A Man of Two Countries
by Alice Harriman
BOOK I. THE RIVER
BOOK II. THE PRAIRIE
BOOK III. THE STATE
TO THE READER.
Prior to the days of the cowboy and the range, the settler and
irrigation, the State and the Province, an ebb and flow of Indians,
traders, trappers, wolfers, buffalo-hunters, whiskey smugglers,
missionaries, prospectors, United States soldiery and newly organized
North West Mounted Police crossed and recrossed the international
boundary between the American Northwest and what was then known as the
Whoop Up Country. This heterogeneous flotsam and jetsam held some of
the material from which Montana evolved its later statehood.
To one who came to know and to love the region after the surging
tide had exterminated the buffalo and worse than exterminated the
Indian,to one who appreciates the limitless possibilities of the
splendid Commonwealth of Montana on the one side and the great Province
of Alberta on the other of that invisible line which now draws together
instead of separating men of a common tongue, this period seems
tremendously interesting. The local color has, perhaps, not been
squeezed from too many tubes. Types stand out; never individuals.
As types, therefore, the characters of this book weave their story
as the shuttle of time, filled with the woof of hidden purpose and open
deed, runs through the warp of their friendships and enmities.
And with the less attractive strands the shifting harness of place
and circumstance enmeshes a thread of Love's gold.
BOOK I. THE RIVER
BOOK II. THE PRAIRIE
BOOK III. THE STATE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Twisting the Lion's Tail 15
II. The Girl on the Fontenelle 30
I. Under the Union Jack 47
II. Hate 58
III. The Hot Blood of Youth 72
IV. The Return to Fort Benton 88
I. Visitors from Helena 107
II. Charlie Blair's Sister 125
III. A Man of Two Countries 141
IV. The State Republican Convention 155
V. Despair 165
VI. Il Trovatore 180
VII. Debauching a Legislature 196
VIII. Danvers' Discouragement 211
IX. A Frontier Knock 219
X. Wheels Within Wheels 226
XI. The Chinese Legend 241
XII. Recognition 251
XIII. The Lobbyist 257
XIV. The Keystone 268
XV. An Unpremeditated Speech 281
XVI. The Election 291
BOOK I. THE RIVER
I beheld the westward marches
Of the ... nations,
Restless, struggling, toiling, striving.
Chapter I. Twisting the Lion's Tail
Philip Danvers, heading a small party of horsemen, galloped around
the corner of a warehouse and pulled up on the levee at Bismarck as the
mate of the Far West bellowed, Let 'er go!
Hold on! he shouted, leaping from his mount.
Why in blazes! The mate's impatience flared luridly as he ordered
the gang-plank replaced. His heat ignited the smouldering resentment of
the passengers, and they, too, exploded.
We're loaded to the guards now! yelled one.
Yeh can't come aboard! threatened another.
Haven't yeh got a full passenger list a'ready, Captain? demanded a
blustering, heavy-set man with beetling eyebrows, as he pushed himself
angrily through the crowding men to the deck-rail.
Can't help it if I have, Burroughs, retorted the autocrat of the
river-boat. These troopers are recruits for the North West Mounted
The hell yeh say!
Philip Danvers noted the unfriendly eye, and realized that this
burly fellow dominated even the captain.
Their passage was engaged three months ago, went on the officer.
It's nothing to me, affirmed Burroughs, reddening in his effort to
regain his surface amenity.
The young trooper, superintending the loading of the horses,
resented the manifest unfriendliness toward the English recruits. A
dreary rain added discomfort, and the passengers growled at the slow
progress hitherto made against the spring floods of the turbulent
Missouri and this prolonged delay at Bismarck.
As he went up the gang-plank and walked along the deck, bits of
conversation came to him.
He looks like an officer, said one, with a jerk of his thumb in
An officer! Where? D'yeh mean the dark-haired one? The voice was
that of Burroughs again, and as Danvers met his insolent eye an instant
antagonism flashed between the roughly dressed frontiersman and the
lean-flanked, broad-shouldered English youth.
Hello! 'F there ain't Toe String Joe! continued Burroughs,
recognizing the last to come on board, as the line was cast off and the
steamer backed into the stream. What you doin' here, Joe?
I met up with these here Britishers when they came in on the train
from the East, an' I'm goin' t' enlist, admitted the shambling Joe,
his breath confirming his appearance. Where you been?
Back to the States to get my outfit. I'm goin' ter start in fer
myself up to Fort Macleod. So you've decided to be a damned Britisher,
eh? Burroughs reverted to Joe's statement. Yeh'll have to take the
oath of allegiance fer three years of enlistment. Did yeh know that?
He closed one eye, as if speculating how this might further his own
interests. You'll make a fine police, Joe, you will! he jeered in
You goin' to Fort Macleod? questioned Joe. You'll git no trade in
Don't yeh ever think it! returned Burroughs, with a look that
Danvers sub-consciously noted.
Beyond the crowd he saw a child, held by a man with a scarred face.
His involuntary look of amazement changed the pensiveness of her
delicate face to animation, and she returned his smile. This unexpected
exchange of friendship restored his self-respect and his anger
evaporated. He recalled the childhood spent in English lanes with his
only sister. He beckoned enticingly, and soon she came near, shy and
What's your name, little girl?
That's a pretty name, said the young trooper. Are you going to
Fort Benton with your papa?
No. Papa's deadandmamma. That's my brother, indicating the man
who had held her. He came to get me. His name is Charlie.
Dear little girl! thought Philip Danvers, as the child ran to
Howdy! Charlie gave unconventional greeting as he took a bench
I've been getting acquainted with your sister, explained the
Glad of it. Winnie's afraid of most o' the men, an' there aren't
more'n three white women up the river. I've had to bring her back with
me, and I don't know much about children. But there's one good old lady
at Benton, the frontiersman proceeded, cheerfully. She'll look after
her. You see, I'm away most of the time. I'm a freighter between the
head of navigation and the Whoop Up CountryFort Macleod.
I got the contract to haul the supplies for the North West Mounted
Police this spring. I'll be in Fort Macleod 'most as soon as you, I
reckon. What is it, Winnie? he questioned, as the child drew shrinking
closer to him.
I don't like that man, asserted Winifred, as Robert Burroughs
You mustn't say that, Winnie, reproved Charlie.
Burroughsaddressing PhilipSweet Oil Bob, we call him, is goin'
to start a new tradin' post at Macleod. He's clerked at Fort Benton
till he knows more about the profits of an Injun tradin' post than any
man on the river! Yeh'll likely see quite a little o' him. Most of the
Canadian traders 'd rather he stayed this side o' the line.
Surely there are other American traders in this Whoop Up Country,
as you call it.
Not so manyno. But Sweet Oil Bob is shrewd, an' the Canadians are
afraid he'll get the biggest share o' the Injun trade. You know how it
Before Danvers could answer, his attention was caught by:
The ambition of my life is to sit on the supreme bench of some
State, spoken by a fair-haired young man as he passed with a taller,
older one. Montana will be a State, some day, the would-be judge went
on, eagerly boyish.
Hello, Doc, called Charlie, as he sighted the elder pedestrian.
Stop a minute.
Before the invitation was accepted the physician gave impetus to the
Hope your hopes, Latimer. Honorable and honest endeavor will reach
the most exalted position. Then he put out his hand to the child, who
clasped it affectionately.
Well, Charlie, he smiled genially at the English lad as well as on
his former river travelers. How goes it?
All right, returned Charlie, amiably. So Latimer wants to dabble
in territorial politics, eh?
I didn't say so, flushed the embryonic lawyer. I said I'd like to
be a judge on the supreme bench, some day. I'm going to settle in
What do you think about politics? suddenly quizzed Charlie,
turning to Danvers.
I'd not risk losing your friendship, smiled Philip, by stating
what an Englishman's opinion of American politics are.
Better not, laughed the doctor, with a keen glance of appraisal.
I'll admit they're rotten, Latimer hastened to add. But I'd love
to play the game. No political affiliations should bias my decision.
Bet you'll be glad to get home, Doc. Charlie changed the subject,
so foreign to his out-of-door interests. You can't keep the doctor
away from Fort Benton, he explained to the two strangers. He thinks
she's got a big future, don't you, Doc?
To be sure! To be sure! corroborated the physician, as his arm
went around the little girl. Fort Benton will be a second St. Louis!
Mark my words, Latimer. He turned to his companion, whose charm of
manner appealed unconsciously to the reserved Danvers.
I hope your predictions may prove correct, since I am to set up a
law office there, replied Latimer. And you? He turned to include
Philip Danvers in a smile which the lonely Englishman never forgot.
He an' I 's for Fort Macleod, explained Scar Faced Charlie, before
Philip could speak. These ready frontiersmen had a way of taking the
words out of his mouth.
He's for the Mounted Police, yeh know, an' I'm freightin' in the
supplies. An' what d'yeh think, Doc? Toe String Joe says he's goin' to
enlist when we get to Fort Benton. Burroughs won't mind havin' him in
Isn't it unusual for Canadian troopers to come through the United
States? inquired Arthur Latimer.
This time it was the doctor who answered the question directed
toward the silent Danvers.
The first companies marched overland from Winnipeg two years ago,
when the North West Mounted Police was organized, and a tough time they
had. They were six months making it, what with hostile Indians and one
thing and another, and at last they got lost in an awful snowstorm
(winter set in early that year), and they nearly died of cold and
starvationmost of their horses did. An Indian brought word to one of
the trading posts. Remember that rescue, Charlie? He turned for
corroboration to the freighter, but continued, without waiting for an
answer that was quite unnecessary to prod the reminiscent doctor.
Fort Macleod is only two hundred miles north of Fort Benton, he
concluded, and I understand the recruits will hereafter be taken into
the Whoop Up Country by way of the Missouri.
The blue eyes of the lawyer instinctively sought the dark ones of
the young trooper in a bond of subtle feeling at this recital of
pioneer life. It was all in the future for them.
We came from Ottawa by rail to Bismarck, explained Danvers at the
unspoken question, and brought our horses.
They are a civil force under military discipline, added the doctor
to Latimer's questioning eyes.
As they talked, the steamboat came to a series of rapids, and
Danvers and Latimer went to the prow to watch the warping of the boat
over the obstruction. Burroughs stood near, and took no pains to lower
his voice as he remarked to the mate: Jes' watch my smoke. I'm goin'
to twist the lion's tail.
Meanin' the feller with the black hair? The mate looked critically
at Danvers. Better leave him alone, Burroughs, he advised. Yeh've
been achin' to git at him ever since yeh set eyes on him. What's eatin'
Yeh talk too much with yer mouth, flung back Burroughs, as he
moved toward the Englishman. Ever been up the river before? he
demanded of Danvers.
No. Philip barely glanced away from the lusty roustabouts working
the donkey engines.
Are yeh a 'non-com' or a commissioned officer?
The young recruit turned stiffly, surprised at the persistence.
Neither, he answered, laconically, returning to the survey of the
swearing, sweating crew. Several bystanders laughed, and the mate
You'll git nothin' outer that pilgrim that's enlightenin', Bob.
He's too clost mouthed.
Some say 'neether' an' some say 'nayther,' but 'nyther' is right,
sneered Burroughs, fer the Prince o' Wales says 'nyther.'
Danvers, disdaining to notice the cheap wit, watched the brilliant
sunshine struggling through the lessening rain as it danced from eddy
to sand-bar, from rapids to half-submerged snags. The boiling river
whitened as the steamboat labored to deeper water above the rapids. The
islands, flushed with the fresh growth of a Northern spring, and the
newly formed shore-line where the capricious Missouri had recently
undermined a stretch of bank, gave character to the scene, as did the
delicately virent leaves of swirling willow, quaking aspens and
cottonwoods loosened from their place on shore to float in midstream.
A party of yelling Crees attracted their attention, and the
stranger's indifference gave a combative twist to Burroughs' remark:
Them's Canadian Injuns.
Something in his tone made the men draw nearer. Was it a sneer? A
slur on all things English? A challenge to resent the statement, and
resenting, to show one's mettle? Frontiersmen on the upper Missouri
fought at a word in the early seventies. No need for cause. Men had
been shot for less animus than Burroughs displayed.
A fight? asked Scar Faced Charlie, drawn from the cabin.
No; a prayer-meeting, Toe String Joe gave facetious answer.
Run back to our stateroom, Winnie, said Charlie, as he glanced at
Burroughs' face. What's the matter? he inquired as she obeyed.
Search me. Joe still acted as fourth dimension. Bob and Danvers
seem to hate each other on sight.
Burroughs moved nearer the quiet trooper.
The Mounted Police think they're goin' to stop whiskey sellin' to
the Injuns, he began. But they can't. I know A meaning wink at
his friends implied disloyalty even in the Force.
The baited youth faced the trader, his countenance darkening. But
his hand unclasped as he started for the cabin with Latimer. Why notice
this loud talk? Why debase himself by fighting this unknown bully? His
bearing voiced his thoughts. The expectant crowd looked noncommittally
at the tall smokestacks, at the snags. Burroughs laughed noisily.
'The widdy at Windsor' 's got another pretty! he taunted. Hate
flared suddenly from his deep-set eyes; he could not have analyzed its
cause. Jes' cut loose from home an' mammy, he continued,
intemperately. Perhaps he's the queen's latest favorite, boys. We all
know what women are!
What was it? A crash of thunder? A living bolt of fire? Something
threw the intervening men violently to the deck. The stripling who had
accepted the traditional shilling brushed the crowd aside and knocked
down the slanderer of all womenand of his queen!
Take that back! Philip breathed, not shouted, as one less angry
might have done. You will not? You shall!
Burroughs sprang to his feet instantly and returned the blow
valiantly. He did not draw his Colt's as frontiersmen were prone to do,
for he thought that a knock-down fight would show that a man must not
stand too much on dignity on the upper Missouri. Besides, the lad was
English, therefore to be punished.
At once the trifling affair widened into a promiscuous scrimmage of
recruits against civilians. In the excitement Winifred, frightened at
the uproar, came searching for her brother, just as Danvers again
delivered a blow that sent Burroughs reeling against the deck railing.
It was not strong enough to withstand the collision and the aggressor
in the fight barely kept his balance as the wood broke. But Winifred,
pushed forward by the struggling men, clutched at the air and dropped
into the whirling yellow river far below.
My God! groaned Charlie, springing after her. But his leap was
preceded by that of Philip Danvers.
The alarm was given; the engines reversed. As the roustabouts jumped
to lower the boats the men pressed forward, but the mate beat them back
and got the crew to work.
Nowhere could the soft curls be seen. Charlie, nearly drawn into the
revolving paddles, was taken into the boat. Presently the watchers saw
Winifred's little red dress caught on an uprooted sapling. Tree and
child were in the center of the current. While so much debris stayed
near the shore or drifted on the shallow sand-bars, this one tree with
its human freight hurried on.
Save her! Save her! sobbed Scar Faced Charlie, kept by force from
jumping again into the stream. Let me go! he roared.
No, Charlie, said the mate firmly. We're goin' to pick up yer
sister an' Danvers. No need fer yeh to risk yer life again. That
English lad is goin' to turn the trick.
Philip swam on, strongly, while vociferous ejaculations reached him.
That feller's got sand! he heard Joe say, as he dexterously
avoided a whirlpool and dodged a snag.
He's a fool!
He'll drown, an' the girl, too!
It's caughthe'll overtake her!
A devilfish-like snag held tree and burden. With a burst of speed
Philip swam alongside. Winifred? Thank God! Still alive, although
unconscious; face white, eyes closed. As he grasped her, her eyes
* * * * *
After the excitement, the shouts and the cursings, the crashing of
wood and the fighting, quiet reigned on the Far West.
Robert Burroughs, sitting in the long northern twilight, rubbed his
sore muscles while Scar Faced Charlie and the doctor paced the deck.
Danvers did a big thing. He saved my sister's life. I'll never
forget it. If the time ever comes I'll do as much for him, declared
Perhaps you may, mused the doctor. We can never tell what the
future holds. Perhaps you'll not save his life, but life isn't
everything. He may ask you to do something that you won't want to do.
The grating of the steamer on a sand-bar interrupted him.
Brought into high relief by the rising moon, the lead-man stationed
Four feet scantfour feetby the lead five n' a half! No bottom!
Threet-h-r-e-ef-e-e-tscant! Again the boat scraped the sand.
As the pilot shouted down the tube to the engineers to pile on more
steam Charlie reverted to the rescue.
Danvers looked pretty well used up when he was brought aboard. But
darned if he yipped. He was all for lookin' after Winnie.
I like the lad, nodded the doctor approvingly. He has the gift of
silence. Shakespeare says: 'Give thy thoughts no tongue.'
In their next turn they saw Burroughs.
It'll never do for you to locate at Macleod, Bob, 'f you're goin'
to aggravate every recruit you don't happen to like, suggested
Charlie, with the privilege of friendship.
I was a fool! Burroughs confessed. But somehow that
You an' he'll always be like two bull buffalo in a herd, said
I'll do him yet, snarled Burroughs, as he rose to go to the cabin.
Chapter II. The Girl on the
The passengers on the Far West rose early. Danvers stood
watching the slow sun uplift from the gently undulating prairie. He
threw back his head, his lungs expanded as though he could not get
enough of the air. He did not know why, but he suddenly felt himself a
part of the countryfelt that this great, open country was his. The
banks of the Missouri were not high and he had an unobstructed view of
the vast, grassy sea rolling uncounted miles away to where the sky came
down to the edge of the world.
The song of the meadow lark, sweet and incessant as it balanced on a
rosin-weed, of the lark bunting and lark finch, poured forth
melodiously; twittering blue-birds looked into the air and back to
their perch atop the dead cottonwood as they gathered luckless insects;
the brown thrush, which sings the night through in the bright
starlight, rivaled the robin and grosbeak as Philip gazed over the
blue-skyed, green-grassed land. The blue-green of the ocean had not so
fascinated as the mysticism of this broad view. He was glad to be
alive, and anxious to be in the riot of life on the plains, where
trappers, traders and soldiers moved in the strenuous game of making a
His abounding vitality had recouped itself after the strain of
yesterday and he forgot its unpleasantness in the glorious morning; yet
at the sight of Burroughs coming from his cabin, the sunlight dulled
and involuntarily he felt himself grow tense.
I didn't mean a damn thing, began Burroughs awkwardly.
That's all right, broke in Philip, as uncomfortable as the other.
Just then the doctor, with Joe and Charlie, came on the upper deck.
What 'd I tell you, Charlie? triumphantly asked the physician, as
he saw the trader and trooper shaking hands.
What 'd you tell us? repeated the man with the scarred face, in
doubt, as Burroughs moved away and Danvers turned toward the prow of
the boat staring, with eyes that saw not, into the western unknown.
Didn't I tell you that Bob would do the right thing? asked the
charitable surgeon impatiently, unconscious that he had voiced no such
The three looked at the river and at the long lances of light
streaming from the East, then at the English youth, abstracted, aloof.
Perhaps yeh did, assented Joe, easily. But I know one thing.
It'll stick in Bob's crop that he craw-fished. A nod indicated his
meaning. Somehow Danvers strikes me as a stuck-up Britisher.
A man shouldn't be damned for his look or his manner, exploded the
doctor, although he recognized the truth of the criticism. He's young
and self-conscious. A year or two in the Whoop Up Country will season
him and be the making of him.
He'll not always stay in the Whoop Up Country, Charlie said,
presciently. I wish I could do something for him, he added. He'll
make his marksomehowsomewhere.
Prophesying, eh? smiled the doctor. All right; we'll see.
The light-draft, flat-bottomed Far West made slow progress.
The dead and broken snags, the sawyers of river parlance, fast in the
sand-bars, seemed waiting to impale the steamboat. The lead-man called
unceasingly from his position. One bluff yielded to another, a flat
succeeded to a grove where wild roses burst into riotous bloom, and
over all lay the enchantment of the gay, palpitant, young summer.
The journey was monotonous until, with a bend of the river, they
sighted another steamer, the Fontenelle, stuck fast on Spread
Eagle Barthe worst bar of the Missouri. Among the passengers at the
rail Philip Danvers sawcould it be? a womana white woman, young and
beautiful. What could be her mission in that far country which seemed
so vast to the young Englishman that each day's journey put years of
civilization behind him?
The girl on the Fontenelle was evidently enjoying the
situation, and Danvers discovered at once that she was holding court on
her own boat as well as commanding tribute from the Far West.
The men about him stared eagerly at the slender, imperious figure,
while Burroughs procured a glass from the mate and feasted his eyes.
I'm goin' to see her at closer range, he declared, and soon had
persuaded the captain to let him have a rowboat.
Philip and Latimer, by this time good friends, watched the trader go
on board and disappear into the cabin.
The nerve of that man amazes me! declared Latimer. What can he be
Of the girl, and the first chance at Fort Benton! answered the
doctor, who joined the two in time to catch the remark. If you'd known
Bob Burroughs as long as I have at Fort Benton, you wouldn't be
surprised at anything. He's determined to win, wherever you put him,
and he'll make money easy enough.
But his eagerness and offensiveness began Danvers.
It isn't so much ignorance, explained the doctor, always ready to
give credit wherever due. He can talk English well enough when he
thinks there is any occasion. He's one of the self-made sort, you know.
But he doesn't estimate men correctlyputs them all a little too
lowand that's where he's going to lose the game.
When Burroughs came back he was met with a fusillade of questions.
Who is she, Bob?
Major Thornhill's daughter, Eva Thornhill.
Didn't know he had a daughter, quoth Joe. He never tol' me
This created a laugh, as Joe meant it should.
The major hasn't been so social since he was stationed at Fort
Benton, as to tell us his family affairs, reminded Charlie.
Bob's thinkin' o' that girl, surmised the mate, openly, as
Burroughs looked longingly toward the Fontenelle.
The boats, obstructed by the bar, were delayed the better part of
two days, and came to feel quite neighborly. The enamoured Burroughs
made another call, but he came back with a grievance.
She wanted to know who the fellow was with the complexion like a
girl's. I told her that if she meant Danvers, here he turned toward
the object of his comment, that he was nothin' but a private in the
Canadian North West Mounted Police. She wasn't interested then,
Army girls don't look at anything under a lieutenant, you bet!
seconded Toe String Joe. She probably won't even take any notice of
She'd heard, through the captain, about the 'hero' who saved
Charlie's sister, and she wanted to know all about it, sneered
Did you tell her how the railin' happened to break? insinuated
Philip Danvers remembered the fling. However, what did it matter
what Miss Thornhill thought of him or his position? He would probably
never meet her. Yet as the Far West followed the Fontenelle
up the river, he watched the girl's face turned, seemingly, toward him;
and as the first steamer disappeared around a bend, the alluring eyes
seemed like will-o'-the-wisps drawing him on. As he turned, other eyes,
soft and affectionate, were upraised to his, and a child's hand crept
into his with mute sympathy.
And thus by following the endless turn and twist of the erratic
Missouri; warping over rapids and sticking on sand-bars; running by
banks undermined by the flood; shaving here a shore and hugging there a
bar; after the tie-ups to clean the boilers, or to get wood, or to wait
for the high winds to abate; after perils by water and danger from
roving Indians, the Far West swung around the last curve of the
river and beholdFort Benton. The passengers cheered; the crowds on
the levees answered, while fluttering flags blossomed from boat and
adobe fort and trading posts as wild roses blossom in spring.
Whew! whistled the doctor, wiping his forehead as he joined Philip
and Latimer on the prow of the steamer. It's warm. Here we are, at
last. I wish, turning to Danvers, that you were going to stay here.
Latimer and I will miss you.
Indeed we shall! echoed the young lawyer. Here we've just gotten
to be friends and you must leave us. But you must write, old boy, and
if I don't make a success of the law business at Fort Benton, I'll run
up to Fort Macleod and make you a visit, while I look over the
The Americanism of the phrase law business struck oddly on British
ears, as lacking in dignity. Philip thought of doctor business,
artist business, and wondered if Americans spoke thus of all
professions. Latimer changed the subject.
Is this all there is to Fort Benton? with a wave of his hand.
Sure, answered the doctor, offended, what did you expecta St.
N-o, hesitated the lawyer, divided between a desire to gird at the
doctor, or to soothe his civic pride. But I'll confess I expected a
town somewhat larger, for the port of entry of the territory of
Thirty years from now Fort Benton will be a second St. Louis,
affirmed the doctor, oracularly. The river traffic will be enormous by
The physician's faith in the ultimate settlement of the Northwest
and Fort Benton's consequent growth was shared, Danvers knew, by many
another enthusiast; but as he looked back, mentally, over the lonely,
wind-swept miles through which the Missouri flowed, uninhabited save by
a few adventurers, trappers and Indians, the prediction seemed
So the town looks small to you, eh? asked the doctor, returning to
Latimer's comment. But let me tell you, Fort Benton does the business!
Our boats bring in the year's supply for the mining camps, for the
Indian agencies, for the military posts and for the Canadian Mounted
Police. No other town in the West has its future.
The three were silent for a time. The little town was very
attractive, nestling in the bend of the Missouri and protected by the
bluffs in their springtime tints.
Several stern-wheelers, many mackinaws, and smaller boats lay along
the water front.
The Fontenelle, first to arrive, was discharging her cargo.
Danvers, boy-like, took a certain pride in knowing that even the
Canadians, through the establishment of the North West Mounted Police
and their immediate needs, were adding to the prosperity of this
Northwestern center. Much sectional talk among the passengers had
strengthened his opinion that Americans were unfair and unjust to their
brothers of a common language, though when it came to business, he
noticed that the loudest talkers were the most anxious to secure
The longer Philip looked at Fort Benton the more he was attracted.
Decisions about places are as intuitive as convictions about people.
One place is liked, another disliked, and no logical reason can be
given for either. Fort Benton, that blue and golden day, touched his
heart so deeply that the sentiment never left him. Others might see
only a raw, rough frontier trading post; but for the trooper, the
glamour of the West was mingled with the faint, curling smoke
dissolving into the clear atmosphere. He had been right in his strong
impulse to cross the seas! Never had he been more sure.
By this time the steamer had cautiously nosed its way to its
moorings and tied up to a snubbing post. An officer from Fort Macleod
came on board to look after his recruits, and in the bustle of landing
Philip saw Scar Faced Charlie and little Winifred but a moment. Soon
the doctor and Latimer disappeared around the end of a long warehouse
on their way to the hotel, after a promise to look him up on the
The captain was ordering his men, and presently Burroughs sauntered
Well, here we are! I wonder 'f I'll see Miss Thornhill again? As
Danvers made no reply. Burroughs smiled heavily. I'll see yeh agin.
Likely I'll pull m' freight soon after you do and we'll meet at
* * * * *
G'bow thar! ye cussed, Texas horned toad! Haw, thar! ye bull-headed
son of a gun, pull ahead! Whoa! Haw! Ye long-horned, mackerel-back
cross between a shanghai rooster an' a mud-hen, I'll skin ye alive in
about a minute! The pop of a bull-whip followed like a pistol shot.
These vibrating adjurations, rending the balmy Sunday air, would
have amazed and shocked the citizens of a more cultured community, but
served in Fort Benton merely to start Scar Faced Charlie's bull-team,
loaded almost beyond hauling.
Charlie's shouts, delivered in the vernacular which he avoided when
his small kin was near, waked Philip Danvers, and soon he was outside
the walls of the 'dobe fort which Major Thornhill had courteously
placed at the service of the Canadian officer and his recruits. He
called to the driver and fell into step beside the bull-team heading
for the western bluffs, while the bull-whacker told him that little
Winifred was being cared for by a real nice old lady.
As he returned to town, after a pleasant good-by, he turned more
than once to note the slow, swinging plod of the bulls. Finally he
walked more briskly, and, finding the doctor and Latimer, they sought
the levees, where the bustle and hustle of the frontier town were most
apparent. Early as it was, the river-front was thronged with river-men,
American and English soldiers; traders, busy, preoccupied and alert;
clerks, examining and checking off goods; bull-whackers and
mule-skinners; wolfers and trappers, half-breeds and Indians, gamblers
and squawsall constantly shifting and reforming into kaleidoscopic
groups and jovial comradeship.
Everywhere he encountered the covert hostility toward the English,
but it was not until late in the afternoon that it became openly
Hi there! a staggering man hiccoughed as he turned to follow
Philip and his American friends.
Go slow, so's folks c'n take yeh in. I'm goin' to kick yeh off'n
the face of the earth, he continued, prodding uncertainly at Danvers.
Stop, I tell yeh! Why do I want yeh to walk slow? 'Cos (hic) I want to
wipe the road up with yer English hide. Yeh think yeh're all ri', but
yeh ain't. Yeh look's if yeh owned the town, an' yeh're walk's
That's Wild Cat Bill, said the kindly man of drugs, seeking to
remove the sting whose effect Danvers only partially succeeded in
concealing, as they outdistanced the drunken man. He's ostensibly a
wolfer, a man who kills wolves by scattering poisoned buffalo meat on
the prairies in winter, you know, he interjected, and then makes his
rounds later to gather up the dead wolves which have feasted not
wisely, but too well. He's a great friend of Sweet Oil Bob's.
Before Danvers had time to speak they passed Burroughs in close
conversation with Toe String Joe.
Those three! Bob and Joe and Bill! snorted the doctor
contemptuously. You'll likely see considerable of Bob's friends if he
goes to Macleod. He might be 'most anything he likedhe's clever
enough, but unscrupulous. He's crafty enough to get the most of his
work done by his confreres. He can speak English as well as I can, but
he thinks bad grammar will give him a stand-in with the frontiersmen.
And it's easy for a man to live on a lower level. He'll be sorry some
day to find himself out of practice, when the right girl comes along.
Here he comeshe's behind us, warned Latimer.
As Burroughs passed them he threw a glance of triumph that was
unexplainable until a corner turned brought to view Major Thornhill,
also walking abroad, accompanied by his daughter. Burroughs, smooth,
ingratiating, joined them as if by appointment.
After Philip retired that night the monotone of the soldiers' talk
merged into confused and indistinct recollections of his first Sunday
at Fort Benton. Eva Thornhill's scornful yet inviting face seemed
drawing him through deep waters, to be replaced by the face of the
child Winifred, terror-stricken as when she was in the river. Then came
the memory of the even-song at home, threading its sweetly haunting way
through the wild shouts of a frontier town that continued joyously its
night of revelry, until, at last, he fell asleep.
BOOK II. THE PRAIRIE
On Darden plain
The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions.
Troilus and Cressida
Chapter I. Under the Union Jack
The arrival of the troopers at Fort Macleod, after the long journey
on horseback over the prairie, was a relief to Philip Danvers, and the
weeks that followed were full of interest. Nevertheless, he felt a
loneliness which was all the greater when he remembered his new-found
friends at Fort Benton. The two hundred miles that separated him from
the doctor and Arthur Latimer might have been two thousand for all he
saw of them, and save for an occasional letter from the hopeful
Southerner he had little that could be called companionship. Among all
the troopers and traders there were none that appealed to Danvers, and
had it not been for the devotion of O'Dwyer he would have been alone
This gay Irish trooper had come out the year previous, and when the
recruits arrived from Fort Benton had been the first to welcome them,
from the owld counthry. There was nothing in common between the
silent Englishman and this son of Erin, but from the night when Danvers
had discovered him, some miles from the Fort, deserted by his two
convivial companions, and had assisted him to the barracks, O'Dwyer had
been his loyal subject and devoted slave.
Now, after three months, his zeal had not abated, and while Danvers
lay stretched on the bank of the wide slough, O'Dwyer could be seen,
not far distant, sunning himself like a contented dog at his master's
Long the English lad lay looking over the infinite reaches of
tranquil prairie, domed with a cloudless September sky.
This island in Old Man's River had become the little world in which
he lived. To the right was the Forta square stockade of cottonwood
logs, enclosing the low, mud-roofed officers' quarters, the barracks,
the quartermaster's stores, and the stables. To the left, and separated
from the fort by a gully, straggled the village of Fort Macleod.
Conspicuous, with its new board front, loomed the trading post of
Robert Burroughs. These beginnings of civilization seemed out of place
in the splendid, supreme calm of nature. Against the space and
stillness it appeared crude and impertinent.
Across the river he saw the Indian lodges, and heard the distant
hallo from rollicking comrades, swimming on the opposite side of the
island. The troopers, the traders and the 'breeds were as dependent
upon one another as if they were a colony upon an island in mid-ocean.
He did not care to be with these men, but he desired comradeship. How
could he overcome his natural reserve, make friends, yet not sacrifice
his individuality and family traditions? He recalled his father's
haughty: Associate with your own kind, or walk the path alone. But he
was too young to find joy in aloofness. The facility of speech, the
adaptive moulding to another's mood was not in him!
I'll have to be myself, he concluded. I never cared before for
men's good-will; but Arthur Latimer's camaraderie has made me see
O'Dwyer slept peacefully in the late afternoon, and Danvers envied
him the contentment of his simple nature. He drew a package of letters
from his red tunic and fingered them idly as he read the addresses. He
selected the last from Arthur Latimer and read again the already
I am coming to the Whoop Up Country with Scar Faced Charlie.
leaves again for Fort Macleod in about a week. The doctor says
that office work is bad for me and that I ought to get out in
open for a year or two. Really I am curious to see you in your
giddy uniform, and shall enjoy a visit, though if I could get
I might stay permanently.
How is Burroughs progressing? Is he selling beads and tea to
Indians at a thousand per cent. profit, or selling them whisky
the Q. T. at fifty thousand per cent. profit? How are you and
hitting it off?
