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It had come so suddenly that after
wards neither of the two dauntless
prospectors coula have described the
primal catastrophe or its later de
velopments. David Rose seemed to
see the great mountain slide into a
plunging, distorted mass. In the arms
of an avalanche he was carried thou
sands of feet, to be flung senseless
into a frightful chasm. To his un
conscious comrade it was a dim sense
of motion and then nothingness.
Six months after that event a thin,
ragged man entered the trading post
at Vitma, with a brief mournful story
and a simple request.
"Where from?" the superintendent
had asked him.
"Picked up after an avalanche, my
partner gone, penniless, sick, friend
less, and taken in by an Indian fam
ily. I have tramped it 350 miles to
get this far and beg work to start on
my way home."
Thus Wade Rayner, this as an end
of his hard earned savings. This the
homecoming with the bright yellow
gold that had lured him to peril and
suffering, and, most mournful of all,
the loss of the best friend he had in
"There's a pack train starting next
week," explained the trader. "It's all
tramp, for the dogs are light, the
trail bad and the sledges carrying
all they can stand. Will you try it?"
"I would crawl over the trail on
my hands and knees, but I must get
"We'll help you do it," said the
superintendent, but in his secret mind
he doubted if the applicant would sur
vive one-half the journey planned.
Ambition was dead in Wade Ray
ner, hope pretty near, but love!
poor, ill, beggared, still did love seem
to shine, a beckoning beacon at the
far distant end of the lonely desert
At last! Heaven seemed near
when finally the wearied pack rain
reached the first post of civilization.
Wade Rayner had received a little
package of gold dust for his services
as an attendant on the train. In an
inside pocket he carried two minute
nuggets. They represented all he had
found in the land where he had ex
pected to gather the yellow treasure
all along the highways.
He converted these small posses
sions into current coin. Then a train
for the East. More dreams, rapid,
eager, suspenseful, and one evening
The .train ran five miles from the
village and he had to cover the rest
of the distance on foot.. How strange
to near the old sand pits, the creek
stretch and then the hole in the
fence! Ah! beyond that the loved
one. Here had he seen May Wool
son last. She seemed to beckon him
on. and he crossed lots to the little
garden surrounding the Woolson
The house was lighted. How glad
some, how welcoming it looked! And
there was a light in May.'s own room
and May herself.
She stood before a mirror dressed
in bridal attire, wedding flowers in
her hair. A chill struck the heart of
"She believes me dead and "
He tottered away. A man passed
him by, stared at him, went on, look
ed back. In a vague, baffling tremor
Wade Rayner made his way along
back to the hole in the fence. There,
leaning against the aged timbers, he
looked out on the dark world beyond.
Its cheerlessness seemed all there
was left for him.
"Another's!" he breathed. "It must
be true. I will go. What right have
I, a beggar, a broken man, to intrude
upon her welfare?"
He turned at the sound of foot
steps. The man who had passed him
with a stare was hurrying with a
white robed form towards him.
"Wade! oh, my lost darling, Wade!"
and May Woolson was in his arms.
He had come back oh, that was
all, enough, everything she sobbed
out her heart's devotion. , Beggared?
oh, what was that against the flow-