The Man From Glengarry by Ralph Connor
Chapter XVII. Lenoir's New Master
The shantymen came back home to find the revival still going on. Not a home but had felt its mighty power, and not a man, woman, or even child but had come more or less under its influence. Indeed, so universal was that power that Yankee was heard to say, "The boys wouldn't go in swimmin' without their New Testaments"--not but that Yankee was in very fullest sympathy with the movement. He was regular in his attendance upon the meetings all through spring and summer, but his whole previous history made it difficult for him to fully appreciate the intensity and depth of the religious feeling that was everywhere throbbing through the community.
"Don't see what the excitement's for," he said to Macdonald Bhain one night after meeting. "Seems to me the Almighty just wants a feller to do the right thing by his neighbor and not be too independent, but go 'long kind o' humble like and keep clean. Somethin' wrong with me, perhaps, but I don't seem to be able to work up no excitement about it. I'd like to, but somehow it ain't in me."
When Macdonald Bhain reported this difficulty of Yankee's to Mrs. Murray, she only said: "'What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?'" And with this Macdonald Bhain was content, and when he told Yankee, the latter came as near to excitement as he ever allowed himself. He chewed vigorously for a few moments, then, slapping his thigh, he exclaimed: "By jings! That's great. She's all right, ain't she? We ain't all built the same way, but I'm blamed if I don't like her model."
But the shantymen noticed that the revival had swept into the church, during the winter months, a great company of the young people of the congregation; and of these, a band of some ten or twelve young men, with Don among them, were attending daily a special class carried on in the vestry of the church for those who desired to enter training for the ministry.
Mrs. Murray urged Ranald to join this class, for, even though he had no intention of becoming a minister, still the study would be good for him, and would help him in his after career. She remembered how Ranald had told her that he had no intention of being a farmer or lumberman. And Ranald gladly listened to her, and threw himself into his study, using his spare hours to such good purpose throughout the summer that he easily kept pace with the class in English, and distanced them in his favorite subject, mathematics.
But all these months Mrs. Murray felt that Ranald was carrying with him a load of unrest, and she waited for the time when he would come to her. His uncle, Macdonald Bhain, too, shared her anxiety in regard to Ranald.
"He is the fine, steady lad," he said one night, walking home with her from the church; "and a good winter's work has he put behind him. He is that queeck, there is not a man like him on the drive; but he is not the same boy that he was. He will not be telling me anything, but when the boys will be sporting, he is not with them. He will be reading his book, or he will be sitting by himself alone. He is like his father in the courage of him. There is no kind of water he will not face, and no man on the river would put fear on him. And the strength of him! His arms are like steel. But," returning to his anxiety, "there is something wrong with him. He is not at peace with himself, and I wish you could get speech with him."
"I would like it, too," replied Mrs. Murray. "Perhaps he will come to me. At any rate, I must wait for that."
At last, when the summer was over, and the harvest all gathered in, the days were once more shortening for the fall, Ranald drove Lisette one day to the manse, and went straight to the minister's wife and opened up his mind to her.
"I cannot keep my promise to my father, Mrs. Murray," he said, going at once to the heart of his trouble. "I cannot keep the anger out of my heart. I cannot forgive the man that killed my father. I will be waking at night with the very joy of feeling my fingers on his throat, and I feel myself longing for the day when I will meet him face to face and nothing between us. But," he added, "I promised my father, and I must keep my word, and that is what I cannot do, for the feeling of forgiveness is not here," smiting his breast. "I can keep my hands off him, but the feeling I cannot help."
For a long time Mrs. Murray let him go on without seeking to check the hot flow of his words and without a word of reproof. Then, when he had talked himself to silence, she took her Bible and read to him of the servant who, though forgiven, took his fellow-servant by the throat, refusing to forgive. And then she turned over the leaves and read once more: "'God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.'"
She closed the book and sat silent, waiting for Ranald to speak.
"I know," he said, deliberately; "I have read that often through the winter, but it does not help the feeling I have. I think it only makes it worse. There is some one holding my arm, and I want to strike."
"And do you forget," said Mrs. Murray, and her voice was almost stern, "and do you forget how, for you, God gave His Son to die?"
Ranald shook his head. "I am far from forgetting that."
"And are you forgetting the great mercy of God to your father?"
"No, no," said Ranald; "I often think of that. But when I think of that man, something stirs within me and I cannot see, for the daze before my eyes, and I know that some day I will be at him. I cannot help my feeling."
