Chapter XXV. Glengarry Forever
 

The colonel was an experienced traveler, and believed in making himself comfortable. Ranald looked on with some amusement, and a little wonder, while the colonel arranged his things about the stateroom.

"May as well make things comfortable while we can," said the colonel, "we have the better part of three days before us on this boat, and if it gets rough, it is better to have things neat. Now you go ahead," he added, "and get your things out."

"I think you are right, Colonel. I am not much used to travel, but I shall take your advice on this."

"Well, I have traveled considerable these last twenty years," replied the colonel. "I say, would you mind leaving those out?"

"What?"

"Those photos. They're the two you had up by the glass in your room, aren't they?" Ranald flushed a little.

"Of course it ain't for every one to see, and I would not ask you, but those two ain't like any other two that I have seen, and I have seen a good many in forty years." Ranald said nothing, but set the photographs on a little bracket on the wall.

"There, that makes this room feel better," said the colonel. "That there is the finest, sweetest, truest girl that walks this sphere," he said, pointing at Kate's photograph, "and the other, I guess you know all about her."

"Yes, I know about her," said Ranald, looking at the photograph; "it is to her I owe everything I have that is any good. And Colonel," he added, with an unusual burst of confidence, "when my life was broken off short, that woman put me in the way of getting hold of it again."

"Well, they both think a pile of you," was the colonel's reply.

"Yes, I think they do," said Ranald. "They are not the kind to forget a man when he is out of sight, and it is worth traveling two thousand miles to see them again."

"Ain't it queer, now, how the world is run?" said the colonel. "There's two women, now, the very best; one has been buried all her life in a little hole in the woods, and the other is giving herself to a fellow that ain't fit to carry her boots."

"What!" said Ranald, sharply, "Kate?"

"Yes, they say she is going to throw herself away on young St. Clair. He is all right, I suppose, but he ain't fit for her." Ranald suddenly stooped over his valise and began pulling out his things.

"I didn't hear of that," he said.

"I did," said the colonel; "you see he is always there, and acting as if he owned her. He stuck to her for a long time, and I guess she got tired holding out."

"Harry is a very decent fellow," said Ranald, rising up from his unpacking; "I say, this boat's close. Let us go up on deck."

"Wait," said the colonel, "I want to talk over our plans, and we can talk better here."

"No," said Ranald; "I want some fresh air. Let us go up." And without further words, he hurried up the gangway. It was some time before Colonel Thorp found him in the bow of the boat, and immediately began to talk over their plans.

"You spoke of going to Toronto first thing," he said to Ranald.

"Yes," said Ranald; "but I think I ought to go to Ottawa at once, and then I shall see my people in Glengarry for a few days. Then I will be ready for the meeting at Bay City any time after the second week."

"But you have not put Toronto in there," said the colonel; "you are not going to disappoint that little girl? She would take it pretty hard. Mind you, she wants to see you."

"Oh, of course I shall run in for a day."

"Well," said the colonel, "I want to give you plenty of time. I will arrange that meeting for a month from to-day."

"No, no," said Ranald, impatiently; "I must get back to the West. Two weeks will do me."

"Well, we will make it three," said the colonel. He could not understand Ranald's sudden eagerness to set out for the West again. He had spoken with such enthusiastic delight of his visit to Toronto, and now he was only going to run in for a day or so. And if Ranald himself were asked, he would have found it difficult to explain his sudden lack of interest, not only in Toronto, but in everything that lay in the East. He was conscious of a deep, dull ache in his heart, and he could not quite explain it.

After the colonel had gone down for the night, Ranald walked the deck alone and resolutely faced himself. His first frank look within revealed to him the fact that his pain had come upon him with the colonel's information that Kate had given herself to Harry. It was right that he should be disappointed. Harry, though a decent enough fellow, did not begin to be worthy of her; and indeed no one that he knew was worthy of her. But why should he feel so sorely about it? For years Harry had been her devoted slave. He would give her the love of an honest man, and would surround her with all the comforts and luxuries that wealth could bring. She would be very happy. He had no right to grieve about it. And yet he did grieve. The whole sky over the landscape of his life had suddenly become cold and gray. During these years Kate had grown to be much to him. She had in many ways helped him in his work. The thought of her and her approval had brought him inspiration and strength in many an hour of weakness and loneliness. She had been so loyal and so true from the very first, and it was a bitter thing to feel that another had come between them. Over and over again he accused himself of sheer madness. Why should she not love Harry? That need not make her any less his friend. But in spite of his arguments, he found himself weary of the East and eager to turn away from it. He must hurry on at once to Ottawa, and with all speed get done his business there.

