
danger. Light was just beginning to break through the early
mist to the east.
On the roar came like the
sound of a cavalry charge, but
the voice, that but a moment
before had startled the camp with
its deafening appeal of mingled
command and fear was hushed.
Another moment and six huge,
black, excited and foaming objects could be seen, running like
mad, turning to the left of the
camp and heading directly for
the river. "Happy" was staring
wildly at the unexpected and
mad flight of the horses, when
suddenly he saw the form of a
man being dragged by some invisible means along the side of
the frightened steeds. Like a
flash the truth dawned on
"Happy." That voice was the
voice of his brother, who had in
some unaccountable manner lost
control of his fiery team and was
being dragged to sure and sudden
death! The leader swerved to
the right and the lead chain
tripped one of the swing horses,
which halted their progress. But
only for a moment. The great
horse was on his feet in an instant and on they flew with
their human sacrifice. By making a few leaps "Happy" could
head off the team. Unaccustomed
as he was to handling horses, he
would take the chance of saving
the life of his brother. There
was no  doubt the helpless form
rolling and bumping on the
ground near the crazed beasts
was that of Will Brown,, the
dare-devil driver. There was no
time to lose, no time to weigh
the chances of losing his life with
that of saving his brother's.
"Happy" was no coward at any
time, and now all his energies
were thrown into action, as he
sprang forward towards the leaders with a prayer upon his lips.
He closed his eyes, lunged forward and grasped the bridle of
the leader. The horse reared in
the air, carrying "Happy" off
his feet. Hanging on to the headgear with one hand, the other
shot out and closed upon the
nostrils of the maddened animal.
"Happy" felt a terrific blow in
his side and he was conscious of
a heavy fall. For the instant he
saw the big steed stumble, throwing himself into the soft dirt. He
was on top of the animal and
all the others came rolling over
them. "Happy" tried to release
himself, and then all was dark.
C i
9
CHAPTER IV.
Hold them all down until we
can get the tramp out without
being kicked and trampled on."
Happy heard this comment and
the epithet applied to him stung
all the more as he recognized the
bridge builder's voice. "Tramp
I may be, but I was the only man
among you who had the courage
to stop the mad flight of the
horses," Happy thought to himself. Happy was just coming to
his senses and knew that several
men were holding the horses
from lunging or jumping, in an
effort to get to their feet. Happy
was laying face down between
tw^o animals and another horse
was laying crosswise above him. r
In this manner Happy was protected in the fall, otherwise he
would have been crushed to
death. Happy was now fully conscious, and was suffering from
a severe pain in his right side.
Just then one of the horses gave
a lunge, freeing itself from the
men holding it, and gained his
feet. The other two rolled about
for a moment and also got to
their feet, leaving Happy upon
the ground partly mashed into
the soft dirt where the team had
piled up one on top of each other,
as he had caught the leader.
"Pick him up boys, and carry
him into my tent. The Company
surgeon has pronounced Brown
out of danger with no bones
broken, but this poor devil did
not fare so well. He's a brave
beggar at any rate. He put us
all to shame in stopping these
horses. But for his quick act
Brown and the team would all
be at the bottom of the Nechaco
by this time."
Happy heard all this from the
Bridge Builder. Evidently they
thought him done for, but aside
from the numbness in his lower
limbs and the awful pain in his
side he was none the worse for
his experience and now that he
knew his brother was unharmed
he took courage and opened his
eyes as they gently rolled him
over, face upward, preparatory
to moving him to the Bridge
Builder's tent. The Bridge
Builder was standing over him,
and on seeing signs of life he
stooped quickly and laid his big
rough hand on Happy's forehead,
brushing the hair back from his
face. "Hand me the water can
quick and get the doctor. He's
got enough life in him yet to
fight    for.'       Happy    tried    to
10
speak, but blood was coming
from both nose and mouth and
he spoke with difficulty. "Don't
talk, old man, save your energies, you will pull through all-
right.' Just then the surgeon
came running up, threw a wet
towel over his face and tore open
his shirt to examine his heart.
For a moment he listened to his
breathing and heart action, while
those about all held their breath
for his answer. "He's alright,
boys, and we can move him without danger. Bring out a light cot
from my tent." As the surgeon
said this he raised the towel and
wiped Happy's face clean of dust
and blood. Then Happy felt his
shirt sleeve ripped open with
some sharp instrument and a
sharp pain like a pin prick on
the inside of the arm just below
the elbow, and in a moment the
pain in his side was gone. He
felt as if he was floating in air,
his muscles relaxed, and he had
a half conscious idea of being
carried away as the powerful
drug which the surgeon had injected began its quieting effect.
The bridge builder and surgeon, assisted by as many of the
laborers as could conveniently
help, raised Happy onto the cot
and carried him into the tent
where his brother lay on another
cot, badly cut and bruised from
being dragged several hundred
yards by his frightened team. It
was a strange coincident that the
brothers should again be united
in this manner after many years
of separation. Will Brown was
sleeping under a mild opiate the
surgeon had administered before
dressing the many small wounds
he had received while being helplessly tangled up in the harness
and   trappings    of   his    famous team. In a short time he would
be awake and able to be up, and
in a few days he would be completely over his mishap. It was
now nearly noon and the two
men lay quietly upon their cots.
The two brothers were about the
same size, both of medium stature, rather stout and short.
Their features were regular with
blue eyes and dark hair. Happy's
hair, however, was quite gray,
and while there was less than two
years difference in their age,
Happy looked from ten to fifteen
years the older. Happy's wounds
had been carefully examined and
attended to by the surgeon, who
had discovered that two ribs
were broken and that at least
one had been driven into his
lungs in the fall. This left
Happy in a bad condition. The
wound in the lung had caused
the blood to flow freely from his
mouth when he had been moved.
The doctor had left instructions
to watch him closely and to prevent him from moving about on
the cot, fearing a hemorrhage
that might cost him his life.
CHAPTER V.
Evening came on, but it
brought no change of importance to the injured men. The
bridge builder had taken care of
the big team, and had succeeded
in picking up the load of vegetables and supplies which had
been turned over in the runaway.
The exact cause of the accident
could not be ascertained, but it
was presumed that the driver
was riding on the boxes piled
high upon the wagon, when the
team, for' some reason, became
unmanageable and ran off the
hard road, causing the two front
wheels to sink into the soft, rich
11
valley soil, throwing the load,
together with the driver, forward
upon the horses, thus increasing
their fright. With one bound
the horses had torn themselves
loose from the wagon, which was
cramped and fast in the loose
dirt, and carried the driver, who
was tangled in the trappings
with them. This was the only solution of the accident, and perhaps could not be better explained by the information of
the owner himself. The men
were all laying about on the
green grass near the cook tent
after the evening meal, while
many of the workmen were
quietly enjoying the inevitable
pipe; others were earnestly discussing the events of the day and
the extraordinary exhibition of
bravery of the tramp. Nearly
all the men who ventured an explanation of the circumstances
held a different view. All of a
sudden there was a lull in the
conversation and a horse could
be distinctly heard coming at full
gallop up the road from the direction of Fort Fraser. The
rider was now in view, and a
moment later the rider, a lady,
dismounted at the surgeon's tent.
The horse was out of breath, and
it was evident it had been
sent over the miles between
town and the camp at full speed.
A number of the workmen exchanged knowing glances as they
recognized the rider. She was
a new comer in town, and had
been often seen recently in company with the bridge builder.
Inside the tent the bridge builder and the surgeon were discussing Jhe events of the day, together with another incident in
which the railroad company
would be involved in a damage suit for an injury occurring to
one of its employees. They had
been so engrossed in their talk
that they had paid no attention
to the commotion outside caused
by the unexpected visitor. The
first intimation either had of the
new arrival was, when the screen
door of the large hospital tent
was thrown open and Gene Reynolds stood before them. Both
men rose to their feet instantly.
It was apparent that the visitor
was excited and bewildered.
Looking first at one and then
the other, she held out her hand
to the bridge builder and excitedly exclaimed, "Mr. Carver."
Then, hesitatingly, she continued,
"I thought you were dangerously
hurt. I heard in the store that
you were nearly killed in a runaway. My horse was saddled and
in front of the store preparatory
to my usual evening canter and
«/ Cj
I came at once, thinking I could
be of some service.'' All this was
said so quickly by the excited
girl, that she scarcely realized
what she had said or its importance to the man she addressed,
who was deeply in love with her,
but who. up to this time never
dreamed that his love was returned.
The girl, flushed from her ride
and the anxiety for the man she
dearly loved, stood before him,
a perfect picture for an artist.
Underneath a large felt riding
hat masses of blond hair were
hanging about her face and
shoulders and her large blue eyes
were stariug wide open, as if
disbelieving what they told her,
that he was unharmed. The
bridge builder was surveying her
beautiful figure and poiso and
thought to himself what a fool he
had been never to have realized
what a really beautiful woman
she was. Unaccustomed as he
was to the society of women, he
was a poor judge of feminine
qualities which most men rave
over. He knew that Gene Reynolds was fascinating—that during the hours spent in her company she absorbed all of his attention, so much that he seemed
to, forget his work, his surroundings and everything except her
wit and laughter. Only occasionally was she ever quiet. At
such times, even in the midst of
an animated conversation she
would loose control of herself
completely as if suffering from
some hidden pain. Her arms
would drop listlessly to her side
and as she would turn from him
he could easily discern that she
was suffering from great emotion
which she was striving to overcome. Her gaze returned to him;
gave him the impression of a
frightened deer brought to bay
by the crack of a rifle and the
sting of the huntsman's knife.
These moods, as the bridge builder termed them, had occurred
more frequently of late, but he
scoffed at the idea that anything in her past life was the
cause. Gene was nearing thirty,
but her education, refinement and
excellent manners precluded such
a thought. The surgeon was the
first to break the awkward silence by excusing himself and
left the tent. Alone for a moment, the bridge builder determined to use the unexpected opportunity to press his suit for
her hand. "I am so glad you
are not hurt, you have always
been so kind. My life here
among the country folk is a
lonely one. My ideas and experiences have been so entirely dif- ferent, and I half suspect at
times they resent my coming
among them." "And I am sorry
I am not hurt," the bridge builder stepped near to her as he said
this, continuing, "It would be
worth while getting hurt to have
such a charming nurse." Stamping her foot on the floor like
a spoiled child Gene said, "Don't
make fun of me." She stepped
back and he caught her riding
whip, which was fastened to her
waist, and drew her towards him,
and before she realized his intent he had caught her in his
arm and was looking straight into her eyes. For a moment they
stood thus, each lost in their own
emotions. "I know you love me,
won't you admit it ?" " No ! I
hate you." "Then I'll go out
in the back yard and get hurt
so you will take care of me."
Gene knew she loved this man
more than all the world. She
was accustomed to flattery and
had made many men wretched
for being so foolish as to fall in
love with her, but none of them
had ever touched Gene's heart,
and she could truthfully say
that Carver was the first man
she had ever even cared for.
His last remark seemed so silly
for him, as he was always so
grave and serious. She could not
help but smile, relieving her em-
barrasment to some extent.