"Ranald," said Mrs. Murray, "have you ever thought how he will need God's mercy like yourself? And have you never thought that perhaps he has never had the way of God's mercy put before him? To you the Lord has given much, to him little. It is a terrible thing to be ungrateful for the mercy of God; and it is a shameful thing. It is unworthy of any true man. How can any one take the fullness of God's mercy and his patience every day, and hold an ungrateful heart?"
She did not spare him, and as Ranald sat and listened, his life and character began to appear to him small and mean and unworthy.
"The Lord means you to be a noble man, Ranald--a man with the heart and purpose to do some good in the world, to be a blessing to his fellows; and it is a poor thing to be so filled up with selfishness as to have no thought of the honor of God or of the good of men. Louis LeNoir has done you a great wrong, but what is that wrong compared with the wrong you have done to Him who loved you to His own death?"
Then she gave him her last word: "When you see Louis LeNoir, think of God's mercy, and remember you are to do him good and not evil."
And with that word in his heart, Ranald went away, ashamed and humbled, but not forgiving. The time for that had not yet come. But before he left for the shanties, he saw Mrs. Murray again to say good by. He met her with a shamed face, fearing that she must feel nothing but contempt for him.
"You will think ill of me," he said, and in spite of his self- control his voice shook. "I could not bear that."
"No, I could never think ill of you, Ranald, but I would be grieved to think that you should fail of becoming a noble man, strong and brave; strong enough to forgive and brave enough to serve."
Once more Ranald went to the woods, with earnest thoughts in his mind, hoping he should not meet LeNoir, and fighting out his battle to victory; and by the time the drive had reached the big water next spring, that battle was almost over. The days in the silent woods and the nights spent with his uncle in the camp, and afterward in his cabin on the raft, did their work with Ranald.
The timber cut that year was the largest that had ever been known on the Upper Ottawa. There was great crowding of rafts on the drive, and for weeks the chutes were full, and when the rafts were all brought together at Quebec, not only were the shores lined and Timber Cove packed, but the broad river was full from Quebec to Levis, except for the steamboat way which must be kept open.
For the firm of Raymond & St. Clair this meant enormous increase of business, and it was no small annoyance that at this crisis they should have detected their Quebec agent in fraud, and should have been forced to dismiss him. The situation was so critical that Mr. St. Clair himself, with Harry as his clerk, found it necessary to spend a month in Quebec. He took with him Maimie and her great friend Kate Raymond, the daughter of his partner, and established himself in the Hotel Cheval Blanc.
On the whole, Maimie was not sorry to visit the ancient capital of Canada, though she would have chosen another time. It was rather disappointing to leave her own city in the West, just at the beginning of the spring gayeties. It was her first season, and the winter had been distinguished by a series of social triumphs. She was the toast of all the clubs and the belle of all the balls. She had developed a rare and fascinating beauty, and had acquired an air so distingue that even her aunt, Miss St. Clair, was completely satisfied. It was a little hard for her to leave the scene of her triumphs and to abandon the approaching gayeties.
But Quebec had its compensations, and then there were the De Lacys, one of the oldest English families of Quebec. The St. Clairs had known them for many years. Their blood was unquestionably blue, they were wealthy, and besides, the only son and representative of the family was now lieutenant, attached to the garrison at the Citadel. Lieutenant De Lacy suggested possibilities to Maimie. Quebec might be endurable for a month.
"What a lovely view, and how picturesque!"
Maimie was standing at the window looking down upon the river with its fleet of rafts. Beside her stood Kate, and at another window Harry.
"What a lot of timber!" said Harry. "And the town is just full of lumbermen. A fellow said there must be six thousand of them, so there will be lots of fun."
"Fun!" exclaimed Kate.
"Fun! rather. These fellows have been up in the woods for some five or six months, and when they get to town where there is whisky and--and--that sort of thing, they just get wild. They say it is awful."
"Just horrible!" said Maimie, in a disgusted tone.
"But splendid," said Kate; "that is, if they don't hurt any one."
"Hurt anybody!" exclaimed Harry. "Oh, not at all; they are always extremely careful not to hurt any one. They are as gentle as lambs. I say, let us go down to the river and look at the rafts. De Lacy was coming up, but it is too late now for him. Besides, we might run across Maimie's man from Glengarry."
"Maimie's man from Glengarry!" exclaimed Kate. "Has she a man there, too?"
"Nonsense, Kate!" said Maimie, blushing. "He is talking about Ranald, you know. One of Aunt Murray's young men, up in Glengarry. You have heard me speak of him often."
"Oh, the boy that pulled you out of the fire," said Kate.