I saw Miss Thornhill last week, but, between you and me,
devils of lawyers are not what my lady wants.
As Danvers folded the letter and replaced it, he felt a thrill of
gladness at the thought of the meeting. There would be some one to
share his joy in the sunsets and the prairie distances.
Then the future swept toward him; he wondered if this companionship
with his friend would be all that he should ever know. The intangible,
divine understanding that others knewthe possibility of an
appreciation that would be sweet, came vaguely into his awakening
heart. He took a newspaper clipping from his notebook and read:
There is an interesting old Chinese legend which relates how
angel sits with a long pole which he dips into the Sea of Love
lifts a drop of shining water. With an expert motion he turns
one-half of this drop to the right, the other half to the
where each is immediately transformed into a soul, a male and
female; and these souls go seeking each other forever.
The angel is so constantly occupied that he keeps no track
souls that he separates, and they must depend on their own
intuition to recognize each other.
The golden haze of the setting sun was not more glorious than the
dreams that came of a loved one ever near, of a son to perpetuate his
name; but the trumpet's brazen call sounding retreat, and its echoing
reverberations, made Danvers spring to his feet, romance and sentiment
laid aside. The present satisfied. Soldiering was good.
O'Dwyer sat up rubbing his eyes, with an exclamation of surprise at
the late hour.
As they ran through the big, open gate with its guard-room and
sentry, they saw Burroughs moving toward the lodges near the timber on
the eastern side of the island, while Toe String Joe, leaving his
crony, came to the fort.
Sweet Oil Bob's a favorite in the lodges all roight, remarked
O'Dwyer. There'll be trouble if he don't let Scar Faced Charlie's
Pine Coulee? questioned Danvers.
The same! said O'Dwyer, and with a salute prompted by affection
and not military compulsion he left Danvers at the barracks.
The arrival of Arthur Latimer with Scar Faced Charlie, making his
second trip since Danvers came to Macleod, unexpectedly settled most of
the problems baffling the silent and lonely Danvers. Charlie's
freighting outfit pulled into Macleod when the troops were drilling,
and Philip, though attentive to the commands of his superior, looked
across the gully and watched the gate-framed picture of the arrival of
supplies. The lurching wagons, the bulls, the men and dogs, loomed
large as their slow movements brought them into the one street of Fort
Macleod. Though there were two outfits, Danvers instantly recognized
Scar Faced Charlie, and saw Latimer run across the dry gully. He warmed
with delight as the troops swept along in their evolutions, for he knew
his friend was watching, and he smiled a welcome as Arthur's cap rose
high in happy salute.
After the parade Philip joined Latimer. The clasp of their hands
told more than the conventional greetings. They leaned on the rail
fence of the reservation and Latimer looked round eagerly. I like it
up here! he cried.
Better than Fort Benton? questioned Danvers hopefully.
You are here, Phil, came the quick answer from the Southerner,
with his old, appealing charm of voice and smile.
Night fell as they surveyed the scene. The freighters had built
camp-fires and the flare lighted the scene weirdly as they walked
toward Burroughs' trading-post. Latimer greeted all as comrades, even
the officers in mufti, and Danvers, seeing the responsive smiles,
realized how a sunny nature receives what it sheds.
Whose outfit came in with Charlie's? inquired Danvers, as they
neared the store.
The mule teams? Oh, that was McDevittan odd character, from all I
hear; Charlie gave me his version on the way up.
Danvers waited for the narrator to continue.
He is what they call a missionary-traderthough evidently there is
little difference in the varieties in this country. He's supposed,
however, to be an example to the Indians, and to furnish them with
material supplies, as well as spiritual food.
As they entered Burroughs' store, the trader met them cordially.
Glad to see yeh, Latimer, he said, grasping the outstretched
hands. I 'spose yeh've seen that pretty Miss Thornhill every day since
we left Fort Benton, he went on. That's a girl for yeh!
Danvers felt his face change. He had not yet ventured to broach Miss
Thornhill's name. This loud mention of her in the rough crowd was
Latimer made a vague reply. He sympathized with Danvers' involuntary
Well, glad to see yeh! repeated Burroughs, after more questions
and answers. Make yerself to home. Guess yer glad to see yer friend,
he said, turning to Danvers. Yeh ain't seemed to take up with any of
us fellers, and he passed on to other arrivals.
It was not long before McDevitt entered, having come, evidently, to
provoke a quarrel with Burroughs. While argument waxed hot between the
rival traders over the respective shipping points for furs and the
tariff on buffalo robes, Danvers and Latimer looked around the long
building lined with cotton sheeting not yet stained or grimed.
Blankets, beads, bright cloth, guns, bright ribbons, scalping-knives,
shot, powder and flints (the Indians had not seen many matches), stood
out against the light background. The bizarre effect was heightened by
the garb of the men. Suits of buckskin, gay sashes, blankets and
buffalo robes decked traders, scouts or Indians, as the case might be,
while the trooper costumered tunics, tiny forage caps, and blue
trousers with yellow stripesaccentuated the riot of color. A few
bales of furs, of little value, were on the high counters. In the
warehouse in the rear, however, hanging from unhewn beams or piled in
heaps, were buffalo robes and skins of all the fur-bearing animals,
awaiting shipment to Fort Benton.
The babel of tongues grew louder. Burroughs' quick temper suffered
from McDevitt's repeated assertion that Americans were ruining the fur
trade by paying the Indians more than the Canadian traders.
I'm losing money right along, McDevitt affirmed.
Th' hell yeh are! sneered Burroughs. Yeh preach an' then rob; rob
an' preach. I pay a fair price an' don't invite the Injuns to
git religion in the same breath that I offer 'em a drink o' smuggled
You! Youtalking! You sell more whiskey than any other
trader in the Whoop Up Country, right here under the noses of the
Prove it! taunted Burroughs provokingly. 'F the Police ever
suspect me an' make a search, they'll not fin' me holdin' a
prayer-meetin', same's they did you not so very long ago. Le'me
seehow much was yer fine, anyway? with a laugh.
Is that so? Think yeh're smart, don' yeh? snarled McDevitt,
furious. Look here, Bob Burroughs, come out an' we'll settle this
right here an' now! No? Well, let me tell yeh this! Yeh'll be sorry yeh
said that. Bygones is bygones, an' I don't want that fine throwed up in
my face again!
Did yeh say just the exact amount of the fine? repeated Burroughs,
disdaining to fight either in or out of his trading-post.
McDevitt's voice shook with vehemence as he strode from the crowded
I'll have something to throw up to you, Bob Burroughs, some o'
these days. I'm like a Injun, I furgive 'n furgit, but I'm campin' on
yer trail! Yeh won't be so smilin' thenle'me tell yeh!
An' the fine? once more insisted Burroughs, as McDevitt vanished,
amid a roar of laughter at the American's persistence.
The moon was rising when Danvers wended his way to the barracks an
hour later, Arthur walking to the reservation fence with him.
I wish we could prove where the Indians and 'breeds get their
whiskey, said Danvers.
Haven't you any idea?
Suspicion is not certainty, dryly.
It's a queer world, thought Latimer aloud.
But we're 'pioneers of a glorious future,' quoted Danvers,
lightly. It will all come out right. He longed to hear of Eva
Thornhill, hesitated, then inquired: Was Miss Thornhill at Fort Benton
when you left?
Yes. She asked several times about you. Danvers took off his cap.
So she remembered him. But she asked for Bob, too. The cap went on.
We'll all make a try for her heart, old man, laughed Latimer. By the
way, he added, as they paused before separating for the night, that
wasn't a bad looking squaw I saw just as we left Bob's. What is her
The one to our right, as we struck the trail? That was Pine Coulee.
She's Scar Faced Charlie's squaw, but Burroughs is trying to get her
away from him. However, one of her own tribe, Me-Casto, or Red Crow,
will steal her some of these days. He hates the white men because they
take the likely squaws.
Whew! whistled the visitor.
Chapter II. Hate
A day or two after Christmas, O'Dwyer, a lonely sentinel on his
midnight beat, strode with measured step, alert, on duty. Outside the
town, Robert Burroughs skulked toward the lodge, while Me-Casto
An hour afterward O'Dwyer heard moccasined feet approaching the
stockade gate. Challenging quickly, his Halt, who goes there? was
answered by Me-Casto. As that Indian had done some scouting for the
Police, the postern gate was unlocked, after some delay, and Me-Casto
admitted to the Colonel's presence.
When Me-Casto left the fort, Danvers, lying deep in sleep, with
others of his troop, felt a heavy hand on his shoulder.
Don't speak, whispered the orderly sergeant, who roused them. Get
up and dress for special duty. Report at stables at once, armed.
The men knew what was before them. They had been so roused before,
when it was expedient to have some party leave the fort with secrecy,
and it was not long before the chill water of the ford splashed them as
they rode away from the sleeping town and garrison.
Almost before the sound of carefully led horses had died away, Toe
String Joe was dressing, and soon was making his way through a secret
opening in the stockade where he had sawed off a log near the ground
and hung it with wooden pins to each adjoining post in such a manner
that it would easily swing.
As he lay on his cot of woven willows, he had watched, with narrowed
eyelids, his comrades leave the troop room. Now he must report to his
chief. The fort was soon behind him. Arriving at Burroughs' store, he
passed to the rear and tapped on the small pane of glass doing duty as
a window. He tapped again, again; then turned, cursing, to find
Burroughs at his elbow.
What's up? Burroughs interrupted Joe's blasphemy.
A party went out from the fort.
M-m-m! Who was at the fort before you turned in?
Who was ordered out?
Joe told him. Danvers was one, he concluded.
Always that black-haired Englishman! I hate him!
What yeh goin' to do? Ain't them goods comin' this week? Somebody's
blabbed. Me-Casto's been watchin' yeh mighty clost, lately. Perhaps it
Perhaps, concurred the trader, looking at the disloyal trooper
thoughtfully. We kin only hope fer the best. Wild Cat Bill is bringin'
it in, an' Scar Faced Charlie is drivin'. 'F they git a chance to
cache the stuff they will. Maybe, he concluded hopefully, the
detachment won't run across 'em, an' they'll fool the Police, with
their little pill boxes stuck on three hairs.
Meantime the mounted detail, with Me-Casto as scout, galloped past
the lodge fires of the outlying Indians and pressed their way through a
falling sleet with not a sound but the muffled thud of the horses'
hoofs and the moan of the wind.
The stars dimmed; the east lightened. In the early morning the
troopers came to a small trading-post, where they saw a group of men
awaiting their arrival.
I thought it was you, Danvers, the minute I piped yeh off! Wild
Cat Bill stepped forward as he spoke, and shook hands with the young
trooper as cordially as if they were old friends. Bill breathed as
though he had been running, but went on immediately:
We've come up here to see what the chances were fer wolfin' this
winter. Here's Charlie, yeh see. What yeh out fer? Horse thieves?
Philip did not answer, as the officer in charge, singularly lacking
in perspicacity, took it upon himself.
We are looking for smugglers, he frowned. You haven't seen any
loaded outfits headed this way from Fort Benton, have you?
Nope! Bill promptly answered. We've been here two days, and
nobody passed herehas they, Charlie? The freighter confirmed Bill's
assertion and the troopers were then ordered to stable their horses for
How is your sister, Charlie? Danvers asked at his earliest
opportunity. He was sorry to see the freighter, feeling something was
She's in the East, at boarding-school, answered Charlie. I
couldn't do by her as I should, he went on. Fort Benton's no place to
bring up Winnie.
Remember me to her when you write, said Danvers, walking his horse
away as Charlie passed inside the trading-post.
What are yeh thinkin'? whispered one of the detail in the dark of
the stables as the horses were being fed.
Not much of anything, Danvers whispered back.
Yes, yeh are. Yeh know they's cached whiskey somewhere
Coming from the stables, Danvers passed the conspicuously empty
wagons belonging to the Americans. He noticed that the pile of refuse
near by was not covered with snow, although the stables had not been
cleaned. Walking nearer, he detected a strong odor of whiskey rising
from the wagon boxes. He remembered the sweat on the men's foreheads.
Getting a stable fork he struck sharply into the compost. Something
clinked. A quick throwing of the litter uncovered a case, such as was
commonly used to convey liquor.
As it was his duty, Danvers walked to the captain and saluted.
I've found a cache of whiskey, sir, he answered,
The captain investigated. Then he opened the door of the shack and
surprised the Americans eating breakfast.
When placed under arrest, they seemed stunned, submitting without
I bet Danvers found that cache! muttered Bill. He's too
foxy fer me!
On the return trip to Fort Macleod, Me-Casto began to fear that the
men would attempt to prove that the whiskey was not Burroughs'. He knew
what he had heard in the lodges; but what would his word be, as against
these defiant men? He pondered for many miles, then thought of another
way to bring disgrace on Burroughs. He would yet have Pine Coulee,
himself! Riding close to the wagon where the morose Charlie sat,
Me-Casto craftily engaged in conversation.
Kitzi-nan-nappi-ekki? (your whiskey?) he asked. The
Blackfeet would make no effort to learn English, although they
understood a little; but most white men had a fair knowledge of the
No, answered Charlie.
Whose? was the next question in Blackfoot.
I don't know.
You'll get six months in the guard-room if they get you.
I s'pose so, was the reluctant admission. The prospect was not
Then Burroughs have Pine Coulee all time!
What'd you mean? thundered Charlie, effectually interested.
Burroughs give Pine Coulee a new dressnew beadsnew blanket,
was the candid reply.
The teamster was stricken dumb. He made no comment on the gossip,
but when it came his turn to be examined before Colonel Macleod, he
swore that Burroughs was the owner of the seized liquor and that he had
been employed to drive these men North. In every way he could, he
offset the perjured testimony of Bill, who posed as the victim of
The commandant-magistrate was puzzled. Me-Casto had testified that
he had heard Burroughs in one of the lodges, arranging for the
caching of expected whiskey, in one of the cut banks of the river.
The teamster corroborated the Indian. Wild Cat Bill and Burroughs swore
that neither owned the confiscated liquor. Colonel Macleod knew nothing
of Charlie or Bill; but he considered the standing of Burroughs, also
the unreliability of most Indians' testimony, and finally acquitted
Burroughs unconditionally, while declaring Bill and Charlie guilty of
smuggling, and he sentenced them accordingly. Burroughs promptly
furnished the money for the payment of Bill's fine, and Latimer,
believing Charlie's tale, loaned him money to escape the guard-room.
* * * * *
Great was the rejoicing in Burroughs' post that night. Long after
midnight Bill waited for a moment with his chief.
I done the best I could, Bob, he said dejectedly, when they were
at last alone. 'F Phil Danvers hadn't been along I'd 'a' made it.
I'll get even with him, growled Burroughs.
The Police mos' caught us red-handed, explained Bill. We hadn't
more'n got the pitchforks back in the stable when they rode up.
Say no more about it, Bill, suggested Bob. The smuggler looked
Danvers is all right, mused Bill, while his friend prepared a
Is that so? queried Bob with unpleasant emphasis.
You're as cocky as a rooster, expostulated the other. Phil
Danvers has swore to do his dutyan' he does it. The most of us is on
the make up here, an' the Police've got their traitors, as you know.
Danvers is sort of unusual, that's all.
He ain't my style! was the retort.
No, was the dry comment, I shouldn't presume he was. But the
sarcasm was lost on his hearer.
What was eatin' Scar Faced Charlie, anyway?
He's squiffy. Bill had heard the conversation between Me-Casto and
Charlie on the trail, but was in no mind to retail it.
I'm goin' out, said Burroughs, presently, and at this broad hint
I'm in yer debt, he began awkwardly.
That's all right. The trader knew and Bill knew that the paid fine
was another cord to bind him. An' now we'll make a pile o' money 'f
we're careful. Joe's inside the fort an' you an' me are outside, an'
the Injuns are always drysee? This deal's goin' to be pretty hard on
me, what with the government confiscatin' all them nine hundred gallons
of whiskey; but we've got more comin', an' we'll have to mix it a
little thinner, that's all.
Burroughs went toward the Indian lodges and soon discovered Charlie
also sneaking thither.
No superfluous words were spoken. What'd yeh do it fer? The angry
trader whirled, the teamster facing him.
You let Pine Coulee alone! mumbled Charlie, far gone in liquor.
That's it, eh? commented the enlightened Burroughs, turning away
contemptuously. Like hell I will!
Not long after Arthur Latimer answered a recent letter from the
doctor in Fort Benton. He gave a vivid account of recent events and of
a dinner that had been given at the military post on Christmas day to
which he had been invited.
After the dinner, he continued, the boys sang for an hour
more. They have good voices, and it was worth a long journey
hear them sing 'The Wearing of the Green.'
Colonel Macleod seemed to enjoy the music immensely, and (I
see how he happened to think of it) he called Danvers up and
him if he knew anything from 'Il Trovatore.' Phil saluted and
that he had heard it in London. Thereupon the colonel asked
he could sing any of the airs. Phil hesitated, but the
officer's request is tantamount to a command, and after a
began the 'Miserere.' The men were still as death. Probably
had never heard it before. You, of course, remember that
tenor solothe haunting misery, the despair! And what do you
think? When he got to the duet I took Leonora's part. Phil
little start, but kept on singing, and we carried the duet
My! but the men nearly tore us to shreds. O'Dwyer fairly
Phil off his feet, at this triumph of his hero, for he has
great liking to our silent Englishman. The colonel thanked us
delightful appreciation and soon after went outmore quiet
ever. I reckon he was homesick. We all werea bit.
and wives seemed very far away that night.
You speak of Scar Faced Charlie's avowed intention of
his freighting. He'll probably never come up here again. He
recently sent me some cash I'd loaned him, and he intimated as
much. Before he left here he returned his squaw, Pine Coulee,
her father; then Burroughs bought her for a bunch of ponies.
Me-Casto couldn't competepoor devil. He, like all
gambled away his small stock of ponies early in the fallas
Burroughs well knew.
Come on, Arthur, called Danvers, cheerily, as he stuck his head
into the room. There's a dance on at Bob's trading-post.
All right. Latimer hurriedly put away his writing and soon they
ran along the trail to the rendezvous.
Look, there is Me-Casto! exclaimed Philip.
Skulking in the shadows back of Bob's place.
Bob better look out, said Arthur, as they pushed open the store
door. Me-Casto is not here for any good.
The candle-lighted room was well filled with traders, troopers,
trappers and squaws. No buck ever participated in a white man's dance,
but several stood by the door and looked on. Every one was in high
spirits, and when the fiddler, a French 'breed, struck up, stamping his
moccasined feet to keep time, each man secured a squaw and took his
place. A brazen-lunged 'breed shouted, Alleman' lef'! Swing yer
partners! and the couples swung giddily around.
Danvers joined in with right good-will. Occasionally he danced; more
often he sat on the long trade counter and kept time to the emphatic
music by beating his spurs heavily against the boards behind his feet.
Latimer and O'Dwyer danced joyously; but Burroughs, apparently uneasy,
as the evening wore on, kept a watchful eye on the outer door. Philip
noticed, too, that Pine Coulee was less phlegmatic than usual, although
she danced faithfully at the command of her lord and master.
Presently Me-Casto came in and stood by the door. With blanket
muffling the lower part of his face, he looked piercingly at Pine
Couleeat Robert Burroughs. The trader caught Me-Casto's eye, and,
ostentatiously clasping Pine Coulee's hand as he swung her in the
dance, he smiled full in the Blackfoot's face, purposely flaunting his
ownership of the squaw. Me-Casto turned and left the room.
'On wid the dance, let j'y be unconfined!' yelled O'Dwyer, as he
combined an Irish jig and a Red River reel. He had not noticed
Me-Casto, but Latimer and Danvers exchanged glances. Just then Pine
Coulee looked wistfully toward the opening door. Burroughs, ever
watchful, caught a glimpse of Me-Casto as his lips gave an almost
imperceptible signal to Pine Coulee. The trader's anger was quick; his
discretion slight. He struck the girl flat on the cheek.
Take that! he said savagely. I'll teach yeh to hanker after that
The words and the blow were simultaneous. So was the leap of the
You coward! he cried, to strike a woman! He took the trader by
the nape of the neck and shook him soundly.
Before Burroughs could close with the trooper there came three rifle
shots. Each time a singing bullet whizzed by a dodging form. Only one
of the shots took effect. Pine Coulee sank to the floor, blood flowing
from her bosom.
Screams, oaths and shouts mingled as Danvers raised the squaw.
Latimer assisted him in placing her on a counter, while Burroughs,
certain of the would-be murderer, ran outside for the assailant, the
crowd following. A head pushed past the half-opened side door.
Didn't I kill Burroughs? The question was in Blackfoot.
You shot Pine Coulee! replied Danvers, sternly. In an instant
renewed shouting indicated that the men had tracked the Indian. A
moment later the sound of fleeing hoofs told that Me-Casto had made a
get-away. The trot of other horses followed, but soon the eternal
silence of the prairie reigned alone.
By the time Burroughs returned to the store Pine Coulee had revived.
As the trader was dragging the squaw to his near-by house, he paused
on the threshold.
Phil Danvers, he said, moistening his dry lips as his rage
increased, as true as they's a God above I'll pay yeh back for
interferin' to-night. I've hated yeh from the first time I set eyes on
yeh! 'F I live I'll make yeh feel what hate'll do! Yeh're too good fer
the Whoop Up Country, an' I've got a long score to settle with yeh! 'F
ever white women come to this country an' yeh git a sweetheart I'll do
my best to separate yeh! 'F yeh've got a sister I'll have her!
I'llI'llGod! But I hate yeh!
Chapter III. The Hot Blood of Youth
The spring warmed into summer, the summer melted into autumn.
Autumn, in turn, chilled into the white world of winter. All thoughts
of the little girl on the Far West had slipped from the mind of
Danvers, and even the memory of Miss Thornhill became
faintobliterated by the strenuous life of the service. Promotion came
in his third year of service as a reward for intelligence and
efficiency. Danvers was offered and accepted a commission. He felt that
life was good. Fears and homesickness had long since disappeared; the
longings for other and more congenial, refined and feminine associates
came but seldom; still, the desire for the understanding of one alone,
for a loved wife and a son to bear his name was not deadit was simply
dormant in that womanless land.
The doctor will be here next week, announced Arthur Latimer, who
had been bookkeeper in one of the trading-posts ever since he had come
to Macleod, soon after Danvers was made a second lieutenant. Colonel
Macleod, I hear, has invited quite a party to visit him from Fort
Yes. I heard from the doctor, too. Philip smiled at thought of his
friend's surprise at his new rank.
It was not long before the visitors arrived, and, greatly to
Danvers' surprise, Miss Thornhill, accompanied by her father, the
major, was among them.
The first white woman that he had seen for three years! He had never
before realized how dainty a lady is in comparison with her sisters of
the lodges. They may be kin in the world relationship, but, oh! the
difference one from the other. The squaws, standing stolidly by, were
intolerable. As Eva walked consciously past with Colonel Macleod,
attended by the staff officers, she gave no sign of recognition other
than a heightened color and lowered eye-lashes; but Philip felt that
she recognized him. Before the girl reached the barracks Mr. Burroughs
entered the stockade. With the assurance of a favored acquaintance, he
advanced and pressed the hand of Miss Thornhill.
Danvers turned away. So new a mood assailed him that he went outside
the stockade and prowled along the outer wall, not waiting to do more
than greet the doctor. How he longed for a touch of that dainty hand,
for a word from Evafrom any young woman of his own race! All
the manhood, all the heart-hunger of the isolated years, surged within
him. He smiled rather piteously. He had not realized that he was
starving for the sight of fair skin, sunny hair and slender hands; for
a bonny white facewhitewhite! That was it! A white face, a womanly
face! He hardly noticed the muttered How of Pine Coulee as she
passed, her young babe slung over her back. But he returned her
salutation, and after they passed each other he recalled a look on her
usually expressionless face that he had never seen there before.
Here, Phil! Wait for us! Latimer was calling, and Danvers soon
forgot his perturbation in the pleasure of the doctor's presence and
congratulations, as he came up with Arthur.
Got so you can talk, eh? asked the doctor, noting how the young
men vied in their efforts to entertain him. I told the colonel that I
was coming up here to see you, fully as much as himgood friends as we
are. You are good to look at, both of you.
Arthur always could talk, smiled Danvers, and I canwith my
How is Burroughs getting along? asked the doctor, as the trader
passed them, too absorbed, apparently, in the recollection of his
meeting with Miss Thornhill to note either them or Pine Coulee, who
Remarkably well, from a financial standpoint. His living with a
squaw makes him popular with the Indians, and the colonel swears by
himthinks he's perfect.
And the trade in whiskey?
Latimer shrugged his shoulders expressively.
That's Bob's squaw, said Arthur, after an awkward pause. She's as
proud as a peacock of that papoose. She rather lords it over her former
associates of the lodges.
The doctor whistled. He knew Pine Coulee's story, but had not heard
of the child. Bob will want to marry some day, was his sole comment.
Has Me-Casto ever been caught?
No. When he does turn up, Robert Burroughs may look out for
Why did Toe String Joe leave the Force? asked the doctor
presently. He has been in Fort Benton for some little time.
Drummed out of the service. But he wouldn't tell who supplied him
with the whiskey. What is he doing now?
Joe is mining. He declares he will be a millionaire.
He'll be a millionaire when Danvers turns American and runs for
office, scoffed Latimer, remembering Joe's shiftless disposition and
making the most improbable comparison that he could think of.
He will never be one, then, said Philip, quietly. I cannot think
of anything that would make me break my allegiance to England. I am
going to stay in the serviceI like it! And as for American
politics!... You know what I think of them. He smiled affectionately
to atone for the words.
The glimpses that the troopers and younger officers caught of Eva
Thornhill in the following week were few. Nevertheless a gust of
love-madness swept through the ranks, from the officer commanding to
the newest recruit. Nor were the townsmen behind in their attempts to
win a part of the girl's time and thoughtsif not herself. Burroughs
easily led in favor, and Lieutenant Danvers effaced himself. So rigidly
did he do so that it was not long before Miss Thornhill found the
flavor of rue in her Canadian visit. The smart lieutenant had made no
advances, had sought no introduction. Eva demanded the homage of all,
accustomed as she was to the frontier life where women were too rare to
be neglected. No chaperon was thought of in the freedom of the
frontier, and, indeed, none was needed among the innately chivalrous
Westerners. This little world of Macleod revolved around herall but
the silent, unobtrusive Danvers, whose acquaintance seemed the more
desirable in direct ratio to his aloofness. Eva resolved to win him,
and Arthur Latimer was artfully sounded for the cause of his friend's
indifference. The Southerner, already playing at love with the
fair-haired belle, and at no pains to conceal it, readily undertook to
Why don't you meet Miss Thornhill? he asked.
I am very busy these days, interrupted the lieutenant, giving his
excuse hastily. Not even to his friend could he disclose how he was
drawn toward the only white representative of her sex at Macleod.
But she wants to know you. She wants to meet you, insisted the
loyal Arthur, who had sung Danvers' praises industriously and
Why, Arthur! Philip cried, gaily, to cover the tremor in his voice
that would not be subdued when he learned that this haughty maid had
thought of him. If you are as much in love with Miss Thornhill as you
pretend to be, you want to speak for yourself. But she evidently
prefers Bob Burroughs, and I, for one, think I'll keep out of
temptation. He slapped the ardent Southerner affectionately on the
back. No chance for either of us, old man! Don't talk of me to her!
She will think us assesamiable idiots!
I know there's no chance for me, replied Latimer, aggrieved. What
have I to offer a wifeI'm poor as the proverbial church mouse.
Anyway, leave me out of your conversations.
I'll see that you do not meet her! returned the Missourian, in
mock alarm. Then they laughed light-heartedly. I know whom she'd
chooseif she had the opportunity. Burroughs wouldn't stand a show,
nor I either.
There she is now. Danvers nodded toward the ford, where he had
seen, for several moments, the trader and Eva riding easily.
Bob's got his nerve! How about Pine Coulee and the child? exploded
S-sh! warned Philip, seeing a movement of the bullberry bushes
As the young men looked toward the riders, whose mounts were close
together and walking slowly, a dark face, with passionate eyes
gleaming, pushed cautiously out from the sheltering branches, and Pine
Coulee also watched the unconscious maid and the trader.
* * * * *
When Colonel Macleod, wishing to impress his American visitors,
ordered the troops under his command to go through their cavalry
exercises, Miss Thornhill sat on a glossy mare beside him, while
troopers passed at a walk or trot, and wondered why she had found it so
difficult to meet Lieutenant Danvers. As the lines of superb and
faultlessly groomed men and horses swept past on the last mad gallop
she forgot her brooding and clapped her hands enthusiastically.
Oh, Colonel Macleod! That was splendid! Make them go on, and on!
Why, of course, if you wish, assented the gallant Macleod,
forgetting that the rise of ground directly in front of him had the
river on its farther slope.
Phat's the colonel thinkin' of? growled O'Dwyer, as no halt
He's not thinkin' at all! responded the man next in alignment,
sourly. A man can't think when a slip of a girl's near by.
He's forgot the river! groaned the fleshy Irishman, dreading the
Into the stream they dashed, many of the men over their heads, for
there was no turning back.
As the horses balked, Lieutenant Danvers' stallion threshed
viciously, hitting O'Dwyer, and then ceased to swim.
O'Dwyer groaned, Me a-r-rm!
It was over in an instant. Those on shore assisted Danvers and the
Irishman to land. O'Dwyer was left in Philip's care, while the rest of
the men rode back, as the review must not be interrupted.
Eva saw the break in the ranks.
Lieutenant Danvers has dropped out, she exclaimed, and straightway
bit her lip.
Philip? hastily asked the Fort Benton doctor, on a horse near by.
Then there has been an accident!
The sergeant-major rode up to report, but the impulsive Eva did not
wait for details. She touched her mare and was after the doctor.
I'm so sorry! cried the girl, as she met Danvers and O'Dwyer
returning. It's all my fault that you are wetand hurt! Which one is
hurt? She turned provocative eyes to the dripping lieutenant.
O'Dwyer has a sprained elbow, answered Philip, his heart dancing
at her solicitude. It was through my carelessness.
Don't ye be belavin' a wor-rd he says, miss! burst out O'Dwyer.
That is (beggin' yer pardon fer spakin' to the loikes of yez, an' me a
private!), don't ye belave 'tis his fault. He kep' me from drownin',
that's what he did!
O'Dwyer had noted his idol's preoccupation since Miss Thornhill's
advent, the self-imposed aloofness, and had drawn his own shrewd
conclusions. He determined, here and now, to do Danvers a good turn,
despite the frown on the doctor's face and Philip's frantic signaling.
Lieutenant Danvers is the finest feller God ever made! he blurted,
Oh, keep still! Keep still! cried the exasperated
Englishman. This misplaced loquacity!
Eva reached out suddenly, frankly.
I think it's time we knew each other, she said, sweetly, and their
That touch! Never had the unsophisticated youth felt such a touch! A
thrill of exquisite life went from her hand to his; from his hand to
his feet and the vibrations went tingling back to the girl. For the
first time Philip looked full into the blue eyes of Eva Thornhill.
You're a fool, O'Dwyer! Danvers heard the doctor remark, as they
proceeded toward the fort. The humbled trooper, hitching his arm in the
improvised sling which Philip had made, groaned doleful assent. Too
late he remembered the barrack-room decision that Miss Thornhill was
after every scalp in the Whoop Up Country.
And Eva Thornhill? Her opportunity had come, and she had taken it as
a gift from the gods. Suddenly she knew that Philip was merged in her
personality, and she reveled in the bloom of quickly grown, fully
developed passion. By the time the lieutenant assisted her from her
mare at the colonel's headquarters she was ready to think that there
was nothing to keep them apart. So quickly, hotly, does young blood
Her answer to the question that was ready to slip from his
tonguewhat would it be? As Danvers lifted the flushing girl from her
mount, her eyes gave promise beneath their long-lashed veiling that the
answer would not be no.
It was not many days before Major Thornhill took his daughter to
task for her neglect of Mr. Burroughs.
Don't you let go of Burroughs, he counseled, with brutal
sordidness. These young lawyers and lieutenants haven't a cent, so far
as I can find out. Burroughs has money and will have more. Remember
that an army officer never has anything to leave to his mourners.
Eva shrugged her shoulders; but her training showed her the wisdom
of her father's advice, and she bestowed more favor on the trader than
he had received for several days. However, she decided that one more
ride with the lieutenant she must have, and so impetuous was Philip
that she allowed him to say more than she intended he should. His
wooing was eager, headlong.
As they drew near the town on their return from their long ride, the
girl saw a squaw peering from the bushes beside the trail.
Who is that squaw? she asked, petulantly. It seems to me that I
never go out but she is near me!
Oher he stammered, losing, for a moment, his self-possession
as he recognized Burroughs' property. He knew that the trader had
pledged his intimates to secrecy as to his relations with Pine Coulee
while Miss Thornhill was a visitor at Macleod, and he, while not
pledged, would be the last one to bring her in any way to Eva's notice.
Oh, he began again, she's a Blackfoot.
That is evasion, pure and simple! retorted his companion. She
wants either to speak to meor to kill me, I've not decided which.
Wait here! I am going to speak to her!
You are probably the first white woman she ever saw, Philip tried
vainly to make a satisfactory explanation; but, to his consternation,
Eva was gone.
