Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Nan and other pioneer women of the West. Illustrated Herring, Frances E. 1913

Item Metadata

Download

Media
bcbooks-1.0343199.pdf
Metadata
JSON: bcbooks-1.0343199.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0343199-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0343199-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0343199-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0343199-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0343199-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0343199-source.json
Full Text
bcbooks-1.0343199-fulltext.txt
Citation
bcbooks-1.0343199.ris

Full Text

Array     NAN
AND OTHER PIONEER WOMEN OF
THE   WEST.   FRANCES   E.   HERRING NRN
And Other Pioneer Women
of the West
FRANCES   E.   HERRING
ILLUSTRATED
LONDON:
FRANCIS   GRIFFITHS
34,   MAIDEN    LANE,    STRAND,    W.C.
I9I3 /ss, s7f
PX 9* THE   AUTHOR'S    PREFACE
It must not for a moment be supposed that the British
Columbia life from which my sketches are drawn, is the
life of to-day. These sketches date back forty and even
fifty years, and are the result of many reminiscences of
which careful note has been kept by the writer for at
least thirty years.
The episodes recorded are grave, gay, or tragic. In
a new country as in a savage one, the burden and heat
of the day falls, as a rule, more heavily on the ' weaker
vessel.'
In this period of the emancipation of our sex, from
the over-thraldom of men, and the recognition of our
rightful place in the economy, not only of the household
hut of the national life, it will surprise some of our
younger sisters to look back upon the pioneer life of a
comparatively new country, as is this ' Last West' of
ours, and see for themselves the snares which beset the
footsteps of our men when they lack the restraining force
of the 'Motherhood of Women.'
March 3rd, 1912.
J  INDEX
Nan,—A Tale of crossing the Plains to California in
the  rush  of  '49   - 9
The Convent Girls :
1. Ellen Jane—Quick courtship and marriage in
the mining days of Cariboo        -       - - 46
2. Ischbel—A Wife,  faithful and  true    - - 52
3. Marthe Ann—The pet of the Convent - 59
The Twins—Girls on a Cattle Range - - - 72
Marguerite—A Tale of Woe - - - - 86
Nancy Butter—Innocence from the Backwoods - 97
Pretty Mrs. Weldon—A tender-foot in a Crown
Colony        ___._-- 107
Miss   Phcebe's   Courtship—Fun   in   the  Pioneer
West 128
Biddy Asthore—A Crank from j Ould Sod "      - 144
Widow Le Brun—A Tale of the Mountains -       - 156 LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Frances  E.  Herring -       -     (Frontispiece)
2. Cheam Mountain (Nan)    -       -       -       - 16
3. The Wide and Beautiful Fraser   -       - 19
4. Tryphosy's Cabin     ----- 20
5. Nan's Grave      ------ 45
6. The Canon (Ellen Jane)    -       -       -       - 47
7. The Deserted Street (Ischbel)       -       - 54
8. Snow-clad Mountain Tops (Marthe Ann) - 70
9. Early Morning (The Twins) 80
10. Indian Cowboy and Pony (The Twins)     - 85
11. The Ford (Nancy Butter) 97
12. Twin Sister Rocks (Pretty Mrs. Weldon) 120
13. Logging Camp (Biddy Asthore)   -       -       - 144
14. The Little Mining Town (Widow Le Brun) 158
15. Wild Mountain Road „       „       „ 159 NAN
fl
A TALE OF GROSSING THE PLAINS
TO
CALIFORNIA IN
RUSH OF '49
THE
CHAPTER   I
Among the nondescript element that lent itself readily to
the reckless stampede for the California Gold Fields, was
a family named Lickmore. Luke, the father, Tryphosa,
the mother, with Polly and Nan, their hopeful progeny.
No one seemed to know whence this family came, or how
they travelled, only that they had joined a western bound
caravan, somewhere on the great plains. Trailing into
camp one night after sunset, without asking anyone's leave,
they out-spanned and cooked their evening meal. Next
morning their ox cart fell into line behind the more pretentious bullock wagons, (prairie schooners), with their white
covers, and the mule teams. The strangers evidently
wished to cast in their lot with the rest, and with them
brave the dangers of the unknown trail, a country swarming with hostile Indians, and all the uncertain elements of
nature. io NAN
Tryphosa, or as her husband called her Try-phosy, with
a long accent on the first syllable and a pause after it, had
a sharp tongue of her own, but she had learned in the school
of adversity that ' silence is golden.' Like the cat, watching her opportunity, that comes quietly in and takes the
warmest corner by the fireside, without disturbing anyone,
she is allowed to remain because unnoticed; whilst the dog,
which snarls for his place, is promptly driven out; so Mrs.
Lickmor worked her way, dragging her good natured but
helpless husband in with her.
Several companies of men had joined this same caravan,
but, finding it over-burdened with women and children,
they had left what provisions they could spare from their
own outfits and hastened on, some of them falling into the
hands of marauding savages, as relics they came across
showed; others passing carelessly on to the diggings, and
different fates; while this hen-and-chicken-gang, as they
were dubbed, went scatheless. They raised their voices
night and morning in prayer, praise, and exhortation, under
their leader, the sound travelling far and near, but never
a Redskin did they see. In these services the Lickmores
joined, Try-phosy from policy, Luke because he loved the
music, and the little girls because their mother took them.
This being the only instruction, religious or secular, they
had ever known or ever did know, the girls, especially Nan,
looked back upon it in after life, and still marvelled at the
power of these people to sing lustily, talk long and loudly,
and pray without ceasing.    Thus they journeyed.
Their leader was a good man, and an upright, but he had
never been over the trail before, and was indulgent with
his flock. A day in camp was allowed when a little soul
arrived among them, to give the mother a chance before
she travelled on again in her bullock-wagon-home.    Or he NAN
camped an hour or two ahead of time to give some unfortunate member of the party, who had succumbed to the
hardships of the weary way, decent burial, with prayers,
psalms, and exhortations over the remains, so soon to be left
in their lonely grave.
Few horses or mules remained with them, and the man
who had been hired as guide, sneaked off one night with
the owners of those remaining, and left the caravan to its
fate. He had frequently warned the leader of the risk
he ran of being caught in the mountains by the winter
storms, if they did not make better progress. The bullock
wagons were slow enough without these delays.
But time was no object, they argued, so long as the
' grub ' held out; and they dawdled on their sunny way,
killing their oxen for meat as their dunnage grew lighter,
feeling that the summer never would pass, and that they
were journeying not only to ' a land flowing with milk and
honey,' as their leader daily reminded them, but to a country
where gold could be picked up without the trouble of
working for it. So they took things easy, careless of the
mountain difficulties which lay between them and their
' land of Canaan.'
The mountains had looked so beautiful in the distance,
furnishing many a poetical allusion to their leader, that
the party had no apprehensions as they commenced the
upward trail, but with fewer oxen they found it necessary to throw away everything that could be spared from
their outfit, and the ascent became slower and more
arduous every day, till one morning the camp awoke to
find itself buried in snow, and the storm still sweeping
around in dark and blinding eddies.
Several of the more hardy advised to push on, but those
who knew anything of mountain  travel  refused point- II
12 NAN
blank, for as yet the summit had not been reached. Those
who were strong enough followed the daring few, and
were soon lost to view in the snow clouds.
The leader counselled that they try to find a cave large
enough to shelter them and their animals, and that they
make themselves as comfortable as possible till the storm
had passed, saying in conclusion, that a week or ten days'
rest would do none of them any harm, he thought, except
it might be the animals; and for them their owners must
'get out and hustle.'
One of their number had noticed such a cave, somewhere off the beaten track, and volunteered to find it.
While he was gone camp was struck, and all made
ready for moving, so when he returned with a favourable
report, they eagerly followed him.
They found the cave both large and well sheltered,
and the wanderers soon made themselves at home. Part
of the men and boys attended to the animals, others
brought in and stored the supplies, whilst strong arras
swung heavy axes and brought in fuel.
Soon fires blazed cheerily, bacon frizzled, pan-bread
stood baking over the coals, and the bean-pots of the night
before were put to heat.
Here they enjoyed the rest for one, even two weeks,
but the snow continued to fall, and it was impossible to
get food of any kind for the oxen, so they had to be killed
to save them from dying.
There was natural cold storage to have kept the meat
good for months, but those who owned the cattle ate to
the full, and sold to their neighbours at big prices all they
chose to spare, with neither thought nor care for the future.
The leader, who, as we said before, was a good man,
honest in his convictions, was scarcely a fit person to rule NAN
*3
over others; he lacked the strength of purpose, the firmness of will and the power of initiative, which go to make
die ruler of men. He had prayer meetings both morning
and night, with lengthy exhortations and much singing of
hymns and psalms.
This kept the minds of the people occupied and saved
much bickering and quarrelling, whilst the remainder of
the waking hours was spent by the men in digging themselves out for the wood supply, and by the women in
cooking and gossiping, washing and mending. For some
sixty persons require a great deal of looking after to keep
up the general comfort.
The children of course were happy so long as their
natural protectors were by, and the pinch of hunger as
yet unfelt.
A month passed thus, then the elders began to look at
the weather very gravely, and at the fast diminishing
supplies.
It was agreed to lump all the provisions, and allow
them to be rationed three times a day, then morning and
night, then once a day. But they all clamoured for more
than their proper allowance, and contentment was at an
end as soon as the rations fell below the satisfying point.
The people murmured, threatened and quarrelled, berating their leader for having lingered by the way, and
laying'all disasters at his door.
Many refused to join in the long services, but they
could not help hearing those who did, and thus their minds
were somewhat diverted for the time being from their
calamities.
The weaker members died and were buried away back
in the caves, that being the only unfrozen ground available.
Looking for a burial place, they came across a rippling U)
14 NAN
spring flowing into a self-made basin, thus they were
saved from the ills of snow water.
Then there came the fateful morning when the last
bean was served out, and starvation stared them gauntly
in the face.
For five days they had nothing but water, and they 6at
huddling over the fires, there was little strength to keep up.
More deaths occurred; and as they looked at the
stiffening bodies, the thought occurred to some, ' If they
were only cattle.' Surreptitiously the bodies were taken,
cooked and eaten in the far recesses of the mountain caves.
The leader sat with his head between his hands, feeling
powerless to restrain, but he prayed and exhorted, being
too weak to sing. All to no purpose, when the pangs of
hunger again passed reason, and no one died, they
demanded that one be killed for the day's supply.
Shuddering with horror: for this leader, grotesque as
were some of his methods, had the courage of the old
martyrs, and would have sat with his followers praying
and awaiting release by merciful death, glorying in the
providence that took him and them on a nearer road to
Heaven. He refused to consent, and actually put them off
till next day. Then, insane with hunger, and ignoring
him, they cast lots, and the lot fell upon a woman.
With wolfish, pitiless eyes, they stood by while she was
blindfolded, killed and divided by weight among them.
One of those present (from whom this narrative was
obtained), saw the daughter of the unfortunate woman,
ravenously devouring a part of her mother's heart, and he
'wondered what her feelings must be!'
The leader formed the next repast, he fell forward
while engaged in lonely prayer, and his soul returned to NAN 15
its Maker. Starvation itself could not force him to break
the laws of nature.
For a week longer they subsisted in this ghastly manner,
each one eyeing the other suspiciously, and speculating as
to who would be to-morrow's victim.
Then, as one of the men, almost a skeleton, was weakly
trying to get more fuel, he was hailed by two men in a
sleigh, drawn by a pair of horses.
Getting the strangers to give him something to eat first,
he guided them to the starving community, who, in their
madness or hunger, would surely have eaten them, had
they not been provided with both weapons and supplies.
While one dealt out what they had, the other stood with
a loaded gun, and made the community pass one by one
and receive its small allowance.
The two men drove away with only one horse, leaving
the other for food. It was easy to see the regret with
which they parted from the animal, but to these starvelings,
who had daily been called upon to sacrifice one of their
number for the subsistence of the rest, the slaughter of
the horse was an easy matter, and not even a drop of blood
was allowed to go to waste.
Some days later when mule teams arrived with provisions, they found the unfortunates of the cave, chewing
the hide of the horse, and clamouring for lots to be again
cast So easy is it for poor humanity to descend even
below the level of the ' beasts which perish.'
Those who brought the supplies had taken the precaution to cache the greater part of them at different
places on the way.
Again the rescuers had to stand behind their guns to
keep off the starving crowd, now reduced to some thirty
people, make them take only their own share, and not
1
'. m
16 NAN
steal from each other the necessarily small allowance made.
As they followed their rescuers, though some dropped by
the way and were buried, the insanity of hunger died out
from their wolfish eyes, and they were themselves again.
Their benefactors were a religious body which had
established itself in a neighbouring valley, and thither they
took the survivors of the caravan, but needless to say the
members dispersed as soon as possible, none caring to come
in contact with others of the party who had known of
their fearful experiences. ]
1  CHAPTER   H
Having passed through such scenes of horror, Tryphosa
was scarcely likely to be filled with the milk of human
kindness, and her naturally hard character grew harder
and more grasping.
Now her husband, poor Luke Lickmore, had been born
with an incurable disease. It permeated his bones, went
untiringly through his circulation, and his very flesh was
under its potent sway. He would look up sadly from his
usual occupation of sedulously doing nothing, and say
mournfully, " I corned of a consumpted fambly, and taint
no use'n you goin' on Tryphosy. I was borned 'ith a "
—when Tryphosa would break in with " Yis, yis, I'n got
good cause ter know as yu's borned 'ith a bad enough
disease, an' thet's nothin' but laziness! bone laziness! !
durned laziness!!!" her voice growing shriller at each
repetition of the word " laziness."
Seeing him about to open his mouth she would raise her
hands, and, knowing from experience, that anything it
might contain, from a hot teapot to a bucket of cold water,
would come flying his way if he continued his plaint, he
generally made discretion the better part of valor, and
contented himself by pretending to choke back a cough.
" Durned laziness that's what yu's borned 'ith, an' yer
gels is es bad es yu be."
From the same cause Luke never worked more than a
day in any man's mine or camp, and Tryphosa had to
wash and mend, bake bread and cake for the miners, and 18 NAN
get along as best she could,—but never for a moment
allowing her lord and master to forget that he depended
on her efforts for every mouthful he ate. His dress cost
him nothing, for he was not in any way proud, and would
wear whatever old clothes the miners chose to throw his
way; consequently, though a tall and rather well made
man, he usually looked like a scare-crow.
There had been several stampedes to fresh diggings in
the mountains of Nevada, and the good woman became
tired of following up her work, so she made the best of
her way to 'Frisco only to find herself and her ' fambly'
more out of place than ever.
People were now coming North to British Columbia,
in steamers, barges, sailing vessels, sloops, and even row-
boats and canoes, for they could follow up the coast all
the way, the only danger being that sometimes they went
up the Columbia river, or Puget Sound, instead of the
Fraser river, the latter being then the entrance to the
Cariboo country, where the placer mining had been
struck, this being the mining where any man could stake
his own claim, and wash out the gold for himself, needing
no other machinery than a hand rocker and a shovel.
Tryphosa shipped herself on a good size schooner as
cook, her man as deck hand, and the two little girls were
readily taken by the good-natured captain as super-cargo.
They carried as many passengers as could crowd in, and
lie under tarpaulin on the deck at night
Tryphosa was a happy woman, for her hands were full
of good supplies, and she cooked all day, and would have
kept on all night if necessary. Thus she brought her
' fambly' to Victoria, then called.
Here the Captain decided to go on to Port Douglas,
then the head of navigation for the Cariboo diggings, for IV w NAN 19
to that port he could get eight cents per pound for all the
freight he could stow, and ten dollars per head for each
passenger. He was anxious to keep so thrifty a woman as
Tryphosa on board, and actually went so far as to suggest
" it would be better to chuck that freckless Luke overboard," figuratively, speaking, of course, and " take up
with him," for he was fond of the little girls, and would
make her a good man.
Tryphosa spurned his offer, a'though she continued to
make use of him. She had plans of her own, and ' sending herself to the dogs' was not one of them. She had
married her man before the priest knowing what he was,
and she meant to stand by him, in her own way, of course.
Passing on up the wide and beautiful Fraser, whose
virgin forests of splendid pine and maple reached the water's
edge, she kept a lookout for some deserted cabin, on land
which had been taken up and abandoned, such as she had
heard some of the passengers talking about, who had been
up that way before.
Just such a place she saw a few miles below the mouth
of the Harrison River. Here she made the reluctant
captain put them ashore with her few belongings, and all
the groceries she had brought with her or had confiscated
from the liberal supply on board the sloop. These
consisted of tea and coffee, a sack or two of potatoes, a
little sugar and molasses, a sack of beans, vegetable seeds,
naUs, blankets, and so on.
When Tryphosa reached the cabin, she found four good
walls of logs, but no roof, no floor and no fireplace.
Nothing daunted, she made Luke cut wood to keep a
fire of logs going outside, while she and the girls raised a
couple of blankets for shelter inside.
What mattered it that there was no roof ?    It was May,
1 20 NAN
and all the country was green and fresh, only a little snow
here and there in the thick forest and up the mountain
sides.
Much against his will, Luke had to cross-cut some
fallen cedar trees; 'shake' lengths (4ft), and split them
for roofing.
Nan held one end of the saw, and helped to split the
cedar with an instrument called a ' frou,' while Polly and
her mother constructed a ' Miner's oven,' and baked some
pan-bread over the ashes of the camp fire.
Any one might have noticed when Tryphosa landed,
she had been very particular about the safety of a certain
barrel; this was with a view to her miner's oven, and
many a savory meal she cooked in it.
The usual construction of a miner's oven was in this
way:—You secure good clay and build it up about two
feet high, and four feet square. Wood of equal length is
then laid upon it, and finished with an arch of supple cedar
or vine maples placed close together; this again, is covered
with clay, and plastered neatly over. Then you fire the
wood inside and burn away the arch, which leaves an oven
of clay. You heat the oven by burning wood or sticks
inside till it is sufficiently hot, then you remove the ashes,
and bake whatever you require, and your oven lasts a
long time.
It may be that fresh air, out-door exercise and hunger
furnish a better sauce than one finds in the confines of
civilization, but let any one try a sockeye salmon just
drawn from the Fraser, and baked in one of these ovens,
and he will see for himself how good it is.
Tryphosa, not knowing what wood might be obtainable in a new country, had therefore brought this two
hundred pound sugar barrel along, for with that she had   NAN 2i
been sure of making a good job of her oven, and one of
the ends could be nailed together to form a door, which
.otherwise would have to be cut from some good sized hard
wood tree, and she knew, though Luke would relish what
was cooked, he would grumble at a ' consumpted' man
having to cross-cut an oven door of hard wood.
It was not long before some of the Cheam tribe of
Indians came over to see who was in the white man's cabin.
This greatly delighted Tryphosa, who had no fear of
these people, for she had been brought up near them on
the plains of the United States, being a soldier's daughter;
and Luke, for all his slovenly appearance, had drilled and
marched with the army. It was the fact of his desertion
therefrom, which made them say so little of their antecedents, and at the same time accounted for their sudden
appearance among the ill-fated caravan. Tryphosa knew
better than to truckle to the Indians, she felt safe, too,
for she had taken the precaution to ' cache' or hide, her
provisions.
With such a river flowing by, Tryphosa thought there
ought to be plenty of fish, so she made the Indians understand she was hungry, that she had no canoe, and she
wanted them to go and catch fish for her.
Off they paddled, and up a small stream or slough
running into the main river. There they waited, spear in
hand, for salmon are never taken by hook and line in the
Fraser. The big spring salmon, weighing from forty to
sixty pounds were running, and soon one of these gladdened
the eyes of Tryphosa.
She sent the Squaw to clean the salmon in the river,
and the Buck for fuel. Soon the savages were squatting
on their heels gravely watching the mysteries of a miner's
oyen, and patiently waiting the course of events. 22 NAN
Tryphosa had made a huge tin of tea, that is, she boiled
a small quantity of tea in a large pot of water.
When all was ready, she seated everybody on the ground,
and served each of them with a bountiful supply of fish
on a clean piece of bark. Sweetening her tea plentifully
with molasses, she handed it round in large tin pannicans,
and with copious draughts of this decoction, they washed
down the delicious fish and the soggy bread; the Indians
burning their throats in their eagerness for the sweetened
delicacy.
" Whether you be consumpted, or whether you be not,
Luke Lickmore, you kin allest eat a good square meal,
when it is set afore you," remarked Tryphosa, to her better
half, as a kind of indispensable sauce to the repast.
Wiping the grease of the salmon from his mouth on the
back of his hand, Luke slowly remarked, " It's allest good
when you cook it, Tryphosy." Which compliment so
astonished the good woman, that she forgot what she had
intended to say.
Luke, who could see his way to some help worth having
from the stalwart savage, took him off, and Tryphosa
muttered to herself, " Well, he hes got some sense arter
all," for she caught his idea.
Beckoning the squaw, she followed the men. Ordering
Luke on the roof, she kept the buck splitting shakes, the
girls handing up nails, (which her foresight had provided
from the cargo of the sloop) while she and the squaw kept
Luke supplied with shakes.
That night they had a good tight roof on their cabin, and
next day a chimney, the lower part of stones plastered
together with mud, the upper of green wood, was added.
When others of the tribe paid visits, Luke tried to get
them to help him to dig ground for potatoes, beans and NAN 23
corn, but the noble savages were afflicted with Luke's own
disease, perhaps even to a greater extent, for in those days
they could still make their squaws work for and wait on
them; so he got the squaws to help, and then only by the
bribe of some garment or other from the general stock,
which, needless to say, was small.
Tryphosa went over to the ranch-a-rie, or Indian village,
at the foot of the mountain, and found she could exchange
some of her clothes for chickens and a young sow in pig.
Also that a buxom squaw would give her a young heifer
for the dress.she wore. So Tryphosa promptly closed the
bargain, and returned to her cabin minus her outer garment,
for she knew the mind of woman, especially savage woman,
is apt to change, and this bargain was too good to tamper
with.
Then poor Luke had to dig and delve with Tryphosy
on the spade beside him, and he found it really hard work
to keep up with her, for she was as the Indians called her,
' hyas skookum, tecoup kloothman' (big, strong, white
woman).
Thus they worked for several years, till Tryphosy had
butter, eggs, chickens, vegetables, and sometimes a whole
pig or calf to sell to the steamboats as they passed.
They began to be what they considered, ' very well off,'
especially when you come to think that butter was fifty
or sixty cents per pound, according to the season; eggs,
from fifty cents to a dollar per dozen, and all the other
articles in proportion.
Tryphosa had found that the original squatter had never
proved up on his claim, and so she took advantage of the
fact, counted his improvements in with her own, and
obtained her Crown Grant, perhaps all the easier that she
was a woman, and a comely dame at that. 24
NAN
Here the girls grew in stature and in ign(
Tryphosa's one idea was to hustle everybody, and the girls
never saw the inside of a school or a church, but were
kept incessantly at work, and few beyond the inhabitants
of the ranch-a-rie, knew of their existence.
Some ten miles above them was a cord wood camp, run
by two white men. They cut trees from the forest, floated
them to a rude landing they had made, cross-cut them in
four-foot lengths, split and piled them close to the water's
edge, and here the steamboats put in for their supply of
fuel, as they were all fitted to burn wood, it being before
the discovery of the vast deposits of coal at Nanaimo, on
Vancouver Island.
One of these men, the elder, had taken to himself a
maid of the forest, without banns or license, named Kehala,
Whom he called Kitty, and for some years she had patiently
borne his blows and vagaries of temper, had toiled to raise
potatoes, catch and cure fish and keep together some kind
of a home according to her lights, leaving him the greater
part of his hard-earned money to spend in saloon and
dance-house orgies when he went to town.
The second man was younger, of large stature and great
strength. He had set his mind on a good-looking half-
breed girl, and was doing his best to get her to come and
live with him, as poor Kitty had done with his I pard.'
But Juanita had come under the influence of the Roman
Catholic Mission, which had been established among her
and refused utterly to have anything to do with
him, unless he put upon her finger a plain gold ring, " same
as white woman," she said, and that with the blessing of
her own Mission Priest.
This angered the insolent bully.    On his return from
of these unsuccessful expeditions, he came across Nan NAN
25
Lickmore, hunting her cows through the woods, and
struck up an acquaintance with her.
He drove home the cattle and tried to make himself
agreeable to her mother, but that thrifty personage could
see in that transaction only the loss of Nan's services, and
little profit in a son-in-law like Long Ned. She ordered
him roughly off the premises, and threatened Nan with
vengeance if she dared to meet him anywhere else.
This was unfortunate for the poor girl, because, if she
had had a chance to see more of him, his utter wickedness, and his shameless disregard for all the decencies of
life, even as she knew them, would most likely have
disgusted her, for she would have seen him as he was, not
as her inexperienced fancy pictured him.
Her whole being longed for love and sympathy. She
was of a gentle, yielding disposition, as guileless as a fawn,
and therefore an easy prey.
She frequently met Long Ned now, when she was
hunting the cows, and he had several times proposed that
she should come with him and look after his cabin, promising her plenty of new dresses, that she should go to town
whenever she had a mind to, and anything else he thought
likely to tempt a young girl.
One thing Tryphosa had done beside make the girls
work. She had impressed upon them the necessity of
rectitude with regard to themselves, and we have seen her
pass through ' much tribulation,' but with her good name
unsullied. This, she had taught her girls, and Nan had
remained true to herself, and would only consent to go
with Ned upon condition, that they went first to town,
and got a ' passon' to marry them.
Town was a city of wonders to this shy girl of nature.
She had only been there twice with her mother, and its
^1
I
I 26 NAN
few wooden stores were like enchanted palaces to her:
she had never thought so many fine clothes, and such
imposing supplies of groceries, hardware, boots and shoes,
crockery and so on, were to be found in the world.
The girl's clear skin, blue eyes and auburn hair, which
hung fluffily about her face, received many an admiring
glance on the second visit, and thrifty Tryphosa determined
to "keep her away from that," for Nan was her best
worker, Polly being as lazy as her father, who had now the
real excuse of rheumatism, which he had contracted by
lying down on the damp earth and going to sleep when
sent after the cows, so as not to be on hand for any
' chores' before milking time.
Tryphosa would say to him, " Yous aint consumpted
wuth a cent, Luke Lickmore. Ef yu hed, I cud a gotten
a better man, an' now yu hev ben an' got the rheumatis,
an' I guess yer mean ter hang on, whether ur no."
The cabin had been enlarged by the addition of two
shake rooms, one on either side; they had board floors now
instead of earth, and an iron cook stove stood in the original
cabin, which was parlor, dining-room, and kitchen. Here
were brought a sickly calf, a neglected pigling, or an early
brood of chickens, so the place had an odour all its own,
but it was home, and Tryphosa was content, for had she
not succeeded?    What more does any one want?
Some klis-klis, or Indian mats, made from the dried
tooley, a kind of rush, which grows in swampy places, were
on the floor. These the squaws usually wove in squares
of different sizes, the main portion being in the natural
colour of dry straw, with bars and borders of brown strips
of smooth cedar-bark.
The rough cedar table was covered with an oil cloth.
There were two rocking chairs of wood, several smaller
« NAN 27
chairs, shelves upon the walls, on which were arranged
cups, plates, and dishes of earthenware, with which the
battered tin had been replaced, curtains and flowers in the
one window, and a cheerful fire, showing through the open
front of the cook stove, which shed a general air of comfort over all
Tryphosa's mornings were busy in making butter, dressing turkeys, chickens or ducks for the steamboat; her
afternoons in sewing, patching and knitting, or by way of
pleasure, she allowed herself time for sewing carpet rags
and ' hooking' these laboriously into mats and rugs.
Long Ned had met Nan a few days before, and set a
limit to his time of probation. Nan must leave her cabin
home and go with him to the ' passon,' or he would take
Juanita to the priest.
The day had arrived, but Nan was still undecided. One
kind word from her mother would have been enough, but
it had been drive, drive, drive, since daylight that morning,
and the girl was weary and heartsick.
" Nan set that theer bread. Run, Nan, hookey's in them
cabbages. Ef on'y yer pare'd stir his stumps and nail up
that fence. Nan dig täters fer dinner. Nan start on thet
theer wash.    Wheer is thet good-fur-nothin' Polly?"
Never a word of approval, nay even a continued dissatisfaction with her efforts. Some flour was spilt as she
kneaded the bread. She used too much soap and too little
water for the wash. She had picked on the smallest
'täters' to dig, and so on, while Polly, after chopping
some wood, had made excuse to go and hunt a stray pig
or two, which she knew were in the barn, and was herself taking things easy on the sunny side of that structure.
Dinner over, and the precious cups, saucers, and plates
of thick white ware washed and returned to their shelves, I
28 NAN
Polly and her father had gone to cut wood at their leisure,
and Nan had put together her best clothes, wondering to
herself if she would go with Ned if he came for her, sometimes longing for him to come, then hoping he would stay   •
away and take the half-breed girl.