"Yes," cried Harry, striking an attitude, "and the boy that for love of her entered the lists, and in a fistic tournament upheld her fair name, and--"
"Oh, Harry, do have some sense!" said Maimie, impatiently. "Hush, here comes some one; Lieutenant De Lacy, I suppose."
It was the lieutenant, handsome, tall, well made, with a high-bred if somewhat dissipated face, an air of blase indifference a little overdone, and an accent which he had brought back with him from Oxford, and which he was anxious not to lose. Indeed, the bare thought of the possibility of his dropping into the flat, semi- nasal of his native land filled the lieutenant with unspeakable horror.
"We were just going down to the river," said Maimie, after the introductions were over, "but I suppose it is all old to you, and you would not care to go?"
"Aw, charmed, I'm sure." (The lieutenant pronounced it "shuah.") "But it is rathaw, don't you know, not exactly clean."
"He is thinking of his boots," said Harry, scornfully, looking down at the lieutenant's shining patent leathers.
"Really," said the lieutenant, mildly, "awfully dirty street, though."
"But we want to see the shantymen," said Kate, frankly.
"Oh, the men! Very proper, but not so very discriminating, you know."
"I love the shantymen," exclaimed Kate, enthusiastically. "Maimie told me all about them."
"By Jove! I'll join to-morrow," exclaimed the lieutenant with gentle excitement.
"They would not have you," answered Kate. "Besides, you would have to eat pork and onions and things."
The lieutenant shuddered, gazing reproachfully at Kate.
"Onions!" he gasped; "and you love them?"
"Let us go along, then," said Harry. "We will have a look at them, anyway."
"From the windward side, I hope," said the lieutenant, gently.
"I am going right on the raft," declared Kate, stoutly, "if we can only find Ranald."
"Meaning who, exactly?" questioned De Lacy.
"A lumberman whom Maimie adores."
"How happy!" said De Lacy.
"Nonsense, Lieutenant De Lacy," said Maimie, impatiently and a little haughtily; "he is a friend of my aunt's up in the county of Glengarry."
"No nonsense about it," said Harry, indignant that his sister should seem indifferent to Ranald. "He is a great friend of us all; and you will see--she will fly into his arms."
"Heaven forbid!" ejaculated the lieutenant, much shocked.
"Harry, how can you be so--?" said Maimie, much annoyed. "What will the lieutenant think of me?"
"Ah, if I only might tell!" said the lieutenant, looking at her with languishing eyes. But already Kate was downstairs and on her way to the street.
As they neared the lower town, the narrow streets became more and more crowded with men in the shantymen's picturesque dress, and they had some difficulty in making their way through the jolly, jostling crowds. As they were nearing the river, they saw coming along the narrow sidewalk a burly French-Canadian, dressed in the gayest holiday garb of the shantymen.--red shirt and sash, corduroys tucked into red top-boots, a little round soft hat set upon the back of his black curls, a gorgeous silk handkerchief around his neck, and a big gold watch-chain with seals at his belt. He had a bold, handsome face, and swaggered along the sidewalk, claiming it all with an assurance fortified by whisky enough to make him utterly regardless of any but his own rights.
"Hello!" he shouted, as he swaggered along. "Make way, I'm de boss bully on de reever Hottawa." It was his day of glory, and it evidently pleased him much that the people stood aside to let him pass. Then he broke into song:--
"En roulant ma boule roulant, En roulant me boule."
"This, I suppose, is one of your beloved shantymen," said the lieutenant, turning to Kate, who was walking with Harry behind.
"Isn't he lovely!" exclaimed Kate.
"Oh," cried Maimie, in terror, "let us get into a shop!"
"Quite unnecessary, I assure you," said the lieutenant, indifferently; "I have not the least idea that he will molest you."
The lumberman by this time had swaggered up to the party, expecting them to make way, but instead, De Lacy stiffened his shoulder, caught the Frenchman in the chest, and rolled him off into the street. Surprised and enraged, the Frenchman turned to demolish the man who had dared to insult the "boss bully on de reever Hottawa."
"Vous n'avez pas remarque la demoiselle," said the lieutenant, in a tone of politeness.
The lumberman, who had swaggered up ready to strike, glanced at Maimie, took off his hat, and made a ceremonious bow.
"Eh bien! Non! Pardon, Mams'elle."
"Bon jour," said Lieutenant De Lacy, with a military salute, and moved on, leaving the lumberman staring after them as if he had seen a vision.
"Beauty and the Beast," murmured the lieutenant. "Thought I was in for it, sure. Really wonderful, don't you know!"
"Do you think we had better go on?" said Maimie, turning to Kate and Harry.