Pine Coulee stood motionless as the fair-haired girl drew rein
beside her. Never had she shown her Indian blood more clearly than in
the stolid awaiting of her rival. Danvers drew nearer, fearing results.
Do you speak English? Pine Coulee was asked. I think that you
want to speak to me. What is it? What can I do for you? The look of
dejection on the dark face touched even Miss Thornhill.
What a big baby! was Eva's next effort to gain good-will.
She was sure that the squaw could, at least, understand English; and
the gleam of motherhood, kindling at her praise, confirmed her belief.
What is the baby's name?
Silence prolonged. Eva turned away, impatient that her advances
should be met so churlishly. Then, swift, malignant, Pine Coulee spoke:
Him name Robert Burroughs! Robert Burroughs! The words came
with startling distinctness.
Eva's surprise was great. She shuddered uncontrollably.
Pine Coulee understood the incredulity in the girl's eyes, and
rushed on, bitterly, in broken English:
Yes. Robert Burroughs! Ask him! pointing to Danvers with her lips,
as Indians will. Burroughs mine! You not have him! You take this man!
You have everythingPine Coulee have nothing but Bob and his baby! You
sha'n't have him! No! No! The squaw, crazed with jealousy, started
towards Burroughs' house, but turned back with real dignity. I hate
you! Why you come to steal my man?
Then she abruptly took her bitter way along the trail
tillBurroughs blocked her. He gave her one look and rode forward.
Your father sent me to look for you, Miss Thornhill, he began, as
he drew rein. He resolved to carry the matter off boldly, if Eva
referred to the Indian woman. If you like, we will ride back
together, he added, nodding to Danvers.
No, no, no! cried Eva, hysterically. I'm afraid ofof
thatsquaw! She pointed to Pine Coulee, who had followed Burroughs
like a blighting shadow.
Git out of here! Burroughs emphasized his command to the squaw
with a vicious kick. Not realizing how much the words would reveal, he
added: I tol' yeh ter stay in the house!
I'll care for Miss Thornhill, Burroughs, interrupted Danvers. Let
us pass, please! Take Pine Coulee back and leave decent white women to
To you? sneered the trader, with suddenly loosened rage at maid
Yes, to me! proudly answered Philip, drawing closer to Eva's
mount. The girl was scarlet with rage.
Oh, it's that way, is it? snarled Bob. You told Miss
Thornhillthat's plain to be seen!
He did not tell! Eva slipped from her lover's protection and
reined her horse toward Burroughs. Lieutenant Danvers tried to shield
you. Sheshe Eva looked at Pine Coulee, nursing her bruised
forehead (for Burroughs had kicked to hurt) and changed her words. The
lieutenant neverhe never intimatedsuchahorridthing. Of course
you will understand that I no longer care for your acquaintance! The
reaction came and she begged: Oh, Lieutenant Danvers, take me to
Oh, you don't, eh? sneered the trader. There are many years ahead
of us both, and the time may come when you will want my help! And you,
turning to Danvers, I'll get even with you! If I can't win Eva
Thornhill, you never shall, mark my words! I'll
You dare to threatenus? Get out of our way!
With a touch Danvers quickly started both his horse and Miss
Thornhill's. After a brief interval he slowed the pace.
And now, darling, you must let me care for you always, urged
Philip, after he had restored Eva to some semblance of calm. Let me
speak to your father to-night! He talked on, encouraged by the girl's
silent yielding and the long kiss he laid on her willing lips. She was
told of his prospects, both in the army and in England, where his
father and sister lived. He told her of his lovely American mother, who
had died so young. He had enlisted, he said, for sheer love of a
Father wanted to buy a commission for me, but I knew I could get
onewithout money! was the modest close.
The afternoon together ended by Philip's putting his mother's
engagement ring on Eva's hand for their plighted troth. She looked at
it a moment.
I cannot wear this now, she said. If we are engaged, I want it to
be kept secret until next spring. Don't you see, dear, she rubbed her
face caressingly on Philip's impatient hand, that it will be better
so? Father will be furious when he knows that I've given Mr. Burroughs
his congé, and you'll come into your fortune when you are twenty-one
next June. Father'll never consent until then. He'll make me miserable
Chapter IV. The Return to Fort Benton
That autumn visit of Eva Thornhill glowed in Danvers' heart like the
riotous colors in the gray landscape that precedes the frost of winter;
for winter was coming, her visit was over, and Eva and her father were
to leave for Fort Benton on the morrow. Danvers inwardly chafed under
the secrecy imposed upon their engagement, and yet it would have been
hard for him to have spoken of his love for Eva, even to the
But he longed to see more of her, to drink his fill of her beauty
and fix her image in his memory that he might not famish in his
loneliness during the dreary winter months when they should be
Though it was hard to evade her father, Eva Thornhill granted her
lover a last interview. His reserve, now softened by his love,
fascinated the girl, and the element of secrecy lent a romantic touch
that did not lessen her enjoyment of the situation. Yet it was a relief
to return to Fort Benton, where she could think it all over and avoid
her father's anger at a possible discovery.
You will write to me? said Danvers eagerly, as he held her hands,
in parting. There are few mails in the winter, but some one will be
coming up. He looked imploringly into her eyes, as she hesitated.
Of course I'll answer your lettersPhilip, she spoke the name
deliberately, as though enjoying her right to the familiarity of its
use. And when shall I hear from you?
Always; whenever you will close your eyes and listen! It may
be weeks before a freighter makes the trip; but without a written
message you will know that I am thinking of you, loving you! Remember
His arm drew her close, and the girl caught his ardor as she
returned his good-bye kiss.
I will, dear; oh, I will! She clung to him and for a moment caught
the glory of his vision. Real tears dimmed her eyes as her lover
tenderly released her, and the man was satisfied.
That night Latimer had a long talk with his friend.
You see, old man, I may as well go now, when the doctor and the
Thornhills are returning to Fort Benton. It may be weeks before I have
Latimer, too! The thought sent a chill to the heart of the
lieutenant, now doubly sensitive to the love of this only friend! He
had long known that Latimer would return to his law practice in Fort
Benton, but the time had never been set for his going.
The years of outdoor life, continued Latimer, have made a new man
of me! patting his chest, not yet so broad as Danvers'. And if I am
ever to go back to the law I must get about it before I forget all I
ever knew. He gave his arguments with a half apology as if to soften
the sharpness of his decision, which to his loyal heart seemed like a
desertion of his friend.
Danvers was silent. He saw, more clearly than his companion, that
the doctor's visit, the presence of Major Thornhill and his daughter,
and the association with those of his own class, had roused in the
Southerner a longing for the old life of civic usefulness, had drawn
him back to his office, to his books and civilized associations.
And if I get away to-morrow, went on Latimer, I must pack up my
few belongings in the morning, and shall not have time for much of a
good-byeyou will understand, Phil?
Yes, indeed! said Danvers, realizing that he had been too long
silent. Write to me when you can, Arthur. You know what the winters
are up in this country.
They smoked in silence for an hour or morethat strange communion
that men find gives greater sympathy than any speech. Then Danvers
wrung the hand of his friend, and set out for the barracks.
Many sober faces clustered around Eva when she said good-bye next
morning, but Burroughs' was not among them. He had said nothing of his
humiliation, but had avoided meeting Miss Thornhill again. Her father
was greatly dissatisfied; he thought that Eva's reception of the
attention of other men had offended the trader, and he did not spare
his blame for such a condition of things. Eva maintained her
equanimity, feeling that she had done well to preserve the secret of
her engagement, and to win Philip's pledge to silence.
Two months later Robert Burroughs sold out his trading-post, and he,
too, prepared to return to the States. When he told Pine Coulee that
she was to return to her father's lodge with the boy, he was, for the
first time, afraid of the woman. All her savage blood surged in
protest; his offers to support their child were spurned. He was glad
when the squaw was sullenly silent in the lodges of her tribe, and he
determined never to come again to Macleodto leave the past behind
him. That was his dominant thought as he started out for Fort Benton,
accompanied by his familiar, Wild Cat Bill.
Their life at Fort Macleod had been in many ways one of jeopardy. He
had run incredible risks of exposure and ruin, but he had won, through
sheer audacity and bravado. He smiled covertly as he recalled the fact
that he, the greatest whiskey smuggler in the Whoop Up Country, was
also the privileged friend of an unsuspecting, honorable, upright
officerColonel Macleod. Even his hardened conscience pricked as he
thought how he had deceived one who, with somewhat more of acumen, and
somewhat less of belief in men, would have been most severe on his
But that was over. To turn to less reprehensible and underhand ways
would be easy, he was sure. Or, if he found that the old ways of
accomplishing his purpose were more profitable, he would exercise them
on bigger projects in Montana. He had made a fortune in the Whoop Up
Country. Now he intended to increase it in the development of Montana's
resources. He proposed to marry and rear a family, as became a
prosperous and respected citizen.
Dreams of statehood were beginning to waken into hope of reality
among the sturdy men who dwelt in the territory, and during this
journey south Burroughs confided to Bill his ambition to sit in the
United States Senate. Fortune had favored him so far. All that was
necessary to further his ambitions was to be as shrewd and cautious as
he had been hitherto, and all things should be hiswith Bill's help.
Bill listenedthat was his rôle for the time being. But he thought
well of the plans, and said so before his chief referred to quite
another subjectPine Coulee and the boy. Here Bill found no words.
Burroughs opined that the episode with Pine Coulee was nothing. She
was a fool to expect him to continue their relations simply because
there was a child. He would see that they did not suffer. Really Sweet
Oil Bob felt a glow of self-approval as he talked. But few men in the
Whoop Up Country gave a thought to the comfort of the squaws when they
left them. And as for the childrenlet them go with their mothers! It
was the easiest thing imaginable.
To Danvers it seemed that half the population of Fort Macleod was
leaving, since Scar Faced Charlie had departed months before, and Toe
String Joe had been dishonorably discharged and gone out of the
country. Only the loyal O'Dwyer remained, and to him he sometimes spoke
of Fort Benton friends. To Eva he wrote with every outgoing mail, and
watched eagerly for a sign from her when a chance freighter should
bring the Fort Benton mail. Then fever broke out in the barracks and
Danvers spent his nights caring for the others and had little time for
thought. His splendid constitution seemed able to bear any amount of
fatigue, and he boasted that the loss of sleep was nothingthat he
preferred to talk to some onehe had not enough to do to keep busy!
But he overestimated his strength, and when a mail was brought with
no letter from Eva the disappointment and anxiety told on his already
overtaxed constitution. O'Dwyer was the last to convalesce, and even he
was no longer in need of constant attention. With the relaxing of the
strain came Philip's utter collapse. The fever was on him, and for
weeks he talked deliriously of English lanes, of his sister Kate, of
his rise in the service, but never of Eva Thornhill. It was as if some
psychic power guarded his lips and loyally preserved his secret.
The spring flowers were budding when he again breathed the outer
air, and it was a gaunt figure which sat in the lee of the stockade one
day in May and took the package of letters brought from Fort Benton.
At last! Eva's first letter lay in his hand. He forgave her the long
silence. The winter had been unusually severe and to the irregularity
of the mails he ascribed his love's apparent defection. With trembling
fingers he opened the thin envelope. The letter had no heading.
I have told father of my promise to you. He refuses
sanction it and declares I shall never marry an Englishman. I
agree with father that it would be very unwise. I hate the
and you say you will never leave it. It is best that we
each other at once, and very fortunate that we agreed not to
of our engagement. I have not heard from you in three months,
so I presume you are tired of it and as glad to break as I
That was all. The dazed convalescent remembered that his letter was
mailed the very day that he went to the hospital, and his promise of
silence made it impossible to ask another to notify her of his
condition. Fate's cruelty bit deep. The heartlessness of Eva's
dismissal pierced his soul. Mechanically he took up a letter from his
Dear brother Philip, her letter began. We have
written. What has become of you these last months? Haven't you
received the solicitor's letters or mine, telling you of
sudden death, and the discovery that we are almost
the fortune gone?
Danvers gasped, weakly, at the wealth of disaster. He had always
regarded his father as an exceptionally acute man of business. And
now.... The letters of which his sister Kate wrote had never reached
him. The mail service was wretched, he knew; but it seemed incredible
that such important letters should be lost. He turned to the other
envelopes just received. Yes, there were three from the family
solicitors, and one from Arthur Latimer. These from England had
probably lain at Fort Benton all winter. Presently he read on:
However, you no doubt have received them all by this time.
write this, in haste, to ask you to meet me at Fort Benton by
middle of June, as I shall come to America in time to take the
first boat leaving Bismarck. I shall have about a hundred
when I start. I am determined to come to you.
With some expression of grief at their bereavement, and anticipation
of seeing her brother, the letter closed.
Come up to the Whoop Up Country! His young, unsophisticated sister?
She must not! He started up, thinking to send a rider to Fort Benton
with a message to cable to London. But she would already have started.
And how could he support her in England? How support her in any country
on his small income, used as she was to every luxury? It was horrible!
What to do! What to do! At last he took up Latimer's letter. At least
here would be something to put heart into a fellow, he thought,
hopefully. The bold handwriting seemed so like the light-hearted
Southerner that a wan smile played over Philip's ghastly face. The
smile faded to be replaced by agony as the sense of the words was
absorbedwords leaping at him, fiendishly:
Dear Old ChumI am the happiest fellow alive. Eva
I were married last week, and our only regret was that you
not be my best man. I spoke of it several times. How did this
happen, you ask? Why, I was fortunate enough to fall heir to
something like twenty-five thousand dollars this winter, and,
settling the question whether there was any understanding
you and Eva (she assured me there never had been) I sailed
inand she is mine.
Old boy! Eva's the dearest little piece of guilelessness in
world. She's told me all about Burroughs, and even confessed
she used to admire you; but she thought you very reserved. I
told how companionable you really are and how she should have
captured you. But she shakes her pretty head and says that she
jealous of youthat I am fonder of you than of her! She's a
I used to be dumbly jealous of the other fellows, knowing how
I was. I had to keep myself well in hand, I tell you,
when I used to see you two together. But if Eva had cared for
(how could she help it?) I'd have been the first one to
congratulate you. We could not be rivals, could we, dear old
We are going East for the summer, and the doctor goes with
far as St. Louis. Wish us well, Phil! Why haven't you written?
know it has been a bad winter and only two mails from Macleod,
I expected to hear at least once.
I wish that you could find so ideal a wife as mine. Dear,
innocent, truthfulwhat more can man ask?
Danvers pulled himself up from the bench, wondering why the day had
grown so cold, where the sunshine had gone. He replaced Latimer's
letter in its envelope, dully, slowly:
'Truthfulinnocent!' he quoted. Poor Arthur! He laugheda
dreadful sound. Then he fell face downwardand so they found him.
* * * * *
A pale-faced youth looked with dilated eyes on the nearing town of
Fort Benton. It was Philip Danvers, late second lieutenant of the North
West Mounted Police of Canada. He had lived through the shock which the
three letters had brought on his fever-weakened frame, and during his
convalescence determined to leave the service and seek employment at
Fort Benton. To his colonel alone he gave his reasons. His sister Kate
was a delicate girl, unused to adversity. His pay was insufficient to
support her, even if she could have lived at Fort Macleod. She must be
safe-guarded. For three long, hard, lonely years he had dreamed of a
commission, and now that he had secured it he must give it up, together
with hope of further advancement. There was no alternative.
As the band played The Girl I Left Behind Me (invariably rendered
when men in the English service change garrison), O'Dwyer stepped
forward to say good-bye.
Sure, Phil, he blubbered, I'll lave the service 's soon's me
time's up, now ye're gone! I'll folley ye to Fort Benton!
Danvers turned tear-dimmed eyes away from his friend, from the low
fort and the weather-beaten stockade, and resolutely denied himself the
pain of looking back to catch the last flutter of the Union Jack as the
long rise of land dipped toward the south. How often had he strained
his eyes to see that symbol of his country as he returned from the
various forays and hunting trips! But duty called! This was the only
thought that he dared allow himselfand his sister, his sister! She
had no one but him to look to, and in his loneliness she was a
comforting thought, and worth all the sacrifice of his life's
While he had lain unconscious, in his illness, she had arrived at
the head of navigation, and had written him girlish, impatient letters.
He knew that Latimer would look out for her if he and Eva had returned
from their wedding trip, but he was sure they had not, and felt an
equal relief that he need offer no congratulations. The doctor, too,
Arthur had told him, was in St. Louis. He wondered how his sister had
passed the time. Once she had mentioned meeting Burroughs, and he knew
that she was living at the little hotel that he remembered. He was
frantic to reach his destination and assume a brother's responsibility
for the simple-hearted, yielding, young English girl, brought abruptly
into the rough Western life.
As he drew near the growing town of Fort Benton he was astounded at
the sight of what seemed quite a metropolis to his eyes, so long
accustomed to the log buildings and the scant population of Fort
As the road dipped over the bench and led into town he saw, riding
to meet himwas it his sister?and with her, Robert Burroughs!
But Danvers was on his feet, and as he assisted the girl to dismount
she slid into his arms and put up her lips for a kiss.
When something like coherence was evolved from the rush of questions
and answers, Kate turned shyly toward Burroughs, who still sat upon his
She took her brother by the hand.
Phil, dear, you have not spoken to Mr. Burroughs. He has told me so
much of your life together in the Whoop Up Country, and what friends
you are. He has been most kind to me. When I learned that you were ill,
I was so alarmedalone! But hethat isI
Why, it's this way, Danvers, interrupted Burroughs, speaking with
more correctness than Phil had before heard him, and willingly taking
the onus of explanationhis hour had come. Your sister couldn't go to
Macleod, of course. She couldn't stay here, alone. You'll stay with the
Police, no doubt; and, as Latimer and his wife are away, it fitted
right in with my planshe paused to enjoy the dismay on Danvers'
faceto ask Kate to do me the honor of marrying me. You remember, he
hastened to add, don't you, that I once told you that you'd not only
never marry Eva Thornhill, but that I'd marry your sister?
The dark, exultant face flashed the same look of hate that greeted
Philip on the Far West, and later gloomed through the dimly
lighted trading-post on the night of the dance! With a groan Danvers
realized, as he looked at his suddenly shrinking sister, that the
sacrifice of his life's ambition had been in vain.
BOOK III. THE STATE
What constitutes a state?
* * * * *
Men who their duty know.
Chapter I. Visitors from Helena
Philip Danvers, cattleman, nearing Fort Benton on his return from a
round-up, found his thoughts reverting to the past. The spring day was
like another that he remembered when he first caught sight of the
frontier town more than a dozen years before. He noted the smoke of a
railroad locomotive as it trailed into nothingness, and involuntarily
he looked toward the Missouri River; but there was no boat steaming up
the river, and the unfurrowed water brought a sadness to his face.
He recalled the doctor's vigorous opposition a few years previous,
when the question of a railroad came before the residents of Fort
Benton. Perhaps the doctor had been right in thinking that the river
traffic would be destroyed, and with it the future of the town.
Certainly his derided prophecy had been most literally fulfilled.
Instead of becoming a second St. Louis, the village lay in undisturbed
tranquillity, but little larger than when the Far West had
brought the first recruits of the North West Mounted Police to its
levees. To those who loved the place, who believed in it, the result
caused by the changing conditions of Western life was well-nigh
Instead of the terminus of a great waterwaythe port where gold was
brought by the ton to be shipped East from the territorial diggings;
the stage where moved explorer, trader, miner and soldierinstead of
being the logical metropolis of the entire Northwest, Fort Benton lay a
drowsy little village, embowered in cottonwoods and dependent upon the
cattlemen who made it their headquarters for shipping.
The lusty bull-whacker's yell, the mule-skinner's cry and the pop of
long, biting whips were heard no more in the broad, sweeping curve of
the Missouri. The levees were no longer crowded with bales of
merchandise, piles of buffalo hides and boxes of gold. No steamers tied
up to the rotting snubbing-posts; the bustle of the roustabouts, the
oaths of the mates, the trader's activity had vanished forever, as
irrevocably as the buffalo on the plains. Nothing in the prospect
before him suggested to Danvers the well-remembered past except the old
adobe fort on the water's edge. One bastion and a part of a wall
recalled to the Anglo-American his first homesick night in the
Northwest. Even the trading-posts on the river between Bismarck and
Fort Benton were abandoned.
The man had altered as well. It was evident that the shy reserve of
the Kentish youth had changed to the dignity of the reticent man. The
military bearing remained; the eyes were steady and observant, as of
old; but the youthful red and white of his face had been replaced by a
clear tan, marked by lines of thought. In a country of bearded and
seldom-shaved men, Philip's clean face added not a little to that look
of distinction which had impressed the passengers on the Far West
and gained the first enmity of Robert Burroughs.
Danvers was still unmarried. At rare intervals he read the old
clipping of the two souls separated and seeking each other, but the
legend had grown dim. The romantic dreams of boyhood were gone. He
doubted that his heart would ever be roused again; that the phoenix
flame of love would rise from the ashes of what he knew had been but
the stirring of adolescent blood when he fancied that he loved Eva
Thornhill. The home life of others had not impressed him as a dream
fulfilled. The gradual disillusionment of the many was disheartening,
and Latimer's worn, unhappy face was a constant reminder. Arthur
Latimer! That blithe Southernerbeliever in menand women! Philip
knew what had made him seek forgetfulness in the law and politics. The
success of his friend, who had reached his goal, on the supreme bench,
had gratified Danvers, and Latimer's enthusiasm and persistent belief
in the ultimate good, when the builders and founders of the newly
formed State should merge personal desires into oneone that had the
best good of all for its incentive, tempered his dislike for American
Not long after the round-up, Philip Danvers received a call from
Wild Cat Bill, now known in Montana as the Honorable William Moore. His
ability to promote big enterprises, whether floating a mining company
or electing a friend to the legislature, was publicly known, and
Danvers wondered silently what had brought the politician from Helena
to the semi-deserted town of Fort Benton, and induced him to favor him
with a call.
Yes, Danvers, volunteered the affable Moore, I just thought I'd
take a few days off and see what the old place looked like.
Danvers noticed that he had dropped the vernacular, though his
speech was characteristic of the West.
It's always a pleasure to go back to the early days, when we
roughed it together, Bill went on.
Philip doubted the pleasure. He recognized this sentiment as a very
recent acquisition in the Honorable William Moore, and waited for
further enlightenment as to the real purpose of the visit.
The old bunch turned out pretty well, after all, Moore commented.
Robert Burroughs is a millionaire! Your sister was in luck, all right!
And Bob was tickled to death when a baby came. A big girl by this
A dangerous looka look that made Wild Cat Bill remember the night
of the dance at the trading-postwarned the Honorable William to drop
personalities. The one fact that made the position of his sister
tolerable to Danvers was the knowledge that Burroughs took pride in his
wife and child and lavished his wealth upon them.
And you and the doctor still cling to Fort Benton! The next remark
of the caller was spoken with commiseration. Is the doctor still
preaching its future?
Danvers winced at what seemed a thrust at an old friend. My cattle
make it necessary for me to ship from Fort Benton andI like the
place, he acknowledged without apology.
And Joe Hallyou recall Toe String Joe?
There was ample reason why Philip Danvers should remember the
disloyal trooper, dishonorably discharged.
Queer idea of Joe's to enlist in the first place, continued Moore.
He made a much better miner. You're following his case in court, I
A subtle change in expression made the cattleman aware that all his
visitor's remarks had been preliminary to this one. It was, then, the
famous case of Hall vs. Burroughs that for some reason Bill Moore
thought worth a trip from Helena to discuss.
Burroughs can't afford to lose that case, declared Moore.
He'll lose it if Joe has fair play! cried Danvers.
Philip felt no love for the recruit of early days, but his sense of
justice asserted itself when he recalled the years that Burroughs had
made a tool of Toe String Joe at Fort Macleod, and later robbed him of
his mining claim at Helena. Burroughs had grub-staked him and secured a
half interest. At a time when Joe was down sick, and hard pressed with
debts, Burroughs rushed a sale with Eastern capitalists and forced Joe
Hall to relinquish the claim for $25,000. When Joe discovered that it
had brought $125,000, and that Burroughs had pocketed the difference,
he went to law and won his suit. Burroughs had appealed, and now the
case was before the Supreme Court.
There are politics in the Supreme Court as well as elsewhere,
ventured Moore, with a meaning look.
It is usually thought otherwise, I believe.
I don't know what's usually thought. I know it's a fact.
Perhaps corruption can be found
Perhaps! sneered the caller. I tell you politics is a matter of
a-gittin' plenty while you're gittin'.
I was not speaking of politics, but of corruption.
What's the difference? cynically. Now, I say that Judge Latimer
can be influenced.
I'm thinking that it would be safe to approach him in this case of
Are you going to try it? Danvers' tone continued impersonal.
The Honorable William Moore hurried on. He breathed as one having
put forth more strength than was requiredbreathed as he had breathed
when the detachment of Mounted Police rode up to the small trading-post
where he had barely succeeded in concealing his smuggled whiskey. He
laughed a little, threw his cigar away and put his thumbs firmly
together with fingers claspeda familiar mannerism.
See here, Danvers! This case mustn't go against Burroughs. Bob's a
good fellow. He did what any one else would have done. He wasn't
looking out for Joe Hall. He did all the head-work, and at the time Joe
was satisfied with the price. Of course you know that Bob's going to
run for United States Senator next winter. And he's not over popular in
Montana; you know how it is, moneyed interest against labor (so the
common herd think), and this case has made more talk than everything
else put together that Bob ever did.
Well? Philip's eyes had a gleam that Moore did not care to meet.
Perhaps he had been too confidential. He walked about the room,
nervously, his right hand grasping the rear of his coat. At last he
forced himself to say bluntly:
If you'll go to Judge Latimer and tell him how you feelthat
Burroughs is your brother-in-lawthat sort of talk, and that if the
case goes against Bob, Latimer'll never get re-elected to the supreme
benchoh, you know what to say. Anyway, if you'll do this you'll be
twenty-five thousand dollars better offthat's all; and I tell you,
you'll need the money before next winter is over if this drouth
continues. Your cattle must be in bad shape now. Just tell Latimer how
How do you know how I feel about this case? Danvers kept himself
well under control, though he felt his blood pounding.
It isn't so much what you feel as what you say.
Philip looked at the man.
You haven't got the money, Bill.
Haven't I? boasted Moore. Look at this! He made a quick dive
inside his coat. Three packages of twenty-five thousand each! He
exulted as he displayed the bills. They were handed to me just before
I took the train, and
Bill Moore, said the cattleman curiously, did you think for a
moment that I could be purchased?
The Honorable Mr. Moore sparred.
Or Arthur Latimer? continued Danvers.
What else am I here for? cried Moore in a rage. Every man's got
his price. Latimer's poor as a church mouse. He's got a wife like a
vampire. And as for youI know cattle raising isn't all profit!
The trouble with you, Bill, said Danvers, dispassionately, is
that you judge every man by yourself. You can't understand a man like
Judge Latimerthe thing would be impossible!
It's you who are judging by yourself! We all know you're a
fanaticor used to be. I thought perhaps you'd gotten over some of
those notions. I know Judge Latimer as well as you do. If we don't get
him one way, we'll take another. We're goin' to win!
Danvers made no reply. The Honorable William waited for a moment,
and then put back the packages he had flung on the table. He looked his
surprise; he could not understand how he had been foiled with no anger.
You say you know my standards, began Danvers, slowly. Then why
did you come to me?
We had to make the try; nobody could influence Judge Latimer like
But what good would the money do him? questioned Danvers, unable
to follow the reasoning of the politician. It would be found out and
Latimer would be ruined.
Oh, no, it wouldn't. Moore was hopeful again.
Why didn't you approach him yourself? It was an afterthought.
It looks more natural for you to be interested in your
brother-in-law. Bob said to see you.
So this is his method of beginning a campaign for a seat in the
United States Senate!
We knew we could trust you! replied Moore.
And Danvers knew that the man believed he was paying a sincere
More than a month after this conversation Judge Latimer also paid a
visit to Fort Benton and straightway sought his dearest friend.
I wanted to get away from business, fromeverything that distracts
one, he explained, and I wanted to see you, Phil, and the doctor, and
dear old sleepy Fort Benton again.
He looked worn and distractedthinner than Philip remembered him,
and in need of something more than physical relaxation.
Are you quite well, Arthur? asked Danvers solicitously. I'm going
to have the doctor over to give you a thorough examination, and I'll
see that you carry out all his directions. You don't take a bit of care
But in the evening, after a day in the open air, he brightened, and
under the old spell of comradeship he took on the boyish manner that
had been so marked a characteristic.
And how are all our friends at Helena? inquired the doctor, after
he had secured a favorable report of Eva and the baby. All well, of
course, or I should have heard from them! he went on, with the
geniality that Latimer remembered so well. And little Arthurhe must
be quite a lad now
Sixand so proud of his new sister, replied the father, with a
note of pride that Danvers marked with thankfulness. The tenderness in
the man's eyes told him that this little son was the sole balm of a
harrassed life, and he wondered if even this great compensation was
adequate for all the man had givenand lost.
Why didn't you bring the little chap with you? questioned the
I did think of it, confessed Latimer, but this is a business trip
chiefly, if I must own up to it. I want to talk over the situation with
someone I knowsomeone I can trust.
Anything special? asked the doctor.
Politics! replied the judge. The political pot is beginning to
get a scum on the top, preparatory to boiling.
How domestic a simile! jeered the doctor.
Latimer laughed. We've been without a maid lately, and I've had a
chance to see the inside workings of a kitchen. Not that it's Eva's
fault, he added hastily. Maids are hard to get.
H-m-m, assented the doctor, judicially, and soon the three were
deep in Montana politics.
The probable nominees for state officials were gone over, and
You are sure of re-election, Arthur.
No, I'm not; not even of nomination, objected the judge. The
Honorable William Moore has been to see me
Danvers shot him a keen glance, and the doctor listened curiously.
He was interested in the Hall and Burroughs case. Latimer
hesitated, and a spot of color suddenly burned in his cheeks. Moore
evidently thought it necessary to come to me and ask that Burroughs
have fair play!
The doctor laughed. It was an opportunity to tease the boy he loved;
not a serious impeachment of the character of the judge of the Supreme
He offered me a hundred thousand dollars if I'd take a rest!
Suggested Europe! The judge's voice trembled.
The devil he did! burst from the physician.
He raised his price by the time he got to you, commented Danvers.
What? Latimer whirled, amazed, toward the speaker.
When Moore asked me to intercede with you for Burroughs he had only
twenty-five thousand for each of us.
What does Burroughs think I am? groaned the judge. He should know
me better than to send Moore on his dirty business, but nothing I could
say made any impression. He left, telling me to think it over.
Do you know if he tried the others?
No. I've not mentioned the matter to anyoneexcept Eva. I was so
outraged that I had to speak to someone. And sheshe doesn't
understand. She would enjoy a trip to Europe, and II can't give it to
His two friends were silent, and presently Latimer went on.
And all this means that when it comes time to go before the
convention this fall I shall have Burroughs and his cohorts against
You seem sure of his opposition, remarked Danvers. The case isn't
decided yet. If it is in favor of Burroughs
The decision was handed down this morning. It was in favor of
Good! chorused Danvers and the doctor.
The election will turn out all right for you, too, prophesied the
doctor, and especially with Danvers to help. The judge and I have been
plotting against you for some time, Phil, he explained. We want you
to go into politics.
Danvers shook his head.
Wait a minute, urged the doctor. It's like this, Danvers. You're
an American, as much as we are. You have taken out your naturalization
papers. You never think of leaving Montana. You have a splendid cattle
business, and you love Fort Benton almost as much as I do.
The cattleman smiled as the doctor outlined his position, and owned
that he did love the country of his adoption.
And here's poor Latimer struggling on alone up there at Helena,
while you and I devote our time to making a fortune
What are you offered for lots in Fort Benton now, Doctor? teased
Latimer, with a flash of his old humor. Let me explain, Phil, he
I know it would be a sacrifice for you to leave your business here;
you've made a success with your cattle, and I envy you the independent,
You don't appreciate the difficulties with drouths and blizzards,
put in Danvers, to say nothing of competition and low prices.
Nothing! exclaimed Latimer, with a gesture of his hand that swept
away such trivialities like mere cobwebs that annoy but do not obstruct
the vision. All this is nothing! It is the complications with menthe
relations with peoplethat weary and sicken and break the heart! I've
tried to put up a clean record, a straight fight; I've tried to give
honest service, and it seems as if the odds were all against me!
What do you want? asked Danvers, more moved at the sight of his
friend's distress than the need of his country.
We want to put you in the Legislature as the senator from Chouteau
County! cried Latimer, flushed and eager. If only a better class of
men would go into politics! I can't blame them for wanting to keep out,
and yet what is our country coming to? What can one man do alone? If
you or the doctor or men of that character were in office, it wouldn't
be so hard a fight. And with you in Helena, Phil
The familiar name, in the soft voice of the Southerner, stirred the
heart of Danvers like a caress. He was lonely, toohe had not realized
how much so, till the hand of his friend was stretched out to him, not
only for aid, but for companionship. His heart throbbed as it had not
done since a woman fired his boyish imagination. In the long years on
the range he had grown indifferent, and rejoiced in his lack of
feeling. Now he was waking, he was ready to take up his work in the
world of men, ready to open his heart at the call of one who would be
I might be induced to run, since you put it so strongly, said
Danvers, with a lightness that did not conceal from either of his
friends the depth of his feeling.
