Under Sealed Orders
by H. A. Cody
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"I can't help that," Mr. Sinclair angrily retorted. "It's none of my business if she is poor. Where would we be, I'd like to know, if we handed out to such people? Why, there are thousands of them."

It was in no happy frame of mind that Mr. Sinclair left the house and made his way down town. Reaching his office, he seated himself before his desk and spread out a somewhat soiled piece of paper. Over this he ran his finger until it stopped at a certain mark. "Camp Number One," he muttered. "Ha, ha! good timber there, and close to the line, too. Camp Number Two—much nearer the line," and his finger moved over the paper to another mark. "Camp Number Three, and over the border into the enemy's country, ha, ha! Good for five thousand. Pine timber, straight and clean as masts, and thick as hair on a dog's back. How they'll squirm, those country clogs, when they see their good logs floating down the river. But they're mine. The new line is right, for the best surveyor in the Province ran it. Fifty rods inside the old one, ha, ha! I expect they'll make a fuss and put up a big kick. But I'll fight them, and then we'll see what money will do."

A knock sounded upon the door, and three men entered with hats in their hands.

"Mr. Sinclair, I believe," the spokesman began.

"Yes, that's my name, and what can I do for you?" the lumberman replied.

"Well, you see," continued the other, "we've come to the city on purpose to have a talk with you about that line you had run between your land and ours."

"Well, and what about it?" snapped Sinclair.

"We've been appointed a committee to inform you that your men are cutting logs over the line, and are encroaching on the shore lots. They began day before yesterday."

"What, the men of Camp Number Three?"


"But that timber is mine," Sinclair replied. "I sent a surveyor there last summer and he found that the old line was wrong. A new one was run which gives me fifty rods off the rear of your shore lots."

"There must be some mistake, Mr. Sinclair," the countryman calmly returned. "Our forefathers received their lands as grants from the Crown after the Revolutionary War. A line was then run which separated the shore lots from that portion of land known as the 'Dinsmore Manor,' and there has been no dispute over it until now."

"Look here!" and Sinclair sprang to his feet. "I know my business and attend to it. You attend to yours. The new line is right and, by heavens, I'll stick to it!"

"We are attending to our business," the countryman replied, "and we'll show you, wealthy though you are, that you can't work any bluff game on us. But," and here he lowered his voice, "Mr. Sinclair, we don't want to quarrel. We came chiefly to tell you that your men in Camp Number Three are cutting the logs on the farm of a poor widow with several children. If you are a man of any heart you will see that the work is stopped at once."

"What, cease for a widow and her brood? Never! There is the Poor House—let her go there; and the Orphanage is the place for the kids if they are not old enough to work. Such people only injure a settlement, and you should be glad to be rid of them. So, gentlemen, as I have much business on hand, I wish to be alone."

"And you will do nothing to help that poor woman?" the three men asked as one.

"No, nothing. Do your best. If you wish to lose your farms, go ahead. Good day."

Christmas came on Thursday, and on Tuesday morning Mr. Sinclair informed Lois that he was going away and would not be back until the end of the week. It was during breakfast that he told her this, and Lois paused in the act of pouring his coffee.

"And you'll not be here for Christmas?" she asked in surprise.

"No. Christmas means nothing to me. I intend to visit my camps. I should have gone before, as no doubt the men are loafing. I am going to surprise them. They'll never expect to see me at this season of the year. The men'll want to take three days off, and I can't allow it. They always come back unfitted for work after their celebrations. They'll do nothing of the kind this year if they expect to work for me."

Lois knew only too well how useless it was to try to reason with her father when he had once made up his mind. She had learned from bitter experience in the past that the less she said the better it would be. Nevertheless, her heart was very sad at the change that had come over her father. Never before had he gone away fit Christmas time, and it was the one day in the year when he was more pleasant than usual. What would be the outcome of it all? she wondered.

That very morning as soon as breakfast was over Mr. Sinclair left for the scenes of his lumbering operations, about fifty miles from the city. He travelled with a horse and sleigh, and on the second day he reached Camp Number Two shortly after the men had finished their mid-day meal and were starting back to their work. No sooner had Sinclair entered the cabin than his eyes fell upon a man lying in one of the bunks.

"Hello, Stevens," he called to the foreman, "who is this taking life so easy, when the rest of us are struggling for our daily bread?"

"Oh, that is Robins, one of our best men," was the reply. "He took sick this morning, and I would have sent him to the shore at once only to-morrow will be Christmas Day and I thought he could wait until to-night when the teams will be going out, and——"

"Going out! Going out, are they?" Sinclair interrupted. "And who gave orders to quit on Christmas Day, I'd like to know?"

"We always quit on that day, sir," Stevens stammered. "It's been the custom for years, and I took it for granted——"

"Yes, that's just the trouble. You take too many things for granted. But I tell you this, Christmas is all nonsense. It breaks up the work, and the hauling season is none too long at the best. I'll have none of it. You'll work or quit, and that's the end of it."

"But what about Robins?" questioned the foreman, whose thoughts were travelling away to a little group of bright faces anxiously awaiting his home-coming for a jolly Christmas.

"Isn't there any spare team?" Sinclair asked.

"None to spare, sir. We've only the bob-sleds, and they're not much for a sick man to ride on. But," he added after a pause, "we were going to fix up something to-night, sir."

"Confound it all!" Sinclair exclaimed. "What are we going to do? I can't afford to let a double team go, and besides, it would mean a loss of two days. Let me see. How far is it to Camp Number Three?"

"Three miles if you go by way of the cut-off, but four if you go around. The cut-off hasn't been used much by the teams this winter, and it is little more than a foot-path."

"How far is it to the cut-off?" Sinclair asked.

"About two miles."

"Well, look here, Stevens. You drive me to that cut-off, and then get some one to take that sick fellow out with my rig. I'll walk the rest of the way to the camp, and stay there till you come for me."

When the cut-off had been reached, Sinclair started off on a brisk walk in the keen frosty air. He even felt quite young and cheerful as he moved forward. But the trail was rough, and his coat was very heavy, so after walking for some time he began to feel weary.

"This is a long trail," he muttered. "Confound that sick man! What business had he getting laid up and causing all this trouble."

Hardly had the words left his mouth before his foot struck the stump of a small tree, and with a cry of pain he sank upon the snow. Recovering himself he tried to walk, but so great was the agony when his right foot touched the trail that he groaned aloud.



Peter Sinclair was now in a serious predicament. Fortune had favoured him so long that to be thus blocked by a mean little stump was too much for his excitable nature. He raged and railed against everything and everybody in general. But the tall stately trees were silent witnesses to his passionate outbursts, and poor sympathisers. When sober thoughts at length came to him, he began to realise the seriousness of his position. Out of hearing of the camp, on a trail seldom travelled; a sprained ankle; the short December day closing down, and the unknown terrors of the lone forest. The perspiration stood out in beads upon his forehead as he viewed the situation.

At last he started to limp along the trail, but at every step he staggered into the snow and fell heavily forward. He tried to crawl, but so slow was his progress and so weary did he become that this was soon abandoned. And there he lay, thinking as he had never thought before. His business was forgotten, and several times he remembered the sick man lying in the bunk at Camp Number Two. And all this time the sun sank lower to rest, and long shadows stole among the great trees like fearful monsters creeping upon him. He became cold, too, and his body shivered, while his teeth chattered incessantly.

When it seemed to him that he had lain there on the snow for hours, he heard a noise, and looking along the trail he saw a little red dog bounding straight toward him. How often had he spurned just such a cur with his foot, on the city streets, but never did any creature seem so good to Sinclair as did that lean canine specimen before him.

"Good doggie," he called. "Come here, doggie."

But the animal remained at a safe distance, barking furiously, at the same time casting glances back along the trail as if expecting some one from that quarter. Soon a sturdy figure appeared in sight with a rabbit over his shoulder. He stopped in amazement at the scene before him, unable to comprehend its meaning.

"Come here, sonny," Sinclair called out, fearing the boy would take fright and disappear.

But the lad stood perfectly still as if turned to stone.

"For heaven's sake!" Sinclair continued, "come and help a poor stricken man who can't walk."

At this appeal the boy drew nearer, and seeing that it was only a man lying in the snow, the startled expression faded from his face.

"What's the matter, and watcher want?" he asked.

"I've sprained my ankle and can't walk," was the reply. "Is there any house near? Can't you bring some one to help me?"

At this the lad became electrified into new life. His senses returned, and he grasped the situation in an instant.

"Gee whiz!" he exclaimed. "Mighty lucky I came to my rabbit snares to-night instead of t'morrer. Y'see, that's Christmas Day, and we don't do no work then."

"Lucky for me you came to-night, my boy," Sinclair replied, and then he remembered how he had denounced the day but a short time before. "But I can't stay in this place all night. Can't you get somebody to help me?"

"Y'bet," the boy responded. "Buck and Bright'll help y'outer this fix. Jes' wait a minute."

