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The Princeton union. [volume] (Princeton, Minn.) 1876-1976, February 27, 1902, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016758/1902-02-27/ed-1/seq-6/

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"Nan, you care a great deal for Mr.
Wykamp, don't you?" I said, sitting
up and trying to secure an eye-hold
upon her.
She bent lower over her work, and
a dull flush began to creep slowly up
under the softened brown of her
neck and cheek.
"Is that any o' your business?" she
queried, antagonistically.
"It is. I owe you my life, Nan, and
I can't keep silence and see you
throw yourself away on that scoun
drel
"Humph!" she said. "Paw an' maw
've been puttin' you up to say that,
I reckon."
"Neither of them has ever said a
word to me about yourself or the en
gineer. But I know what I am talk
ing about. The man is a scoundrel,
dyed in the wool. He doesn't mean
to be honest with you he has never
meant to be honest with any woman
he has ever made love to,"
She went on sewing steadily, and
but for the dull flush deepening now
to crimson I should not have known
that I had touched her. But the ex
plosion came at last.
"You're cowards, all of you!" she
burst out, the beautiful eyes which
were her major charm flashing in
dignation, and the ripe lips curling
scornfully. "You don't darst say it
to his'n facenary one of you!"
"Be patient, Nan, if you ean. I'm
only trying to do you a service. Bring
him to me and I shall show you how
willingly I shall confront him with
his past and give him a chance to
clear himselfif he can."
She was silent for a full minute.
Then she said:
"He's done cleared himselfto me."
"Then he has lied to you."'
She flashed out again at that.
"I say you don't darst call him a
liar to his'n face! I said a minute
ago 'at it was paw an' maw 'at set
you on. I know better, now. Tt was
the school-ma'am that's who it was.
You needn't to tell me anything
about her. I know!"
"What has Wykamp told you about
Miss Sanborn?"
"That's none o' your business
either. But if I was her, I'd keep
mighty quiet. I'd be 'shamed to let
on, I would so."
"Miss Sanborn has never lisped a
word to me, or to anyone, Nan. And
she has nothing to be ashamed of
she was innocent asas you mean to
be. You will understand me when 1
say that if I were her brother
the world wouldn't be large^ enough
to hold Wykamp and myself."
"I don't believe it*" she said, stub
bornly "You can't prove nare thing
ag'mst himnone of you."
"I can. I can prove that which
should make most men and all
women despise him."
"Humph'" she said, again. "Talk's
mighty cheap'"
It was*now or never. I had come
to my final round of ammunition, and
if the shot missed the battle would
be lost. I took the newspaper clip
ping from my pocket-book and read
it aloud to her, prologuing it with
as much of Grantley's letter as was
necessary to clear the reporter's
story of any possibility of being mis
understood. She heard me through
with her needle at her lip, and I was
dismayed to see her eyes grow hard
with aaded incredulity. The shot
had missed.
"Let me see that," she commanded,
When I had made an end.
I returned the slip and the letter
to my pocket-book.
"Not now, Nan. You are disap
pointed and angry, as you have a
right to be. But you should quarrel
with the mannot with the facts."
"I don't belie\e nare single word
of it, an' I never will, 'less'n I see
it with my own ejes" She said it
deliberately and quite without heat.
"You've jest fixed it up amongst you,
an' it's a mean lie from beginnin' to
end If I cared enough about it I'd
tell him what-all you say."
I shrugged my shoulders. "I owed
it to you to tell you, Nan, and I've
paid the debt. The facts are exactly
as I ha\e stated them, and if you
still refuse to believe it will be the
worse for you. I have spoken first to
you because it seemed no more than
fair, but I must warn you that I
can't in justice allow the matter to
rest here."
Her needle was flying again, and it
was well that the thread was strong.
"What-all will you do?" she que
ried, without looking up.
"I shall do what I ought to have
done in the first instancego to your
father with this information."
I expected another outburst and
braced my flagging nerves against
the shock of it. ~lt did not come. She
relapsed into dogged silence, keeping
her place on the door-step and sew
ing diligently until her task was
finished. Then she went into the
house and I saw her no more.
I meant to carry out my ultimatum
that very night when Selter should
be free to listen to me. It was a haz
ardous thing to do, since it might
lead to a murder but it seemed to
be a duty clearly defined. And when
I reflected that should have ample
opportunity to suggest temporizing
measures before Selter could go to
extremities, I did apt hesita
1JS
The Trouble on the Torolito.
