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77f LITTLE MISERY BY ROBT. W. CHAMBERS
r (Continued from Saturday.)
When September came a hush fell
over the forest. 43ilent and more si
lent the woods grewa& the new moon
rose in the evening sky. At its first
quarter the silence deepened, at its
half the stillness was intense. Then
one black night the Full Moon of
September flashed in the sky, and a
gigantic black shadow waded out in
to the Jake and a roar shook the hills.
,The first bull moose had bellowed,
and the rutting season had begun.
Instantly the forest, the lake, the
shore, the stream were alive; the
meat-birds cried from every cedar;
the deer barked from the sedge; a
lynx howled and miauled in the sec
Now there is a season for all
things. "Each after its kind," says
the quaint Book.
Skeene sewed porcupine quills in
a semi-circle over the instep of his
moccasins, laced a string of scarlet
trout-flies across his slouch hat, and
listened to the bull moose bellowing.
When the September morn waxed
full Skeene's heart grew full, and the
blood in his neck and cheeks ebbed
and surged like moon-tides. So, on
the second night, he took his rifle and
dragged the canoe to the beach. But
his heart failed him and he went back
to his camp and rolled and grunted
through a sleepless night.
On the third evening he started on
foot, but he hesitated when the lamp
in the Carry House broke out, a red
beam in the night. He stood, wretch
ed, wistful, undecided, fingering his
rifle butt, and his heart beat to suf
focation. Then, worn out with the
fever in his veins, he slept openly
where he lay.
On the fourth night of the full
moon he went swiftly across the
ridge, unarmed, and the miles of
woodland and shore sped away like
mist, so eagerly he ran. Far on the
shore the red beam of the Carry lamp
signalled him and his blood flamed
the answer in his face.
And, as he strode up to the house,
he saw a woman on the shore looking
out into the night across the spectral
lake. It was Lois, servant at South
Carry. He had danced with her two
years ago at Foxcroft Landing, he
had sent her six- otter pelts a month
before he shot Sebato.
She was the girl he had come for.
Is it possible she expected him?
The restlessness of September had
drawn her to the lake and something
had led him to her.
And so, together, they glided away
on a trail of silver water to the
strange country, drained by strange
streams, stirred by strange winds.
At dawn the sky crimsoned the Lit
tle Misery. They slept. At sunrise a
mopse roared a salute to the coming
They awoke and kissed each other.
When the public-spirited citizens
of JFoxcroft offered $500 reward for
the capture of Skeene, Placide
L'Hommedieu scratched his greasy
chin, licked his lips, and went out to
buy cartridges. They found L'Hom
medieu a week later peacefully float
ing down Moose River in his canoe,
with a bullet in his brain.
When Skeene paddled away with
Lois, there was trouble in Foxcroft
Hale left sluice, drain and chain and
wired the sheriff at the Landing to
meet him at Moosehead Inn. The
mayor went also, and next morning
the reward was doubled for "James
Skeene, murderer, dead or alive."
Hale had never forgiven the blow
at the cut-off, but Hale had other rea
sons. They concerned Lois, servant
at South Carry, for when she left
with Jim Skeene she took Hale's be
trothal ring with her.
After Skeene had set Placide