Slowly releasing her arms from
his embrace she threw them
about his neck, and drawing his
face down to hers kissed him passionately. Of a sudden the lovers
were startled by someone calling
for Mr. Carver, and another moment the' young man who had
been assigned the care of the
runaway victims put his head in
through the door of the hospital
18
tent, saying, "Pardon me, sir,
but it's Mr. Brown who wishes to
see you, sir." As Gene and the
bridge builder followed the boy
he was telling her of the morning's adventure of Will Brown.
Gene was visibly affected, as she
had come to look upon Mr.
Brown as one of her best friends.
It was his company who had
brought her to Fort Fraser and
given her her present position,
and Mr. Brown, above all others
connected with the corporation,
had put himself out to make her
life in the new country pleasant
by entertaining her on more than
one occasion in his elegant new
home near town. In fact, both
Gene and the bridge builder
owed their present happiness to
Will Brown, as it was through
him and in his house they had
first met. Will Brown had sufficiently recovered from his mis-
fortune to be able to sit up; in
fact, walk about some, and had
made preparations for his return
home early the next morning.
"Good evening, Miss Reynolds,"
said Brown as they entered his
tent. "What brings you out
here?" and without knowing the
truth, continued, "Did you think
it was Carver that was hurt ?
Lucky dog, Carver, to have won
such a girl." "Oh! please stop,
Mr. Brown." "I've known your
secret for a long time," Brown
continued, and the bridge builder
beat a hasty retreat, much to the
amusement of Brown and the
boy, leaving Gene to face the
ordeal alone. "Can I be of service to you? Are you badly
hurt?" Gene inquired, hoping to
change the subject. "No, I am
not hurt much. At present I am
a bit sore from the knocking
about I got before the team was *■■
stopped. Tell Mr. Carver to
come back, boy. I wish to thank
him for his kindness." The boy
left the tent in search of the
bridge builder. "I wish to leave
some instructions for the care of
the man whom they say stopped
the team at the risk of his life
and is suffering from a hole in
his lungs punched in by two
broken ribs. He's a brave devil
of a tramp, but he got a nasty
fall in stopping the team and I
intend to see that everything is
done for him that can be done to
save his life. That's him there,"
pointing to the other cot. "He's
sleeping under the influence of
a drug.'' Happy was laying on
his back, with his face partly
concealed and turned to the wall.
Gene walked over to the cot and
carefully raised the blanket from
his face. "Happy Jack!" "Good
God!" I—I thought!" Gene
raised her hands to her face and
reeled backwards. Brown jumped
to his feet and helped her to a
seat. "Do you know him?"
queried Brown. "No—yes; I
don't know what to say." Regaining her composure remarkably quick, Brown thought, she
begged him not to mention the
circumstance for the present to
Mr.   Carver.
CHAPTER VI.
Late that evening, after dining
with the Bridge Builder, Mr.
Brown and the Doctor, Gene
ordered her horse and started
for town. All the men, especially the Bridge Builder, were
nonplused at her absolute refusal
to allow anyone to accompany
her home. True, it was a beautiful, warm night, with a June
moon shining o'er head, making
the night almost as light as day
in the clear, dry atmosphere of
the Nechaco and there was really
no danger, but there was one
who craved the opportunity of
accompanying her. After Gene's,
departure, the Bridge Builder,
fearing for her safety, followed
at a short distance, on the Surgeon's horse. He intended only to
go out on the road a short way,
or until Gene had passed through
a heavy clump of trees on the
road into Fort Fraser, which was
not far from their camp. A
number of new settlers had recently come into the district and
been camped along the road, or
had taken up land and Were living in temporary shacks. The
most of these people were strangers and the Bridge Builder felt
it best to see Gene beyond this
point. Contrary to the Bridge
Builder's expectations, Gene rode
very slowly, apparently lost in
meditation, but he, being accustomed to her moods, thought
little or nothing of her queer
decision to ride home alone. Once
through the trees, and out into
the open, she stopped, and standing up in her stirrups, she raised
herself up as high as possible
and looked across the country,
evidently trying to locate some
object. For a moment she stood
thus and then, quick as a flash,
she settled back on her saddle
arid sent her horse flying off the
road, out into the tall meadow
grass and straight across country, almost at right angles to the
road. The Bridge Builder was
astonished at this unexpected
turn, and sat motionless for a
moment, completely bewildered
by her movements. He was some
distance behind her and just in
the edge of the trees, completely
hidden   from   view.     From   the
14 X
^direction in which she went, if
she held the same course, she
would pass by the south end of
the timber, a point which the
Bridge  Builder  could  reach  un-
• •.^••■•^-sEfcifKrVi
It was none of his business where
she was going,—perhaps to the
home of some settler who was
sick that she knew of, or perhaps   to   stay   all   night   at   the
She stopped, and standing up in her stirrups, she raised herself up as high as
possible and looked across the country.
observed and ahead of her. Here
the Bridge Builder hesitated. He
fully realized now that he was
spying upon the girl he loved.
For the first time, he felt queerly.
home of some family she knew,
rather than take the long ride
back to town. This might be-
the reason of her decision to return alone.   All these ideas came
15 and went as he rode carefully
through the timber. Finally he
halted his horse as he heard Gene
coming at a. gallop through the
grass, almost directly before him.
Just beyond where he was concealed, there was one cabin occupied by a man who had aroused
considerable curiosity by his peculiar habits and the fact that
he never niingled with any of the
other settlers, which was something unusual in a new country
like this. Everyone here was
friendly and sociable and always
willing and ready to help one
another. Contrary to the cus-
toms of the settlers, he had no
associates, which made him an
object of comment, and for some
reason the men at the camp had
taken a dislike to him. This
feeling was shared by the Bridge
Builder himself, although he
scarcely knew why. The man
was not a farmer, although he
had secured one of the best farms
in the neighborhood and adjoining the Railroad. By this time,
Gene was approaching and within
easy speaking distance. As she
passed, the Bridge Builder's
horse stepped on a dry twig
which snapped and Gene stopped,
looking directly in the direction
of the Bridge Builder. He was
suffocated, with excitement, fearing he would be discovered, but
before he could regain his normal composure, Gene passed on
and had stopped within a short
distance of the cabin, looking
around to make sure no one was
about, gave a sharp whistle. In
a moment the window of the
cabin opened and a similar
whistle was heard from within.
Immediately the door opened and
the owner could be seen, standing in front of the calrin with a
16
rifle- in his hand. Gene dismounted and, throwing her bridle
reins to the man, passed on into
the cabin. Not a word was
spoken by either. The man took
the horse around to the back
and returned to the front door.
For a moment he stood outside
the door, the outline of his figure
could be faintly seen against the
cabin. Shortly the door opened
and he passed in. The Bridge
Builder could see Gene open the
door and hold it open to allow
this man to enter. There seemed
to be a complete understanding
between the two, although not
a word up to this time had passed between them. By this time
the Bridge Builder was furious
with jealousy. Who was this
man? What possible connection
could he have with the girl?
That she knew him and that
there was something of an unusual nature between them was
most apparent, otherwise she
would not be so indiscreet as to
visit him at this hour of the
night, alone. The Bridge Builder
got off his horse, made him fast
to a tree and started towards
the house. As he neared the
cabin, he heard the two inside
talking excitedly, and before he
reached the cabin the door opened and Gene came out, followed
closely by the man, who was
shaking his hand at her in a
threatening manner, as he said,
"You make Carver come to my
terms or suffer the consequences."
The Bridge Builder by this
time had got so close to the
cabin that he had hard work in
concealing himself, but the two
people were so engrossed in their
conversation that they paid no
attention to who might be near.
"I  tell  you Bob,  I  love  this man with all my heart, and I intend to marry him against you
and the whole world. He is
reasonable and will believe me,—
of this I am sure."
The Bridge Builder knew they
were talking of him. Her declaration of love for him took him
completely by surprise, which
changed his feelings immediately,
but the next moment he was
doomed to still further anxiety
and bewilderment.
'' Get my horse—I am going !''
said the girl.
"You are not going until we
come to a full understanding.
You have no love for this man,—
he is not of your kind and you
would never be happy with him.
These people are not of your
kind. What do they know of
the life you know? What is
pleasure and enjoyment to them
would be purgatory to you."
"Don't argue with me any
longer. I have told you that I
no longer fear you, and I have
proved it by coming here tonight
at  this  hour,  alone."
11 Oh! You have never had
any reason to fear any bodily
harm from me You entered into
this scheme with me to make
money out of these rich country
folks and by G—! you will play
the game to the end."
"Bob, you are a coward—you
always were one and today I discovered something that will make
a good dog of you in a short
time. I came here tonight to try
and break with you and let you
go your way and live as you
like, do as you like, as long as
you keep your hands off the man
I love."- |f    ;;| |     IS
"Love, that's a thing for
babies to play with. Why you
don't know the first rudiments of
what that word means. You
don't love this man, neither did
you ever love any other man that
you have known. You were always ready to make money before. What's come over you?
Since you came here you have
become a different person. Why,
one would think you had always
lived the simple life. Has the
atmosphere, the big farms and
the quiet happiness of the country people turned your head?
What is this mysterious information you got today that makes
you so  brave?"
"Get my horse and I will give
you   something   to   think   over."
Bob, as she called him, turned
the corner of the cabin and returned with her horse. As he
came up to Gene, she said something which the Bridge Builder
could not hear and which made
the man drop the reins of the
horse. Leaning forward, he put
his hand up to the side of the
cabin to support himself, and as
he did this, Gene sprang into the
saddle. Looking back over her
shoulder as she started away,
she said, "Yes, you can take my
word. The tramp is Happy
Jack."
17
Chapter 7.
The Bridge Builder watched
Gene ride slowly across the uplands towards Fort Fraser, until she was lost in the night. The
unexpected had happened — his
ideals of the girl he loved had
been smashed. Like a lightning
bolt from a troubled sky, when
it reaches down and strikes the
topmost branches of the tallest
pine and rips it to the very roots,
leaving it split, charred and withered, but still standing and defiant.    Just so had Gene's meet- [4
ing this night with this man, the
one man in the entire Nechaco
with whom he had never held
anything in common, her reference to her old life and associates, her compact with this wan-
derling of the underworld, for
the Bridge Builder was now convinced of his true character, had
changed her from the beautiful,
innocent girl he had loved to a
charred and blackened hag, who
had one object left in the world,
to fight for the man she loved—
but did she really love or was it
purely a selfish desire to marry
a man who' would or could give
her a home and position and
compel respect for. her. The
Bridge Builder returned to his
horse* without even a glance in
the direction Gene had taken.
Mounting his horse, he returned
slowly to his camp, determined
to dismiss her from- him forever,
such were his thoughts and he
really believed he would do this
very thing, but men of his calibre, men who brook no opposition from man or elements, men
who can and do overcome all
obstacles are the very weakest
where women are concerned.
Especially is this true, when the
object of his affections is the
target of a selfish, miserable cur
who seeks to wrong her and that
was what was being planned inside the cabin he had just left.
Bob Morris was a small, mean,
insignificant creature, who had
preyed upon unfortunate women,
taking advantage of their confidence and position in nearly all
the large coast cities.. Not alone
had he prospered in the nefarious life, but. he had almost committed murder for the purpose
of robbery and had been smart
enough   to   protect   himself,   by
18
accusing and convicting another
of his crime. When he had run
the limit of his misdeeds, he had
made his way out into the rapidly settling district of the Nechaco, where he hoped to carry on
his dishonest dealings with the
innocent country people, who
were massing great fortunes in
the rapid rise of both Fort Fraser city property and farm land
near by. By a strange coincident, however? just at the time
when he felt himself most secure in his present undertakings, a man should appear on the
scene whom he most feared of all
the people, both men and women, whom he had abused.