Now it was " Nan! Nan! Them cows be waitin' in
the barn. They'll jest be most eat up 'ith the meskeeters.
What kin the gel be a doin'? Fixin' up some of her clos,
I guess. She's dead stuck on thet theer Long Ned, but
he's no good, no good."
Mrs. Lickmore got up from her carpet rags, and went
to the girls' room. " Yes. I jest thought so. Fixing'
up, aint yer goin' tu milk tuday? Yer father fetched
them cows inter the barn half an hour or more sence, an'
they'll be most tu wild ter milk, 'ith them theer skeeters
an' flies."
g Mare," said the girl, as she turned her pretty, youthful face pleadingly to her mother, " Do you ever think
anything of us gels 'ceptin' the work we kin git through?"
Without heeding look or tone, with only the milkin' on
her mind, the mother replied unfeelingly, " Yer kin bet
I think er yer, when I'ver gotten shews an' clos, an'
wittals to pay fer, an' taint much work as any on yer does
to pay fer it. Ef yer hed'nt got me ter look arter things
yer'd starve, thet yer would, an' I don't know es the
world'ed be much the wuss off ef yer did."
These outbreaks were not at all unusual on the part of
Tryphosa, but Nan's pretty blue eyes hardened as she took
up an old jacket and put it on over the cheap, clean cotton
dress she wore. Her auburn hair lay in curls on her forehead, hidden by an old hat of Jier father's.
"You be'nt goin' inter the barn wi' them best boots on,
be yer?    An' yer be comin' right back arter the milkin'?" NAN
29
asked Tryphosa, suspiciously.
"Wheer else shud I be goin'?" asked the girl, tears of
defiance now in her eyes.
" Oh, I dunno, yuse fixui' up so much, I 'lowed you
might be goin' off tu suthin' or other wi' that feller they
call Long Ned; an' ef yer du, don't yu be acomin' round
heer no more, thet's all; for yu'll be no gel o' mine ef yer
du, mind thet now. Jest let me ketch him anywheres
round heer, thet'sf all. He's arter no good, an' I tell
yer so."
She shook her fist in the girl's face, and went off satisfied that she had done her duty, and warned her daughter.
At the same time, Nan knew that the die once cast, and
her lot thrown in with Ned, that, as she expressed it, her
mother would " have no more use for her." " I shant
'disgrace yer, Mare, niver you fear," called out the girl.
Then she hurriedly put out her best boots, hat and
jacket through the one pane of glass, which served as a
window in the girls' room, and passed out with a great
show of dirty boots, and clatter of milk buckets. The
mother, for all the hard experiences of her life, must have
had a soft place left in her composition, for she sighed as
she looked after her and repeated, " Niver disgrace me,
I aint 'feared o' thet, but I be afeard yu'd git hard usage
'ith thet great hulks of a feller, thet's all my gel. All the
same, ef yer go, yer stay."
But the girl passed on to her doom, all unconscious of
this latent kindness, and fully convinced that her mother
was as hard as she seemed.
"Oh, is thet yu, Ned?" and the start the girl gave was
not feigned.
" Skeered to see me, be'nt yer ? Didn't expect me, did
yer?"    Then catching the slim figure in  his arms,  he 30
NAN
I
kissed her repeatedly, a liberty, callous as he was, he had
never dared to take before.
As she struggled unavailingly to free herself, he said,
" Why don't yer yell, call the old woman. She'll soon
turn me out."
" Why couldn't we be married right from hum, like
other people," she found breath enough to say. " I don't
like sneakin' off like this, and Pare away, tu."
" You won't niver want him, when yu've got me.
Come on, I'll take yer fixin's."
" Polly," called Mrs. Lickmore, " what be talkin' 'bout
in the barn? let Nan git thru 'ith her milkin'."
" Hear that ?" he whispered. " The old woman'11
come herself presently, an' then there'll be a rumpus."
Nan stood undecided. She half wished her mother
would come. Ned saw this, he made a dash for the
' fixin's,' picked up the girl and deposited them and her in
a row-boat, jumped in and began to pull up river, under
cover of the overhanging bush.
Nan had been looking wistfully, but fearfully up the
path, and did not at first notice this.
" What be goin' up fer ?" she asked.
"To camp, where else?"
Nan stood up, and seizing the branch of a tree, stopped
the boat.
"Well, what be doin' now?" he asked slyly.
" Goin' back. I aint goin' to no camp, 'cept I go to
passon fust."
"Allright," he returned with assumed carelessness. "It's
all the same to me." Then seeing Nan was not satisfied,
he added, " I thought you might want ter fix up a bit, and
the steamer stops at our place." This the steamboat did
not do on her down trip, and that Nan knew very well. NAN 31
Hé turned the boat, crossed the river which is very wide
here, and rowed down to the point where a steamer was
sure to stop, and Nan turned her attention to her own
personal appearance, and dressed for her wedding, as she
sat in the rickety old boat.
" Long time milkin'," grumbled Tryphosa, as she sat
sewing on her carpet rags, in the shade of the cabin.
Another half hour passed. " She aint brought none in
ifyit, wonder what she's at." Then seeing Polly, she called,
i Go an' see ef Nan aint done milkin' yet, I dunno what's
keepin' her so long."
" I aint a goin' to help her, I'm dead beat out," returned
Polly, as she reluctantly went to the barn. But forgetting
her assumed tiredness, when she reached the barn, and
running back breathless, she panted, " Nan aint theer, an'
no milkin' ben done."
Together they returned. There lay the old hat, they
;,found the worn jacket by the river, with the marks of a
man's footsteps, and a dent in the clay where a boat had
pushed in. They raised their voices and called, " Nan!
Nan!" till river and forest rang with the name. No
answer. Nan was steaming away down river, her heart
sinking, and wishing herself back among the mosquitoes,
milking in the barn.
The passengers seemed to understand the situation.
Women stood away from her, while men plied Ned with
whiskey, and ' chaffed' him coarsely on his matrimonial
venture.
" Ef on'y your Pare was to hum," said Tryphosa, turning to .a broken reed for support, as for once in her life
she felt powerless to act. 32 NAN
" Theer's no boat an' no horse anywheres round heer,"
returned Polly, "an' if theer was, they've got the steamer
fer town more'n an hour ago. I seen her pass when I
was at the p'int."
"Do you think they've gone to town?" questioned the
mother fearfully.
" Niver yu feer, they're gone theer, sure enough. Our
Nan aint the gel to go any wheer's else."
" Did yu's know es they was goin' then ?"
" No, I didn't know, but I 'lowed es much from the
things she said in her sleep. Suthin' 'bout nary a body
carin' 'bout her heer, an' work, work the hull time. Then
tellin' Ned to marry her frum hum like any one else."
" Thet he niver would," exclaimed Tryphosa with
decision.
" No, I 'lowed not, an' thet's why they're gone off like
this."
" Well, she stays off, an' ef yuse go anigh her, yu kin
stay off tu, an' so kin Pare." CHAPTER   m
tnakin' bad bread.    It's
wife an' hev ter cook
Fetch in some water
Nearly a year had passed and Nan had never left the
[lonely cord wood camp by the river, with the big mountain
towering behind, and shutting off the afternoon sun early,
from the soppy low-lying land, between it and the river.
The high water of the spring freshet had carried off her
'chicken house, and she had not been able to replace it,
and Ned would not trouble; that was her business.
" Why don't yer fix up a gardin, an' hev some täters
gjtn' truck growin', like Juanity, an' some o' them other
wimmen.    All yer du fum mornin' till night, is ayther to
| set an' cry, or else spile good flour
a nice thing fer a man tu keep a
bis own grub an' hearn tu.    Here!
an' wood, yer .    Ef I'd on'y hed sense enough tu
marry Juanity, 'stead a lettin' thet loafen half-breed get
her, I'd a ben alright I hed to go to passon wi' yu, an'
thet's all she wanted.    Ef I hedn't a bin fule enough to
^u thet, yu could, a gone home ef they'd a tuk yer, or
any wheers else, an' good riddance tu bad rubbage." She
took up a kettle and dragged herself to the river to fill it,
thinking sadly, " ef he on'y hed a took Juanity, ef he
on'y hed," but she dared not answer him, for it was plain
he had gotten liquor off the passing boat, and was just
far enough gone to be brutal. As she set the kettle on
the rickety old stove, she looked up at him, trembling, for
fear of a kick or a blow, for poor young thing she was
drawing nigh to motherhood, and longed for some woman's 34
NAN
presence, especially her mother. Taking her courage in
both hands, she asked, "Don't yer think, Ned, Mare'd
come, ef yer went an' told her what was the matter, I du
feel powerful bad."
i Yer Mare," he shouted with an oath. | She aint
goin' ter set hit in this shebang. I've hed enough o' one
o' the fambly, I don't want no more on 'em. Ef any
o' them crowd come around, I'll chuck 'em in the river,
an' thet'll be one better'n the old woman, orderin' me
off'n the place like a dawg."
Nan began to cry.
" Yes cry.    It's all yu iver du or iver hev done, sense I
yer come heer.    I haint no patience wi' it all."
He gave her a push as he spoke, which sent her full
length on the floor, over a broken chair. He was astonished
at the effect of his blow, for it must be remembered that
he was very strong, and Nan very weak.
She screamed in mortal agony, for there, lying where
the blow of her husband had sent her, a babe arrived in
this world of calamity.
" What kin I du. Tell me what to du. I didn't mean
to hurt ye like thet."
" Fetch Kitty," she said faintly.
Glad  to have something  to  do,  he  ran  down  to his
partner's shack.    Kitty was sitting in a canoe, away out
in the river, patiently fishing.    Even after she heard him
and comprehended that she was wanted, it took some time I
for her to paddle in.
She returned with him. Nan was lying, very faint and
weak, where she had been left.
Kitty lifted her upon the bunk, gave her some tea
sweetened with coarse sugar, and made her as comfortable
as she could. NAN 35
Nan drank the tea eagerly, and presently feeling somewhat revived, asked, "Kitty, wheer's the baby?"
"Mamalushe  (dead)," said  Kitty,  laconically.
" Let me see it"
The girl mother stroked it tenderly, kissed the lips,
through which the breath of this life had never passed, and
said, He can't hurt you, my poor little feller," appar-
antly relieved to think it was beyond his power.
Kitty went out and buried it.
After lying quiet for awhile, Nan asked again, " Shall
I die, Kitty?"
"Halo!" (no).
" Oh, how I wish I would," she sighed wearily. " 1
be'nt twenty yit by two year, what shall I du? Life is
orful long. Mare was hard on me, or I'd a niver took
up wi' Ned. Polly allest made me du my work an' hearn,
but Pare was good to me, when the others didn't know it."
Kitty nodded comprehendingly, she understood very well
what was said, but like most of her people, would never
speak English if she could help it.
Nan seldom waited for her to answer, but rambled on,
as she had gotten into the way of doing, from being whole
days and weeks alone, with only Kitty to come, in her
bare feet, silently up the muddy path from the river,
often bringing Nan a basket of berries, a string of fish,
or a loaf of her own bread. Sometimes Kitty's bread was
very good, just as it happened; at others, the yeast had gone
bad, and Kitty had taken the chance of making good bread
with bad yeast. The art of making yeast with potatoes
, and hops, being a process which needed careful calculation.
She usually made biscuits with baking powder, thus
saving herself trouble, and being less likely to raise the
ire of her lordly white man.
I ______ J I
36 NAN
Kitty would sit silently around on her heels for hours
at a time, and Nan was very glad to have her.
Occasionally she had a fit of industry on, and would
make a batch of bread, clean up the shack, wash some
clothes, and do other things around. She even suggested
to Nan that she would help her to dig up a patch of
ground to plant potatoes in; but poor Nan seemed to have
no energy for anything. Hope was dead within, and her
young life a burden too heavy to be borne.
This was all very well till Ned came home one day,
the worse for drink, and found his partner, who had come
to look for Kitty, there. A fight ensued, and Ned threw
both Kitty and her man out of the shanty, and gave Nan
a good beating for having them there.
" Nice kind o' company yu keep," he sneered, " don't
yer ?" " I aint got no other," she replied, with her
ragged apron to her eyes. " What decent white woman'd
come wheer sech as yu be?"
" Look out," he growled, and raised his hand to strike
her again. For once, Nan did not flinch, and like the
coward that he was, the blow was stayed.
" I aint fit fer decent folk to come anigh. Look at me!
An' niver another rag to my back, 'ceptin' what I'm got
on."
" Well, heer's some money," and he threw down ungraciously a ten dollar bill, " Go an' git yerself suthin."
Ned earned plenty of money with his cordwood.    The I
steamboats  were  regular  customers  and  good  pay.    He
spent it freely enough in town, on the same unworthy I
objects as his partner did, but he seemed to think that if   .
he kept the shack supplied with tea, sugar and flour, his
duty as provider ended  there.    If Nan wanted anything
more, she could " raise chicken and garden truck," and
supply herself. NAN 37
Nan dragged on a miserable existence for a few months
longer, then another little soul threatened to find its way
into misery.
She could bear her isolated existence no longer, and
without saying anything to Ned, she thought she would
go and see if her mother would not be friends with her,
and come and help her out, or perhaps let Polly come.
She pulled herself to the landing, from which she had
eloped only two years before with Ned.
Any one who had seen her then, would not have
recogised her now. She had sent Kitty to buy her some
boots and a piece of woollen goods, with which she had
made herself a dress. She wore the same hat and jacket
in which she had left
Having moored the boat, and stepped heavily out, she
made her way to the old cabin home.
It was a palace to the place she had left it for. She
went in and sat wearily down on the home-made settee.
A brood of chickens occupied the floor, a weak pigling
grunted comfortably from his straw in an Indian basket
near the brightly burning stove, and she thought to herself, how much better cared for they were than she was.
The general air of comfort went to the poor exile's
heart
" Lord Nan! is thet you, Flowed it were yer ghost
come back," exclaimed Polly as she entered.
" I wish it was my ghost," said Nan sorrowfully, as she
gazed upon the plump, strong girl before her.
" It's good fer yu, as Mare and Pare be gone to town.
She's gone tu get suthin' fer his rheumatis, he kearnt du
nothin' now.
say a good word fer me Polly!    Yu kin see fer yerself,
I'm most dead wi' hard treatment."
]
lOW.
But I wanted ter see 'em so powerful bad.    Kearnt yo
od word fer me Pollv!    Yu kin see fer verself. !
3«
NAN
" I dunno. I hearn her say to Pare, when he wanted
to go an' fetch yer hum, ef yu put fut inside heer she'd
chuck yer in the river, an' be done of yer."
Nan began to cry, partly because her father had pleaded
for her, and partly because of the hopelessness of it all.
Polly continued. " Don't yer know es folks heer been
talkin' 'bout yer an' Kitty's man?"
Nan started up to speak, but Polly would have her say.
" They du be sayin' es how Ned ketched him to your
place, an' most killed yer both. That was when Pare
wanted ter get yer fetched away."
" Oh, Pare is good to me, he allest was. But thet's
nothin fer Ned tu du. Kitty's man on'y come theer fer
her; theer wasn't no harm in thet."
" Well, folks say es theer was, an' thet gels es is in sech
a hurry to git married, an'll run off wi' one feller, aint
perticeller 'bout another. Pare, he stuck up fer yer, but
Mare said es she'd done wi' yer fer good an' all, an' yu
oughter know Pare kearnt say much when Mare sets on,
special now he kearnt du nothin' ef he would."
Nan got up without a word, and went back to her boat,
her husband's camp and her old life. Only now the hope
that her people might some day make up with her, was
gone, and she had hoped, even more than she knew of,
for a reconciliation.
If her mother had only seen her, she must have had
some pity, for we know that there was more kindness in
her composition than she owned up to; but everything
had gone wrong with poor Nan, since her one misguided
step, and she had neither the courage nor the strength to
right herself; she could only suffer dumbly, and await she
knew not what. NAN
39
- Polly, from purely selfish motives, never said that she
(Nan) had been home, for she thought if Nan was allowed
to come home again, there would naturally be less for her,
and she had been out more, had more dress and less work
since Nan went. Tryphosa had had to pay the Indians
or half-breeds to dig plant and sow since her husband had
become helpless, and a hälf-breed boy, whom- she had
adopted, paid dearly for his keep.
But Polly had still another motive. She had now a beau
of her own, who was allowed to visit at the cabin. This
young man brought very ill news of Ned, and spoke slightingly of Nan, for he had an eye to the future, and thought
that a whole farm with Tryphosa's improvements, would
be better than half.
" Wheer hev yu bin?" asked Ned angrily, as Nan came
up from the boat.
" Down to hum."
" An' they turned yer out," he sneered.
" No they didn't. On'y Polly was theer, an' I come
out myself."
"What fer?"
" Polly said I was no good; an' yer know, Ned, what-
iver mistake I made goin' off wi' yu, I niver did no wrong."
" I dunno anything 'bout it Folks'U talk any way,
'specially when a gel is in sech a hurry to git married es
tu run away wi' a feller."
" But it was yu over-persuaded me," she pleaded
piteously, quite astonished that he should take the same
stand as Polly had done.
" Yu didn't tek much persuadin'. Oh, yes, cry; I hate
the sight o' yu, an' yer everlastin' cryin'." Nan turned
and walked deliberately down to the water, intending to
jump into the river, but Kitty met her there and told her 4°
NAN
that her man had gone to town, and she was coming to stay
with her if Ned was not there.
" Never mind him, Kitty, I want yu, I'm sick. Come
an' help me. You're the only one hes bin good to me ";
and to Kitty's astonishment, the girl kissed her.
Ned remembered the last time, and without a word,
went off and left the two women in possession.
Kitty brought in wood and water, made hot tea, and
sat silently round for hours. Before morning a puny mite
of a girl was born, and Nan hugged it to her with all her
little strength, she was so heart-hungry for love.
" Oh, ef yu on'y grow up, I'll be so good tu yer, so
The squaw, squatting on her heels by the stove, shook
her head as she heard these words, for she knew it would,
never grow up. Kitty stayed with Nan till her man came
and fetched her away. Three whole days, the happiest
in Nan's married life.
She lay in weakness, cuddling the almost inanimate babe
to her breast, and drank deep draughts of that mother-
love, which is the deepest and holiest of mortal passions
opening up a world of possibilities to the woman who is
content to rule only through her husband and children.
Women's rights outside that are only a need created
by fallen manhood, which is apt to run to sensuality, and
so to abuse the ' weaker vessel.' When manhood has
learned self-control, there will be no necessity for any
' protection' for women; but, when that time arrives, the
millenium will be at our door.
Kitty, the savage, left everything as handy for Nan as
she could, although she puzzled herself greatly over the
weakness of her white sister.
Had it been herself, she would have gone as she had
_____«:-: NAN 41
done, into forest when her time came, prepared with a
sufficiency of bandages, for the new arrival, and a papoose
basket. Could we have followed her, we would have
seen her rest by a flowing brook or stream; then after she
had washed the papoose in the ice cold water, bandaged
it to the resemblance of a mummy, with nothing movable,
but its large fawn-like eyes, she would strap the stiff little
j figure in its papoose basket, prop it up by some tree, and
throw over it the woollen shawl, which all squaws wear
over their heads and shoulders at any season of the year.
Her only other garment would likely be a short skirt.
Out of this she would step, take a bath herself, resume
the skirt, (and perhaps a kind of loose jacket besides), sling
the papoose basket over her shoulders, keeping it in place
by the prettily woven band of coloured grasses placed
across her forehead, throw the shawl over her own head,
thus enveloping the papoose, and swing back at a jog trot
to her man's shack, in time to prepare his supper.
The only refreshment she would need, might be a
hearty draught of the cold mountain water, and if she
could get it, a pipe of tobacco between her teeth.
But why this tenas recoup klootchman, (little white
young woman), was as helpless as her babe Kitty could
not understand.
Now began Nan's troubles. For two days no one came
near her, and she had to get up and help herself. A fire
was out of the question, she drank a little water, and ate
a small piece of bread, which had been left, but she grew
too weak to rise even for that.
When Ned came home on the third day, she was lying
across the bed, where she had fallen after the last attempt
"Well, you're a lazy varmint, sure!" was his greeting,
" 'stead o' gittin' up an' makin' suthin' tu eat an' drink. 42
NAN
I'm a mind tu jest leave yer theer, till yer du git up."
His words fell upon unhearing ears. Before going
away again, he went over to look at her, there was something in the silence, which struck even his dull sense.
I Looks mighty bad," he said to himself, and taking a
flask from his pocket, he mixed some of its contents in a
cup, and poured it down her throat.
Next day Kitty came, and stayed this time for a week.
Poor Nan brightened up, and could get around with her'
weakly little baby by that time.
She was so cross and puling, Ned said he couldn't stay
where it was. One night he came home in his usual
condition, and as it cried and cried, every time Nan laid
it down, to try and get him some supper, Ned gave it a
smart slap, which almost sent it into convulsions. Nan
caught up the sobbing babe, and running out into the bush,
hid till morning.
Ned thought she had gone down to Kitty's, and went
after her, intending to show his authority; but, when Nan
walked in next morning, saturated by the heavy dew, he
could see she had been in the forest all night.
That day the baby died. Nan always thought it was
from the effects of the blow, but Ned accused her of killing it, by taking it out into the bush.
Which ever way it was, Nan developed a terrible cough,
and wasted almost to a skeleton.
Ned said, " Ef she "wasn't coughin', she was cryin'; an'
ef she wasn't cryin' she was coughin'. So he stayed home
less than ever, and, but for Kitty, Nan would have starved.
" Git up an' git the breakfus yerself this mornin', Nan,"
he said roughly.    " I'm done it offen enough."
" Theer's no wood an' no water," she said, between
coughs, " an' it du rain powerful hard." NAN 43
" Let her rain. You git up. I kearnt git no. rest wi'
thet infernal cough o' yourn, an' I aint goin' ter git up."
Nan went to the river for water, and was wet through
when she returned. Trying to bring in wood she fell
almost fainting.
She dragged herself back again, and laid down on the
bed. " I kearnt do it, Ned," she said piteously, " Ef yer
kill me, I kearnt."
With an oath, he sprang out of bed, saying, " You'll
git yer own, you bet, or else, stay athout."
As he was going out of the door, Nan said feebly, "Send
Kitty to me," but whether he heard or not, he took no
notice, and no Kitty came.
There, alone, in weakness and misery, she lay all day,
unable to help herself.
Towards evening her head began to wander, and when
Kitty came in, she thought it was her father.
The squaw lighted a fire, gave her some tea, made her
as comfortable as circumstances would permit, and then
paddled off at her utmost speed to Nan's old home.
They were sitting down to supper as Kitty noiselessly
opened and closed the door, only making her presence
known by the gust of wind and rain which entered with
her.
Luke looking up saw her first. " Nan!" he exclaimed,
rising as quickly as his rheumatism would permit.
Kitty nodded.
" Papoose ?" asked Tryphosa coolly.
Kitty nodded again, and said with a long, sadly drawn
accent on the word, " Mam-a-lushe" (dead).
"Nan mam-a-lushe?" they all asked with a start.
" By and bye," returned Kitty.    " Papoose mam-a-lushe."
———^— 44 NAN
"Is Nan dyin'?" gasped Luke.
Kitty nodded again.
He got his hat and an old military overcoat, and said
decisively, " Come on, Mare."
" You kin  go back  'ith  Kitty.    I'll  git some  things ',
together.    I dessay she'll git on alright 'ith Kitty.    Polly
an' me'll come arter.    Them young pigs hes got ter come
in   to-night,   or   mebbe   the   sow'll   eat   'em,"   and   she
proceeded leisurely with her supper.
Luke hobbled out into the pouring rain, followed by
Kitty; and in her canoe, they quickly made their way back.
Nan knew him as he entered, and brightened right up.
" Yu'll git better my little gel," he said reassured. But
she shook her head.
" What does the doctor say, my lad," he enquired, turn-fc
ing to Ned, who had come during Kitty's absence.
"Aint had no doctor, Boss," he returned sullenly.
" Best fetch en quick then, lad."
Ned slunk out, wishing he had stayed away; for this
wife of his would ' stick' him for another forty or fifty
dollars.
He paddled down with the swift current to town, went
to a doctor, who was moving into the upper country by
the morning's steamboat, and told something of Nan's case.
The doctor promised to go ashore at the cordwood camp,
if the boat would wait for him, and see what was the
matter with Nan.
Luke made as if he would get up when the doctor
arrived, some half-hour before the end, but she clung to
his twisted fingers, with her poor emaciated hands, and he
sat down again.
The doctor looked her over, and made short work of
his diagnosis. 1 1 wmmmmsm
NAN 45
"Galloping consumption. Nothing can be done. Fifty
dollars."    And he was gone to catch his steamer.
Nan beckoned Kitty to kiss her; clung to her father for
a moment, and became unconscious.
Her mother and Polly came in time to lay her out.
Looking scornfully at Ned, Tryphosa remarked, " I
niver thought a gel o' mine'd live and die in a hole like
this. Well I warned her. I warned her afore it was tu
late."
They carried Nan's light form out and laid it in the
general burying ground of the few white people and many
Indians across the river, with its broken down fence, where
the pigs from a neighbouring ranch disported themselves,
and rooted to their heart's content, giving special attention
to any newly-made grave.
But Nan was resting in peace with her children, who
had gone before, with nothing to come between her and
her mother-love.
Her time of trial had been short and sharp, but she had
lived even beyond her lights.    Her probation was over.
Happy Nan.
-^^ 1 THE  CONVENT  GIRLS
CHAPTER   I
QUICK   COURTSHIP
ELLEN   JANE
TD    MARRIAGE   IN   [
OF  CARIBOO
MINING   DAYS
" Oh Ellen Jane, think what a serious thing getting
married is, and you only sixteen."
" Not half so serious as taking the veil, mind you that.
I know who'll put a stop to that kind of thing. Take the
veil, indeed! and you such a terrible age, too, just eighteen."
She tossed her pretty head, looking up and down the single
street of the mining town, to satisfy herself that she was
being duly observed and admired.
Ischbel blushed and turned away, for already her father
had spoken to her of the doctor.
The girl's mother being an invalid, and a devout Roman
Catholic, quite agreed with her daughter's desire to become
a nun; not so her father, who had set a time, saying, " If
you are unmarried at twenty-one, I will consent, not otherwise. When you are eighteen you must leave the Convent,
come home, and look after your sick mother."
Two men stood talking at a respectful distance. One
was a miner who had just ' come in with his pile.' He
was somewhat stooped in figure, but with the hue of
health on his bronzed cheek, and in the sparkle of his bright
blue eyes. His hair was bleached to a tawny yellow with
the action of the sun and weather, and his years might have
reached thirty-five.   ELLEN   JANE
47
The other was a man somewhat carelessly dressed, but
still with professional air, and few women would pass him
without taking a second look at his grand physique.
The face was that of a man who had ' lived,' and there
were the beginnings of * crows-feet' about the corner of
his eyes, which were darkly gray, black, when anything
roused him either to anger or passion. The dark brown
hair showed a sprinkling of grey.
They watched the girls and talked disjointedly of any-
I thing, just for an excuse to stand there.
The girls parted, and Ellen Jane came towards the men.
SFhrowing a saucy glance at the Doctor, she smiled at his
companion, who stopped in the middle of a word, and
stood gazing after her with open mouth.
She cast a glance over her shoulder as she went, which
completed his subjugation, and without more ado, he left
the Doctor, and sauntered after her.
"All men are fools, and I'm the biggest one of the lot.
A man who has seen what I have, pshaw; and yet I'd
llgnre my head for that sweet little snowflake of a nun;
and I don't think she'd know me again if she saw me.
She took so little notice of me the evening I spent there.
Ah, well, I suppose I shall go again, and get my wings
clipped for a change."
So thought the Doctor as he stood alone upon the sunny
wooden sidewalk.
Cariboo Jim followed Ellen Jane at a distance. She
was walking towards a canon through which the waters
of the mighty Fraser were tumbling, roaring and rushing,
making the rocky chasm moist with spray, and polished
smooth as marble.
Some giant rocks reared their heads in the midst of the
waters as they broke and lashed themselves to fury at the NAN
obstruction, covering them with glistening foam, thrown
high in silver torrents, breaking white against the blackness of the sunless canon.    Here no word could be heard, I
and no living creature appeared, except some Indians who
stood out over the foaming torrent on slender boards of
split cedar, holding out their dip-nets, and waiting for the
salmon which the waters hurled back as the fish struggled
upward.    They made their way slowly, cautiously against
the current, hugging the huge boulders, sometimes passing I
them, more often hurled against their relentless sides, and
sent pell-mell down again.    There they would swim and':'A
gather  strength   again   and  again  until   the   rapids   were
successfully passed.    But most of these fish were ragged I
looking specimens by the time they had reached the spawning grounds in the higher stretches of the Fraser.
Here Ellen Jane stood looking down upon the scene so
familiar to her, then turning suddenly, she gave a little
scream as she found herself face to face with Cariboo Jim.
He took off his hat, apologised profusely, protesting by all
the powers, if any one else had ' scart' her like that, he
would hurl them into the seething waters below, and if
she said so, he would jump in himself, making a movement as if he intended to do it.