"Why not? Why, certainly!" they exclaimed.
"These horrid men," replied Maimie.
"Dear creatures!" said the lieutenant, glancing at Kate with a mildly pathetic look. "Sweet, but not always fragrant."
"Oh, they won't hurt us. Let us go on."
"Certainly, go on," echoed Harry, impatiently.
"Safe enough, Miss St. Clair, but," pulling out his perfumed handkerchief, "rather trying."
"Oh, get on, De Lacy," cried Harry, and so they moved on.
The office of Raymond & St. Clair stood near the wharves. Harry paused at the door, not quite sure whether to go in or not. It was easy to discover work in that office.
"You might ask if Ranald has come," said Kate. "Maimie is too shy."
Harry returned in a few moments, quite excited.
"The Macdonald gang are in, and the Big Macdonald was here not half an hour ago, and Ranald is down at the raft beyond the last wharf. I know the place."
"Oh, do let us go on!" cried Kate, to whom Harry had been extolling Ranald on the way down. "You really ought to inspect your timber, Harry, shouldn't you?"
"Most certainly, and right away. No saying what might happen."
"Awful slush," said the lieutenant, glancing at Maimie's face. "Do you think the timber wouldn't keep for a week?"
"Oh, rubbish! A week!" cried Harry. "He is thinking of his boots again."
To be quite fair to the lieutenant, it was Maimie's doubtful face, rather than his shiny boots, that made him hesitate. She was evidently nervous and embarrassed. The gay, easy manner which was her habit was gone.
"I think perhaps we had better go, since we are here," she said, doubtfully.
"Exactly; it is what I most desired," said the lieutenant, gallantly.
Scores of rafts lay moored along the wharves and shore, and hundred of lumbermen were to be seen everywhere, not only on the timber and wharves, but crowding the streets and the doors of the little saloons.
For half an hour they walked along, watching the men at work with the timber on the river. Some were loading the vessels lying at anchor, some were shifting the loose timber about. When they reached the end of the last wharf, they saw a strapping young lumberman, in a shanty costume that showed signs of the woods, running some loose sticks of timber round the end of the raft. With great skill he was handling his pike, walking the big sticks and running lightly over the timber too small to carry him, balancing himself on a single stick while he moved the timber to the bit of open water behind the raft, and all with a grace and dexterity that excited Kate's admiration to the highest degree.
"Rather clever, that," said the lieutenant, lazily. "Hello! close call, that; ha! bravo!" It was not often the lieutenant allowed himself the luxury of excitement, but the lumberman running his timber slipped his pike pole and found himself balancing on the edge of open water. With a mighty spring he cleared the open space, touched a piece of small timber that sank under him, and at the next spring landed safe on the raft. Maimie's scream sounded with the lieutenant's "bravo." At the cry the young fellow looked up. It was Ranald.
"Hello, there!" cried Harry; and with an answering shout, Ranald, using his pike as a jumping-pole, cleared the open space, ran lightly over the floating sticks, and with another spring reached the shore. Without a moment's hesitation he dropped his pole and came almost running toward them, his face radiant with delight.
"Maimie!" he exclaimed, holding out his hand, wet and none too clean.
"How do you do?" said Maimie. She had noticed the look of surprise and mild disgust on the lieutenant's face, and she was embarrassed. Ranald was certainly not lovely to look at. His shirt was open at the neck, torn, and dirty. His trousers and boots were much the worse of their struggle with the bush.
"This is Mr. Macdonald, Lieutenant De Lacy," Maimie hurried to say. The lieutenant offered a limp hand.
"Chawmed, I'm suah," he murmured.
"What?" said Ranald.
"Lovely weather," murmured the lieutenant again, looking at his fingers that Ranald had just let go.
"Well, old chap," said Harry, grasping Ranald's hand and throwing his arm about his shoulder, "I am awfully glad to find you. We have been hunting you for half an hour. But hold up, here you are. Let me introduce you to Miss Kate Raymond, the best girl anywhere."
Kate came forward with a frank smile. "I am very glad to meet you," she said. "I have heard so much about you, and I am going to call you Ranald, as they all do."
"How lovely!" sighed De Lacy.
Her greeting warmed Ranald's heart that somehow had been chilled in the meeting. Something was wrong. Was it this fop of a soldier, or had Maimie changed? Ranald glanced at her face. No, she was the same, only more beautiful than he had dreamed.