At this he hurried away, and although he was gone not much over half an hour it seemed to Sinclair like an age before "Haw, Buck! G'up, Bright! Git up thar!" sounded upon his ears.

Presently he beheld the forms of two panting steers, plunging and wallowing through the snow, each crowding the other in an endeavour to maintain the firm footing on the narrow trail. When they caught sight of the dark object lying before them, they stopped, sniffed the air, and bolted to the right. But the boy with considerable skill, the result of long practice, wheeled them about, and after much shouting and exertion headed them homeward.

"Hi, thar!" he called to the prostrate man. "Kin ye manage t'git to th' sled? These steers is mighty scart, and I must stan' by an' hold 'em."

With a great effort Sinclair began to crawl slowly along the trail, and when about exhausted reached the sled.

"Hol' on now," the boy ordered, as he cracked his whip and the steers started forward. It was a rough trip, over knolls, striking stumps here and there, and squeezing between trees, when the sled had to be freed by much twisting and manoeuvring; but Sinclair thought it the best ride he had ever taken.

"Mother's lookin' fer y'," remarked the lad, when they had finally gained the good road. "She's got the best sofy out, an' was warmin' things up when I left."

Sinclair made no reply. He was cold, stiff, and too much exhausted to enter into conversation. Not until he was stretched out on the big cosy sofa in front of the cheerful fire, after his sprained ankle had been bathed and well rubbed, did he become talkative.

"My good woman," he began, "how can I ever repay you for your great kindness?"

"Oh, that's nothing," she returned with a cheerful smile. "I'm so glad Stephen went to his snares to-night. It's Christmas Eve, you see, and though I'm sorry you're hurt, yet it's nice to have some one with me and the children. It's very lonely here sometimes, and," she added after a pause, "he was here last Christmas. But," she quickly continued, afraid she had said too much to a stranger, "I hope you feel more comfortable now, sir."

"Oh, yes," Sinclair replied. "My foot is quite easy: But would you mind making me a cup of hot tea? I feel so chilly, and the tea will do me a world of good. It always helps me."

As he uttered these words a change passed over the woman's face, which Sinclair was not slow to observe.

"Never mind," he hastened to remark. "I don't wish to trouble you."

"Dear me, sir, it's not that," the woman replied, somewhat confused, as she sat down upon a splint-bottom chair, and plucked at her apron. "It's not the trouble I mind; it's something else. You see, it's this," she continued, while a flush passed over her care-worn face. "He left us last February, after one month's illness, and what with the doctor's bills and funeral expenses it was hard scraping. We tried our best to get along, and ploughed and sowed last spring. But it was a bad year for us. The frost destroyed our buckwheat and potatoes when they were just in blossom; a fine cow died, and the foxes killed our geese and turkeys. But we had our logs, and we always felt that we could fall back on them if the worst came. Then just as we had made up our minds to sell a strip to that new Light and Power Company another blow fell."

"What was that?" Sinclair quickly asked, as a new light dawned upon his mind.

"It was a letter, sir, that I received from Mr. Sinclair, the manager of the city Light and Power Company, and who does a big lumbering business besides. He told me that a new line had been run by a surveyor between the shore lots and the old Dinsmore Manor, and that all of those logs which I had hoped to sell belong to him. He warned me not to sell or cut one, as he would prosecute me at once if I did. His men have already begun work, and I am helpless to stop them. It is no use for me to go to law as I have no money, and it takes money to fight a man like that. Would you like to see the letter, sir?"

"No, no," Sinclair hastily replied. "That man is a dev——. Excuse me, madam, but I mean he is a hard man."

"Well, you see," the woman continued, "things got so bad that we had to give up every little luxury, and the few dollars we could make from eggs and butter went for flour, clothing and taxes. Tea we found too expensive, and it was given up. That is the reason why I can't give you any to-night, sir. And the poor children are so disappointed. Never before were they without presents at Christmas time. But this year——" Here the woman stopped and put her apron to her face. It was for only an instant, however, for quickly removing it she continued: "But gracious me! here I've been bothering you with my long tale of woe, when you, poor man, have troubles enough of your own. I have some fresh bread, butter, milk and preserves, which you shall have at once," and the little woman bustled away, leaving Sinclair alone with his thoughts.

"Isn't it about time the mailman was along?" the mother asked that evening, after the chores had been done, and the children were sitting quietly in the room for fear of waking the stranger who had fallen asleep upon the sofa.

"I believe I hear his bells now!" Stephen cried, as he rushed to the door. Presently he came running back, his face aglow with excitement. "A bundle, Mother!" he shouted. "A big bundle! Come and help me."

The confusion thus made awakened Sinclair, who opened his eyes just in time to see a good-sized bundle carried into the room, securely bound with stout cords.

"There must be some mistake," exclaimed the surprised woman to the mailman who had entered.

"No, mum," he replied. "It's yours all right. I found it at the shore where a freightin' team left it. I don't generally carry such things. But says I to myself, 'That's fer Widder Bean, and she's goin' to have it to-night if Tim Harking knows anything.' So thar 'tis. I must be off now. A merry Christmas to ye all," and with that the big-hearted man hurried away.

"Dear me!" cried Mrs. Bean. "What can it be, and who could have sent it?"

"Let's open it, mother," Steve suggested. "Mebbe we'll find out then."

Together they all set to work, and after much tugging and labour the knots were loosened and the bundle fell apart.

Then what a sight met their eyes. Clothes of various sizes and quality were neatly piled together; complete suits for the boys; dresses for Betty and Dora, and another for their mother, besides a good supply of underwear for the whole family.

"Well, bless my heart!" Mrs. Bean exclaimed. "Who in the world has done this? There must be some mis——"

"A doll!" shrieked Dora.

"A knife!" yelled Stephen, as he seized the precious treasure, felt its keen edge and examined the handle.

Then a paper fluttered out of the bundle and fell on the floor at Mrs. Bean's feet. As she picked it up and read the contents, a light broke over her puzzled face, and her hand trembled.

"What's the matter, Mother?" Jimmy asked, noting her agitation.

"Nothing, my boy," she replied. "Only I'm so overcome at the good Lord giving us such kind friends on this Christmas Eve. This is such a lovely letter from Miss Sinclair, and she says that all these things are from the Helping Hand Society of St. Saviour's Church. Isn't it good of them?"

A groan from the sofa startled her.

"Is your ankle worse, sir?" she enquired, going to the side of the afflicted man.

"Y-y-es," Sinclair replied; "but I feel better now. I didn't mean to disturb you."

"And look here!" Stephen cried, who had at length reached the bottom of the bundle. "Well, I declare! Two packages of Red Rose tea! Hurrah! Now we kin have some fer Christmas."

"And you, poor man," she said turning to Sinclair, "shall have a good strong cup just as soon as I can make it. It seems to me I must be dreaming," and the excited woman bustled off to the kitchen.

"Fool! fool!" Sinclair mused to himself as he sipped the delicious beverage. "I thought such gifts went only to rogues and lazy rascals. I was wrong. And yet, some of that tea has reached one of the biggest fools and rogues in the whole country, and that is Peter Sinclair."

"And now, children," said Mrs. Bean, when the excitement of the evening had somewhat subsided, "it's getting late. Let's have a Christmas hymn, and then Dora must go to bed. You don't mind, sir, I hope. We always sing several hymns on Christmas eve, and last year he was here to start them, for he had a good voice."

"Oh, no," Sinclair replied. "I don't mind, so go ahead."

The mother started and all joined in; and as the words of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" floated forth, old memories came drifting into the mind of the silent listener on the sofa. He forgot for a time his surroundings and saw only the little parish church, of his boyhood days, decked with fresh bright evergreens, and heard the choir singing the familiar carols. Several faces stood forth in clear relief; his parents', honest and careworn; his rector's, transfigured with a holy light; and one, fresh and fair, encircled by a wreath of light-brown tresses.

He came to himself with a start, thinking the choir was singing "Glory to the New-Born King," when it was only the little group at his side finishing their hymn. Tears were stealing down his cheeks, which he quickly brushed away, lest his emotion should be observed.

That night, when the house was quiet, Sinclair drew forth a small note-book and wrote a few lines to the foreman of Camp Number Three. "Send word to the other camps as quickly as possible, and tell the men they need not come back till next Monday." He then brought forth a thin book and made out a cheque for no small amount, payable to Mrs. Bean on account.

Little did Peter Sinclair realise that the letter written to the foreman would never reach its destination, and that months would pass before the cheque would be presented for payment.



All through the fall and winter Jasper had been very busy. The planning of the work, the overseeing of the men and ordering the supplies rested upon him alone. He felt the responsibility, and he was determined that as far as he was concerned the company should not be disappointed in the amount of logs cut and hauled to the large "brow" near the falls. He left the woods only when it was absolutely necessary for him to do so. Several times he was tempted to drive to the city when new supplies were needed instead of ordering them over the telephone from Creekdale. He longed to see Lois, even for a few minutes. Such a visit, no matter how brief, would be an inspiration to him in his arduous work. But he had always resisted the temptation, however, and had remained firmly at his post. His desire to see her and to listen to her voice was great. But he dreaded the idea of presenting himself at her home when she might have company, and he would feel so much out of place in their presence. It might embarrass Lois as well, so he reasoned, and it would be better for him not to go.