Ellen Jane caught him instinctively by the sleeve, and
they were friends at once. But mindful of her Convent
tuition, she drew back and introduced herself, " I am Miss
Ellen Jane Trundle," and as he hesitated, she added,
" Who are you ?"
" Blamed if I know, they've called me Cariboo Jim so
long, I most forget my own name."
So this was Cariboo Jim. She had thought as much,
and cast a sidelong glance at him to see if he was too old
or too ugly,  remembering the remark which had called ELLEN   JANE 49
forth Ischbel's warning upon the sanctity of marriage.
She settled in her own mind that he was alright. She
asked a few commonplace questions about Cariboo and so
on, and they turned and walked back together.
He dragged along more slowly as they neared the family
shack, and finally blurted out, " Can't I come in by and
bye and see you?    In the evenin', I mean."
" I guess you can." Adding demurely, " Pa'll be glad
to see you."
Happy as a sand boy, he sauntered back among his
companions.
Cariboo Jim appeared in the evening with the most
'•expensive gold watch and chain he could get, and other
jewelry for which he had bartered his good gold nuggets.
He told them of how discouraged he and his ' pard' had
become. How the timbers had washed out on them, and
all 'their labor seemed lost.
It was a ' toss-up' as to whether they should resume
work on their own claim, or go to work for some one else.
They decided to sleep over the proposition, and then
resolved to wash all the dirt from the dump box, and wait
for the freshet to subside.
This panned out better than they had expected, and they .
risked going into the wrecked tunnel.
They carried their candles, one took a spade, and one
a mattock, in the forlorn hope of digging themselves out
should a cave-in occur behind them.
Thus they started to explore what they then looked
upon as a forlorn hope. They worked gingerly along,
afraid even to stumble, lest tons of earth should entomb
them.
Stepping over some of the fallen timbers, Cariboo Jim
touched his pick on something shining in the jagged wall.
mmm 50
NAN
The perspiration stood on both their weather-beaten brows,
for it was a nugget as big as a hen's egg, with more back
of it.    In fact a "Pocket."
They waited only long enough to get their breath, for
in the moment of discovery, a sound came from behind
them of falling earth, that fairly made their blood curdle.
Instinctively Cariboo Jim blew out his candle, as they
turned to ascertain the extent of their disaster.
They had very little distance to go before they met the
wall of dirt, and wasting not even a word, they stuck a
candle in the debris, and set to work with pick and shovel.
It seemed hours and hours to them that they were at
work, and the air was getting foul before they heard other
picks at work, and knew their comrades had missed them,
and were now on their trail.
Gradually their own hands relaxed as the air grew
thicker, and their last conscious act was to light the longer
of the two candles, and stick it in intojhe earth, that their
rescuers might see its gleam.
Shortly afterwards a rush of fresh air blew in on them, I
and when a hole big enough had been made to drag them
out, they were soon brought round, and afterwards put in
a merry night with their rescuers.
It appeared they had tunnelled just outside the pay
streak, and walled out the gold with their l laggin.'
Cariboo Jim passed over a handful of nuggets for Ellen
Jane to look at, and when she would have given them back,
told her to put them in her pocket 'to buy candy with.'  .
This she did, and the old folks smiled with pleasure.
Now was his time to make the other offerings; and
these having not only been accepted, but put on by the
dainty little charmer, Cariboo Jim ventured to press his ELLEN   JANE 51
suit, and came away not only an engaged man, but the
wedding day was set for that day week.
Ischbel was bridesmaid, and the Doctor best man, by
Ellen Jane's request.
How happily the two went off on the six-horse mail
stage several weeks later to spend some time in Victoria.
They then took passage on the 'Pacific' for San Francisco
to have more fun, before returning to settle down on a
cattle range, which Cariboo Jim had secured.
Every one knows what became of that ill-fated boat.
The weather was fine, the night calm, and the music
of a gay dance floated over the sparkling waters, when
without sign or warning of any kind, the bottom of the
rotten old hulk dropped out, the machinery and boilers tore
their way into the ocean, exploding as they struck the cold
water, and all that freight of poor humanity, sunk to a
quick and watery grave.
1
 - ~ ' -j CHAPTER   II
ISCHBEL
A  WIFE,   FAITHFUL  AND  TRUE
Such a calamity as the loss of the Pacific brought sorrow
to almost every household in British Columbia. Those
who had no relatives aboard, had friends and acquaintances
on the ill-fated vessel. People who live in the crowded
centres, where alas, such disasters are only too frequent,
can scarcely imagine the effect the loss of this one ship
had upon a white community, isolated as it then was, with
San Francisco nearly a thousand miles to the south, and
the then almost unknown and illimitable spaces of country
stretching north.
Large rewards of money were offered to the coast
Indians for any bodies they might bring in, and they
searched the shores of the north Pacific for the remains
of the victims.
Of those brought in yery few were recognisable. One
beautiful young girl, who was going down to be married,
and make her home in the Sunny South, was identified by
her lovely, long, fair hair, and the curious engagement
ring she wore.
Naturally Dr. McEarchan went to the home of Ischbel
to discuss the sad news of her school friend's untimely
death, and an acquaintance began, Ischbel treating him with
the same distant courtesy she accorded the other visitors,
who came with designs matrimonial.
If she sang or played for a church entertainment the
hall would be crowded.    If she worked a piece of needle- ISCHBEL 53
work, no matter how useless to them, some one of her
admirers would buy it at any price, for there was plenty
of money then, and but few pretty girls to spend it upon.
The distant courtesy accorded other men was not
sufficient to satisfy the Doctor, who, as we have said, was
a very king among men; he resolved to conquer this ' sweet
little nun,' as in his own heart he called her, and was himself subjugated in the effort.
Ischbel still held him at a distance, and it was only when
her father pleaded the Doctor's cause, that she consented
to listen to him if he made the same request, some six or
eight months from then.
In the meantime ' construction gangs' had followed
the quiet course of the Surveyors, and the road bed of the
mighty Canadian Pacific Railway passed through the sleepy
little mountain-locked town; when—what a transformation!
Rents went up, and land which had been used to graze
a cow or two on, could not be bought for love or money
on the erstwhile principal street.
Hotels, stores, saloons and places of amusement sprung
up like a mushroom growth. When it had been C.P.R.
pay day, one had to step over and among men lying like
dogs on the side-walks. They had been in a hurry to
spend all their hard-earned wages, before their minds could
be sufficiently at ease to allow of them returning to their
work. The bar tenders just loaded them on to wheelbarrows, and trundled them out, dumping them on the
side-walks like so much refuse as soon as their money was
gone.
Ischbel's father, among the wiser ones, had sold his land
and made quite a comfortable fortune.
At the end of the six months came the Doctor for his
answer, and Ischbel seemed nothing loath to give it.   They NAN
were married in their own Church, and everything seemed
bright for their future.
Of course there were serious accidents and much sickness of all kinds, and many doctors followed up the iron
trail of the railroad.
Dr. McEarchan had served in the ambulance corps of
the United States Army and was of necessity a man of
great surgical experience.
Wealth rolled in to him.   Ten dollars a consultation, and ,
fabulous prices for operations;  and, as money came easily,
it was freely spent.    In fact he knew little of its value,
and in the Doctor's eyes, nothing was too good for his wife.
One little daughter appeared, and to her father's delight,
she was the image of her mother; a son with the sturdy
frame of his father, and still another.
But evil days were now in store for them. The Doctor,
in going to visit a patient in the mountains, was thrown
from his horse. No bones were broken, but he laid where
he had been thrown for a day and night before anyone
passed that way; and when after some delay a stage was
secured, and he was taken home, it was found he had
sustained some spinal injury, from which he could never
recover, and which confined him to the house. He, however, continued to prescribe and so on; but the rustle and
bustle of railway construction had passed on, and he could
not go with it.
The mushroom town died down to a little wayside
station, with deserted stores and buildings whose delapida-
tion only increased with time.
Finally, the Doctor removed to a coast town, but partial
paralysis set in, and it was pitiful to see the wreck of his
manly form, and the drawn features of his once handsome
face.    The deep grey eyes looked out wistfully from their   ISCHBEL 55
pallid depths, and sometimes he was irritable even with
I Ischbel. Here her true womanliness showed itself, and her
steadfast heart never failed.
Their money was all gone; her father was married again
to an extravagant woman, who thought only of getting all
she could for her own pleasure; but poor Ischbel worked
for her little family, sewed and embroidered for other
people. Those who had frowned upon her in prosperity,
had no helping hand for her now, and sometimes she went
hungry, and the little ones were but scantily fed.
In turning out some old papers Ischbel came across the
deed of a farm which had been given the Doctor some
time in payment of an account. He remembered about it
when he saw the deed, and they resolved to move out to
it. That would at least save house rent and fuel. They
hired a wagon and had themselves and their few household effects taken out to this place.
The Doctor had never seen it. A small house was said
to be upon it, and he took it for granted that this place
would still be in existence, if not in repair.
After hours of jolting in a springless wagon, they
arrived at nearly dark, upon the cheerless domain.
Giant stumps and great blackened tree trunks, bearing
the impress of one of our terrible forest fires, stood out like
phantoms in the twilight
The driver, sorry for his charges, tried to find their house,
but the walls of a shed, some twelve feet square, was all
that rewarded his search.
They covered this place with a carpet and some sheets,
moved in the beds and bedding, and soon the sick man and
the children were made comfortable for the night, and
were all sleeping in blissful unconsciousness.
Not so Ischbel, she sat long by the camp fire, and 56 NAN
pondered over what she could do. It was summer time
and the weather seemed to promise fair, but how long
could they exist like this. Finally, she said her prayers,
commending her loved ones to the Father of All; feeling assured that He who fed the sparrows, would not
leave them without shelter and sustenance. Then she laid
down as she was beside the children, and slept the sleep
of those whose " conscience accuseth them not."
At daylight she heard the driver moving, and went out
to pay and thank him for his kindness; but she found him
busy, axe in hand, splitting a cedar tree. Soon he was
joined by other settlers around, and when the poor Doctor
opened his eyes, it was upon quite a busy scene.
These handymen of the forest soon had enough cedar
split to build an addition to the shack already there, and
in a couple of days all was ready for occupation.
Ischbel timidly approached the driver, telling him how
little money she had, and begging him not to loose any
more time over her and her family.
She offered him the price agreed upon. He looked at
the money and then at the tearful quivering face, saying
abruptly, "Is that all you've got ma'am?"
"Yes," was the reluctant answer.
He turned on his heel and left her without a word.
Ischbel felt this keenly, for without his aid, they would
have been practically homeless. But he was gone before
she could recover herself. She went .to a distance, on
pretence of collecting and picking up wood, so as to get a
quiet cry to herself.
In about two hours the driver returned, and, taking
from his wagon, flour, bacon, tea and sugar, with a sack
of potatoes, and a mat of rice, he deposited them inside the
shack, and was just sneaking off as if he was ashamed of ISCHBEL 57
himself, when Ischbel came in with her arms full of wood.
"What are you doing?" she gasped, catching him by
the hand.
" I aint a good man, Ma'am, by no means, and I aint
fit for sich as you to touch," and he withdrew his hand;
" but I've only got my hosses an' meself ter look arter;
and when I leave them things fer you an' the kids, I aint
robbin' nobody." He scrambled into his wagon and was
gone without another word, and Ischbel prayed every night
that the soul of ' our good driver' might rest in peace.
She didn't even know his name.
They lived for more than a year in the cedar shack,
when the Doctor received some money from an unexpected
quarter, and insisted upon building a more comfortable
dwelling on the land. Ischbel knew it was not wise, as
they were far from schools for the children, but she gave
in, and shortly after her husband died, leaving her with a
baby only a month old.
Ischbel did a little dressmaking for the few settlers, for
which they paid in potatoes, or butter, several chickens,
and so on; but try as she would the stony soil on her
holding would grow nothing.
One day things were becoming desperate, and Ischbel
felt she must work or go mad. She collected the scant
family clothing, placed a wash tub between two chairs and
started to wash as if life depended on her energy and speed.
" Here's the place," said a gruff voice, and a buggy
stopped by the stony roadside, and an elderly gentleman
got out. He thoug't he had spied some children sitting on
a log looking curiously at him, and although his sight was
growing dim, it seemed his own little Ischbel's earnest,
deep set eyes, were watching him. One by one they
dropped  out of sight, and  the old gentleman  turned a 58
NAN
puzzled gaze upon our old friend ' the driver.'
" Look under the log, I guess you'll find 'em there."
Sure enough there they were, but all took flight to the
house and burst in upon Ischbel and her washing.    She was
startled by the shadow in the door way, and looking up
met the eyes of her father, bent kindly upon her.
Engrossed in his own domestic trials, he lost sight of
his daughter, and had only now traced her up.
As he had managed to save something out of the general
wreck of his property, they moved into civilization, where
the children would receive the education they needed, and
the now thrifty Ischbel could help herself and her father.
1% *^t   \
CHAPTER   HI
j
MARTHE   ANN
j
THE   PET  OF   THE  CONVENT
"Yes, Lena, I will go out with you to spend Easter.    I
don't care what Mumma says.    Dad'll be away on the
boat, and I'm just goin' to keep on talkin' and talkin' till
she says I can go."
"'Talkin', Lucy Jane," corrected a softly stepping
Sister, who had entered the Convent schoolroom unobserved
by the girls, who were discussing this Easter visit for about
die fortieth time.
Lucy's mother was a widow with a large family, living
on a ranch some twelve miles from the city where this
convent school was situated in which Lena was studying
everything that came her way with all her might, including
. painting, music, and fancy needlework, in the latter of
which the Sisters greatly excelled.
She knew her time at school must be short, for though
the farm produce brought in a fairly good living, there
were younger sisters to have their turn, and brothers to
be assisted in taking up their ' claims,' besides the wages
of her mother's hired man.
Lena, with her great black nervous eyes, and her coal
black hair, was a great contrast to her friend Marthe Ann,
whose eyes were grey blue, her hair a tawny red, and her
fair complexion plentifully sprinkled with freckles.
Marthe Ann never troubled to work hard, but got all
the fun she could out of life as she went along, with no
care for the future.
Her father was Captain and part owner of one of the
river boats, which brought their owners good returns, and
r——-—-—-J 6o
NAN
m\
Marthe Ann being the only child nothing was considered
too good for her, and her father was never happy if she
was long out of his sight during his short visits home.
This latter propensity of his brought him into collision
with the good sisters at one time, and afforded Marthe Ann
a whole lot of fun.
Coming home one evening, and as usual when he entered
the house the first words of the bluff old Captain were,
"Well, old woman, where's Marthe Ann?"
" Over at the Convent as usual," he was told somewhat sharply.    "And its about time she was home."
The Captain thought so too, and undertook to fetch her.
The gardens and grounds of this building were surrounded by a high wooden fence, through which a gat«
admitted any one from the street, and then closed with A
bang. A spring lock had been contrived that only someone from within could open it, and the key to this was
held by a deaf old man who acted as steward to the
Sisters.
Hearing voices, but seeing no one, the Captain roared,
" Marthe Ann!" loud enough to be heard all over the
garden, and through the wooden walls of the convent.
A silence fell, the Sisters were afraid to go out to him,
the girls fled from sight, the deaf old steward slept, and
Marthe Ann who recognised the voice, went quietly out
by the front gate, and ran home.
"Marthe Ann!" he roared again several times with the
same effect, and feeling somewhat uncomfortable in the
silent place, thought he would go back home.
He returned to the gate, it was locked. He searched
the walls all round for another. Strange to say, though
he had lived within a stone's throw of the place for years,
he had never been inside. MARTHE   ANN 61
The front gate was as unyielding as the other had been.
Quite a high flight of stairs, leaving a basement beneath,
lead up to the principal entrance. The Captain marched
up, and came face to face with a French Sister newly
arrived from the East, and who had been arranging flowers
in the Chapel on the third floor, and consequently had
heard nothing of the uproar made by the Captain.
She understood no word of English, and when the
Captain, heated and puzzled, shouted " Marthe Ann " into
the hallowed precincts,' the startled Sister gave him one
look and fled precipitately to the Superior, telling her that
a mad man had broken into the front entrance.
" Like a flock of geese," soliloquised the Captain, in a
stage whisper that could have been heard a block off.
" Well, I'd like to know how I'm going to get off this
sand bar. Got to find a pilot some how. Guess I'd better
climb the riggin'."
Suiting the action to the word, he stamped up the bare
white stairs, vociferating as he went " Marthe Ann."
He thought he heard foot steps now and again, but
never a soul did he see.
On he kept, and up some narrow steps leading into the
clock tower.
" Guess this is the pilot house," he said, and stepped into
the semi-darkness within.
The deafening clangor of a bell near his ear made him
start, and take a step backwards, when down he went,
rolling over and over, and picked himself up from the
landing below.
The bell of this clock was used by the Sisters to call
for Vespers, and one of them was waiting there to give
the signal, when the Captain made his appearance.
She hung on to the bell and clanged a quick alarm. i
62
NAN
The old steward awoke and hobbled into the house, and
as he could see no one went on up to the clock turret.
Marthe Ann and her mother hastened over in time
to hear a vociferous " Marthe Ann," and to see the meeting
of the deaf steward and the Captain.
Off come old Mike's hat, and he asked the Captain in
oily tones, what he could do for him.
" Do for me ?" roared the Captain, " Why let me out
of this man trap. I guess the gals are safe enough in here.
But if ever I get out of this, Marthe Ann can stay here
all she likes and be hanged to it."
" Captain," puffed his wife, as she reached the top landing, " What are you raising the neighbourhood for, and
frightening the Sisters and the girls out of their wits.
Marthe Ann has been home ever so long."
" I only want to raise out of this that's all. I steamed
in easy enough, but when I came to turn her bow for home,
never an outlet was there, and you know old woman I
couldn't a been seen lowerin' my jib over the wall in broad
daylight; the whole town would a had the laugh on me."
" Come and see the Sisters," insisted his wife, as she
opened the Chapel door, where they and the girls were
cowering, expecting they knew not what, never thinking
of the Captain, whom they knew by sight, but taking it
for granted, that Sister Mary Zoe knew a crazy man
when she saw one.
Marthe Ann had gone off without enlightening them,
and only when the bell rang, and she knew they were
really alarmed, did she persuade her mother to go over
with her.
" Well," apologised the Captain, " I'm real sorry, I
scared you all so. I was only tryin' to make Marthe
Ann show her colors.    But, " a happy thought striking MARTHE   ANN
him, "I'll tell you what I'll do. Just as soon as you'll
give the gals a holiday, I'll engage to take them for a trip
on the Marthe Ann. I'll make her behave herself when
I get hold of her wheel; but this Marthe Ann," pointing
his thumb towards the girl who was shaking all over with
laughter, " I aint got no wheel as'll control her. I guess
I'll have to leave her to you Sisters, till she ships another
Captain."
But to return to the girls and their plans for Easter.
" Yes, Lena, I must go. Oh Sister Lucia, you know
it would be such fun to go on a real ranch. I go up and
down the river on Popper's boat till I'm sick of it. Don't
you think the ranch would be better?"
"I certainly do," returned the Sister in her precise
English. " I never approve of your going up and down
the river as you do; it is not the place for girls."
" I'll tell Mummer what you say, Sister, and then she'll
be sure to let me go with Lena."
" No, do you not tell your mother, I will see her
myself, and try to get her to consent."
" You're always a dear good Sister," asserted Marthe
Ann, and giving the Sister a bear's hug, the girl waltzed
out of the room, to the music some one was practising on
the jangling piano.
The Sister succeeded where Marthe Ann had failed.
The girls spent Easter Sunday in town, and on Monday,
an express wagon was hired to take them out.
Lena's elder sister who lived in town was going too
with her three-weeks-old baby to show it to her mother,
and also to be near her husband, who just then had a logging
camp about two miles from the ranch.
The driver went for Mrs. Rivers and her baby first, and
the girls made their way to the grocery store, there to be I
NAN
taken aboard with some of the other things both necessary ';
and good.
As they waited along came a farm hand who had worked
for Lena's mother. He had a place of his own now, but
Lena always filled a soft spot in his heart. He had a whole
litter of young pigs in a crate, and when Lena admired a
sprightly little spotted fellow in the closely packed pig
family, he was delighted and exclaimed, " You shall have
him, Lena." Accordingly he hauled out Mr. piggie
squealing lustily, got a flour sack from the grocer and put
in the noisy animal. But he had forgotten to get a piece
of string or rope with which to tie in the obstreperous
youngster, so the man hoisted up a Siwash boy, who had
stood with solemnly inscrutable eyes watching the proceedings, and instructed him to sit upon the mouth of the same,
and keep piggie in until a piece of rope could be obtained.
They had a keg of beer to take up further on, and could
doubtless get something to tie up the sack at the brewers.
On they jogged in the pleasant morning sunshine. The
driver, Mrs. Rivers and the baby occupying the front seat;
the two girls, the Siwash, the pig and the rest of the commodities in the back of the wagon.
They stopped for the keg of beer, and the Siwash, thinking his task was done, or fearful he might be carried off
for his exceeding beauty and cleanliness, jumped down and
ran away.
Out came piggie, delighted to regain his freedom. He
galloped and grunted, bolted here and there with spasmodic
efforts, and threatened to outlast both the patience and
breath of his pursuers.
He brought up in a restaurant; rushing between the legs
of a colored boy, who was coming out of the kitchen
carrying a well laden tray; he made his last stand among MARTHE   ANN
65
the pots and dishes on the floor, was caught by the good-
natured cook, and returned to his sack once more, where
he was securely tied, and the wagon moved on with its
load.
Front street was built up on piles, on the bank of the
river, and as the wagon drove along, Marthe Ann was
dismayed to see her father's boat sweep in to its wharf,
with her stern parent in the wheelhouse. As yet he was
too busy landing his boat to notice anything on shore.
Marthe Ann took matters in her own hand. "Whip
up as fast as you can," she urged the driver, " for Popper
won't let me go if he sees me."
" Don't you dare look at the boat," she commanded
Lena, " or it will make him look our way."
All this time she was watching the boat herself. As
it was tied up, her father caught sight of the hurrying team
with Marthe Ann seated smilingly upon it.
Out he bounced from his wheelhouse, and began
gesticulating and shouting orders. Marthe Ann heard
none of them, but waved her handkerchief in a laughing
farewell, as the wagon turned a bend in the road and disappeared from the choleric Captain's sight.
" Say, old woman," he remarked in a fog-horn whisper,
as he entered his home, " Marthe Ann's a crowdin' out a
hog and a barrel of beer in an express wagon. Where's
she bound for any way?"
" She's going to spend the Easter holiday with Lena on
the ranch," returned his wife in a midly pacific tone.
" Thought she was goin' along with me ? They're
expectin' her up at Yale."
" Sister Lucia thinks she's too big to go up and down
the river the way she does."
" Oh, she does, does she ?    Pray what business is it of 66
NAN
Sister Lucia's I'd like to know.    Can't I look after her?"
Convinced that his wife and the Sister were right, but
not satisfied by any means at the loss of his daughter's
company, he turned round and without a word or a thought
of the good meal awaiting him, he stalked back to town,
half a mind to hire another rig and fetch the girl back;
but he thought better of it, and only remarked to himself, " If the driver pilots that load out there safe, he'll
have his hands full," and went about his own business.
Sure enough the man's hands were full.
Besides the mudholes, whose depths were deceptive,
they had several very roughly constructed bridges over
deep ravines, with approaches of corduroy to pass over. ;
The latter had a log out here and there, and the horses,
always afraid of getting their hoofs caught, shied un- I
pleasantly, while they pricked their ears and looked with
horror at the hurrying foam on the water of the ravines
beneath the bridges, seeming to think it probable they
would fall between the chinks of the rough hewn logs,
and be swept away by the small fury of the hurrying
rivulet.
In the best parts of the road the trees met overhead.
Between the two-horse tracks brush had sprung up, and
kept a continual rustle and scratch on the bottom of the
wagon as they went.
"Look out!" shouted the driver, and the next instant
one front wheel was over its hub in a mud hole, and the -
horses were plunging.
Mrs.   Rivers   screamed,   and   in   catching  hold   of   the I
wagon,  let go her baby,  which slid  down between  the
horses and the wagon, and lodged in the mud.
Both girls jumped instantly, and the driver was at his
horses heads in one leap.    Lena bounded under the wagon, MARTHE   ANN
67
seized the long, white robe of the baby and drew it out
at the back. Once more they breathed freely, for master
baby was none the worse except for the mud on his
clothing.
" What is that, piggie out again ?" exclaimed Mrs. Rivers.
Yes, piggie was out again, and Marthe Ann's long legs
were striding over brush and logs in pursuit. Presently
there was a squeal and then smothered grunting. Marthe
Ann had fallen over brush and pig, and lay there with
piggie securely beneath her, till the driver, having drawn
bis horses out of the mudhole, came to her assistance, and
Mr. piggie was again returned to his sack, and too securely
fastened to escape again.
Arrived at the outskirts of the ranch they had all to
alight, for the season had been unusually wet, and the
road was impassable for wheels. They loaded as much
Stuff as they could on the horses, left the wagon under a
spreading tree with the remainder, and proceeded on their
way. The driver went first with one horse, Lena followed
with the other, Mrs. Rivers came next with her poor,
muddy baby, and Marthe Ann brought up the rear with
piggie scuffling and squealing in his sack.
Lena said she didn't know which made more noise, the
pig or Marthe Ann, for she laughed so at the comic
procession, she was in danger of letting piggie go.
They now came to a place where the axes of the
woodsmen could be heard quite plainly, so they halted
and shouted hoping to make Mr. Rivers hear. No answering shout came, and Mrs. Rivers thought her husband
was too far off to hear them. At this moment Mr. Rivers,
who had evidently been on the watch for them, strode
out of the bush and confronted them.
"Couldn't you hear us calling?" enquired his wife. 68
NAN
" Hear you," with a knowing wink at the driver. " I
should think so, but I didn't trouble to come at first. I
took you for a band of Siwashes out from town, who had
brought something along to make them merry."
Mrs. Rivers cast him an indignant look; but seeing he
was only in fun gave him the baby to carry, and they
soon reached the ranch, where the first grandson was
petted and fussed over by his new grandma enough to
satisfy the vanity of any young couple.
The ranch was a clearing cut out of the solid forest.
The largest stumps still remained; potatoes, corn and
garden truck being cultivated between them. The house
was a long low building made of hand hewn logs put up
by the father some twenty years before. Beside bedrooms
and a leanto kitchen built on of split cedar, it contained
one large room which was used as dining and sitting room,
the carpet for which was only put down when visitors were I
expected. A small organ stood in one corner with a violin
lying on top. Brackets and shelves and little fancy things
on the walls gave it a cheerful and cosy appearance and
the bright wood fire burning in the stove added to the
comfort and cheeriness.
All the family, with the hired man, who was a very well
educated young Englishman, sat down to a plentiful and
well cooked supper of boiled leg of pork, with kale and.
potatoes, and a dessert of apple pie and coffee.
After supper, the cattle all being disposed of for the
.night, the hired man took up his violin and Lena sat down
to play an accompaniment, whilst the elder brother and
Marthe Ann started to foot a Scotch reel, but first, for
economy's sake the Garpet must be rolled to one side.
Marthe Ann knew nothing of the steps, but she imitated
Alfred, occasionally varying the proceedings by daintily
-:—r^d MARTHE   ANN 69
raising between finger and thumb, first one side of her dress,
and then the other, as she had seen ladies do in pictures.
They were dancing, twisting, turning, yelling, and
snapping their fingers in a great state of excitement to the
delight of their audience, when Marthe Ann in her recklessness stepped beyond the limits, caught her foot in the
carpet, and went sprawling under the table. Over it went,
smashing the only lamp in the establishment in its fall.
Darkness and silence ensued, but not for long; they lighted
candles, and with  fun and laughter went to bed.
Next morning the widow was moving bright and early.
She had heard bees humming round a fallen tree in her
peregrinations about the farm, and had been further goaded
by a bachelor neighbor for whom she had great contempt
because of his shiftlessness. This obnoxious man had
asserted that the bees were on his side of the trout stream,
which meandered between their ranches, and that it was his
intention to find their treasure and market the same; wild
honey being fifty cents per pound.
Accordingly when Marthe Ann followed her out somewhat sleepily, she found the good lady with buckets and
axe prepared for the fray. Of course nothing suited
Marthe Ann better than to join in the fun, and off they
went leaving Lena to prepare breakfast.
It was no fancy walk in the forest that awaited them.
The dew had fallen heavily, and every leaf and twig was
dripping diamonds as the sun showed itself over the snow-
clad mountain top, and they had to push through brush,
over and under logs, round stumps, and wade small streams
as cold as ice water.
At last the widow came in sight of the bachelor's shack.
Nodding towards it, she remarked with scorn, " I wouldn't
put one of my sows in that."