But while she was shaking hands with him, there flashed across his mind the memory of the first time he had seen her, and the look of amusement upon her face then, that had given him such deadly offense. There was no amusement now, but there was embarrassment and something else. Ranald could not define it, but it chilled his heart, and at once he began to feel how badly dressed he was. The torn shirt, the ragged trousers, and the old, unshapely boots that he had never given a thought to before, now seemed to burn into his flesh. Unconsciously he backed away and turned to go.
"Where are you off to?" cried Harry; "do you think we are going to let you go now? We had hard enough work finding you. Come up to the office and see the governor. He wants to see you badly."
Ranald glanced at the lieutenant, immaculate except where the slush had speckled his shiny boots, and then at his own ragged attire. "I think I will not go up now," he said.
"Well, come up soon," said Maimie, evidently relieved.
"No!" said Kate, impetuously, "come right along now." As she spoke she ranged herself beside him.
For a moment or two Ranald hesitated, shot a searching glance at Maimie's face, and then, with a reckless laugh, said, "I will go now," and set off forthwith, Kate proudly marching at one side, and Harry on the other, leaving Maimie and the lieutenant to follow after.
And a good thing it was for Ranald that he did go that day with Harry to his "governor's" office. They found the office in a "swither," as Harry said, over the revelations of fraud that were coming to light every day--book-keeper, clerk, and timber-checker having all been in conspiracy to defraud the company.
"Where have you been, Harry?" said his father in an annoyed tone as his son entered the office. "You don't seem to realize how much there is to do just now."
"Looking up Ranald, father," said Harry, cheerfully.
"Ah, the young man from Glengarry?" said Mr. St. Clair, rising. "I am glad to know you, and to thank you in person for your prompt courage in saving my daughter."
"Lucky dog!" groaned the lieutenant, in an undertone to Maimie.
Mr. St. Clair spoke to Ranald of his father and his uncle in words of highest appreciation, and as Ranald listened, the reckless and hard look which had been gathering ever since his meeting with Maimie passed away, and his face became earnest and touched with a tender pride.
"I hear about you frequently from my sister, Mr. Macdonald--or shall I say Ranald?" said Mr. St. Clair, kindly. "She apparently thinks something of you"
"I am proud to think so," replied Ranald, his face lighting up as he spoke; "but every one loves her. She is a wonderful woman, and good."
"Yes," said Mr. St. Clair, "that's it; wonderful and good."
Then Maimie drew nearer. "How is auntie?" she said. "What a shame not to have asked before!"
"She was very well last fall," said Ranald, looking keenly into Maimie's face; "but she is working too hard at the meetings."
"Meetings!" exclaimed Harry.
"Aye, for a year and more she has been at them every night till late."
"At meetings for a year! What meetings?" cried Harry, astonished.
"Oh, Harry, you know about the great revival going on quite well," said Maimie.
"Oh, yes. I forgot. What a shame! What is the use of her killing herself that way?"
"There is much use," said Ranald, gravely. "They are making bad men good, and the whole countryside is new, and she is the heart of it all."
"I have no doubt about that," said Mr. St. Clair. "She will be the head and heart and hands and feet."
"You're just right, governor," said Harry, warmly. "There is no woman living like Aunt Murray."
There was silence for a few moments. Then Mr. St. Clair said suddenly: "We are in an awful fix here. Not a man to be found that we can depend upon for book-keeper, clerk, or checker."
Harry coughed slightly.
"Oh, of course, Harry is an excellent book-keeper," Harry bowed low; "while he is at it," added Mr. St. Clair.
"Very neat one," murmured the lieutenant.
"Now, father, do not spoil a fine compliment in that way," cried Harry.
"But now the checker is gone," said Mr. St. Clair, "and that is extremely awkward."
"I say," cried Harry, "what will you give me for a checker right now?"
Mr. St. Clair looked at him and then at the lieutenant.
"Pardon me, Mr. St. Clair," said that gentleman, holding up his hand. "I used to check a little at Rugby, but--"
"Not you, by a long hand," interrupted Harry, disdainfully.
"This awfully charming brother of yours, so very frank, don't you know!" said the lieutenant, softly, to Maimie, while they all laughed.
"But here is your man, governor," said Harry, laying his hand on Ranald.
"Ranald!" exclaimed Mr. St. Clair. "Why, the very man! You understand timber, and you are honest."
"I will answer for both with my head," said Harry.
"What do you say, Ranald?" said Mr. St. Clair. "Will you take a day to think it over?"
"No," said Ranald; "I will be your checker." And so Ranald became part of the firm of Raymond & St. Clair.
"Come along, Ranald," said Harry. "We will take the girls home, and then come back to the office."
"Yes, do come," said Kate, heartily. Maimie said nothing.