3T FRANCIS LYNDE.
(Copyright, 18M, by Francis Lynda.)
But the time proved unpropitious.
It was late when the farmer came in,
and when he had eaten his supper
not any diplomacy of mine sufficed
to compass an interview which might
promise to be free from interruption,
I gave it up, finally, and went to bed
in my room under the rough rafters'
consoling myse*f with the thought
that a day more or less could make
no difference.
None the less, the threatened cli
maxing of the tragi-comedy oppressed
me, and my dreams were those half
real horrors which seem too terrible
to be true, and too vivid to be phan
tasies. In one of them I fancied Nan
SHE WENT INTO THE HOUSE AND I
SAW HER NO MORE
had come to my room to avenge the
arraignment of her lover. I saw the
door open by inches, heard the creak
of the clumsy hinges, saw her figure
in the half-light made by the moon
rays silting through the cracks in
the shingling. I made sure it was a
reality and not a dream. I could
hear the night wind sighing in the
canyon, and the muffled roar of the
Torolito among its bowlders. She had
one hand behind her as if she would
keep the weapon concealed, and as
she crept nearer the horror of it
grew upon me until I could feel the
sweat standing thickly upon my fore
head. Not until the shadowy figure
had faded into indistinctness behind
the chair where I had thrown my
clothes could I break the spell and
rise on my elbow. When I was un
questionably awake, some of the im
aginings proved to be indubitable
realities. The wind was sighing in
the canyon, and the tumbling stream
lifted its hoarse roar in deep-voiced
accompaniment. The moonbeams
were sifting needle-like through the
chinks between the shingles, and not
withstanding the dim half-light, I
could have sworn that the door was
moving slightly on its hinges. Also,
the cold sweat of terror was unmis
takable.
The following morning, when I
dressed to go down to breakfast, I
felt for my pocket-possessions in me
chanical obedience to a life-long
habit. They were undisturbed but
when I glanced into the pocket-book
I realized suddenly that my dream
had been something more than a vag
ary of the night. The newspaper
clipping and the letter from Grant
ley were gone.
CHAPTER X.
AND WHAT CAME OF IT.
In deference to my illness, as well
as to the fact that I paid liberally
for my footing in the Selter house
hold, I was not required to rise at
daybreak and breakfast with the
family and I was rather later than
usual on the morning following the
night of bad dreams and worse reali
ties. Mrs. Selter served me, as she
usually did, and Nan was not visible.
Knowing the girl's excellent reason
for avoiding me, I thought little of
it at the time, being swallowed up in
anxious conjectures as to what use
she would make of the stolen letter
and newspaper clipping.
But as the day wore on and still
she did not appear, anxiety became
dread, indefinable and unreasoning,
but mighty in proportion to the por
tentous possibilities. It was to little
purpose that I tried to argue myself
into a calmer frame of mind that I
wrought out the problem of chances
again and again in a vain endeavor
to prefigure what would come of it.
At the worst, it appeared, she could
only betray me to Wykamp or, if jeal
ousy should prove stronger than
love, hold her knowledge of the
shameful facts as a sword over Wini
fred's head but, as the event was to
show forth, reckoned entirely with
out my host, as one is likely to reok
on when the inscrutable secrets of
a woman's heart are involved.
The long day brought no explana
tion of Nan's absence. From my post
of observation on the porch I saw
Wykamp ride past on his way to his
work and I made sure that he did not
repass until he returned late in the
evening at the tail of the straggling
procession of workmen. Winifred re
turned from the schoolhouse at the
usual hour in the afternoon, and my
anxious scrutiny of her face as she
came up the walk from the gate and
stopped for word, with the con
valescent before going to her room
assured me that as yet the blow had
no* iaHem rapon her. Still Nan did
not appear, and her prolonged ab
sence, and the stolid indifference of
her father and mother to it, puzzled
me not a little. I would have given
much to know what had happened
in the family councils in those early
hours of the morning when I had
slept the sleep of the unsuspecting.
By nightfall the indefinable dread
had grown -until it had become an
agony of apprehension. For tw^
days Macpherson had intermitted his
evening visits to the farm at Valley
Head and after supper I watched
and waited in the hope that he would
come. It had been no part of my
plan to make him a confidant in the
results of the Grantley investigation,
but under the changed conditions it
now seemed to be the wisest course
and I was half daft at the thought
that the story might reach him
through another channel. So I kept
my post in the hammock until nine
o'clock, and then went to my room
to stay only till I could be sure that
the family had gone to bed. When
the farm-house was still and* dark,
I found my overcoat and crept down
stairs with my shoes in my hand.