As Christmas drew near the men began to talk much about going home. Jasper listened to them but took no part in the conversation. All of the men had homes to go to. Most of them were married, and were looking forward with eagerness to the holiday with their families. But to Jasper the season brought little joy. No one was expecting him, and no face would brighten at his home-coming. There was only one place where he longed to go, and one person he desired to see. If he could but feel that her eyes would sparkle and her heart beat with joy at his presence, he would not have hesitated a moment. But he was not sure, and so he decided to remain in camp and keep watch over the supplies while the rest went home. If Christmas Day should be fine, he planned to pay a visit to old David in the afternoon. He might hear something about Lois from the Petersons, so he thought, and that would be some comfort.

Jasper lived in a small snug log cabin which he had built for his own special use. He wished to be alone as much as possible each night that he might think over the work for the next day, and also have quietness for reading. He had supplied himself with a number of books, and these were placed on a small shelf fastened to the wall. So long had he been denied the privilege of good literature that he now came to the feast like a starving man. Hitherto, his mind had craved only solid works of the masters. But of late he had turned his attention more to books of romance, for in them he could find more heart satisfaction than in the others. How he revelled in the outstanding characters of Dickens, Scott, Thackeray and Kingsley. But it remained for Charles Reed to completely captivate him in "The Cloister and the Hearth."

He was reading it this Christmas Eve as he lay stretched out upon his cot. The lamp was at his head and the camp stove was sending out its genial heat. It was a scene of peace and comfort. But Jasper thought nothing of his surroundings as he lay there, for he was lost in the tragic story of Gerard and Margaret. Nothing had ever moved him as much as the sad tale of these two unfortunate lovers. His disengaged right hand often clenched hard as he read of the contemptible ones who plotted to separate them. But how Margaret appealed to him. What strength of character was hers, and how true and unselfish was her love through long, trying years.

At length, laying aside the book, he began to meditate upon what he would do under like circumstances, if Lois' love for him were as deep as that of Margaret for Gerard. He blamed Gerard for what he considered weakness on his part. Why did he not arouse himself and throw off the shackles which bound him? What right had any Church to separate two loving ones, and make their young lives so miserable?

While thus musing Jasper fell asleep. He was awakened by a loud rapping upon the door. With no idea what time it was he sprang to his feet, hurried across the room and threw open the door. As he did so he saw a young lad standing before him. His face was flushed and he was panting heavily as if from a long run.

"Hello! Who are you? And what do you want here at this time of the night?" Jasper demanded.

"I'm Steve Bean, Betty's brother," the boy replied as he stepped briskly into the cabin. "My, that was a hard run!" he added. "I left home jist a quarter to twelve an' I don't think I've been over twenty minutes comin'."

"Is it that late?" Jasper asked in surprise, as he drew forth his watch. "Why, it's half-past twelve! I didn't think I was asleep that long. But, say, boy, what do you want at this time of the night?"

"I want ye to go fer the doctor as quick as ye can."

"Go for the doctor!" Jasper gasped. "Who's sick? Your mother?"

"Oh, no; she's all right. But there's a man at our place who is pretty bad, I guess. I found him last night on that old cut-off when I was visitin' my snares. He had a sprained ankle, an' couldn't walk. I got the steers and toted him to our place. Guess he got a bad cold while he was layin' there in the snow, fer he took awful sick in the night with chills, an' ma's afraid he'll die. She kept Jimmy to help her an' sent me to git you to fetch the doctor."

"But why didn't you get one of your nearby neighbours to go?" Jasper enquired. "You have lost valuable time already."

"H'm, I guess you don't know our neighbours. They're kind enough an' would do all they could. But their horses are about as slow as oxen. So ma says, 'Steve, you jist hustle fer Mr. Jasper. He's got a horse that goes like a streak of lightin'. He'll go all right when ye tell him you're Betty's brother.' So I took the short-cut through the woods, an' here I am. Will ye go?"

"Sure," Jasper replied as he reached for his coat and hat. "But who is that man? And where did he come from?"

"I don't know; never saw him before. He's quite oldish, though."

"Didn't your mother ask him what he was doing there alone in the woods?"

"No; she didn't like to ask him. She thought maybe he was goin' to Camp Number Three, which is not far from our house, an' on our land, too."

Jasper paused in the act of lighting the lantern and looked into Steve's face.

"Why, didn't you go there for help?" he asked.

"What! go to them skunks fer help?" and the boy clenched his fists. "Never! They're stealin' our logs an' we can't do nothin'. De'ye think we'd ask old Pete Sinclair's men to do anything fer us? We'd die first. Jimmy an' me's been waitin' fer some time fer old Pete to come our way. An' when he does——" Steve's clenched right fist shooting out straight before him supplied his lack of suitable words to express the depth of his feelings.

An idea suddenly flashed into Jasper's mind with a startling intensity.

"What does that man look like?" he demanded in a voice which surprised the boy.

"Oh, he's somewhat oldish, as I told ye; rather thick-set; has a heavy moustache, an' looks as if he has always had plenty of good things to eat. I don't know as I can tell ye much more about him."

Jasper had blown out the lamp and opened the door before Steve had finished speaking. He was now very impatient to be away. There was only one man, he felt quite sure, who would be prowling along that lonely trail on a Christmas Eve, and that man would be Peter Sinclair. It was of Lois he thought and not the sick man as he hurried to the stable, harnessed Pedro, and made him fast to the sleigh.

"You go back home, Steve," he ordered, "and tell your mother that I have gone for the doctor."

Pedro did not like the idea of being taken out of his warm stable at such an hour of the night. But when once upon the firm road he gave his noble head a toss and sped along at a fast clip. He had not been driven much of late and was in excellent form. It was a clear star-light night, with not a breath of wind astir. Jasper not only enjoyed the ride in the bracing air behind such a fast horse, but the feeling that he was doing it for Lois' sake filled him with satisfaction. How he longed to speed straight to her with the message. But, no, that would not do. Her father, he believed, was in need and must be cared for first.

It took him somewhat over an hour to reach the doctor's house and to arouse him from sleep. The latter was in no enviable frame of mind when he had admitted Jasper and learned the object of his visit.

"Confound it all!" he growled. "What do people mean by getting sick in the night! Why don't they take the day for it! But I don't see how I can go now. My horse threw a shoe coming home last night, and I wouldn't think of putting her on the road without being properly shod."

"I'll drive you there," Jasper replied, "and bring you back as well. But we must have you to-night, and at once. If he is the man I think he is, you will not regret going."

"Who is he? Any one I know?" the doctor queried, now somewhat interested.

"Yes, you know him. But I shall not mention his name until I am certain. Will you come?"

"Oh, yes, I suppose so," the doctor replied as he moved wearily away to get ready for the journey. "I have had so many night calls of late that I am tired out, and was hoping to have a good rest, especially on Christmas Day."

In less than half an hour Pedro was again bounding nimbly over the road, this time headed straight for Mrs. Bean's ten miles off. Jasper believed that the doctor slept most of the way for he never uttered a word from the time they started until they drew up before Mrs. Bean's house.

The sound of the bells brought Jimmy to the door, and asking him to stable Pedro and give him something to eat, Jasper accompanied the doctor. He was anxious to find out as soon as possible whether his surmise was correct about the sick man. If so, he had his mind all made up what he would do, and there was no time to be lost.

Mrs. Bean was waiting at the door to receive them, and led the way at once into the little sitting room which was warm and cosy.

"Where's that man?" the doctor asked as he threw off his coat. "You might have waited until morning before sending for me. It's no joke to come so far on a cold night like this."

"But I was afraid he would die, sir," Mrs. Bean replied. "He is a very sick man. He's in there," and she pointed to a door which led from the sitting room.

After warming himself for a few minutes before the stove, the doctor entered the small bedroom closely followed by Jasper. A shaded lamp with the wick turned down stood on a little table by the side of the bed. Though the light was dim, it was enough for Jasper to recognise the man lying upon the bed.

"You know who it is," he remarked in a low voice as he turned to the doctor.

"Good heavens! it's Peter Sinclair!" was the astonished exclamation. "What in thunder is he doing here?"



Jasper did not remain long in the bedroom. There was nothing there that he could do and he would be only in the way. He found Mrs. Bean in the kitchen putting some wood in the stove.

"Do you know who that sick man is?" he asked.

"No, I have not the least idea," was the reply. "He is a stranger to me, but that makes no difference. The Bible bids us to entertain strangers for they may be angels unawares. Isn't that so?"

"But the Bible doesn't say that they will all be good angels, does it? Suppose the stranger you entertain should turn out to be your enemy, for instance?"

"Why, what do you mean?" and the widow looked her surprise. "How could an angel be one's enemy?"