"No," said Ranald; "I will go back to the raft first, and then come to the office. Shall I begin tonight?" he said to Mr. St. Clair.
"To-morrow morning will do, Ranald," said Mr. St. Clair. "Come up to the hotel and see us tonight." But Ranald said nothing. Then Maimie went up to him.
"Good by, just now," she said, smiling into his face. "You will come and see us to-night, perhaps?"
Ranald looked at her, while the blood mounted slowly into his dark cheek, and said: "Yes, I will come."
"What's the matter with you, Maimie?" said Harry, indignantly, when they had got outside. "You would think Ranald was a stranger, the way you treat him."
"And he is just splendid! I wish he had pulled me out of the fire," cried Kate.
"You might try the river," said the lieutenant. "I fancy he would go in. Looks that sort."
"Go in?" cried Harry, "he would go anywhere." The lieutenant made no reply. He evidently considered that it was hardly worth the effort to interest himself in the young lumberman, but before he was many hours older he found reason to change his mind.
After taking the young ladies to their hotel there was still an hour till the lieutenant's dinner, so, having resolved to cultivate the St. Clair family, he proposed accompanying Harry back to the office.
As they approached the lower portion of the town they heard wild shouts, and sauntering down a side street, they came upon their French-Canadian friend of the afternoon. He was standing with his back against a wall trying to beat off three or four men, who were savagely striking and kicking at him, and crying the while: "Gatineau! Gatineau!"
It was the Gatineau against the Ottawa.
"Our friend seems to have found the object of his search," said the lieutenant, as he stood across the street looking at the melee.
"I say, he's a good one, isn't he?" cried Harry, admiring the Ottawa's dauntless courage and his fighting skill.
"His eagerness for war will probably be gratified in a few minutes, by the look of things," replied the lieutenant.
The Gatineaus were crowding around, and had evidently made up their minds to bring the Ottawa champion to the dust. That they were numbers to one mattered not at all. There was little chivalry in a shantymen's fight.
"Ha! Rather a good one, that," exclaimed the lieutenant, mildly interested. "He put that chap out somewhat neatly." He lit a cigar and stood coolly watching the fight.
"Where are the Ottawas--the fellow's friends?" said Harry, much excited.
"I rather think they camp on another street further down."
The Ottawa champion was being sorely pressed, and it looked as if in a moment or two more he would be down.
"What a shame!" cried Harry.
"Well," said the lieutenant, languidly, "it's beastly dirty, but the chap's done rather well, so here goes."
Smoking his cigar, and followed by Harry, he pushed across the street to the crowd, and got right up to the fighters.
"Here, you fellows," he called out, in a high, clear voice, "what the deuce do you mean, kicking up such a row? Come now, stop, and get out of here."
The astonished crowd stopped fighting and fell back a little. The calm, clear voice of command and her majesty's uniform awed them.
"Mon camarade!" said the lieutenant, removing his cigar and saluting, "rather warm, eh?"
"You bet! Ver' warm tam," was the reply.
"Better get away, mon ami. The odds are rather against you," said the lieutenant. "Your friends are some distance down the next street. You better go along." So saying, he stepped out toward the crowd of Gatineaus who were consulting and yelling.
"Excuse me, gentlemen," he said, politely, waving his little cane. Those immediately in front gave back, allowed the lieutenant, followed by the Ottawa man and Harry, to pass, and immediately closed in behind. They might have escaped had it not been that the Ottawa man found it impossible to refrain from hurling taunts at them and inviting them to battle. They had gone not more than two blocks when there was a rush from behind, and before they could defend themselves they were each in the midst of a crowd, fighting for their lives. The principal attack was, of course, made upon the Ottawa man, but the crowd was quite determined to prevent the lieutenant and Harry from getting near him. In vain they struggled to break through the yelling mass of Gatineaus, who now had become numerous enough to fill the street from wall to wall, and among whom could be seen some few of the Ottawa men trying to force their way toward their champion. By degrees both Harry and De Lacy fought their way to the wall, and toward each other.
"Looks as if our man had met his Waterloo," said the lieutenant, waiting for his particular man to come again.
"What a lot of beasts they are!" said Harry, disgustedly, beating off his enemy.
"Hello! Here they come again. We shall have to try another shot, I suppose," said the lieutenant, as the crowd, which had for a few moments surged down the street, now came crushing back, with the Ottawa leader, and some half-dozen of his followers in the center.
"Well, here goes," said De Lacy, leaving the wall and plunging into the crowd, followed by Harry. As they reached the center a voice called out: "A bas les Anglais!"