At Chicago he left the colonel with a promise to meet him in three weeks at the headquarters of the British-American Coal and Lumber Company at Bay City. He wired to Ottawa, asking an appointment with the government, and after three days' hard travel found himself in the capital of the Dominion. The premier, Sir John A. Macdonald, with the ready courtesy characteristic of him, immediately arranged for a hearing of the delegation from British Columbia. Ranald was surprised at the indifference with which he approached this meeting. He seemed to have lost capacity for keen feeling of any kind. Sir John A. MacDonald and his cabinet received the delegation with great kindness, and in every possible way strove to make them feel that the government was genuinely interested in the western province, and were anxious to do all that could be done in their interest. In the conference that ensued, the delegate for Victoria took a more prominent part, being an older man, and representing the larger and more important constituency. But when Sir John began to ask questions, the Victoria delegate was soon beyond his depth. The premier showed such an exactness of knowledge and comprehensiveness of grasp that before long Ranald was appealed to for information in regard to the resources of the country, and especially the causes and extent of the present discontent.

"The causes of discontent are very easy to see, " said Ranald; "all British Columbians feel hurt at the failure of the Dominion government to keep its solemn obligations."

"Is there nothing else now, Mr. Macdonald?"

"There may be," said Ranald, "some lingering impatience with the government by different officials, and there is a certain amount of annexation sentiment."

"Ah," said Sir John, "I think we have our finger upon it now."

"Do not over-estimate that," said Ranald; "I believe that there are only a very few with annexation sentiments, and all these are of American birth. The great body of the people are simply indignant at, and disappointed with, the Dominion government."

"And would you say there is no other cause of discontent, Mr. Macdonald?" said Sir John, with a keen look at Ranald.

"There is another cause, I believe," said Ranald, "and that is the party depression, but that depression is due to the uncertainty in regard to the political future of the province. When once we hear that the railroad is being built, political interest will revive."

"May I ask where you were born?" said Sir John.

"In Glengarry," said Ranald, with a touch of pride in his voice.

"Ah, I am afraid your people are not great admirers of my government, and perhaps you, Mr. Macdonald, share in the opinion of your county."

"I have no opinion in regard to Dominion politics. I am for British Columbia."

"Well, Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, rising, "that is right, and you ought to have your road."

"Do I understand you to say that the government will begin to build the road at once?" said Ranald.

"Ah," smiled Sir John, "I see you want something definite."

"I have come two thousand miles to get it. The people that sent me will be content with nothing else. It is a serious time with us, and I believe with the whole of the Dominion."

"Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, becoming suddenly grave, "believe me, it is a more serious time than you know, but you trust me in this matter."

"Will the road be begun this year?" said Ranald.

"All I can say to-day, Mr. Macdonald," said Sir John, earnestly, "is this, that if I can bring it about, the building of the road will be started at once."

"Then, Sir John," said Ranald, "you may depend that British Columbia will be grateful to you," and the interview was over.

Outside the room, he found Captain De Lacy awaiting him.

"By Jove, Macdonald, I have been waiting here three-quarters of an hour. Come along. Maimie has an afternoon right on, and you are our lion." Ranald would have refused, but De Lacy would not accept any apology, and carried him off.

Maimie's rooms were crowded with all the great social and political people of the city. With an air of triumph, De Lacy piloted Ranald through the crowd and presented him to Maimie. Ranald was surprised to find himself shaking hands with the woman he had once loved, with unquickened pulse and nerves cool and steady. Here Maimie, who was looking more beautiful than ever, and who was dressed in a gown of exquisite richness, received Ranald with a warmth that was almost enthusiastic.

"How famous you have become, Mr. Macdonald," she said, offering him her hand; "we are all proud to say that we know you."

"You flatter me," said Ranald, bowing over her hand.

"No, indeed. Every one is talking of the young man from the West. And how handsome you are, Ranald," she said, in a low voice, leaning toward him, and flashing at him one of her old-time glances.

"I am not used to that," he said, "and I can only reply as we used to in school, 'You, too.'"

"Oh, now you flatter me," cried Maimie, gayly; "but let me introduce you to my dear friend, Lady Mary Rivers. Lady Mary, this is Mr. Macdonald from British Columbia, you know."

"Oh, yes," said Lady Mary, with a look of intelligence in her beautiful dark eyes, "I have heard a great deal about you. Let me see, you opposed separation; saved the Dominion, in short."

"Did I, really?" said Ranald, "and never knew it."

"You see, he is not only famous but modest," said Maimie; "but that is an old characteristic of his. I knew Mr. Macdonald a very long time ago."