Thank you, Phil.
Danvers took the thin, nervous hand extended to him, and held it
with a grasp that sent courage into the heart of Judge Latimer. It was
a hand that had guided bucking bronchos and held lassoed steers, and
the man weary with life's battles knew that a friend had come to his
aid who would blench at no enemy.
Do you need any more men? inquired Danvers, with a tone of
assurance and natural leadership that amazed them both.
Do we need them? Can you produce any more? That is the
question, said Latimer.
There's always O'Dwyer, of course! laughed Danvers.
Is he as devoted as ever? inquired Latimer.
The same old worshipper, declared the doctor. And, by George! now
you speak of it, he wouldn't make a bad representative!
The three men talked over the situation and planned a brief
campaign, sending Arthur Latimer home, cheered and strengthened.
Nevertheless, after they had said good-bye at the station, the doctor
turned to Danvers with a heavy sigh.
Latimer's heart is in bad condition. He's going to have trouble
with it. And the nervous strain he lives under so constantly is more
than I can reckon with. If he could rest at homebut I know how it was
when they lived at Fort Benton!
Arthur has changed, said Danvers, sadly.
I'll never forget, said the doctor, speaking more freely than ever
before, the time when Latimer first discovered that Eva did not care
for him. He took it all to himself, and was broken-hearted because he
had failed to keep her affections. Think of it!
Did she ever care for him? Danvers could not resist asking.
I hardly think so. I always had an idea that her heartwhat there
is of itwas captured by an army officer. He looked slyly at his
companion as they walked through the gloom.
Nothing so low in rank as a second lieutenant! evaded Danvers.
You were fortunate, after all, Philip, though it would have been
better for Eva. She needed a masterand she took our gentle,
sensitive, chivalrous Arthur! He will break; break like fine tempered
steel when the strain becomes too great.
Chapter II. Charlie Blair's Sister
The summer sped hot and with but little rain. Some ten days before
the state convention, the Doctor and Danvers went to Helena. A strong
opposition to Judge Latimer's renomination had developed, which was not
traceable to any definite source. Although Danvers avowed a dislike for
politics, in reality he had the inherent instinct for political life
characteristic of the upper-class Englishman, and he threw himself into
the maelstrom with all his forces well in hand. Office-seeking was
disgusting to him, but the fight for his friend seemed worth the
In the midst of the political excitement, Mrs. Latimer gave a
dinner-party, and Philip Danvers could not refuse his invitation
without causing comment, and, what was of more consequence to his
independent nature, wounding his friend Arthur. He had met Eva Latimer
occasionally when they lived at Fort Benton, but had preferred to lure
Arthur to his own quarters, or the doctor's office, for an old-time
visit, rather than invade the formalities of the Latimer residence.
Since his friend had been on the supreme bench Danvers had not often
seen Eva, and now the great house in the suburbs of Helenaso much
more elaborate than Latimer could afford, impressed him, as it had on
previous calls, unpleasantly. It was not a home for Arthur; it was an
establishment for social functions, and a burden of expense; yet
Danvers knew it was the goal of Arthur's thoughts, where his little son
awaited him at the close of the day.
Danvers rang the bell, not a moment too early; nevertheless he found
the Western men standing self-conscious and ill at ease, waiting for
the announcement of dinner. Arthur greeted him warmly, and Eva
sparkled, smiled and chatted, moving among her guests and tactfully
putting each at his best, while they waited for the last arrivala
Miss Blair, who was to be, so Philip learned, his own partner at
Presently the tardy one arrived, beautiful in her serene,
straightforward gaze from under fine brows and a wealth of dark hair
that caught threads of light even under the gas-jets, and made
hurriedly breathless excuses to her hostess. Danvers was introduced to
her immediately, and the dining-room was invaded.
So awkward of me, she explained in an undertone. I turned my
ankle as I came across the lawn, and had to wait quite a bit before I
could move. I was afraid at first I couldn't come to dinner, but I
hated to disappoint Eva. Little Arthur must have left his hoop on the
lawn, and I tripped on it. We live in the next house, and always come
across lots. Doesn't that sound New England-y? She laughed softly. My
brother says I'll never drop our Yankee phrases. I say pail for bucket,
and path for trail, and the other day I said farm for ranch.
Your voice has more of Old England than of New England,
said Danvers, appreciatively. He had not spoken before except to
acknowledge Mrs. Latimer's hurried introduction.
Oh, thank you! Miss Blair smiled, frankly pleased. Not that I'm a
bit of an Anglo-maniac, she hastened to affirm, but, do you know,
she leaned toward Danvers in an amusingly confidential way, I've
always felt mortified over my throaty voicethat is, I used to be.
Philip smiled, a smile that but few had ever seen. He listened with
enjoyment. Something in his companion's tacit belief that he would
understand her feeling was wonderfully pleasing. He seemed taken into
her confidence at once as being worthy, and it did not lessen his
pleasure to observe that the Honorable William Moore, who sat at the
left of Miss Blair, received only the most formal recognition, despite
his effort at conversation, to the neglect of his own dinner partner.
Wit and merriment flashed from one to another, and all but the host
seemed overflowing with animation. Although Latimer looked after the
needs of his guests, he was often preoccupied.
Why so silent, judge? asked the doctor in a lull of conversation.
I beg your pardon, Arthur apologized. I fear I was rude. Perhaps
I was trying to work out the salvation of my countryfrom my own point
Planning for re-nomination? asked Moore, innocently.
And your ankle? asked Danvers of Miss Blair, under cover of the
laugh that followed Moore's attempt at wit. I hope that you are not
suffering from it. His observant eye had noted the smooth contour of
the girl's face, but as the moments passed the natural lack of high
coloring seemed to grow more colorless.
It hurtsa little, confessed the girl. But it is of no
consequence. Mrs. Latimer's dinner must not be marred by my blundering
in the dark. I should have come by the walk.
You are thoughtful. Danvers looked again at the girl, and wished
for the first time that he could use the small talk of society.
Politics was debarred from the table conversation, but when they were
again in the parlors Miss Blair turned to Danvers.
Aren't you the senator from Chouteau?
Not yet, smiled Philip.
Oh, but you will be. My brother says so.
I'm glad some one is optimistic. I'm afraid I shall not be the
Who will be our United States senator?
That is hard to tell. So many straws sticking out of the tangle
make it difficult to prophesy which will be pulled out.
Your party is so split up this year, said the girl. Which wing
are you affiliated with?
This was not small talk, as Danvers recognized with an amused
feeling that he had not expected a lady to know anything outside his
preconceived idea of feminine chat.
Montana politics have no wings, he quibbled.
Miss Blair laughed. Really, haven't you decided which of the
candidates you'll support for United States senator? She ran over the
That's rather a leading question, isn't it? evaded Philip. If a
man asked me, I'd give him no satisfaction. I will say to you,
though, that I am going to do my best to send some one to Washington
who is pledged to place community interests before his own.
I did not mean to ask impertinent questions, or to cross-examine,
quavered Miss Blair. One who finds out anything from you must have
taken his thirty-third degree in Masonry. I am not trying my hand at
lobbying, she added as an afterthought. You mustn't think that. I'm
just interested in the political situation. And brother Charlie won't
talk politics with me any more than he'll recount his experiences as a
Charlie? Brother Charlie? A dim memory revived. I beg your
pardon! Is Scar Faced Charlie your brother?
Yes. Didn't you know?
Then you are the little girl
Winifred. I thought you didn't recognize me, though I knew you at
once. But you would scarcely remember me, while Iyou know you saved
And to think that you have so changedgrown up! And that you are
here! I remember asking for you when Charlie was in Fort Benton,
shortly after I went there to live; but you were away at school. I
don't recall ever hearing your brother called Blair, though as a matter
of fact I wasn't thinking of your name. I was thinking of you!
What a pretty speech! And Mrs. Latimer is always telling what a
woman-hater you are!
I was not aware that I was of enough importance to be the subject
of Mrs. Latimer's strictures, replied Danvers, his brow contracting.
But I believe I do have that reputation, he added, and smiled into
her unbelieving brown eyes.
Moore is not running for office this year, said Danvers presently,
finding it easier to talk of matters politic.
No. Charlie wants a place in the Senateperhaps you know. She
changed the subject by asking, Do you think that a man should ever
vote for a candidate not in his own party?
If he votes for the better manespecially in local politicsyes.
Is it a political crime in your eyes?
I believe most politicians think so. Miss Blair also resorted to
They were joined by other guests, and the conversation became
general. The Honorable Mr. Moore, resplendent in a new dress suit, was
saying pleasant things to his hostess.
What a lucky dog the judge is, my dear Mrs. Latimer! You would
carry off any situation. You deserve a wider field than this small
Really? cooed the flattered lady.
As she moved away, Moore's glance followed her, and a look of sudden
inspiration illumined his shiny face. Wild Cat Bill, with his rotund
form, resembled a domesticated house cat far more than the agile
creature which had given him his frontier title. The incongruity struck
Danvers, and he smiled at Winifred Blair as she drifted to another part
of the rooma smile that she returned with a friendly nod of farewell.
He did not see her again that evening, and not long afterward he and
the doctor bade their hostess good-night.
Not sorry you went, are you, Phil? asked the doctor, as they
walked to their hotel. Goodness knows, Arthur and I labored hard
enough to get you there.
I have always disliked dinner parties. The observant doctor
noticed the wording of the reply and drew his own conclusions.
Come in and have a smoke with me, said the doctor, as they reached
his room, and he bent over to insert the key. For years it had been
Danvers' habit to drop into the physician's office during the late
afternoon or evening, to talk or smoke in silence, as the case may be.
To-night he followed the doctor, and sat down for a half-hour's chat.
That was a fetching gown that Mrs. Latimer wore; I don't envy
Arthur the bills! remarked the astute doctor, as he filled his pipe.
I didn't notice, was Philip's indifferent reply. I never know
what women have on.
And how lovely Miss Blair looked in blue!
Soft rose! came the correction from the man who never noticed.
The doctor's mouth twitched, but he smoked on in silence, and when
he bade Philip good-night he gave him a God-bless-you pat on the
shoulder, which the coming senator from Chouteau interpreted solely as
due to his long friendship.
Danvers was wakeful that night, and a name sang through his drowsy
brain until he roused, impatient.
It was only her voice that interested me! he exclaimed aloud.
She's probably like the rest of them. The nettle of one woman's
fickleness had stung so deeply when he first took to the primrose path
of love that he had never gone farther along the road leading to the
solving of life's enigma, and now the overgrowth of other interests had
almost obliterated the trail.
Although the days at Helena were busy ones for Philip Danvers, he
found time before the convention to make his dinner call at the
Latimer's. On the shaded lawn before the house he found Miss Blair
entertaining little Arthur while she kept watch over the baby asleep in
Mrs. Latimer is away for the afternoon. She will be sorry to have
missed you, exclaimed the girl, as Arthur ran to greet the visitor,
always a favorite.
You called on Aunt Winnie and me! Didn't you? Didn't you? chanted
the boy, tugging at the hand of the visitor.
May I stay? asked Danvers, smiling at the eager little man. And
how is the sprain?
Of course you may, assented Winifred brightly. And as for the
sprained ankle, wicked and deceitful creature that I am, I made it the
excuse for not going with Mrs. Latimer. Good people, really good
people, would think that I merited punishment for not doing my duty in
my small sphere of life. Yet see! Instead of that I'm rewardedhere
you come to entertain Arthur and me!
It is a bad example! decided Danvers, with a stern eye that did
not deceive anyone. He was amused at her naïveté, and had no wish to
decry such open good-will.
But I do limp! Don't I, Arthur? Miss Blair appealed to the child,
He nodded and stooped to examine the low, narrow shoe, peeping from
her sheer summer gown. Winifred pulled the foot back with a sudden
flush. I am, perhaps, helping along in this world as much as though I
were playing cards, by staying with the children instead of their being
with the maid, she said hastily.
Philip leaned over to look at the baby. Arthur pulled the parasol to
one side proudly.
Her name is Winifred, he announced.
I believe I never saw a really little baby before, said Danvers,
looking with awe at the tiny sleeper. My sister and I were near of an
age; we grew up together. How little babies are!
Miss Blair laughed. Winifred is a very nice babybig for her few
months of life. I'm very proud to be her godmother. Danvers watched as
she pulled the fleecy covering around the sleeping child. With the act
a maternal look came into her lovely face, unconscious as she was of
scrutiny, and a thrill of manhood shook him deeply.
So you did not care for the party? inquired the caller, presently.
I thought all ladies adored card parties and enjoyed fighting for the
Play cards when the mountains look like that? Winifred rejoined.
It would be a sacrilege!
I do not care for cards myself, agreed Danvers.
Wouldn't you like to be out there? Winifred seemed scarcely to
have heard him.
Following the direction of her gaze, he thought her wide-flung
gesture a deserved tribute to the view. The Prickly Pear Valley lay
before them, checkered in vivid green or sage-drab as water had been
given or withheld. The Scratch Gravel Hills jutted impertinently into
the middle distance; while on the far western side of the plain the
Jefferson Range rose, tier on tier, the distances shading the climbing
foothills, until the Bear's Tooth, a prominent, jagged peak, cleft the
azure sky. A stretch of darker blue showed where the Missouri River,
itself unseen, broke through the Gate of the Mountains. The view took
one away from the affairs of men. On their side of the valley towered
Mount Helena and Mount Ascension with auriferous gulches separating and
leading up to the main range of the Rockies. As the foothills sank into
the valley the gulches, washed of their golden treasure, were
transformed into the streets of Helenairregular, uneven, unpaved
often; in the residence part of the town young trees ambitiously spread
their slender branches; the main street and intersecting steeper ones
were bordered with business blocks as ambitious, in their way, as the
'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,' quoted Winifred,
softly. What a singer David was. But these mountains seem worthy of
the grand old psalms.
Yes, assented Danvers, simply; and he liked her better on this
second meeting than he had at the dinner partya crucial test where a
woman is concerned.
I never weary of looking, she breathed.
I thinkI never should, either, he declared, and lookedat her!
Unconscious of his gaze, she absently jogged the carriage while the
baby slept, and Arthur, holding Danvers' hand, waited his turn.
Mamma hates Helena, was his contribution.
Sh-h-h! warned Winifred.
Then if I can't talk, make Uncle Phil show us a good time. The lad
turned appealing, beautiful eyes toward Danvers, so like his father's
that Philip drew him closer. Tell us about the Crow Indians stealing
the Blackfeet ponies. This was a favorite story.
Not to-day, laddie, refused Philip, gently. Miss Blair would
Yes, I should, contradicted Winifred.
Aunt Winnie will just love to hear that story, affirmed Arthur.
I do! She tells me lots of stories. She was telling one when you
camethe one I like the best of all. It had a be-u-ti-ful trooper in
it who rescued her from a water-y grave! The child's recital was as
melodramatic as his words. He held her just so! Arthur illustrated by
a tight clasp of the embarrassed girl. Now, you tell one.
Philip saw that Winifred had a real interest in the old days, and
while relieving her embarrassment by gratifying the little
story-teller, he spoke of the Whoop Up Country.
Winifred had the rare gift of bringing out the best in people.
Danvers needed such incentive; although denying it, he was a good
conversationalist. Now his whole being responded to this clear-eyed,
pleasant-voiced girl who sat in the low rocker beside him. She would
understand. The few times he had essayed to speak to others of his
service in the Mounted Police, he had met with such indifference that
the words were killed; and with the exception of the Doctor, Danvers
had never shared his experiences with any one. To the women he had met
in Helena and Fort Benton that lonely life had brought a shudder, and
to the men unpleasant reminiscences. So far as his associates of the
early days were concerned it was a closed chapter.
To the child Winifred, Danvers had been a herohandsome, debonair;
to the woman Winifred, he found himself talking as easily as to the
little girl who listened years before. The life at Fort Macleod was the
one subject that would win Danvers from his silence, and in the next
hour Miss Blair had good reason to think that she would not exchange
this call for all the card parties in the world.
Presently he challenged, You are bored?
I've been delightfully entertained. It is all fascinating to me.
Charlie will seldom speak of the freighting days, and I remember very
little of Fort Benton.
The old place isn't big enough for most of us. The Macleod men are
Have you ever been back?
Never! I could not bear to see the country fenced in, the old
cottonwood barracks replaced, the railroad screaming in the silence,
and Colonel Macleod dead. No, I shall never go back.
The baby awoke and diverted them, and soon the maid came for both
children. Half-way to the house little Arthur ran back.
I'm going to be a Police when I grow up, he announced. I prayed
about it last night. I know God'll fix it. I put it right to Him. It
Arthur is always saying the drollest things, remarked Miss Blair
as the child ran out of hearing distance. Yesterday he told me that
when he went fishing with his papa his fish wouldn't hook on tight.
I'm afraid he'll find the same difficulty later in life, laughed
Philip, and rose to say good-afternoon.
I will not wait longer for Mrs. Latimer, but leave my card, he
decided. The doctor will be wondering what has become of me.
But the doctor found him very silent over his pipe that evening. The
sight of Arthur Latimer's little son had wakened the old longing, the
inborn desire of every Englishman to bestow the ancestral name upon the
heir of his house. Philip Danvers! For eight generations a son had
borne the name. Would he be the last to inherit it in this far country
that had come to be his own?
Chapter III. A Man of Two Countries
On the Sunday spent in Helena the doctor proposed to Danvers that
they give over politics and call at the Blairs. They won't stand on
formalities, and we both need to get our minds out of this political
struggle. I'll be glad when I can go home to Fort Benton!
Charlie seems to be doing well in Helena, remarked Philip, as they
approached the house next Judge Latimer's.
He's up, then down. He isn't much of a business man, and hasn't
head enough to keep in the swim. He worships that sister of his, and
just now he's doing pretty well. I fancy that she knows nothing of his
I imagine Miss Blair knows more about Charlie's difficulties than
either you or he give her credit for. She sees more than she tells.
The callers found brother and sister on the wide porch, and after
the greetings and a half-hour of general conversation, Charlie Blair
asked the doctor if he would come inside and give a little advice on a
Good, cried Winifred. For once I'm glad that Charlie can think of
nothing but business. Now I can talk to Mr. Danvers.
See that you do! commanded Philip. Yesterday I went away feeling
like a garrulous dame; it is your turn to-day.
Winifred affected to reflect. What shall be my themeart, music,
literature or our mutual friends?
Tell me of yourself.
As a subject of conversation, that would be soon exhausted. Women,
you know, are too idle to be good; too conventional to be bad.
Indeed! returned the cattleman, catching her mood. I have known
many women of that description. Pardon me, but I had imagined you were
a different type.
You say the nicest things! I feel that we are going to be very good
Danvers bowed. Thank you. I think we are.
She returned his frank gaze, and settled herself comfortably for an
Now talk! she in turn commanded, with the sweeping imperialism she
sometimes manifested toward a chance companion.
I refuse. It is your turn.
How you like to put on the mask of silence! Do you bolt the door to
everyone but the doctor and Judge Latimer?
Thoughts are hard things to express, unless one forgets himself,
and they come spontaneously.
Go ahead and forget yourself, then!
You are inexorable, laughing. Your demand makes me think of an
Indian Council. Of course, you know that when they meet to discuss
problems, they sit silent for hours. The avowed purpose of conferring
paralyzes their tongues, apparently, as you have paralyzed mine. If I
ever had an idea I could not produce it now.
The Quakers have a prettier custom. They sit in silence till the
spirit moves. I will be the spirit that moves you; and so adroitly did
she continue that unconsciously the man spoke of more serious
thingshis likings, his beliefs.
Why did you become an American? she asked at length, the question
that had often puzzled her.
My mother was an American. His voice took a note of tenderness
which Winifred remembered long. But when I left the service it was
with no thought of choosing this as my country. I had no desire to
return to England, however, and the chances for business seemed greater
on this side of the line.
The girl's deep eyes gazed directly into his with flattering
And so the years slipped by until I found that my interests were
all here, and I could not leave, even if I had cared to. Isn't that
true, judge? he remarked, as Arthur Latimer came across the lawn. You
wanted to make a voter of me, for your own dark purposes
Philip always hits the bull's-eye, admitted the judge,
interrupting with a menacing gesture of affection at the implication.
You would not leave the State. That's just it. The most of us came
into the Northwest, as we thought, to make a fortune and go back East
or South to enjoy it. But whether we have made money or not, we
discovered that we are here to stay. The old ties in other communities
are gone. Old friends are dead. Old memories faded. We aren't all such
enthusiasts as the doctor, who lives at Fort Benton for sheer love of
the place, but
I know just how he feels, cried Winifred, quick to defend her old
friend. I could go back there myself to live. We have a love-feast
every time we speak of the dear old town, and that's every time I see
I think, said Danvers, slowly, making sure of his words, that I
have come to love Montana more than my native land, though that was
certainly very far from my feeling when I came back to Fort Benton as a
civilian, and asked for work. I told the man that I was an Englishman,
but I made a mistake. There was a long list of applicants ahead of
meAmericansto whom preference would be given. I thanked the
manager, but from that day I determined to succeed without being forced
into citizenship. I did succeed, and of my own choice I became an
Words, words! What are you talking about? the doctor asked,
breezily, as he appeared with Blair. Let us into your charmed circle.
I, for one, promise to be silent. Any occasion gains dignity by having
an audience, and I'll promise not to be critical. I will consider your
After a general laugh, the judge gave the trend of the conversation,
and the doctor quite forgot his promise. The discussion of good
citizenship became general, and presently Philip was appealed to for
testimony on the subject of foreigners becoming naturalized.
I hardly think I can tell you much that you do not already know,
he said, concerning Englishmen becoming American citizens. We must
give the inhabitants of every great European country the credit for
believing their own country to be the greatest. With the possible
exception of Russia and Turkey, I am inclined to the opinion that they
think their liberty is not infringed upon, any more than it should be;
and they are, I suppose, contented with their lot. John Bull has every
reason to think himself a favored being. He is proud of the
institutions of his countryroyalty, aristocracy. The knight, the
'squire, the merchant, manufacturer, skilled workman and laborereach
has his place. The laborer, cap in hand, bows to his master. So, too,
aristocracy bends the knee to royaltybeing taught to keep allotted
rank in society, and to defer to those above. What is more, all have a
supreme regard for the law itself, as well as for those who administer
Winifred listened. Her bright, upturned face was an incentive for
Danvers to continue.
When we Englishmen come to this country, he said, knowing but
little of the government, we care nothing for it. We generally come to
better our condition financially, not politically. When we see the
actions of political heelers at elections we are often astounded. We
hear of Tweed, of Tammany, and it is not surprising that we have a
certain contempt for American politics. If we watch very closely we see
men elected to office who are entirely incompetent, and we even have
suspicions of their honesty.
The girl laughed lightly.
You choose to be very sarcastic, she commented. But Danvers had
more to say.
As time goes on we watch events, comparing the government of this
country with that of our own. Little by little we are brought to feel
that these States are being fairly well governed, after all. In my own
case, when Judge Latimer asked me to take an active part in politics, I
hesitated. But I had cast my lot in Fort Benton, and it seemed wrong to
accept all that America had to give with no return from myself.
The Anglo-American looked around his circle of friends. Never before
had he expressed himself so fully. He could not understand how he had
been beguiled. But never before had he felt that a woman's brain would
grasp every reason adduced, and understandthat was it; he felt that
he was understood!
Montana politics are like an Englishman's gamehigh. They smell to
heaven, said Charlie Blair, after the men had further discussed the
I don't believe that Montana is any worse than many other States,
defended Winifred, quickly.
We are building history, said the doctor, dreamily, and history
repeats itself. As the powerful nobles of Greece and Rome dictated
harsh terms to the common people and ruined their nations, so it will
be with us. Machine politics, money and whiskey, millionaires and
monopoliestruly the outlook is depressing.
You are not usually so pessimistic, doctor, reproached Winifred.
WellBlair's contented philosophy was refreshingpoliticians
seldom get more than one-fourth their money's worth, when they use it
unlawfully. Three-quarters of it is wasted by giving it to hangers-on.
Public men should be unhampered by demands for spoils.
They invite the demands, Phil, replied the doctor, dryly. If it
were not openly known that a man could get a position as a corporation
lawyer, or timekeeper in a big mine, or some other inducement, do you
think any would-be senator, for instance, would be troubled by
distributing 'spoils of office'?
He would not be troubled with superfluous votes, either, remarked
the judge, caustically.
Oh, cried Winifred, with a vision of what might be, if only the
candidates and the voters could be brought to see that public office is
a public trust; that the honor of election is enough!
That is the way it is in England, answered Danvers. There, for
instance, a man is elected to a city council for his personal fitness
and ability to hold office. No questioning of his political
affiliations. No perquisitesno privileges. Only the honor of his
fellow citizens, which is enough. It is the same in other positions,
even in Parliament.
Here comes Mrs. Latimer. Miss Blair rose and advanced to meet her
friend. I see by your eyes, Eva, she said gaily, that I have to
placate you for monopolizing all the men in sight.
Mrs. Latimer laughed, and the circle widened to admit her.
You are talking of politics, she accused, lazily. Either that or
of Fort Macleod.
Madam, the doctor affected remorse, we were talking of politics.
But when you burst upon our enchanted vision, as beautiful as when you
dazzled us sixteen
Oh, don't! shuddered Eva. Whywhy will men be so exact as to
dates? Why not say 'some years ago'? She looked around rebelliously.
I will not grow old, even if you, dear doctor, have silvery hair, and
Arthur's is growing thin, and Mr. Blairwell, I'll admit the years
have dealt kindly with Charlie and Mr. Danvers.
And with you, dear, added her husband, loyally.
How do you like my gown? asked Eva, turning to Miss Blair as the
men began to talk of other subjects.
It's lovely! You are so artistic! It must please your husband to
have you so perfectly gowned.
Oh, Arthuras for one's husband, I simply can't imagine dressing
for one man.
I can, breathed the girl, her thoughts afield. But the sentiment
was lost upon Eva.
If I lived nine miles from nowhere I would dress and walk among the
cow corrals or on the range for the cowboysif there were no other men
to admire me!
You say such dreadful things, Winifred answered, gently, but I
know you do not mean them.
But I do! wilfully.
I have grown away from the East, the doctor was saying, when the
ladies again listened. I want more room than the crowded cities can
'Room, room to turn 'round in,
To breathe and be free.'
I fancy the Puritans wanted physical as well as religious freedom,
if the truth were known. He mused; then suddenly:
How can you make one who has never experienced it feel the West
You can't, laughed Latimer. I tried once, but my companion looked
bored, and I stopped. 'Oh, go on,' he said, politely; 'you are
When the merriment had subsided, Eva exclaimed:
I'm sick and tired of the West! I want to live in New York,
Washington, abroadanywhere but Montana!
I wish that we might, dear, said the judge, patiently; perhaps we
can some day.
By the way, remarked Eva, her thoughts flying inconsequently to
another subject, I've promised to read a paper on 'The Judiciary of
Montana' before our club to-morrow. Tell me all about it, Arthur, and
I'll write the essay this evening. She looked at the group in
surprise. What had she said to raise such shouts?
As soon as her husband could speak he wiped his eyes.
It's a pretty big subject for me to discuss now, he said; but
I'll write something. That will be better than confusing your mind with
it. These club-women, he went on indulgently, addressing the others,
are so fervidso much in earnest.
Are you a club-woman, too? the doctor asked Winifred, and Danvers
waited her reply.
I used to be, dolefully. But I am a renegade, or a degenerate. I
was allowed to join the classic circle of a Dante Club, and for two
years we (perhaps I'd better say I) agonized over the prescribed
studythe course was sent out by the university. But when the third
year arrived I wearied of well-doing. I was horrid, I know; but the
subject was remote as to time, and dead as to issues. I like live
topics, real issuesMontana politics, for instance.
You might have joined the Current Events Club, reproached Mrs.
Latimer. To be sure, it's sometimes hard to find topics for the next
meeting, but we get along. Club work broadens our minds and widens our
sphere, she concluded, with a pretty air of triumph.
And when topics failto write about, put in Blair, you can talk.
You ladies always find enough to talk about!
Why, Charlie Blair! You're just as horrid as you used to be!
responded Eva, hotly.
Didn't I hear something about one lady's stabbing to death another
lady's imported hat, just on account of too much talk at one of the
club meetings? Blair was persistent.
That story about the hat has been grossly exaggerated! It is
nothing but gossip.
'Current Events,' too, murmured Charlie, properly deprecatory.
Not long afterwards Danvers made the first move toward breaking up
Must you be going? Winifred rose also. I suppose I shall not see
you again before the Assembly meets. You'll be sure to be here then, as
senator from Chouteau.
Thank you for your optimism. May I call?
Certainly. I should feel hurt if you didn't. We are friends of many
years' standing, you know.
Never before had he asked to call upon a lady. The importunity had
always been on the other side.
Late in the evening the doctor came to Danvers' room for the
good-night call; but the talk was wholly of Judge Latimer's interests.
I'm afraid that Arthur will have a hard pull, regretted the old
friend, but we will do all we can for him. I've had a telegram calling
me back to Fort Benton, and must leave on the midnight train.
Danvers walked to the little depot, a mile from the city proper,
with his friend, and after the train pulled out he again thought of
As he passed, on his way back to town, the huge piles of loose rock
that the miners had left in their sluicing for gold in bygone days, his
thoughts followed the girl back into the long years since he had first
met her on the Far Westa child eager for sympathy. It was odd
that he had never seen her in all that timethe years when he had
unconsciously longed for friendship, and the sight of a woman's facea
white face. The rings from his cigar melted around him, softening his
face until it took on the boyish fairness of youth.
Chapter IV. The State Republican
The evening before the convention found Judge Latimer at the club in
conference with his friends. His nomination seemed doubtful, yet there
was a possibility that he might win, and Danvers was working hard and
The Honorable William Moore had arrived from Butte that day, and as
he greeted various members of the club, watched for a chance to
approach Judge Latimer.
What are the prospects? he inquired, after a chat on politics in
general. I calculate you'll need the support of Silver Bow County, and
we'd like to help you out.
Of course, I shall be glad of your support, responded Latimer, who
knew it would be impossible to win without this important section of
Very well. What can you do for usthat is, for Burroughs?
The judge moved uneasily. It doesn't seem to me that I can do very
much for a man who has practically the whole State at his command.
You know what we want! scowlingly.
I shall have no influence.
Bah! What's the use talking? He'll make it worth your while. Get
Danvers to vote for Burroughs when it comes time to elect United States
senator. He never will unless you can persuade him. You know his
feeling toward Burroughs, although Bob's been a good husband and
father. And there's Charlie Blair, get him pledged and he'll be
Hold on, Moore! Latimer's voice trembled with anger. Why should
you oppose me? Haven't my decisions always been just and
I'm not saying anything about your decisions, broke in Moore,
although it would have paid you to be amenable. I knew the time would
come when you'd want our political help.
I don't want your help! cried the judge, passionately. If
I should be elected through your instrumentality I should feel as
though every man in the State believed that a decision handed down by
the Supreme Court was tainted with your money. As yet the Supreme Court
of Montana has been above suspicion, and so far as it is in my power,
it shall remain so! He struck out, his slight form quivering
Across the room Danvers saw him, and walked quickly toward the men.
I want to speak to you, Arthur, he said, and drew the judge into
The elephant and the gazelle are trotting together, said Latimer,
presently, trying to be facetious in an effort to regain control of
himself. He looked up at his stalwart companion.
Yes, and the gazelle is always looking for trouble when the
elephant is around, so he can be pulled out! returned Danvers, in the
same strain; yet with the undercurrent of affection that always crept
into his tone when speaking to Latimer.
Words failed the harassed judge as he attempted to reply. This
friend of his! This dear friend!
It is just as I thought, Phil, he remarked, after they had walked
for a time in silence. Burroughs will block me.
That's bad; but it might be worse. Let me see. Who are the
delegates from Silver Bow?
Bill Moore is the chairman. No need to specify the individual men,
for every one of them will vote as instructed. Oh, Burroughs has that
county well organized!
H-m-m! mused Danvers, nodding affirmation. Silver Bow is not the
only county, and Moore is not the only chairman. I am chairman of the
Chouteau County delegation, and we are solid for you. I have more or
less influence in other counties, modestly. As they walked they
canvassed the situation. Without Silver Bow it did look dubious.
Turning a corner they met O'Dwyer, ruddy and smiling as ever.
Here's O'Dwyer! cried Danvers. He is always good in an emergency.
His fertile brain will contrive some method of procedure that will land
you safely on the bench for a second term.
A conference ensued. O'Dwyer shook his head doubtfully when he
learned of Burroughs' strong following, but said nothing until the
three were in Danvers' room.
I heard Wild Cat Bill talking to yeh, he acknowledged, and I
think I've got something up my sleeve. But he refused to disclose his
plans, only warning Danvers not to be surprised if he was late to the
convention, and they separated.
* * * * *
The convention was called to order. Campaign issues did not appear
to be of great moment; but when the chairman announced that the
candidates for chief justice would now be considered, there suddenly
arose so much controversy and ill-feeling that the meeting was
adjourned until evening. An active canvass was begun by Danvers for
Judge Latimer, and by Moore for his candidate. O'Dwyer of Chouteau
County, seemingly not so much interested in the business in hand as in
looking up old friends whom he had known at Fort Macleod, circulated
joyously among the men. It was not long before he was cheek by jowl at
the hotel bar with Wild Cat Bill (Moore never objected to the old
nickname), and after sundry refreshments and their accompanying
chasers, he proposed that they dine together. Mr. Moore was agreeable,
and suggested a private room for the meal, being under the impression
that O'Dwyer would look favorably on an effort to turn his allegiance
from Latimer's candidacy.