And immediately the cry, a familiar enough one in those days, was taken up on all sides. The crowd stiffened, and the attack upon the center became more determined than ever. The little company formed a circle, and standing back to back, held their ground for a time.
"Make for the wall. Keep together," cried De Lacy, pushing out toward the side, and followed by his company. But, one by one, the Ottawas were being dragged down and trampled beneath the "corked" boots of their foes, till only two of them, with their leader, beside Harry and De Lacy, were left.
At length the wall was gained. There they faced about and for a time held their lives safe. But every moment fresh men rushed in upon them, yelling their cries, "Gatineau! Gatineau! A bas les Anglais!"
The Ottawa leader was panting hard, and he could not much longer hold his own. His two companions were equally badly off. Harry was pale and bleeding, but still in good heart. The lieutenant was unmarked as yet, and coolly smoking his cigar, but he knew well that unless help arrived their case was hopeless.
"We can't run," he remarked, calmly, "but a dignified and speedy retreat is in order if it can be executed. There is a shop a little distance down here. Let us make for it."
But as soon as they moved two more of the Ottawas were dragged down and trampled on.
"It begins to look interesting," said the lieutenant to Harry. "Sorry you are into this, old chap. It was rather my fault. It is so beastly dirty, don't you know."
"Oh, fault be hanged!" cried Harry. "It's nobody's fault, but it looks rather serious. Get back, you brute!" So saying, he caught a burly Frenchman under the chin with a straight left-hander and hurled him back upon the crowd.
"Ah, rather pretty," said the lieutenant, mildly. "It is not often you can just catch them that way." They were still a few yards from the shop door, but every step of their advance had to be fought.
"I very much fear we can't make it," said the lieutenant, quietly to Harry. "We had better back up against the wall here and fight it out."
But as he spoke they heard a sound of shouting down the street a little way, which the Ottawa leader at once recognized, and raising his voice he cried: "Hottawa! Hottawa! Hottawa a moi!"
Swiftly, fiercely, came the band of men, some twenty of them, cleaving their way through the crowd like a wedge. At their head, and taller than the others, fought two men, whose arms worked with the systematic precision of piston-rods, and before whom men fell on either hand as if struck with sledge-hammers.
"Hottawa a moi!" cried the Ottawa champion again, and the relieving party faced in his direction.
"I say," said the lieutenant, "that first man is uncommonly like your Glengarry friend."
"What, Ranald?" cried Harry. "Then we are all right. I swear it is," he said, after a few moments, and then, remembering the story of the great fight on the Nation, which he had heard from Hughie and Maimie, he raised the Macdonald war-cry: "Glengarry! Glengarry!"
Ranald paused and looked about him.
"Here, Ranald!" yelled Harry, waving his white handkerchief. Then Ranald caught sight of him.
"Glengarry!" he cried, and sprang far into the crowd in Harry's direction.
"Glengarry! Glengarry forever!" echoed Yankee--for he it was-- plunging after his leader.
Swift and sharp like the thrust of a lance, the Glengarry men pierced the crowd, which gave back on either side, and soon reached the group at the wall.
"How in the world did you get here?" cried Ranald to Harry; then, looking about him, cried: "Where is LeNware? I heard he was being killed by the Gatineaus, and I got a few of our men and came along."
"LeNware? That is our Canadian friend, I suppose," said the lieutenant. "He was here a while ago. By Jove! There he is."
Surrounded by a crowd of the Gatineaus, LeNoir, for he was the leader of the Ottawas, was being battered about and like to be killed.
"Glengarry!" cried Ranald, and like a lion he leaped upon them, followed by Yankee and the others. Right and left he hurled the crowd aside, and seizing LeNoir, brought him out to his own men.
"Who are you?" gasped LeNoir. "Why, no, it ees not possible. Yes, it is Yankee for sure! And de Macdonald gang, but--"turning to Ranald--"who are you?" he said again.
"Never mind," said Ranald, shortly, "let us get away now, quick! Go on, Yankee."
At once, with Yankee leading, the Glengarry men marched off the field of battle bearing with them the rescued party. There was no time to lose. The enemy far outnumbered them, and would soon return to the attack.
"But how did you know we were in trouble, Ranald?" said Harry as he marched along.
"I didn't know anything about you," said Ranald. "Some one came and said that the bully of the Ottawa was being killed, so I came along."
"And just in time, by Jove!" said the lieutenant, aroused from his languor for once. "It was a deucedly lucky thing, and well done, too, 'pon my soul."
That night, as Ranald and his uncle were in their cabin on the raft talking over the incidents of the day, and Ranald's plans for the summer, a man stood suddenly in the doorway.