"Doesn't the Bible speak about evil angels? If people were troubled with them in olden days I guess affairs haven't changed much since. Now, suppose the stranger you have entertained should be your enemy unawares instead of your friend, what would you do?"

"It wouldn't make any difference in my care of him," Mrs. Bean emphatically replied. "I should do just as the Scripture tells me, 'If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.' That is what I should do."

"Well, I guess you'll feel like heaping on the coals, all right, when you learn the name of your stranger. You had better get a shovelful ready, for I am going to tell you."

Mrs. Bean was busy setting the table for she knew how the men would appreciate a cup of hot tea and some of her fresh homemade bread after their long cold drive. She paused with a plate in her hand and looked keenly at Jasper as he stood with his back to the stove. When he had mentioned evil angels she thought that he was joking. But now something told her that he was in earnest. Suddenly there flashed into her mind an idea which made her heart thump.

"There is only one person in the world who is my enemy, as far as I know," she remarked.

"The man who is stealing your logs, eh?" Jasper queried.

"Yes. But surely he's not in there!"

"Get your coals ready, Mrs. Bean," Jasper bantered. "You can use them right away if you want to."

Mrs. Bean paid no attention to these words. Her worn face grew a shade paler and her hand shook as she laid the plate upon the table. Just then the doctor entered the kitchen.

"We must have a trained nurse at once," he began. "That's a very sick man in there, Mrs. Bean, and he must have the greatest of care."

"I shall do the best I can, sir," was the quiet reply. "No one shall ever say of me that I didn't do my duty. I have tried to do it in the past and shall try to do it still."

"I know you will do what you can, Mrs. Bean," and the doctor's voice was more gentle than usual, "but you must have assistance. No one could expect you to look after the house and take care of such a sick man as that. We must send to the city for a nurse at once."

"What about Miss Sinclair?" Jasper asked. "She should be told of her father's illness. I was planning to phone to her when we get hack to Creekdale. She could arrange for a nurse to come by train, and I could meet her at the station. This is Christmas Day and I'm afraid it will be difficult to get a nurse to come on go short a notice. She would have to come on the suburban this evening, though, as that will be the only train she would be able to get."

"Do the best you can," the doctor replied. "I shall stay here to-day. It would not do for me to leave now until some one comes to help Mrs. Bean."

The sun was just rising above the far-off horizon as Jasper rode into Creekdale. Not a breath of wind was astir, and the only signs of life were the long wreathes of smoke circling up from numerous chimneys. The village nestled on the side of a hill and thus met the sun's early smile while the surrounding valleys were still draped in shadows. To Jasper it seemed as if fairyland had burst suddenly upon his view after his drive through the sombre forest. The snow sparkled like countless diamonds and the white-robed trees stood bathed in glistening glory. It was Nature's silent symphony in honour of the birthday of the great Prince of Peace.

The telephone was at the store and it did not take Jasper long to arouse Andy Forbes and acquaint him with the object of his early visit. The storekeeper was greatly interested in the news of Peter Sinclair's illness. He knew that in a short time various rumours would be circulating throughout the parish. But he would have exact information and would be able to impress all by his hints of superior and first-hand knowledge.

It took Andy some time to get "Central" in the city, and longer still to make connection with the Sinclair home, the number of which he had found in the Telephone Directory. But at length his efforts were rewarded and he handed the receiver to Jasper.

"Guess it's her, all right," was his comment. "Her voice seems mighty shaky as if she's scared most out of her wits."

How far away seemed Lois' voice and how anxious the tone as before Jasper had even time to explain she asked about her father. Then, as briefly as possible, Jasper told what had happened to him, his illness, and where he was.

"We need a nurse at once," he said, "and if you can get one, send her out on the suburban. I will meet her at the station."

"She will be there," was the emphatic reply. "I know of one who will go without fail. I thank you very much, Mr. Randall, for all your kindness to my father."

Leaving the store Jasper made straight for the Haven where he received a royal welcome. Early though it was they were all astir for a wonderful Christmas tree had been prepared the day before, and there it stood loaded with presents.

"We had it for Betty," Mrs. Peterson explained, though it was quite evident that she and the captain as well as David were as much pleased as the girl.

Besides the presents from one another there was something for each one from Lois. As Jasper watched them unwrap their gifts and listened to Betty's exclamations of delight, a slight feeling of jealousy stole into his heart. He was the only one there beyond the orbit of Lois' circle of remembrance. He was well aware that he had no reason to expect anything, and yet how much any little token would have meant to him, for it would have told him that she had not forgotten him.

"Wasn't it kind of Miss Lois to send these lovely presents," Betty exclaimed, after she had examined everything most carefully. "And there's something for you, too, Mr. Jasper," she added. "I kept it till the last," and a merry twinkle shone in her eyes as she handed him a neatly-tied package.

"Why, who sent me this?" Jasper asked in surprise.

"Miss Lois, of course. She knew that you would be here to-day, and she asked me to give it to you when you came. This tree is her idea, you see. We would never have thought about it but for her. Isn't she great!"

Jasper took the package in his hands and held it there like a big awkward school boy. He could not trust himself to speak lest he should betray his feelings. He longed to be away in the quietness of his own cabin that he might open his treasure and that no eyes but his might look upon the gift. But Betty knew nothing of such thoughts.

"Open it, Mr. Jasper," she ordered, "I know you'll be surprised."

Slowly and carefully Jasper untied the red ribbon and opened out the paper wrapping. As he did so there came forth a grey woollen well-knitted muffler.

"Isn't it lovely!" Betty exclaimed as Jasper stood holding it in his hands staring hard upon it. "And I saw Miss Lois begin it herself just before she left for the city. She asked me what I thought you would like for a Christmas present, and I told her that you should have a muffler to keep your throat warm on cold days. She thought maybe you would rather have a book, but when I told her that you could buy books, but not a muffler like she could make, she said that perhaps I was right. Let me see what it looks like on you, for I must write and tell her all about it."

Before this torrent of words Jasper was as helpless as a child. He allowed Betty to unfold the muffler and wrap it carefully about his neck.

"There, isn't that fine, Mrs. Peterson?" she asked. "Mr. Jasper won't get cold now in his throat, will he?"

"I have never worn such a thing in my life," Jasper managed to explain. "What shall I do with it? I couldn't wear that in the woods."

"Oh, but you might need it, Mr. Jasper," Betty insisted. "Anyway, if you don't wear it Miss Lois will be so disappointed. She knit every bit of it with her own fingers, for she told me so. You should wear it because of that if for no other reason."

Jasper made no reply, but taking off the muffler folded it up and laid it upon the table. In fact, he hardly knew what he was doing so full of happiness was his heart. It was fortunate that just then Mrs. Peterson announced that breakfast was ready, for it changed the topic of conversation and gave him time to think it all over.

What a day that was at the Haven! There were so many things to talk about and such a number of questions to be asked and answered that the time sped by all too quickly. David was in excellent spirits, for he learned of the progress the men were making in the woods. Jasper heard, as well, about Lois, and Betty showed him several letters she had received from her. In every one she told of her longing for the spring that she might return to Creekdale.

When Jasper left the Haven he noticed how the weather had changed. The brightness of the day had passed and the sky was a mackerel grey. The wind, drifting in from the northeast, hummed a weird prelude to the coming storm upon the telephone wires stretched along the road.

The journey to the station was a pleasant one, for Pedro, after his rest, swung along at a swift clip. The wind was in their backs and the snow had not begun to fall. Jasper realised that the storm would not hold off much longer, and he wondered how the nurse would mind facing it for fifteen miles to Mrs. Bean's. The muffler that Lois had given him he was wearing. Betty had put it there before he left the Haven with the strict instruction to wear it, because if he didn't Miss Lois would feel badly. Never had he received any present which he valued more highly than this. And to think that Lois made it herself, especially for him, and that it had been so often in her hands. He was almost like a man beside himself as he thought of this, and several times his lips pressed the muffler in the fervency of his emotion.

Reaching the station he had half an hour to spare before the train would arrive. This gave him an opportunity to give Pedro a feed of oats in a nearby stable, for he well knew that a severe battle was ahead of him. Already the storm had set in, gentle at first but increasing in intensity as the afternoon waned. It was snowing hard by the time the train surged up to the station, and as Jasper waited for the passengers to alight he wondered whether it would be advisable to face the tempest on such a night and in the teeth of so furious a storm.

As the passengers came forth what was his surprise to see not a stranger as he had expected but Lois Sinclair. Scarcely had she stepped upon the platform ere Jasper hurried forward. Her face brightened when she saw him and she reached out her gloved hand.

"How is my father?" was her first question. "I have been so uneasy about him."

As they walked along the platform Jasper told her all he could about the sick man, and how the doctor was staying with him, to assist Mrs. Bean until the nurse arrived.

"I little expected to see you," he added, "I am afraid it will be a terrible drive in the face of this storm. But if we wait until morning the roads will be so blocked that we may not be able to get there for several days."

"Let us go to-night," Lois replied. "I can stand the storm, but it is a great pity to give you so much trouble. How far is it?"