Happy Jack was the one person in all the world whom he
feared and Happy Jack had
stumbled right into the middle
of his contemplated operations,
and had by saving the life of
the richest man in Fort Fraser,
made himself a hero in the
eyes of all the community. Happy Jack must be gotten rid of
but how. Bob Morris was pacing to and fro in his cabin, in
deep study, his hands clenched
behind his back and stooped,
his hat pulled down over his
cold gray eyes, that snapped
under long black lashes, the
muscles of his face drawn to
such an extent as to depict the
keen and hardened criminal that
he was. The door and windows
carefully locked and bolted, with
his gun conveniently placed, but
for the occasional start from
some sound outside? he was oblivious to his surroundings. Suddenly he stopped short and gazed
at a thing on the floor near the
door—something he had not noticed before. As if fixed to the
spot  he   stood,  his   eyes  riveted on the object, the muscles of his
face worked in nervous twitches,
his   hands   loosened   from   their
clinched   position     behind      his
back   and   reached   for   the   object.      In   this   short   space    of
time,   his   alert   criminal   brain
had planned to do away with the
man he feared, who was laying
helpless in a nearby tent and to
fix the crime on another through
the    evidence    of   Gene's   whip,
which  he now held, before  him.
Coward  that  he  was,   he  would
stab Happy to death in his present helpless condition and leave
Gene's whip as tell-tale evidence.
The   Bridge   Builder   reached
camp about the same time Gene
Reynolds   reached   the   home   of
Will Brown, where she intended
to   stay   until   morning.     Entering the large gates to the drive
way  that  led  up   to   the   house
from the east,  she was soon inside   the   beautiful   grounds   for
which   this   country   home   was
known throughout the entire Nechaco   Valley.     Her   horse   was
tired and she   allowed   him   the
freedom  of  his  head,  which  he
held nearly to the ground as he
moved slowly up the. drive-way,
lined with magnificent shrubbery
which   had  been  imported- from
England together with the keeper and his family  who, lived in
the   keeper's   lodge,   just   inside
the  gates.    As  Gene neared the
house, a farm hand hailed her to
make  sure  who  it  was   at  this
time of the night.
The great farm/ house was
lighted up from top to bottom
and the family were all up, expecting more news from the father and husband.
Mrs. Brown greeted Gene as,
she dismounted from her horse
and   made   anxious   inquiries   as
to the welfare of her husband.
She had, however, been kept
fully advised and knew he would
be home early next morning.
"What makes you so late,
Miss Reynolds ? One of the boys
who left camp after you did has
been in some time."
Gene gave a start and looked
first at Mrs. Brown and then at
her  horse   as  he  was  being  led
away.    She wished she had not
come  here  now,   that  she   knew
someone     might    have   followed
her.    If Mrs.  Brown knew  that
she had been to see Bob Morris
that   night   and   meant   to   question her, she did not feel equal to
the   task     of     explaining. *   She
knew Mrs. Brown was the kindest of all kind women, but these
country   folk   would  not   excuse
an   indiscreet   act   on   her   part,
much, less Mrs. Brown, who was
especially   set   in   her   ideas   of
propriety.    The  first  thing that
carne to her to say was that she
had lost her way.    This was  a
silly  excuse  as  she  knew  every
inch of the ground between town
and   the   camp,   but   it   sufficed
and   Mrs.   Brown   dismissed   the
subject, much to her relief. Once
within   , the   great     living-room,
where     every   convenience     for
comfort   and   luxury   was   provided, she sank down in a large
chair, resting her tired feet upon,
the   head   of   an   immense   bear
rug which had been taken in the
mountains to the north of Fort
Fraser the year before.    To her
right was an old fashioned, English,  open fire-place,  which  was
the joy of all the household and
guests, during the winter months
Large    comfortable     pieces      of
furniture     were   placed     about
over the  hardwood floor of the
room, while many beautiful and
19 rare pictures adorned the walls
in a careless, yet artistic manner. Mrs. Brown came in shortly, and with her came the maid,
with a tray of light refreshments
including cake, delicious home
made bread and butter and a
quantity of rich, pure, Jersey
cream, from Mr. Brown's famous
Jersey   herd.
Gene ate heartily. She knew
she was more than welcome and
this was about all the home she
knew or had known since her
arrival in Fort Fraser several
months before. She did not occupy her small room in town
much of the time except to sleep
in> after her work was done in
the store each day, she usually
rode until way after dark, enjoying the fresh air of the country and the many beautiful
country homes, the owners of
which were always glad to see
her. Mrs. Brown said little
while Gene ate, occasionally did
she interrupt her by making
some trifling remark about the
weather, or her housework,
which did not need any reply,
for all of which Gene was very
thankful as she was tired and
did not feel in a communicative
mood.
"You are tired out, dear child.
It was foolish of you to go rushing off to Mr. Carver at the
first news of the accident. My!
I had no idea things had progressed so rapidly with you two
sly ones. You are certainly fortunate to win such a man and
Will and I are going to have you
married right here in our house."
Gene raised her hand as if to
stop the words which were cutting her like  a knife, but Mrs.
Brown kept right on.
I "We have come to look upon
you, Miss Gene, as one of the
family, and you must confide in
me, dear child, everything from
now on."
"Please don't, Mrs. Brown. I
know it was a very foolish thing
of me to do to think of him seriously, and I am very, very fond
of Mr. Carver? but he has never
asked me to become his wife and
I am afraid he never will!''
"Never will! Why, what do
you mean, child? Only the other
day I was joking him and just
for amusement suggested that
there might be another to whom
you had given your heart and
at the very mention of that
possibility, he turned a deathly
white, and for once he lost his
usual calm completely. Why,
child, I tell" you Mr. Carver
loves you beyond description,
and, if you are foolish enough
to — •
? ?
C i
20
Mrs. Brown, please, please do
not talk of that for the present," broke in Gene, rising from
her seat at the same time.
"Please, Mrs. Brown,-you do not
understand—you who have never
had to fight life's battles—you
have always had Mr. Brown to
shield you from the world. He
was big enough and brave
enough to come out into a great
new country and carve out a
fortune and a mansion for you
and the children, while you have
merely looked on, protected from
every pitfall, while I have had
to fight—fight for myself and
for my mother until her death."
Gene? by this time had crossed
the great living-room and was
wringing her hands in a frantic
effort to conceal her emotions,
which were most apparent and
unexpected. Great tears were
streaming down her cheeks, her hair was falling loosely about
her shoulders, as her breath
came and went in heavy sighs.
Poor, little Mrs. Brown was almost frightened out of her wits
at this outburst, but feeling that
it was nothing but the overwrought   and  tired  nerves   of   a
lap. For a little while neither
spoke, while Gene sobbed out
her excitement, then finally got
up, and kissing Mrs. Brown, she
begged her forgiveness for being such a child.
But     little   did   Mrs.     Brown
know what terrible  emotion she
Gene   slipped   down   in   front   of   her,   and   buried   her   head   in   her   hands   in
Mrs. Brown's lap.
tired girl, who had perhaps,
quarrelled with her sweetheart,
she arose slowly and going to
Gene, she caught her in her arms
and, as she dropped onto a
couch, Gene slipped down in
front of her, and buried her head
in   her   hands   in   Mrs.   Brown's
21
had this day overcome? or what
an ordeal she had gone through
with Bob Morris &nd the terrible position she was now in. Her
marriage to the bridge Builder
and all the happiness she had
pictured through their love had
been blighted and she fully re- I
alized now, that nothing short
of a superhuman love on his
part, would ever forgive her for
her connection with Bob Morris
and other things which she fully
intended to make a full confession of at the first opportunity.
"Don't pay any attention to
me, please. I am in trouble Mrs.
Brown, but please don't question me tonight, and when you
know all, if you can forgive—"
As Gene spoke she drew away
from Mrs. Brown. For some
reason she felt her position keenly. She knew, good and motherly as this woman was, did she
know the truth of her past life,
she would not be permitted to
enter the home she was now enjoying. Mrs. Brown was as ail
women of her class are, who have
always been shielded from the
world, narrow, especially when
it came to judging her own sex.
The two ladies stood facing
each other, the one terrified at
what the morrow would bring,
and the -other wondering with
her limited experience. She could
not reconcile the girl's peculiar
mood this evening. Mrs. Brown
was her senior by many years,
but in experience and knowledge
of the world, she was a mere
child in comparison to the younger woman. Still? thinking it
was nothing but a lovers' quarrel, she placed her arm about
Gene in a most affectionate manner, and led her up the wide
stairway, leading from the big
living-room to her accustomed
apartments on the next floor.
Chapter 8.
The following 'morning found
the camp in its usual busy condition. The Bridge Builder was
out    early   directing   in   person
the placing of a large steel girder, over the main span of the
bridge, considerable care had to
be exercised, owing to the frail
superstructure, and the swift
current in the river at this
point. Will Brown had made
all arrangements to Care for the
"Tramp," as Happy had come
to be known, and was leaving
the tent where he had been confined since . the accident, when
Happy rolled over on his cot,
and, in doing so, started a
small hemorrhage and began
coughing severely. Will Brown
turned and watched Happy for
a long time. This was the first
time that he had really had a
look at the man who saved his
life, and something about Happy
struck him as being familiar,
but in his present condition,
and having gone several weeks
without shaving, disguised him
completely, except to those who
had seen him recently. Happy
finally sat up on the edge of
his cot. He was sore and stiff
from the experience and bandages, but his brain was clear
and he knew that he was out of
danger and the thought that he
had saved his brother's life
made him forget his own condition  for  the  moment.
i i
We got a bad fall the other
morning. I am gladrt^ou are
able to  be up," said Happy.
"Yes, we did get several
bumps and had it not been for
your quick wit and courage, another bump and I and the team
would have bumped into eternity. Everyone has told me,
that team would kill me, and I
am about ready to believe it is
true and I am going to return
evil for good and give you those
horses.     I   raised   them   myself
99
i and they are the pride of all
Nechaco."
Will Brown had advanced
towards Happy as he said this,
and, laying his hand on Happy's
shoulder, continued, "and with
the team goes one of my best
farms. I want you for a neighbor—its time you quit tramping
about and settled down. Any one
who is brave enough to save
a stranger's life, is made of the
right stuff and all they need is
a start in the right direction and
I am going to give you the right
start. Goodbye! I must be returning home. I have left instructions to have you brought
to my home as soon as you are
able to be up and away from
the doctor's care."
And before Happy could realize what this offer meant to him,
Will Brown had left the tent and
was  off for his  beautiful  home.