"I am Louis LeNoir," he said, "and I have some word to say to de young Macdonald. I am sore here," he said, striking his breast. "I cannot spik your languige. I cannot tell." He stopped short, and the tears came streaming down his face. "I cannot tell," he repeated, his breast heaving with mighty sobs. "I would be glad to die--to mak' over--to not mak'--I cannot say de word--what I do to your fadder. I would give my life," he said, throwing out both his hands. "I would give my life. I cannot say more."
Ranald stood looking at him for a few moments in silence when he finished; then he said slowly and distinctly, "My father told me to say that he forgave you everything, and that he prayed the mercy of God for you, and," added Ranald, more slowly, "I--forgive--you-- too."
The Frenchman listened in wonder, greatly moved, but he could only reiterate his words: "I cannot spik what I feel here."
"Sit down, Mr. LeNoir," said Macdonald Bhain, gravely, pointing to a bench, "and I will be telling you something."
LeNoir sat down and waited.
"Do you see that young man there?" said Macdonald Bhain, pointing to Ranald. He is the strongest man in my gang, and indeed, I will not be putting him below myself." Here Ranald protested. "And he has learned to use his hands as I cannot. And of all the men I have ever seen since I went to the woods, there is not one I could put against him. He could kill you, Mr. LeNoir."
The Frenchman nodded his head and said: "Das so. Das pretty sure."
"Yes, that is very sure," said Macdonald Bhain. "And he made a vow to kill you," went on Macdonald Bhain, "and to-night he saved your life. Do you know why?"
"No, not me."
"Then I will be telling you. It is the grace of God."
LeNoir stared at him, and then Macdonald Bhain went on to tell him how his brother had suffered and struggled long, and how the minister's wife had come to him with the message of the forgiveness of the great God. And then he read from Ranald's English Bible the story of the unforgiving debtor, explaining it in grave and simple speech.
"That was why," he concluded. "It was because he was forgiven, and on his dying bed he sent you the word of forgiveness. And that, too, is the very reason, I believe, why the lad here went to your help this day."
"I promised the minister's wife I would do you good and not ill, when it came to me," said Ranald. "But I was not feeling at all like forgiving you. I was afraid to meet you."
"Afraid?" said LeNoir, wondering that any of that gang should confess to fear.
"Yes, afraid of what I would do. But now, tonight, it is gone," said Ranald, simply, "I can't tell you how."
"Das mos' surprise!" exclaimed LeNoir. "Ne comprenne pas. I never see lak dat, me!"
"Yes, it is wonderful," said Macdonald Bhain. "It is very wonderful. It is the grace of God," he said again.
"You mak' de good frien' wit me?" asked LeNoir, rising and putting his hand out to Macdonald Bhain. Macdonald Bhain rose from his place and stepped toward the Frenchman, and took his hand.
"Yes, I will be friends with you," he said, gravely, "and I will seek God's mercy for you."
Then LeNoir turned to Ranald, and said; "Will you be frien' of me? Is it too moche?"
"Yes," said Ranald, slowly, "I will be your friend, too. It is a little thing," he added, unconsciously quoting his father's words. Then LeNoir turned around to Macdonald Bhain, and striking an attitude, exclaimed: "See! You be my boss, I be your man--what you call--slave. I work for noting, me. Das sure."
Macdonald Bhain shook his head.
"You could not belong to us," he said, and explained to him the terms upon which the Macdonald men were engaged. LeNoir had never heard of such terms.
"You not drink whisky?"
"Not too much," said Macdonald Bhain.
"How many glass? One, two, tree?"
"I do not know," said Macdonald Bhain. "It depends upon the man. He must not take more than is good for him."
"Bon!" said LeNoir, "das good. One glass he mak' me feel good. Two das nice he mak' me feel ver fonny. Three glass yes das mak' me de frien' of hevery bodie. Four das mak' me feel big; I walk de big walk; I am de bes' man all de place. Das good place for stop, eh?"
"No," said Macdonald Bhain, gravely, "you need to stop before that."
"Ver' good. Ver' good me stop him me. You tak' me on for your man?"
Macdonald Bhain hesitated. LeNoir came nearer him and lowering his voice said: "I'm ver' bad man me. I lak to know how you do dat-- what you say--forgive. You show me how."
"Come to me next spring," said Macdonald Bhain.
"Bon!" said LeNoir. "I be dere on de Nation camp."
And so he was. And when Mrs. Murray heard of it from Macdonald Bhain that summer, she knew that Ranald had kept his word and had done LeNoir good and not evil.