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"AfteT a few months I -shall ask
Nanette11 to marry me," continued
Jean. "She loved me before you
came van d she will love me again."
. He whipped the knife out of his
belt, but Alphonse, who had been
watching for that movement, flung
himself at' him and the two men
wrestled in Ihe deep snow. To and
fro they staggered. Jean was much
stronger than Alphonse, but the two
were fighting for one man's life, and
that man's-flesperation lent him new
strength. Finally Alphone managed
to shake off his assailant and leap
into the sleigh.
"Mush!" he shouted to theloaders,
and' as they rose he saw, out of the
corner of his eye, Jean rushing to--
ward him again.
But the sleigh started off, and Jean
was left behind. He could .not catch
the fugitive with his fleet-dogs. Al
phonse turned and saw Jean sitting
by the roadside looking at him. ,
Then td his horror Alphonse real
ized that one -of the sacks of mail
had fallen out of the sleigh. He saw
it lying by the side of the trail. He
knew that it 'was safe enough, for
Jean Petit, though he was willing to
"fcake the chances of murder, would
not dare to touch the mail. But the
loss of it meant the loss of Alphon
se's position. Besides, there was the
matter of duty and Nanette.
Alphonse halted the-dogs, stepped
but and went back. He saw Jean
eyeing, him. Jean did not move. Al
phonse stepped down and picked up
the 'sack it was only a little one.
"Jean," you acted foolishly," said
Jean rose to his feet and came to
ward him, looking uncertainly abour
him. "I am sorry, Alphonse," he
, Alphonse stretched out his hand.
Jean Petit made a lunge and the hid-,
den knife went into v Alphonse's i
breast-below tne neart.
Alphonse staggered and fell, the
'mail bag on top of him. The blood
gushed from-the wound. 'Faintly he
heard Jean shouting triumphantly";
ie saw the crazed man lean over?
him and then Jean was striding
away upon lis snowshoes as fast as.
he could go, f
"When he was out of sight Alphonse3
staggered to his feet and carried the
blood-drenched mailbag to the
sleigh. He collapsed inside itbut
not before he,had ordered the dogs"
The dogs started and now even
the thought of Nanette had gone
from Alphonse's mind. One instinct
femained-to get the mails through.
Half fainting, Alphonse braced his
body in the -narrow sleigh, propping i
the inailbags lest they should tall.
The dogs went on at a gallop, but,
finding that their master's hand no
longer stayed them, they went more
slowly. At the foot of the hexjt hill
they stopped. Alphonse opened his
eyes to see Jean before him again.
All the drink had gone out of Jean
Petit. Realizing what he had done
he had run before the sleigh through
the birch woods. "Alphonse!" he
shouted, "let me look at your
woundTf " , v
Alphonse groaned. "If you kill
me, Jean Petit, ,wait until the mail
reaches Esquimaux," he said. "No
body will be about in this cold. It
will be easy to finish me after the
mails are- in the village and to es
cape." "I dfd not mean to wound you, Al
phonse," sobbed Jean. "I was mad
because of Nanette. Let me see the
He stepped into the sleigh and
tore open Alphonse's sheepskin coat
Although the wound had bled pro
fusely, it was only a flesh one. The
rib had turned the point of the knife,
and a small artery, which had been
severed, had stopped bleeding al
ready. Jean bound up the wound
and fastened Alphonse's coat about
"Lie there!" he said. "I shall walk
with the (Jogs or ride on the step be
hind and take the mails in for you.