The moon was well above the up
lifted eastern horizon when I put on
my shoes and propped myself in^the
hammock to continue the pointless
vigil. There was not the vaguest
promise that anything could come of
it. At the most I could only make
sure that Nan did or did not come
home. And yet, if life itself had been
at stake, I could scarcely liave gone
back to my room and to bed.
The night was as perfect as night
can be inxa region where both night
and day are beyond the imaginings
of the dwellers in lower altitudes.
The hazeless air was tremulous with
the murmurings of nature's silences.
It seemed that I had never before
realized how white the moonlight
could be, nor how black the shadows.
The wind, what zephyr's-breath there
wras
of it, was up the valley and
on its wings came the scents of sun
cured grasses and the distance
softened notes of an accordion
played by one of the workmen in the
igineer's camp. The very atmos
phere was eloquent of peace, and the
restless urgency of the latter-day
struggle for existence seemed far
removed. After a time the moon
rode higher, and the hammock un
der the porch-roof swung in the
blackest of the shadows. The night
air began to grow cooler, and I but
toned my overcoat and filled and
lighted my pipe.
Tt must have been nearly ten
o'clock when Nan returned. I heard
her step in the road and extinguished
my pipe. She came up the walk with
footsteps lagging, as one who fights
with fatigue and she let herself into
the house silently and without look
ing to right or left. One thing, and
one thing only, had I learned by be
ing a silent witness of her home
coming She had come from some
where down the valley otherwise
the wind would not have brought
me the warning of her approach.
It was fully half an hour later be
fore I could make up my mind to go
to bed. There was less than nothing
to watch for now, and, despite the
overcoat, the chill of the night struck
deep. I climbed out of the hammock
stiffly and took a turn in the door
yard to start the blood a little. From
the gate I could see the foaming tor
rent of the Torolito rushing past on
the opposite side of the road in its
final plungings to the level of the
lower valley. I had long since re
marked that the river was always
much higher at night, and been puz
zled to account for it until Macpher
son had explained that the night
flood-tide in a *snow-fed stream is
proportioned to the heat of the pre
ceding day.
The August day had been unusual
ly hot, and the river was in full flood.
Its thunder filled the silence of the
nightmade it, I had almost said
but not to the exclusion of other
sounds. While I lingered at the gate
the click of a horse's hoofs came
wind-borne from the direction of the
engineer's camp. There was a low
cottonwood growing on the embank
ment of the ditch just outside the
gate, and I crawled between the
wires of the fence and crouched in
the shadow of the tree.
The horseman was the engineer.
He was riding slowly, and his face
was turned from me as if he were
inspecting the turbulent stream as he
followed its course in reverse toward
the upper canyon. I divined his pur
pose. Some oneSelter, I think it
washad commented upon the un
safety of the timber coffer-dam
which WTykamp
had "put in to divert
the course of the stream while the
workmen were making the excava
tion for the foundations of the per
manent structure and the engineer
was on his way to see how the
temporary barrier was standing the
pressure of the night flood.
It was no concern of mine, and but
for the fact that in the act of rising
I heard the house door open I should
have gone in to put idle speculation
to bed. But it did not seem worth
while to arouse curiosity touching
my late vigil and I crouched still lower
in the shadow ofmycottonwoodwhen
a man crept out at the slowly opened
door and went off at a shuffling run
across the nearest field. It was
Selter, and I wondered if he had been
sharing my vigil, and to what end.
He came out into the road at the
point where the ditch crossed it, still
running and when he held on up the
dry bed of the ditch instead of keep
ing to the road, I understood his ob
ject. By following the line of the
ditch and crossing the canyon on its
flume above Macpherson's placer, a
man on foot might reach the dam
workings in the upper canyon in ad
vance of a horseman on the trail.
THE -pUZSbmXfSk felONftTHT^SDAiT, F^KTJARY 27, 1902^?^^?^^
And on the broken timbering
above, within arm's-reach ^of the
drowning man, Macpherson stood and
looked down upon him. He Jiad but
to withhold his hand, and God's ven
geance would fall swift and sure
upon the poor worm writhing on its
log in the reek and spume of the
whirlpool.
CHAPTER XI.
LA PETITE GUERRJB.