"Very," said Ranald.

"When we were quite young."

"Very young," replied Ranald, with great emphasis.

"And doubtless very happy," said Lady Mary.

"Happy," said Ranald, "yes, so happy that I can hardly bear to think of those days."

"Why so?" inquired Lady Mary.

"Because they are gone."

"But all days go and have to be parted with."

"Oh, yes, Lady Mary. That is true and so many things die with them, as, for instance, our youthful beliefs and enthusiasms. I used to believe in every one, Lady Mary."

"And now in no one?"

"God forbid! I discriminate."

"Now, Lady Mary," replied Maimie, "I want my lion to be led about and exhibited, and I give him over to you."

For some time Ranald stood near, chatting to two or three people to whom Lady Mary had introduced him, but listening eagerly all the while to Maimie talking to the men who were crowded about her. How brilliantly she talked, finding it quite within her powers to keep several men busy at the same time; and as Ranald listened to her gay, frivolous talk, more and more he became conscious of an unpleasantness in her tone. It was thin, shallow, and heartless.

"Can it be possible," he said to himself, "that once she had the power to make my heart quicken its beat?"

"Tell me about the West," Lady Mary was saying, when Ranald came to himself.

"If I begin about the West," he replied, "I must have both time and space to deliver myself."

"Come, then. We shall find a corner," said Lady Mary, and for half an hour did Ranald discourse to her of the West, and so eloquently that Lady Mary quite forgot that he was a lion and that she had been intrusted with the duty of exhibiting him. By and by Maimie found them.

"Now, Lady Mary, you are very selfish, for so many people are wanting to see our hero, and here is the premier wanting to see you."

"Ah, Lady Mary," said Sir John, "you have captured the man from Glengarry, I see."

"I hope so, indeed," said Lady Mary; "but why from Glengarry? He is from the West, is he not?"

"Once from Glengarry, now from the West, and I hope he will often come from the West, and he will, no doubt, if those people know what is good for them." And Sir John, skillfully drawing Ranald aside, led him to talk of the political situation in British Columbia, now and then putting a question that revealed a knowledge so full and accurate that Ranald exclaimed, suddenly, "Why, Sir John, you know more about the country than I do!"

"Not at all, not at all," replied Sir John; and then, lowering his voice to a confidential tone, he added, "You are the first man from that country that knows what I want to know." And once more he plied Ranald with questions, listening eagerly and intelligently to the answers so enthusiastically given.

"We want to make this Dominion a great empire," said Sir John, as he said good by to Ranald, "and we are going to do it, but you and men like you in the West must do your part."

Ranald was much impressed by the premier's grave earnestness.

"I will try, Sir John," he said, "and I shall go back feeling thankful that you are going to show us the way."

"Going so soon?" said Maimie, when he came to say good by. "Why I have seen nothing of you, and I have not had a moment to offer you my congratulations," she said, with a significant smile. Ranald bowed his thanks.

"And Kate, dear girl," went on Maimie, "she never comes to see me now, but I am glad she will be so happy."

Ranald looked at her steadily for a moment or two, and then said, quietly, "I am sure I hope so, and Harry is a very lucky chap."

"Oh, isn't he," cried Maimie, "and he is just daft about her. Must you go? I am so sorry. I wanted to talk about old times, the dear old days." The look in Maimie's eyes said much more than her words.

"Yes," said Ranald, with an easy, frank smile; "they were dear days, indeed; I often think of them. And now I must really go. Say good by to De Lacy for me."

He came away from her with an inexplicable feeling of exultation. He had gone with some slight trepidation in his heart, to meet her, and it was no small relief to him to discover that she had lost all power over him.

"What sort of man could I have been, I wonder?" he asked himself; "and it was only three years ago."

Near the door Lady Mary stopped him. "Going so early, and without saying good by?" she said, reproachfully.

"I must leave town to-night," he replied, "but I am glad to say good by to you."

"I think you ought to stay. I am sure His Excellency wants to see you."

"I am sure you are good to think so, but I am also quite sure that he has never given a thought to my insignificant self."

"Indeed he has. Now, can't you stay a few days? I want to see more--we all want to hear more about the West."

"You will never know the West by hearing of it," said Ranald, offering his hand.

"Good by," she said, "I am coming."

"Good," he said, "I shall look for you."

As Ranald approached his hotel, he saw a man that seemed oddly familiar, lounging against the door and as he drew near, he discovered to his astonishment and joy that it was Yankee.

"Why, Yankee!" he exclaimed, rushing at him, "how in the world did you come to be here, and what brought you?"

