Chapter IX

In an arm-chair made of hickory and birch-bark by Cloud-in-the-Sky, Lepage sat reading a letter from his wife. She was at Winnipeg, and was coming west as far as Regina to meet him on his way down. He looked a wreck; but a handsome wreck. His refined features, his soft black beard and blue eyes, his graceful hand and gentle manners, seemed not to belong to an evil-hearted man. He sat in the sunlight at the door, wrapped about in moose and beaver skins. The world of plain and wood was glad. Not so Lepage. He sat and thought of what was to come. He had hoped at times that he would die, but twice Hume had said: "I demand your life. You owe it to your wife--to me." He had pulled his heart up to this demand and had lived. But what lay before him? He saw a stony track, and he shuddered.

As he sat there facing the future, Hume came to him and said: "If you feel up to it, Lepage, we will start for Edmonton on Monday. I think it will be quite safe, and your wife is anxious. I shall accompany you as far as Edmonton; you can then proceed by easy stages, in this pleasant weather. Are you ready to go?"

"Quite ready," was the reply.