As the dinner progressed he told O'Dwyer that he had in mind a
lucrative position which Mr. Burroughs would gladly bestow on an old
friend, if the Irishman saw fit to accept. Moore carefully explained,
as the glasses were filled and emptied, that he had no ulterior motive.
Oh, certainly not! O'Dwyer must not think that Burroughs ever offered a
bribe, even in so small a matter as this of defeating Judge Latimer in
Of course not! agreed O'Dwyer, and surreptitiously glanced at his
watch. He redoubled his efforts to be the good fellow, and apparently
coincided with Moore's views on politics.
The clock in the court house struck half after eight. The convention
was called to order, and Mrs. Latimer, thrilling with the sense of
unknown possibilities, sat in the crowded gallery, and settled
expectantly to the excitement of the balloting. Strong and spicy
speeches were anticipated. Silver Bow, notoriously the hotbed of
political agitation in the State, possessed in Mr. Moore a star
speaker. He always had something to say, and was the chief factor in
filling the ladies' gallery. His fiery remarks and impassioned appeals
were as exhilarating as cocktails. Full well did Mr. Burroughs know the
value of his trusted henchman, both in caucus and on the floor, and he
had left his cause against Judge Latimer wholly in Moore's hands, with
no understudy. He had made the trip over from Butte the day before, and
now expectantly awaited the appearance of the Honorable William.
As the delegates and spectators listened to the blaring band they
watched the rapidly filling seats and noted the tall staffs and
placards indicating the various counties. Danvers looked in vain for
Latimer; Burroughs for Moore.
O'Dwyer had not appeared, and the chairman of the Chouteau County
delegation smiled as he thought of the Irishman's devotion to his
friends, and the possible discomfiture of their common enemy. But
Latimer's absence was disquieting. He had said something about little
Arthur's having a cold, but surely that would not keep him from so
important an occasion.
Nine o'clock. The chairman declared the convention ready to proceed.
Burroughs, hovering near the doors of the auditorium, looked anxious as
he saw Danvers rise to make his nomination speech for Judge Latimer.
Moorethe invaluable Moorewas not in the hall. The moments were
slipping by, and Burroughs hastily dispatched a messenger to his hotel
and to the club.
As Danvers gave a simple, earnest recital of Judge Latimer's
qualifications and the need for such men in the State of Montana, he
saw the judge enter. He spoke of his devotion to his family, his
business integrity, his high ideals; and ended with the plea that in
this day of corruption in high places, his own State preserve her
prestige by maintaining in office one who had been found able and
incorruptible in discharging his duties as judge of the Supreme Court
of the State of Montana.
As Danvers returned to his seat he was met by the recalcitrant
Moore, walking carefully, and blandly indifferent to Burroughs' angry
oath with which he had been greeted at the door.
Danvers tried to avoid the wavering path, but the Honorable William
had a set purpose in his muddled brain. He fell upon the neck of the
delegate from Chouteau, and his arms met around Danvers' neck.
I d'know yer name, he hiccoughed, enthusiastically, but I know
yeh're a gen'lmun. The unexpected followed. Holding himself upright by
the embarrassed Danvers, he bellowed: Mishter Chairman! I seconsh the
Pandemonium ensuedlaughter in the galleries, drowned by the roar
of disapproval from Burroughs' candidate and his following. O'Dwyer
hastily gained the recognition of the chairman and again seconded the
nomination of Latimer, and the balloting began.
Burroughs, not being a delegate, had no place on the floor, and was
powerless. The leaderless flock from Silver Bow made weak efforts to
assert themselves, but O'Dwyer saw to it that Moore did not get to them
until affairs were well settled. The first ballot was taken, and
Latimer had a majority. He had received the nomination!
There were cheers and loud calls for Latimer, and he responded
briefly. In the excitement Burroughs succeeded in enticing the torpid
Bill into the lobby, and so effective were his words, emphasized by his
fists, that Moore returned to the hall a chastened man, and demanded
that the nomination be set aside. In the uproar Burroughs ventured onto
the floor and yelled to the cheering delegation from Chouteau County,
Howl, ye hirelings! He violently accused Danvers of collusion with
O'Dwyer in detaining Mr. Moore.
O'Dwyer was in no mood to permit this. For years he had idolized the
Englishman. In a moment he placed himself in front of the ex-trader,
and reaching, grabbed for Burroughs' nose.
Do I understand yeh're talkin' agin me friend, Philip Danvers? he
shouted, with a twist of the olfactory member. If I hear anither
whimper out of yez, I'll smash yeh one! I got Bill Moore drunkI! Yeh
can settle wid mesilf!
In the tumult the meeting adjourned, and Danvers was glad to get out
of the hall and have a word with his friend.
Why were you so late, Arthur? questioned Danvers, as soon as they
had a moment together.
My boy is not well, Arthur explained, as his eye roved anxiously
around the circling balcony. Eva had set her heart on hearing the
nomination speeches, and so I stayed with the laddie until the last
minute. I couldn't bear to leave him alone with the nurse-girl.
Let me go for a doctor! begged Danvers, anxious to be of some
No, he isn't sick enough for thatI did call a physician about
dinner time. Perhaps I'm foolish, he smiled wanly, but if anything
Tut! tut! Danvers put his hand on the stooping shoulders. I'm
going home on the midnight train, and I'll send the old doctor up to
see the lad; or, with a sudden thought, why not wire him? I will do
it as I go to the station.
Perhaps you'd better, agreed Latimer. I wish he had remained here
for the convention; but I know he will be glad to make the trip for the
sake of the boy, and the sight of his face will do me good.
You've been working too hard. Take it easy now and don't worry,
counseled Danvers. I shall be up again in a few weeks, and in the
meantime write to me, Arthur.
He stood a moment as Judge Latimer waited for Eva. He felt, somehow,
that his friend needed him. But his train would soon be due, and with a
hearty hand-clasp he said good-night and hurried away for the Fort
Chapter V. Despair
The days that followed the convention were like a dream to Danvers
when he remembered them afterwards. He had scarcely picked up the old
life at Fort Bentonlooked over his cattle and gone over his neglected
correspondence, when a telegram from the old doctor recalled him to
Arthur Latimer's tragedy had come, and Danvers, unfamiliar with
death, knew no words of consolation for the father bereft of his
firstborn. A numbness mercifully comes during those first hours, which
makes it possible to move about and go through strange, meaningless
ceremonies with a calm that surprises those who have not known the
searing touch of the death angel.
A few days later he and the doctor were back at Fort Benton again,
and life moved on as before. Only there was always the memory of
Latimer's drawn face that no laddie's voice would lighten, no little
The doctor hoped that the political campaign would occupy his
thoughts for the present, but when the election went against Latimer he
shook his head.
Read this letter, he said to Danvers one evening. It came to-day,
and I should have sent for you if I hadn't felt so certain you would
drop in. You're the one to go.
It was a letter from Winifred, and Danvers felt a peculiar sensation
of satisfaction in seeing her handwriting, as if it gave him an added
bond to their friendship.
But he forgot Winifred in his anxiety over the message her letter
I wish that you or Mr. Danvers could come to Helena, she
Judge Latimer is so changed since little Arthur's death that
sometimes fear for his reason. Since the election has gone
him there is no direct interest to take his attention and he
sunk into a deep melancholy. You could rouse him as no one
could. Please comeone or both of you.
Danvers read no further, but looked up to catch the doctor's eye. He
nodded. All right, doctor. I'll go to-night.
His heart was drawn still more closely to the stricken man. He
longed to bring back to that sad face the smile that he remembered on
the Far West, when Latimer's buoyancy had been like wine to his
lonely heart. He felt confident that the friendship of one man for
another could reach the heart of his friend, now closing against all
It was noon before Danvers reached Helena and made his way to Judge
Latimer's residence. He was startled by the absence of life, the
silence and drawn shades. Turning, he saw Miss Blair entering her own
I'm so glad you've come! cried the girl, with unaffected pleasure,
as he hastened towards her. But didn't you know that the Latimers had
gone to the hotel for the winter?
Danvers had not known.
Come in and have lunch with Charlie and me, she urged; it will be
ready in just a minute. Charlie will be here soon and will want to
congratulate you on your majority.
But ArthurI feel I must get to him.
Come in and telephone. He has opened offices down town and you may
find him there. I call up Eva every morning, but Judge Latimer is out a
While she was speaking Danvers had followed her into the house. It
was a homelike room; a canary's trill greeted them, and a glimpse of
old-fashioned plants in the bay-window wakened memories of English
homes. How different it was from his rooms at Fort Benton!
Winifred smiled brightly as she made him at home, and excused
herself for a moment.
And how is Judge Latimer? questioned Danvers, as she reappeared
from the dining-room with a big apron, which she fastened about her
waist in a most businesslike manner.
He needs cheeringneeds loving! With the old routine of office
suddenly lacking, and little Arthur gone, the man is lostaimless.
There seems to be nothing worth whilenothing to keep him with us! And
there are other troublesI don't understand them myself, but you will
know how to help him. I'm so glad you have come! she repeated, with a
warmth that made his heart beat faster. What would it be like to find
such a welcome for his own sakeand every night when he came home!
Did you 'phone the office? The words recalled him.
Yes. He is down in the valley; the clerk didn't know when he would
We won't wait for Charlie. He's often late, and I know you are
anxious to find the judge.
After a few minutes' absence Winifred announced that luncheon was
ready. As Philip held the curtains for her to precede him to the
dining-room he looked longingly at the sweet-scented blossoms in the
I have seen nothing more delightful in years, he explained. I am
old-fashioned enough not to care for palms or rubber plants.
Another bond of friendship, smiled Winifred, lightly. Shall I
make the salad dressing, or would you prefer to mix it yourself? she
asked, after she had persuaded him to take the head of the table.
I make a dressing that is the despair of my friends, she
continued. So I make them shut their eyes when I mix it, else my one
accomplishment would be mine no longer.
Philip promised, with a smile, to play fair. He delighted in the
housewifely nonsense, and ate the salad, though he hated olive oil.
Salads are a woman's folly, he had once said. But he did not repeat
How do you like it? Her mood suited the visitor. The light
conversation took his mind from the more serious purpose of his visit,
and Winifred's accent implied accepted friendship. He needed this
I never cared for salads, before, he replied truthfully.
Why did you eat it?
I ate it, and I liked it because you made it for me. I am not used
to being waited upon, and I rather like the experience.
You poor man! Winifred sympathized without reflection. It must be
horrid not to have anyone to do things for you. I should thinkI
mean she colored as she met Philip's eyes, I meanCharlie says
that I have spoiled him completely.
The advent of Blair relieved the girl from her condition of
fragmentary speech, and they talked of the Latimers and the political
outlook for the coming winter.
Danvers took his leave with a feeling of regret at parting from
unexpectedly congenial friends. How little he had known of Blairthe
good fellow. How cheery and unaffected Winifred was! The years were
bridged which had separated him from his kind, and as he walked down
the street he felt a glow of kindness toward all the world.
He called at the hotel, thinking Latimer might have returned, but
Mrs. Latimer pettishly denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. He
often went for long walks, she said, and seldom returned until late.
Won't you stay until he returns? she invited, but Danvers pleaded
Twice during the afternoon Danvers ran up to the judge's office, but
failed to find him until evening. Seeing a light in the inner office,
he opened the door and entered.
The judge did not look up. He sat with his back to the door, and
gazed intently at a revolver, while his hand played idly with the
Danvers stepped forward and silently reached for the weapon.
No, no, Arthur! Not that!
Phil! You? Latimer sprang from his chair. Whywhy
Danvers was shocked at the haggard face.
I ran up from Fort Benton, Arthur, just to see you. I've been
looking for you all the afternoon. He gently pushed the trembling man
back into his chair.
Whywhy did you stop me? It would have been overnowif
Life is not so bad as that, old friend.
Isn't it? bitterly. If you
I can understandI know. But you must promise me that you will not
attempt thisagain. Danvers spoke firmly, feeling that he could never
leave his friend if he were not given a pledge.
The broken man looked into the kind eyes opposite. You think me a
coward, don't you? I promise.
No, refuted Danvers, warmly. You are worn out, mentally and
physically; that is all. Take a run to the coast with me for a month or
Latimer began to laugh, mirthlessly. I couldn't take a run to Fort
Benton, Phil. I haven't a dollarnot a dollar. I'm a ruined man!
Latimer took a paper-knife and checked off his sentence. His voice
You made a mistake, Phil, when you interrupted me. No, do not
speak, he raised his hand. I was in possession of what sanity I've
had since Arthur He did not complete the sentence. I've
deliberately decided that a quick shot was the only solution of my
problem. Boy gone; home gone; my dearest ambition frustrated;
hopelessly in debt
I can help you in that.
And disbarment proceedings about to be instituted, finished
What! ejaculated Danvers. Who will institute them? On what
Burroughs. He has trumped up some infamous charge. I got a hint of
it only this morninga straight tip.
He shall not do it! I shall have something to say to himto the
papers. He would not like to have them get hold of Moore's interviews
with you and me on the matter of that Supreme Court decision. I
Papers! Latimer threw out his hands with a helpless gesture.
Burroughs owns every paper in the State!
Well, then, I have another card to play. You leave this matter to
me. You are not going under, and you are not going todienot yet!
Bob will drop the disbarment proceedings, I promise you; and if he is
not amenable to reasonwhyhe does not own the Associated Press!
N-no. But I'm brokeruined.
What do you think a friend is for, Arthur? said Danvers,
reproachfully. If I had had any idea that financial matters were
troubling you, I would have fixed you out in short order!
I can't accept favors.
Favors! slightingly, to cover his feeling. I shall be a
Shylocknever you fear! Then a hand, heavy with love, fell on
Latimer's shoulder. What is mine is yours, Arthur.
Within a week, not only were the judge's difficulties relieved, but
the proposed disbarment proceedings were dropped.
I had means, said Danvers, sternly, when pressed for details by
the grateful judge, and none but Burroughs ever knew of the threatened
Before Danvers returned to Fort Benton, he had the pleasure of
seeing Judge Latimer off for the East on legal work and knew that his
low mental condition was replaced by a more healthy one. Mrs. Latimer
he avoided. The gratitude of Winifred Blair came as a surprise, and
strengthened their sympathy in this common cause. He called to say
good-bye, but found her not at home, and he left Helena with a distinct
feeling of disappointment.
* * * * *
The state election in November gave Danvers a handsome majority, and
it was as the senator from Chouteau County that, early in the new year,
he attended the governor's reception to the legislators. He came in
late, and after paying his respects to the governor and his wife,
wandered rather helplessly toward the hall, seeing many whom he knew,
but finding little pleasure in their casual greetings.
Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs, as well as the Hon. William Moore, had come
from Butte to attend the brilliant society function. Other
acquaintances who now lived at the capital were among the guests whom
Danvers recognized. His sister he seldom saw, and the lack of any
common interest between them made it possible to meet her husband in
only the most formal way.
Presently he saw Winifred Blair at the salad table, who, chancing to
look up from her task, smiled invitingly.
May I not serve you with salad? she asked, as he approached.
If you will make the dressing, recalling their lunch of the late
It is already dressed, laughed the girl.
Then you will let me get you some punch; come with me for it.
She was perishing of thirst (by her own statement), and Danvers
finding some one to take her place for a time, discovered a quiet
corner of the library past which swept the tide of callers. Hither he
enticed Miss Blair, and soon brought the refreshing drink. She sank on
the window couch.
How nice to be looked after, she said, gratefully. I believe that
you knew I was tired of the silly things one must say to men whom one
never expectsor wantsto meet again.
Never say silly things to me or I shall think I am in the
Very well, I will not. I've always had to be to other people what
they wanted me to bewhat they expected. Somehow, with youI am
You could not pay me a higher compliment.
For some minutes they chatted of the coming assembly and then
wandered to the discussion of a book which denied love to be the
greatest thing in the world. By that instinct which prompts men and
women to talk of this one subject they enlarged on the topic,
impersonally at first, as if it were a matter of the price of cattle.
Then you do believe in the great passion?
Certainly; don't you?
I used to think that I didyears ago. But one sees the counterfeit
There could be no counterfeit unless the real existed.
You are right. The real is so rare, then, that one despairs of
knowing it. The subject grew more personal. But we all want the
I don't care for paste diamonds myself, no matter how well they
You have had opportunity to discriminate? tentatively.
Ithink so, Winifred replied, reflectively, as if he had asked
whether she liked cucumbers, and his face clouded, for no reason.
Vicarious experience, she added, mischievously.
I have admired men; liked a few immensely, she admitted, frankly.
But the mysterious glow which comesit has never enveloped me, she
ended abruptly. Since we are getting so personal, how about yourself?
I he hesitated.
You needn't finish! Winifred nodded, laughing. Other men swear by
the little god that they have never lovedneveruntil Once more
Winifred found her facile tongue had led her into difficulties.
Other men lieI do not; yet you evidently do not believe me.
Yes, I do! That is what I so like about you. People believe you,
trust you, know where you are to be found.
I know no other way, replied the Senator. It is no merit. I
simply find it awkward and inconvenient to prevaricate.
You are to be congratulated, murmured the girl, ransacking her
memory for another man who could say as much.
An eddy of the flowing stream of guests brought Mrs. Burroughs
towards them. Mrs. Latimer, too, came into the deep window space, the
ladies talking animatedly.
Am I not right, Winnie? appealed Mrs. Latimer, after the
felicitations of the day had been exchanged. I say that a woman has
never had a love affair worthy of the name who hasn't had a lover
called 'Jack.' Jackthe care-free; Jackthe debonair; Jackthe
dare-devil! It's all in the name, Jack.
Alas! moaned Winifred, entering into the gay spirit of the moment.
Alack, woe is me! That I must confess my poverty before womanshe
glanced at Danversand man! I've had lovers of many namesHenry and
Jim andandBi she seemed out of namesand of many huesBrown
and Green and Black; but never a Jack for me!
If you haven't had an adorer by that name, laughed Mrs. Latimer,
it's because no man in the state answers to the name of Jack! They
all joined in the merriment, to Winifred's confusion.
'Thou, too, Brutus!' she quoted reproachfully. What will Senator
Danvers think of me, with such a reputation as you give.
Suppose I have my name changed, suggested Danvers.
Philip suits you very well, Miss Blair answered, sedately. You
intimated a few minutes ago that you were rather inexperienced, she
went on daringly. If this winter you will try for such a reputation as
Mrs. Latimer gave me, I'll agree to meet you on the field of battle.
As she concluded the doctor came up and the joke was explained to him.
He turned to the Senator.
You're too old to have your name changed, or to affect the
tender passion, Phil. Leave that to younger mento me! I'll have my
name changed to Jack, right away; and as for loving, I have always
loved thee! bowing to Winifred.
A chorus of shrieks greeted the doctor's declaration.
No, insisted Philip, when his voice could be heard, I am going to
enter the lists, inexperienced as I am.
The challenge in his eyes was good to see, but Winifred could not
meet them. Delighted at the sight, the doctor changed the subject, and
soon the group broke up.
As Danvers greeted others, he noticed Eva Latimer in earnest
conversation with Mr. William Moore. He bowed in passing, but their
lowered voices paused only long enough for the conventional greeting.
After making the round of the parlors, Danvers found the doctor and
soon afterward they returned to their hotel.
Chapter VI. Il Trovatore
The next morning Judge Latimer was surprised to find his wife taking
a sudden interest in politics.
Why is there so much opposition to Mr. Burroughs for United States
senator? she inquired.
Several reasons, he answered, evasively, thinking she would not be
interested to pursue the subject.
But he will be elected.
That remains to be seen.
He has thirty pledged out of the whole ninety-four, and
How do you know? Where did you get your information? Latimer spoke
Mr. Moorenobody talked of anything else, it seems to me, amended
Mrs. Latimer, with what carelessness she could assume. Since the
legislators have been arriving I have heard nothing discussed so much
as Mr. Burroughs' chances of winning the election.
That comes of living in a hotel, said the judge, bitterly.
Burroughs' headquarters are on this floor, too, confound it! I wish we
had not given up our home.
I don't, cried Eva. Politics are lots of fun! I had no idea how
much until this winter. It's so exciting!
She did not tell her husband that the Honorable William Moore had
been at considerable pains to interest her in the coming struggle, even
prolonging his frequent calls unduly, in giving her an insight (so far
as he thought necessary) into the workings of practical politics as
expounded and promulgated by Mr. Burroughs and himself. So delicately
had he broached what had been in his mind since the night of Eva's
dinner party that before she was aware she had promised that she would
do what she could to forward Burroughs' cause with recalcitrant
members. The political manager had assured her that his patron, in his
gratitude, would make the reward for her services magnificently great.
Mrs. Latimer had not been cajoled into this without some scruples,
for she well knew what her husband would think. She remembered, too,
certain interviews of her own with Burroughs, which she would have
liked to forget; but it was many years ago that he had made love to
her, and she succeeded in allaying the troublesome reproaches of
conscience by the justification of the urgent need of retrieving their
fortunes. If Arthur could be made minister to some foreign capital (her
ambition had vaulted to Berlin) he need never suspect her share in its
Mr. Moore had told her that only a rich man could afford to be at
the head of one of the larger legations, and had most thoughtfully
placed certain mining shares in her name, whose value had already
increased gratifyingly. When Arthur should ask her how he could accept
such a position, she would triumphantly produce the fortune made from
these shares, and explain that she had judiciously invested the small
patrimony from her father's estate. It all seemed easy to the ambitious
woman. Only a little effort to interest certain mencould anything be
And the gold which she had found after Moore's last call! When she
had sent him word he told her that he had its duplicate; to use the
money, since she had found it. The temptation was great. Arthur was
always complaining of unpaid accounts. She settled certain debts with a
light heart. He would never think to inquire about them.
So now she merely looked misunderstood as she continued: It is
nothing to us, of course, whether Mr. Burroughs is elected; butshe
hesitated, not knowing how best to proceedI'm sure a word from you
would have great influence with the members.
Latimer was dumfounded. Then he began to laugh.
You would make a first-class lobbyist! he said lightly. Have a
care! A word from you would be worth ten of mine. Then, more
seriously: Don't talk too much of this, Eva. It is going to be a bad
business before a senator is elected. Ugly rumors are heard already. I
know of He changed his words. Mr. Burroughs is not respected
among men of integrity. Not even among men of low standards. His wealth
is his only asset. Unscrupulous, defying investigation He pulled
himself up. Never before had he expressed so definite a judgment on the
But though he cautioned his wife, Latimer had no suspicion that it
might be necessary. She had lived purely on the surface, showing no
interest in anything but dress, society, herself. It did not occur to
him that ambition might render her something more than a butterfly. In
this respect Moore read the woman more accurately.
That week Helena was billed for Italian opera. The announcement of
Il Trovatore made Danvers' heart leap with desire to hear it once
more. He knew it was doubtful whether the company could sing, but it
could not be wholly bad.
When he first heard the opera, during a boyish holiday in London, it
was at the height of its popularity, and every evening of his vacation
found him enthralled in the boxes. The isolation of the frontier had
but made the old music more loved, and Philip decided to make up a box
party of his friends. Miss Blair had told him that she had never heard
it in its entirety. She should be the guest of honor. Judge and Mrs.
Latimer, Blair, the doctor from Fort Benton and O'Dwyer should complete
The opera has been given for the last twenty years, said Senator
Danvers to Miss Blair, as she expressed herself delighted to accept his
invitation. You could hardly get a corporal's guard to go across the
street to hear it in New York, I fancy; but it was the first opera I
ever heard, and I love the old airs.
The theater was filling fast as Danvers held the curtain aside for
his guests to enter the box. The distractions of the opposing forces at
the capitol were, for the time, dismissed, and he listened with
amusement to Miss Blair as he assisted to remove her light opera cloak.
I've never been in a theater box before, she confessed. It makes
one feel exclusive, doesn't it? And, oh, dear! dreadfully
self-conscious. Suppose I fall outover the railing? I'm sure I shall
bring disgrace upon us! She looked gaily at her host. Suppose I
should fall over? she repeated, her eyes wide with pretense.
Somebody would catch you, said matter-of-fact Eva.
If you think that you are growing dizzy from looking over that
fearful, two-foot precipice, said Danvers, adopting Winifred's tone,
I'm going to be the one to save you from a tragic death! I'll go
around now, and get ready to be a hero!
Don't! A lady in an opera box is worth two in the orchestra seats,
paraphrased Winifred, blithely. I will not fall out.
As Danvers pulled her chair a little further from the low rail,
Winifred noticed his face change.
What is it? she asked, in quick response.
Philip smiled a little sadly. 'My heart is on the ground,' he
answered, using an expressive Indian phrase. I cannot be light and
witty. I am cursed with seriousness.
Your friends like you just as you are. But in this frank avowal
the senator found no consolation.
Danvers' enjoyment of the familiar opera was augmented by the
appreciation shown on Winifred's earnest, mobile face. The company
proved to be exceptionally good, the voices above the average, the
acting intelligent and con amore. The passionate intensity of
the Italians soon enthused Miss Blair into forgetfulness of those
around her. While her brother and O'Dwyer sat stoically, the doctor
contentedly, and Mrs. Latimer indifferent in her secret musing, Arthur
and Philip followed, with her, the fortunes of Leonora. Not
until the curtain fell on act three did she readily join in the chatter
of her friends, and then only when Judge Latimer said to his wife: You
should have heard Phil sing 'Di quella pira' when we were at
Fort Macleod. He reached that high note quite as easily as this
Don't you believe him, Mrs. Latimer, besought Danvers. Make
allowance for his well-known partiality.
Certainly, responded Eva, trying to make her tone indifferent. She
never was quite sure of her voice when speaking directly to this man
who ignored the past.
Do you sing? Winifred turned with a quick motion which was
characteristic. Do you, Senator Danvers?
I do not.
But you did?
You bet he did! blurted out O'Dwyer, ever ready to recite the good
qualities of Danvers. Thereupon he told of the Christmas supper,
Colonel Macleod's request, and the duet. But they sang in English, so
a Christian could understandnot this Dago lingo, he concluded. The
Irishman's contempt for the soft Italian syllables was irresistible.
Oh, sighed Winifred, after the laugh had died away, I wish that I
could have been at Fort Macleod that Christmas night! she included
Judge Latimer in her friendly glance.
Mr. O'Dwyer did not tell you that he could sing! chortled Latimer.
But O'Dwyer begged to be spared, and after some good-natured raillery
the judge acquiesced.
Has that particular duet already been sung? Winifred's eyes shone
as she leaned toward her host. If it has I shall insist upon its being
You are so used to having people do as you ask that I believe you
would, volunteered Eva.
Of course I would. Everybody does as I wish.
Perhaps that is because you do not ask impossible things, put in
Senator Danvers. But to relieve your anxiety, and to prevent your
rising and asking for something that might be refused, I hasten to
assure you that the duet has not been sung. Mr. O'Dwyer forgot to say
that it was the Miserere that we tried to sing for dear old
Colonel Macleod. I'm afraid we did it pretty poorly.
From this the conversation drifted to other matters.
I don't see Mr. Burroughs, Senator Danvers, although your sister
and niece are in one of the opposite boxes, said Eva, sweeping the
house with her glasses. Nor Mr. Moore, nor Senator Hallalthough his
wife is here, she added.
Politics are more exciting than Italian opera, I fancy, said
The politicians are pretty busy, confirmed the judge.
Whom do you think I saw on the street to-day, Danvers? asked
Blair, suddenly. McDevitt! he announced, waiting for no speculations.
The men were surprised, for McDevitt, the missionary-trader, had
long since been forgotten.
He says that he lives in Montana now, somewhere near the Canadian
Just then a messenger boy brought a telegram for Danvers, who
excused himself to read and answer it. As he returned the opening bars
of Leonora's florid song sounded, and under cover of the music
the doctor whispered to O'Dwyer: You did better to-night in your
whole-souled praise than when your elbow was sprained at Fort Macleod.
This is the girl!
Betcher life she is! An' what's more, she's on! The Irishman
reverted to trooper slang in his ardor, and got a sharp nudge from the
doctor in consequence.
The beautiful melodies followed in swift succession. Miss Blair gave
a sigh of appreciation as the Miserere Ah che la mort
was sung, and unconsciously put out her hand. The sleeve of her soft
evening gown brushed Danvers' arm, and instantly his heart began to
sing. Not so had he been stirred by Eva's conscious touch, years
before. Eva had not struck the chord divinethis thrill revealed it.
I want to live, breathed Winifred, while there is such music and
such love in the world. I don't care if it is oldthe opera. Music and
love never grow old.
As the duet ended, Winifred and Philip, each in the thrall of the
divine song, looked deep into each other's eyes. Confused, startled,
the spell was broken, and Winifred turned again to the stage.
* * * * *
When the Latimers were alone in their apartments the judge remarked
on Danvers' generosity. I never knew a man who so delighted in giving
pleasure to other people. He sent tickets to a family of four to-night
because he heard me speak of their love for music; and they'll never
know their benefactor.
You're always ready to sing the praises of Senator Danvers! Mrs.
Latimer stifled a yawn. I really get tired of hearing his good
* * * * *
While Danvers and his friends were enjoying the opera Joseph Hall
sat in a hotel office in Helena, watching the crowd and grumbling at
the excitement and bustle of the politicians and hangers-on.
He was something of a power in the political affairs of the State,
but to-night the swarming activity of the candidates for the appointive
offices displeased him mightily. So did the well-organized methods of
one man who wanted to go to CongressRobert Burroughs. Hall did not
belong to the party in power, although he had been elected from his
county. As he saw Burroughs' friends hobnobbing with the country
legislators he shut his eyes, cursing all men impartially. Like a thorn
in the flesh the memory of Burroughs' trick and the resultant lawsuit
pricked his anger into poisonous hate. Outwardly he showed no enmity,
but revenge would be sweet. To be sure, he had won his suit and
recovered his share of the proceeds from the sale of the mine, but the
cause rankled, and had become a mania, not the less dangerous because
it was nursed secretly.
In the jostling, good-natured throng of senators, representatives,
boys who wanted to be pages, and girls who boldly or coyly tried to
interest unintroduced men in their clerical abilities, Joe Hall saw no
one with whom he cared to speak. Montana was not yet populous enough to
make its leading men unknown to each other, especially the old-timers.
As he rose to go he heard his name spoken, and turned to face a man
whom he could not for the moment place.
McDevitt! he finally exclaimed.
To command, was the fawning response. May I speak to you for a
Hall hesitated; he thought that the man would hardly be seeking an
office at the capital, and he motioned the Canadian to follow. They
passed into a small room reserved for semi-private conversations.
What shall it be? he asked as they took seats at a small table.
Lemonade. McDevitt had never drunk openly. Joe smiled grimly at
the call-boy's amazement. Lemonade was not often called for at that
hotel. Hall's own order was gin.
McDevitt was disconcerted. He had thought to receive a cordial
greeting, forgetting that Joseph Hall had left the North West Mounted
Police in disgrace, and might wish to ignore his past. He hesitated;
then, seeing that there were to be no questionings, he began
I've been living in Montana for some time. I run a little store.
Say, look here, his voice changed to anxiety as he breathed his
desire, I'm here looking for a job. I'm no lobbyist, but I want a
position at the capital.
Oh, you do?
Yes. I thought maybe you could give me a good word. I know you're a
leading light in Montana politics. I seen by the papers that you was
Oh, you did? Little encouragement could be gathered from the
noncommittal responses. Hall's restless, drumming fingers and lowered
gaze threw the suppliant out of countenance. McDevitt, in turn, grew
silent and drank the last of his mild refreshment. Hall looked up, with
Can you pray?
Now? gasped the startled ex-preacher.
Joe relaxed in spite of himself. Well, not just now. This is not a
church. The jingle of glasses in the adjoining bar corroborated his
statement. When were you in Macleod last? The question came suddenly,
with intent to surprise truth.
Oh, some little time ago, evaded McDevitt, deftly. Why tell that
he had been caught smuggling whiskey, and after serving his sentence
had left Canada?
Hall looked at him, thoughtfully, with a curious cunning in his
Then you don't happen to know where Bob Burroughs' squaw is?
Pine Coulee? Whyshe'sthat isperhaps I could find out? What do
you want to know for? The caution of a possible bargain appeared.
Hall did not answer immediately, but went back to McDevitt's
So you want a job? Why don't you go to Burroughs? He isn't in the
Legislature, but he seems to be promising 'most everything to 'most
everybody these days. Joe spoke bitterly, and light dawned on the not
over acute McDevitt.
H-m-m! Me asking Bob Burroughs for anything! I see myself!
Or him giving it! supplemented Hall, remembering the rivalry of
the traders. Again he did deliberate thinking. If he should place
McDevitt it would be a small but irritating way to annoy Burroughs. He
was not above seeking even infinitesimal means of stinging, and this
chance encounter might lead to something more to his set purpose. So he
went on: Get you a job, eh? Se-ve-ri-al others want sinecures. He
grew facetious as his thought took shape. I'm out of it this year,
Mac. Still, I think I've influence enough to help an old friend if
His look suggested an exchange of favors.