About noon, the Bridge Builder came into Happy's tent to
find him enjoying a big bowl of
bread and milk and the inside of
the tent was literally banked
with flowers of all kinds. The
Fort Fraser district was noted
above all other things for its
magnificent flowers, the climate
and soil being conducive to the
development of both large and
beautiful colored roses and other
flowers, and Brown's home was
a perfect rose garden at this
time of the year. Mrs. .Brown
had sent out two large baskets,
one filled with all the delicacies
she could think of and which
could not be had in a construction camp, and the other was
loaded with flowers. She could
not go herself to administer to
the wants of the man who had
saved her husband's life, but
she had done the next best thing
23
sent one of her servants with all
the comforts she could think of
and Happy was enjoying them
to the fullest extent when the
Bridge Builder came in.
"Hello! I see the Browns have
rewarded you for your part in
the mix-up the other day. Judging from the orders around here,
one would think Brown owned
the railroad—he does own nearly everything else.'
The Bridge Builder was in an
ugly mood. He had spent a restless night and everything seemed
to irritate him and the attempt
to make Happy more comfortable
in his unfortunate condition only
added to his ill feelings.
"I am Sorry if I have inconvenienced you, Mr. i," Happy
hesitated, "I haven't the pleasure of your name."
"Carver," blurted the Bridge
Builder, "and my name is—is,'
Happy was thinking hard.
Should he give him his name
or the cognomen he had long
been known by, finally he said,
"Happy Jack."
The Bridge Builder dropped
the rose he had been examining
and turned quickly around. He
remembered the name from last
night. Gene was right — she
must have recognized him, but
why did she not tell him? "He
was the one to whom she should
have confided in," thought the
Bridge Builder, in his usual
dominating  spirit.
Happy noticed the movement,
but could find no excuse for it.
"Happy Jack" is an odd
name," said the Bridge Builder,
"where have you spent most of
your life?"
"I have spent most of my life
nowhere and everywhere, just
roaming  about—here   today   and /I
i (
C (
gone tomorrow. My experiences
have been so many and so varied
that I take life as it comes—
nothing worries me."
"I wish nothing worried me,"
said the Bridge Builder, "yesterday I was the happiest man
on earth and today perhaps the
most  miserable.''
"Ho! Ho! A woman in the
case! The same old story,'' said
Happy, and Carver shot a look at
Happy that told him he had hit
the  bullseye.
What do you know of it?"
I beg pardon, Mr. Carver,"
said Happy; bowing towards the
Bridge Builder. "Nothing but
a woman can clip a man's wings
flying in the seventh heaven and
drop him back to old mother
earth and the realities of life
in   one   short   day."
The Bridge Builder was
amused at Happy's deductions
and for the time forgot his keen
disappointment in Gene and
laughed heartily.
"You're a queer fellow, but
when you know all you wont
blame   me."
"Well, maybe I wont and maybe I will. I have a habit of always siding with the woman, but
at any rate, I could have no
possible interest in your love
affairs."
"You may have a lot to do
with them," was the answer, and
as the Bridge Builder said this
he passed out of the tent and
left Happy completely puzzled
at his last remark.
"He's a queer sort," thought
Happy, "I dont like his manner,
but he'll get over his love affair
and soon another will take her
place."
Happy settled back on his
couch.    He was improving very
rapidly and the kindness of his
brother and family to a stranger,
as they supposed, was adding its
beneficial effects on Happy's
mind. His talk with the Bridge
Builder had brought back unpleasant memories. He could picture in his mind the image of the
girl he loved. He lived over
again, as he had often done,
their quarrel, he could see this
selfsame girl in the witness box,
swearing his freedom away and
to   a  pure   falsehood.
Happy was tired from his
morning's exertion. He had
never erred on virtue's side and
ghosts of memories, reeling,
drunk with wine and excesses,
carried him off into the land of
Nod. Happy's troubled sleep
lasted for perhaps an hour, when
he awoke to find standing before him, the girl whom he had
loved and who had sold his love
and his freedom for gold. Gene
Reynolds was a few years older
than when he last saw her, but
her beauty had increased with
the time.
24
Chapter 9.
Happy sat up and rubbed his
eyes, putting his hand out towards Gene, who, thinking he
intended to offer her his hand
as a token of friendship, caught
it in both hers, but he drew it
back quickly as if stung by a
viper. . Happy was beginning to
doubt his mental physical senses. He fully recognized Gene,
but why she should be there or
why she had come to him was
far beyond his ability to comprehend. Several minutes elapsed
and Happy was still staring at
her when she, becoming impatient, stamped her foot on the
floor and said: "Why don't you say something—don't stare at
me in that manner."
"Have a seat," said Happy,
still wondering if he really were
awake.
"Don't look at me that way,
I tell you," said Gene, "you are
-driving me mad. Say something
—swear at me—curse me, tell me
that I have lied about you, tell
me that I won your love and
then swore you into jail, tell me
anything—that I have ruined
your life—anything."
By this time Gene's voice had
raised to a high pitch and she
fairly screamed the last word.
The last remark amused Happy,
who could not help but smile.
It is a strange condition of the
human mind that compels us at
times even in most serious moments of our lives to laugh when
we feel the deepest sorrow.
Happy was never more serious in
his life, nor more perplexed, but
Tie could not help but smile at
•Gene's rantings. Finally, he
said: "And if I choose not to
■charge you of any of the things
wThich you stand self accused of,
what then?"   ..
This last remark took all the
fight out of Gene. She had come
into Happy's presence fearing
for her life, and had she known
that Happy was practically over
Iris accident, perhaps she would
not have had the courage to
meet him, as well as she knew
Happy's temper and that he had
just cause to kill her. His un-
nsual behavior she could not understand, and, as usual when the
unexpected happens, she was
thrown completely off her guard.
Happy had successfully disarmed her by his actions.
"I know what you must think
of me," she said.
"I think you do not know my
feelings, otherwise you, of all persons, would never come near me. I
feel sure it is for some special reason, not that you want to make
amends for what you have done
in the past, but for some purely
selfish reason. I know these
things for a certainty, and, having the nerve of a stone image,
you risk your life in coming to
me.
>?
I   know    I    have     wronged
you," said Gene.
"Don't speak of that now.
You know and I know what has
passed, but for the present there
is little use to break open old
wounds. Out with it—what do
you want?"
"Will you help me, Happy?"
"I will reserve my answer
until you have stated your case
or trouble."
"Don't be too hard on me,
Happy. I have wronged you
but I hope to be in a position
soon to aid you and to repay
you for all the misery I have
ever caused you. I know it is
a weak excuse to rely upon—
the fact that I am a woman, but
had I been a man
done differently,
how hard it was
mother lived. I
money for her."
"You did not need to steal
nor swear your best friend's life
away." said Happy.
"But I was desperate. Mother
was dying, the doctor had taken
everything I had and then told
m« as they usually do, under
such circumstances, that a
change of climate was the only
relief for her. Bob Morris offered me the money to swear
against you."
At the  mention  of  Bob  Mor-
I would have
You     know
for  me  while
had   to     get
ZQ ris' name, Happy sprang to his
feet, and advancing towards
Gene, he said, "If I ever lay
my hands on that miserable cur,
he will die a dog's death."
Gene stepped back. She had
never seen Happy or any other
man look so earnest or make
such a threat. She had intended
to tell Happy of Bob's whereabouts, but his present attitude
precluded such a risk.
"I fully realize What your
feelings were at one time for
me, but I did not love you, nor
did I ever tell you that I did,
but I am, in love now and the
strange thing of it all is that I
am coming to you as the only
one in the world that holds my
future happiness in your hands.
You know positively as many
others do, who are not brave
enough to admit it, that I never
was immoral. I have been a
thief—I have perjured myself
for money, and I have always
associated with both men and
women who were bad, but I have
never emulated their habits and
you must prove this. I have
come to you direct, as soon as I
knew you were here. I am
guilty of everything you may
choose to charge me with. Wont
you be merciful, Happy?"
"Why should I show you any
consideration after my incarceration in that miserable hole, a
perfect Hell on earth. You
might at least have sent me
some word of encouragement,
but no, you left me there, there
in that condition' to rot for all
you thought or cared for."
Happy had crossed the tent
and was looking at a beautiful
specimen of a rose—his back
half turned from Gene, who was
almost   dumb   with   fear   at   the
26
thought that she  could not win.
Happy's forgiveness.
"These are beautiful flowers.-
Our paths have not been strewn
with many such," said Happyr
seemingly oblivious that Gene
Reynolds was desperately in earnest   about  her  future.
"Why don't you go back to
your old friend, the one you favored as against me ? He would
surely help you—he is such a
brave and sympathetic individual
especially where a woman's honor is at stake."
"For God's sake, Happy,
please don't mention his name.
You are a man—he is a beast.
He would sell me outright for a
glass of whiskey if he could.'
Gene was becoming furious at
Happy's indifference. Somehow
she felt he was playing with herr
like the cat plays with a mouser
but after all his heart would not
allow him to injure her. Happy
was becoming tired from being'
on his feet, the first time since
the accident, arid he crossed the
tent and almost fell on the cot.
Gene caught him in her arms
and straightened him. As she
did this, she slipped down on her
knees before Happy, catching
his hands in hers, while great
tears rolled down her cheeks,
as she kept on pleading for his
forgiveness. They were both absorbed in their own thoughts.
Gene was begging hard now and
she was not the kind to ask for
any quarter, she was the type of
woman who fights to the last,
but -here she was in the wrong
and she knew it. She cared
enough for Happy to deeply regret all the unhappiness she had
caused him. The touch of Gene's
arms as* she helped him back on
the   cot,   the   sight   of   her   big, blue eyes streaming with tears
and her apparently utter helpless position, brought back all
the old love for her and he could
have taken her back and forgotten all, When they were startled
by someone stepping into the
tent.
Happy looked up to see the
Bridge Builder standing before
therri. Gene rose to her feet slowly and looked first at Happy and
then at Carver, fearing for the
outcome of this meeting. Gene
Reynolds had nothing to fear
from the man she loved, as a consequence of her acquaintance
with Happy, but she was placed
in a most embarrassing position
to say the least. No one spoke.
Happy was just beginning to understand the true situation and
remained silent with the idea of
determining for a certainty just
how matters stood between Gene
and the Bridge Builder. He now
recalled the remark made by the
Bridge Builder on leaving the
tent early in the day, and wondered how much Gene had told
Mr. Carver of her past or his
former association with her. Another thing Happy had not learned from Gene as yet, was just
how she first learned of his present whereabouts, or who had told
her that he was in the Nechaco
Valley. It was hardly possible
that she should know these facts
by mere accident. The Bridge
Builder broke the silence by addressing Gene in rather a cold,
though courteous manner.
•*.n"Are you old friends?" he
said.
"Yes," replied Gene, "I have
known Happy for a long time
and I am more than sorry to
learn of his misfortune."
The   Bridge   Builder   was   an-
27
noyed at finding the two*
together, as he could plainly see
that Gene was excited and had
been crying. What this tramp
or Bob Morris held in the life
of this girl, he determined to find
out, if not from her, then by
some means from one or both of
these men. The situation was
very trying for all three. Happy
was the least affected, although
he was anxious to know just
what part he was expected to
play in the drama, which was
slowly unfolding before him.
I' Happy and I have lived in
the same cities and at one time
we were the best of friends,"
broke in Gene.
"And now," suggested Carver,
"you  are  enemies."
Gene shot a look at Happy, expecting him to reply, but Happy's
face was  a blank.
"No, not exactly that—only
today our meeting brought back
unpleasant memories and I feel
very, very sorry.''