It was a sodden thing, limp and
unresponsive, that Macpherson
dragged out of the maw of the hungry
flfeAgain I said it was no concern of
mine and if Selter had carried his
rifleas -he did nothe should have
gone unfollowed by me. "Once more
my hand was on the gate-latch, and
once more the warning wind brought
the click of horseshoes on the hard
surface of the road. Looking east
ward I could make out the figure of
a horseman rising and falling in a
rapid gallop up the gentle ascent
from the schoolhouse. Some vague
premonition drove me to the shadow
of my tree again, and I saw the
horseman as he cantered past saw
his face and caught a glimpse of the
short repeating rifle of the cow-boys
unslung and lying across the saddle.
It was Macpherson and Nan's long
absence was explained as clearly as
need be. It was to the young stock
man that she had carried the proof
of Wykamp^s villainy, though to what
end no man might guess. But the re
sult was before me. Macpherson had
forgotten his promise to Winifred
forgotten that vengeance belongs to
God and not to man and was on his
way to call the engineer to his ac
counting.
I was in no doubt as to the out
come. I knew Macpherson well
enough to be sure that he would give
his antagonist a fair chance to de
fend his lifeand no more. As I
have said, I saw his face as he rode
past me. There was no passion in
the fixed stare of the eyes or in the
out-thrust jaw. It was rather the
cold and unflinching determination of
a mild-mannered man goaded past
endurance, and it was terrible to be
hold.
At the moment I was sure of noth
ing but that the tragedy must be
prevented at any cost, and I set out
to run after him as fast as a sick
man might. With presence of mind
which was entirely mechanical, I
forsook the road at the point where
Selter had left it, running up the
dry bed of the ditch which traversed
the small inner valley beyond the
"hogback" on a higher level than
that followed by the rough wagon
road. As it chanced, the choice of
the ditch saved my life, though when
I had wallowed a panting quarter of
a mile in the dry sand of the (Chan
nel I was fain to curse the impulse
which had made me forsake the trail.
A hundred yards below the dam
workings my ditch crossed the trail
below and the stream by a box-flume
bridge a crazy structure on spind
ling stilts that weaved and racked" know why the dam went out, and so
under me as I ran. I did not dare to
iQok down or aside until I had won
across and then I saw that I was
too late, and that I was on the
wrong side of the stream. The
wooden coffer-dam was built out
from the other side of the canyon
and the engineer, leaving his horse
where I had once left mine, had
climbed to the top of the timbering
to look down into the seething flood
hammering at its upper side and
sweeping foam-flecked past its outer
extremity. And on the trail below,
with, his horse neighboring playful
ly with Wykamp's, was Macpherson,
waiting quietly until the engineer
should finish his inspection and come
down.
My end of the flume was in the
shadow of the canyon wall, and I
knew that neither of them could see
me but I stood up and waved my
arms and shouted to them. Mj
tongue clave to my teeth, and
whether my cries were louder than
whispers, I know not. It mattered
little the thunder of the torrent
was deafening, and no warning shout
of mine could dominate it. With
shaking knees I climbed a little
higher on the canyon wall to lay hold
of a gnarled tree growing from a
cleft in the rock. When I looked
again, the engineer had turned to
creep back over the cob-house tim
bering of the coffer-dam. In the bal
ancing instant I saw a worm-like
thread of fire eating its way up into
the black shadows on the down
stream side of the timbering saw it,
and,saw that Macpherson had seen
it. He was urging his horse up the
trail, and his ringing shout came to
me abo\e the din and turmoil of the
waters. Then the thread of fire dis
appeared and a rumbling crash shook
the mountain like the shock of an
earthquake. I heard the grinding
crunch of shattered timbers, and
when I looked again the coffer-dam
had become a mere log-jam in the
seething whirl-pool, and the released
torrent was breast-high on the trail
where Macpherson had halted. But
for the sight of him sending his
horse zigzag up the steep acclivity
opposite, I should have fainted and
faTlen. As it was, my brain reeled
and a horrible nausea seized me. For
at that moment Macpherson flung
himself from the back of the scram
bling bronco and ran out on the
wreck of the timbering to look
down into the surging maelstrom
roaring through the gap. I looked,
too, and saw what he saw. In the
spume of the caldron, clinging des
perately to one of the half-sub
merged logs of the wrecked coffer
dam, was the engineer. I saw his
face upturned in the moonlight, and
it was the face of a man whose life
had ealen out the fortitude where
with a brave man may go to his
death.
whirlpool and carried across the tot
tering wreck of the coffer-dam to the
half-finished excavation in the* oppo
site canyon slide. When I joined
him, by way of the precarious flume
bridge and a scramble along^ the
steep acclivity down which I had
once shot to a plunge in the icy
waters of the stream, he was mak
ing a fire in the shelter of the exca
vation, hurrying tremulously and
muttering to himself like a man gone
daft. In the excitement of the mo
ment he seemed to take my presence
quite as a matter of course.