McDevitt was shrewd enough to wait. Joe mused an appreciable time,
beating his tattoo on the table. Yes, he finally said, they've got
to give the minority something, and I know one of the members who can
get what I want. He's owing me a little favorsee? I needn't figure in
the deal at all, and Burroughs will be mad as thunder. Again he
thrummed, decisively this time. If I get you on the pay-roll as
chaplain at five per (or whatever the legislators pay for prayers
which, if answered, would put 'em out of business), I'll expect you to
find Pine Coulee and Burroughs' half-breed brat. He must be a chunk of
a youngster now, if he's alive. And, impressively, after that I'll
expect you to keep your mouth shutsee?
Oh, the 'breed's alive, all right, threw out the ex-preacher in
the expansion of his soul at the thought of a comfortable per diem.
The hour I sign the pay-roll I'll tell yeh several surprisin' things.
I'd like to get even, too. And as for talking too much with my mouth, I
reckon selling whiskey in the Whoop Up Country after the Police came in
taught me the necessity of occasionally being a mute.
Chapter VII. Debauching a Legislature
The rumors of vote-buying before the Legislature convened were
forgotten in the facts of the days following. The first ballot for
United States senator, as provided for by the Federal statutes, was
cast in each branch of the Assembly separately on the second Tuesday
after organization; and it was, as usual, scattered by honoring
different men of State repute. The next day, and the next, the ballot
was taken in joint session. The first test of each candidate's strength
showed that Robert Burroughs had but thirty of the entire ninety-four.
Thereafter began a systematized demoralization of the men of all
parties who constituted the legislative assembly. Sumptuous
headquarters were maintained at the leading hotel by Mr. Burroughs, and
the Honorable William Moore, past master in chicanery and rascality,
extended a well-filled hand to all who entered the spider's parlor.
Burroughs was seldom in evidence. In fact, he was not often in the
My friends are working for me, he would explain, nonchalantly. I
have placed myself in their hands completely. It is not necessary for
me to trouble about the minor details. They have urged me to allow my
name to be used; but, really, it is immaterial to meI have other
interests to look after. Then, plaintively, I am far from well.
This last statement was a self-evident fact. Years of crafty
plotting had seamed Burroughs' face with lines that come from secret
connivingsan offer here, a lure there; a sword of Damocles held low;
an iron hand and a velvet gloveall these things made for age in heavy
retribution. He complained of the heat, of the cold; of his breathing
and of his digestion. A sense of suffocating fullness oppressed him as
he climbed the steep incline of the streets of the capital. Yet he
retained his pride in the English girl whom he had married, as he
avowed, to vent malice on her brother. His family affection was the one
redeeming sentiment of his life. When he was away from Butte not a day
passed that he did not communicate with his wife, either by post or
telegraph. He took pains that no newspapers speaking ill of him should
gain admittance to his housea superfluous task, since politics were
of no interest to his home-loving wife.
William Moore sometimes looked meditatively at his old friend as he
fumed over trifles. Invariably after such reflection he saw to it that
his own private exchequer was bettered from the flow of gold streaming
from the millionaire's store. It was well to be on the safe side,
thought the ex-wolfer, sagely. Yet on the whole his arduous work as
Burroughs' manager was conscientiously done. These men had worked
together too long for Moore not to feel a personal pride in his work of
debauching a Legislature.
Other candidates there were, too, who used illegal methods to obtain
votes. Not that no reputable man was a candidate; not that honest,
incorruptible men could not be found in the legislative halls of
Montana; but Moore's extravagance in behalf of his chief shattered all
precedents, defied integrity and exposure and eclipsed the good that
would not be submerged. In fact, his prodigality defeated its purpose;
when men found that they could get five thousand dollars for a vote as
easily as one thousand, they held their decision in abeyance until the
consideration was increased fourfold. This not once, nor twice; not by
one man, but by the indefinite many, until it was current talk that
certain men had received one, five, ten, even fifteen thousand dollars
for their votes. Why should legislators talk of their duty, or the
principle of the thing, when a lifetime of ordinary business methods
and dealings would bring but little more than might be obtained by
speaking a man's name in joint assembly? To listen to any group of men
discussing the political situation one unacquainted with the law would
never mistrust that bribery in legislatures was a state's prison
So wary did members become that Burroughs, possessing small faith in
the impeccability of his fellow men, grew peevish at the delay in
securing the requisite majority, while those who held Montana's best
interests at heart breasted the tidal wave of corruption with sinking
As in every contest of its kind, the full vote for Burroughs was not
cast at any joint assembly until Moore knew he had the number required
to elect. In this way no legislator was sure from day to day of the man
sitting beside him; some one known to be pledged to another candidate,
or professing himself under no obligations to any man, would
swaggeringly or shamefacedly, as the case might be, announce as his
name was called from the alphabetical list by the brazen-voiced reader
in front of the speaker's desk that his choice for a United States
senator was Robert Burroughs.
Days went by, with no decisive vote; there was less good-fellowship,
more caution; less talking, more secrecy; each member looking askance
at his neighbor, wondering if he was or would be bought. Lobbies and
halls of capitol, hotels, saloons and offices swarmed with men talking
O'Dwyer, member from Chouteau County, took to walking in the middle
of the streets to ward off Burroughs' emissariesgreatly to the
amusement of his friends, in days when amusement was seldom indulged in
by the small band of honest men in the Legislature. State Senator
Danvers grew more grave as time went on. The onus of his party's
opposition had fallen on him, for he was working for the governor's
election as United States senator as against Burroughs, also a
Republican. He felt more alone than at any time since he had lived in
the Northwest, for the doctor was back at Fort Benton, and Judge
Latimer away on professional matters.
Hall grew unctuous, and had many a sly wink with Chaplain McDevitt.
Senator Blair was moody, restless and irritable, except in the hours
which he spent with Mrs. Latimer. Winifred, in her anxiety, became a
stranger to sleep, but she made no complaint of her haunting fear. A
reserve, unnatural to her, became apparent.
With Eva Latimer it was different. She was intoxicated with the
excitement, and missed no noon hour when the senate marched in, two by
two, to the representatives' chamber for the daily balloting. With a
list of the members of both houses in hand, she sat watching the
proceedings and checking off each name on the roll-call. Her absorption
in the varying sum totals for Burroughs made her unconscious of the
glances in her direction; and Moore, secluded in his retreat, knew
nothing of her open interest in the capitol. Often Senator Blair was at
her side at the convening of the Legislature, or provided her a seat
near his own, and in the intervals of routine work they would chat in
low tones. She often cast furtive eyes at Danvers, eyes that revealed
so much that those who watched her smiled meaningly. But Danvers,
absorbed in his arduous duties, saw nothing personal in her
self-revealing glance; he resented only her carelessness in protecting
her absent husband's interests.
The contest was not without its amusing features. A nervous
representative shied violently at a piece of writing paper one night
which had been left on his floor by a careless chambermaid; for the
member rooming next him had the night before opened his innocent eyes
on a thousand-dollar bill miraculously floating through the transom. If
bills of such denomination materialized as cleverly as roses at a
medium's seance, what might not develop at any moment? It was
disquieting! Beds were feverishly ripped open instead of being slept
in; mattresses were overhauled and pillows uncased; chiffoniers were
turned upside down in hope that bills were tacked on the bottom;
envelopes in unfamiliar handwriting were opened cautiously, with no
witnesses; papers were signed making one legislator an Indian agent,
another a doctor in a coal camp, another a lawyer in a large
corporationall positions contingent on Burroughs' election. The list
of pledged men grew, yet still Moore's outlay did not buy the United
States senatorship for Robert Burroughs.
Yes, the whole number of ninety-four, confided Moore, patiently,
as Burroughs asked for the hundredth time how many members were in the
Assembly. They were sitting before a large desk in the inner room of
Burroughs' suite, and the Assembly had been in session nearly six
I surely have forty-five of 'em now? anxiously.
That's the way I've got it figured, soothingly.
Good men? Men who would vote for me anyway? Burroughs had lately
developed an exasperating desire to believe that some man was his
friend with no thought of reward. Mr. Moore, knowing the aspirant's
record and reputation, thought that this portended senility.
YesI suppose so. Thirty of 'em, anyway.
And the others?
Oh, so-so, indifferently. What did it matter?
How many are there who can't be approached?
It's pretty hard to tell who can and who can't, parried Moore,
cautiously, and lighted a cigar. I fancy the lantern business would
experience a gigantic boom if one went hunting for an honest man in
In Montana, supplemented Burroughs, smiling at his pleasantry.
In Montana, acquiesced the arch-briber, suavely.
How many more must I get? This was a question that any child could
answer, but Burroughs had a nervous desire to talk which irritated his
companion almost beyond endurance. The day had been a trying one, and
Burroughs asked for repetitions of statements and figures unceasingly.
Three or four, to make certain, answered Moore, with what urbanity
he could command at the moment.
How much have you paid out already? The change in subject was not
so unexpected as might appear. Like most millionaires, the magnate kept
closer account of his expenditures than many a working man.
I haven't the exact figures. Men often come in and ask for money to
grease their gabbers with, and I give it to them without making a note
of the item.
I wouldn't believe you under oathunless I chose, Burroughs said,
Moore shrugged his shoulders. It was all a matter of a day's
Seems to me we've got a lot of bribe-brokers who are earning easy
money, continued the candidate for Congress.
That's no dream. But the saloons must be worked, and the men who
are talking for you all the time seem to think it is worth cash money
right along. They've cultivated the politician's faculty of making
Oh, well, that's all right. I'll go to Congress if it costs meno
one knows what it costs to buy a Legislature, but I'm going to find out
this winter. Burroughs looked thoughtfully at a slip of paper on the
desk, then raised his eyes.
Haven't got O'Dwyer, I see.
What do you think he'll do?
I'm no mind reader.
Can't get Danvers?
What are you thinking of? Of course we can't get him. He's the head
of the opposition. We won't even try. I've had one experience with him
in that Hall case. That's enough for me, and, defiantly, I rather
admire him. Burroughs lifted his eyebrows. Besides
How about Joe Hall? Burroughs interrupted.
Joe will be in this evening. First time I've been able to get him
to promise to come here. He's sore yet, Bob.
That's all right. Better be liberal with him. I always liked Joe
well enough. But he's sold out so often in politics that he's a little
risky, after all. Weren't you out with him last night?
Moore laughed admiringly. So Burroughs knew of a drive to a
roadhouse and a convivial night. His chief kept an omniscient eye on
everybody with whom he was dealing.
Well, yes. I thought that I'd jolly him up a little without any
hint of trying to get his vote. I had half a mind to commit suicide
this morning, but my head was so sore that I hated to shoot a hole in
Burroughs grinned. Joe's always telling of what he's done.
According to his talk he's developed the State from cattle to
copperfrom sheep to sapphires. A man who's always telling what he's
done isn't doing very much now. I'll bet he'll be the easiest in the
bunch if you tackle him right.
Don't be too sure. A man that's been everything from a Populist to
a justice of the peace is likely to be hard to convince. Queer how
McDevitt turned up this winter, Moore went on, after a drink.
Chaplain of the House, too!
I don't much like that!
Oh, we must throw something overboard to the sharks, said Moore,
carelessly. A member asked me to see that McDevitt got the job, and I
thought it an easy way to get the membersee? Quite a number of the
old Whoop Up crowd here this winter.
Yes. Got Blair yet?
No. He'll be the toughest nut of all. He's hard up, but he's a
pretty decent sort of man these days, and his sister has considerable
influence over him. Besides, he feels in duty bound to stick to
Danversthe old story of Danvers saving his sister's life, you know.
I suppose so, admitted Burroughs. Get a woman after him.
I have. Mrs. Latimer is interesting him in your behalf. But the
idiot has lost his head over her, instead of taking her advice and
voting for you.
He's a fool! snarled Burroughs, remembering Eva's dismissal of
himself. I thought the time would come when she'd be anxious to get my
helpin some way! But get Blairget him! he repeated. He'll do to
take along as a political exhibit. I've never forgiven him for
squealing in the matter of that whiskey in the Whoop Up Country. Fix it
so his change of face will smirch Eva Latimer. That'll hurt her
virtuous and law-upholding husband more than anything I can do to get
even with that decision in re Hall. Offer himanything in
reason. He's probably banking on a big haul. Give it to him, and I'll
see that his sister knows that he was bought like a steer in open
market. Her scorn will be like hell for him. I can see that Danvers is
gone on her. She'll send him flying if her brother gets bitmark my
words. Or, rather, Danvers would hardly want to marry herthe sister
of a bribe-taker!
I hate to touch Charlie, or to offer him more than any of the
others, objected Moore. I'll try to get you elected without him. I
will if I can, and in the meantime I don't give a hang if Mrs.
Latimer's reputation is scorched.
I know why you don't want to touch Blair. That sister of his is
what you're after. Look out for Danvers if you undertake to stick your
brand on her! But my interests must come firstremember. And as
for Eva Bill let no smile indicate his mental amusement.
Mr. Burroughs had not been gone long before Senator Hall looked into
the hospitably open door of the outer room.
You here, Bill?
Yes. Walk right in. Moore stepped forward and stood aside for Hall
to precede him to the inner room, closing and locking the door. We'll
not be interrupted here. I've been wanting to see you for six
weeksnever made it until last night.
After a little talk of the weather and of the political outlook,
Moore thought best to approach his subject boldly.
How are you feeling towards Burroughs, Joe?
Just like a kittena soft, purry kitten. Hall was heartily
metaphorical, as he opened his pocket knife mechanically. If you want
to feel my claws, just ask me to vote for that damn thief! You'll think
that I live in four different atmospheres. You and Bob Burroughs may be
able to buy the rest of the Legislature, but you can't buy meso don't
ask my price! Senator Hall had thought long on what he should say when
solicited by the Honorable William, and he had his bluster volubly
perfect. Any man but Burroughs may go to Congress, but he never
shall! He continued to pare his nails.
Moore was not at all deceived. He had heard men talk before, and he
detected the false ring of Hall's words. Herein Joe miscalculated. He
thought to deceive a man steeped in conspiracy and deceit.
Nevertheless, Moore was politic, and made no haste.
Why not forget bygones, Joe? You would have done the same thing
yourself in your deal with Burroughs if you had had the first chance at
Would I? snorted Hall.
Isn't there any inducement that we can offer you to support
None whatever. My constituents would hang me in effigy if I voted
for him. I was on the stump last fall and went on record.
Your constituents! The voters! What are they? Cattle driven into a
chute! They don't know the true inwardness of State politics. There
aren't six men who do.
Politics must be purified, Hall announced, solemnly.
That's so, acquiesced Moore. Every politician I know, nearly, is
so desirous of being purified that he steps right up here, as though
this was the disinfecting vat! Our legislators seem to think that
Burroughs is the Chief Purifier, and that I am the one who cares for
the shorn lambs!
Well, I can't change now.
You're mighty conscientious. If you had been as much so at Fort
Macleod you probably wouldn't have been run out of the police for
I'm as conscientious as most office-holders, Hall interrupted.
Something in the twist given the words inspired Moore with renewed
courage to press his point. After he had talked earnestly for several
moments, his guest interrupted: Where is Bob to-night? You said last
night that he would be here.
He's instructing the conscientious legislator.
Hall laughed, and it was not long before he allowed himself to say:
Of course, if there's any money going, I want to get my share. I'd
do as much for Burroughs' money as anybody.
After a guarantee of good faith had passed from a safe to his pocket
he left. What do I care whether Bob Burroughs goes to Congress or goes
to hell? he muttered delightedly, as he felt the roll of bills in his
pocket. I've got a pricker coming that will sting his rhinoceros hide!
This money ain't half what's coming to me from that mining deal; take
it all in all, I'll even up with him before the session closes. Just
you wait, Joe, he apostrophized, as he entered the elevator; just you
wait until the time comes!
Chapter VIII. Danvers' Discouragement
Good evening, Senator! Danvers was waiting at the elevator door as
Hall stepped through it on the ground floor.
Good evening, Senator, returned Joe, thinking how little Danvers
had changed in appearance since he first came to Fort Benton.
The Senator from Chouteau County took the lift to the third floor.
He went to the doctor's room, for he knew that his old friend from Fort
Benton, who had but just come to the capital, would be waiting for the
evening call and friendly smoke on the first day of his arrival.
To-night the younger man was unusually silent, and after the first
greetings nearly an hour passed before a word was spoken. But the
doctor felt the silencepregnant with the heart-ache of his friend,
and at last he spoke.
How goes it, Phil?
Pretty heavy luggage.
He'll get it? No need to be more specific.
I'm afraid so, soberly. I never dreamed it could be possible to
mow down an Assembly as Burroughs is doing.
He would sell his soul for the senatorship, affirmed the doctor,
and yet he pretends that he doesn't want the office. He would have
people think that he is in mortal fear of being politically ravished,
and all the while he, and every man that he can control, are actively
engaged in promoting a campaign of ravishment.
And Bill Moore is his chief procurer, added Danvers.
But the whole Legislature can't be bought.
You include yourself there, Phil, smiled the doctor. But I know
what you mean. It's damnable! The believer in mankind felt the
foundations of the State totter.
I did not mean to be quite so bitter, but I am sick of the lack of
principle that I find in the men sent to Helena. Burroughs has a long
string of men who are now scattering their votes, on the pretext that
our Republican caucuses do not pledge them clearly to any one
candidate. This split in the party is bad for Burroughs, of course, and
he is not only trying to get my men away from the Governor, but is
angling for members of the Democratic party. After a moment he smiled.
Of course we are sure of O'Dwyer! He then named several others who
could be depended upon not to enter Burroughs' camp, either by reason
of their own integrity or the pledges they had given to other
candidates. So many in the field scatters the vote, he continued,
and that gives us a chance to work.
How about Hall? asked the doctor.
Senator Hall seems safe. He is one enemy whom Bob cannot buy. I
never saw a man hold the idea of revenge as Hall does.
If Joe Hall doesn't vote for Burroughs it is the first time that he
ever resisted easy money, quoth the doctor. However, hate will make
even money seem of small account. But Hall will do some dirty trick,
one of these days, to get even on that mining deal. Those two are a
good pair to draw to.
As politics now are it would not be hard to find three of a kind,
The old man took up the evening paper, containing the list of the
legislators and their city addresses. He checked off the names as he
read, and presently looked up.
As far as we can tell Burroughs is shy several votes for a
Looks that way.
We don't know who Moore's holding backworse luck! But we do know
who are solid against Burroughs. By the way, what's Charlie Blair up
Politically or personally?
I think one means the other these days, according to all I hear.
Possibly. After a moment Danvers added: Blair has promised me on
his honor not to vote for Burroughs. I do not think that he will
deliberately go back on his word. As forI can't speak of it, doctor!
Eva's not a bad womanshe's only an ambitious fool, asserted the
doctor, touching one of the sore spots in Danvers' aching heart. I can
overlook a woman's folly if it is the result of an overwhelming
passionsome women are as intense as men. But to play with firewhile
she is as cold as iceas calculating as a machine The speaker
made a gesture of disgust. Be sure that she is promised something she
thinks worth her while, by Bob or by Moore, for her sudden interest in
politics andCharlie Blair. She is a good catspaw. I thought she was
making eyes at Charlie at the opera, but I couldn't believe my own. She
and Moore are working the members of this Legislature by concerted
action, or I am very much mistaken.
You haven't heard any open talk of Mrs. LatimerArthur wouldI
should fear for his reasonfor his lifeif scandal
Well, I can't say there hasn't been any, compromised the doctor.
But there'll be more if she doesn't turn Blair down pretty quick. He's
drinking, too; something he hasn't done since his sister came back from
school to live with him. He could always stand liquor in abnormal
quantities; but he can't standabruptly he blurted it outfirst Eva
knows there will be hell to payand I doubt if her credit is good.
She doesn't care for him, then?
Nah! The negative was drawn out contemptuously. All she wants of
Charlie is his vote for Burroughs. She never loved but one man in her
life. A glance went to the senator, but he did not apply the words.
Poor Winifred! sighed the young man. The doctor caught the
Winifred's a plucky woman. I'll wager she knows practically every
move being made in all this rotten businessall, the old man added
significantly. Yet you would never mistrust it to see her. It is well
to put on the cheerful face and tone, yet when in trouble is it best?
It is deceiving to one's best friends, robbing them of the opportunity
to extend sympathy. Winifred Blair is worrying over Charlie, yet she
keeps her troubles to herself and cheats her friends of a just
I wish, began Danvers, then closed his lips. No one should see his
I wish she would give you the right to protect her, said the
doctor, heartily. What has come between you two? I had thought
I do not know, acknowledged the disconsolate lover. She was
friendly. We've seen each other quite a good deal. I thought she was
one to understand. I cannot talk as most men doI am aware of my
His eyes were more eloquent than words, as he paused. And now she
hardly speaks to memakes some trivial excuse to leave me with Charlie
when I call; or if he is not there she pleads an engagement. You have
noticed how Moore has been paying her marked attention? It is for her
When Danvers began again it was of another phase of his trouble.
Miss Blair has doubtless heard of my financial loss, caused by that
early snowstorm and later rain, which crusted the snow until my cattle
were almost wiped out. My foreman wired me the night of the opera, you
remember. Those that were not frozen were starved to death. My
political life here in Helena is costing me a fortune.
Danvers rose and paced the floor. It gives me the jigs, even to
think of those cattle, he burst out. Not the financial loss, you
understand, but the suffering of dumb animals!
You did all you could, Phil.
Yes. But what with a three years' drouth and no hay in the country,
and the railroads blocked so that no feed could be shipped in, even if
we could have gotten to the cattle on the rangeoh, well The
cattleman dropped to his chair with a sigh of helplessness.
The doctor took a new turn.
I have known you for fifteen years or more, my boy, and I never
knew you to be jealous before, much less unjust.
Iunjust! Danvers was startled. Never before had he faced such
Yes, you. You should know Winifred Blair better than to think such
thoughts as you are harboring.
My experience with women has been unfortunate, probably; I do not
pretend to understand themthey are too complex for me.
Tut, tut! The gentle friend tried to turn the tide. Not Winnie.
She is a woman to trust.
But how can she have anything to do with Bill Moore? That is what I
can't get over.
You shouldn't speak so of Moore. It shows a spirit I'm sorry to see
you cultivate. Go in and win. You have probably told Winifred something
of your standards of public morality and the sacredness of the ballot,
and she fears that Charlie will disgrace both himself and her. She
perhaps fears your disgust if
She is mistaken if she thinks so poorly of me. Her brother's
conduct could never change my feeling for her; rather, pity would come
to plead for love. Do you think she does care for me?
Do I? You had better ask hernot go tilting at political windmills
when more important matters should be
If Charlie's foolishness is the only thing in my way, I'll force
him to be a man if I have to gag him in joint assembly! cried the
What transformations love will work! sighed the matchmaker after
he had bidden the light-hearted Danvers good-night. Standing
practically alone against the might of Burroughs' millionsholding his
scant forces by sheer force of character, yet downed by the mistaken
attitude of a mere slip of a girl!
Chapter IX. A Frontier Knock
The next afternoon Winifred lay back in a low chair before a leaping
wood fire. She wanted to think, to puzzle out all that was taking place
around her. She recognized, yet refused to accept the verdict of her
common sense. She was no unsophisticated school girl; she was a woman
of the world. The social and political atmosphere in which she moved
seemed charged with dynamic possibilities. Her closed eyes suddenly
brimmed with tears. Winifred let them fall unheeded, feeling miserable
consolation in her self-pity, as women will.
Apart from the senatorial contest lay her personal interest in the
game being played by the scheming Burroughs, the unscrupulous Moore and
the ambitious Eva, on the one side, and her brother on the other. What
chance had Charlie against such a combination? Robert Burroughs had
judged truly; Blair's degradation would hurt Winifred inexpressibly. He
had chuckled as he had watched the growing attachment between his
brother-in-law and the girl, and thought of his vow. He realized that
here was a way to bring vicarious suffering upon the man whose
distinction had first roused his envy and whose rectitude had won his
As Winifred groped in the tangle of State and private intrigues that
enmeshed her, the fire burned low and the snapping of an occasional
spark checked and soothed until her mind slipped into more peaceful
channels. She looked about the quiet room. The firelight threw her face
into relief and accentuated the faint lines of pain that had come
during the last few weeks; a pensive touch had been added to a
countenance that combined loveliness with strength. The yellow
puff-ball in the gilded cage by the window stirred drowsily, with a
faint, comforting chirp. The white and gold of blossoming narcissi,
rising from their sheaths of green, gleamed purely from a tabouret, and
their incense filled the room.
Presently she took up events of recent occurrence with clearer mind.
She had probably exaggerated the seeming coherence of disconnected
happenings. She longed to think so. Eva took great interest in the
senatorial contest. Should that be an indictment? She craved
excitementexpected to hold the stage in any episode; her position as
the wife of an eminent jurist gave her a certain prestige in the
political arena where pretty women were not unwelcome. The power they
wielded, whether consciously or not, was almost unlimitedWinifred had
seen enough of the average legislator to appreciate that fact.
In thinking it over, Winifred admitted that Mrs. Latimer had known
for many years Mr. Burroughs, Mr. Moore, Mr. Danvers and her brother
Charliefour of the men who were playing their part in the drama fast
drawing to its climax. What cause for apprehension in this? Ever since
the Latimers' marriage their home had been a rendezvous for the
politicians of the Stateat least, of Arthur's party. Surely Mrs.
Latimer could receive the same guests, even if the judge was awayeven
if some among her satellites were men whose reputations excluded them
from all but the very smartest set. If she talked politics she did so
in the pursuit of her affirmed desire to learn of politics at first
hand. It could not be that she would descend to the plane of a
lobbyist! But what would Judge Latimer think of this surprising fervor?
He would not care to express himself as opposed to Burroughs. Did not
Eva care for her husband's opinionsfor his reputation? Winifred did
not feel called upon to judge her friend; she was only trying to
account for the circumstantial evidence accumulating against Eva.
When the girl turned her thoughts to her brother, she was sucked
into a whirling maelstrom. The doctor's opinion of her had been
correct. She knew her brother and his fluctuating fortunes as only a
sister of infinite love and infinite tact could know. But she never had
dreamed that he could be enmeshed by the wiles of the wife of his
friend. The crux of the whole matter lay in the possibility of saving
him, not only from Eva's hypnotic charm, but from the less intricate
and more thinly concealed machinations of Mr. Moore. Winifred felt her
first smart of anger revive toward Mrs. Latimer as she recalled how
ingenuously Charlie had been led to the juggernaut of Burroughs'
It was horriblehorrible! Afresh came the intolerable loathing of
it allthis overshadowing political machine, that could scatter ruin
in its wake even if it did not obtain control.
Winifred knew that Danvers was studying every move and checkmating
where he could. She felt that if possible he would prevent this crime
of buying a United States senatorship. He would protect Charlie.
Through the doctor she learned how strong a bulwark of the State the
senator from Chouteau County was proving to be. She gloried in these
recitals, and longed to confide in her old friend, but always the
woman's reticence withheld her.
Presently a tap came at the door, and Mrs. Latimer appeared on
Winifred's invitation to enter.
How fortunate, she said, that you came to the hotel for the
winter! It's not only more convenient for you and Charlie, but for me.
Would you sit by baby for a half hour, Winnie, dear? she entreated.
The nurse is out, and I must run downtown before six.
Yes, indeed! I'd love to.
They passed into the Latimers' apartments, and when Eva finally
left, Winifred sat down beside the crib where the child slept. Heavy
portieres hung behind her, evidently covering the double doors leading
into other rooms beyond. In the stillness she heard a voice.
I tell you I don't want any paltry thousand dollars! I know of
three men who've got five thousand. You promised The rest was
indistinct. A soothing voice followed that Winifred recognized; then:
I don't care a damn if everybody can hear. I want what you promised if
I vote for The speaker must have walked from the dividing wall,
for the girl heard no more. After a time an almost inaudible scratch,
scratch came from behind the draperies. Winifred rose in dismay,
throwing down the book she was reading. Who was seeking entrance
through this private door? It was evidently a preconcerted signal, for
it came again, impatiently; then cautious footsteps retreated. Winifred
choked the shudder that swept over her. Mr. Burroughs' headquarters
took all the rooms on that side of the hall except those occupied by
Judge Latimer and his family. She had heard the unmistakable voice of
Mr. Moore. Had he used that frontier knocka scratch on the door as he
might scratch on the flap of a tent?
In a frenzy the girl walked through the suite.
I will not believeI will not! she said to herself. I do not
understand; but it is all rightI'm sure it is. I'll stand by Evashe
shall not be talked aboutshall not do foolish things. Oh, this
contest! And poor Judge Latimer! Her thoughts raced on. How much
worse if someone else had heard that signal! But it meant nothingof
course, it meant nothing!
She smiled, with a conscious effort, when Mrs. Latimer returned,
with apologies for delay; and resolved again not to abandon Eva to the
innuendos that were already circulating.
Shall we go down to dinner together, Eva? she asked, gently. I'm
alone to-night; Charlie is dining at the club.
Thank you, dear. I believe I'll have my dinner sent up. Thank you
After her lonely meal Winifred remembered her unfinished book, and
thought to get it as she stepped from the elevator. She knocked lightly
at Mrs. Latimer's door. She heard a faint rustle inside, then all was
still. Again she gave a soft, playful battering of open palms on the
panels; then she fled to her own apartments, and flung herself face
downward on the pillowed couch, weeping as though her heart would
Chapter X. Wheels within Wheels
On the other side of the closed door stood Eva Latimer, lips parted,
hands clasped on her breast in terror.
The Honorable William Moore came from between the portieres over the
door which he had used for entrance from Burroughs' apartments into the
That's just like a woman! he grumbled, as he returned to the
Morris chair. Fly to open a door!
But I didn't open it!
No, but you meant to, severely.
I was frightened, pleaded Eva.
No, you were not, contradicted Moore. You wanted to get that door
open. It wasn't necessary that it be opened at once. You should have
given me time to get out of here into those rooms that Burroughs
reserved for just such emergencies. It would never do for me to be
found here. But, no! That door must be opened! I've noticed that trait
in other women. They don't reason; they don't think. But they must have
a door opened the moment there is a knock.
It might have been Winnie. After you told me that you gave our
signalthat you wanted to go over this list before dinnerI've been
sick with fear that she heard your scratch. But evidently she didn't,
for she asked no questions when I returned. I don't want her to suspect
anything. I never wanted you to come through those connecting doors,
anyway. Why not come openly, as everyone else does?
I tell you it would never do! angrily. Miss Blair had better
suspectthan know, grimly. What people don't see they can't prove.
It might have been Arthur, still seeking justification.
Well, it wasn't, replied the political manager, coolly. Besides,
he has a latch-key, and we should have heard its click. Now, let's get
to work. I've got a dinner engagement with Charlie Blair to-night at
eight-thirty. Here's the list. Let's check up.
The Honorable was very methodical, very systematic. He called off
senators and representatives in alphabetical order, and checked or drew
a line through their names as Eva told of her efforts in Burroughs'
How do you do it? asked the man with admiration, as she reported
that one particularly obdurate senator, too rich to be influenced by
money, had promised his vote.
I told him frankly that it was a personal affair, admitted the
fair lobbyist. He knows women well enough to understand why I have
never been satisfied to live in this little hill city
And he thought it his duty to see that your brilliancy lighted
wider domainsI see. Moore finished the sentence to suit himself.
He was very nice about it, returned Eva, haughtily. He thinks
that Arthur should have some recognition from the government for all
that he has done for the party; and he added that Arthur was too big a
legal light to be eclipsed by the shadow of Mount Helena. She paused,
evidently hesitating to speak further. Can't you get the others on the
list yourself? I'm getting tired of She was shaken by the
unexpected knock; suddenly, but too late, she was afraid of what her
husband would thinkwould say. Her aspirations seemed of small account
after that tap that could not be answered.
Get Charlie Blair's promise, and we'll be satisfied, said Moore,
not unkindly. You have done very well.
Will Mr. Burroughs keep his promise? He knows that I Eva could
not speak to Moore of her fear of the man whose money she would accept.
Burroughs is all right. Words don't count, these days; it's money
that turns the trick.
But I want more than money. I want that place for Arthur.
My dear lady, urbane William rose and bowed. If Robert Burroughs
is elected to the United States Senate, the judge shall be Minister to
Berlin. It is practically arranged already. Bob's a big man in his
party. What he asks for he'll get, never you fear. That isin
I'm glad to be assured. Mrs. Latimer intimated by a look that the
interview was over, and rose. But Moore did not choose to go.
When do you think that you can get Senator Blair? Heaven knows
you've spent more time on him than on all the rest put together.
I begin to wish that I had never seen Charlie Blair, petulantly.
Oh-h! It's that way, eh? He's getting a littlea lit
Don't you dare! flashed Mrs. Latimer. You promised to ask no
Pardon me. I said I didn't care what means you used, corrected
Moore, with delicate emphasis. He added, reflectively: Blair has
always been something of a recluse; but I've noticed that when a
Puritan once feels a little of the warmth of the devil's presence that
he's rather loath to step out into the cold again. The look of anger
from Mrs. Latimer made him change both tone and words. We have
depended on you to get Charlie, he said, reproachfully. I never
wanted to tackle him. You know how it is? I've never had but one
Yes. She was here this afternoon when you signaled, interrupted
Eva, glad to repay him in ever so little for his insult. What a pity
that you could not have known it. You might have come in.
Thank God I didn't!