"About fifteen miles. You get good and warm in the waiting-room while I go for Pedro. Wrap yourself up well before we start."

In about a quarter of an hour they had left the station and Pedro was speeding up the road with long swinging strides. So far but little snow had fallen to interfere with the travelling, and they made excellent progress. But after they had been on the way for about an hour Pedro was forced to slow down and walk most of the time. Drifts were forming across the road and the snow was blinding. At times they obtained considerable shelter from stretches of woods they passed through. But out in the open the tempest struck them with full force, blotting out everything from view.

But notwithstanding the discomforts of the journey, Jasper was supremely happy. For a few brief hours this beautiful woman by his side was his, and he was her guide and protector. The unexpected had happened and come what might he would always look back upon this drive as one of the happiest times in his life.

Lois, too, enjoyed the drive. She was content to sit there and to feel Jasper's strength by her side, as he guided Pedro through the night. Owing to the storm there was very little conversation. But it was not necessary. They were happy in each other's presence and words were not needed.

The farther they went the heavier became the roads and the more violent the storm. It was cold as well, and once a shiver shook Lois' body, which Jasper was quick to notice.

"Are you cold?" he asked. "I have an extra rug. Let me wrap it around you."

Carefully as if she had been a child, Jasper placed the rug about Lois' shoulders and over her head. Then, taking off the precious muffler he folded it about her body in such a way as to hold the rug in place and thus form a complete shelter from the driving storm. This accomplished, he reached over and drew the sleigh-robe around her body. It was but natural that his arm should remain around her for a while that the robe might be kept in place. Their heads, too, drew closer together. Perhaps it was the storm which caused this movement, for it was difficult to face the tempest. It was merely an incident in their young lives, and yet it caused their hearts to beat faster and their faces to flush, the memory of which they would ever cherish. How easy then it would have been for Jasper to give voice to the promptings of his heart. He felt that Lois cared for him and would respond to his love. But just when he might have spoken Pedro plunged into the ditch, and it took all of his master's attention to get him back on the road without upsetting the sleigh.

"We nearly went over that time," Jasper remarked. Then they both laughed. Why they did so they alone knew. But from that moment they understood each other better than ever before.

It was a hard struggle Pedro put up that night as mile after mile he crept onward. The froth flew from his champing mouth and the vapour rose from his steaming body. The footing was uncertain, the snow deep, and the driving storm almost blinded him. But never for an instant did he hesitate or show the least sign of discouragement. He seemed to realise how much depended upon his exertions this night, and he felt bound to do his utmost. His master held the reins and in his judgment he had perfect confidence, and for him he would have expended the last ounce of his marvellous strength. Nevertheless, his eyes brightened and his weary steps quickened when at length he saw the lights from Mrs. Bean's house struggling faintly through the night. With a sudden spurt he dashed through the gateway and surged proudly up to the door like a hero who had fought a hard battle and had won.



Lois was destined to remain at Mrs. Bean's during January and February. She camped, as she called it, in the room next to the small one occupied by her father, and thus she was always near to wait upon him day or night. Mr. Sinclair's recovery was slow, and at first the doctor almost despaired of his life. It was a bad case of pneumonia brought on by his becoming over-heated while walking along the cut-out, and then getting chilled to the bone lying on the snow. To Lois it was a most anxious time, and during the first two weeks she seldom went out of the house. When at last her father was able to be left alone for a while she spent an hour or so out of doors with Dora and Stephen.

It was a wonderful winter to the Bean family. Never before had Mrs. Bean known what it was to be free from the oppressing spectre of want. No longer was she forced to worry about household supplies; neither was it necessary for Steve to go to the store each week with his basket of eggs and a few rolls of butter. He carried, instead, an order from Lois, and Andy Forbes was only too willing to deliver the goods in person instead of letting Steve carry them as hitherto. Jimmy was working in the woods with Jasper, and every Saturday night he brought his wages home to his mother. Thus the Bean household was well supplied with sufficient food and the widow's heart was made glad.

To some city people the life in a country house, especially in the winter time, would have been very lonely and trying. But with Lois it was different. She thoroughly enjoyed the change, and as soon as she was able to leave her father alone for a few hours she would spend the time out of doors with Dora and Stephen. To them she was a marvellous woman, and they fairly worshipped her. What fun they had coasting down the big hill over the firm crust, and what snow-houses they made when the snow could be packed and moulded into any shape. But to Lois the best enjoyment of all was to accompany Steve on his rounds to his rabbit snares. The forest was a revelation to her. She knew it well in summer, but nothing about its winter moods, such as the weird silence of a frosty morning, broken only at times by the pistol-like report from a distant tree. It startled her at first, and she stood spell-bound listening to its reverberation up and down the long woody reaches.

"The frost does that," Steve explained. "I've heard our house do the same thing on a cold night. Ma says it's drawin' the nails."

Lois liked the woods best when a stiff wind was abroad. She enjoyed hearing it roaring overhead, bending and twisting the tops of the pointed trees. The forest then seemed to be alive, and not so inanimate as on a cold frosty morning. It was more companionable in such a mood, and it seemed to her like a wonderful organ with all the stops out under the control of some mighty unseen master. It was a pleasure to her to stand and listen to the varying sounds. But Steve and Dora knew nothing of such feelings and kept her constantly on the move. The tracks of the rabbits or those of a fox thrilled them far more than Nature's mysterious melodies.

It was a Saturday afternoon such as this that Lois was with Steve and Dora on their regular rounds. They led her this day farther than usual to some new snares that Steve had set. At length they came out upon the trail leading from Mrs. Bean's to the falls, travelled chiefly by Jimmy. Lois was standing on the path with Dora by her side waiting until Steve had set one more snare in a good place he had spied. She presented a picture of perfect health and beauty as she stood there, with the rich blood mantling her face. Jasper was sure that he had never seen any one so lovely as he appeared suddenly in sight around a bend in the trail. He was walking fast with an axe over his shoulder, but he stopped in his tracks when he saw Lois before him. At first he was half tempted to turn back, lest his presence might not be desired. He did not wish to have the appearance of spying upon those before him. But before he had time to decide, Dora saw him.

"Oh, look," she cried, "there is Mr. Jasper."

Startled more than was her wont, Lois quickly turned and her eyes rested upon the young man who was now hastening forward.

"Pardon me," Jasper began, "I am so sorry that I have frightened you."

"Oh, it is not as bad as that," Lois replied with a smile. "I was not frightened, only startled. Anyway, we are glad to see you, for you have deserted us of late."

"It was not my fault, I assure you," Jasper explained. "We have been so busy that I have had no time to come, though I sent Jimmy often, to enquire about your father. I have had to go to the city every Saturday since I saw you last and never got back until late Sunday night. The company is pushing us hard, and now that the portable saw-mill has arrived there is no let-up. To-day I was cruising the woods for some special trees the company wants, and as I came so near I made up my mind to drop in and see for myself how you are all making out."

"And you will come and have tea with us?" Lois asked.

"Yes, if I shall not be in the way. It will be a great change for me."

"We shall be delighted to have you, and I know my father will be pleased to see you, for he gets so lonely at times. He is sitting up now, and likes to have some one to talk to. He has changed a great deal since his illness."

By this time Steve had finished setting his snare, and then they all started homeward. It was quite an event to have a visitor, so Dora and Steve rushed on ahead to tell their mother to set an extra place "fer company." Lois and Jasper had no inclination to hurry. Their hearts were happy in each other's company, and they walked slowly along the trail not talking about anything in particular, and laughing when there was really nothing to laugh about.

Mr. Sinclair was sitting in a big, cosy chair before the fire as Lois and Jasper entered the room. Notwithstanding the change that had come over him and his desire for conversation, he looked upon his visitor with a reserved suspicion.

"You belong to that new company, eh?" he questioned.

"Only as an employee," Jasper replied. "I am merely working for wages."

"H'm, is that so? I thought you had an interest in the concern."

"In a way I have. I am interested in getting out as many logs and poles as I can this winter. But apart from that I am nothing as far as the company goes."

"But you know all about their plans, I suppose, and what they intend to do?"

"Oh, yes, I naturally understand that they intend to supply light and power to the city and the surrounding country, but further than that I know nothing."

"Don't you know who compose the company?"

"No, I have not the least idea."

"Well, that's queer," and Sinclair shifted uneasily in his chair. "Perhaps you can tell me, though, where Crazy David comes in? He seems to be somewhat connected with the whole affair."

"He supplied the plans, so I believe. They paid him, and made him Honorary President of the company."

"And so that's all you know about it?"

"Certainly. The whole affair is as much of a mystery to me as it is to you."

"Confound it all!" and Sinclair stamped his right foot upon the floor. "I'd like to know what's coming over people, anyway. Things are getting so mysterious these days that I'm about crazy trying to puzzle matters out."

"Don't try, father, dear," Lois soothed, placing her arms about his neck. "You must not make yourself worse by worrying over such things now. Supper is all ready, and Mrs. Bean is waiting for us, so let us forget all about such matters for the present."