"Look him over, Jack, for God's
sake, tell me if I'm a murderer!"
he gasped, going down on his hands
and knees to blow the spark in the
kindling.
He had propped the engineer in a
corner of the cutting, and I lost no
time in obeying the command. As
nearly as I could determine there
were no bones broken but there
were two or three slight scalp
wounds, and the man was well
drowned.
"Pull yourself together, Angus, and
help me," I said, throwing off my
overcoat. "The fellow's drowned, and
he's a dead man if we don't get to
work on him pretty suddenly."
Fortunately, we both knew what
to do, and how to go about it but
there was a despairing half-hour or
more of it before the first long-drawn
sigh of returning life rewarded*" our
efforts. Macpherson worked silently,
with set teeth and the tireless pa
tience of a piece of machinery and
when Wykamp began to breathe nat
urally he sank back and covered his
face with his hands. A pebble rattled
down the slope of the excavation and
I looked up. Selter was standing at
the pit-edge, gazing down upon us
like a man lately aroused from his
flrst sleep.
"Well, I'll be dad-burned!" he said,
clambering down to stare first at the
two of us and then at the uncon
scious engineer. "This yere's what
all the rumpus was about, eh? Dam
bu'sted to kingdom come, an' that
ther'" his epithet was quite accur
at but wholly unreportable
"drowned dead as a do'-nail! Hit
waked us all up down't Jie house, an'
I thort I'd thess mog along up an'
see what-all'd happened."
Mac took his face out of his hands.
"Let up on that, Jake," he said,
quietly. "Or perhaps I'd better tell
you to stick to it for your life. I
does Mr. Halcott. If he doesn't
know" indicating the sodden figure
at the other side of the fire"you
are safe to lie out of it. And you're
just in time to ^cover your tracks.
Hustle yourself down to the engi
neer's camp and rout them out. Tell
them the boss is here half dead, and
have them send for him."
Selter's face, sharply relieved in
the firelight, was a study in baffled
enmity mingled with fear. But he
made no more denials and went
straightaway on his errand, leaving
us to watch with the half dead one.
It was a long time before Macpher
son broke silence to say:
"How much do you know, Jack?"
"All of Jt, I think except that I'm
taking it for granted that Nan is
responsible for some thingsyour
being here for one."
"She isn't," he said, soberly. "But
she has told me what you didn't
think it was safe to tell me, if that's
what you mean."
I shook my head. "The ways of a
woman are past finding out. What
possible object could she have in
signing her lover's death warrant
after that fashion?"
The flush under the bronze in Mac
pherson's face may have been no
"YOU FOLLOWED HIM TO KILL HIM."
more than the reflection of the ruddy
firelight.
"Have you forgotten the pony and
the riding-lessons?" he asked, shame
facedly.
"No." "Well, it appears that she hasn't.
I oughtn't to tell it, even on her, but
it seems that she has been playing
that thing" with a contemptuous
nod toward the unconscious engi
neer "off againstagainst Miss
Sanborn." His laugh was forced, and
it was not pleasant to hear. "I don't
believe she considered him in the
matter at all. What she had in mind
was the hope that her information
would turn me against the school
mistress. As a matter of fact, she
was unwise enough to say so in so
many words."
"And instead of that, it sent you
out with murder in your heart. I
don't wonder."
The unpleasant laugh came again.
"Don't take sides with the devii he
said, shortly. "I ought to kill him,
but I've promised not to, and I"
He covered his face again, bursting
out presently in an upbubbling of
mingled wrath and remorse.
"Oh, my God, Jack! you don't know
what a temptation it was when I saw
him down there gasping and strug-
-^r^T'j'A*. p-t
gling as good as dead, and by no-1?
act of mine. All I had to do was to
turn and walk away. You're right
there was murder in my heart for
the tenth part of a second, then,
though there hadn't been up to that
moment."
"And yet you followed him up here
for the express purpose of killing
him," I persisted.
His look was of blank surprise.
