Chapter XI
 

Eleven years have gone since that scene was enacted at Edmonton.

A great gathering is dispersing from a hall in Piccadilly. It has been drawn together to do honour to a man who has achieved a triumph in engineering science. As he steps from the platform to go, he is greeted by a fusilade of cheers. He bows calmly and kindly. He is a man of vigorous yet reserved aspect; he has a rare individuality. He receives with a quiet cordiality the personal congratulations of his friends. He remains for some time in conversation with a royal duke, who takes his arm, and with him passes into the street. The duke is a member of this great man's club, and offers him a seat in his brougham. Amid the cheers of the people they drive away together. Inside the club there are fresh congratulations, and it is proposed to arrange an impromptu dinner, at which the duke will preside. But with modesty and honest thanks the great man declines. He pleads an engagement. He had pleaded this engagement the day before to a well-known society. After his health is proposed, he makes his adieux, and leaving the club, walks away towards a West-end square. In one of its streets he pauses, and enters a building called "Providence Chambers." His servant hands him a cablegram. He passes to his library, and, standing before the fire, opens it. It reads: "My wife and I send congratulations to the great man."

Jaspar Hume stands for a moment looking at the fire, and then says simply: "I wish poor old Bouche were here." He then sits down and writes this letter:

My dear Friends,--Your cablegram has made me glad. The day is over. My latest idea was more successful than I even dared to hope; and the world has been kind. I went down to see your boy, Jaspar, at Clifton last week. It was his birthday, you know--nine years old, and a clever, strong-minded little fellow. He is quite contented. As he is my god-child, I again claimed the right of putting a thousand dollars to his credit in the bank,--I have to speak of dollars to you people living in Canada--which I have done on his every birthday. When he is twenty-one he will have twenty-one thousand dollars--quite enough for a start in life. We get along well together, and I think he will develop a fine faculty for science. In the summer, as I said, I will bring him over to you. There is nothing more to say to-night except that I am as always,

Your faithful and loving friend,
JASPAR HUME.

A moment after the letter was finished, the servant entered and announced "Mr. Late Carscallen." With a smile and hearty greeting the great man and this member of the White Guard met. It was to entertain his old arctic comrade that Jaspar Hume had declined to be entertained by society or club. A little while after, seated at the table, the ex-sub-factor said: "You found your brother well, Carscallen?"

The jaws moved slowly as of old. "Ay, that, and a grand meenister, sir."

"He wanted you to stay in Scotland, I suppose?" "Ay, that, but there's no place for me like Fort Providence."

"Try this pheasant. And you are sub-factor now, Carscallen?"

"There's two of us sub-factors--Jeff Hyde and myself. Mr. Field is old, and can't do much work, and trade's heavy now."

"I know. I hear from the factor now and then. And Gaspe Toujours, what of him?"

"He went away three years ago, and he said he'd come back. He never did though. Jeff Hyde believes he will. He says to me a hundred times, 'Carscallen, he made the sign of the cross that he'd come back from Saint Gabrielle; and that's next to the Book with a papist. If he's alive he'll come.'"

"Perhaps he will, Carscallen. And Cloud-in-the-Sky?"

"He's still there, and comes in and smokes with Jeff Hyde and me, as he used to do with you; but he doesn't obey our orders as he did yours, sir. He said to me when I left: 'You see Strong-back, tell him Cloud-in-the- Sky good Injun--he never forget. How!'"

Jaspar Hume raised his glass with smiling and thoughtful eyes: "To Cloud- in-the-Sky and all who never forget!" he said.