Jasper stayed for a while that evening, and before leaving he made arrangements with Lois to take her to church in the morning, and then they would stop at the Haven for dinner. That was the beginning of a most delightful time for Lois and Jasper. Every fine Sunday he called for her, and pleasant were the drives they had together.

When Mr. Sinclair was well enough he moved with his daughter into his own house. Lois and Betty had spent several days getting it in order and thoroughly warmed. It was really a comfort to be here, and for the first time he expressed his pleasure to Lois.

"This is a comfort," and he gave a sigh of relief as he sat in a big chair before a bright open fire. "How large and roomy this house seems after living for so long at Mrs. Bean's. But she was good to us and I hope you sent her that money."

"For the logs on her place?" Lois asked.

"Yes. I made out a cheque the night I took ill, but she never got it. This new one is larger and will somewhat pay her for the trouble we have been to her as well as for the logs."

"I mailed it to-day, father, and Mrs. Bean should get it to-morrow."

"That is good. I feel more contented now. But, see here, Lois, you will be very lonely now with only me to talk to. Isn't there any one who could come and visit us for a while? It might brighten us both up."

"I expect Margaret," Lois replied. "She said she would be delighted to come as soon as we moved into our own house. Dick, you know, will bring her in the car just as soon as the roads are settled. It will be so nice to have her."

"Do you think Mr. Randall will forsake us now?" Mr. Sinclair asked.

"Why, what makes you think that he will?" Lois replied.

"I was afraid he might, that's all. I like that young man. But he has peculiar ideas, and will not go where he thinks he is not wanted."

Lois did not reply to these words. She was sitting by her father's side sewing, and she went on calmly with her work. But she was thinking of the great change that had come over her father since his illness. He was so gentle and considerate, and was more companionable than she had ever known him to be. It caused her great joy of heart, and she was so thankful now that she had not left him when he had made life so miserable for her. She was thankful as well that he liked Jasper and welcomed his visits to the house. She, too, had wondered if he would come as often as he did to Mrs. Bean's. When Margaret arrived he might think that he was not needed and would stay away.

Jasper, however, did not stay away. He came as often as before, even after Margaret arrived. He now believed that Lois cared for him and looked forward with pleasure to his visits. Never before had the Sundays seemed so far apart. She was his inspiration in all that he did and she was ever in his mind throughout the week. How delightful it was to listen to her playing upon the piano, and then when she and Margaret sang, as they did so well together, it seemed to him as if heaven had opened and poured upon him its greatest joys. His past trials were all forgotten, and he did not worry about the future.

One balmy spring Sunday evening they were all gathered around the piano as usual singing several of their favourite hymns. Lois was playing, and the soft light from the shaded lamp fell upon her face. Jasper standing near thought he had never seen her look so beautiful. It seemed to him that her face was almost radiant and her eyes glowed with an intense light of holy fervour. Everything in that room spoke of peace and harmony. The singers were happy in one another's company, and no worry troubled them.

As they sang, the shades of night deepened over the land and brighter the light seemed to shine through the large window facing westward. A man standing just outside watched all that was going on within the room. He had approached cautiously and now stood back far enough from the window that he might not be observed should any one happen to look in his direction. To all outward appearance he might have been drawn there out of mere curiosity or by the sound of the music. His lean, smooth-shaven face betrayed nothing, and his steel-grey eyes which rested alternately upon Jasper and the fair young player were expressionless. Well it was for Lois' peace of mind that she did not see that face out there in the night, for it was the same face which had been haunting her for months.



As spring drew near David became anxious for more definite news about the work at the falls. He knew what Jasper and his men were doing and how the portable mill was busy sawing the logs which had been hauled out. But he was impatient to see what he called "the real beginning." It was, therefore, with considerable satisfaction when at last the great start was made. As the weeks passed word reached him of what was going on. He had not yet visited the falls as he did not feel equal to the walk. But he listened eagerly to all that was told him. The reports were truly marvellous of the large number of men engaged upon the "Plant," of the activity at Creekdale and all up the brook. In a few weeks the whole place had been converted into a hive of bustling industry. It seemed as if a magic wand had been suddenly waved over the place to produce such an astonishing change.

In addition to this there were men working between the city and Creekdale as well as along the road leading up-river, putting large poles in place for the electric wires. These poles had been run down the brook and then floated to various places along the river. In this way the work was facilitated. Everything had been well planned, and it seemed as if nothing had been overlooked. Though David could not visit the falls, yet he and Betty often sat by the road and watched the workmen as they dug the deep holes, erected the poles and strung the wires.

One beautiful morning as they came to the road, they saw a man not far off busily sketching a clump of white birch trees a short distance away. So intent was he upon his work that he did not appear to notice the two who were watching him with undisguised curiosity.

"Who is he?" David whispered, fearful lest he should disturb the man.

"He must be that artist who came yesterday," Betty replied. "He has a little tent over there," and she pointed to the right. "I saw him fixing it up yesterday and it looks so cosy. He spoke to me as I came by and seemed to be very friendly."

"And you say that he is an artist?" David enquired.

"Yes. Don't you see him painting now? He told me that he wants to get some pictures of this beautiful place."

"He must see the falls, girl," and David rose from his sitting position. "There is nothing here to equal it, and how nice it would be to have a picture before too great a change takes place up there."

"Suppose we tell him about it," Betty suggested, now much interested in the idea. "Come, I will introduce you."

As the two approached, the artist rose to his feet and lifted his hat.

"Why, it's my little visitor of yesterday," he pleasantly remarked. "I didn't expect to meet you so soon again. Is this your grandfather?"

"Oh, no," and Betty laughed heartily. "This is Mr. David, and I am looking after him."

"I am glad to meet you, sir," and the stranger held out his hand. "I have only arrived lately and of course do not know any of the people here, so you will pardon my mistake."

"It doesn't matter, I assure you," David replied. "Betty is really a daughter to me, so it was no mistake after all. But I hope we have not interrupted you."

"Not at all. I am not doing much this morning, just getting my bearings, as it were. But you have a wonderful view from this hill. I am hoping to get some excellent pictures. I wish I had known of this beautiful spot before."

"Wait until you see the falls," David eagerly replied. "You will find something worth while there."

"Is it far from here?" the artist enquired.

"Oh, no. You can easily find it. There is a good road there now which has been made by the new company."

"Is that the place where the light and power are to come from, of which I have heard so much?"

"So you have heard of it then? I am very glad." There was a pleased expression in David's eyes. It gave him much satisfaction to know that the news of what was being done at the falls had extended beyond Creekdale.

"Oh, yes, every one has heard about the great undertaking which is going on at Break Neck Falls," the artist replied. "I have read much about it in the city papers, and only recently there was a long article describing certain phases of the work and what would be accomplished. I have the paper with me. Here it is, if you care to read it," and the artist drew from his pocket a carefully-folded newspaper, and handed it to the old man.

With much eagerness David took it in his hands, unfolded it and ran his eyes quickly over the article with the big headlines, "A Gigantic Undertaking." Betty stepped close to his side and began to read as well. Her animated face and sparkling eyes showed plainly the keen interest she took in the whole affair, and several times she gave expression to exclamations of delight.

"Isn't it great!" she cried, when she had finished. "And what a lot they tell about you, Mr. David, and how you had that thing in your head for so long when you were very poor."

"Yes, girl," David replied, "and did you notice what is said about the benefit it will be to the city and the whole country?"

In their intense excitement they had forgotten all about the artist. But as they talked like two happy children he was watching them very closely, especially the old man. In his eyes there was a peculiar half-gloating expression, while a partly-suppressed sinister smile lurked about the corners of his mouth.

"May we show this paper to Miss Lois?" Betty asked, turning suddenly toward the artist. As she did so, she started, for intuitively she saw something in the man's face which frightened her. Whatever it was, it instantly dispelled the happiness which possessed her. The artist noticed this, and it annoyed him. He shrugged his shoulder and gave a short laugh.

"Yes, you may keep the paper," he said. "I am through with it. But I must get on with my work now."

They stood and watched him as he walked away carrying with him his easel and camp-stool.

"I am afraid of him," Betty whispered to her companion. Then she shivered as if cold.

"Why, what's the matter?" David asked in surprise. "What makes you afraid of that man? He is only a harmless artist, and he was very kind to us this morning. I feel most grateful for the paper he has given us."

"I know that, but I don't want to see him again," the girl replied. "I saw something in his eyes which I don't like. I can't explain it, but it makes me afraid of him. I hope he will go away soon."

"Tut, girl, that is all nonsense," David chided. "It is just a notion on your part. I like him well enough for a stranger. What harm can he do us?"

During the rest of the morning Betty could not get clear of the feeling of fear which possessed her, and David worried much over her unusual silence. She longed to see Lois that she might talk it all over with her. In fact she had her mind made up to visit her that afternoon when an unlooked-for excitement changed the entire current of her thoughts, and put the artist out of her mind for the rest of the day.