1 70
NAN
Iff,
They sat down and listened for the hum of the bees,
when Marthe Ann started up with a shriek, she had been
stung by one of them. " You stop that noise, now, Marthe
Ann, or else go right back. I aint goin' to have none o'
that." Marthe Ann squeezed the juice of three different
herbs, that being the formula, on the burning spot, and
said no more; for the widow had opened a hole in the
rotting tree upon which they had rested and the honey was
trickling into her bucket.
Each carrying a bucket of the rich yellow-brown fluid,
they went back for breakfast, and that night all hands
turned out, but kept at a respectful distance, while the
boys, swathed in mosquito net, smoked out the poor bees,
and confiscated their hoarded treasure.
The week passed only too quickly for Marthe Ann;
the express wagon and its driver appeared early one morning
with a peremptory order from the Captain, for Marthe
Ann to report in town. With the easy hospitality of the
times, the young man had come out with the intention
of having a day's fishing. He put up his horses, got some
lunch from Lena and started out. It was getting dark,
Mr. Rivers was home from the logging camp, and all began
to feel some anxiety for the lad's safety.
The mountain stream at this place is very treacherous;
being so very clear you misjudge its depth, and if the lad
had essayed a bath, he might have stepped in, thinking the
water little over his knees, when in reality it would be
above his head, and rushing along at such a rate, that it
would be impossible for any person to regain their footing;
besides, its icy coldness soon leaves them helplessly benumbed; for this stream, or river flows from a glacier in
the snow-clad mountain, we mentioned before.
Rivers ordered ropes and lanterns and a search party  IT! MARTHE   ANN 71
was just starting out, when in walked the culprit. He
was greeted with words more forcible than polite, and
ordered off to town without any supper. Lena could not
return until the following Monday, and Marthe Ann went
off reluctantly with the youth, and the night closed in dark
under the overhanging trees.
To amuse Marthe Ann, or to keep up his own courage,
the lad related all the yarns from penny dreadfuls he had
ever read; when a light appeared swaying dizzily along as
some vehicle came at a dangerous speed over the uncertain
road. Marthe Ann's courage forsook her and she screamed
frantically, for she thought surely this lawless bandit would
ride them down in his furious quest for booty.
It was well she did scream, for the ship's lanterns on the
Captain's, wagon made him blind to anything else by the
way, and Marthe Ann's driver had succeeded in losing his
: own nerve too completely to call out
The Captain knowing the voice, imagined he had arrived
just in time for the rescue, and called out a string of
commands, only ceasing when Marthe Ann scrambled into
his wagon and sank down at his feet crying and laughing
The driver being called upon to explain, made such a
bungling statement, the Captain ordered him to tie his tow
behind, and take the helm to town. With which order
the boy was only too glad to comply.
Nestled down at her father's feet, and resti
his knees, Marthe Ann chattered nineteen to the do2
and told of all her adventures,   to   her   Dad's   infii
delight. THE  TWINS
GIRLS ON A CATTLE RANGE
" We are the twins, Dora and Nora, and no one but
Mamma and Grandmamma can tell us apart. If one of us I
gets a freckle upon her nose in the summer time, and Papa
thinks he has found something to know Dora from me,
he has only to call my other self and ' sure as fate' as
Grandma says, there's a freckle on her nose too.
" He gave up trying to know which was which, and got
Mamma to tie a blue ribbon on me and a pink on Dora.
We know ourselves of course. Then he'll say ' Nora
fetch me my slippers, Pet,' and the pink-ribboned twin
gets up and goes for the slippers and the kiss to follow."
" Then he looks puzzled and we laugh.
" We changed our ribbons to see if you would know us,
Papa," we say. Then we'd run for we knew he would
chase us with his slippers, and then there was lots of fun.
" Papa and Mamma and Grandmamma came out to this
country many years ago, and we are on a cattle range three
hundred miles away from general civilization, although
there are other ranges near with families living on them
and we take our ponies and ride with Papa fifteen or
twenty miles to spend the day. Every thing is so sweet
when we start in the early morning, and wave our whips
to Mamma and Grandmamma, who stand in the wide
verandah, and watch us out of sight."
In winter we all bundle into a big wagon with plenty
of hay in it, and cuddle down in the buffalo robes. Sometimes we put in two, most times four horses, and away
we ' go,' its just like flying. THE   TWINS 73
Then our neighbors are so pleased to see us you don't
know, and we play games in the evening, and have music
and singing.    But the day time is the fun.
Mrs. Grantley has a lake near her place, and we all go
on with brooms and spades and clear away the snow.
We just pile it in the centre, and have a regular racing
ring all round. The cow boys come out and help, and
although Mamma can't skate, she walks all round and
round our rink till she's tired, with the collies following
her.
Then the men put down their fur coats, and Mamma
sits and talks and rests awhile, and Mrs. Grantley's Japanese
cook comes smiling out with a tea basket.
Dora says Harakama smiles to show his beautiful white
teeth, but Mamma says its the Japanese philosophy to take
everything with a smile.
As soon as the tea basket appears, the signal is given,
and every body comes up for a cup of tea and a sandwich
or cake.
It is funny to see a great red-headed Scotch man, a
short stout English man, and the slim set Canadians, all
taking tea out of tiny china cups, and stirring round and
round with little afternoon tea spoons, when you know
any one of them can ride the half-wild horses, throw the
lariat and lassoo the big steers on the range, and hold a
four or six horse team as easily as we can kittens.
Grandmamma says some of them come from good
families, and some of them don't. Grandma minds that
kind of thing, we don't.
As soon as it begins to get dark, the men had to go and
see to their horses and cattle, and we, of course, had to go
in. But first we begged to go with Annie and Bettie and
their brothers to bring in a herd of yearling calves, which Ii'
74
NAN
were driven across the lake by a well trodden path of their
own every morning to a sheltering clump of trees, where
a lot of wild hay had been stacked in the summer.
Here they burrowed themselves in as they ate the hay,
and so got food and shelter at the same time.
Holes were kept open in the edge of the lake, and they
drank to suit themselves.    -
We like to see the long, long string of them crossing
single file like little dark specks on the snow of the vast
lake.
Then all four of us girls went in to the lighted dining
room, and Grandmamma was saying it was Hallowe'en.
Such a storm as started over the country that night,
snow, sleet and hail, driven by a biting wind.
After supper we curled up on the bear skins near the
brightly burning fire on the open hearth, and begged
Grandma for the story of the Haunted Castle, all of it
Grandma please.
She took off her spectacles, settled herself back in the
chair, and four pairs of attentive eyes were fixed upon her.
" When I was a little girl I used to live with my
father and mother on the east coast of England.
" We had a pretty house and an old garden that opened
upon the beach at low water. When the spring tides were
extra high, or it was stormy as it often is upon this coast,
some of our stone fence would be washed away.
" Fishermen's huts, our own house, and the Castle, were
the only habitations within several miles.
" The Castle stood upon a cliff above us, that is all that
was left of it. At some early date it was said to have been
connected by a subterranean passage with our place, and of
course thus formed a secret communication with the beach.
" Little Lady Lucy and I had searched in vain for the THE   TWINS
75
entrance, while her governess sat contentedly with sketchbook and pencil, indifferent alike to subterranean passages
and little girls.
"Of course the castle had its ghost, which was said to
be that of a former owner, who had been very wicked.
" He had led the life of a pirate, bringing in his stolen
goods and prisoners by way of this underground passage.
i Some of the latter he put in dark, damp dungeons
where their wealth was hidden, and then again, those who
were as wicked and cruel as himself, he kept to assist him.
"Above the cliff upon which the Castle was built, arose
other and higher cliffs, and as the Castle had its secret exit
to the sea, so it was provided with another which found
egress upon the common above.
" Once upon a time the daughter of a neighbouring
Baron disappeared, and no trace of her was found.
" Then one of the outlaws was wounded and carried to
the Castle of the missing girl. He was so overcome by
the kindness of the ladies in this abode that he confessed
to the crime of his master.
" He told how the poor girl had been taken by the
robber Baron while riding on the common near her own
home in company with her old nurse,—how they were
both gagged, bound, and carried down into the Castle by
the secret entrance from the common,—how the robber
Baron had forced her into a marriage with himself, and
how that after about a year a little son had been born, the
lady had died, leaving the infant to the care of her nurse.
" This boy was now nine years old, the idol of his father,
and the pet of the outlaws.
" The father and brothers of the Lady Elizabeth who
had been kidnapped, were brave, determined men. They
gathered together their retainers, and guided by the rebel
1 outlaw, went to the Castle, made a simultaneous attack
from above and below, and after reducing it to its present
ruinous state, marched back with  the little boy and his
" The robber Baron thought his boy was killed, and
became so low spirited that after a little while he hanged
himself, and every Hallowe'en you may see him floating
along the corridors of his Castle, all in white, a rope round
his neck, his eyes starting from their sockets, his lips and
cheeks swollen and purple; and from his nose, mouth, and
ears, whence the blood had spurted, blue tongues of flame
licked back and forth.
" In consequence of this story the maids of the Castle
were afraid of trying Hallowe'en charms lest they meet
this hideous apparition on their way to bed.
Now Lady Lucy's mother had come into a goodly
fortune, and her father essayed to restore parts of the
Castle for use. So the old couple, who had waited upon
them for years, were given a pension, and a new set of
servants arrived by Stage Coach from London in the last
week of October, and of course the story of the Castle
ghost was unknown to them.
" This happened when Lady Lucy -and I were about
twelve years old. Lady Lucy's nurse, who had also acted
as lady's maid, was retained, and she told us of the next
adventure, but never a word did she say to the new serv-
<f the legends regarding the Castle; indeed she felt
herself far above them.
Now it seems that Hallowe'en charms are supposed to
work with far greater efficacy when the person trying
them is in a new place.
The cook and head housemaid arranged to walk to the
church which was situated about two miles from the
Castle, carrying some hempseed in their aprons. THE   TWINS 77
They were never to speak to each other on the way,
nor indeed till next morning, no matter what appeared to
either, for in silence the charm must be performed, and
silence alone, that the charm be not broken, only the words
of the incarnation must find voice.
They reached the old churchyard, filled with graves,
marked and unmarked, the ancient monuments standing
in mournful grandeur beside the simple grass covered
mound.
At five minutes to twelve they commenced their walk
around the edifice, one behind the other, sowing the hemp-
seed and singing softly as they went,
" This hempseed I sow,
This hempseed I hoe,
Hoping my true love
May come after me and mow."
- This they were  to  do  three times;   but on  the  second
round the cook, who lead the way, heard a fall, followed
by an awful scream.
She stopped, spell bound with horror. The screams
continued; but could she believe her ears? They sounded
muffled and distant. Listening more intently she realized
that although it was the voice of her companion, the
screams came from the bowels of the earth.
Only one thing could have happened. His Satanic
Majesty had been let loose with the other spirits and had
carried her companion down alive into the pit.
Horror leant wings to the stout and comely cook, and
she neither looked behind, nor stopped to see if her lover
would come after her to mow, but ran into the Castle
kitchen, white and breathless, and told the footman what
had happened. 78
NAN
" 'Ere hin this horful hold carsel we never knows w'ats
agoin' to 'appen. H'ive 'eard to-day as a ghost walks I
these 'ere corridors hevery 'Allowe'en. 'E stands height
foot 'igh, an' the blue blazes and sulphur his pourin' hout
hall hover 'im, an' 'e allest ketches some pore gal and takes
'er down with 'im, hevery year. She don't never come
back, 'e keeps 'em hall together down below, dontyer-
know!"
Cook seated herself by the fire and declared: —
" Well I'm agoin' to set right here till mornin', an' then
I'm agoin' right back to London. Old Nick's got Susan
this time for sure, an' 'e aint agoin' to git me."
But the footman didn't want either of these things to
be done, for my uncle and he had been at great pains to
dress up a figure to resemble the fabled ghost as much as
possible.
Uncle was hidden away to watch the effect upon the
two women, but as only one had returned it was difficult
to know what to do.
Uncle had very nice manners, and went down to cook
and persuaded her there was nothing in it, politely offered
her a bedroom candle-stick, and volunteered to escort her
to her room, where he suggested she might keep a light
burning till morning, reminding her that ghosts only
appear in the dark.
She secured another candle and went up stairs, but the
footman ran lightly up the front stairs and joined uncle
in the hall above.
Cook went gingerly along, until she saw in the dim
distance of a deserted corridor (the door of which had been
set open for the purpose), a white figure with hideous
features, a rope around its neck, and phosphorescent light
issuing from its head. THE   TWINS 79
She uttered a fearful scream, dropped her candle, and
fled she knew not whither, till she crashed through the
lath and plaster of a ceiling, and a light streaming through,
showed her portly figure firmly wedged between two
beams, her feet and hands protruding below, working
frantically.
The astonished lady and gentleman, whose privacy had
been so suddenly invaded, rang the bell for explanations,
and were informed by the bland footman, that one of the
maids had let her candle drop on the way to bed, and had
wandered into the room above from which the floor had
been removed for repairs.
Uncle hurriedly removed the offending ghost, and
securely fastened the door leading into the disused wing.
The footman went to assist in extricating cook, who told
such a wandering yarn, the Master thought she had been
imbibing too freely, and went into the kitchen to see what
had been going on there.
As he did so the housemaid was lead in by the sexton,
more dead than alive.
Her dreadful screams had called him to the churchyard.
He was an old man, and knew the ways of women pretty
well, so he went straight to a deep grave he had that day
dug, and letting down the coffin ropes, helped the terrified
girl to scramble out.
They were forgiven this time upon their confession, but
cook didn't stay long, for she declared that ghosts walked
other nights beside Hallowe'en, and she couldn't stand it.
As Grandma had talked by the cheerful light of the log
fire on the big open hearth, the men of the family and the
farm hands, having finished their chores, dropped quietly
in one by one, so at the ending there was a goodly audience.
Now the lamps were brought in by the ever-smiling
1 NAN
Harakana. There sat the stout Englishman, the red
Scotchman, the two tall Canucks, Papa, Mrs. Grantly, and
last, but to us not least, Tom and Ned, the sons of our
friends and  neighbours.
The latter were also typical Canadians. Tall, dark,
supple: with something of the subtle inscrutability of our
vast country, its silent mountains, its ice bound lakes and
streams, and the frozen forests which stand up in their
white purity, with scarce a sound of life, but all instinct
with vitality, such were these young men.
They had broken in our Indian ponies, taught us to ride .
in their own dare devil fashion.    Side by side with them
and their sisters have we ridden many a hundred miles.
No branding season  would have been complete had we
four girls been absent.
We had grown up together, and somehow the very idea
of a separation between their lives and ours had never
entered our minds.
We four girls went away to a convent for two years.
The boys supplemented the education of their tutor at a
College in the East for the same length of time, and this
was our first meeting since then. Oh, the joy of our
liberty regained. Sometimes the call of freedom came
upon one or other of us so strongly during our ' exile' as
we called it, that the pain of restraint made us refractory
and I fear we gave the good sisters trouble.
Now, there was a marked line between Dora and me.
I could sing and play on the mandolin. Nora had no I
voice, but the piano seemed to come to her, as it were, with
no trouble at all, and you may be sure the Sisters exploited
the shy twins from the interior at their public entertainments to the utmost.
Annie and Bessie both did well with their music.    The  ""■' THE   TWINS 81
boys were all anxious to find a way of getting instruments
out for us.
No one knows the boon of music as we do on these lone
ranges. Even the cattle listen, and have been quieted down
when our English Ben played on his violin and sung sweet
songs in the open on the eve of a storm; when something
in the atmosphere seems to set our own nerves tingling,-
and makes the cattle ready to stampede on the least alarm.
That is in the summer time, of course. Now they are
housed at night, only the hardiest of them out on the
range, and we always know when a spell of bad weather
is coming on, for horses and cattle come home and stand
with their tails turned towards the cutting wind, their heads
hanging down and their speaking eyes begging to be let
into the sheltering coral, where they know there is always
plenty of wild hay kept under cover, and fed out twice
a day to the range cattle. On a night like this the big
shelters have been left open and horses and cattle come
home to be fed. When the storm has past they will wander
out again. Very silent are Tom and Ned to-night, but
their eyes follow us about, and a new feeling creeps over
us, which we confide to each other as we prepare for bed;
something new which stirs our pulse and makes the red
blood mantle our cheeks.
During the evening Ned, as he sat by me held my hand,
and looking over at Tom and Dora they were doing the
same thing, only Tom was talking earnestly, while Ned
only looked volumes. We confided all these things to
each other.
Tom had said to Dora that he and Ned had found an
ideal valley which had as yet escaped the eyes of white men,
and here they proposed to set up a range of their own.
Dora had asked him if Annie and Bessie would go and 82
NAN
keep house for them, and he had" got very red and said he
thought they were going too, but as the wives of Ben
Bayley the Englishman, and Colin Campbell the Scotchman; also that the two Canucks were thinking to send
East for their ' girls,' there being plenty of room for all.
We knew Annie and Bessie had been sent away to school
with the idea of testing their affection for these two men,
who were somewhat their seniors, but as we had only
arrived to-day, we had had no opportunity of hearing what
conclusion had been come to.
" You and Ned will be the only bachelor housekeepers," Dora had said to Tom.
" We hope not," he had promptly returned;   and we
wondered who would keep house for them but did not£
like to ask.
The blizzard raged and the snow drifts piled in fluffy,
ever moving heaps. It was useless to think of driving
twenty miles to our home, and for our part, Dora and I
were so happy, we felt as if a big storm was the nicest;
thing in the world.
We made cakes and helped to cook in the short day
time, and the evenings were given up to music, cards, games I
of all kinds and general happiness.    A new something was I
growing in us and a different outlook upon life, as we saw
the happiness of Ben and Annie, Colin and Bessie, and
heard them discuss their plans for the future.
"You have no plans it seems, you and Tom?" I said
to Ned one day.    He looked at me very earnestly, and I
replied, " No one cares enough for us to join their lot with
ours, and a man cares but little if he has only himself to
think of."
" Oh," I said inanely; then added, " Dora and I thought
perhaps you had met some one while you were in the East, THE   TWINS 83
who would be willing to—to—"
"To what?" he asked.
" Just keep house for you, like—like Annie and Bessie
are going to do you know."
Very good of you to think so much as all that about us,
Fm sure," he returned coldly, then he walked off, looking
very fierce under his sombrero; but he turned round as he
went and flung back at me, " We'd prefer some one nearer
home."
" Oh," was all I could find to say, and I said it, just as
stupidly as before.
He cast a look at me from his black eyes, that made me
uncomfortable.
Bessie and Annie were like their brothers, but we twins
were rather small and slim, with fair curly hair, large grey-
blue eyes, and the placid disposition that good health and
out-door exercise gives; besides the worries of ordinary
life were utterly unknown to us, and our glint of civilization from the windows of the convent had enlightened us
but little.
Our knowledge of the outer world has been derived
from books, and paper troubles scarcely disturb one's
equinimity sufficiently to ruffle the current of one's life.
A whole week the storm lasted, and we stayed another
week. I don't know how it happened, but one evening
as Dora and I sat alone by the glow of the open hearth
waiting for the other women folks to come in, who should
appear but Ned and Tom.
Now Ned never took me for Dora, nor did Tom mistake Dora for me. Each had come awkwardly in and sat
down by us,—that is Ned by me, and Tom by Dora. We
tried to chatter in our usual way, but we didn't succeed
very well, for the boys only sat and looked at us. 84
NAN
" What's the matter with you boys anyway ?" I asked.
"Are you tired of us? We are going home to-morrow,
so you might put up with us just a little longer."
" Look here now," returned Tom, who is a greater
talker than Ned, " that's just what we've come in to say."
" That you are tired of us ?"
" No, you know Better than that. So far from it, we.J
want to know if you and Dora could put up with us fori
ever, leastways as long as we live?"
We gasped.    So this was what had been working on \
them and us;  and we had felt as if the lads did not care
a pin for us, because they were shy and backward in our I
presence.    We said not a word.
" If you won't have us," continued Tom, " we've made I
up our minds to join the N.W.M.P., and chuck up our
holdings in the valley."
" But we thought that you boys didn't like us,"
whispered Dora.
"Like!" burst from both at once. "Like is no word
for it.    We love you better than our own souls."
We each turned and faced the lad by us, our hands
sought those of the other, and the twilight hour was spent
as only that one hour of bliss is spent in the lives of any.
Of course our plans fell in with the others, and after our
houses, cattle sheds and corrals are built in the spring, there I
will be a quadruple wedding, and we shall journey to the
valley together.    In the meantime there will be a visit to -
the coast for us.
We shall come back with all the necessaries of life for I
the far away cattle range, and be kept busy with needle
and sewing machine.
The elders seemed inclined to sell their ranges and
settle nearer civilization;   and indeed,  they have  earned   THE   TWINS 85
their rest, for our starting in is nothing to what theirs was,
when even the Indians were not to be trusted; and everything for house, barn, or shelter had to be hewn from the
forest with axe and saw.
Now the Indians are friendly, even educated to, a certain
extent; and there are saw mills on the lake from which all
the lumber required for our structures can be obtained, and
landed by steamboat or scow, at a wharf the boys will make.
There is some talk of Ben and Colin taking their brides
' home' on a wedding trip, but the open range for us.
Our new homes are to be built near together, and as
we came upon this mortal scene in company, so we hope
to remain for many years without separation. THE  FATE  OF  MARGUERITE
A   TALE    OF   WOE
Sometime in the early sixties there lived in Eastern
Canada a man and his wife, belonging to the Old Country
working class.
The woman was much superior in many ways to her
husband. She was one of those who when nearing thirty'
take up with the first man, or good sized boy likely to
commit matrimony; for the fear of being an ' Old Maid'
is upon them.
The man was large and bony, with an ugly lean-forward, and a shambling gait. His cunning little eyes were
set far back and were near together, partially hidden by
the bushy eye brows which met above a nose of no particular
mould. His lips were coarse and his jaw somewhat heavy.
Added to these features, if you were unfortunate enough
to shake hands with him, the little finger of his right hand
had such a twisty kink in it, that the only thing you were
conscious of was the contact of this crooked member with
the palm of your hand.
The children born to this couple had died of scrofula,
. so they lived and scraped along thinking only of themselves.
Near them resided another Old Country family, who
should have been pretty comfortable, for they received very
substantial help from the relatives they had left behind;
but the demon of drink had taken hold of the wife, and
she would have sold her children to satisfy the insatiable
craving.
Strangely enough the two women were much the same THE   FATE   OF   MARGUERITE 87
height and color, both being of that drabby fairness which
soon fades and becomes so washed-out looking.
Mrs. Scale, the mechanic's wife often went in to look
after things in the Gale household, when the mother was
either incapable or away on one of her periodical outbreaks.
Mrs. Scale received no regular remuneration, but she
paid herself for her trouble in various ways, groceries,
clothing, and loose cash were useful articles, and nothing
At these times Mr. Gale, who was one of those utterly
helpless men who think a woman's work so easy, and so
far beneath their lordly attention, found himself sorely
tried and completely at a loss without the assistance of
Mrs. Scale.
On the final round up he made of his wife, he found
her in such company, that no man with any self respect
could take her back.
In this strait he applied to Mrs. Scale, and having noticed
she seemed to like the eldest child, a fair little girl who
might easily pass for her daughter; he made a proposition
to the woman to take Marguerite, and with the child he
would give her his wife's clothes, the house linen, plate,
and all the small articles, and also five hundred dollars
in cash.
Mrs. Scale knew, from letters she had seen that Mr.
Gale had just received five hundred pounds, (some twenty-
five hundred dollars) from his wife's people, and she insisted
upon having the amount doubled.
The other children being boys, Mr. Gale thought he
could take with him, settle down somewhere in the great
untrodden wilds of our vast Canada, and disappear from
friend and foe alike. He did not feel justified in taking
Marguerite  to  such  a  place,  and  weakly   relegated   the NAN
I
iPl
1:
sacred trust of his poor little daughter to people practically unknown.
Mrs. Scale had heard many details of the family history I
from Mrs. Gale in her lucid moments, for then, nothingl
suited her better than to maunder along about her former
wealth and position, and  the terrible degradation of the
marriage which had cut her off from kith and kin.
In going over the trunks of the lost woman, Mrs. Scale
came upon bundles of letters, which she spent weeks UjM
studying over. Among them was the copy of a will of a
great aunt of Mrs. Gale's, making her or her heirs and
assigns, the recipients of a share in a fortune of some eighty
thousand pounds. In case of Mrs. Gale's- death, her child
or children should come into possession at the age of
twenty-one.
The child mentioned could be none other than
Marguerite, for the Gale's had brought her out with them,
and by some of the letters she found the date of the child's
birth, who was now only seven years old.
Mrs. Scale pondered the subject deeply but said nothing I
to her husband.
Gale and his boys had disappeared. It behoved her to
keep an eye on the recreant mother. The end came
sooner than expected. A woman of the restricted district
had either committed suicide or been murdered; it was an
open question which. Mrs. Scale went to view the body;
identified it as that of a former neighbor of hers named
Boston, who had run away from her husband. In that
name the unfortunate Mrs. Gale was buried, and Mrs.
Scale felt her secret to be safe.
" How much o' that thousan' dollars ha' yer got left?"
asked Scale sulkily, for as his wife had manipulated the
whole transaction, she had likewise kept the proceeds. THE   FATE   OF   MARGUERITE 89
"It's ail there." she returned.    "Why?"
" Don't yer think we'd better send that brat to the police
station, an' go home. I'm sick o' this. We could set up
shop an' git a easy livin' out 'er what you got stowed away."
" Haint you got no more ambition 'en that, Walkerton
Henery?" She always gave him his full name, it sounded
"kind o' high."
" Haint you heard 0' them strike o' gold out on the
coast somewhere West. Why a man named Cameron
Gulch, I see in the paper, has been takin' up gold by the
bucket full. " What he can do, you better believe we
can."
"I don't want no diggin' fer gold, its .risky, and its hard.
Where one gits the buckets full you talk about, hundreds'U
lose their lives. But I'll tell you what I will do. If you'll
fork out money enough to set up a good saloon business,
I'll undertake to help some o' them miners out there to hev
a good time at their own expense, and my profit."
She sat and considered a while. Then made up her
mind not to say anything about the will for a while yet.
" Well, look you here, Walkerton Henery: If I pay
our passage out there, / keep the girl, and I take her with
us. When I get out there, I'll give you half the money
*/1 see a good openin', and the other half I keep for a rainy
day."
Mrs. Scale had a habit of emphasizing small words,
which had the faculty of impressing Walkerton Henery
with the superiority of her wisdom. When that was not
sufficient to make him walk in the way she wished he should
go, she would add, " and you know Walkerton Henery,
Fve had ten years more experience in the world than you
have," which latter argument was always conclusive.
Walkerton Henery agreed to her terms, and quietly they
: 90
NAN
1
sold their effects, giving out to the few who were curious
concerning them, that they were going back to the Old
Country, where a fortune had been left them.
They knocked about for some years from place to place
before the sagacious Mrs. Scale would put out her money
on the coveted saloon for her husband, and in the meantime he had to work at anything he could get.
At last they struck a mining town in the interior of
British Columbia, where the good will and fixtures of such
a place were on the market, owing to a stray bullet which
had missed its intended mark, and taken the saloon keeper
instead.
Marguerite was now fourteen years of age. A fair,
pretty, pink and white creature, somewhat stupid, very
timid, and exceedingly small for her years. It was soon
rumoured that her parents were very strict, not to say
cruel to her. She had a great horror of cold water, and
one of their favourite punishments was to strip and throw
her into a rain barrel, no matter what the time of year,
and then whip her dry with towels, the two of them, for
her physical good and mental enlargement; then either to
send her to bed supperless or shut her in a dark closet, also
one of her special dislikes, till she was willing to give either
of her ' parents' the properly servile obedience they
required. She seemed to have retained no memory of her
former home or of her own parents. Some people said
she was ' not all there,' and no one suspected for a moment
but that the Scales were her rightful parents.
About this time a new sect, hailing from the South, sent
in preachers with a kind of Free Thought teaching, which
developed into Free Love, and from out the spirit of fervor
with which Mrs. Scale entered into the ' New Religion,'
and her admiration for the fine sensuous looking 'Preacher,'
— THE   FATE   OF   MARGUERITE 91
came to her one day the stork, bringing a morsel of a girl
baby, quite unexpectedly, of course.
This girl was so much the picture of Marguerite, no one
could suppose anything but that they were sisters, even the
babe as it grew, was more stupidly dull than Marguerite.
As time went on Marguerite blossomed into a pretty,
plump, pink and white young woman, whose fair brown
hair shone with the tint of pale gold, and despite the weak
mouth, and the somewhat empty smile, she had suitors
galore; but all dropped off one after the other till Marguerite had reached the great age of twenty-one.
Now it was that Mrs. Scale discovered her younger
daughter's eyes were in a precarious •condition, as every
one else knew they had always been from the scrofulous
affection of her blood. Mrs. Scale decided the only thing
to save her from blindness was to take her to London,
England, where a noted occulist might be consulted.