I \For Happy's injuries ?'' broke
in Carver, "well you need not
worry. He will be amply repaid
by Brown."
Happy did not like Carver's
attitude, neither did he like the
manner in which he was treating
Gene, but not knowing just how
far matters had progressed between these two, he hesitated before taking up Gene's burden
against Carver, who was acting
no less than a ruffian's part towards the girl, whom Happy had
every reason to believe he loved.
Happy now came to her rescue
by saying, "Mis Reynolds and I
have been friends and acquaintances for a long time. I knew
her mother, who is now dead
and it was of her we were speaking when you came in." At this remark, Gene gave a
sigh of relief, inwardly thanking
Happy for the lie he had told, as
she knew, to help her out of a
difficult situation.
The Bridge Builder in a cold,
commanding voice which chilled
Gene's heart and a look that sent
creepy feelings over Happy, said:
"I am just going into Fort Fraser
on some business, will you ride
back to town with me Miss Reynolds ?''
CHAPTER X.   |
Once   out   into   the   open   air,
Gene felt i herself much relieved.
Her meeting with Happy and the
unexpected   interruption   of   the
Bridge   Builder   had   so   worked
upon   her   nerves   that   she   was
scarcely   able   to   cope   with  his
cold,   shrewd   questions,   or   outwit his searching gaze.    The two
rode   for   a   mile    or   two    for
the most part through a beautiful  poplar   grove,   one   of  those
beauty spots for which the great
Nechaco Valley is famous. While
the sun, out in the open at this
time   of   the   year   is   very   hot,
within the small, thickly growing
poplar groves the atmosphere is
always cool and inviting.   As the
riders   gained  the   open  country
at   a  point  where   several  newcomers had secured small farms
and were helping one another to
erect cabins and fences, preparatory to spending their first winter in their adopted and favored
locality,  Gene  remarked,
"It's a wonderful thing to live
in a great, new land, where everything is free and open, where
all share the common burdens
of life with a light heart—where
all have the self same purpose in
life, to become the owners of a
large farm and enjoy its conse-
28
quent independence. My life has
been singularly disappointing in
this respect. I have always lived
where there is nothing but strife,
nothing but bickering, lies and
deceit—where freedom was an
unknown quantity—where each
individual was pulling at the
others' heart strings in an effort
to trample upon the unfortunate,
to the credit of the more aggressive and perhaps less honest individual, who succeeds in society. ''
The Bridge Builder had been
secretly admiring Gene. She was
fascinating to a degree and alone
with   her,   along   a   great,   new
highway, flanked on either side
as   far  as   the   eye   could  reach
with small homesteads, slowly but
surely building into magnificient
homes, where happiness was depicted on the faces of each farmer or child, they passed.    Gene
seemed to breathe the happiness
of   her   surroundings,   her   face
beamed with its  natural • sweetness and the added absorption of
her present environment, induced
increased charm to her personality.    As  they rode  on,  she  had
completely regained her self-composure.    Although she had been
severely  tried  in  the   ordeal   of
facing   Happy   and   asking   his
forgiveness  and later the  suspicious gaze of the man she dearly
loved,   she  threw  off  these  unpleasant thoughts and was now
taken up with the country life,
into which she had only recently
come.     Her   questions   and   her
apparent   interest   in   all   conditions for the welfare of the new
community,   so   arrested  the   attention   of   the   Bridge   Builder,
that he completely forgot that he
had intended to question her further   regarding   her   association with Happy and Bob Morris.
Time, passed quickly and before
the Bridge Builder realized the
distance covered, they were entering the' outskirts of the big,
new town on the Nechaco. The
sound of the Fort Fraser sawmill, a large lumbering plant,
could be plainly heard in the distance, along the shores of the
upper Nechaco, and the hammer
of   the   workmen   on   the   many
Chamberlain Avenue to Corporation Street, where the Bridge
Builder said good-bye to Gene
and stopped in front of the bank,
in which he had some business
with its manager. Gene, after
bidding him good-bye, spurred
her horse into a fast gallop and
rode on out to Fifth Avenue,*
where she had made a former
engagement for dinner. The
Bridge Builder finished his busi-
The  Bridge  Builder  and  Gene   rode  on  into  town,   turning   down   Chamberlain
Avenue to Corporation Street.
new houses, building in the town
and suburbs, created an almost
deafening noise.
The Bridge Builder and  Gene
rode on into town, turning down
29
ness with the banker, then rode
down to the lumbering plant and
placed a large order for rough
lumber to be delivered along the
right-of-way  the   following   day, m
after which he, in company with
Will Brown, whom he had met
on the street, entered the Fort
Fraser hotel for dinner. Seating
themselves at a table near a window and well to the rear of the
room, the men gave their orders
hurridly, as was their custom and
soon found themselves engrossed
in a careful observation and study
of the many new people who
were enjoying the evening meal
at the new and already prominent hostelry, which boasted of
the best service along the line
between Prince Rupert and Edmonton.
"There are many new families
locating here lately. When I
stay at the ranch for a few days,
I scarcely know anyone on my
return to town and the demand
for all kinds of supplies is on
the increase daily. I am thinking of increasing our store to
double its present capacity, and
this will necessitate securing additional help from the coast
cities. I hope I am lucky in securing another such as Miss
Reynolds. She is the best saleswoman I ever had behind the
counter.''
Thus Brown rattled on in a
sort of lazy manner, commenting
on Gene's many virtues and her
ability, as he helped the Bridge
Builder to a generous portion
of a double tenderloin, winding
up his remarks by asking how
the love affair was progressing.
The Bridge Builder, wishing to
avoid the subject, remarked on
the excellent cuisine of the New
Hotel,  to  which  Brown replied,
"Well, its not all in the.
cooking. Most any one could
furnish an excellent table in
the Nechaco, where the best of
vegetables   and   the   choicest   of
beef can be had. Why, I tell
you, Carver — when you have
finished your work here and are
transferred to other parts, you
will miss Fort Fraser and its
fine products. Last year, when
I went to Europe with my family, I almost starved for want of
good, ripe wholesome fruit, vegetables and cream. I am actually
ashamed to tell you what I
think of the stuff they call
cream in the large centres which
I visited on my trip. I often
wished as I travelled about and
saw the misery and hardship of
the people in the large cities,
that I could bring them all back
with me and turn them loose in
the Nechaco, where they could
enjoy the freedom and riches of
God's country. The Creator of
the Universe never intended that
people should all huddle up in
certain, small and crowded districts to become a prey one upon
another for their very existence.
I tell you, Carver, your railroad
is doing a great and good act
towards humanity in building
this road through the country.
The Nechaco is big enough and
rich enough to furnish sustenance, independence and happiness to millions of people, and I
look soon to see this vast district
filled with millions of happy,
prosperous farmers and merchants. ''
"I agree with you perfectly,"
broke in Carver, "and I expect
to make the Nechaco my home.
After I have finished my activities with the Company, I mean
to settle down somewhere in the
Nechaco and spend the remainder of my life among the beautiful surroundings this district affords."
, By this time the men had near-
30 ly finished their meal and were
.gazing out of the window along
the avenue which was fast becoming a trade street. The new
town was just beginning to take
on a metropolitan air. Several
new and imposing business blocks
were in course of construction,
preparatory to housing large
stocks of merchandise, and farming implements. Here and there,
over the entire townsite, active
work could be seen in clearing
and excavating for both commercial   and     residence     buildings.
After the meal, the two friends
wandered out into the main lobby of the hotel and occupied two
large, comfortable chairs for a
while, quietly enjoying an after-
dinner cigar. Both men were
watching a large party of settlers who had just arrived from
the south in autos, when their attention was directed to Gene
Heynolds, as she rode by at a
rapid clip. Following Chamberlain Avenue for a short distance,
she turned down Corporation
street toward the river, and was
soon lost to view.
The Bridge Builder watched
her disappear and turning to
Brown,  said  in  an  undertone.
"I've something of importance
to talk to you about. I will ride
back with you as far as your
home."
Motioning to a servant, the
men ordered their horses and
rode out slowly into the rural
district, casually remarking on
the rapid growth and development that had taken place during the -last year.
"Brown," said Carver, "I
have some strange things to tell
you which I want you to listen
to carefully, noting all the details  and   after I  have  finished,
31
I want your best and candid
judgment of what the solution is
or will be. To begin with, it is
needless for me to tell you that
up until a few days ago, I was
desperately in love with Gene
Reynolds.'' |gj|
"Yes," said Brown, "and now
you two have had a quarrel.
Mrs. Brown has told me all
about it and you are foolish
enough to think that you can
never forgive her for some trifling thing and that your life is
ruined. Don't worry, old Man—
you have less sense than I
thought you had. As a matter of
fact, I think all men are d—n fools
where women are concerned."
"What did Mrs. Brown tell
you?" asked Carver.
"Oh," replied Brown, "she
described Miss Reynolds coming
to our home late the evening
after she made that fool ride
out to your camp to take care
of you. On her arrival anyone
could have seen that she was in
a high state of nervousness, flying into a rage at the mention of
your name and said as could be
expected, that you and she could
never marry."
Brown laughed at the picture
he had drawn of the girl's ravings and was merely amused at
the two lovers and what he believed to be a quarrel about some
trifling matter, too silly to even
talk about, when his attention
was startled at the expression on
the Bridge Builder's face.
"Please, don;t make light of
what I have to say. It is not
a lover's quarrel. Miss Reynolds
and I have not quarreled, but it
is of her and the night you speak
of that I wish to confide in you."
Something in Carver's tone
precluded  any  further  nonsense and Brown's face immediately
took on a look of seriousness,
as the Bridge Builder described
Gene's actions of the night in
question. The Bridge Builder
described in detail the meeting
of Gene and Bob Morris, their
actions and repeated what he
was able to hear of their conversation. Brown listened intently. He was even more surprised at her actions than the
man who loved her, and could
offer no excuse whatever as
Carver continued with a description of his meeting early in the
day, with Qene and her apparent
interest in the man who had
saved Brown's life. After the
narrative had been told in all its
details of the two incidents, the
two men rode on in silence for
some distance, when Brown, remembering the incident in the
tent, the same day of the accident, explained to Carver that
Gone had recognized the tramp
and now he remembered that she
had called him "Happy." He
further explained that she had
begged him not to mention the
fact to Carver, which he had
promised not  to   do.
"This then, explains to me
how she first came to know the
individual who stumbled into
our camp and saved your life.
Well! What is the answer ?''
The Bridge Builder was impatient, evidently thinking that
Brown could solve the problem
immediately, but in this he was
disappointed, as Brown was even
more puzzled than the Bridge
Builder himself. By this time the
two had reached Brown's home
and had reined up their horses
in front of the large gate to
the left of the big farm house.
I can give you no answer,"
i c
32
said Brown. "It is all a queer
piece of business. To me only
one thing is possible which may
throw some light on the identity
of the tramp. On leaving the
other day, I brought with me
what clothes and effects the
tramp had, intending to have
them mended and washed.
Among these clothes, Mrs. Brown
found a small bundle of papers.
Of course, up to now, I have
not opened them, holding them
as a sacred trust, but for the
good of allff concerned, I will
open them tonight, and let you
know tomorrow what their contents are, or if anything can be
learned that will throw any
light on the present difficulty."