It was just after dinner when the captain and David were out upon the verandah enjoying their pipes, when a big car lurched up and stopped in front of the house. To David's surprise he saw Mr. Westcote alight and come up the verandah steps. He at once rose to meet him.

"I have come to give you a ride in my car," Mr. Westcote informed David, after he had been introduced to the captain, and had handed him a cigar. "It is a pity to take you from such a beautiful place as this," and he cast his eyes over the sloping fields before him. "But, I would like for you to come with me to the city to-day. It is a matter of business, that is, some details which should have been attended to before."

"Has it anything to do with the falls?" David enquired.

"Yes, everything centres there," and Mr. Westcote smiled. "This affair is really important or I should not bother you to-day."

"I can be ready in a short time," David replied. He was eager now to be away, and the thought that he was needed and was in some way necessary to the working out of the plans at the falls gave him great pleasure.

In little less than half an hour the car left the Haven and sped rapidly down the road. David enjoyed the ride, and leaned back comfortably in the soft springy seat.

"You should have a car, sir," Mr. Westcote remarked as he noted how David liked the drive. "It would do you so much good to have a spin every day."

"Why, I never thought of it," was the reply. "But I would not know how to handle a car if I did have one. And besides, it would cost a great deal."

"Oh, you could easily overcome such difficulties. You are a rich man, you know, and could afford to buy a good car and keep a chauffeur to drive it for you. You have not spent all of that money you received, have you?"

"No, no; only a very small portion of it. You see, Betty and I live very quietly, and spend but little. We are planning to build a comfortable house of our own some day. We keep putting it off, though, as we are so happy at the Haven with the captain and Mrs. Peterson."

Nothing more was said about this subject during the rest of the ride, and in about an hour and a half they reached the city and drew up before a large building on one of the business streets. When once inside David looked around with much interest upon the busy scenes which met his eyes.

"This is our main office," Mr. Westcote explained, "and we keep quite a staff. As the work develops it will be necessary to have a building of our own, for we have only the ground floor here. This is my private office," and he motioned to a door on the right. "We will be more quiet there."

David was greatly delighted at all he saw, and he could not restrain the feeling of pride that he was the cause of all this activity. Not the slightest surprise entered his mind at what he observed. There was not even the least shadow of mystery about it all. To him it was but natural that things should be as they were. He doubted nothing; he asked no questions. His plan was so great and reasonable that he accepted everything as a matter of course.

"You have perhaps wondered," Mr. Westcote began, after they were seated, "why I have brought you here to-day. I told you that it is a matter of business details, and so it is. You are Honorary President of our company and, accordingly, you are a large share-holder. You were not aware of that before, and I trust you do not mind our keeping it a secret?"

"No, no; not at all," David replied. "Everything is satisfactory to me."

"That is good," Mr. Westcote continued. "But as you have such a large interest in the company, it is necessary that you should have your will made to save complications in the future. Life is uncertain, you know, and if anything should happen to you it would make it very difficult for us if you did not have your business matters attended to."

"Quite right, quite right," David assented. "I have thought about it somewhat of late, and I am very glad that you have mentioned it. Could we not have the business attended to at once? It will not take long, will it?"

"No, it can soon be done," was the reply. "But first of all it will be necessary for you to state in whose favour you wish to make your will. Then we can have the papers drawn up, and you can sign them before you, leave the city."

"Yes, that will be necessary," and David placed his right hand to his forehead in a thoughtful manner. "I have been thinking that all over, and know the ones to whom I wish to leave my principal share in the falls. You see, I want to have people who will take a keen interest in the undertaking, such as I have, and who will be able to continue the work when I am gone."

"You are quite right," Mr. Westcote replied, though it was evident that he with difficulty repressed a smile of amusement at his companion's words.

"But I am somewhat worried about the others," David continued. "I wish to leave something to my faithful girl, Betty Bean, to her mother, who is a widow, and to Captain Peterson and his wife, for they have a hard struggle to make a living. Now, they are the ones I wish to help as far as I can, but I have no idea what I ought to leave them."

"How much would you like for them to have?" Mr. Westcote enquired.

"Well, it would be nice if they could have a thousand each. That would make them so comfortable. But I am afraid such an amount is out of the question."

"Not at all," was the reply. "You name the amount, and we shall put it in the will. You see," he added, as if it were an afterthought, "the falls will be good for that, and perhaps more, even after you have arranged for the others."

"I am pleased to hear you express such confidence in the undertaking," and David looked into his companion's face. "I little realised that it would pay so well in such a short time. I am very grateful to you for what you have done."

"It will pay you regularly," Mr. Westcote replied. "I may as well tell you that this is one of the most remarkable companies ever formed. Will you now mention the names of the principal ones to whom you wish to leave the rest of your interest?"

"There are only two, but I have such unlimited confidence in them that I feel I am making no mistake. You know them both for they are Jasper Randall, the young foreman, and Miss Lois Sinclair."

"Have you no relatives?" Mr. Westcote asked, concealing his surprise as much as possible. "If you have, would it not be well to remember them in your will?"

"I desire that all I possess in this world should go to the ones I have mentioned," David slowly replied. "We will not talk about relatives, please."

"Just as you say," Mr. Westcote assented, as he rose to his feet. "I shall have the papers drawn up at once. In the meantime, you had better come and stay with me. You will need a good rest after your trip."

It was late in the afternoon the next day before the work upon the will was completed. It was quite an elaborate affair, so David thought, and he had to study it carefully before signing it. When at last all was finished, the car was waiting before the office to carry them back to Creekdale.

"I am going with you," Mr. Westcote remarked as he took his seat by David's side. "I want to see that you get safely home. And besides," he added, "I wish to learn how the work is getting along up there. I have just been telephoning to Mr. Randall, and his report is most encouraging."



It was dark by the time they drew near to Creekdale, and as the car rounded a bend in the road David was astonished at the sight which met his eyes. The entire way was brilliantly illuminated by hundreds of electric lights strung along both sides of the road.

David started, sat bolt upright, and clutched his companion by the arm.

"What is this?" he demanded in a hoarse whisper. "Where are we, anyway? I thought you were bringing me home."

"So I am," Mr. Westcote laughingly replied. "We are at Creekdale now. This is the work of your beloved falls. Are you satisfied?"

"Oh!" It was all that the old man could say. He leaned back in his seat and a sigh of relief escaped his lips. It was quite evident that he was strongly moved by what he saw.

Slowly the car moved up the great white way, and at last turned into the gate leading to the Haven. Two large lights had been placed on the gate post, and these shed forth their bright light upon all sides. It was a marvellous transformation which had been made in such a short time. David could not utter a word, so overcome was he. Even when he saw the house ablaze with many lights and the verandah as bright as day, and observed the people there waiting to welcome him home, he seemed like one in a dream. It was only when Betty danced about him and caught both of his hands in hers, that he aroused from his stupefaction.

"What's the matter, Mr. David?" she cried. "Why don't you speak to me, and tell me how you like it all?"

"It is wonderful!" and the old man placed his hand to his forehead, as he always did when greatly affected or puzzled. "Who did all this?"

"It was done for you, Mr. David," the girl explained. "My, we have had a lively time here since you left!"

"And was that the reason why I was taken to the city yesterday?" David asked, while a new light of comprehension dawned upon his mind. "You knew all about this, did you?"

"Oh, no, I didn't know a thing," Betty protested. "But just as soon as you got away Mr. Jasper and a whole crowd of men began to work, and they have been just hustling ever since. Isn't it lovely! And to think that it was in your brain all the time!"

"This is very gratifying, sir," and David turned to Jasper, who was standing by listening with great interest to the conversation between the girl and the old man. "I can hardly believe what I see. I had no idea that you had made such progress at the falls. It will be necessary for me to go and see the works for myself."

"We have a great deal more to do yet, I assure you," Jasper replied. "We have merely begun. We planned this little surprise for your special benefit. We wished that you should be the first one to be honoured. But we have something more to show you, which, no doubt, will surprise you. If you will come with me I will show you what it is."

Leading the way, he conducted them through the kitchen and into an adjoining room used partly as a wood-house and also as a wash room. Each place was brilliantly lighted by means of several electric lamps. He stopped at last before a cream-separator which was new and recently installed. Touching a switch, there was a sudden whirring sound, and the machine began to revolve, slowly at first, but gaining rapidly in speed until it was fairly spinning. After it had been running for a few minutes Jasper turned off the current, and then stood watching the separator until its movements ceased.

He next moved across the room to where stood a churn. Again placing his finger upon another switch the churn began to revolve.

During all this time David's eyes were ablaze with joy as he watched all that was taking place.

"It is wonderful!" he remarked. "How have you managed to arrange everything in such a short time? It seems almost magical."

"Oh, we had everything all ready," Jasper laughingly replied. "And just as soon as we got you away we merely had to put the machinery into place. But here is something else," and he turned to the left. "This is a wood-cutting machine, and all you have to do is to turn on the current, so," and he touched a switch, "and behold, your saw is all ready for use. Watch this," he added, picking up a stick, which in an instant was severed in two. "That is the way the farmers will cut their wood. You have thus seen some of the things your falls will do. But there are others we cannot show here, which will revolutionise the entire country."