More easily than she had expected her husband handed
her five hundred dollars above the price of her ticket, and
with what she had saved from her housekeeping, and some
three hundred dollars still left of the Gale money, she
found herself within a week on her way to England; the
will, papers and letters of the late Mrs. Gale carefully
bestowed in the clothing upon her person.
She noted with satisfaction the alacrity of her husband's
: to her prolonged absence, and the tenderness of
1 Marguerite.
Knowing both as she did, the outcome of her journey
with regard to them would be as she desired. Having
held the whip-hand so long, the idea of being ousted by
Marguerite, or defied by Walkerton Henery had never
occurred to her.
Her plans were working well.    If she failed in estab- 92
NAN
fil
lishing her own identity as Leonora Gale, she still had
the real heiress in the background, and completely in her
power.
Arrived in London, as a poor woman, she left her child
at a children's home, determined not to be troubled by a
daughter who was not only threatening to become blind,
but idiotic. She wrote home and told her husband the
child had died under an operation. It occasioned him no
grief, although Marguerite shed a few tears over it.
We next find Mrs. Scale in the quiet country village of
an English shire, paying calls upon different ' relatives,'
and passing as Mrs. Gale, widow. She had taken care to
ascertain that no word of Gale and his sons had ever
reached the old home.
Here she spoke of things that only Leonora Gale would
be cognisant of, and though her tongue sounded somewhat
strange to them, they accounted for it by her long absence,
and the fact that she had to mix with the untaught
Colonists made her grammatical errors possible, although by
observation she had greatly improved her manner of speech.
Soon three elderly gentlemen who had known Leonora
Gale in her childhood and youth, accompanied Mrs. Scale
to London and swore to her identity before the family
lawyers, who fortunately for her, were a younger branch
of the house.
The will was proved, and Mrs. Scale's share was a
goodly sum of the accumulated eighty thousand pounds.
Then the country village knew her no more, and she
spent the greater part of a year going here and there, not
as Mrs. Gale, but in her own name.
Her husband, little knowing of the wealth she had
acquired, sent her very small allowances, and never at one
time sufficient to pay her passage out.    She smiled as she
3 THE   FATE   OF  MARGUERITE 93
threw his pittance to one side, and decided to steal a march
upon the pair. Her appearance was hailed with the disgust
she had anticipated.
Till this step Mrs. Scale had made no mistake. Now
her wicked sacrifice of the girl left in her charge came
home in full force. She had lost all control over Walkerton Henery, and he dared her to interfere with Marguerite.
Thinking to re-establish herself she told her husband of
the wealth she possessed, and how she had come by it.
But the charm worked wrong way, and he threatened to
explode the whole thing and hand her over to the British
authorities unless she gave the property to Marguerite.
This she absolutely refused to do upon any penalty, but
patched up a kind of family compact by which he was to
receive half, and they were all to live together.
They gave out that some mining speculations in which
they had been engaged had been so extraordinarily successful, that they must build themselves a suitable dwelling.
Nothing so magnificent as the furnishing and appointments had been seen in the colony, not even in Government House.
They employed Chinese cooks, house men and gardeners;
the two old people kept their own counsel, Marguerite was
only aware they were wonderfully well off, and enjoyed
it in her own way, never thinking to question whence it
came.
They visited everywhere, and received the best there were
socially, but Marguerite had no more admirers, she was
even a wall-flower at the informal balls of the place,
Although no one had such dresses as she; and still another
thing tried her keenly, and that was she was growing not
only embonpoint but fat.
W. Things dragged along  for several years in  this way, 94
NAN
Scale getting more and more overbearing with both women.
His wife was suffering from some internal disease, which I
however lingered too long to suit him in taking her hated
presence out of the house.
Mrs. Scale possessed the only phaeton and carriage in
the place, and one day she had driven out as usual, looking I
fearfully wan and ill, but that was her usual appearance,
and people thought nothing of it till next morning it was
reported that a coffin had been hastily ordered for her, and I
that the funeral was" to take place that afternoon.
It was the custom for all the places of business to close
for several hours to allow the entire population to join in I
the funeral parade, and the townsfolks flocked to the
house an hour before the time set, in order to pay a farewell visit to the remains. What was their astonishment
to find the funeral had hurriedly taken place at 10.30, on
account it had been said of the inability to keep so bad a
corpse. This puzzled many, as the poor woman had been
thin to emaciation. But Marguerite told them the unknown disease had been cancer, and that it had suddenly
broken. Also that Pa felt so bad he could not be seen by
any one.
Little whisperings began to go round. The undertaker,
who had been handsomely paid to say nothing, hinted of
the terrible looking corpse she made, how twisted were
her limbs, while her lips were drawn tightly back, and her
eyes starting out from her head.
A lingering tenderness for Marguerite prompted an old
admirer of hers, who had lately come in with his pile, to
hang around the Scale house and see for himself if there
was any truth in the suspicions with which the many
regarded this strange family. Hearing voices in a downstairs room he had advanced to the window, whence he THE   FATE   OF   MARGUERITE 95
could gain a partial view of the interior. There he- saw
Scale half fill a tumbler with port wine and pass it to some
one apparently in bed. Marguerite at the same time put
her head in the door and said " Good night ma, pleasant
dreams."
This he thought was alright and he left immediately;
but recalled all these incidents afterwards in the light of
other events.
Now the information came through the dressmaker,
that old Scale was going to marry his daughter. All stood
horrified, and there was talk about taking up the body of
the late Mrs. Scale, and tarring and feathering the old man.
Stormy meetings were held, and rousing speeches made, but
as so often happened in those days, it ended in much talk,
but nothing doing.
Poor, foolish Marguerite, even under such circumstances
thought she must have some new dresses for the occasion.
With the everlasting smile on her lips, she said to the
dressmaker when she went to be fitted: —
" I must have my dresses by next Wednesday, because
I'm going to be married to Pa, and we're going away now
Ma's dead."
Shocked beyond expression, the woman dropped the
bright blue silk she was trying on, and raised her hands in
protest.
" Oh, yes," continued Marguerite serenely, " I forgot
to tell you my name is Gale, not Scale. I never knew it
till Ma was dead; and Pa says I haven't got any money,
and I aint strong enough to work. Besides, he says he
won't have my nice white skin spoilt, cooking and messing
around; so he's going to marry me and see I get taken
good care of; for we've got more money than any body 96
NAN
ever thought.    It was Ma that always wanted me to do
dirty work."
Wednesday, a week from the burial of Mrs. Scale
number one, and before the committees of investigation,
indignation, and general fussiness had half discussed the
subject, the pair were married before a justice of the peace
and gone, no one but the agent knew where; and after he
had sent the proceeds of a forced sale to them, their whereabouts only became known now and again, as some chance
traveller came upon them, always on the move to leave
Marguerite's admirers behind, for in spite of bolts, bars,
locks and cunningly-devised bells, these pests of the old
man's life, sought her favors.   NANCY  BUTTER AT  THE  FAIR
INNOCENCE    FROM    THE    BACKWOODS
Mrs. Butter's most friendly neighbor, a shy little woman,
had heard of Nancy's wonderful journey to town
to see the first Agricultural Show held in the country, and
she must needs take a day off, saddle up the old mare and
meander through the forest trails in order to hear the news.
Now Nancy Butter's farm was fair to see. As you
emerged from the trail in the dense forest you came upon
an open prairie, with here and there a scattered clump of
wild rose bushes. Winding in and out, like a brilliant
serpent was -a narrow sparkling stream, and scattered over
the landscape, horses and cattle feeding. This stream had
no bridges, except here and there where a tree had been
" failed " across, and which made a rather precarious footing
for pedestrians.
Following a deeply-beaten trail Mrs. Harding came to
the Ford, and made her way to a log house, built on the
banks of the stream. Alighting, she was warmly welcomed
by Nancy, and after the dinner dishes had been disposed
of and the men folk gone back to work, the two women
turned back their dress skirts, drew up close to the big box
stove, and prepared for a lively chat.
Almost all the talking being on one side, quite a lot of
information was imparted in a short time. The only things
which seemed to concern Mrs. Harding were to see that
her skirt didn't scorch, and that daylight enough remained
for her to get over the ford and through the trail back to
her cabin home before dark, NAN
m
1
" You know Mis Hardin'" began Nancy Butter, " it
must be nigh on ter ten years sense 'Lijah an' me went to
town together, an' I aint so slender es I was then nuther; I
but 'Lijah he gits smaller and lighter all the time, seems
to me he'll jes' dry up an' blow clean away some o' these »
times, an' I shant know what's got him, an' the dinner or
supper or whatever it is'll git all spiled.
" Well I was goin' to tell you about that show.    We I
jest tuk Samooel and Brindlepol.    I cut down a pair o
'Lijah's ole pants fer Samooel and they looked re-el nice
wi' the stockings I knitted 'en last winter."
" We'd hearn say es small pox was to town, an' the
papers made so much fuss about perfumingatin' an' all that, I
so we jest shet ourselves and Brindle Pol inter the wood shed
and we perfumingated tell we was thet strong o' sulphur
you might a struck us fer lucifer matches."
" Sich a steamboat es it were.    Lookin' glass all around
tell you can't rest, but hev to keep a lookin' at yourself this;|
a way and that a way all the time.    When I fust got on I
see a big' 'oman a com' along to meet me wi' a little boy
es jest looked like Samooel eggsact, o'ny I tuk the 'oman
to be almost twict es big es me.    She was drest jest the I
same too: I stud still an' looked at her, an' she stud still I
an' looked at me, and we jest stared at one another, till I
felt kinder mad, an' she looked mad, too.    I jest thought \
to myself:  ' I aint afraid o' you mam, I'll jest go up and
ax you what it's all about any hows.'    When what do you
think Mis Hardin', I jest bumped up to a big looking' glass, |
and a feller says, ' Want to walk thru' the glass, Mum?'
An' them es was settin' around sniggered; he thought he
was drefful smart I guess.    I didn't let on es I'd been
fooled, but I jest snifted like, an' them fooks es hed got
ready to laugh straightened out their faces agin." NANCY   BUTTER   AT   THE   FAIR      99
Mrs. Harding fidgetted and asked about the town.
" I guess yu'll niver git home to-night ef I tell you all
I hearn an' seen. The town is built up wonderful. They
got a second street now an' the side walks hev got the up
an' down tuk outen 'em, 'ceptin' on Front Street."
" Es I was sayin' 'Lijah left Brindle Poll on to the steam
boat an' pioneered Samooel an' me to the Hottell. Lor'
bless yer! that Hottell is two storey high, an' hes a sight
o' rooms, an' then they hed ter dig a hole in the ground fer
the kitchens, an' they hed them long tailed Chieneymen a
cookin' down theer, I was most afraid to eat the stuff they
cooked, but it was so awful nice I hed to take the chanct
o' bein' pisened.
" The Hottell was big enough sure, but the rooms was
awful small, an' ours was clear to the top. Samooel hed
to lay down on the floor to sleep, fer the bed was ony big
enough fer me, but 'Lijah managed to scrouge in somehows."
" I got peekin' round an' I found es Mis' Tomlin es
lives jest this side o' you, was in the next' room, an' es she
often goes ter town she knowed some folks there, an' they
come to see her."
" One night a Mis Byson come an' stopped. The men
folks was hevin' a good time down stairs, so we sent
Samooel and got suthin' warm an' comfortin' fer us, not
es I'm in the habit o' takin' sich things myself, but es the
others wanted it, I didn't think it looked well to make any
objections."
" Mis Byson she up an' tol' all how Byson hed treated
her years agone by, an' how nubbuddy but a saint cud put
up wi' en, 'ceptin' her, an' how onct when he was up to
the mines, the children an' her was most clemmed to
death, an' then he come home dead broke, an' they hed
to keep him tue." NAN
" When she went away Miss Tomlin says tue her, says
she, ' I hope you've injyed yerself Miss Byson mam ?' an'
Miss Byson she says, ' I niver injyed myself better, Miss
Tomlin, mam.' They was main perlite to one nuther,
es they'd orter be in town."
" I went to my room, blowed out the light an' got inter
bed, an' was most asleep afore I tetched the piller."
" Sech a racket es somebuddy kicked up at my door. I
guessed it were one o' them men folk es hed bin enjyin'
hissel tue much an' couldn't find his room. I hed on my
best ni'-gown wi' a lot o' croshay work on to it, an' a reel
putty ni'-cap wi' a deep frill on to it, so I didn't mind
lookin' out an' openin' the door a little ways."
" I says, says I, ' I guess you've corned to the wrong door
my good man,' soothin' like.    It's allest best not to rile a
man when he's bin enjyin' hisself, ' an' I'm drefful sleepy,' '
I says, ' and I wish es you'd '
" Sleepy" he shouts, ' I guess you'd a slept till the blowin'
o' the horn ef I hadn't a smelt that gas. It's a new thing
in this ken try, an' it's mighty strong.'"
" He walked right in athout so much es sayin' ' by yer
leave'; gev a twist to the lamp an' walked out atthout onct
lookin' my way. It were very considerate on him, but a
person don't mind bein' looked at when they are drest,
or ondrest reel nice."
"We went to the show next day."
" It was in a buildin' 'bout es big es your barn, Miss
Hardin'. It were cram jammed in wi' vegetables an' root
crops, an' sich like, an' the walls was all hung wi' patch
work quilts, rag kerpets, paintin's, chrildren's maps an'
writin' books, bunches o' green corn, an' every thing you
could  think  on."
" There was some pianners theer tue, an' Bob Kink theer NANCY   BUTTER   AT   THE   FAIR     101
wi' his klootch, an' he's got lots of money you know, an'
when she hearn them things play, she hung on his arm an'
she says, ' Nica Ticky maux' (Buy me two), she tinkled
her brown paws up an' down the thing an' told him he
could jingle on one an' she on the other all winter, an'
what good times they could hev. I guess he did buy one,
fer I seen him talkin' to the man es hed 'em there, an'
handin' out a heap of bills."
Sugar beets was piled everywheres an' they hed a keg o'
fine white sugar at the show, an' told how they made it
outer sugar beets, an' ast enny buddy to go an' see how it
was made, an' ter put their money inter the consarn. Now
you know Miss Hardin', sugar is mighty dear, twenty-five
cents, a pound, an' we 'uns kin grow plenty sugar beets
es good es thairn, so I ast to go an' see fer myself. ' Yu'll
ha' to go over tue the island in a canoe says the man.'
' Thet's alright,' says I, ' canoes aint no new things tue
me.'
I went off wi' a Siwash to an ole buildin' an' there sure
enough was two scow loads o' beet fine an' full o' sugar
alright."
On to a platform was three Indians an' a root cutter.
One Indian passed up the beets, one put 'em in the cutter
an' tother turned an' turned the handle. " Well, I says
to myself, speakin' out loud, ' Ef them beets is cut wi'
all that dirt on I kearnt see how they comes out clean -
white sugar like thet to the show!'"
" Thet's jest what I was a thinkin' Mam," says a man
ter me very perlite. He had his senses about 'im ef he
wuz half-seas-over. An' I says to 'im, ' I don't see how
yer kin make clean money outen so much dirt.'"
A man es wuz tryin' t'git 'im to put five hundred
dollars inter stock looks at me mad like, an' he says, "Yu
\ NAN
mind yer own business ole 'oman, I know what I'm a
talkin' erbout, an' you don't. This aint no place fer a
respectable 'oman anny ways."
I says: " It's women es hes ter use sugar, an' I don't
think it would be respectable ter use sich muck es thet.
My cows 'ud turn up ther noses at it."
He said some very on perlite things ter me, an' tole
me ter take my ole nose outen thet: but I jes went an'
looked behind o' the thing, an' them beets wuz droppin'
on ter the muddy ground. But lor' bless yer, the per-
moters sold est many shares in their dirty stock es set
'em up fer life, an' yet they never made a pound uv sugar I
arter all, fer it cum out, how thet sack o' fine sugar was
made in Honey-lulay. Thet must be a great place fer
bees I guess, but what thet's got ter do wi' sugar, I don't
know.
" I went back to the show. It were grand to See all
the wagins an' stages comin' in wi' all the ladies an' the
fashons. They hed little bunnets an' hats like saucers
an' plates turned down on their heds, wi' bows o' pretty
ribbon, an' feathers an' flowers stan'in' up back on' front;
on'y it rained pitchforks an' hammers, an' all them pretty
things wuz drippin' wet. Some o' them ladies dresses
hung tu 'em thet close, I says tu 'Lijah, ' Them gels
might most es well wear pants to onct an' done wi' it.'
" 'Hush Nancy B,' says he, ' I guess,'—but he didn't
git no further fer I give 'im an ondignant look, an' he
jes shet up.
Our Brindle Pol do give slathers o' milk to home, but
down to town she didn't milk worth a cent, an' she didn't
tek no prize nuther. I don't know ef it were because
we perfumingated her wi' so much sulphur, er ef them
town folk jest milked her 'tween times; however it were, NANCY   BUTTER   AT   THE   FAIR     103
we jest hed our pains fer our trouble in takin' her.
" I were tue sleepy fust night tue look under the bed
es anny 'omen should du, in a strange place, 'specially I
wuz thinkin' what a good time we'd a hed es well es the
men folks an' forgot, but to-night Mis Tomlin she were
gone to spend the evenin' wi' Mis Bison an I felt kinder
lonesome. Samooel wuz sleepin' tue es ef he was the
forty sleepers rolled inter one. I jest stooped down, an'
thet is hard work fer a 'omen o' my heft tue du, but Lor'!
I jumped up quick enough, fer I seen an alingator theer
apointin' straight fer Samooel. I jumped on ter the bed
an' yelled, but Samooel he wouldn't wake up an' I felt
drefful, fer I thought thet critter'd come out anny minit,
an' may be sting 'en ter death, an' we'd hev to hire some
buddy in his place. I couldn't du nuthin' but yell, an'
sure in come a fine dressed young 'omen an' she says, says
she, " Phwat's the matter Mum ? I thought some one
wuz a murtherin' of yez, shure an' I did."
" Not some buddy," says I, " but that critter onder the
bed, he'll "
" It's a mouse, is it Mum," says she, " an' she jumps
on to a cheer an' on top o' the burer table. I shell allest
think thet burer table hed a caster off en it fer it come
down ker-flop wi' her, right on top o' Samooel an' bruk
ter smithereens. It woke up Samooel though, an' jes es
he crawled out, a man comes runnin' in an' says, "What's
the durned ole gowk up tue ter night? She blowed out
the gas one night, bust the sugar beet bubble yesterday,
an' what's next?"
Then he seed the broken burer an' lookin' glass, an'
the gal on her knees a comin' out from onder the pieces.
Thet man said some very bad words, an' I says to 'em, 104
NAN
female ladies in this heer room,
yelled,
' what's   hit   hall   about
' I says, kind o'
: in yer Hottell
me best ni-close
"Air yer aware theer's
Mister?"
" Female   divils,"   he
hony way?"
" Yu ort ter know what it's all about,"
dignified, " when yu let sech critters lo<
es is onder the bed, an' me asettin' up i
a shakin' an' a trimblin' wi' the cold."
" Tremble away yu ole scarcecrow," he says, " but
yu'll hev tu pay the damages afore yu leave this Hottell."
He dove onder the bed, an' hauled out the critter. "Hit's
honely a hiron boot-jack, hain't yer niver see sich a thing
afore ?"
" Drefful bad grammar he spoke tu.
" Would you believe it ? 'Lijah hed ter buy a new
burer, but I tuk all es wuz left of the ole 'un an' fetched .
it ter hum. I've hearn say, ' it niver rains but it showers,'
an' I wuz drefful glad I hedn't a broke the lookin' glass
myself, fer sure es hogs is pigs, thet gel'll hev bad luck
for seven year.
" I wuz gettin' most tired o' seein' so many folks, an'
thought I'd like ter be gettin' back hum, on'y the music
wuz so awful nice. Them fellers blowed an' blowed till
theer cheeks stuck out, it wuz reel good, on'y I'm pretty
heavy on my feet an' du git so onmerciful played out.
I seen a table es hed a lot o' potted plants on to it, an' 1
Jest set down on the edge to enjy seein' them music men,
when up comes a man in a hurry an' he says, " Git offen
thet my good 'omen, yu'll break the stand."
Then I jest peeked around at the geranums an' things
an' sniffed an' sniffed an' smelled round ter see ef theer
wuzn't some little snips I might tek hum, when up comes
anuther man an' he says, ' Move along theer, move along,
i NANCY   BUTTER   AT   THE   FAIR     105
yu fills hup the halleys.' " I says to 'im, ' Then why
don't yer make 'em bigger' ?" he says, quite sassy like,
' Hevery buddy haint a woman mounting ef yu are.'"
I says ter meself, I'll try agin, an' see what I kin find ter
set down on. Theer wuz some rolls o' nice kerpets an'
some orful pretty cheers, an' I jest bumped down on ter
one, so glad ter set down. Then a man comes bustlin'
up an' he says, " Git up my good 'oman. Yer gound is
all wet, an' them cheers aint ter set down on."
" What be they fer then ?" says I.
"Jest ter look at," says he.
" Lor,'" I says to 'en, " I wouldn't want a lot o' them
things settin' around my place, they'd be a drefful bother
ter keep clean, an' then on'y ter look at."
The apples an' pears an' plums wuz a sight fer blind
eyes, 'specially the plums, an' I thought it'ud on'y be right
ter sample 'em. Well, well, ef a big perliceman didn't
shake a stick over my head, an' order me off like I were a
pickerpocket I went right after 'Lijah an' tole him he'd
best settle wi' thet feller fer treatin' of me like thet. 1
told him what wuz the use o' hevin' a husband ef yer
hed ter look arter yerself, an' be treated like yer wuz a
lone 'oman. 'Lijah says, " The man is on'y doin' of
his dooty." " Fine dooty,' says I wi' all my dignity on.
" Threatenin' female ladies, when he aint afeared ef theer
husbands is."
I wandered round a bit more, when I sees 'Lijah settin'
on a beer barr'l. I goes up to 'en an' says, " Yu've gotten
the right place at last, I'm thet petered out, I couldn't
stand another minit." " Mind yer don't bust the barr'l,
ole 'oman," he says, on respectful like. I looked at 'en
kind o' meanin', and he didn't say no more. He knows
who came home onct wi' his close all soaked thru wis io6
NAN
beer, an' thet frum a prohibition place, an' tole a hen
and bull yarn about a barr'l bustin' in the up stairs loft
of the boardin' house es didn't keep nothin' on hand but
tea and sech. Said the heat busted the barr'l an' the beer
all come down ker-slop on to the dinner table, an' them
all so innercent, an' nubuddy knowed how it got theer.
He knowed what I wuz thinkin' erbout, an' he didn't say
no more, but jest made room fer me. The barr'l wuz
set like it wuz ready ter use, an' rested on its side jest on
a rack. I stepped on ter the rack an' set down flop, I was
so glad tue git the weight offen my feet. Jest how it
happened I don't know, but suthin' gave way onder.
'Lijah an' we went down, settin' right in the middle o'-
thet beer rack, our head a standin' up one side, an' our
heels a stickin' up the tother, an' all thet good beer a
soakin' the outside on us. 'Lijah picked hisself out, an'
three or four hauled me out. I never seen 'Lijah so mad.
He says, " I'm a goin' hum termorrow ole 'oman. I've
hed enough show fer onct, an' it'll be a long ten year
afore I tek you offen the ranch again." Pretty Mrs, Weldon
A   TENDER-FOOT   IN   A   CROWN   COLONY
CHAPTER   I
Among those who came up to British Columbia with the
earliest rush of gold hunters from California, were two
Brothers—big,  dark, silent men.
The elder had shipped around the Horn as an able-
bodied seaman; the younger held his papers as mate in
the merchant Marine.
They were somewhat morose, and unfriendly in their
habits, so what success they had had in the gold mines of
California, or how they came by what they possessed, was
known only to themselves.
The genial, openhanded miner generally avoided them.
One took up land on the banks of the Fraser, the other
secured a beautiful piece of prairie several miles inland.
A stream where trout leaped and sported in their season
and salmon crowded up to spawn, meandered through it;
the forest primeval raised its sheltering arms around,
breathing of pine and cedar, wild honey-suckle and many
a fragrant herb. No sound broke the stillness save the
cry of a squirrel, the thump of the grouse or the crack of
rotten wood as the heavier animals passed along; for in
tins country the feathered tribes are singularly silent.
Here the brothers cut small trees of a uniform size, and
built for themselves a log hut, or, more properly speaking io8 NAN
in those days, a house, for it contained two rooms in the
log-built part, whilst along the whole length of the back
ran a lean-to of shakes, which served as kitchen and wood
shed, much to the general convenience of the silent pair.
Everything was ' ship-shape,' two beds or rather bunks
nailed to the wall, two on either side of the log-built rooms.
A stray cattle-man passing through noted this, and great
was the conjecture as to why so many beds were needed
by two men, or even why more than the usual one room
should have been built at all; for men in general only
needed shelter, comfort they hardly looked for.
The mate appeared in New Westminster, and took out
a post office order for a considerable amount, and the postmaster, under pretence of business, insisted upon knowing
to whom he was entrusting so much money in Liverpool.
Then it was whispered abroad that this sullen man had
left a wife, and may be children behind him, and that he
had sent money home for them to follow.
Had they seen his letter they would have stood aghast,
for it said: —
" Mrs. Weldon, I hereby send five hundred dollars
to bring you and the children out to me.    Don't you
try any sharp tricks such as cutting off with the monej
and the children, thinking you can keep away from me,
for I'll follow you if you do and kill you and them
on sight."
Then the loving husband gave full directions for the sale
of their furniture, the outfit, and the modus operandi of
the journey out by way of Panama.
He laid in a stock of provisions, bought two cows, a
number of chickens, several pigs, and a few farming tools;
if you can call spades, rakes and hoes by that name.
He drank heavily while in town, but never asked another PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 109
man to take a drink with him, which act of unsociability
might be construed in two ways: either he felt himself
superior to his fellow-man, or he was too mean to pay for
anyone else.
The liquor seemed to take little effect upon him, except
that he grew more silent, if that were possible, and too
morose for anyone to take the chance of crossing him.
His strength was prodigious, and he knew his business
perfectly; this induced a river Captain, who had been
having trouble with his half-breed deck hands, to approach
him with an offer of employment on his boat; because,
he argued, " That Weldon could chuck any cantankerous
beggar of a half-breed or drunken miner into the river
without turning a hair."
Such a mate he wanted, for, although a good Captain
as river Captains went, he was small of stature and
possessed little physical strength; which left him at the
mercy of the swift riffles on the Fraser if his half-breeds
got sulky and refused to work.
Weldon could see the Captain was ' dead anxious' to
secure his services, so he held out for one hundred dollars
a month, and although it was some twenty dollars more
than the usual sum demanded, Captain Sikes was fain to
give it to him, for on his last trip up river he had been
put out of his pilot house by the burly half-breed who
acted as mate.
The Captain looking down had remarked to the man
that the cord-wood he was getting on board needed
ballasting, as 'she was listing to starboard.'
The half-breed mate looked at the cordwood and then
up at the face of the Captain above him. Seizing a stick
four feet long and about six inches square, he rushed up
to the pilot house, and had not his superior beaten a hasty no NAN
retreat he would certainly have sustained bodily harm»
for the mate was highly indignant at receiving what hei
considered a public reprimand.
Lord of the situation by reason of his unquestionable
strength, the half-breed took charge of the wheel and
landed all safe in town.
The Captain naturally objected to such treatment on
his own boat, and when he cast his eyes on Weldon he I
knew he had got the man who could handle the masterful
Skookum Dan.
The latter was greatly astonished when told his services I
were no longer required.
"What's the matter with you and Sikes?" asked an
acquaintance, as Skookum Dan sullenly made his way off I
the  wharf,  cash  in  hand,  prepared  to  make  a  trip  to I
Victoria to 'blow it in.'
" Oh!    I dunno;  he bullied me over loadin' cordwood, |
and I guess I can load cordwood with any white man.    11
just run him out of the pilot house with a cordwood stick i
and brought the boat to town myself.    I can handle a
steamboat as well as he can, you bet!    He kinder got mad
and sacked me, but he'll be glad to take me on again."
" He's took that big Englishman on I heer," returned»
the other, " and you'd better git in all the good time you I
can right now Skookum, my boy, for you won't git much
of a time with Weldon."
Time went on, and any one could see that Weldon
was getting restless;   not that his affections troubled him, J
but he was afraid he might be ' fooled' by a woman, his
intention having been in the first place not to let his wife
know if he was living or dead.
One day as he was standing on the deck of the up-
river steamer, watching the freight come aboard, he was PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON
hailed from the guards of the incoming Victoria boat by
a pretty little woman, who was waving frantically to
attract his attention. Two children stood by her, looking
anything but pleased to see their father. CHAPTER   H
tie woman tell the story of her comingj
> she sat by the fireside of friends manyl
We will let the 1
in her own way,
years after.
" You see my husband's brother William came out as
mate on board one of the Hudson Bay's ships.    William
tried his fortune in the California diggin's, and he did well, J
so he wrote for my John to join him.