CHAPTER 11.
The Bridge Builder waved a
goodbye from down the road as
he rode rapidly off to camp,
while Brown passed through the
large gates and rode slowly towards his magnificent new home,
where he was met by a farm
hand who took his horse and
Brown disappeared through a
side entrance to the house, off
the large west varanda. Brown
went immediately to a small
room just off the large living
room, which he used as an office
and library and going directly
to the safe, he opened it and
took therefrom a small package
of papers that had been carefully wrapped in strong, brown
paper and tied with a strong
cord. The package showed considerable wear, as if it had been
carried in this manner for some
length of time. Brown laid it
on the table and, pulling up a
chair, sat for some time quietly
smoking and gazing at the package,   which   he   felt   would   un-
\ <asm
ravel at least, the identity of
the man at the camp, who had,
by his daring and strength, saved his life. Something about the
act which he was about to do
was repugnant to him. He knew
that he was betraying a trust
and that he had no right to
open or examine into the secrets
contained within the small package which lay before him.
Brown was aToout to do something which he would have denounced in anyone else, and
something which he had never
done before. He felt, however,
that there were extenuating circumstances in this case. The
owner had saved his life, and he
meant to reward him for this.
He should know his identity so
as to be more able to judge what
the nature of the reward should
be.
He felt, from what he knew,
and had been told by the Bridge
Builder, that these papers would
perhaps, throw some light on the
past of Gene Reynold, who held
a position of trust in his employ
and now that she was known to
have some connection with Bob
Morris, a ri\an Brown would not
trust, he felt he should know
something of her past and what
part Morris was playing in his
present   adventure.
And again, he knew the Bridge
Builder to be a man of more
than ordinary ability, though
perhaps a cold, shrewd judge of
human nature and affairs. He
had   always   done,   or   caused  to
«/ 7
be done, as far as his ability allowed, those things which he believed to be right and just, regardless  of influence.
Brown and the Bridge Builder
were, and had been, fast friends
since their first meeting, the dyn
amic force of the latter, compelling respect from all, and especially such men as Brown, who
loved justice above all else. The
Bridge Builder was now in a
position to be injured by virtue
of his love for this girl, and for
this reason more than any other,
Brown determined to aid his
friend   by     whatever     evidence
■*/
there might be gleaned from the
papers  before  him.
More than an hour elapsed
during which time Brown had
sat almost motionless except for
the occasional gesture of the
hand in removing his cigar from
his lips or replacing the same.
Finally, he reached for the package and quickly undid the
wrappings.
A dozen or more letters were
in the bundle, the one on top
addressed "John Brown," with
the familiar post-mark of his
home in England and the hand
writing was that of—"Mother."
Brown knew the handwriting
and with trembling hands opened
the envelope and sat motionless,
staring at the contents.
Gene Reynolds, after leaving
the main thoroughfare, struck
off across country aimlessly. She
was verging on a complete nervous breakdown. For the last
few days, or ever since her discovery of the present whereabouts of Happy, she had not
had a moment's peace.. She was
continually censuring herself for
the part she had played against
Happy, and for her unwise acceptance of a compact with Bob
Morris, whom she loathed, to unduly influence the Bridge Builder. It was a beautiful, warm
evening—one of those long, summer, twilight evenings for which
the   Nechaco   was   famous   and
33 all unconsciously, her horse had
taken a trail leading directly toward Bob Morris' cabin and the
Bridge   Builder's   camp.      Gene
loved her saddle horse and, while
riding  through  the  tall  peavine
and vetch almost waist high, she
allowed   her   horse   the   freedom
of his  head,  that  he  might   eat
his   fill   of   the   nutritious   wild
grasses that grow there so abundantly.     The    horse    wandered
about in the tall grass, until finally he stopped at the bank of
a beautiful, clear brook.    Everything was quiet, even the birds
that sang so sweetly all the long,
summer   day   had   hushed   their
notes until the sun of the coming
morning  would    awaken    them.
Gene slipped from her horse and
allowed him to wander at will,
as  he   enjoyed  the   fresh,   green
grass  all  about.    Two  hours  or
more later, Gene jumped to her
feet   from   a   sound   sleep.     The
crack   of   a   rifle   had   brought
her to  her  feet instantly.    Her
horse  was  not  in  sight—it  had
grown dark and now she  could
distinctly   hear   the   beating   of
running   horses,   and   a   moment
later, another sharp report rang
out   on   the   midnight    air — a
heavy   thud   was   heard   in   the
distance, and then all was deathly still.    Gene was beside herself
with   fear.     She   had   lost   the
trail and did not know in what
direction to go.    She started to
run along the shore line of the
small lake, stumbled over a log
got up and turned directly into
the underbrush, where she scrambled on until out of breath, she
fell   breathless,     scratched    and
bleeding,—her    hair    dishevelled
and   part   of   her   clothes   torn
from   her   body,   into   the   road
leading to and not far from the
Bridge Builder's camp.
Another moment a bullet
whistled passed her ears, she
dropped behind a stump and
screamed for help at the top of
her voice.
"Stand in the open and hold
up   your   hands !''
The command came in the
slow, cold voice of the Bridge
Builder. Gene obeyed, and as
the large form of the Bridge
Builder came near enough for
her to recognize him, she swooned and dropped unconscious to
the ground.
When Gene came to her senses
she found herself lying upon a
cot in one of the Companies log
cabins, generally used for the
housing of construction supplies.
The room was practically empty
except for a large coil of rope
and a few kegs of nails. A cot
had been brought in for her use
and a lighted lantern hung at
the far end of the room, which
gave   off   a   dull,   sickly   light.
Gene got up from the cot on
which she had been placed in
an unconscious condition, her
body was chilled from the cold
night air and sore from many
bruises. Her clothes were torn
and dusty, her hat was gone and
altogether, Gene Reynolds was
about as miserable as a human
being could possibly be, and
looked as if she had aged years.
Gene walked to the window
of the cabin. She knew it was
late and much to her surprise,
she saw groups of men standing
about, evidently in earnest conversation and occasionally she
could see them point in her direction. She now recalled her experiences early in the evening
and the command from the
Bridge   Builder.     Of   a   sudden,
34 a great fear seized her and she
shook from head to foot, rushing to the door, which to her
horror she found locked. She
screamed for help and beat with
both her hands upon the door.
After a moment she stood still,
her fear still growing. She was
deathly pale, her breath came
and went in quick succession and
she was afraid of her very self.
Suddenly she realized that the
camp was aroused and some one
was unlocking the door. She
heard the padlock spring open
and the iron bar, that held the
door, drop and as the door swung
open, she rushed out, only to
fall into the arms of the Bridge
Builder, who forced her back
into the cabin, closely followed
by Will Brown. Now voices
could be heard all about the cabin, and, as the Bridge Builder
pushed Gene back upon the cot
where she had been lying, Will
Brown rushed at her and it was
with considerable difficulty that
the Bridge Builder held him
from doing some bodily harm to
her.
Will Brown was acting more
like a crazy man than anything
else. The Bridge Builder was
doing his duty as he saw it. He
had taken Gene into custody as
was his duty as a provincial officer, believing she had committed a crime, and regardless of his
love for the girl.
He would have treated her in
the same manner, had she been
his sister. With him, relation or
friendship ceased when an acknowledgement of same interfered with justice, but on the
other htod, no one in his custody could be abused even by
those   whom   they   had   injured.
Will Brown, as a usual thing,
35
did not show any temper, but
when he did he was feared by
all who knew him best. He had
learned from the papers in his
possession that Happy was his
brother, and he believed that
Gene Reynolds had made a desperate and perhaps successful
attempt on his brother's life.
They had what they honestly believed conclusive evidence to
warrant this belief, and Will
Brown would have strangled
Gene in his present excitement.
The Bridge Builder was a
much more powerful man than
Brown and threw him hard
against the back wall of the cabin and warned him not to attempt to do any bodily injury
to the prisoner.
"Mr. Carver, will you please
explain to me what all this
means? Has everyone gone
crazy ?''
"Miss Reynolds, 1 am dreadfully sorry for you and I almost
hate myself for the part I am
compelled to play in this affair.
Personally, I had rather that
you had made a clean job of
Happy and got away for good
and all.''
"My God," Gene breathed,
"Happy is not hurt? No! No!
Tell me, no one has * killed Happy*" t
Gene rushed toward the Bridge
Builder, who held her at arms
length by placing his big hands
firmly on her shoulders and looking straight into her eyes.
"Miss Reynolds, I am.not your
legal adviser. Please do not
talk, lest something you might
say may work to your disadvantage. Whatever is the cause of
your action, I, at least, believe
you had good reasons to do what
you did.    No woman kills or at- tempts to kill a man without
good cause."
"You have no right to say that
Carver. You and I have been
friends for a long time. You
know that Happy was nearly
killed by this woman and you
also know that Happy is my
brother."
The last remark completely
dazed Gene. She stepped backwards and sat heavily upon the
couch, then looked first at one
and then the other. Both men
were watching her closely and
at the same time exchanged
puzzled glances. She did not act
guilty and the fact that she was
being held accused of the crime
did not seem to interest her half
as much as Happy's condition
and the fact that he was Will
Brown's brother.
Her first question, after she
had recovered her composure,
was even more perplexing to the
men.
"How do you know this, Mr.
Brown?" she said. "I am so
glad for his sake. He always
said he had a good brother some
where in the world."
"Why did you try to kill
him?" thundered Brown, as he
advanced toward her.
Gene was so afraid of Will
Brown that she could scarcely
make any reply. She shrank
from him as she said.
"I—I—don't deny it."
"Happy was found in his tent
with a knife wound in his neck,"
explained Brown, "the knife is
one you could easily get or
have in your possession, and was
found near the body, together
with your whip. You were found
near by in your present condition, after your horse had been
shot by Bob Morris, whom you
eluded and was afterwards captured by Mr. Carver. We have
Morris' complete story of how
he saw you leave the camp. Morris is positive and we have all
the evidence necessary, so don't
think you will escape."
"Bob Morris killed my horse,
did he, and he says I tried to kill
Happy, did he—" broke in Gene
in a low hard tone.
"Please do not answer or talk
of the matter for the present."
Gene got up, walked to the
window and looked out over the
fields. Daylight was breaking
forth and some of the men could
be seen coming from their camps.
In the meantime, both men had
been watching Gene closely.
Suddenly she wheeled around.
"Does Happy say that I tried
to kill him?"
"He has not spoken so far.
The surgeon says he will live and
will be able to talk in a few
hours."
"Has Happy seen Bob Morris?" Gene asked.
"No!" said the Bridge Builder, "I do not think Happy has
ever seen him."
"Then don't mention his name
in Happy's presence until after
the doctor has pronounced him
out of danger from any mental
shock. Remember this, and let
me know at once when Happy is
able to talk—and now, please
leave me alone."
Both men left the cabin, and
as they did so, Gene said to the
Bridge   Builder:
"Please do not lock the door.
Place a guard to watch me if
you will, but you have my word
that I will not leave until the
guilty one is brought to a con-
iession.
The Bridge Builder looked first
36 at Brown, and then at Gene.
"Take a chance," said Brown,
''she cannot get away and somehow, although she has not denied the act, I feel differently
about her now than I did."