Scarcely had he ended when Lois entered and stood watching the revolving saw. Jasper was the first to see her, and he noticed that her face was paler than usual and that she seemed to be trembling.

"I am sorry that I am late," she apologised. "I was planning to be here to see these wonderful things, but I was delayed."

"But you can see them all now, Miss Sinclair," David eagerly replied. "Look at the lights along the road and in the house, and the way these machines run. Isn't it wonderful? My visions have come true at last, and my beautiful falls have done it."

Jasper was anxious to know what was troubling Lois. Although she talked and laughed and seemed to be the gayest one there, it was quite evident to him that she was merely acting the part. When she had stayed for about half an hour she spoke to Jasper privately and asked him to accompany her home.

"I wish to speak to you about something," she told him.

Jasper was delighted, and after they had said good-night to the rest they walked slowly down the lighted lane toward the main road.

"This is like fairyland," Lois remarked. "I never expected to see anything like this."

"It was done for David's sake," Jasper replied. "And wasn't he surprised and delighted? I think I was as much excited as he was."

"Have you any idea why the company should do all this for his sake?" Lois enquired. "Who is he, anyway?"

"I have not the slightest idea," was the reply. "Everything has been a profound mystery to me from the beginning. There is something most interesting back of it all, mark my word. Mr. Westcote evidently knows, but he has never enlightened me. Perhaps his daughter knows something."

"If she does she has never told me. Sometimes I think she knows, but is not at liberty to speak. Oh, what's that?" and Lois gave a sudden start. "I thought I heard something among the trees. But I guess it was nothing, only my nerves," and she gave a slight laugh.

"Perhaps it was merely some animal," Jasper suggested. "It may have been a dog or a rabbit. Any slight noise sounds large at night."

"Let us hurry on," Lois urged. "I am afraid that I am somewhat upset to-night. I had such a start on my way to the Haven that I have not got over it yet."

"I saw that there was something wrong with you when you came into the house," Jasper replied.

"Did you? I was hoping that no one noticed it."

"What was the matter?"

"It was a man."

"Oh, was that all? I thought that perhaps it was a bear."

"But a man can be far worse than a bear, Mr. Randall. I would not mind meeting a bear half as much as a brute in the form of a man."

"What, did he frighten you, or try to harm you in any way?" Jasper stopped short in his tracks and waited for an answer. He was beginning to understand now that Lois' fright was something not to be treated lightly.

"Oh, no," Lois hastened to explain. "He didn't even speak to me. But I saw him cross the brightly-lighted lane leading to the Haven. He plunged among the trees and disappeared."

"Did you know him?" Jasper asked, now much interested.

"Yes. I met him once in the city at Mrs. Dingle's party. He is an English artist, Sydney Bramshaw by name, and he affected me then like a terrible night-mare. I could not get him out of my mind for weeks. I have never been able to explain it, and never experienced anything like it before."

"Do you know anything about the man?" Jasper asked.

"No, and that is the strange thing about it. I had a slight conversation with him then and his words disgusted me. Apart from that I know nothing."

"It is strange," Jasper mused as if to himself. "We sometimes do get queer impressions about people, do we not?"

"But I never had anything like this before. It seemed to me when I first saw that man that he was Satan in disguise. A queer idea, was it not? I felt that in some unaccountable way he had crossed my path for evil, and I have that same feeling now."

They had reached the house by this time and were standing near the verandah steps. It was a chilly night, and the sky was overcast with not a star to be seen. A tremor shook Lois' form as she stood there.

"You are cold," Jasper remarked, "and you should go in the house at once."

"Will you come in?" Lois asked. "It is not late and father will be pleased to see you."

"Not to-night, thank you," Jasper replied. "I was working nearly all last night at the Haven, and so must get some rest. I am living in my little old cabin now, and it is really good to be there again. It seems more like home to me than up the brook. But, there, I must not keep you any longer or you will catch cold. Do not worry too much about that man. If he begins to trouble you, he will have to reckon with me."

Jasper walked slowly away from the house along a path leading to the main road. He was thinking seriously of what Lois had told him about Bramshaw. He could not understand her strange aversion for the man, and he wondered if there were really anything in such a presentiment. He made up his mind that he would be on the lookout and if the fellow became the least objectionable he would deal with him then in no gentle manner.

As Jasper drew near to the main road a feeling suddenly possessed him that he was being followed. He looked back but could see nothing. Laughing at himself for what he considered his foolishness, he continued on his way. But it was not so easy to banish the impression he had received, and every once in a while he glanced around as if expecting to see some one not far off. Once he thought he heard the sound of foot-steps in the distance, and he stopped to listen but heard nothing more.

Reaching at last the path which led to his cabin, he was about to enter upon this when an idea came into his mind. It was suggested by a thick clump of hazel bushes by the side of the road. As quick as thought he darted behind these and crouched low upon the ground. From this position it was possible for him to watch the road without being observed. He wished to find out whether any one was really following him, or if it was merely imagination on his part.

He had not been there long ere he heard faint footfalls upon the road, which grew more distinct as he listened. He was now sure that his surmises had been true, and it made him angry. He knew that it was not an ordinary pedestrian, for why had he come after him along the path leading from the Sinclair house? It must be some one stalking him, for what purpose he could not imagine.

Peering forth from his concealed position Jasper was ere long able to see the dim form of a man slouching cautiously along, keeping well to the side of the road where the trees and bushes were the thickest. He even brushed the hazel bushes in passing and Jasper held his breath lest he should be detected by his breathing. He was sure now that the man had been following him with no good intentions, and his first inclination was to rush forward and find out what was his business. He resisted, however, thinking it better to remain where he was and see what the night prowler would do next.

Not long did he have to wait for the man, coming to the path leading across the fields, stopped and looked carefully around. The dim form of the little cabin could be seen in the distance, and for this he at once started. There were no trees now to hide him, and he started on a run across the open space. Jasper, seeing this, sprang from his hiding place and hurried forward. By the time he reached the path the man was nowhere to be seen. He had evidently reached the cabin, and was no doubt at the door or listening at the window. Jasper knew that it was now time for him to act and he at once bounded across the field straight for his cabin. He had scarcely reached it when the prowler came suddenly around the corner, and the two met. In an instant Jasper reached out his hand and caught the man by the shoulder and demanded what he was doing around his cabin at that time of the night. With an angry oath, the other tried to free himself from the tightening grip, and when he failed to do so he struck Jasper a blow right in the face with the clenched fist of his right hand.

"Take that, you damned fool," he growled, "and mind your own business."

Jasper did not wait to argue. In a twinkling he threw himself full upon the man. His blood surged madly through his veins, for the blow stung him to fury. His opponent, though he tried to put up a fight, was as a child in Jasper's hands, and soon he was sprawling upon the ground with Jasper sitting upon his body.

"Now, then," the victor calmly remarked, "as you would not answer my question in a civil manner while standing on your feet, perhaps you will do it here on the ground. And you will do it before you get up, remember that, so you might as well speak first as last. Who are you, and why were you following me up the road and prowling so suspiciously around my cabin?"

"I'm a stranger here," was the low reply, "and I was looking for a place to spend the night. Will that satisfy you?"

"No, it will not," Jasper emphatically replied. "I believe that you are lying. What is your name?"

"Jim Dobbins," was the somewhat hesitating answer. "I am seeking for work with the Light and Power Company and got astray."

"Now, look here," and Jasper rose to his feet, "it's no use for you to string off such lies to me. Your name is Sydney Bramshaw, the artist. I know who you are, but why you are acting this way I do not know. So get up now, and clear out of this. If I catch you at any more such pranks I'll break every bone in your body. You had better mind what you do while in this place, and keep out of my sight after this."

Without a word the prostrate man rose to his feet and stood for an instant as if he would speak. He was trembling with rage, though in the darkness Jasper could not see the ugly expression upon his face. Presently he turned and glided away swiftly from the cabin, and was soon lost to sight.

Jasper stood for a while and peered through the night. He was almost tempted to follow the man to be sure that he really departed and was not hiding among the bushes but a short distance away. He called himself a fool for letting him off so easily. He should have kept him until morning to be sure that he would do no mischief under cover of darkness. At length, however, he entered the cabin and threw himself upon his cot. He wished to think it all over and keep awake lest the man should return and wreak vengeance upon him in some under-handed way. He felt sure now that Lois' opinion of the man was correct, and that for some unaccountable reason he had a contemptible enemy to deal with, who would stoop to almost anything to carry out his evil designs, whatever they might be.



It was only natural that the people of Creekdale should have been greatly excited over the progress made at the falls. They watched everything with the keenest interest which reached its highest point on the night of David's arrival home. To see the road so brilliantly illuminated was both wonderful and puzzling. They all knew that it was done for "Crazy David's sake," and they could not understand why such a fuss should be made over his return to the place.

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