" They were both good men to have on board ship, for
they were strong and  fearless,  and  kept  the  sailors inJ
order, so John had no trouble in findin' a ship outward
bound for the gold diggin's.
" They made some money there, and then they both
came on up to British Columbia, and John thought he'd
send for me. I never had a word from him, but the letter
and the money he sent from here, and my funds were
runnin' pretty low by then, careful as I could be.
" William objected to my comin', for he said there ;
would sure to be trouble if John sent for that ' pretty
little wife of his,' those were his very words, she repeated;
' Pretty little wife of his.' As she looked up she caught
the merry twinkle in the eye of her host, who said, " True
for you, Mrs. Weldon. You was as pretty as a wax doll,
and lively as a kitten."
Turning to his daughter he continued:  "Why, Molly, I
you with your black eyes and quiet ways wouldn't have
been seen where this little woman was; and women were
mighty scarce in those days, let me tell you.    Pretty or
ugly they counted for something."
"Don't they now?" asked Mrs. Weldon coquettishly. PRETTY   MRS.    WELDON 113
"Of course they do, we couldn't get along without
diem," and he took a puff or two at his pipe. "But 1
was going to tell you, Molly, what she looked like. A
round little tot, like your mother in figure, with yellow
hair all in curls on her shoulders, blue eyeSj and the
regular pink and white British complexion. All the men
lost their heads and their hearts, and John soon hustled
her off up country to his brother's ranch. I can tell you
he was scared she'd get spirited away."
Mrs. Weldon laughed naively at the old recollection
and said, " He needn't have been a bit alarmed, there was
only one John in the world for me. But it was orful
temptin' to tease him sometimes, though he wasn't altogether safe."
"Let me see," ruminated her host, between puffs, "you
had to go up river on the steamboat to William's place?"
" Yes, and when we got there we found a mule in a
rough two-wheeled cart, not half big enough for our boxes
and things, and a cow tied behind it, and what do you
think William said to me?"
"T thought you'd have a lot of truck along or it
wouldn't be you, so I brought this fine cow for you and
little Sukie to ride.' Her uncle always called her Sukie
to tease me, as you know, her right name being Florence."
" Poor child, she was standin' on the muddy bank in
her nice white frock and blue sash, with blue shoes and
stockings. She was hangin' on to my dress, frightened
to death at the dark forest around us."
"The steamboat was backin' her way out, and there
was my things in the mud, and that unaccountable lookin*
mule cart, with William, all rough and not shaved nor
anything.
"I flopped down in the mud, holdin' on to Florence, ii4 NAN
and began to cry and say I wanted to go home.
"John and his brother didn't take a bit of notice of
us, but went on loadin' up the things; then John comes
over to me and he says (poor man he's dead now)—he
says, ' You won't do much flirtin' here my lady. Now
you just get up, and either walk or ride on that cow.'    I
" I ain't one to be down in the mouth long, and I saw£
it would be best not to make a fuss, so I got up, and 1
says, I'll walk. It ain't far to William's farm, I suppose ?>
I was thinkin' all farms were like I'd seen when I'd been
out in the old Country at home. A good big house,
plenty of milk and butter, home-made bread, good fresh
eggs, and all that sort of thing.
" But William says, ' It's nine miles to the ranch, and
the road ain't as good as this far.
" Flo and me was stickin' in the mud every step then,
and could hardly pull along. So I says, put the child in
the cart and I'll get on somehow.
" No, they wouldn't do that, the boxes might shift they
said, when they came to the trail through the forest, and
may be crush her.
" I dragged on a bit farther, I hated to give up. I had
been watch in' the cow and she seemed to be quiet enough,
so at last I said, ' If one of you'll hold me on, I'll try what
ridin' on a cow's like.'   _
" Glad enough I was to get on I can tell you, and the
cow went taggin' along at the tail of the cart, and you
could hear a big suckin' noise like a giant eatin' soup,
every time she pulled a hoof out of the mud.
" When we got to the forest the trail was drier. But
my! you had to look out for the branches of the trees
hittin' you, after the cart had separated them. So I nearly
laid down on the cow's back.    Then Flo began to cry for
L PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 115
something to eat, and the men got tired and cross.    It
was a nice gettin' home I can tell you.
" However they say it's a long lane that hasn't a turnin',
and we'd been turnin' and turnin' and turnin' for nearly
six hours. I could have cried myself, but I just kept quiet
and hushed the child. When I tried to think, I didn't
very much care what happened, I was so faint and tired.
'" 'Whoa!' says William, and we stopped before a zigzag fence with a little log cabin inside; it had small
windows and a rough door. When we got inside it had
no floor. Some bunks were nailed to the walls, there
was a bit of a rough table and some boxes to sit on.
" I just dropped down and fainted, and I never came
to till John made a fire and got me some tea. If there'd
been no tea I think I should have died.
" When I came round I laughed and cried, till I hadn't
any more strength left.    Then I went to sleep in one of
' the bunks.
" But there that time is past and gone." She sat silent
awhile, and then  continued: —
"It wasn't so bad as what followed. John went back
to the boat of course, and left me and the children there
with William.
"Willie was named after his uncle, but he never could
abear the child, because he was small and fair like me, not
big and dark like his father.
" William always thought there was no one in the world
like his brother John, and since I've got more sense, I
believe he was jealous of me, for I never heard of him
bein' in love with any one but John.
" He made Willie hunt up the cows, and learn to milk,
and there were plenty of wild animals in the forest in
those days.    Why we kept the chickens in big coops on n6
NAN
the little porch, and the cougars would come and try to
get away with a coop if they couldn't break it open; they
like chickens.
"I used to go with Willie very often after the cows,
and we would see black bears gettin' berries, but they
never came after us.    I guess they  wasn't hungry.
" When I told William about it he just laughed, and
said, ' We wasn't as sweet as the berries.'
" I told John when he came to see us once, like a foolish
little woman as I was, and he says, 'Well you shan't be
bothered that way again. I'll just take Bill with me, and
William can hunt the cows himself.'
" I begged and prayed him to leave the child with me.
I went down on my bended knees to him, but he wouldn't
listen to me.
" I wasn't very well then, and I felt I must have the
boy; but his father said they wanted a waiter on the boat,
and my Willie must go. If I kept him tied to my apron
strings he'd grow up as big a fool as his mother.
" I stood it for two or three trips of the boat, and then
I got up in the dark one morning and hitched the mule
to the cart. Took Florence and went to the landin' without William once suspectin' what I was after.
"As I laid awake night after night, I could hear my
Willie cryin', and I couldn't rest. I knew his father
would have no mercy on him, and I made up my mind it
John insisted on keepin' him there, I would just tell him,
I'd take Flo and jump into the river right in front of the
boat, and then I knew Willie would do the same, and we
would all die together.
" I went all through the trail, and never once thought
of cougars, wild cats or bears; and there I waited at the
landin'-place till the steamer came puffin' into sight, and
-^—- PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 117
as soon as the gang plank was down, I took the child and
went aboard.
"John didn't expect to see me of course, and he was
all taken back.
" I want Willie to go home with me," I told him. " 1
shall go crazy there alone."
" The Captain heard me, and he said, ' I should think
you would little woman.'
" Turnin' to John he say% " If you don't send the boy
you can go yourself."
" Of course I didn't want that, and I looked up at John
and smiled; then I turned to the Captain and I said, " 1
know I'm only a foolish little woman, and the boy would
be better with his father, but I'm so lonesome," and 1
began to cry.
" I couldn't help it, and that always made John mad.
" Just then I could see Willie's blue eyes lookin' pitir
fully at me, and I saw a great bruise on his forehead too,
that I knew his father had given him.
"I dried my tears and seemed to feel as much spirit in
me as John. I up and told him what I would do, and i
spoke so Willie could hear me, and he nodded his head as
much as to say, ' I'll jump in too.' For shame's sake John
had to let the boy come with me, although he threatened
to pay him out when he came to see us. But I trusted in
Providence and my own wits for that time, and we started
home through the dark forest trail as happy as could be.
" The steward gave us a parcel of things to eat as we
went along; and John actually bought a bottle of English
ale and put it in the cart.
"I says, 'John do kiss me, and I'll do anything you
like, only I must have Willie when I can't have you.' I've
always been glad I said that, and he did kiss me."
_J CHAPTER   III
We return to where we left the little woman on the bank
of the mighty river, waving to the dark and sullen figure
in  the  wheel  house.
It was apparent that another member would shortly be
added to the family circle, and the miners who had watched
the little scene, the gamblers who were going up to fleece
the unwary, the sneak thieves whose only object was to
rob the dump-boxes, left the painted dance-house girls to
amuse themselves in the saloon, and going outside took oft
their hats to the little mother-woman who stood so bravely
on the mud-bank, and was so happy that the surly mate
had kissed her, and left the boy with her.
When the steamboat had turned the bend in the river,
every one went back to their idle occupations of card
playing, gambling, and drinking, for there was always a
bar on these boats.
Having watched the steamboat disappear, the little
woman set her face towards the forest.
On their arrival at the loghouse they were greeted by
a storm of abuse, but Mrs. Weldon, who seemed to have
gained a spirit of courage such as she had never possessed
before, told him she had been to see John, and if he hadn't
objected she didn't see what his brother had to say in the
Meantime the steamboat went on its way with a swing
that pleased all the travellers, for Weldon kept her head
well up against the stream, hurried the laggards at every PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 119
landing, and it seemed that his would again be the first
boat to reach the old Hudson's Bay station at Fort Yale.
This being the ambition of every river Captain, all
steam was carried that could possibly be put on, and the
safety valve weighted down to increase the speed.
The last stop they made was at Hope, where a trail
over the mountains to the Similkameen Country was used
to bring in cattle from the bunch grass ranges both for
up and down river. The Fraser being, as the water-ways
in all newly opened up countries are, the great high-way
towards which all trails tended.
Weldon was angry that another was to be added to his
family. He would have been better satisfied had there
been no children, for he hated children, despised small men
and abhored big women. He was afraid his wife was
gaining too much influence over him, as his brother had
frequently told him she would.
" She'll jest twist your big hulk around her little finger
afore long, see if she don't," had been his pleasant way ot
putting it Why he had let the boy go with her was a
mystery to him. He was angry with himself for being
too soft, and no one dare approach him that day, except
Skookum Dan, the one-time rebellious mate. In him,
Weldon had discovered somewhat of a kindred spirit, and
to him the mate resigned the wheel while he went to his
meals, with the injunction not to give it up to that little
snipe, (meaning the Captain). To which Skookum
(Strong) Dan would reply laconically "You bet!"
Captain Sikes took his enforced leisure calmly, for his
boat gained in popularity, and consequently in profit as its
record of being ' first in' became established.
As neither of the men knew fear, so also was fatigue a
stranger to their iron sinews.    When Weldon was out NAN
■III
of the wheel-house he went to his state room; a little cupboard of a place he could hardly turn round in, and his feet
always hung over the side of his narrow bed. Here he
would smoke and drink while Skookum Dan navigated the
boat in the lower and easier stretches of the river. In the
more difficult upper stretches, Weldon was at the wheel,
and Skookum Dan down by the engines piling in fuel and
gathering steam, for it was the pride of his life to pass the
other boats on the way up, and arrive at Fort Yale with a
broom tied to the flag-pole indicating to all and sundry that
they had made a clean sweep of the river. Here they
would receive the uproarious cheers of the miners and
packers, who waited on the up-river race, and staked their
hard-earned money on its results.
At Hope, the boat was detained to ship a number of
mules and oxen for packing over the mountains to the
Cariboo Country.
This put Weldon and Skookum Dan into a fury. They
wanted to leave them for the next trip, but Captain Sikes
stood firm on that point, and shipped they had to be.
Both Weldon and Skookum Dan went ashore and helped
to hustle the frightened animals aboard. One of the oxen
became frightened, and breaking the guards started for
liberty, but Skookum Dan caught him by the tail, Weldon
ran for his horns, and between them, they pushed and
carried the astonished creature over the gang plank and
into a stall in safety.
Now to catch up their rival which had got several
minutes start of them!
Some three miles above Hope stood two rocks, like
pillars of fate, sheer up and down into the river, called the
Twin Sisters.
The river narrowed somewhat here, which caused its i
J il PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 121
always heavy down stream to rush with great velocity
around the two impeding obstructions, and frequently a
boat would have to make several attempts before she
succeeded in stemming the mighty current.
For once, the man or men on the wheel, felt the rudder
lose its grip upon the water; there was nothing for it but
to let her head swing down stream, steer her clear of the
rocks, and collect steam for the next trial.
The boat that got the start from Hope lost her grip and
headed  down,  thus giving Weldon's boat her chance.
Skookum Dan made up his mind that it would be no
fault of his if their boat lost her headway, so he piled into
the furnace butter, fat, bacon and oil. He weighted the
safety valve, and to make sure it should not give way,
placed a plank over it, and seated himself and as many
Siwashes (Indians) as could find room, on it.
From this coign of vantage, he told his admiring tribesmen of his adventures in Victoria after being paid off by
Captain Sfkes. He had bought the best suit of broadcloth money could buy, a one hundred and fifty dollar
watch, a wide fawn colored cow-boy hat or sombrero, in
all of which things, the soul of the half-breed delights.
The sombrero is particularly becoming, for, from under
it their smouldering dark eyes and plentiful straight black
hair, have a strong beauty all their own.
His vanity satisfied, he had proceeded to ' drink and cut
UP''
The next  thing  he knew was being awakened by a "
sensation of cold.    He came to himself, sat up and looked
around to find he was near the edge of a wharf, naked as
he was born, with the day breaking, and not a soul in sight.
He ran for the saloon where he remembered he had some
money put away in the safe.      Here he made such a 122
NAN
disturbance, that the squaw wife of the proprietor got up
to see what was the matter.
Her man wasn't half the size of Skookum Dan, and he
tried in vain to crowd his giant proportions into the white
man's clothes. So Desdemona lent him a skirt and shawl
of her own till the clothes stores should be opened.
Thither he repaired in his scant female garb, his brawny
reddish brown legs showing far below his skirt. Here he
aFrayed himself as well as he could from his diminished
finances, and satisfied with the fun he had had, returned
to his river boat, and worked in good fellowship with the
man who had supplanted him.
As he talked, the steamboat was trembling in every
timber, her light upper works rattling as if they would
fall to pieces.
" She's making it!" shouted Skookum Dan, as the boat
passed so close to the threatening rock you could have
touched it with a walking stick. He laughed heartily as
he saw a ' che charco' (stranger) leap from the guards to
a ledge of rock in sudden, overpowering fright. " I guess
he can stay there till the water goes down, if he can't swim
ashore," remarked Skookum Dan nonchalently.
The passengers were crowded round the guards of the
boat, excited, speculating, betting on the result, as anxious
that their boat should win as Weldon and his skookum
helper were.
With his eyes on the rock, and feeling the very pulse
of the boat, Skookum Dan shouted, " She's wavering boys;
stir up the fire, pile in the butter, put on more grease!"
It was done; and a second later there was a sound that
made the very mountains reverberate.
The boilers had exploded.
The next instant sections of boat, human bodies, cattle,
miiääBMå PRETTY   MRS.    WELDON 123
mules, scalding water, steam and wreckage darkened the
air.    Then all was silence.
The next boat came shuddering up amidst the floating
horrors of its rival.
Not a soul escaped but the frightened che charco, and
an Indian who had been leaning on the guards, listening
to Skookum Dan's account of himself and his adventures.
The up-coming boat lost her grip again and again, which
was a good thing for the che charco, as those on board
noticed his isolated condition, and a cow-boy stood ready
with his lariat, which he deftly slung over the shoulders
of the young man, running out the slack to give him a
chance to place it below his armpits, and hang on to it
with his hands.
" Haul in your slack, boys. Look lively, or he will be
under the wheel!"
Soon the half unconscious lad came dripping over the
guards, and was eagerly interrogated by the crowd, but to
little purpose, for all he was conscious of was the irresist-
able impulse to jump, and the shout of derision that went
up at his expense. CHAPTER   IV
Stunned by the suddenness of her loss and the horror of
John's tragic death, Mrs. Weldon gave no thought to the
condition of her own health, nor the necessity for providing
proper assistance when her time of trial should come.
We are told that " The wind is tempered to the shorn
lamb," it certainly held good in this case.
All who knew the habits of the squaws married to white
men, especially if they lived in one of the towns, will
remember the overmastering desire they occasionally
developed for a return to their tribe, and a resumption of
their old life for at least a tirne^.
To fish all night from a light cedar canoe, with no
thought of the white man's scorn, to pick berries, cut and
dry fish till their garments were saturated with the odour
of salmon, gather roots, herbs, and the bark of trees for
baskets, the rushes also for klis-klis or mats.
To extract the beautiful and durable reds and blues from
certain plants and berries, and generally to revel in God's
great temple of nature.
One of these calls from the wild had taken Desdemona,
and when her tenase tecoup man (small white man) came
in one night, the house was dark, and she and the children
gone.
Now on one of Skookum Dan's visits to Victoria, he
had told Desdemona all about Weldon and his tenase
klootchman (little woman) where and how she lived, and
so on. The stalwart brave was a great gossip, and the
Indians always prized a good talker or story-teller. PRETTY   MRS.   WELDON 125
It occurred to the visiting équaw that she would go and
see the hyas skookum man's (big strong man's) tenase
klootchman. So by Providence directed, she stepped into
a canoe, paddled across the wide river, and up the salmon
stream to the little woman's log cabin.
Lifting the latch softly she walked in. Mrs. Wjejäon
was not surprised to see her, and Desdemona acljripas
though she had been sent for on the occasion. $m
As Mrs. Weldon lay weakly looking at the darkfpown
babe on her arm, he scowled as the light struck hijyéyes,
and the mother's memory of events came back^B her
clearly, as they had scarcely done since her melwable
journey to the steamboat, and the awful newHSfhich
William, in his own grief, had broken all too aHenly
upon her. ^^
" His living image," she whispered to herself, and speaking of it years afterwards to her friends in town she said,
" Yes, his living image, and as like him now as Vjfö peas,
and he took to steamboatin' too, like a duck to thplwater;
there ain't another such a captain on the river as my John."
" John and his brother never meant to be unkind Jto me,
but they were so big and strong themselves, they had no
idea how little strength a woman's got." Mrs. Weldon
. wiped away a few tears, had another cup of tea, and to her
friend's sympathetic remark of " Why, if most women had
half to go through that you have had, it would have killed
them."
" Well, you see I don't sit down and think, I'm always
up and doin' something, and a person as keeps busy and
don't stop to think about things, can get over lots."
" There's one thing though I can't help thinkin' about,
and that's the time of the floods.
"William hadjgot very overbearin' with us, so Willie
^Hhr mm. 126 NAN
took up the management, and we moved to John's place
on the banks of the Fraser.
" Willie got some lumber and we built a shack, and
what with sellin' butter and eggs to the steamboats, and
the money John left, we got along very comfortable like.
" Then we had a story and a half house, and a good
barn when the flood came, and we were on the low lyin'
land.
" Why the water came up that fast, I remember well.
I was bakin' bread that mornin', and I made a mark on
the kitchen door five feet high, laughin' like, and I says
to Willie, ' when the water comes that far I'm agoin' to
quit, and never come back any more.'
" I never thought for one moment it would come high
enough to do any damage, but behold you! Before night,
the water was up to half an inch of that mark.
" We'd put all our furniture into the half story that had
never been finished; we fixed the beds there and made out
to sleep.
" Willie'd made a raft and we got the cook stove and
kitchen things onto that. The cows and horses had been
moved to higher ground.
" We thought the freshet would only last a few days,
but it lasted several weeks, till at last the neighbors got
scared about us; they said the house would sure wash down,
and we'd be drowned whilst we were asleep.
" I didn't think we would, and I was sure the house was
all right, but one mornin' steppin' out of the roof window
I bumped my head so bad, I said I wasn't goin' to sleep
in there any more.    So we made our beds on the raft.
"A night or two after, Willie woke up, and he says,
'Look out, mother, the house is goin'.'
" The raft was tied to the house.    It was bright moon- PRETTY   MRS.    WELDON
127
light, and up I jumped, ran for the axe and chopped the
rope in two in a twinklin', before I was half awake.
" There went the house sailing out into the river, along
with broken lumber from bridges, chicken coops, pig-sties,
and live and dead cattle and hogs.
" Willie had an old boat alongside the raft, and he says,
j This is the last of this kind of thing, mother. I'm goin'
to tow you to the high ground were the cattle are, and
we'll make out with a tent till we can build again, and it
won't be down here either.'
" It was such a good thing that we'd saved our stove
and cookin' things, and the beds too. We just lived in a
tent all summer, till Willie built the nice house we've
got now."
1 MISS  PHCEBE'S  COURTSHIP
FUN   IN   THE   PIONEER   WEST
About the year 186—, as Mrs. Norland waited for her
mail in the little shack of a post office up the many wooden
steps, a letter was handed to her, deeply edged in black.
It bore an English post-mark, and the good lady hurried
home to devour the contents of her missive.
It announced that her step-mother was dead, and that
her half-sister, Phoebe, who was perilously near forty, had
gathered up her little fortune of a few hundred pounds,
and was on her way to test the possibilities of a new
country, and incidentally the temper of a step-sister.
In those days women were more than scarce, that is
white women. A famine in that line was oppressing the
little city, and Miss Phcebe could have married any man
from eighteen to sixty years of age, upon whom she might
cast a favoring eye.
Many were the unnecessary visits of these swains to the
Norland home, which overlooked our restless river; and
Miss Phcebe all unconscious that she was the attraction,
passed many a pleasant evening, when someone Mrs. Norland thought suitable happened to be bidden to stay.
One evening Mr. Norland brought in a shy back woodsman. He had a ranch a few miles out of the city, and
here he cleared, fired and worked, and may be dreamed
of a happy day when his shack would be exchanged for a
home, and the kindly fare of a good woman should greet
him when he came home from his toil, and together they
might enjoy the homely meal which she had prepared; in MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP
129
1
contrast to what it was now, when upon his return he
would find there was water to fetch from the gurgling
mountain stream,, which had its source in a glacier lake,
cold and sweet on the hottest day in summer.
When he went to make his fire, not a chip of wood
left, and he was fain though weary, to shoulder his axe
and sally forth in quest of fuel.
Not that there was any lack in that respect, for he was
surrounded by only too much of it; but there, when a
man is hungry he is scarcely philosophical.
We say he had visions of happier times, but ten years
had dragged along their weary length. The few white
girls in town would not look his way, and of the half-
breeds who smiled upon him, he was distrustful. Several
buxom squaws had signified their willingness to become
his, with or without license, but from these he had turned
in manly disgust.
Dave brooded over the evening he had spent at the
Norlands, and blushed all over at the recollection of Miss
Phoebe's coquettish glances.
Now Miss Phcebe was dainty and neat, from her fringe
of black hair to her dainty little slippered feet. He felt
she was too good for him, with his tall, gaunt, bony frame,
his red hair and unruly goatee, his freckled face and general
aspect of awkwardness.
But Mrs. Norland possessed two bright and mischievous
young people, Jean and Walter, these congenial spirits
invoked the aid of Marthe Ann, whom we have met before, and who now rejoiced in the abbreviation of Mattie.
'Marthe Ann' being far too much like the name of people
' in the backwoods yarns' to suit her in the growing state
of the vast community of white people, now numbering
perhaps four hundred,
i I30
NAN
The scrawny girl was ripening into beautiful young •
womanhood. Her red hair toned down to a golden yellow,
the mischievous grey-blue eyes veiled by their heavy white -
lids, hid the fun-loving soul of their owner from the gaze.
of the curious. In all else she was still the Marthe Ann
who saw the comic side of everything, and could assist
in creating laughable situations.
These young people had seen Dave drive into town for
his supplies, and had lain their heads together, brooding
mischief.
Walter invited him to put 'Chips,' his horse, into their ,
stable,   to  which   he   readily  assented,   hoping   thereby  to
obtain a fleeting glimpse of his inamorata.
What was his delight when the far-seeing Mrs. Norland I
came out and invited him in to tea.
" Women, especially if they are no longer young, do
make such fools of themselves over men, that it would be
well to get Phcebe married to someone near her own age,
before she had gone and persuaded herself she was still
sweet sixteen, and tied some unfortunate idiot of eighteen
or twenty to her apron strings for life," said this wise
woman to herself.
After tea, Phcebe, Dave, Walter and Jean adjourned
to the back porch. Dave attended to the wants of Chips,
and then seated himself uneasily on the top rail of the fence,
near enough to the back porch to carry on a conversation
with ' the girls,' as in his own mind he called Miss Phcebe
The summer evening was sweet and balmy, as they only
can be in the land of pine and cedar forests; and taking it
in to the fullest extent came our old friend Mattie, cantering I
up on a little Indian pony which bore the name of Hetty.
Mattie had a new cow-girl saddle on Hetty; and, as it MISS
PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP
131
I     differed i
i many w
aysf
rom the old English one upon
which
1     she had learned to
ride
, she felt anything but easy
in her
1    mind, no
t for fear
she
might be thrown, but lest it
might
injure Hetty's back.
She therefore hailed the sight of Dave as a most opportune
occurence, for he was noted far and near for his knowledge
of everything appertaining to horses.
Up she came in a merry canter, and down she slid by the
back fence. Gathering her riding skirt about her with a
natural grace, she and Dave were soon deep in the lore of
front and back cynch; for these saddles have two hair
cynches, which are provided with leather thongs, and passed
through rings, where they fasten with a knot that only the
initiated know how to make; and Mattie, who always attended her own pony, was determined to be one of the
initiated.
She made Dave cynch and uncynch, make and slip the
knot.
She did it herself, but she took an unusual length of time
to learn, as her busy head was planning mischief and a
long ride next day.
Of course the others came down from the porch to watch
the operation, and when Dave led Hetty off to tie her up,
Mattie said a few words in Jean's ears that sent her off
into fits of laughter.
All that an outsider might learn, were the few words
spoken as Dave came back, and they re-mounted the porch.
" You just back me up and there'll be some fun tomorrow."
Dave returned to his uncomfortable seat upon the fence,
when Mattie enquired suddenly, " How many will your
wagon hold, Dave?"
"How many what?" he asked, taking off his hat and 132 NAN
rubbing up his brilliant hair till it stood on end, as he
always did when perplexed.
" How many what ?" returned Mattie with a scorn that
withered him, and made him feel he would do anything in
the world to restore the happy relations of a few minutes
ago.
"How many what!"; why people of course, Jean and
I were thinking how fine it would be to take a drive to
your ranch to-morrow, when you went back; and we
thought Miss Phcebe might like to go too, if there was
only room."
Off came the hat again, and the long bony fingers swept
from poll to forehead, leaving the hair standing in bright
surprise.
He looked at Miss Phcebe. " What would she say to
such a bold proposition?"
That lady giggled and tittered in becoming confusion,
and said, " Oh, Mr. Riley I should like very much to see
your ranch, and your shack you know.
" These things are so strange and interesting to our
English eyes. Your big, big trees, the rutty, jolty roads,
and the queer looking carts you have, and all your clever
contrivances for making do, that we would never think of."
" I think it would be just too romantic for anything to
go to your quarter section, as you call it, on that curious
wagon of yours, that lengthens out like an extension table."
" We must take some one ' along,' as you say here, just
for propriety's sake, you know, so Mattie and Jean might
go, and perhaps Walter."
Miss Phcebe blushed and fluttered, quite out of breath
with the audacity of her proposal, and waited to hear how
it would be received.
Dave was more than delighted, but he drawled out, MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP 133
I Ef yer go along of me, Miss Phcebe, you'll git jolted most
inter a jelly along o' them theer same rutty roads. Then
yer see that theer horse o' mine is awful onreliable, and
the wagon aint got no springs. No Ma'am, none what-
someever; besides I've got ter take out some chicken feed,
and grain for Chips, and some täters, and some groceries
and sich. I guess there'll be some flour and some cabbage,
and I don't know how much truck."
" But do you have to take butter and vegetables out to
a ranch; I thought a ranch was a farm, and you got all
those things off it?"
" Well, Miss Phcebe, so it should be, but yer see mine
was heavy timber land, and it do take quite a bit o' clearin'.
I've been sellin' cordwood off it fer ten years, and there's
plenty theer yet."
" But you can't live on cordwood," said the thrifty
maiden.
" No, but you can cut and sell it and make more'n you
can on some crops."
" Oh, that's different, but what a crop you must have
had.    Do you plant more trees?"
" Lor' no, there's more'n I could cut all my life. Now
you see, Miss Phcebe, that theer wagon air an extension
one, es you say, and you can lengthen it out all you want
fer cordwood, and comin' down hill; but ef you lengthen
it out tue much goin' back, why Chips he can't pull it up
hill no hows; and ef he don't like it, he'll jest back down
hill, and theer you are; you might git hurt."
Dave was talking against time to try and keep Miss
Phcebe by him, so he continued. " Es to seein' my ranch,
why them theer stumps, and that theer woodshed, looks es
much like 'em es anything."