Consequently, Gene was left
practically free with simply a
watch over her and an admonition not to talk to anyone. The
breakfast bell rang and all hurried in to devour a hearty meal.
The climate of the Fort Fraser
district is conducive of good appetites, and, as the bridge gang
sat eating heartily, Brown and
the Bridge Builder were discussing their impressions of Gene
and the probable cause of her
act. So far, neither man had
thought of the possibility of another committing the crime. Why
did she speak of Bob Morris as
she did? Why did she want us
to keep Bob Morris' name from
Happy, until after he was strong
enough to stand a shock? Why
did Bob Morris kill her horse
and try to kill her also? Both
men jumped to their feet with
the same impression at the same
time. At the door, an Indian
sat motionless. He was waiting
for his breakfast and watching
the cabin in which Gene was
held.
"Get your horse and mine
quick.    I want you to  go with
me.
? ?
The Indian knew that something had happened and in a
moment he was back riding his
own horse and leading the Bridge
Builder's. The latter jumped
into the saddle motioning the
Indian ! to follow. The cook
came to the door and thrust a
bag of meat and bread into the
Indian's hand.
As the two started off, Brown
said:
"I will look after the girl until you return with Morris."
Down the road the two went
at a keen gallop, rounding the
small grove of poplars and off
across the valley a short distance
to where Bob Morris' cabin stood.
The Bridge Builder was the
first to reach the cabin. He dismounted and rapped on the door,
but no one answered, nor was
there any sign of life. By this
time the Indian had come up
and said to the Bridge Builder:
"Morris gone. He go early
this morning."
^Gone where?" demanded the
Bridge Builder.
"I don't know. Indian boy
say he saw him on other side of
river, riding very fast."
The Bridge Builder thought
for a moment, and then threw
his heavy form against the door,
which gave way, almost throwing the Bridge Builder on his
head into the middle of the
room. Inside, everything was in
confusion.. Evidently Morris had
left in a hurry.
After a moment's thought, the
Bridge Builder said to the Indian
"Can you catch Morris?"
\i Yes! Indian catch him
quick. He kill Happy. White
girl no kill Happy. Indian heap
know. I like White girl. Me
bring him back—maybe me bring
him. back dead—maybe not—me
don't know. '
"Take my horse," said the
Bridge Builder, "he is sure and
fast. Here is my gun and some
money. Follow him until you
find him.''
The Indian merely grunted.
He took the gifts as a matter of
course. As he settled down in the fine
new saddle, and on one of the
best pieces of horse flesh ever
raised in the Fort Fraser district, he raced away in the direction of where Morris had last
been seen, with a sober look of
determination   on   his   face.
1 CHAPTER XII.
The Bridge Builder returned to
camp on the Indian's pony and
soon found Will Brown, who was
pacing to and fro outside the
Surgeon's tent, waiting for some
news of Happy's condition. Happy had been stabbed while asleep,
by some one riding into the camp,
who had disappeared before any
one was awakened. The finding
of the riding whip belonging to
Miss Reynolds and a new knife
such as she sold from the stock
under her care in the store and
further, from the* fact that she
was discovered nearby, had fixed
the crime upon her. Happy perhaps could not tell who the assassin was or the motive, and as
he had lost so much blood before
he was found, he had not yet
spoken. The Surgeon however,
had given hope of his recovery
and believed Happy would regain sufficient strength during
the day to talk.
Will Brown could hardly restrain himself. He had not spoken
to his brother since his discovery
of Happy's identity and there
were so many things he wanted
to talk to him about. The Bridge
Builder hurriedly explained that
Morris had left, evidently in a
hurry and that the Indian was
on his trail. After some discussion as to the probable trail he
would take, Will Brown sent for
all his farm hands and despatched them in every possible direc-
38
tion to notify the • settlers
throughout the Fort Fraser district to keep a sharp look out for
the man they believed to be connected in some way with the at-
tempt on Happy's life.
The Indian made straight to
the river, where he knew Morris
had crossed, from what he had
learned from the Indian boy
early in the morning. The Nechaco river is deep and has considerable current in most places
and only in certain places is it
safe except for the experienced
horseman to venture across. At
the ford the Indian got off his
horse and examined the hoof
prints of Morris' horse. Fortunately the horse had a large hoof
and new shoes with sharp corks,
thus making the tracks easier to
follow. The river at this point
makes a large bend, some five
miles around, following the north
bank and from Morris' location,
when seen by the Indian boy,
earlier in the day, he had made
the entire distance and was making west or perhaps northwest.
The Indian, by taking a cut
across the narrow neck of land
on-': the south bank, could by
crossing the river at a place
known to be safe only to a few
Indians, shorten the distance
travelled by Morris, several miles,
and he determined on this course,
rather than follow the trail, as
he knew in what direction Morris
had gone. As he raced across
the meadow land, along the south
bank, he passed by the ford
which he wanted to make, and
had gone a mile or more beyond
before he discovered his error.
Riding up to the bank, he got
off his horse and scrambled
through the brush, down to the
water's edge to get his bearings. A little way above the point
where he had reached the water,
he noticed that the clean water
of the Nechaco was a little muddy at the shore line, and walking
a short distance along the shore,
he discovered, quite to his surprise, that some one had come
across the river only a short time
before. His suspicions aroused,
he followed the tracks out onto
dry land and sure enough, it was
fore sundown someone would be
on his trail, and he meant to sell
his life as dearly as possible.
The Indian hurried back to his
horse and took up the trail and
soon discovered that Morris was
traveling south, bearing a little
to the east and going at full
speed. The Indian followed as
fast as possible and made good
time. Being on a better horse
and a better rider, he was cover-
Morris crossed the river at one of its most  dangerous points.
the horse's track he was looking
for. Morris had doubled back
on his trail and crossed the river
at one of its most dangerous
points. This had been done perhaps either from one or two
causes—either a lack of knowledge of the river currents, or
in order to throw off his pursuers, for Morris knew that be-
39
ing the ground faster than any
white man could, no matter how
experienced and Morris was inexperienced. Mile after mile,
the Indian flew on, never loosing
the trail for a moment, except
at small streams which abound in
this district and which Morris
invariably would travel for some
distance    either    up    or    down stream, for the express purpose
of throwing his followers off
his track, at those points the
Indian would loose some time in
againg picking up the trail.
About two o'clock in the afternoon, the Indian came upon
a small Indian village, here
he got the first report on his
prey, for Morris was none other
than a hunted victim of the
Indian's craftiness. Indian Joe,
as he was known, soon learned
that the man he sought had passed only a short time before, and
his horse was very tired and
could scarcely travel. The Indian
asked for something to eat, and
while the meal was being prepared, he unsaddled his horse and
allowed him his freedom to rest
and feed in the tall grass on the
banks of a nearby stream. Indian Joe had sent his horse
over a long distance at a fast
gait, but he knew how to ride
and favor his horse at every opportunity, so that an hour or so
would rest his horse sufficently
to take up the trail again and
make up for lost time, and then
he preferred, if possible, to take
Morris after dark. After he had
rested and eaten heartily of such
food as the Indians have in a
good game land, he started off
after his man. During his stay
with the Indians at the village,
he had told of the attempted
murder and why he was following this man, but none of the Indian had offered to assist him in
the capture, contrary to the general belief that Indians love the
chase and are always looking for
the excitement of the trail, unless they are directly interested,
an episode of this kind does not
interest them. Had Indian Joe
been a white man and had come
40
upon a small village of white
settlers, the whole town would
have turned out to help catch
the culprit, but not so with the
Indian. This is one of the striking differences between the red
man and the white.
The Indian travelled fast all
afternoon, having less difficulty
in following the trail than during the morning, and as darkness
came on, he was well towards
the southeast rim of the Nechaco
valley and was starting into the
foot hills of a high range of
mountains beyond. The country
was much harder now to travel
over, and after a short travel in
the mountains, the Indian was
about ready to stop for the night,
as it was getting too dark to see
the tracks he had followed all
day. No fire had been discovered as yet, which he had confidently counted upon to locate
his prize. The Indian never
thought that Morris would be
careful enough to make his camp
for the night in such a manner
that he could not be easily seen,
but this was just what Morris-
had done. He had selected an
ideal spot for a camp and made
a small fire in a hollow among
the hills in such a manner that
he could discover any one who
might be following him before
they would see him, and this
tact on Morris' part had not been
counted upon by his pursuer.
Morris had eaten his supper
and staked his horse nearby on
some good grass, leaving the saddle on for a quick get-away
should the occasion arise. Morris
was half laying and half leaning*
against a small poplar tree, looking out over the rim of the hill,
over which he had come down
to reach his present hiding place, when suddenly the form of a
horse and rider could be seen in
the dim sky line. He raised his
rifle and took deliberate aim at
the animals head. He knew he
was camped far off the main
travelled road in this district and
any one showing up at that time
of the evening and in that spot
must be after him and he was
taking no chances. At the crack
of the rifle, the Indian's horse
reared up and lunged backward,
the bullet just grazing his neck,
and quick as a flash, Indian Joe
was off and pushed his horse
into a clump of brush, out of
sight. He was so surprised that
he could not tell for the moment
in which direction the shot had
been fired from. The Indian
crawled back to the rim of the
hill and soon discovered the
small fire which Morris had endeavored to extinguish immediately after the shot. Now both
men were alert to the true situation. The Indian lay very quietly for spme time, trying to locate
his man, and after a while he
heard Morris' horse and finally
located about where he was
standing. He figured that Morris would not be far from the
horse although he might be some
distance away. Indian Joe was
Working at a decided disadvantage. He had never seen this
particular spot in dayligt and
did not appreciate its worth as
a hiding . place. Morris knew
that no one could reach him but
from one direction, and he had
only to keep his eye in that direction - to discover his follower,
and again anyone approaching
would probably frighten his
horse, thus giving him .a warning, while on the other hand, the
Indian had to  keep  his  eye  on
41
every direction as he crawled
slowly about in the underbrush.
The small fire was now completely smothered and Indian Joe
made his way cautiously down
into the small ravine. Morris'
horse was a little way above him
and so far, had not noticed his
approach. The horse was tired
after being ridden hard all day,
and was eating away where he
had been tied, and Indian Joe
could hear him plainly as he
moved about in the tall grass.
Suddenly a small flickering light
came from the camp-fire embers.
The blaze only showed for a moment, but sufficiently long for
the Indian's quick eye to locate
Morris standing not far away.
Without hesitation the Indian
pulled on Morris and the shot
being fired in the darkness, proved the Indian's keen judgment
of location and distance, as the
ball took effect in Morris left
shoulder, who fell heavily on the
ground with a loud groan. Instantly the Indian was upon him,
and as he rolled Morris over,
thinking him dead, Morris snatched the Indian's hunting knife,
which the Indian was holding in
his teeth, and before Indian Joe
could prevent it, he had received
a nasty gash in his side. Both
men clinched in a death struggle, but it was a one sided fight.
The Indian was much the stronger and he soon wrenched the
knife from Morris' hand and
pinioned his arms behind his
back and tied them. After attending to the wound in his side
and stopping the flow of blood,
he examined the wound in Morris' shoulder and found that he
was bleeding j internally. The
Indian knew that animals shot in
this manner would sometimes live
j for several days and others would
die in a few hours, so he helped
Morris on to his horse and soon
both men were on their way back
to the Indian village, where a
team could be secured for the
remainder of the trip back to the
bridge camp.