Winifred is too good for you. Senator Danvers is the sort she will
Not relishing the information, Moore turned to go. But he had one
more sting. It'll be pretty hard for you to see Danvers married, won't
it? Then, satisfied to see the quick flush on Eva's cheeks, he added
casually: I'll talk with Blair to-night. You needn't bother with him
further. He knew how to frighten the woman. It was understood that she
must follow instructions or receive no pay.
Give me one more chance, begged Eva, trembling.
As Mr. Moore walked briskly toward the club where he was to have
dinner with Blair he thought of all that underlay this winter's work,
and it seemed but a continuance of the days of fur and whiskey
smuggling in the Whoop Up Country. It was a series of wheels within
wheelsthis work of electing a man to Congress; and the man's soul
reveled in the intrigue of it. He was quite content to be the one to
superintend their revolutions and to watch the havoc which they might
cause. Burroughs' vaulting ambition was the greatest need of all, but
revolving around it were the triple, lesser desires of the ex-trader;
of wreaking vengeance on Judge Latimer through his wife's folly; of
causing Charlie Blair's downfall, to repay the old grudge of the
Queen's evidence; and of wounding the hated Danvers through his
friends, as well as separating him from Winifred.
And now but one vote was needed to give Burroughs his heart's
desire. Moore had not told Eva this. But if Charlie could be secured
to-night, to-morrow or the next day he would give the signal, and the
men, bought but not yet delivered, would vote for Burroughsand the
battle be won! Oh, it was glorious! Bob was lucky. How often he
had said it of himself. Yet sudden fear came. A certain Corsican had
thought that he was the darling of the gods, and confused his luck with
destiny. Had Burroughs made the same mistake? Certainly not. Moore's
habitual confidence returned manifold. The opposition was divided among
too many men to amount to anything more than to keep Burroughs in
uncertainty, and no stretching of his imagination could conceive any
one man fusing their warring elements. Moore already saw his winter's
work crowned with success.
Blair was waiting on the club steps for his host, and the dinner was
ready. They were unusually silent until the black coffee and the cigars
were brought. Then Moore leaned forward to reach the cognac for his
coffee and asked:
How much does it cost you a year to live, Charlie? Expenses run
The questions were unexpected. Blair knew the motive of his host in
giving a dinner, for Moore seldom entertained without an underlying
reason. Certainly he never spent his own or Burroughs' money without
expecting fair returns. But Charlie had thought the attack would be
more direct. Therefore he answered lightly:
I might reply as a colored man did who was asked how little he
could live on. 'I live and work on three cents' worth of peanuts a day,
but I'm a little hungry sometimes.'
Mr. Moore smiled perfunctorily. He had no sense of humor.
What have you been doing all summer?
Prospecting is like trying to raise money without security. Neither
Precious little you know about either, retorted Blair.
You're a poor man, said Moore, abruptly. The announcement struck
the senator as superfluous. He nodded.
I am familiar with the fact.
The Honorable William resolved to strike. He had never thought to
speak to Charlie, but if Mrs. Latimer could not bring him to the point
he would have to do it himself. One more member must be secured, and
Blair was the only possible man. The other legislators who had not
already succumbed seemed impregnable.
Moore became impatient as he remembered how easy it had seemed at
first to secure enough votes to elect his chief.
Charlie, he began, clearing his throat, we want you in this fight
we are making, and we want you hard. We are going to win. We are going
to get the votes; if we don't get them one way, we're going to get them
So I've understood.
The host felt on unstable ground at the noncommittal answer, but he
boldly pushed ahead. No time to fear quicksandsthe end of the session
was too near! He dwelt on the good that Burroughs could do the State if
he went to Congress, and finally repeated:
Bob's going to be elected. He's gaining votes every day. But we
need to get the thing over with, andit will be to your financial
interest to work with us. Moore played nervously with his teaspoon.
Senator Blair watched his smoke rings fade, and made no response.
Both men were silent for a time. Moore occupied himself by placing,
with infinite exactness, three cubes of sugar on his spoon and pouring
brandy over them. When the liquor was fired the blue flame lighted his
face weirdly. So might Mephistopheles have looked when tempting
Faust. He was thinking that Blair had always been a failure, and
always would beslow, methodical, too dull to see his best interests.
He was a plodder, content with moderate means, when infinite
opportunities in Montana waited a man's graspif he was sharp enough.
But silent Charlie was thinking that his opportunity had come.
During the past weeks he had observed, with his usual calm, the trend
of events. He had been inclined to promise Mrs. Latimer the boon she
asked, for he would be glad to promote Judge Latimer's advancement
(remembering the fine that Latimer had paid at Fort Macleod), even if
in doing so he should aid the man he hated for stealing his squaw. But
Charlie was beginning to forget the judge's kindness in his passion for
the judge's wife. He realized that as soon as he cast his vote for
Burroughs all the advances and marks of favor which stamp a lobbyist of
the sex without a franchise would be a thing of the pastan episode to
be forgotten. He had quite lost sight of the commandment, Thou shalt
not covet thy neighbor's wife. Instead, he was dreaming over the fact
of a possible possession.
Knowing too well the paucity of his bank account, he was tempted to
play both sidesto make a big strike with Moore, and to press his
half-repulsed, half-accepted passion until Eva Latimer should consent
to his plans for the future. To sum the matter up: He meant to get more
than anyone else from this business of electing a United States
senator. Never mind Winifred. The lure of inviting eyes had so
completely ensnared him that during these days of intrigue he had
almost forgotten the existence of his sister in the alternate
intoxication of Eva's companionship and the less dangerous one of
The host grew impatient as his guest made no effort to reopen the
conversation. He drank his coffee with a jerk and drew an envelope from
his pocket. It was stuffed with bills, and a torn corner showed the
figures 1000. Moore pulled it out and threw it across the table.
There! That's what Burroughs and I do business with, he exclaimed.
'Tisn't so heavy as gold, nor as pretty; but it's a pretty good
substitute. It's not intended to influence your vote, he hastened to
add, as he noted the senator's expression; it just shows you that my
feelings are agreeable toward youand that pretty sister of yours.
Leave my sister out of it, please, commanded Blair, with dignity.
I can't use a thousand-dollar bank note. I'm not in the habit of
flashing bills of that denomination.
You will be if you tie to us, suggested the tempter.
Thousand-dollar bills will be as common in Helena in a few days as
nickels in a contribution box. I'm about out of 'em myself, but the old
man's bringing in a stack to-night. They come in right handy for
I suppose so, assented Blair, pocketing the money with a fine air
of preoccupation that made the Honorable William smile the smile of the
canary-nourished cat. If there's any money going I'd like to get my
share of it, of course, if it could be done without my sister knowing
it. But I'll not vote for Burroughs until the last one. Perhaps then
I'll see about changing if you are sure that you have a majority.
Moore rapidly ran over a list of names. Will that satisfy you? he
demanded. You see, I trust you. Every man I have named will vote for
Burroughs whenever I say so. I may never call on them allI won't
unless I have to. Butthe pause was purposely impressivethey are
to have their money whether they are called upon or not, and so will
you, provided that Burroughs is elected.
You'll never make me believe that Joe Hall can be boughtnot until
I hear him give his vote for Robert Burroughs. I notice you have him
listed. He hates Bob more than I do, and that's saying a good deal.
He was the easiest one of the whole bunch. He was the cheapest, and
he's afraid he won't earn his money.
Does Burroughs sanction all this? Senator Blair was amazed, not so
much at the men bought as at the sum total that must have been
expended. Why was Burroughs so anxious to go to Congress? He did not
need the money that was popularly supposed to accrue to senators in
Washington from land grants, timber lands and other large steals; he
had millions already.
Well, he's putting up the dough, but I don't trouble him with all
the minor details, admitted Moore.
Bob's not the only one who's offering good money for votes, said
Who has approached you?
That's like asking who yelled fire at a theater. There are some
seven candidates, and a thousand workersI can't name them all.
We expect to pay every member who votes for Burroughsof his own
party or not. The man who votes for him without being paid is a fool.
Might as well have a red flag of auction placed on the speaker's
desk. Senator Blair was inclined to moralize.
Money is a legitimate source of influence in a Legislature. Moore
was on the defensive.
I judge that you think so, if no one else. But, see here! I can't
vote for Burroughs, any way I see it! (Moore thought of his vanished
thousand-dollar bill!) I've promised Danvers to vote for the Governor.
My friendship for Philyou know he saved my sister's life
Friendship be damned! What difference does it make when you can get
cash and get it easy? Say! Moore leaned forward in his earnestness.
If you've been approached before, let me get my work in. He held up
ten fingers as indicative of what he would pay.
Ten thousand dollars doesn't make much of a stir in Montana, spoke
Fifteen, then! The senator's eyes narrowed. Twenty? Come, now!
How's that? Burroughs will pay it. No one else has got that, Charlie.
If Burroughs is good for twenty thousand, he's good for more.
How much do you want? Spit it out! The briber was disgusted. This
was not the Blair whom he had known in Fort Benton days.
I'm not soliciting nor making a proposition. But if my vote is
worth anything it's worth twenty-five thousandyes, thirty thousand
dollars! Blair, for the first time, looked Burroughs' manager in the
eye. If he got that sum he could leave Montanaand not alone!
Are you mad? Moore was aghast. Even his own rapacity had not
thought to hold up Burroughs for such a sum. Thirty thousand dollars
for speaking a man's name in joint assembly! Thus he interpreted
selling a vote.
No, I'm not mad. But that is my price. Blair also rose,
unexpectedly committed to a fixed statement.
You'll never get it! roared Moore. I'll see you damned first!
We'll find others who aren't so high-priced! You have over-reached this
time, Charlie Blair! And they parted in unfriendly fashion.
The next day the Honorable Mr. Moore notified Mrs. Latimer that all
she had done for Mr. Burroughs would avail nothing if she failed to
secure the vote of Senator Blair.
Chapter XI. The Chinese Legend
Well, well, well! What does this mean? The doctor looked in
amazement at Miss Blair as she opened the door to his rap, the same
evening that Moore gave his dinner to her brother. Traces of tears were
to be seen; indeed, more tears seemed ready to fall, despite her effort
to restrain them.
Come right in, doctor! Winifred made no pretense of answering his
question, but busily engaged herself in pulling the easiest chair to
the cheerful grate fire. I believe that I am more glad to see you than
anyone else in the world, she added, affectionately, as she motioned
her caller to the comfortable corner. Now we'll have a nice, long,
What does this mean? repeated the doctor, with the privilege of
friendship, not to be put off.
You should know better than to ask a woman why her eyes are redit
isn't polite! Are mine very red? she asked, ruefully. Before he could
answer: Let us talk of Fort Benton, and of what good times we'll have
when we are there again to live happy ever after. Really, I mean it,
she said, earnestly, seeing his questioning face. I want to
forgeteverything but Fort Benton.
Still her visitor looked at her keenly, until she sat silent under
his scrutiny. He was not deceived. Nevertheless he humored her for the
moment, knowing that she was no match for his astuteness when the time
came to probe her hurt.
Fort Benton, eh? You know the weak spot of the old doctor, you
'rastical', whimsically. Then, more seriously: I, too, wish we were
there. Like you, I am sick of Helena. We were all happier, better off,
in the little old trading-postbeforethe railroads came. He
ascribed all evils to the course of empire as exemplified in the steel
rails of commerce. The Latimers, the Burroughs, the Halls, Bill Moore,
you and Charlieevery one of you moved away. Phil and I are the only
ones left; and since he is in the Legislature I spend almost as much
time in Helena as at Fort Benton.
There's Mr. O'Dwyer.
I forgot him. Yes, O'Dwyer stays near Danvershe left the Police
to go to him, you know. As he looked around the room he asked,
Where's Charlie to-night?
He's dining with Mr. Moore at the club.
With Moore? The doctor, surprised, repeated her words.
Yes. Ididn't knowthey weren't friends.
Something in her hesitation gave her visitor an opportunity to ask:
You do not care very much for the Honorable William?
No, I do not! came the quick response.
Yet he is accounted quite a ladies' man; and, tentatively, I can
see that he is quite infatuated.
He can get un-infatuated, interrupted Winifred, with no pretense
The doctor was pleased at this outburst. He had been an observer of
advances and repulses between these two. Now he was thinking of another
affair whose recent complications were giving him much concern.
You wouldn't call him a gentleman?
Oh, no. He's a politician.
That's rather hard on the rest of us who are dabbling in politics.
You know what I mean! Winifred made a pretty moue, her chin
upturned, showing clear against the leaping flame. As her companion
noted her sweetness he almost longed for his bygone youth.
I sometimes think I have missed a good deal by not marrying, mused
the doctor, with seeming irrevelance. But the rôle of husband was too
exacting a one for me!
Miss Blair gave his hand a gentle pressure which conveyed her
We bachelors are rather a forlorn class, when the years begin to
count up; and as for the women who do not marry He left her to
complete the observation.
They are not all forlorn, defended Winifred. But I will admit
that the unsuspected longings of some of them are pathetic. Here is a
case in point. I had a caller this very afternoona woman of middle
age who used to work for us. She was in distress because she had
received an offer of marriage. From a worldly standpoint she is foolish
not to accept the man, for he is worthy of her, and could provide a
home. When I ventured to say as much she cried, and showed me this
clipping from some old paper. Shall I read it?
The doctor assented, and Winifred rose and took a slip from the
'There is an interesting old Chinese legend,' she
'which relates how an angel sits with a long pole which he
into the Sea of Love and lifts a drop of shining water. With
expert motion he turns one-half of this drop to the right,
is immediately transformed into a soul; the other half to the
lefta male and a female; and these two souls go seeking each
other forever. The angel is so constantly occupied that he
track of the souls that he separates, and they must depend
their own intuition to recognize each other.'
The old man reached for the paper as Winifred ceased. She was silent
as he glanced it over.
That old legend did not seem trite to her; it does not to me, said
the girl, as the doctor looked up. I asked her to leave it for me to
And the woman? reminded the doctor.
She stood before me, gaunt, unlovely, growing old. As I read her
clipping she clasped her hands tensely. 'Don't you see why I don't
marry him?' she cried, and all the romance and persistent hope of her
lifetime came to her faded eyes. 'Because I want to find my other half.
Because I wantLove.'
She is all right, and I respect her, said the doctor. Too many
women sacrifice their personality in loveless marriages.
I am in doubt, speculated Winifred, whether the women who lead
colorless, unloved and unloving lives are not happier after all. They
have fewer troubles. Men are very interesting, but they can make a
woman's life so miserable, too.
More than a hint of pathos in this, thought the listener. How about
a girl making a man miserable? he inquired. A girl who has
lovedeep, sincere love waiting her recognition? The surgeon took the
I don't know what youI was speaking in general
Somewhere in the Bible, I think, somebody goes about seeking whom
he may devour. Nowadays women go about looking for trouble. I've known
that kind before, Winnie, but I never saw anyone fairly gallop after it
as you do.
My dear, the friend put his hand caressingly on her own, why do
you repulse Danvers' love? Do not be offended, he said gently, as she
She hid her face in her upturned hands. Suddenly it was sweet to
feel the solicitude of a love so like what she had dreamed a father's
I can see, dear child. I know Philip as I know my own heart. I
think I know you (so far as a man can understand a woman), he stroked
her hair fondly, and you are making a mistake.
No, I'm not, came in a whisper. Iyou don't
knowaboutCharlie Tears fell fast, relieving the suppressed
anguish of weeks.
Oh, yes, I do. His words fell like balm.
Charlie has been so good to me all these years. I can't bear to see
himdrift. You knowI can't say it
Don't say it, counseled the doctor. I understand perfectly.
And yet, with quivering voice, you ask me why I turn Mr. Danvers
away! Can't you understandknowing his love for Judge Latimer? Oh,
what shall I do? What shall I do? she gasped; but soon controlled
herself. And I'm afraid Charlie will vote for Mr. Burroughs
Exactly! The doctor used the truth unsparingly. Eva has secured
many votes for Burroughs. But we'll hope that Charlie can be held in
line. He has promised Danvers to vote for his candidatethe governor.
Oh, but I'm afraid! wailed the girl. And ifoh, he would despise
us bothwe are of the same blood! If it were not for this dreadful
contest I might be so happy! Confession shone in her eyes.
Thank God! said the old man, reverently. He has been good to
youboth. He kissed the hand that trembled in his. You have made me
They sat in silent communion, the old man watching the play of
emotion on the girl's sensitive face, now free from the look of anxiety
that had been so apparent.
Love is one long heartache, said the girl, plaintively. Wouldn't
you think, doctor, that if a man cared
If that isn't just like a woman! interrupted her companion,
thinking he knew what Winifred was trying to say. Women must have it
in words. You want Philip to chatter away like a society man. He will
talk fast enough when you quit your foolishness and give him a chance.
I only wanted to say that he is undemonstrative, explained the
girl, flaming red. I should think that if heoh, but I am glad he
does not speak! she interrupted herself, vehemently, remembering her
brother's peril. He must not speak!
Don't allow any false pride to come between you, urged the doctor.
Nothing kills a man's love so quickly as indifference, real or
Do you think so? She was glad to be impersonal again. I imagined
a little indifference piqued a man to further effort.
The heat of propinquity feeds the flame of love, oracularly.
I do not agree with you there, Doctor. I think men grow tired of
women's solicitude and company.
Of their wives?
Precious few have the experience! But I agree with you that most
married people see too much of each other. Men seem to realize the
fact. That is why they go on hunting and fishing trips. Do they hunt? A
few of the party, but the rest sit around and enjoy themselves, because
they are a party of men. Women will never understand this
feelingthis insulation, so to speak; it is the cause of much of the
unhappiness we see. Most men fall short of the standard a woman demands
from her husband. The first rapturous love, with its utterance and
reciprocity, is expected to last after years of intimacy. In love, as
in a dinner, comes the gradual relaxation, the ease of well-being,
which is the greatest compliment (if she but knew it) to a woman's
power to evoke and to hold love. She has not lost it; to reiterate what
is a self-evident fact seems to the man unnecessary. A happy married
life is one of content, comradeship, loyalty. Words are not needed
where such conditions exist.
I'll remember all you have said, sighed the girl, but I shall
never have an opportunity to prove it!
Nonsense, girl! The comforter rose as he heard Charlie's voice in
the outer hall. You are depressed to-night. Life will look brighter
to-morrow. These tangled trails are going to be straightenedI'm sure
of it! Love will crystallize that Chinese legend into realityfor you
and for Phil. Good-night! Good-night!
Chapter XII. Recognition
For years Danvers had shunned women. Yet he had not spent his life
in melancholy over Eva's defection; known to many, but understood by
few, his real nature withdrew from the light. His intuitive attitude
toward strangers of either sex was a negative indifference that gave
him time to estimate their character or their motivesa habit
desirable enough in business, but unsatisfactory in social life.
The growth of his regard for Winifred had been so gradual that he
had not thought it might prove to be love. Her unaffected interest in
the only life he had enjoyedthe old days at Fort Macleodhad roused
him from apathy, and her comprehension of his motives and activities
exhilarated him. He delighted in her intelligent comradeship when
discussing the real world.
One subject, only, did she avoid, and that but recently. State
politics were never mentioned after her brother became the keystone to
the situation. Though she had no proof that Charlie's vote was the one
vote necessary to Burroughs' election, she had no doubt that it was a
When this shadow of another's crime crept over the brightness of
their friendship, Danvers was bewilderedrepulsed by her unusual
reserve. The doctor's explanation gave him somewhat of courage, and he
had the fine perseverance that conquers.
A few days after he had talked with the doctor Danvers saw Miss
Blair crossing the street just ahead of him. He hastened to overtake
herhe would put an end to her coldness and her repulses. As he dodged
a car, he noted in her walk the pride and courage that had recently
been added to her bearing. He thought he understood her attitude toward
himtoward the whole world; and a flood of loving pity swept over him.
Reaching the other side of the street, he found that she had
disappeared. He looked up and down in the dusk, but caught no further
sight of the elusive Miss Blair; and after lingering on the street for
a half hour, he returned to the hotel.
As he ascended the stairs to the first floor he caught a glimpse of
Charlie Blair, just entering the Latimers' apartments. His vexation at
Winifred's avoidance was a small matter to the anger that now flamed
within. Small wonder that Miss Blair wished to meet no one while this
folly was unchecked! Yet he felt that he must share her trouble, and
resolved to make one more attempt to see her that evening.
She opened the door in response to his firm knock after dinner,
hesitating perceptibly when she saw him. But Philip would not be
denied, and entered with a determined resolution.
The girl's heart rose highfluttered, and almost ceased to beat. He
was going to speak; she must not allow it.
Where did you go to-night? he asked, as he put his hat and stick
on the table. I saw you on Warren street and tried to overtake you,
but you disappeared. I prowled around hoping to find you again; and I
had my new shoes on, too, and they hurt me.
The whimsical gaiety of the complaint took away Winifred's reserve,
and without attempting to explain her disappearance, she smiled a
welcome, though she soon fell silent under the burden of her heart.
Philip had called with a set purpose, yet he found no words as he
sat before the smouldering fire. He had time, waiting for the moment of
speech, to note the pathetic droop of her shoulders and the weariness
of her beautiful eyes. Evidently the courage and strength of the day
had been exhausted.
She played idly with a book, but laid it aside while she roused the
half-burned wood into a shower of sparks.
Philip reached and took up the book abstractedly, and carelessly
turned the leaves, wondering how he should say what was in his heart. A
loose paper fluttered to the floor. He picked it up. It was the
newspaper cutting that Winifred had saved, but had forgotten to copy,
in the stress of her anxieties.
Danvers was about to replace it when something familiar made him
scan it eagerly. Radiant with joy, he glanced at his companion, but
Winifred stood at the mantel with averted face. He took out his
note-book, found a little, old, yellow scrap, and held both slips in
his hand as he rose. He drew the girl to him, startled, resisting.
Haven't we found each other? he asked, simply, showing her the
twin copies of the legend, old, yet ever new. This little clipping has
been close to my heart for yearswaiting for you, dear. Won't you take
Winifred was silent. She had guarded against all ordinary appeals,
but thishow could she answer him? To refuse this tender sympathy,
this yearning love, when she most needed itthe thought was
Still silent she drew away from him, and lifted a face so drawn with
suffering that Danvers was startled at the change.
You do not love me? he questioned, more to himself than to the
shrinking woman. You do not understand?
He stood before her struggling with his disappointmentthat she
should fail to understandshe who had always felt his thought so
subtly; it was this, almost as much as her lack of response to his
love, that hurt him.
They stood before each other, separated by a thing which the woman
would not put into words, and the man dared not question.
Mr. DanversPhilip, said the girl, gently, I am sorry She
hesitated at the trite words, her voice faltering as she looked up into
his sad face; it had grown thin and tired these last days. She longed
to go to him, to tell him that he should find rest at last. No, she
went on, finally, I am not sorry that you found the clipping, she
altered her words; why should I not be honest with myselfand you?
She spoke so simply, so easily, that Danvers almost believed that
she did not care.
You saved my life once, dear friend, she said, and that makes me
dare to ask you to be generous now. Do not judge me! Wait a little.
Forget this evening, and let us go back to the old days. Will you?
She smiled into his face, so sad a little smile in its evident
effort at bravery, that he responded to her mood, eager to help her
keep the mastery over her heart, that she might fight her battle in her
own proud way. Almost, he was reconciled to her woman's judgment; and
he sat down and talked of Fort Benton days.
For that hour Winifred was grateful to Danvers all her life; and
when he rose to say good-night she was quite herself again.
You will understand if I tell you that I must go now? inquired
Danvers. Judge Latimer was to come in on Number Four, and I must see
Winifred met his look with comprehension, and gave him her hand.
A faint sound reached them from the Latimer's apartment across the
way as Danvers opened the door. He listened, then ran across the hall.
What's that? cried Winifred, startled.
Chapter XIII. The Lobbyist
Fate, woman-like, cares not what means she employs to hurt. She
takes what comes first to hand. Sometimes the more unlikely the weapon,
the more effective is its use.
The same afternoon that Danvers tried to overtake Miss Blair, two
talkative drummers boarded the west-bound train at a small Montana
station, doubling back to Helena. As they entered the smoking
compartment of a sleeper they found it empty save for a slight,
weary-looking man who was gazing abstractedly at the wintry plains.
Here, don't sit that side, said one; the sun glares on the snow
As the drummer spoke to his friend he gave a passing glance at the
preoccupied stranger, and chanced to take the seat directly in front of
him. The other followed his advice, facing him.
What's doing in Helena? I've been gone a week, but I see by the
paper you haven't elected a senator yet.
Naw, returned his companion; hadn't yesterday, when I took the
Pretty stiff contest.
Pretty slick man bound to win out.
Wish I was a member, with all the swag there is floating 'round.
Wish I was a member with a right pretty woman coaxing for my vote!
What's that? I hadn't heard of that yet. The speaker leaned
forward, scenting scandal.
Aw! It's no secret in Helena. It's the talk of the town.
I never heard a word. I thought politics was free from petticoats
They never areanywhere. You know Charlie Blair?
The drummer interrogated shook his head.
Well, he's a Helena man, and one of the State senators. There's a
woman lobbyin' for Burroughs, so they say, and she's got Blair batty!
Last man in the world you'd expect to be caught by a woman. They say
he's a great friend of her husband's, tooJudge Latimer.
A stifled moan came from the seat behind the drummers.
You don't say! Any talk about her before?
Probably there's nothing in it, concluded the other, with
unexpected charity. You know how people surmise the worst. She doesn't
care for him, I take it.
Naw! At least, not if I size her up correct. She's a good-looker,
all right; she was pointed out to me one night in the hotel
dining-room. It was easy to see where she was stuck! She
couldn't keep her eyes off a tall, good-looking fellow, that I was told
was the senator from Chouteau County.
The other nodded. I've heard of him. He's the head of the
opposition to Burroughs in the Republican party. Danvers, his name
isEnglishmanin the cattle business.
I saw the situation right away. Bill Moore, Burroughs' political
boss, you know, says that years ago they had an affair over in the
Whoop Up Countrywherever that is, and
Bozeman! said the porter, interrupting the conversation.
I got to see a man here, said one of the drummers. Come along. It
won't take but a minute. He'll be waiting on the platform; I wired
That man looked bad, commented the other, jerking his thumb
backward as they stepped from the car. Did you notice how ghastly his
face was? I thought for a moment he was going to speak to you.
They passed on, and the conductor, who followed a moment later,
stopped abruptly at sight of the limp figure, and hurried into the next
Is there a doctor on board? he asked. A man has faintedor had a
stroke. It's Judge Latimer, of Helena.
And the instruments of fate never knew what a deadly blow they had
* * * * *
That evening Mrs. Latimer, exquisitely gowned and radiating
magnetism, was again trying to persuade Senator Blair to vote for Mr.
Burroughs is capable of more skulduggery than any man in the
State, declared her caller, after they had talked somewhat of the
senatorial candidate. I can't see why you keep on harping on his
fitness for the place.
Do you know, I admire him, responded Mrs. Latimer, with apparent
frankness. He may be unscrupulous; but he has been successful. The end
justifies the means, I think.
I've promised Senator Danvers that I would not vote for Burroughs,
affirmed Blair, stubbornly. Eva had treated him coolly for a few days,
and he had practically decided that he wanted neither Judge Latimer's
wife nor Burroughs' money. But as he gazed at the lady's ripe beauty he
became more infatuated than before. He changed the subject abruptly. I
must go down to the valley to-morrow, after the session adjourns. Will
you come with me for a ride?
Are you crazy? Mrs. Latimer spoke with scorn.
No one will see us, he pleaded. I can pick you up where you used
to live. You can wear a veil if you like. What do we care if we do meet
somebody we know? You belong to the smart setyou can do anything you
like. Charlie laughed loud.
My dear friend, Eva began, cynically, believing that her position
had so far made her exempt from comment, the world is too suspicious.
No man and woman can foregather without some pure soul interpreting
that companionship to its own satisfaction. Besides, I expect Arthur
any day now. He neither writes nor wires me just when he can come.
You'll never do a thing to please me! cried Blair, hotly. I am
the one who must grant favors. I
Aren't you a man, and therefore to be compliant? returned Eva, her
smile tempering her insolence. Then, pleading, although her eyes grew
no softer: Only one thing do I ask, Senator. Please, please grant me
that! Don't you care for me more than for Senator Danvers? Break your
promise to himfor me. She was very enticing as she bent towards him,
and he was conscious of the faint perfume about her.
Mr. Burroughs needs your vote, she went on, persuasively; and if
you give it to himas I've told you a hundred timeshe has promised
that he will provide for Arthur; and you like Arthur.
And what do I get out of it?
You'll please me, was the caressing answer. AndI never
thought of it before, she hastened to add, as the scar grew more
conspicuousa sure register of his emotionswhy not ask Mr.
Burroughs to get you to Berlin, tooas first secretary or something,
if we go there? She must throw him some encouragement. I hate Helena.
You do yourself. If we were in Berlin, we'd be where life isa whirl
Madness, Senator Blair finished her sentence for her, thickly. I
do not have to go away from Helena for that sensation! He lost control
of himself. You drive me mad, Eva! You are more tempting than ever!
Give me one kissoneand I'll vote for Burroughs till hell freezes
over! The language of the frontier returned, in his abandon.
Not now! The temptress was thoroughly alarmed. She had thought to
control any situation, butCharlie's eyesso near her own!
Perhapswhen you have voted for She must secure this man's vote
for Burroughs, even if she bartered her self-respect.
Now, by God! Now!
No! No! In terror Eva gave a suppressed cry and turned to escape
the arms of the man she had maddened. With his hot lips brushing her
own she turned away her face in impotent writhing, and saw her husband
standing in the doorway.
Pardon me, apologized Latimer, courteously, as though in a trance.
He stepped forward, closed the door and took off his coat and hat. He
sat down absently, as if he had returned after only a few hours'
absence. He took no notice of the presence of Senator Blair nor of his
hasty exit. The scene he had interrupted seemed to have no meaning for
him. He could not have told how he reached home, and his one thought
was of Danvershis supposed Judasand of the wife who had lived a lie
even while bearing his children.
But Eva could not know this, and strove hurriedly to form some
excuse for her predicament.
Latimer made no response to her explanations. Instead he said, quite
gently: I'll go and see if little Arthur is asleep. I want to kiss him
good-night, and disappeared through the portieres.
Eva stood motionless, voiceless, in chill terror at her husband's
solicitude for the dead child! Had he forgottenor was he going mad?
What had happened? What was to happen?
When Latimer returned, his eyes had lost their dazed expression. My
name is a reproachit is handed around by coarse gossips! he said,
hoarsely. His look went beyond accusation.
Eva suddenly sank to her knees in mortal fear. The tones were not
loud, but she never could have believed that those mild, blue eyes
would flash at her such a menace of death.
Arthur! she wailed; what have you heard? Why have you come home
like this? I have not been untrue? Who said so? I have not! I have lied
to you sometimes about little thingsbut not now!
The silence was terrible! She began again, miserably: I've been
helping Mr. Burroughs; but surely that's notit was for your
advancementArthur!speak to me! She broke into gasping sobs.
The pale, emaciated face above her never softened; the eyes never
wavered. Yet a reasoning anguish crept into the insane glare. After
all, nothing mattered except this one great pain in his heart. What was
it he wanted to know? Yeshe remembered! The truth!the truth!
And Philip Danvers?
The change in tone gave so great relief that Eva became hysterical,
not understanding the obscure connection.
Oh, Senator Danvers? He has had nothing to do with the lobbying.
You know he is against Mr. Burroughs. She rose, again self-possessed,
feeling herself able to explain all untoward circumstances.
Come, you are worn from your journey. Lie here on the couch and
I'll get you some wine.
But her husband resisted, dumbly, looking at her as a starving dog
might look at the hand that had enticed him by pretending to offer
food. Words came, at last, while he beat his hands together in agony.
I cannot bear itI cannot! They said you and Phil had an affair in
the Whoop Up Country
What are you saying? came from Eva, sharply. She went from fear to
fury. You've been listening to some malicious gossip, she screamed;
and now you come home to frighten me into spasms! The rage covered
her fright. There's not a word of truth in it!
Tell me the truth! The God on high could not have been more
The woman dared not lie again. Her anger, rather than her
self-respect, brought the truth like a charge of dynamite from the
muddy waters of her soul.
Well, then, it is the truth! I was engaged to Philip Danvers
at Fort Macleod. I threw him over afterwards, because he had no money
and you had. Now are you satisfied? The cruel desire to hurt gave this
added thrust. No? Then let me tell you that I have never loved you,
never! I've always loved Philip Danversalwaysalwaysalways! Her
voice rose in crescendo.
At last it was spoken. Eva stood at bay, her jewels glittering on
bare shoulders and arms as balefully as her eyes flashed hate.
God! Latimer reeled, and put his hand on his heart, but recovered
himself. And Philipthe words came in a chill whisperdid he
You'd better ask him! Eva was wholly beside herself, in the
reaction of a weak woman's fear.
Philmy friend! he choked, started and winced, putting his hand
again over his heart; then fell heavily.
The woman screamed in fright and knelt beside him.
Arthur, he never caredafter I dismissed him. He despised me. He
despises me nowmore than you ever can. Oh, God in heaven! What have I
done? Remorse followed swiftly on her anger.
Latimer was conscious as his wife raised his head. He had understood
her confession, and although he could not speak he motioned for her to
seek assistance; but the effort was too much, and he again sank back,
Eva laid him gently down, and flew to the door. As she opened it she
fell against Danvers, coming from Winifred's side.