"Oh, no," he said. "Haven't you
heard?"
"What ean I hear when you stay
away and I am shut up with a family
in which speech is so dear that the
common gossip of the settlement is"
at a premium?" I retorted, irritably.
"That's so I forgot. We've been
coming to blows down in my end of
the valleythe boys and Wykamp's
men. Connolly and Kilgore have
both been making camp-fires of the
stakes again, and day before yester
day the reprisals began in dead
earnest. I've lost half a dozen prime
steers and last night we saved the
hay stacks by standing guard over
them with the Winchesters. This
afternoon, Mexican George took a
pot-shot at Bart from behind a
bowlder in Elk canyonmissed him,
of course a Greaser can't hit any
thingand I thought it was about
time to serve notice on the man who
is responsible. That's what brought
me up here to-night. They told me
at the camp that Wykamp had come
up here, and I thought it would be a
good chance to get him by himself."
"Forgive me, Angus," I said, in
honest contrition. "You're a better
man than I thought ycu were a bet
ter man than I'd be under the same
conditions, I'm afraid. What will you
do?"
"Get over on the aggressive side"
The man on the~other side of the fire
stirred uneasily and groaned, and
Macpherson waited until I made sure
that Wykamp wras
dropping. "Get over on the aggres
sive side, and begin the development
of my placer. As a stockman they
can do me up cold, every time but
when I turn miner I shall have the
entire legal machinery of the great
est mining state in the union behind
me. The boys will be up here with
their picks and shovels to-morrow
morning, and we shall build a flume
and make a peremptory demand for
water. We'll get it. Not even the
Glenlivat syndicate is big enough to
buck against a miner's right. And
when we've used the water in our
riffle-boxes, it can go down to the
settlers for their burnt-up fields."
"I see," I said,. "Why didn't you do
it long ago?"
"The time wasn't ripe. Between
us, I don't hope to make anything
out of the placer. We've all planned
at it now and then, and nobody has
found more than a few 'colors' to the
pan. But it comes in pat now, just
at the right time. Public sentiment
is strong on the side of the settlers,
and against the land company and
I happen to know that President
Baldwin is beginning to be a bit un
certain about this location for the
dam. Did you see the pit before the
coffer-dam went out and filled it up?"
"Yes." "It was fully 20 feet deep and they
were still in this loose shale. If they
go on and put in their masonry, it's
pennies to dollars that the first
cloud-burst takes it out. Baldwin
knows the risk, and so do the stock
holders. The stock has gone down
ten points in as many days. That
was why they got together and made
a pool to try to buy me out."
"Decent figure?"
"Fairly decent. They strained a
point all the points, I imagine, in
the present uncertain condition of
affairs but I wouldn't sell for twice
fifty thousand
"I don't blame you it's more than
a money fight."
Macpherson's soft brown eyes
flashed responsively. "Much more.
We charge Selter wth making it a
personal matter, but I'm afraid it's
come to be that with me. The day
when I can run that fellow out of
this valley at the tail of a broken en
terprise will be a happy one for me.
It's the least I can doand the
most. And I'll do it, if I live."
Wykamp flung his arms abroad like
a man in a bad dream. I laughed
aloud. The grim humor of the thing
was irresistible. Here for an hour we
had been straining every nerve to
save the life of a man whose death
was every way desirablebut I
checked myself at once. Macpher
son was glowering at the prostrate
figure beyond the fire in a way that
made me shiver. I made haste to
bank the fires of wrath.
"It is unfortunate that Selter has
put himself on the wrong side of the
criminal fence," I remarked.
Macpherson responded quickly, asif
glad of the diversion.
"It is devilish unfortunate. The
thing hangs by a thread. If that fel
low suspects that it was giant
powder and not the flood, we'll all
hear from it."
"Will he suspect?"
Macpherson shook his head. "He'll
reason it out, if he hasn't been too
badly shaken up. And we'll be lucky
if we're not dragged in as witnesses."
He went silent for a minute, and
when he continued his thought was
for me, "Say, Jack suppose you take
the back track to the farm-house.
There is no need of your being
mixed up in this! and if you're not
here when his men come, no one will
be the wiser. Follow the bed of th
ditch and you won't meet them."
The advice was sound, but I hesi
tated.
"But that will leave you to bear
the brunt of it alone, Angus."
He waved me off. "Go on, and go
now, or it will be too late. I'm in
for it, anyway, because he saw me."
Get a move."
&-
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4.
still beyond eaves-
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