(     |    CHAPTER XIII. §
Soon after the morning meal
the camp cook went to the cabin
where Gene was confined and requested her to come into the cook
tent for breakfast. The cook was
a burly sort of a fellow, accustomed to satisfy the appetites
of the Bridge gang and hardened
to their abuse of his fare. Gene
followed him at a short distance.
As she passed into the large mess
tent, where two long tables were
being cleared of the early meal,
the cook motioned her to a small
table that was usually occupied
by the Surgeon and Bridge
Builder. This table was located
so that the occupant could look
out over the camp, and it just
so happened that Happy's tent
was in her direct line of vision.
Gene sat at the table, munching
away slowly at her breakfast
and watching the men go and
come about the camp, attending
to their usual duties. Her eyes
were riveted on the tent that
held the one man in all the
world, whose life seemed linked
inseparably with hers. She knew
the Surgeon, the Bridge Builder
and Mr. Brown were in the tent.
She had seen them a short time
before go into the tent, and it
seemed they never would come
out. Their long stay in the tent
seemed to harbor ill for Happy.
Gene finally finished her meal
and walked leisurely out into
the   warm   sunshine.     It   was   a
42
beautiful morning—just such an
atmosphere that makes one feel
at peace with oneself and the
whole world. She stood for a
moment, gazing around at the
natural beauties of her surrounding, filling her lungs with the invigorating air, when suddenly
she discerned the man who had
been set to watch her. The
thought chilled Gene, who felt
the sting of accusation keenly.
Passing on, she was soon in front
of Happy's tent, where she hesitated, not knowing just what
course to pursue. Should she go
in or not. As she was debating
this question in her mind, all
three men came out of the tent
and Gene stepped aside as they
passed and started for the tent,
whereupon the Bridge Builder
turned and addressed her in even
a more stern voice than was his
usual custom.
| \ Where are you going ?"
"Its quite evident that I am
going to see Happy," Gene replied.
"I think you had better not
see him—you have caused him
enough suffering, don't you
think?"
Gene was too surprised to answer for a time, and stood staring at the Bridge Builder in
open astonishment. She could
scarcely believe her own eyes nor
her ears. Could she ever have
loved this brute, who at the first
intimation of wrong doing, had
firmly believed her guilty?
Would Happy have treated her
in a like manner under like circumstances ? No! lie would have
given her the benefit of a reasonable doubt, no matter how
conclusive the evidence against
her. As these thoughts passed
through her troubled  mind,  she unconsciously turned her face
towards Happy's tent. The Surgeon noticed the look upon her
face, and thought he could see
in her expression a sincere sorrow for the wounded man.
"She may see the patient,"
said the Surgeon. "He is out of
all danger, but promise me, Miss
Reynolds, you will not do or say
anything that will unnecessarily
arouse him."
At this Gene passed into the
tent, and the men went on out
to the bank of the Nechaco,
where the great steel bridge was
nearing completion. All the men
held their own views as to the
probable cause of the attack. The
Bridge Builder and Brown believed Gene guilty, but that in
some way Bob Morris was at the
bottom of the whole plot to do
away with Happy, while the
Surgeon held to the belief that
Morris, and Morris alone was the
guilty party.
Whene Gene Reynolds entered
Happy's tent, he was sitting, or
rather, half reclining upon his
cot, with a lot of pillows at his
back. Happy had quite recovered from his accident in the
runaway, but he had lost considerable blood from the knife
wound and was a little pale and
weak. Before Happy could get
to his feet, Gene was -ft sitting
down beside him, holding both
his hands in hers, and looking
straight at him, said, "Happy,
you don't believe I tried to kill
you—do   you  Happy ?''
"They have told me what
seems to be sufficient evidence,
but I can't believe you would
do such a thing Gene. On the
other hand, you are the only one
who knew me, and there is your
whip—there is the knife, such as
you sell every day in the store.
Then you were caught trying to
get away after your horse was
shot from under you. I was
stabbed while asleep and have
no idea who would wish to injure me, and yet with all this
evidence against you, I can't
bring myself to believe you
guilty."   . ■ ;|     | H
\ • Thank God! Happy you have
faith in me. I can explain my
presence near the camp last
night. Mr. Carver arrested me
and is still holding me as his
prisoner. He has prejudged me
and has treated me like an ordinary convicted criminal.'
Gene was courageous now that
Happy had expressed a doubt as
to her guilt. She could have
raised all suspicions in a moment
in Happy's mind by telling him
of Bob Morris, but she wanted
to hear Happy say he did not
believe her guilty, before she told
him who she really believed had
attempted his life.
"I had grown very fond of
Mr. Carver, but his action and
his treatment .of me last night
and this morning has made me
hate him, and you know how I
can hate any one. My love and
hate are both strong."
Gene got up from where she
was sitting and backed toward
the door of the tent. Her old
look of defiance had returned to
her, and Happy found himself
admiring her as of old.
"I will soon straighten out
this affair, if you will tell that
brute to leave me^ alone,'' said
Gene.
t c
43
Excuse me, Miss Reynolds,
were you referring to me?" said
the Bridge Builder.
Gene did not waver now, and returned the Bridge Builder's
stare.
"Yes," she replied, "I am not
guilty of this act and I will soon
prove it to you, and after this
you have my very cordial invitation never to speak to me again
except in your official capacity."
This last remark was said in
the bitterest of sarcasm and cut
the Bridge Builder, who had returned to ask Happy some unimportant question, thinking
Gene had gone.
"I am only doing, my duty
Miss   Reynolds,"   he   said.
"You are at liberty to do so,"
replied Gene, "but you might as
well know now that all the love
I might have had for you has
turned to hate."
A deathly silence followed this
remark, during which time Gene
and the Bridge Builder looked
straight at one another as the
blood came and went in his face,
to flush and pale in turn, as
Gene continued in her cold, sarcastic tone.
"I am lucky not to have given
my hand to a man who would
not at least attempt to protect
me even though I were guilty.
The kind of man I shall marry is
one who will fight for me to the
last ditch. That is the school I
have been trained in—where
friends are friends—where a
friend is not tried and found
guilty before they have at least
an opportunity to defend themselves. You with your proffered
love would have hung me without
further question for a crime
which I am as innocent of as you
are
> >
As the Bridge Builder left the
tent, she followed him, and once
away from Happy's hearing, she
44
said. "Find the man who shot
my horse and you will find the
man who tried to kill Happy.'
"I knew you and he were
friends," said the Bridge Builder, but Gene interrupted, "I
beg your pardon—acquaintances
only.''
"I followed you the night you
went to his cabin."
"You were spying upon me,"
Gene fairly screamed, and before the Bridge Builder could
explain, she had turned upon her
heels and made straight toward
Will Brown, who was coming up
the trail from the Bridge.
CHAPTER XIV.
During all the afternoon and
evening Gene made frequent visits to Happy's tent to make him
as comfortable as possible and
insisted, much to the disgust of
the camp cook, on preparing
Happy's meals and at the same
time, she was keeping close-
watch on the men that were
coming in from almost every direction, to report to either Mr.
Brown or the Bridge Builder
the progress of the man hunt.
Late in the evening an Indian
came in with the information
that Indian Joe was on the trail
and would, no doubt, overtake
the fugitive before morning.
Gene gave a sigh of relief at
this information, as she knew
Indian Joe, and she knew he did
not like Morris for some injury
he had done to the Indian a few
months back. The Bridge Builder, after his encounter with Gene,
had given up all hopes of renewing their friendship, and had
gone sullenly off to drive his
men with renewed vigor. The
Brown   brothers   sat   talking   of home and their life's experiences
until far into the night, and
Gene had waited in her cabin
until she knew Happy should
have some rest, when she entered
the tent and insisted on breaking
up the long conference. Will
Brown and Gene made Happy as
comfortable as possible for the
night, and as she started to leave
the tent, Happy caught her hand.
Gene's face flushed as she turned
a bashful look towards Will
Brown, who had noticed the act.
"Good night, Gene."
i {Good night, Happy,'' she
said.
With a thrill from a hand
pressure that only lovers know,
Gene left the tent to spend a
restless night in the miserable
cabin assigned to her. Will
Brown walked slowly from the
tent to his own sleeping tent,
much too puzzled to even hazard
a guess as to the cause of the
strange happenings. During his
long talk with Happy, he had
learned who Gene was and of
her people and his love for her.
Will Brown at Gene's urgent request, had not mentioned Bob
Morris' name, and he perhaps, of
all persons, could straighten matters out. He was convinced
against his will that Gene was
not guilty and that Bob Morris,
whom he had no fear would ever
get away, was guilty—but why?
No one rested that night. The
Bridge Builder was too much
wrought up over his disagreement with Gene to have any rest
and then again reports were continuously coming from different
sources as to the present whereabouts of Morris. As is usual,
Morris had been seen at a hundred different places at the same
45
time by people who have a greater imagination than horse sense.
Gene was out early in the morning, as soon as any one was able
to be about, and made a searching inquiry from all the men
who had been out on the man
hunt. None of them however,
impressed her like the Indian
story. About noon, the camp was
thrown into another turmoil by
the arrival of Indian Joe and
the much wanted Morris. Morris had been brought into camp
in a farm wagon and was practically unconscious and in a dyeing condition. But for Indian
Jore's judgment and hurry back
to the camp, Morris would never
have lived to tell the truth of his
connection with the attempt upon Happy's life. As soon as he
arrived, the Surgeon gave him a
powerful heart stimulant, which
revived him sufficiently to allow him to tell his story. Morris
knew he was dying. On being
questioned as to who made the
attempt on Happy, he admitted
that he and no one else was
guilty. Somehow all his misdeeds came up before his dying
eyes and he determined to at
least do one honorable act before
his death and free the girl from
any connection with the crime,
no matter how cleverly he had
planned the attack, nor how successful he had been in placing
the blame on her.
After a complete and detailed
written statement had been made,
he waved every one away and
out of the tent into which he had
been carried. All had seen him
except Happy and Gene. As the
crowd filed out, these two stepped in and stood before the cot
upon  which  he  was  lying.    At the sight of him, Happy sprang
at him like a mad man, Gene
screamed and Will Brown and
the Bridge Builder came into the
tent instantly, just in time to prevent Happy from choking out the
last bit of life that yet remained
in him. Gene threw her arms
about Happy and forced him
back. Morris, realizing that
something unusual was transpiring, opened his eyes, only to
see the man he had most abused,
standing before him. He sat upright on the cot, opened his
mouth  as if to speak,  his  chin
dropped upon his chest and with
a dry gurgle in his throat, he
dropped heavily back upon the
cot dead. Happy took Gene in
his arms. Her nerves had completely left her for the time,
now that the terrible ordeal was
over and great tears were rolling
down her cheeks, but Happy
kissed them away as she clung to
him. The Bridge Builder and
Happy's brother passed out, followed by Happy, who supported
Gene out into the bracing air of
the great Nechaco, where she
soon regained her strength.
p
W
•C
r~
****
THE  END   f
Mi
WfU^
46
Y  LINGUISTIC PRESS 
VANCOUVER, B. C.  

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