" I aint a goin' to say mind, that the company of a certain
1 134
NAN
leddy wouldn't be awful nice, and all that, but I guess
you'd be a wantin' of yer arternoon tea, and yer sofy to
lay down on, and some nice kerpets, and I aint got none o'
them things now; not but I've got money put by, and I
could soon git 'em, ef they wuz wanted," and he gave
Miss Phcebe a look which meant more than he had the
courage to say.
" Oh, how delightfully you talk, Mr. David," returned
the fair maid, clasping her hands and looking up at biasm
as he sat still perched upon the fence above her.
" You make me wish to go out to your place more than
ever. I shall get up that party Mattie spoke of, and go
with you when you return to-morrow; but," she went on
gushingly, " you must promise to bring us back the same
day, you know, we couldn't stay there all night."
" Not without bell, book and candle and priest thrown
in, ay; I guess that's what you're drivin' at.    I'm more'n
" How delightfully you put things, I really never, never
did hear anybody talk like you," and she gave him a most
bewitching look.
Poor Dave hardly knew if he was ' right side up with
care'; or if he was dreaming such good luck.
" Good-bye till to-morrow," she called back as she
tripped lightly up the porch steps, " we'll be ready in the
morning."
" The little gal thinks she'd like it out theer with your
'unble servant for a husband, but I guess she'll change her
mind when she sees the place, and it'll be ' Good-bye' for
keeps when I dump her down heer to-morrow night."
Dave shook his head gravely as he went off to make what
preparations he could for the eventful day; and Miss Phoebe
proceeded to pack a full and dainty lunch basket. MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP 135
' Chips' was a nick-name given his horse by Dave's
facetious friends, for it was supposed that nothing but
chips could be found on Dave's ranch, as nothing but
cordwood seemed to be its product.
But the thrifty Dave kept his own council, and no one
knew how his bank account had grown from the sale of
the wood, which served the double purpose of clearing the
land, and bringing in an income at the same time.
" Durn that Chips," soliloquized Dave as he surveyed
his steed, " I guess he'll back down hill, or gallop up,
turn us into the ditch, or du some cantankerous onexpected
thing. I wish I could git some kind of a better rig to
take her out in. Guess I must do the best I can with what
I've got."
" Shan't we have some, fun to-morrow," laughed Jean
to her brother. " Mattie is going along on Hettie; and
Dave, he's fixing his 'extension wagon as aunt calls it.
She's baking a lovely jelly cake, and an awful nice beefsteak
pie."
Walter chuckled, he knew his sister would make things
lively, if she got the chance. Jean continued, " And she's
going to wear her red rose dress, as the one she always
sings about when she takes it out of her trunk, ' My love
is like a red, red rose,' and that little hat with the bows
sticking up straight at the back, as if they were scared
like."
Jean mimicked her aunt as she said, " We can make tea
you know when we get there, Mr. Dave will be sure to
have lots of lovely cream, they always do have plenty on
a farm. We shall see such lots of dear little ducklings, and
piglings."
" Yes, and chucklings," I added. " She'll find piles of
all these things on Dave's place, I guess."
1 136
IK
" Here comes Dave "; and Jean rushed into her aunt's
room next morning.    "I guess you needn't stop to pu$-t
any more powder on your face aunty, the sweat'll soon
wash it all off; it'll be hot I can tell you, travelling through
the woods to-day."
"Good morning, Mr. Riley"; and Miss Phcebe bustled
out in her red rose dress and the hat with its startled bows,
as Jean had predicted.
"Mornin', Miss Phcebe. Why you're an airly bird.
Bin a-cookin' a'ready this mornin'?" Excuse me, but
you've got some flour on yer nose."
" Hush," said her mother, and Dave remained unenlightened.
The wheels of the lumber wagon were drawn pretty
close together, and between them was placed a large dry
goods box, which contained the articles Dave was taking
out to his ranch.
Jean and Walter got up and sat with their backs to
Chips.
Dave assisted Miss Phcebe to step from a chair to a seat
beside him, which she accomplished with much puffing and
blowing.
"Guess you're cynched up purty tight, aint yer?" said,
Dave sen ten tiiuisl v. " Don't bust yer girths on us now
else there'll be a spill.
" You do say such funny things," simpered Miss Phoebe,
as soon as she had recovered her breath sufficiently.
Dave, well pleased, gave his whip a crack, and Chips
jumped off all fours, then with a sudden spring he started
off. The youngsters were prepared for this, but poor
Miss Phcebe was not, and she nearly fell over Jean who
sat behind her.    She clung tenaciously to the box with one MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP 137
hand, and to Dave's arm with the other, whilst the jaunty
hat took an impertinent tilt over one ear.
Mattie, who had waited to see the start, cantered ahead
and got through the town before the wagon and it's load
came along.
She told several persons that the wedding party was
coming on behind, and a lot of young people stood ready
at the cross roads with rice and old shoes to throw at them.
"Well I'll be durned!" drawled Dave, as he caught at
his hat which an old shoe had knocked off, and ducked his
head when a shower of rice came stinging into his face,
and which consequently found its way down his back.
"Durn you youngsters! What's all this about!" he
yelled.
Cracking his whip, Chips went off at full gallop.
Poor Miss Phcebe only saved herself by hanging on to
Dave, whilst Jean and Walter laughed till their sides ached.
" What do you suppose all that was about, Miss Phcebe ?"
asked Dave, as soon as Chips had quieted down, and given
him a chance to speak. " I never seen the like 'ceptin' at
weddin's, did you?"
"They might have waited till it come off," returned
Miss Phcebe, demurely.
" Here's a confloption!" called Jean, as Mattie rode up.
" Dave and auntie have been and got married, and never
told any of us. These people must have found it out,
or they wouldn't have been here with the rice and old
shoes. Hurrah! and we're all off on the honeymoon trip."
' My love is like the red, red rose,' sung Jean at the top
of her voice.
" Guess she is purty red," commented Dave, as he
turned and looked apologetically at Miss Phcebe.
Mattie rode up and gravely congratulated them;   and
1
j NAN
1i.
Ui
Ds
rs at the back went off into fits of laughter. I
lal sounds behind Chips sent him off into a
and they all had plenty to do to 'hang on,'  |
while Miss Phcebe clung so rightly to Dave's
1 hardly use his reins.
s had been gotten in hand again, Jean jolted
you long life and happiness, Aunty I
" Well I'll be durned," began Dave, but Chips who was
warmed up, started off again as Mattie galloped past him,
her skirt flapping and her whip rattling on the saddle.
A few minutes more brought them to the end of the
made road, and they had to follow a trail.
Mattie's little mare picked her way over the fallen logs
easily enough, but the occupants of the wagon swayed this
way and that, jolting them backwards and forwards, till
Jean said she had had enough, and got down to walk.
They were now making their way through the burnt
timber, where the blackened stumps reared their heads
against the sky, and only a small undergrowth, of perhaps
a year, scattered its green carpet below.
There was now no shade, and the heat became almost
unendurable. To increase their distress, a giant of the
forest, some six feet in diameter, had fallen across the trail.
Hettie was soon unsaddled, Chips taken out of the
wagon, and both tethered to feed. Dave hoisted a sack of
grain on his back, the lunch basket was seized upon by
Walter, and the whole party started to make its way around
alien
"I'_
all that undergrowth,"
ts all torn, Aunty, let's
irdingly,  with Jea
Miss  Phcebe  got MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP 139
herself on top of the log, and watched Jean climb after;
then losing her balance she went toppling over on the other
side; her eyes staring so wide with fright, that the whites
showed all round, ' like a balky hosse,' whispered Mattie;
and ' splash' went poor Miss Phcebe into a mudhole.
The girls, fearing she really might have hurt herself,
hurried over after her.
" Never mind Aunty, take my hand, I'll help you along,
and you'll get dry as you go; but my! ain't you got a
'draggled tail.'"
Miss Phcebe looked woefully at her skirt, for to have
a ' draggled tail' was one of her horrors, and also one of
her terms of reproach.
A steep declivity led to Dave's shack, and Miss Phoebe
started down, following Dave, who was already on his
way. She disdained Jeans' help, and being so much
occupied by the condition of her skirt, and hampered by
her tight waist and high-heeled boots, caught her foot in
a trailing vine and rolled down, striking Dave unexpectedly
from behind.
Down he came, sack and all. Over and over they
rolled, the sack of grain ahead, Miss Phcebe who had
stumbled over Dave next, and last came Dave, making
frantic efforts to regain his foot hold, his legs and arms,
his brilliant hair and his coat tails, seeming in an endless
mix up; whilst the bows of Miss Phoebe's hat protested
against such unlady like behaviour. The rose dress caught
on a projecting stick, and Miss Phcebe came to a stand
still, and Dave regained his equilibrum, but the sack of
grain dropped twenty feet into the cold mountain stream
below.
"Well, I'll be durned! Air you hurt, Miss Phcebe?
Did them young 'uns do that now?"   Picking up a stick, It
140 NAN
he rushed up the hill to where they stood, their hands on
their sides, swaying to and fro in uncontrolable laughter.
They were having more fun than they had bargained for.
Dave came on flourishing his stick. " I'll pay you out.
Just you wait till I come up to yer." Jean stopped laughing long enough to call out, "We didn't do it uncle Dave,
it was an accident." He stopped and scratched his head.
"Well, I'll be durned! Uncle is it? I begin to think
there must a bin a weddin'," he said to himself.
Turning, he looked dubiously back at Miss Phcebe.
" Bust her girths, I reckon," he soliloquised. " That's how
the spill come I guess."
Poor Miss Phoebe's waist was rent from neck to belt,
one sleeve out and the other half gone. Her hat had
shied to one side, and the pert ribbons looked round one
ear as if to say, "What next?"
Dave went back to her. "Never mind Miss Phcebe.
I told you fust of all this mornin' you wuz cynched tue
tight.    Accidents will  happen  they du say."
Dave was possessed with the idea that the ' cynching'
had all to do with the ' accident,' as it would in the case
of a pack-horse, he being more familiar with the devious
ways of horses than with the vagaries of women.
" What shall I do ?" gasped poor Miss Phcebe, as the
girls made their way down to her.
" You can borrow one of Dave's shirts," suggested
Jean. "Fix it inside your skirt and say you've got an
Oxford waist. Any way it'll be a Davie's waist." Miss
Phcebe turned away her head and blushed.
" Never you mind that theer wild minx of a gel, Miss
Phcebe, come on with me," drawled Dave. " My shack's
right heer, and you be es welcome es I be, and welcomer
too, to all as is in it."   Bending his head so no one else MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP 141
should hear, he added in a stage whisper, " The boss of
it too."
" Come Uncle Dave," called Jean, " come and get out
one of your shirts. Dad says the women wear the—other
things—but Aunty is going to begin by wearing your
Ssbirts."
"Well I'll be "
" Durned," struck in Jean. " So you will Uncle dear,
when Aunt gets hold of your old socks.    Come on Aunty."
" Not till my personal appearance "
" Has been mended," put in Jean. " Well I'll go and
hunt Dave's boxes, and get you a shirt or coat or something."
Miss Phcebe got out her pocket companion, and was
busily sewing up the rents in her skirt when Jean returned
with a miner's thick woolen shirt of bright scarlet. Her
Aunt went behind a boulder and put it on, belting it inside her skirt. It looked very passable, but the perspiration was running down her face when she reached the
shack, and sat down upon a soap box, utterly exhausted.
"Well I'll be durned! that young catamount hes bin
and got you that theer hot wool thing. Why woman,
I've got a biled shirt heer, es won't be so hot."
He proudly produced the article.
" Heer git out all o' yer, while Miss Phcebe changes
her shirt," he commanded, and poor Miss Phcebe got as
red as the shirt, and looked modestly another way.
They left her in peace, and presently she opened the
door, looking cool and comfortable in the cotton shirt,
which made a very good waist
" We're off to gather blackberries for dessert," announced
Jean. " You can skim the milk and get some cream
ready for them Uncle Dave, before we come back."
1 I42
NAN
Jean and Mattie went off with an empty lard pail they
had discovered in the shack. Walter made a fire outside,
Miss Phcebe spread her white cloth on the rough table,
and set out her dainties, while Dave bustled about and
hunted up the tin cups and plates, and two or three knives,
and spoons, forks there were none, so Walter cut some
little forked twigs to supply their place.
The girls returned with a tin of ripe berries, and Jean
called but as soon as she came within hearing distance,
"Uncle Dave, drive home your cows and get us some
cream, we've got lots of berries."
" Well I'll be durned!" He looked puzzled and caught
up Miss Phoebe's left hand.
" There's no ring theer yet. To be sure you do keep
it up so. I most begin ter think theer must a bin a weddin'
this mornin', and I'll be durned! but I wish theer had."
Miss Phoebe hung down her head with bashful grace,
for she " began to realize her position," as she told her
sister later.
They did ample justice to their meal, making merry
as they " feasted at the wedding breakfast." Dave and
Walter fetched down the things from the wagon. The
horses were fed and watered, and as the day cooled off they
started for home.
This time the dry goods box was empty, so it was
scarcely as steady as it had been in the morning; so Miss
Phcebe clung closely to Dave's arm, and as only the stars
were looking out on their return, she felt " less em-
barrased " although the arm had stolen round her waist.
The youngsters joke ended in dead earnest; for Dave,
who was a good soul, proposed in due form and was
accepted. MISS   PHCEBE'S   COURTSHIP
When the time for the wedding arrived, he had spent
freely of his hoarded gains.
A small, neat cottage graced the brow of the bill. It
contained carpets and a comfortable ' sofv,' also all those
tilings which conduce to domestic convenience and therefore induce serenity, which is closely allied to happiness.
A nice buggy, drawn by our old friend Chips, was
brought to the Norland home after the wedding breakfast,
and though our mischief-loving young folks were in attendance to throw rice and old sroes, the happy couple drove
off alone.
Mrs. Riley named the place ' Red Rose Farm,' and many
years of quite contentment did Dave and his wife spend
there.
You may be sure under her thrifty management, there
was no lack of cream and other good things, when the
youngsters paid their ever welcome visits to Aunty and
Uncle Dave at Red Rose Farm. 11
THE   COMING   OF  BIDDY ASTHORE
A   CRANK   FROM   'OULD   SOD'
In 1863, when the Royal Engineers were disbanded, those
who elected to remain in the then Crown Colony, could
select for themselves, a quarter section, (one hundred and
sixty acres) of land where ever they chose, so long as the
special piece of property had not been already recorded.
This was called a Crown Grant.
A big, good-natured Irishman made his selection; a
beautiful spot in the valley of the Fraser River. All old
countrymen have a weakness, it would seem for a trout
stream upon their property, and if the salmon in their
season crowd up to spawn, their joy of ownership is
complete.
Such a stream had Patsie, as we will call him. When
the good man arose in the morning, made his fire and strode
to the door of his log cabin, pipe on hand, to wait for the
kettle to boil, he would gloat over his domain, view the
encircling snow-capped mountains, and breathe the un-
poluted air of a new morning in a new country; he still
felt there was something lacking, and wondered his contentment was not deeper . One morning a squaw with a
papoose upon her back and others toddling along with her,
came to his cabin and asked for ' kinikinink' (tobacco),
and he gave not only what she asked, but a " good square
meal" all round for her and the papooses. As he sat
and watched the hungry crowd, he slapped his knee.
" Begorra," he said to himself, "Shure an' that's phawt's
wanting in me household. Oi'll mind me manners so Oi
will, an' go to town this very day, an' ax Mary Shophia   THE  COMING  OF  BIDDY  ASTHORE   145
to come an' preside over me establishment." He sent away
the squaw and her " Dhirty brood, shure an' they weren't
fit to shtay in the house that was to hold Mary Shophia."
He brushed up his cabin first, then his clothes, lastly
himself, and was pleased to observe, that although his
locks were growing scant on the crown, there was still a
goodly halo of auburn curls to set off his bronzed and good-
natured face.
He got out his boat and slipped easily down the fast-
flowing river getting to town just before noon. Going for
a drink to brace up his courage for the meeting with Mary
Sophia, he saw a little bridal procession coming down the
hill from church, and who should be at its head but Mary
Sophia herself.
"An' its no poor soulger she's bin an' got, but a rich
cattle man fra oop the counthry," he observed to himself.
Not by any means discouraged, he bought presents, and
went to see several of his comrade's daughters, but with
no better success.
Only a middle aged widow favored his addresses, and
failing any one else, he proposed to the relict of an army
chum, was married, and returned by steamboat to his abode.
Kezia complained of ill health and made many excursions
to town, bestowing her society on her much enduring
"friends, and the cabin felt more lonely than before her
advent.
When the good lady returned after a more than usually
lengthened absence, bringing with her an infant daughter,
Patsie was overjoyed.
He felt his cup of happiness was full, and although his
spouse was neither young nor handsome, he would be
content if she would only stay at home. This she said
was impossible, unless he could find some woman or girl 146
NAN
to stay with her while he was away at his work in a logging camp, several miles back from the river.
He was earning good money, was not a hard drinker, and
being somewhat thrifty, he had more money on one side
than Kezia dreamed of, or she would have insisted on
living in town.
The summer was cheerful enough for her as her old
friends came out by two's and three's, bunked anywhere,
as soldiers wives become accustomed to do, and made merry
together. But Kezia declared her intention of living in
town for the winter, unless Patsie provided ' company for
her at the cabin.' So Patsie bethought him of the little
sister he had left at home, and wrote to find out if she was
still alive, and willing to come and live with him and his
wife.
" Indade, an' Biddy would come," she wrote.    "CryiSM
fish on the stråte was none so good a livin'"
Patsie paid her passage out, for she was the last of the
family left unmarried, and all her relatives so far " had
treated her shameful."
It was many years since Patsie had seen his sister, and
he remembered and described her to Kezia as he had seen
her last, a " tall, scrawny, freckled, red-headed wench."
Biddy took passage on a Hudson Bay Ship coming round
Cape Horn, and hired to wait on the Captain's lady on
the voyage. Thus thriftily saving the passage money
Patsie sent her to come ' overland,' which was by way of
Panama. Many a time the Captain's lady would have
been delighted to be able to discharge her handmaid,
for Biddy followed her own sweet will, " doin' things
whin she felt loike it," which generally meant, if her
mistress wished to have a quiet day's reading, Biddy " filt
loike clanin' out her cabin." THE  COMING   OF   BIDDY  ASTHORE    147
This Biddy did with a vengeance, removing every
article of furniture, and scouring walls, and floor and ceiling, till her energies were spent, then leaving things helter
skelter till the next fit of work seized her. The cook, who
is generally supposed to rule the foc'sle was powerless when
Biddy ' filt loike' making him ' clane' up his galley.
Every pot, pan, kettle and dish flew out of the galley;
the walls, floor, ceiling and furnace were duly scoured and
' claned' out
Biddy's energy usually gave out after everything had
been ' claned,' and the tired cook was left to rearrange
his disjointed utensils, and cook his next meal as best he
could.
Captain and crew were powerless where Biddy was
concerned, and if the mistress undertook to remonstrate,
Biddy would coax her into her cabin, make her a nice cup
of tea, and tell her, "Shure, the loikes av sich fayries as
the mistress was only fer an ornymint, so she was. It's
the loikes av Biddy, phwat must worrk fer their daily
bread."
A little man in the fo'castle was one day receiving
chastisement from the giant first mate, and Biddy heard the
sound of the soft Irish accents, as the man protested against
such treatment. Going up to the mate, Biddy seized his
uplifted hand, in which was an ugly marling spike,
wrenched it away, and had hit him a smart tap with it,
before the astonished man  recovered himself.
Now he had a soft place in his heart for the stalwart
Biddy, and only smiled at her interference. But the little
man cast her a grateful look from his dark blue eyes, that
told of 'auld Ireland,' and Biddy's heart was touched.
From that time on, the burly mate had no chance, and
BHdy sought out her shy admirer and made love to him 148 NAN
in her own sweet way. In due time, that is after a six
months' voyage, the good ship arrived in Victoria, the men
were paid off, and Biddy and her belongings went ashqsK
Barry O'Flinn, the light of Biddy's life also went ashore,
and proceeded as newly landed sailors did in those days
(not now of course), to spend some of his hard-earned
money in saloons and other places. Biddy found out
where he was, marched in after him, and locked him up
in his room till he was sober. Next morning she relieved
him of his money, and ordered him off with her to her
brother's ranch, where she proposed to marry him. Arriving in New Westminster, however, and finding that no
clerical aid to the ceremony, could be obtained at her
brother's home, she decided to tie the nutial knot in
town, and make the journey up to her brother's answer
the double purpose of honeymoon trip and home-going.
This was in the fall of the year, and Kezia was glad
enough of the ' company,' but sick of the espionage of her
sister-in-law, who took a delight in twitting Kezia with
her advanced age. " Indade, an' if Patsie's own mother
was livin' this day, she'd look as young as you, ye spalpeen.
Oi kin remimber whin she looked younger, so Oi can."
Patsie had more land than he could do anything with,
so it was agreed between the families that Biddy should
buy half of it at five dollars an acre, to be paid in instalments at so much per annum.
All hands, that is with the exception of Kezia, set to
work to build another cabin near enough for the mutual
protection of the women, and not so near that they need
come into collision when their days of offence at each
other were upon them. One punishment Kezia could hold
over Biddy, and that was to keep little Ethelinda Jemima
away from her. THE  COMING  OF  BIDDY   ASTHORE   149
Biddy idolized ' Mimie' as she insisted upon calling the
child, in spite of the ire of Kezia, who protested that she
had had an ugly old name put on her, and was determined
her own daughter should not go into the world so handicapped.
Sometimes when Biddy was too heart hungry for the
feel of the little arms about her neck, she would go over
and humbly ask for a loan of 'Ethelinda Jemima.'
Then Kezia knew it was time to ask .'
■ any
thing of hers she coveted, and it was usually handed over
for a few hours of the little one's company.
Time went on at his usual pace, bringing the changes
he thought fit. Among which was the death of Biddy's
brother by the untimely falling of a tree in the logging
camp, and his wife, who was never strong, fell ill of typhoid
fever and likewise passed away.
Biddy had the land and the child, the latter far outweighing the former, for Biddy had no children of her
own. But alas! the fell reaper came in the form of croup,
and took away her darling, and Biddy's heart was broken;
it was even whispered that her brain had become unsettled
by grief. It was now that she made periodical excursions
to town herself, the little grave called, and she would lie all
night, her head pillowed upon it, and in the morning she
would pick out every weed and care for each flower
tenderly.
Now, Biddy, it must be known, stood six feet four
inches in her shoes, with breadth of shoulders to match.
Her face and hands were freckled in great dark spotches,
her large grey eyes set well apart, indeed so well apart that
one gazed sideways at you, whilst the other rolled somewhat backward, showing an immense amount of white.
Her hair, which seemed to grow a darker, deeper color i5o
NAN
1
Ii
with age, straggled round her countenance, in tails of
tawny red.
When Biddy made one of those periodical visits of hers,
the little town was prepared for any escapade that might
enter her head.
She always wore a small black hat with faded flowers, in
some shade of red. This piece of millinery, looked as
though Biddy had thrown it upon the floor on her return
home, swept the dust over it when she ' filt loike clanin' up,'
then fishing it out from under a stove or a bureau, had
shaken it, and fastened it on by passing an elastic under her
chin. It took any angle which chance suggested, as Biddy
never troubled about a looking glass, and it was as likely
to be hind side before as rot.
A jacket of many years wear, which had once been fawn
or grey covered the stalwart shoulders. This had two big
pockets, sewn on the outside by Biddy, one on either hip;
these she used for carrying purposes. Her skirts of brown
wincey being full and straight; no gores for Biddy, no
frills and no ' fancy fixin's.' These skirts being both ample
and many, the large heavily shod feet, strode out from
under them in giant strides, while the huge upper part of
the body swayed from side to side on its hip hinges to
such an extent, you wondered how its equilibrium could
be recovered. She always carried an umbrella, rain or shine,
grasped by the centre in her huge fist. On one of her
jambories, Biddy had only gotten two sheets in the wind,
and as she went lurching along in search of the mayor,
against whom she fancied she had a grievance, she came
suddenly upon her father confessor, a spare young priest.
At sight of him, a sudden fit of penitence seized upon
Biddy, and flopping down upon her knees, on the muddy
sidewalk,  she  crawled abjectly to the good  man's  feet;
il THE  COMING  OF   BIDDY   ASTHORE   151
grasping her umbrella in one hand, she held up the other
in supplication, whilst from one of the pockets on the huge
hip projected a bottle, the cause of all the mischief.
When she tried to kiss the toe of the priest's shoe, he
hastily essayed to raise her up. But alas! whilst she could
have picked him up in her disengaged hand and held him
aloft, he could only move backwards and keep her from
giving the salute she so ardently desired to bestow.
However, the priest leaned over and took the protruding
bottle from her pocket, and holding it up before her eyes,
he read Biddy a severe lecture on the evil of her ways.
She knelt in tears and penitence before him, absolutely
refusing to rise without his blessing. This he bestowed,
after extracting a promise that she would return home at
once. The priest forgot that no boat went up river past
Biddy's place till next morning, but Biddy did not, and
thinking to pass the night in safety at an old-time friend's,
just out of town, she wallowed off intending to give a
big Scotch milkman, the benefit of her company, for his
milk Wagon passed her friend's house.
The milkman was driving calmly and leisurely along the
principal street all unconscious of the honor awaiting him,
when he was hailed from the sidewalk by Biddy and told
"to wait and take her along. His head popped out from
under the cover of his wagon, a horrified expression stole
over his ruddy features, and whipping up his horse, he
never drew rein till under the protection of his own good
wife.
If Biddy had only gotten hold of the wagon, nothing
would have prevented her from climbing in, and he ' on
the principal street, too!'
This episode seemed to put the promise she had given
the priest out of her head, and she stepped into the first
1 152
NAN
saloon she came across, called for her whiskey, took a
mighty swig, and sallied off.
Seeing a smug-looking young man stepping daintily along
ahead of her, pulling on his kid gloves and ogling the girls;
she leaped forward and alighted on the back of the astonished dandy, and he had carried her several paces before
he had recovered himself sufficiently to shake her off.
Then he darted into the first store he came to and out
at the back, to escape the covert glances of the girls and
ladies who had witnessed his discomforture, together with
the further attentions of Biddy.
That lady looked calmly round, found he had disappeared,
and continued to visit each saloon in turn, till she had
gotten over her penitence, her desire to return to the
loving Mr. Biddy, her levity, and everything but a desire to
' have it out' with the City Council for some fancied
wrong.
She had visited the mayor's residence that morning,
opened the door, and when told he was not at home, had
proceeded to investigate for her own satisfaction.
Returning later, she was seen in time to get the front
door locked, but alas; the back door key was not in the lock,
and before it could be inserted, Biddy was at the handle,
and only the united efforts of the lady of the house, her
mother-in-law and other members of the household throwing themselves as a barricade against the door, enabled the
quick-witted Chinaman to set a stout chair under the lock,
and thus prevent Mrs. Biddy from making another personal
search for his worship the Mayor.
Thus, not getting the private interview she sought, it
occurred to her that the City Council met that night, and
forthwith she proceeded to the seat of civic wisdom.
When she arrived, the City.Fathers were holding forth
^äätaSSSÉéäs THE   COMING   OF   BIDDY   ASTHORE   153
behind closed doors, and Biddy sat down in the public Hall,
to await their entrance. She grew lonely, and hearing
voices from an adjoining room, she thought she would go
and see for herself what was going on. Accordingly she
opened the door, walking into the midst of their grave
deliberations, and the City Fathers sat aghast. What could
they do with Biddy?
Biddy held them in no awe, and it would have taken
half-a-dozen of them to turn her out, and all would have
been blue with unvarnished language, beside torn and
dishevilled garments, not to mention scratched faces, and
pulled and rumpled hair.
Arms akimbo, she stood and looked down upon the
assembly, eyeing each in turn. Singling out a man noted
for his good opinion of himself, she remarked what a very
handsome man he was. This put all the other wiseacres
in good humor.
She then described her visit to the mayor's residence, and
gave them the full text of her complaint against civic
authority.
The city clerk was a small man, but full of diplomacy.
He blarneyed and coaxed Biddy till he got her to the door.
She passed out and he essayed to shut it after her, when
it would have been quickly and securely locked. But her
suspicions must have been aroused, for alas! her big foot
intervened between the door and its jam, and Biddy leaned
there and descanted to her heart's content, and no one
dared further molest her. As her huge form guarded the
only means of ingress or egress they were obliged to listen,
or run the risk of her further displeasure.
After staying as long as she ' filt loike,' and giving them
as many pieces of her mind, complimentary and otherwise
as she thought fit, till the pangs of thirst again assailed her, 154
NAN
she adjourned to the next saloon, continuing to take pota- -'
tions till it was necessary to lock her up for her own safety. I
Two burley constables attempted the distasteful task. Soon
Biddy stood triumphant, whilst the constables mopped the I
blood from their noses, and the long-clawed scratches I
which garnished their faces.