You've killed him, at last! Philip flayed her with word and look
as she sped for other help; but he forgot her as he knelt and raised
Latimer's head to his knee. He would have carried him to a couch, but
Arthur motioned that he could not endure that pain. The look of trust
that greeted Danvers was returned with one of love and fidelity.
With a sigh of utter content Latimer, by a supreme effort, raised
his hands to Philip's shoulders.
Arthur! Danvers groaned, holding him close as he looked into the
Did I doubt you? whispered the judge. Forgive memy
Chapter XIV. The Keystone
When Senator Blair learned of Judge Latimer's death he thought
himself its prime cause and suffered as only a man can who is not
wholly heartless. How poorly he had rewarded the friendship which had
relieved him in his need at Fort Macleod! All his passion for Mrs.
Latimer had died in that fearful moment when he looked on the curiously
passive husband in the doorway; remorse bit like acid into the depths
of his heart. The meaning glances and the interrupted conversations
that met him everywhere the morning after the judge's death drove him
to solitude. He even avoided his sister, Danvers and the doctor; but
most of all he shunned the Honorable Mr. Moore. He had had enough of
temptation! He would not allow himself again to be approached!
His belief that in the sight of God he was a murderer made Blair
collapse during the day. He was confined to his room; and it was then
that he told the Fort Benton physician all that was haunting him, hour
by hour. Blair did not attempt to palliate his sin, and although the
doctor had known much and suspected more, he could hardly find it in
his heart to forgive either Winifred's brother or the woman who had led
him on. The only ray of mercy he felt was that matters were not so bad
as he had feared between these old friends of his; but in his
bitterness at Arthur's death, he would not give Blair the consolation
of knowing that it was only a question of a short time, at best, when
the judge's weak heart must have failed. Let him suffer! Arthur had!
For the first time the lenient doctor did not want to relieve pain.
Neither he nor Blair knew of what had taken place between Eva and her
husband after Charlie had left their rooms.
The doctor's bitterness, however, was as nothing to the inward storm
which shook Danvers when Eva, in the height of her hysterical remorse
and fear of exposure, told him the sorry tale of her first flutterings
around the arc-light of Mr. Burroughs' ambition; of her consent to aid
Mr. Moore in his efforts to influence uncertain legislators to vote for
Burroughs, and that gentleman's acceptance thereof; of the clandestine
meetings in her apartments with the Honorable William, and of the more
open but far less harmless friendship with Senator Blair, pursued until
she was singed with the flame of her own kindling and nearly consumed
by its fires. And lastly, her husband's reproaches; her miserable
evasions and the hurt that she had deliberately given him. When she
told her silent listener of that last half hour Danvers held himself
forcibly in his fear of doing the woman bodily harm. That she should
have done this cruel thing! Her indiscretions had been bad enough, but
they had been prompted by an ambition second only to Mr. Burroughs'.
But to turn the knife wantonly in Arthur's heart of gold!... How nearly
his friend had gone from him, believing that he was false!... And now
he was dead!... dead!
Philip's agony broke its restraint, and Mrs. Latimer never forgot
his scathing denunciation.
You killed Arthur, he concluded, white to the lips, as surely as
if you used a stiletto! So that was what Arthur meant. For a few
moments Danvers could not speak as the recollection of that look of
love and trust came surging back. No one must ever know the truth, he
went on, huskily. Let it be buried with poor Arthur. There will be
more or less gossip; but we will stand by you for the judge's sakeand
for Miss Blair's as well. She, of all persons, must know nothing of
what you have told me.
Mrs. Latimer's sobs only roused his wrath at all the misery she had
wrought. He knew her tears were for herself, not for her husband. As he
turned to leave the room she caught at his hand.
I did not mean she began in weak defense. You are too hard,
she protested, feeling him recoil.
Hard! Philip laughed harshly in his pain. You did not expect me
to condole with you on the outcome of your folly? All that I can say
is, may God forgive you! and he was gone.
So resolutely did Latimer's friends ignore all previous conditions
that the ready tongue of rumor was silenced immediately. Surely if
Senator Danvers and the doctor from Fort Benton, as well as Miss Blair,
were ever at Mrs. Latimer's side, there could have been no breath of
wrong in her sudden cultivation of Senator Blair.
Only three personsDanvers, the doctor and Mooreknew of the
hidden octopus of Burroughs' insatiable vindictiveness, whose
tentacles, first fastening on Eva, had finally crushed Latimer. Moore
knew, if the others did not, that Blair was doomed if he once again
came within its radius. Then for the others! But he made no immediate
move, and decorously gave regard to the proprieties, both for himself
and as a substitute for Mr. Burroughs. His chief was almost as
hysterical as Eva herself over the judge's untimely death, for he
thought his prospects endangered thereby. His panic made him hasten to
leave Helena for a few days.
Moore had tried to secure some other man to change to Burroughs,
someone who did not hold himself as high as Blair had done on the night
of the club dinner; but he had finally been obliged to report his
non-success. He suggested to Burroughs that he approach Senator Blair
once more, offering twenty thousand dollars. He felt sure that Charlie
would take lessnow!
Just before Burroughs ordered a special train to hurry him away from
the prevailing gloom, the two conspirators had their final word on the
subject of Senator Blair.
We've got to get this thing over, said Burroughs, savagely.
There's too much talk. We'll be hung as high as Haman or sent to the
pen for twenty years if we don't get a move on. And there are but six
days more of the session. Give Charlie Blair his priceand be damned
That's all right, Bob, retorted Moore, angrily. I'll give him the
money if you say so. But I don't think the whole business of being a
United States senator is worth thirty thousand dollars. And if I do get
it to him (and the Lord knows how I can)what then? He is sick in bed,
and who can tell when he can get to the capitol?
Get? We'll take him, alive or dying! Thirty thousand!
It's my money, isn't it? You are nothing out of pocket. Get it to him
while the rest of his folks are at thethe funeral! The word chilled
them both. Were they responsible for this death? Get it to him! He'll
keep it! Montana'll be too hot for him from now on, let me tell you!
He'll take the money, vote for me, and skipall in the same day.
There's been too much talk to be agreeable to a man who's never before
been mixed up with a womanexcept that squaw! Burroughs walked
nervously back and forth, then: You wire me when you've given the
money to him and I'll come back. It'll all be clear sailing then.
This delay! As Burroughs reviewed the results of his schemes he felt
that he had been hardly used. Not so had fortune treated him in the
past. Most of all he bewailed the inclusion of a woman in the necessary
chicanery of diverting votes. Catch him again being over-persuaded by
Bill Moore's sophistry!
In truth Senator Blair had begun to think that he should have to
take Burroughs' money. How could he ever face his sister, his world
again? He made sure that he was not only called a murderer, but that he
was one. He might as well be other things. No appellation could be so
terrible as that first. He would take the thirty thousand dollars if it
should be forthcoming, vote and take the first train west the same day.
In the Orient he could lose his identity as a bribe-taker and a
murderer. The torture never relaxed during the days preceding the
Late on the afternoon of the day of the burial of the man whom he
had so nearly wronged the senator's attention was drawn to a low rustle
near the door opening from his room to the hall outside. Something
white and long was being cautiously pushed under the door. Charlie was
alone, and he weakly pulled himself to that mysterious package. The
soft feel of it thrilled him like brandy. Burroughs had come to
his terms! He could get away! But he must previously acknowledge before
all men that he had been bought at a price. The odium.... A flirt of
the devil's tail brought a new thought to his fevered brainfevered by
remorse and the effects of long-continued and unwonted alcoholic
stimulants. Suppose that he did not vote? Suppose that he kept this
fortune (he counted it over to assure himself of its reality), pleading
his sickness until the last day of the session, and go ... go.... The
thought swung him to uneasy sleep.
While he slept the doctor and the senator from Chouteau came into
the room as they returned from the cemetery. Blair had been too much
occupied in his dizzy thought to remember to hide his ill-gotten money,
and on the white counterpane lay those proofs of Burroughs' infamy.
Thirty thousand dollars! gasped the doctor, in undertones,
counting the large bills and sheafing them in one trembling hand. What
shall we do?
Nothing, responded Danvers, very quietly. When Charlie wakes I
will talk with him. I do not believe that he will keep that money or
vote for Burroughs.
How fortunate that Winifred did not come in with us! said the
older man. You stay here, Phil, and I will keep her away for an hour.
He will not sleep long. He is too feverish. Danvers nodded
acquiescence, and the physician tiptoed away.
Before many minutes the sick man awoke. Danvers sat near the bed,
reading the evening paper. Blair looked around with the impersonal eyes
of the sick, then saw the pile of bank notes on the stand beside his
bed. He started and gave a furtive look at Philip. Their eyes met
You will send that money back, Charlie. The words were not so much
query as certainty. Blair, shamed, was long in replying.
I can't afford to, Danvers, he said finally. I'm not only a poor
man, but a ruined one as well. I may keep it andget out of the
And vote for Bob Burroughs? The head of the opposition still kept
his calm acceptance of his discovery. Curiously enough it threshed the
sick senator, after a few words, into stubborn silence.
Maybe I will and maybe I won't. I have the money, and Bob or Bill
will never dare to ask for it back. If you ever see me in the Assembly
again you'll know that I'm going to vote for Burroughscurse him!
Let me have that money, Charlie, Danvers pleaded. Think of your
sister. It will break her heart if you do this thing. And, he
continued huskily, for he suddenly found that he could not control his
voice, hearts enough have been broken over this business of electing a
United States senator. He reached out his hand, persuasively,
expectantly. I will see that it goes to the men who gave it to you.
But Senator Blair was obdurate; and when Philip left him he felt
that his long fight was to end in defeat, and that Robert Burroughs
would be elected by the high-priced vote of Winifred's brother. Senator
Danvers had kept in too close touch with the situation not to know that
Moore would never have paid such a sum to Senator Blair if he were not
their last hope for a majority of even one.
The next day of the Legislature Senator Blair was again reported not
present on account of sickness, and William Moore thought it best not
to show his full strength. The next, and the last day of the session,
Blair was still absent. Ballot after ballot was taken. One by one men
responded to the crack of Moore's whip and changed their votes to
Burroughs, while the spectators indulged in significant laughter. One
by one the several candidates withdrew their names as their former
adherents shamelessly went over the fast increasing list for Burroughs.
Still Senator Danvers held most of his men, and not until long after
nightfall did the ballots come within one of electing Burroughs. The
last man to change, amid hoots of derision, was Joseph Hall.
Mr. Burroughs and the Honorable William were both in the rear of the
House of Representatives, for the first time during the session.
We must get Charlie Blair here! hissed Burroughs, hearing Senator
Danvers make a motion for a ten minutes' recess. Senator Hall opposed
the motion. He did not know that Senator Blair's vote would elect
Burroughs, or he would not have tried to block Danvers' desire to speak
to some of the turncoats. But the motion prevailed and there was much
seeking of the various places where a man might refresh himself after
such arduous toil. He shall come, continued the candidate for
Congress, if he dies in the next hour! Moore, feeling sure of the men
he had already lined up, consented to be the one to bring the sick
senator from the hotel, only five minutes away.
In the meantime Senator Danvers was vainly trying to stem the tide.
The doctor reported that Senator Blair was in bed and apparently
sleeping, so Philip was comparatively easy. All that remained for him
to do was to see that no other man went over to the enemy; and it had
been agreed that the Legislature should adjourn at two o'clock that
Senator Blair, meanwhile, had made up his mind to get away that very
hour. No matter if he were too sick to stand, he would get up and
dress, get a carriage and go.... It was better than staying and going
mad. The hotel was practically empty, he knew, for everybody who could
be at the capitol was there to witness the closing hours of the
Assembly. Word had spread that Robert Burroughs would surely be elected
before midnight. The whole city and most of the State's inhabitants of
voting age and sex were crowded into the capitol. Charlie knew that
Winifred was with Mrs. Latimer across the hall. Hurriedly he dressed,
trembling with fear and physical weakness, packed a suit case, felt to
see if the thirty thousand dollars was safe, and cautiously opening the
outer door, peeped into the hall to see if the way was clear. But it
was not. There stood the Honorable William, in the very act of putting
his hand on the door-knob!
No, you don't, my beauty! snarled Moore, pushing the sick man back
and seeing in a glance what was planned. You'll not leave Helena until
you've earned that thirty thousand! Don't you ever think it! You're
coming over to the capitol right now, with me, and vote for Bob! We
need you in the business! And, if you don't, by God I'll make you sorry
for it! It's come to a show down. This business has killed Judge
Latimer and it may as well kill youyou miserable, white-livered
Moore's language and voice were raised to the highest power.
Charlie! At the disturbance, Winifred came from Eva's rooms. You
upand out in the hall! What is the trouble? You surely are not going
to the capitol in your condition?
Blair was past all words in his rage, and Moore explained with what
grace he might that it was imperative for Charlie to cast his vote.
Winifred insisted that she accompany them if her brother must go, and
Moore did not dare to delay long enough to argue the matter. Every
moment counted now.
In the cab Winifred, knowing nothing of the blood-money in her
brother's pocket, begged him not to vote for Mr. Burroughs. She had
heard the last of Moore's tirade. But he would not answer, and she felt
Moore's foot seeking Blair's to freshen his resolve. Though her tears
wet the hand she held, it did not return her caress.
Chapter XV. An Unpremeditated Speech
As the three entered the crowded chamber where the joint assembly
had been once more called to order, they passed Mr. Burroughs, his wife
and daughter. They had come from Butte to witness his triumph. Surely
the wife would congratulate, the daughter be proud of her father.
Moore was left at the rail which separated the legislators from the
spectators, but Senator Blair's sister went with him and found a seat
at his side. Charlie's face was ghastly, and the doctor, surprised
beyond measure at sight of him, kept guard with a watchful eye.
Blair's entrance into the chamber with its atmosphere of suspense
drew every nerve taut. Senator Danvers saw him and his heart sank. His
efforts had been in vain! He bowed to Winifred, though he had not seen
even his own sister, far in the rear of the hallthere were no
galleries for spectators.
It was a moment long remembered by that breathless crowd. Men,
drowning, see their whole lives as in a flashlight's glare. So did
Danvers see his past. He was again a boy, embarking on the Far West, and he breathed the wet spring air, blowing over prairie and river. He
was with the men on the upper deck, and noted their glances of
curiosity. Their youth seemed never to have faded, as he remembered the
delicate face of the joyous Latimer, the kind glance of the doctor, the
western breeziness of Toe String Joe and the quieter manner of Scar
Faced Charlie; while the debonair arrogance of Sweet Oil Bob stirred
his fighting blood afresh. Eva Thornhill's beautiful face came,
bewitching in its youth, and little Winnie's trusting smile again
reached his heart. Even Fort Benton, a busy port of entry, as he first
saw it, and Wild Cat Bill's drunken animosity, leaped out as the
searchlight of recollection swept the past.
Then Memory's moving picture brought the same faces, shaded or
illumined as each temperament exposed its impulse; changed and moulded
by hidden thoughts, unexploited forces of character and assimilated
environment. Came a sigh for Arthur Latimer, asleep after life's bright
beginning and shadowed close. A thought of Eva, broken and undone; of
Every thought and act of his life led up to this moment. Could he
let this plot be consummated? Not while the blood so pounded in his
veins. He must speakno one else would. Outraged decency demanded. The
honor of the state demanded.
He forgot that he was an alien by birththat he must expose many of
his friends; it did not occur to him that he had never made a public
speech, that his denunciation would ruin his political future and would
be altogether futile. The disgraceful contest had killed his dearest
frienddriven the wife into retirement to avoid the glare of scandal,
and it was likely to lose him Winifred.
His hand went up, and the President of the Senate recognized him. He
Mr. President: I rise to a point of personal privilege.
The Senator from Chouteau, announced the presiding officer of the
joint assembly, surprised but courteous. Philip Danvers was not one to
be ignored, no matter how inopportune the time. As he stood there for
the moment silent, he conveyed the impression of perfect poise, and the
honesty and sincerity of his purpose was patent to all.
Mr. President: In the struggle to elect a United States senator
which has lasted this entire session of our legislative assembly, the
party with which I have the honor to be affiliated, ever since I
foreswore allegiance to my native country, has, unfortunately, never
been able to fix on a caucus nominee; and I have been forced,
unwillingly, to lead the minority of my party against the man whose
name led all others in the last ballot. As a result of the division,
the election of a senator has descended to a contest of one individual,
with the known antagonism of not only the best element of his party,
but the ill will of the whole State, irrespective of party.
The shameless condition that this has fostered is now familiar to
every man in the United States. When that politician, ravenous for his
spoil, could not get enough supporters from his own party, he went into
the highways and byways of Democrats, Populists and Laborites; he
gathered not only the poor and needy, but some few men hitherto
possessing apparent respectability, and good standing at home and
Personal reasons have kept me silent on the floor of this house,
however much I may have worked in other ways against this crime. But
the time has come when I must put aside all thought of self in the
greater interest of the reputation of Montana.
Gentlemen: A most outrageous crime is being committed upon this
State! I can keep my seat no longer while the very walls reek with
bribery! Yes, bribery! No one has dared to voice that sinister word in
this Assembly, but we all know that in every hotel corridor, on every
street, in every home in this State that damnable word is handed from
mouth to mouth as claim and counterclaim, that certain men have been
purchased like cattle in open market, and that they would deliver
themselves to a certain candidate when called upon. They have been
called upon to-day! That is why this room is filled to overflowing! The
curious, the sensation-seeker want to look upon those men, so lost to
decency that they will rise here, and with no blush of shame, tacitly
admit that they have been bought with a price. Even the open enemies of
this candidate have voted for him, as the last ballot shamelessly
proclaimed. How one senator, opposed to the candidate in every walk of
life, has been debauched, we can imagine as well as though we saw the
thousands counted out to him by the money-changer who has had charge of
the bartering of votes.
As Danvers looked straight at Senator Hall, the bribe-taker half
rose, then sank back in his degradation. One thought sustained him. His
revenge on Burroughs was nearing its hour, and he felt that the
mortification of this bold accusation could be endured, if that other
matter was never traced to him. He knew too well what the enmity of
Burroughs could compass to invite it openly, and he had become fearful
of the results of his long-delayed scheme of vengeance.
Meantime the voice of the senator from Chouteau County went on,
clear and distinct, creating consternation as might the voice from
Sinai. In his earnestness he stepped nearer the speaker's desk, and
faced the hushed audience, fearlessly. He made no pretence of oratory,
but his words were terribly effective.
In olden times, bribers were branded on the cheek with the letter
B. If we had the time, I would suggest that we pass a law, before this
session is over, to brand not only the bribers, but the bribed with a
white-hot iron, so that the owner might identify his property. This
brand should be burned into the political mavericks who, since the
convening of this Assembly, have run with every herd, and openly sought
the highest bidder for their worthless carcasses. For these cattle of
unknown pedigree I have only words of contempt.
Mr. President: The state in which we find ourselves on this, the
last night of the session, should make us pause. We are apt to be
dim-sighted to our own failings, and clear-sighted to the faults of
others; but I ask you in all candor, do the men who have so nearly
elected a United States senator believe that he is the choice of the
State for that high office, or that he would be considered by that
legislative body if it were not for the influence of his wealth? We
would better be unrepresented in Congress than misrepresented, and I
ask you, gentlemen, turning again to the legislators, if you are
going to vote again as you did in the last ballot, and allow a sick man
to cast his vote for Robert Burroughs and thus elect him? I know, he
added with impressive slowness, whereof I speak! That we are Democrats
or Republicans, Labor or Fusion, should not figure in this contest.
Instead, each man should consider whether we, a young State, shall
enter Washington tarred with the ineradicable pitch of bribery or shall
we send a man who will show the elder States that Montana is proud of
her newly acquired statehood, and that no star in the Northwest
firmament shines more pure?
To those who have allowed themselves in this fiery ordeal to swerve
from their duty to their State, through the temptation of personal
gain, let me say that they will be branded and dishonored, despised at
home and abroad; that they will be political pariahs forever, unless
they reconsider their votes while yet there is time. They have been
clay, moulded on the potter's wheel of the political manipulator behind
whom the leading candidate has worked his nefarious will. Because a man
is rich shall we condone his base acts? A poor man is as likely to
commit crime as a rich one; but he would do so for very different
reasons. The rich man in politics, sins for his own self-gratification;
the poor man, to better himself or his family, often not comprehending
the enormity of his crime.
So long as I possess the faculties of a man, I purpose to fight
against the election of Robert Burroughs to a seat in Congress. I do
not want it said that I was a State senator in a Legislature which
seated a man so notoriously lost to a sense of political decency as he.
I would rather go back to the Whoop Up Country to spend my days in toil
and obscurity, and be able to hold up my head and look the world in the
For a moment he paused. The awed, sullen, furious faces before him
seemed individually seared on his soul as he swept the crowded room.
Many a man sat in a cold sweat of fear, with haunted eyes and
compressed lips that proclaimed his guilt with deadly certainty.
For the first time Philip became aware that his sister was present,
and had heard his denunciation of her husband. But it was too late to
retract, and he would not if he could. Truth-telling, like the
cauterizing of the snake's bite, must sometimes be done, no matter what
the immediate suffering. His eyes sought Winifred's, misty with
apprehension, admiration, love. And Charlie? His temple pulse beat
visibly in his effort to control his nerves. His face was fixed as the
face of one dead. Could any appeal snatch him from being the keystone
of that elaborate structure builded by Burroughs and Mooreso nearly
completed? If he refused to become that apex, even for this one ballot
to be called as soon as Danvers finished speaking, there was a faint
hope that the apparently inevitable could be averted. Stepping nearer
his colleagues in his vehemence, Senator Danvers brought his
unpremeditated speech to an end.
For God's sake, are there not men enough in this body to help me to
drive out corruption and fraud and dishonor, and establish integrity
and justice? I ask in the name of women and children, wives and
sweethearts, pioneers and posterity! Let us not become a disgrace to
the nations of the world! We can clean these Augean stables by one
concentrated effort, even as England cleaned her corrupt borough
elections of a century and a half ago. Let us fix on one man who will
stand for civic purity, virtue and honor, no matter what his party. Let
us elect a United States senator who is above reproach, above the taint
of gaining a victory by the downfall of his fellow men! In the next
ballot, let us each vote as his conscience dictates!
It was said. Senator Danvers stepped back to his seat amid a buzz of
blended approval and hisses, which came to his brain as the sound of
swarming bees. He felt sick and weak. His appeal seemed hopelessly
futile. But he sat erect, with no sign of discouragement, and looked
fixedly at Senator Blair in the hope of seeing some inkling of change
from his declaration that if he came to the capitol he should vote for
Burroughs. But Blair would not look his way.
Chapter XVI. The Election
Danvers did not hear the clerk of the Senate as he began the
roll-call of the senators after the presiding officer had rapped for
order. The first three men in the A's were irrevocably opposed to
Burroughs and Danvers concentrated his whole thought on Senator Blair's
change of heart.
While the men preceding Charlie were voting, Winifred whispered to
her brother. He did not seem to hear, and his dazed eyes were still
fixed straight ahead. The flaming red of the scar made his face look
still more ghastly, and at times his form swayed dizzily.
Do not vote for Mr. Burroughs, Winifred entreated. For my sake,
Charlie. You've always been willing to please me. Vote for any one
else. Philip expects your loyalty. Vote for him, even. Show him that
you, if no one else, appreciate his courage in facing these men and
denouncing them before the entire Assembly.
Blair! came the stentorian voice from the desk. Necks were craned
and men rose to whisper and to look as this man's name was called. How
would he vote? Burroughs' throat grew dry to suffocation. Moore's gaze
was imperturbable, but the muscles in his neck twitched perceptibly,
while sweat beaded his upper lip. Danvers still kept his eye on the
miserably shaken Blair, and still hoped.
Suddenly Charlie turned and threw him one look. Then he rose,
slowly, with painful effort, holding his sister's supporting arm. He
showed the effect of stormy weeks of passion as he stood a moment,
Vote for Philip, Charlie, whispered Winifred, under cover of
assisting him. Blair looked around the room.
Mr. President, he began, in a trembling voice. Before I cast my
vote in this ballot, I wish to say that I have listened to my honored
colleague from Chouteau County with mingled feelings of shame at my own
unworthiness and admiration for the courage which had dared to say what
every man of us should have said six weeks ago. Senator Danvers
beseeches us to send to Washington a man who will guard the fair name
of Montana, who will work for our best interests, and reflect honor on
every inhabitant of the State. He asks us to vote for one above
reproach, one who would accept no position at the expense of his
fellows. I am inclined to give his plea serious consideration. But
before I cast my ballot, his voice gained in strength and firmness,
and he stepped forward with a gesture of irrevocable decision and
placed upon the speaker's desk a long white envelope, I will place
here thirty thousand dollars, to be redeemed by the party who shoved it
under my door two days ago.
And now, turning to the gasping assembly, as the senator from
Chouteau has unconsciously suggested the very man to represent our
State in Congressthe man on whom, I am sure, we can all agreeI take
great pleasure, Mr. President, in casting my vote, the first vote, for
the Honorable Philip Danvers of Fort Benton!
Quick applause rang out as Blair took his seat, and Winifred kissed
his hand as it lay trembling on his desk.
Danvers gasped in dismay. Had Blair's sickness quite turned his
head? But, no! Never had his eye been clearer; never had he looked more
the man as he returned full and strong Philip's amazed gaze.
Danvers half rose to protest, but the doctor pulled him down.
Winifred began to cry behind her veil as the applause continued. A
responsive note had been struck. When quiet was somewhat restored, the
automatic clerk called the next namethe name of the senator who had
promised Eva his vote. Since Latimer's death he had heartily wished for
some excuse to be absolved from that promise. Here was his opportunity.
Philip Danvers! he called loudly, defiantly, perhaps. He owed
Burroughs nothing. But as a rolling stone gathers momentum, so did this
unexpected addition to the new name on the list of candidates give
impetus to a stampede which soon made itself understood, as much to the
surprise of Blair as Danvers.
Never mind, Bob, whispered Moore, hoarsely. It's only a spurt
that will die out. They often run like a flock of sheep. You'll get
there on the next ballot.
When Senator Hall's name was called, he rose airily. He not only
wished to hide his hand, but to get even with Danvers for many an
upright act unconsciously done while they two were troopers together at
I wish to explain my vote, began the lanky senator. My esteemed
colleague from Chouteau County has made a very pretty speech, intended,
I take it, for the ladies who are honoring us with their fair presence,
and also to enhance his own reputation. His accusations can hardly be
proven. And while I voted for Burroughs for reasons which no man has a
right to question, I wish to state that even if I had not so voted in
the past, I should feel it incumbent on me as a native born American to
vote for him at this time. I do not approve of a foreigner, an
Englishman, a man who has been one of that force across our northern
border which has frequently done grave injustice not only to many of
our citizens, but, I dare say, to Burroughs himself, undertaking to
teach us anything in a political way.
O'Dwyer rose at this. His red face was redder than ever, and he
shook his fist at the speaker; but the doctor pulled him down, and he
reluctantly subsided. For Hall to speak thus of the North West Mounted
Police when he had been drummed out of the force!
I may also say, went on Hall, that I believe this thirty thousand
dollars (if there is such a sum of money in the envelope which Senator
Blair has just placed on the desk) was put up for the purpose of
stampeding the Assembly for this man who professes to be so honest and
so uprightSenator Danvers!
Hisses came from all over the room, but Hall was impervious.
Mr. President: I hereby make my protest against such spectacular
performances by casting my vote, altogether uninfluenced, for the
Honorable Robert Burroughs, he gave a quick glance to the rear of the
room where a new group had just crowded in, and I defy anyone to
detect 'a blush of shame' on my brow.
The speech and the bravado fell flat. The crowd was not with this
bribe-taker. The voting proceeded, and Danvers' name was spoken with
gusto by many who thought, on the next ballot, to return to their
Philip Danvers! yelled Representative O'Dwyer, hardly waiting for
his name as the representatives were called. Danvers! Danvers!
Danvers! he repeated, in a frenzy of friendly fervor. Pounding feet
and canes accentuated the Irishman's cry.
You've given him the deciding vote, O'Dwyer! shouted the doctor,
forgetting decorum in the delirium of the moment. He had kept close
check on the various candidates while the angry Moore and Burroughs,
purple and speechless, stood aghast, not believing that this flurry
could abolish the results of their expensive campaign.
Philip Danvers it is! yelled O'Dwyer, overjoyed, leaping to the
top of his desk and jumping madly. Danvers forever! Hooray!
Danvers! Danvers! Danvers! The name was taken up as a slogan by
the cheering legislators and citizensmen and women alike. Shouts and
hisses, congratulations and curses, laughter and consternation mingled
over this unexpected denouement of the long-drawn-out contest.
The speaker's gavel came near to breaking, and the desk was cracked
before the tumult could be quieted sufficiently to proceed with the
The remaining numbers, almost to a man, voted for Danvers; and when
O'Dwyer moved that the vote be made unanimous, the noise and enthusiasm
which had preceded was as silence to what followed when the motion was
put, seconded and carried, that Philip Danvers of Fort Benton be
declared unanimously elected as the United States senator from Montana
to fill the vacancy for the four years beginning March four, eighteen
hundred and ninety.
Even Senator Hall joined the majorityfor did he not already have
his money safely invested? Besides, he could be censured by Burroughs
no more than many others who had taken his money and betrayed him.
Speech! speech! yelled the crowd. But Danvers could not speak.
Let us go, whispered Mrs. Burroughs, as the demonstration
continued. She looked half in scorn, half in pity, on her husband,
frustrated in the ambition of years by the man he most hatedher
brother. Let us go, Robert, she repeated.
The young daughter crept nearer and clasped her father's icy hand.
She did not understand the accusations made against a father who had
shown her nothing but love.
Better luck next time, Bob, consoled Moore. Don't let everybody
see how hard hit you are. Danvers is elected only for the short term,
you knowfour years.
Choking, Burroughs attempted to force his way through the cheering,
struggling mob, and to clear a path for his wife and daughter. But as
the crowd gave way, in deference to the women, a new obstruction
Robert Burroughs did not recognize the slouching, dirty buck
blocking his way as Me-Casto, the once haughty pride of the Blackfeet
federation, or the obese, filthy squaw as Pine Coulee. The work of
civilization had obviously been in vain. But this tall, strapping
'breed reaching out his unwashed hand! Burroughs gazed at a replica of
himself as he had been at Fort Macleod.
Him you father? questioned the half-breed, addressing the
frightened daughter. He had been well coached by the grinning McDevitt,
so close behind him.
She you mother? He pointed to Kate Danvers, high bred and
aristocratic in her scorn.
She my mother, the 'breed went on, fiendishly, indicating
the toothless, loathsome squaw, whose vindictive eyes never wavered
from Burroughs' craven face. Him both our father! The common parent
was given a fillip of a contemptuous thumb and finger.
Burroughs could not look at his wife, but he threw a furtive glance
at the flower-like face of his daughter. Her look of terror and of
shame was more than he could bear. Before all men he had been
confounded; before the wife whose love he had never won, his own
passion proving his torment; before his daughter, the idol of his
As the surge of curious men pressed nearer he saw the malevolent joy
of Joseph Hall and of Chaplain McDevitt, and he knew who had planned
his disgrace. He saw Danvers, vainly striving to reach his sister.
Let me out! came in a thick gurgle from his swelling throat.
Something in his face made the throng give way and Moore quickly pushed
him outside into the midnight cold.
Go back for my wife and daughter, Burroughs commanded. Go back!
The street was empty, for everybody had stayed within the capitol to
feast on the sensation of the Indians and the fainting women. Moore
They'll be right out, Bob. Let me call a cab.
Go! The old, imperious fire came from the deep-set eyes.
Moore had no sooner turned his back to obey than a pistol shot broke
The rabble poured from the capitol at the sound of the shot. Moore,
the only friend that Burroughs ever had, raised his companion. The
plotting and planning was over. Robert Burroughs, having forced his way
through life's stockade, stepped out, alone, into the Dark Trail.
In the confusion of that midnight scene Danvers was conscious of but
one desire, held in abeyance by the tragic necessities of the moment.
At last the surging crowd dispersed, the officers of the law performed
their hasty duty, and Moore drove away in a closed carriage with Mrs.
Burroughs and her daughter.
Then Danvers turned wearily, eagerly, like a man famished and
athirst, to the woman who meant peace and rest and inspiration.
She stood in the dim light, clinging to her brother's arm, while the
doctor waited beside the carriage.
Charlie reached out a trembling hand and looked into Philip's face.
Then he bent and kissed his sister, and gently withdrawing his arm,
gave her to Danvers. The doctor hurried the sick man into the carriage,
and it drove into the night.
The lovers clung together like tired, frightened children, and
It is all over, said Winifred, at last.
No, dear one; it is just begun!
* * * * *
TRAILS THROUGH WESTERN WOODS
By HELEN FITZGERALD SANDERS
The author-artist gives us an idyl of forest trails, cloud-swept
mountains, glacier-born cascades, gentle Selish and heart-broken Indian
chiefs, born to learn their day is past. The book will widen the
circles of those who regret the passing of the brave, free life of the
The author deserves the gratitude of the American nation for
capturing the nebulous star-mist of its beginningsand that
went before.N. Y. Times.
Illustrated by the Author. Colored end sheets.
$2.00 net; postage 16 cents.