Specials were called in, and Biddy, somewhat weakened
by her many potations, fighting to the last, screeching and
yelling with an all-blue atmosphere, and followed by as
large a throng as could collect, was dragged, pushed, carried
and hustled into safe keeping for the night.
She appeared before the police magistrate next morning,
and declared to him her grievances, and enlarged upon the
dreadful treatment to which she had been subjected.
She would then take her reprimand meekly, clutch her
umbrella by its centre, and go off well pleased if she got off
without a fine; which she generally did, for the fine provoked such a volley of choice epithets that the presiding
magistrate preferred as a rule to be excused.
The police in charge breathed more freely, when her
huge form had crossed the threshold of the courthouse, and
the umbrella went flourishing along, wielded by the sturdy
right arm of Biddy.
Then Biddy repaired to the relief of the waiting and
anxious Mr. Biddy, with whom she worked and toiled, dug,
delved, washed and scrubbed until the next paroxysm of
thirst overtook her.
During one of these escapades Biddy fell into the Fraser,
when the ice was floating down, and although she was in
only a few minutes, the chill she sustained was so great,
that she never really recovered, and in the following
spring, the huge coffin of Biddy was brought down to the THE   COMING  OF   BIDDY   ASTHORE   155
Roman Catholic cemetery, and deposited by that of the
child she had loved so well.
A large funeral was the tribute paid by the citizens to
this eccentric woman, for they felt that she was more to
be pitied than blamed.
Before the next snow flew, poor Mr. Biddy was laid
beside her. " It was too hard," he said, " to live without
his Biddy Asthore!" M
The Widow Le Brun
A   TALE   OF   THE   MOUNTAINS
who
urveyors in connection with the C.P.R.
i fine looking woman came to the coast,
lissom, somewhat near Byron's lovable
i forty," and was accompanied by a lady,
ion the busy bodies were unable to deter-
The widow being of a stylish appearance, was readily
admitted to the society of the town, despite the remark of
a woman who had been one of the shipload of girls sent j
out to this wifeless country: " Yer don't know who her
arncesters weer, ye know."
They followed the widow around, sat behind her in
church, that her general make-up might be copied, and
those who could, borrowed some articles of her clothing to
cut their own by.
Now, as these daring ones not only cut by them, but j
unpicked certain parts which were difficult to copy, and
which they failed to properly replace, an end came to this
kind of thing, and Miss Doric put so stern a face on such  |
impudent borrowing, that the requests finally ceased, and
the imitations had to be carried on by guesswork.
The special manner in which her hair was coiled upon
her crown, puzzled them not a little, and some of them
went so far as to ask her if she would tell them where they
could send and get such a fixing from the hair dressers.
This matter of the arrangement of the hair, was really THE  WIDOW  LE  BRUN 157
serious, for it was quite possible to copy the widow's small
bonnet, as it was then worn for church or calling, but it
was quite another thing to get it to " set" right without the
proper arrangement of the chignon. Their imitations
slipped back on the head, down over the forehead, to one
side or the other, as one little fellow expressed it to his
mother, " All the ladies' bonnets got cwazy in church
to-day, mama."
The widow's fluffy "bangs" too, were hard to place,
whereas Mrs. Le Brun wore hers to hide, too high a forehead, a woman having a low forehead and small face,
looked in the same arrangement, as a young man irrevently
remarked, " like a rat peeping out of a broom."
As the two ladies sat at breakfast one morning, a kindly
officious neighbor came in to bring them their mail, which
had arrived in town the evening before. They had not
yet become accustomed to watching the great events of the
week, which were the coming in of the mail boats from
both up and down the river, and then marching up the
many rickety, wooden steps to the Post Office, to see if
there might be anything for them.
Then curiosity was rife, and conjecture loud, as to what
two women wanted there, without any protector of the
masculine persuasion.
They seemed to have money enough and to spare, dear
as everything was.
Indeed, it was rumored, that some of the neighbors went
so far as to steam several letters open, before handing them
over, so great was their curiosity; but as these proved to
be from a daugheter at an eastern convent, who spoke of
her brother on the Survey, they came to the conclusion all
was well, and the strangers perfectly respectable, as belonging to some on the C.P.R. survey parties. 10
NAN
1
Mrs. I
and asket
them to (
,eBr
1 her
b no
compan
y openly a much trav
on what she though
el-stained letter,
t Andy wanted
" Not to remain here I suppose, we might just as well
have stayed in Montreal."
" Read that letter out, and tell me what you think."
" Dear Mother:   We are stationed in a little mining
town in the mountains, through which passes the stages to
and from Yale and Cariboo.    The country is beautiful and j
healthy, the little town very quiet.    I could hire an empty
store for you two dear old ladies to live in, that some one
inadvertently built more than a stone's throw from  the
Central Hotel, and consequently beyond the business precincts.    Agatha won't be through  for another three or
four months.    Do come.    I know you must be lonesome
with no one to plague you.    You must leave on the boat "
for Yale Monday morning, in order to catch the outgoing
stage.      Bring only  necessaries,  such  as blankets,   plain  i
clothes, and so on.    We shall have a jolly summer I can
All the little mountain town was out watching for the
coming of the stage as usual, with its six horses, bringing
news from the great world of men, and greater still was
the  interest when  two ladies appeared  as  " insides."
Mrs. Le Brun, in her neat travelling suit of navy blue,
looked too young to be the mother of the stalwart young
fellow, who caught her in his arms as she alighted, with the
joyful cry, "Mother, I knew you'd come."
Miss Dorie, so neat in her plain dress of black, with
linen collar and cuffs, was quite an object of interest, much
to her discomfort
The only vehicle that could be hired here, was a wood
or hay wagon, although it was one of the halting stations 5T'7
•f
fcWÄagl
^   Mil
IS THE   WIDOW   LE   BRUN
*59
for both stage and mule teams, prairie schooners and trains
of pack-horses.
A hay wagon now appeared, drawn by a pair of tall,
scrawny horses, their sides painfully drawn from over strain.
Some of these had been discarded from the stage service, for
there were many somewhat broken-down animals in the
country, as the stage had to make, in places, some eighty
miles per day, in order to be on time; and as horses from
the ranges were cheap, anything defective or sick, was
turned out to hunt for itself, and a fresh one, generally
unbroken, harnessed in its place.
Andy looked from the wagon to his mother with his
merry eyes.
" Oh, pile the baggage on that," she said laughingly, in
answer to his look, and Miss Dorie and I will walk, and
be glad of it, after sitting so long."
"Mother," said Andy proudly, as a man with keen
dark grey eyes, and white hair, approached them. His
eyebrows and moustache were were still dark, which gave
him a very noticeable appearance.
"Mother, this is the engineer in charge of the works.
Mr. Van Burgh, my mother, Mrs. Le Brun."
He raised his hat, and took the lady's outstretched hand.
"Mr. Van Burgh," said Mrs. Le Brun, turning to Miss
Dorie in introduction, " My friend, Miss Dorie."
They exchanged bows. Andy walked with Miss Dorie,
proud to see the effect his mother had produced upon his
usually taciturn chief.
They passed along a narrow wooden sidewalk, by past
shacks, saloons, hotels, and all the collection of animate
and inanimate things, which congregate round a mining
town; till, standing alone, with rough lumber lying about,
they reached the store of which Andy had \ i6o
NAN
" See, Mother!" he exclaimed, opening the door, and
feeling great satisfaction in having secured a new clean
building for her reception.
" I've had it divided off into two rooms; I think it will
suit you. Across the front, you see, is dining-room and
sitting-room, all in one. I'm afraid it looks dreadfully
bare to you. We could get nothing but rough lumber
here."
" It's   just   the   very   thing,"   exclaimed   Miss   Dorie.
" Why our cretone and mats will make it so bright and I
cheerful you won't know it."
" Do take a chair, Mr. Van Burgh, and we will improvise a lunch."
Appealing to her son, she continued:   "Only Andy I
must have some tea, you know my failing don't you laddie ? I
Then afterwards I am going to set you two men to tacking up curtains, and arranging bunks."
Andrew took a quick glance at his chief, fearful he
might not like such liberties taken with him.
But he was smilingly acquiescing in the arrangement,
while Miss Dorie had a hamper brought into the back,.,
which was to be kitchen, and where Andy had put a
cooking stove and utensils.
Miss Dorie spread a fine white cloth on the pine table,
took out a dainty silver tea set, and porcelain cups and I
saucers.
Andy opened cans for cook, who was delighted to see
him and forgot her sulks. Soon some pretty dishes of ham
and tongue with bread and butter, fruit and steaming hot
tea were placed on the table. They drew up their wooden
chairs, and sitting down, did ample justice to the lunch.
" I've got a half-breed boy to do all the dirty work for THE  WIDOW  LE   BRUN 161
you," said Andy, who was in great spirits, to cook, as she
changed the plates. "And if there's anything I can put
up to help you out now, you tell me and I'll fix it. I'm
so glad to see all you women folks, you don't know. I've
just longed to hear the whisk of a skirt; or even a box on
the ears would have been a relief in this woman-forsaken
place."
After lunch they started to fix things. Only one
division could be spared for bedroom, so the bunks were
nailed against the wall; two, one above the other on one
side, for Miss Dorie and cook, and one on the other side
for Mrs. Le Brun.
A rod made of telegraph wire was passed between, and
with a curtain upon it, their rooms were as snug as could
be. Andy would have to take a cot in the sitting-room
on his week-end visits.
" Now for the general assembly room, Mother," said
Andy. " I want to see that on the way." They tacked
wide lace curtains over the store window, and hung heavy
dark ones behind them, looping the latter back, tacked
cretonne over the rough board partition, put up some prints,
laid down their mats and rugs, threw some skins over a
rough settee, which they piled with cushions, and now
exclaimed Miss Dorie, " all we want is a piano. You have
your violin of course."
" The wife and daughter of Miller, the Central Hotel
man, have gone to the coast for the summer; we might
possibly get their piano; any way I'll go and see about it,"
came from the silent Mr. Van Burgh.
This being the only piano that had been taken into the
interior, so far, it was a very precious instrument, arid
probably no one but the head of the Survey party would
have succeeded in obtaining the use of it 162
NAN
" That would be very kind of you," replied Mrs. Le
Brun, " for do you know I am inclined to think we shall
need one to break the silence of this place."
" Is that all you want music for, Mother ?" laughed
Andy.
" Well you know I'm no musician; I can play accompaniments for you, that's about all."
" Or some of your nice contralto songs, Mother."
" If I can't do any more tacking for you ladies," said
Mr.  Van  Burgh, with more animation in his eyes than ■
Andy had given him credit for, " I'll go and see about
that piano."
" Be sure and come in for our scrambled dinner," called
Mrs. Le Brun, as he was going out, " and we might find
some more tacking for you by then."
" I shall be only too happy," he said, with a return co
his icy manner, as he raised his hat and departed.
" I don't understand that man.    I wonder what makes I
him so icy at times.    He's undoubtedly a man of strong
character, and one who has seen great trouble as well I
should think."
" We all know he's a man of strong character, Mother,
and suspect he's had trouble; but I never saw him unbend
as he did to you. Why I was almost afraid to draw my
breath when you ordered him to tack up the curtains; but I
he set about it as meekly as if that was all the business he
had in life."
" You see what it is to be in a mining camp with no
young rivals to dispute your claims. I shall make the
most of my reign, never fear."
Andy laughed, for he knew his mother's love for fun,
and was sure she would make the best of existing circumstances, whatever they were, THE   WIDOW   LE   BRUN 163
" Now," she said to Andy, " every Saturday you must
bring home one or two of your comrades, and we'll spend
as pleasant a time as we can. Of course they will have
to^sleep at the Hotel; there is no help for that."
"All right mother, it will be such a pleasure to look
forward to; but see, there's a wagon with the piano in it.
I wonder if Mr. Van Burgh plays; he entered into the
idea thrown out by Miss Dorie so quickly.
I m sure I can't tell you, Andy;   but while you get
it in place, I'll go and make myself presentable for dinner."
" Don't make yourself too handsome, Mother, for I am
going to fetch Berrick, the owner of the mines, up for
dinner,^ and I don't want to dance at your wedding you
"You need not be alarmed," she laughed, from the
other side of the partition, " I like my liberty too well."
"Oh, I beg you pardon, Mr. Van Burgh," stammered
Andy, as he stumbled against that individual, who with
dark brows and chilly manner, was standing in the open
doorway.
Andy feared his chief might have heard the remark to
his mother, and taken it to himself. The lad looked upon
him as too old for his mother any way, and felt no fear
of^ him; it was the wealthy, good-looking owner of the
mine that troubled him, who must at least have been ten
years her junior; but Andy never thought of that, he
always looked upon his mother as being young and
attractive.
The dinner table was set in the general room. Mrs.
Le Brun came in dressed in black lace, through the meshes
of which her neck and arms gleamed whitely.
Soon after to Andy's surprise, came Mr. Van Burgh,
and Mr. Berrick in evening dress. i6+
NAN
He looked down at his ordinary clothes in such comic I
distress, that his mother and her guests laughed pleasantly
at him.
Dinner was announced, and Miss Dorie, in her usual
black and white, came in and was presented to the
millionaire.
What a merry dinner they had! Mr. Berrick paid
Mrs. Le Brun such marked attention that her son gave
her a warning look, which was received with a peal of
laughter; and the young man was disconcerted, for he
felt, rather than saw, that the by-play had all been observed
by his silent chief.
After dinner the men went under the verandah, which
had been built for the store and extended over the sidewalk, to smoke. These structures were put up in the same
way, before stores or hotels, making a place to display
wares in the one, and for lounging around in the other.
Mr. Berrick suggested how much nicer it would be for
the ladies, if the verandah was trellised over, and the
building moved back on the lot; it might be done while
they were out for a walk or a drive.
Andy said he would see the carpenter, and have it done
before another week.
Miss Dorie played a plaintive fantasia, while Mrs. Le
Brun set out the table for tea.
The gentlemen now came in for that, and afterwards
Andy said, " Mother, if you'll sing something, I'll play
afterwards to Miss  Dorie's accompaniment."
" Will you sing 'Douglas,' Mrs. Le Brun. Andrew
said you had a contralto voice."
"If you like, Mr. Van Burgh."
He rose, led her to the piano, and sitting down to it THE  WIDOW  LE  BRUN 165
himself touched the keys, with what all present felt to be
a master's hand.
When the last sad note had died away, there was silence.
" You play  far too well  for my poor singing."
"On the contrary I fail to do the pathos of your voice
justice."
" Oh, come now, give us something lively, you almost
brought tears to my eyes," and Miss Dorie had to run off.
" Indeed, I can't sing anything very bright, Mr. Berrick,"
protested Mrs. Le Brun. " I know that song touches a
tender spot for my friend; though she has been true enough
to her Douglas, but his continued silence has filled her
with fear as to his safety. For my part, I always tell her,
he will appear upon the scene suddenly some of these
times, and I shall lose the dearest friend I ever had."
Mr. Van Burgh's fingers had wandered into a gay French
Chanson, and Mrs. Le Brun took it up as brightly as it
" That's something like," cried Mr. Berrick, enthusiastically. " Do give us something else. It's such a treat
to hear a lady's voice in these wilds."
But Mrs. Le Brun seemed more annoyed than pleased,
and bending forward, asked Mr. Van Burgh to give them
something.
He fixed his fine, magnetic eyes on hers, and commenced
so weirdly Mr. Berrick raised his eyebrows in protest, but
no one noticed him, and Mrs. Le Brun went back to the
tea table.
The music which had begun so weirdly, brightened and
swelled, then died down into a sobbing minor, till their
hearts ached.
Again it brightened till it was one song of love and
happiness, then subdued, it died away in peaceful harmony.
1 166
NAN
ill
Mrs. Le Brun's eyes were fixed upon the back of the
figure at the piano, and when he stopped and suddenly
wheeled round he caught her intent look, and smiled back
at her.
" Thank you, that was enchanting. Such a weird
beginning, but how restfully you finished."
He bent to take another cup of tea from her hand, and
said for her ear alone. " That is my life: how it has
begun, and the way in which I hope it will finish."
She started, but made no reply by look or word, and he
was not sure if she had heard him.
The following week he refused to go out with Andy,
and the next.
When Andy returned the third time, he brought a little
formal note of invitation from his mother, and was surprised at the pleasure with which his stern chief received it.
He went down from the mountains the following week
with Andy, and found Mrs. Le Brun sitting on the
trellised porch with Mr. Berrick.
She went forward to kiss Andy and welcome Mr. Van
Burgh, when the latter gave her a cold, displeased look,
which she felt puzzled to account for.
Afternoon tea appeared with Miss Dorie, and the
conversation became general.
" What a lovely drive that was you took us for yesterday, Mr. Berrick," remarked Miss Dorie, "but really I
think it upset my nerves, for I was dreaming last night
we all went over the precipice, and only for Mr. Van
Burgh and Andy, who stood at the bottom, and caught us
all, horses as well, in their arms, we should have been
killed."
" We were your good angels then, Miss Dorie, you
see," returned the chief grimly.    " I think Berrick, you THE  WIDOW  LE  BRUN 167
were taking great risks in driving ladies on such a road."
"Of course I know that the road to the mine is far
from good, but my horses are perfectly safe, and Mrs. Le
Brun was delighted."
"Indeed yes, the wild grandeur of the scenery was
beyond description."
Mr. Van Burgh was not satisfied, and later in the evening he took the opportunity of saying to Mrs. Le Brun,
" Promise me not to drive with Berrick up those dangerous
mountain roads any more."
She laughed, saying it was a new sensation for any one
to be looking after her safety, as she had followed her own
devices so long.    But she evaded the promise.
He gave her a look which brought the color to her
cheeks, and annoyed at finding herself so foolish, she
turned abruptly away.
When next Mr. Berrick brought his horses to the door,
she pleaded headache, and sent Miss Dorie alone with him.
Things went on in much the same way for five months,
and Mrs. Le Brun had to use much diplomacy to keep
Mr. Berrick from proposing to her, but she managed it
somehow. Mr. Van Burgh had had several opportunities,
but he remained silent, and she was uncertain as to her
feeling with regard to him.
" The girls have their commencement next week, and
in a few days will be on their way home. Your cousin
is coming with Agatha and a very dear school-girl friend,
now what am I to do, Andy?"
" Put up three fresh bunks, or build an addition to this
mansion, but for goodness sake don't go away, because in
six weeks at the most our work will be finished here, and
I can go with you for the winter, besides it will be great
fun to have the girls here." 168
NAN
" But your aunt will be with them. I don't know
what she'll say to this kind of camping-out life."
" Oh, she'll be contented; just try her any way, there's
a dear mother."
So in two weeks time the merry voices of the three girls
were making the ' mansion' gay with fun and laughter.
Miss Tring, the very dear friend of Agatha, was a tall,
fair, happy girl of healthy proportions, and pleasant temper.
" What a wife she'll make a fellow," said Andy to himself when he saw her, " and I'm going to take a hand at
winning, if I can."
Agatha was a fair, bright fairy with large blue eyes, and
yellowish, curly hair.
The cousin was very dark, with flashing black eyes,
plenty of coal black hair, and a rosy complexion. She
was the beauty of the three.
But Andy and she were always at loggerheads, and started
their skirmishes as soon as they came in sight of each other,
which made the restfulness of Saide Tring's companionship
all the more agreeable to the young man, and as Saide
thought him the perfection of all masculine graces, they
were soon on the road to a true love which would run
with perfect smoothness.
A month after the girls' arrival, Andy took the blushing Saide to his mother, saying she had made him the
happiest man  in  the world,  and  his mother kissed  hen||
well content with such a daughter-in-law.
Mrs. Le Brun was sitting alone after a dinner which. Mrfo
Van Burgh had not joined.    The rest were away singly^
or in  couples,  enjoying the cool  evening air,  when  the
door opened, and in walked Mr. Berrick, looking excited
and joyful. THE  WIDOW  LE  BRUN 169
She kept her seat, and felt no fear that he would propose
for her hand now.
He stood rather awkwardly before her, and both were
unconscious of a pair of piercing-eyes, which gazed at them
through the trellis work of the porch; too far off to hear
their words, but in full view of their actions.
"Where did you leave the girls?" Mrs. Le Brun asked,
more to relieve his embarrassment than anything else, as
she had anticipated this interview for several days.
" I left Agatha, may I call her Agatha ? you don't mind,
do you?" he asked nervously, "but I must say it all at
once: I love her and she loves me, and all we want is your
"I shall willingly give it, with this proviso—"
" Which is—" he interrupted breathlessly.
" That if after six months' intercourse in the world you
are of the same mind, I will give you a favorable answer,
till then feel yourself free. It is a very different thing to
fall in love with a person in these wilds, and to keep to
it in the great world of fashion."
They did not see the face in the doorway, which shrank
back with a groan, when Berrick raised her hand to his
lips and said, "After six months, then, I shall ask you the
same question."
Then he went in search of Agatha, who seemed perfectly
willing to test his fidelity.
Mrs. Le Brun sat musing after her prospective son-in-
law had left her; when a slight sound at the door attracted
her attention, and she started back with a little scream, as
she looked up and saw standing before her Mr. Van Burgh,
his face white and drawn, his arm stretched out towards
her, as if in rebuke. 170
"What is the matter
"Are you  ill?"
" 111 ?   in body, no;
last found my ideal in
see the homage c
probation."
"Are you then
with a little qui
before her eyes.
"Agatha!    I'm
She saw in a
looking up at hii
asked, "How lo.
inquired, raising her hand.
in mind, yes. I thought I had at
woman, and only came in time to
'ther accepted, after his six months'
ove with Agatha, too?" she asked,
i her voice, while a film gathered
about you, not your daughter."
the mistake he had made, and
as he stood like stern fate before her,
; have you been in the porch?"
" The last half hour, madam," he returned sternly.
" Then you heard Mr. Berrick propose for—"
"Your hand," he said bitterly.
" You are mistaken," she returned softly, " it was for
Agatha, and I imposed a six months' probation upon him
Ip
He didn't wait to hear why, but threw himself upon
the settee at her side, and looking into her faithful brown
eyes, he poured out the love and fear he had suffered,
thinking that Berrick was preferred before him.
" Is'nt it like the fate I prophesied upon the piano, the
first evening I met you. Did you hear what I said then ?"
he enquired in his abrupt way.
She smiled at him, and he seized her hands, asking if I
he might hope.
" Let me tell you one thing first.    By my late husband's ^
will, I lose everything if I marry again."
" So much the better.    I only want you.    I have plenty
for both."
" I have something to tell you, too, and after you have   THE  WIDOW  LE  BRUN 171
heard it, and will let me, I shall put this ring upon your
finger."
The tale he told was of an early love; a beautiful girl,
but incapable of sincerity, who, heedless of her vows, had
gone with another man, who had left her to die in poverty
and vice, as soon as he had tired of her charms. For the
sake of his own little son (now almost a man) and
his lost love, he had seen that she received sufficient for a
comfortable maintenance and proper treatment, which
alas! was at a private asylum for the insane for many years.
When the Gold Escort, which was the last pack train
for the coast, passed down, it was joined by this merry
party, bound for civilization and the pleasures of an eastern
winter. o_Äa_ From   FRANCIS   GRIFFITHS'  LIST.
BRIDGE AND BRIDGE PLAYING.       By  S.   M.   GLUCKSTEIN.
Paper, Price is. net; by post is. ad.
A handy and concise manual of the   game,   including  Auction
Bridge, the Laws of Bridge, and an Index.
Contents :—(i) Introductory. (2) The Game. (3) Method of
Scoring. (4) The Stakes. (5) What to Avoid. (6) The Declaration.
(7) Doubling and Re-doubling. (8) Doubling of No-Trumps, (a) The
Lead, (b) The Lead. (9) Returning the Lead. (10) Discards. (11)
Unblocking a suit. (12) The Play, (a) The Dealer, (b) The Adversaries. (13) The Spade Convention. (14) Points in Bridge Etiquette.
(15) On Bridge Legislation. (16) The Misere at Bridge. (17) Auction
Bridge.    (18) The Laws of Bridge.    (19) Index to Laws of Bridge.
A  Standard Book for all Lovers of Cricket.
CRICKET SCORES, NOTES, ETC.:   FROM 1730—1773.
Compiled   by   H.   T.   WAGHORN.
Crown 8vo, Cloth, 6s. net; by post 6s. 4d.
Written as reported in the different newspapers.    To which are added
two poems, with remarks, published in 1773, on Kent v. Surrey,
also Rules of the Game when betting was permitted.
In this little volume a number of interesting facts about the great
national game of Cricket are for the first time gathered together.    As
far as the author knows, these facts, which are the result of a long
series of researches at the British Museum, in the books and news
papers of the last century, are,  almost without exception,  collected
and published for the first tiro».
THE LOVE LETTERS OF KING HENRY VIII.
With an Introduction by LADBROKE BLACK.
Paper 6d. net; by post 7d. Cloth is. j by post is. id.
In this little book Mr. Ladbroke Black has re-printed from the
" Harleian Miscellany" the love-letters of Henry VIII. to Ann
Boleyn; two letters from Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey; her las-
letter to Henry VIII., and a love-letter from Henry VIII. to Jane
Seymour, written during his wife's life-time, and ending in the pious
hope " shortly to receive you in these arms."
OLD ENGLISH PLAYS.
Edited, with Introductions and Notes, by F. J. COX.
Foolscap 8vo.    Paper cover 6d. net; by post 7d.    Cloth is. net;
by post is. id.
1. THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DR. FAUSTUS.   By Christo-
pher Marlowe.
2. A WOMAN KILLED WITH  KINDNESS.    By Thomas  Hey-
3. EVERY MAN IN HIS HUMOUR.    By Ben Johnson.
4. THE  MAID'S  TRAGEDY.      By  Francis Beaumont and John
Fletcher.
The series is specially designed for the book lover and student
anxious to acquire a knowledge of the dramatic literature of the
Elizabethan and J
LONDON: FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, MAIDEN LANE, STRAND, W.C. FRANCIS GRIFFITHS' TRAVEL BOOKS.
MODERN ARdENTINA. By W.  H.  KOEBEL.
The El Dorado of To-Day.   With Notes on Uruguay and Chile.
With 123 Illustrations.  .
Demy 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 12s. 6d. net; by post 13s.
Times :—" The book is thoroughly up-to-date, is very readable,
and contains much interesting information . . . It is the pleasantly-written work of a man with observant eye and ready ear who has
made the most of his time spent in the country and has succeeded in
giving a vivid and intelligent account of what he has seen and heard."
SHADOWS OP OLD PARIS.
Fully Illustrated by J. Ga-<
Crown 8vo
12s.
crowds of idle
ho
the Fre
oh r.
lov
ers of
cit
p of pi
asure, ai
id pit
By G. DUVAL,
n, in colour, wash, and line drawings.
6d. net; by post 13s.
ers and pleasure seekers, of students
apital temporarily their home, there
>us enough to turn from the dazzling
unge into the dingy Paris of the past.
within  a  town. The whole story of
France is written on the walls of Paris; and to a student of history,'"
what is more passionately eloquent, what more enigmatic and mysteri-C
ous, than those silent stones?"
BURGUNDY : THE SPLENDID DUCHY.
Studies & Sketches In South Burgundy. By PERCY ALLEN.
Fully Illustrated with eight water-colour and 86 line drawings byv
Miss Marjorie Nash.    Foolscap quarto,  cloth,  12s. 6d. net.
Burgundy, though quite unknown to the majority of travellers,
13 one of the most interesting provinces of France. This full-blooded .
land of fertile meadows, vine-clad slopes, and rugged hills, is the-
home of a people strong and vivacious—comfortable, courageous,:.
eloquent, sonorous folk, that like a good dinner and a good story to
fellow, that have produced Bernard, Bossuet, Greuze, and Lamartine.
Burgundian history, too, is unrivalled in its interest for English .
readers.    It was the scene of events vital to the making of Europe.
It was  one of  the  strongholds  of Roman  civilization.    It saw the   .
genesis  of  a religious movement that  was the greatest feature  of
eleventh and twelfth century history.
In this, his latest book, Mr. Allen gives us all that an intelligent^
traveller need know concerning the southern portion of the great
Duchy, a province that has not previously been adequately dealt
with by an English writer. Miss Marjorie Nash's drawings, in colour"-
and black and white, worthily complete a volume that should form a
welcome addition to the library of French Travel.
WITH NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO.    EDWARD BRUCE LOW, M.A. I
And other unpublished documents of the Waterloo  and Penin--^
sular Campaigns, also Papers on .Waterloo by the late
LONDON: FRANCIS GRIFFITHS, 34, HAIDENLANE, STRAND, W.C.  i
|| Prn?r.WARF.r>   ^ ^"^^fÅ^, \ q \ *i
Place of Purchase U OA^c.^\A.Aiu
Price   t#t>	
Later Catalogued Prices 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/cdm.bcbooks.1-0343199/manifest

Comment

Related Items