"Well, I came for you, I guess. Heard you were going to be here and were comin' home afterwards, so I thought it would be quicker for you to drive straight across than to go round by Cornwall, so I hitched up Lisette and came right along."

"Lisette! You don't mean to tell me? How is the old girl? Yankee, you have done a fine thing. Now we will start right away."

"All right," said Yankee.

"How long will it take us to get home?"

"'Bout two days easy goin,' I guess. Of course if you want, I guess we can do it in a day and a half. She will do all you tell her."

"Well, we will take two days," said Ranald.

"I guess we had better take a pretty early start," said Yankee.

"Can't we get off to-night?" inquired Ranald, eagerly. "We could get out ten miles or so."

"Yes," replied Yankee. "There's a good place to stop, about ten miles out. I think we had better go along the river road, and then take down through the Russell Hills to the Nation Crossing."

In half an hour they were off on their two days' trip to the Indian Lands. And two glorious days they were. The open air with the suggestion of the coming fall, the great forests with their varying hues of green and brown, yellow and bright red, and all bathed in the smoky purple light of the September sun, these all combined to bring to Ranald's heart the rest and comfort and peace that he so sorely needed. And when he drove into his uncle's yard in the late afternoon of the second day, he felt himself more content to live the life appointed him; and if anything more were needed to strengthen him in this resolution, and to fit him for the fight lying before him, his brief visit to his home brought it to him. It did him good to look into the face of the great Macdonald Bhain once more, and to hear his deep, steady voice welcome him home. It was the face and the voice of a man who had passed through many a sore battle, and not without honor to himself. And it was good, too, to receive the welcome greetings of his old friends and to feel their pride in him and their high expectation of him. More than ever, he resolved that he would be a man worthy of his race.

His visit to the manse brought him mingled feelings of delight and perplexity and pain. The minister's welcome was kind, but there was a tinge of self-complacent pride in it. Ranald was one of "his lads," and he evidently took credit to himself for the young man's success. Hughie regarded him with reserved approval. He was now a man and teaching school, and before committing himself to his old- time devotion, he had to adjust his mind to the new conditions. But before the evening was half done Ranald had won him once more. His tales of the West, and of how it was making and marring men, of the nation that was being built up, and his picture of the future that he saw for the great Dominion, unconsciously revealed the strong manhood and the high ideals in the speaker, and Hughie found himself slipping into the old attitude of devotion to his friend.

But it struck Ranald to the heart to see the marks of many a long day's work upon the face of the woman who had done more for him than all the rest of the world. Her flock of little children had laid upon her a load of care and toil, which added to the burden she was already trying to carry, was proving more than her delicate frame could bear. There were lines upon her face that only weariness often repeated cuts deep; but there were other lines there, and these were lines of heart pain, and as Ranald watched her closely, with his heart running over with love and pity and indignation for her, he caught her frequent glances toward her first born that spoke of anxiety and fear.

"Can it be the young rascal is bringing her anything but perfect satisfaction and joy in return for the sacrifice of her splendid life?" he said to himself. But no word fell from her to show him the secret of her pain, it was Hughie's own lips that revealed him, and as the lad talked of his present and his future, his impatience of control, his lack of sympathy to all higher ideals, his determination to please himself to the forgetting of all else, his seeming unconsciousness of the debt he owed to his mother, all these became easily apparent. With difficulty Ranald restrained his indignation. He let him talk for some time and then opened out upon him. He read him no long lecture, but his words came forth with such fiery heat that they burned their way clear through all the faults and flimsy selfishness of the younger man till they reached the true heart of him. His last words Hughie never forgot.

"Do you know, Hughie," he said, and the fire in his eyes seemed to burn into Hughie's, "do you know what sort of woman you have for a mother? And do you know that if you should live to be a hundred years, and devoted every day of your life to the doing of her pleasure, you could not repay the debt you owe her? Be a man, Hughie. Thank God for her, and for the opportunity of loving and caring for her."

The night of his first visit to the manse Ranald had no opportunity for any further talk with the minister's wife, but he came away with the resolve that before his week's visit was over, he would see her alone. On his return home, however, he found waiting him a telegram from Colonel Thorp, mailed from Alexandria, announcing an early date for the meeting of shareholders at Bay City, so that he found it necessary to leave immediately after the next day, which was the Sabbath. It was no small disappointment to him that he was to have no opportunity of opening his heart to his friend. But as he sat in his uncle's seat at the side of the pulpit, from which he could catch sight of the minister's pew, and watched the look of peace and quiet courage grow upon her face till all the lines of pain and care were quite smoothed out, he felt his heart fill up with a sense of shame for all his weakness, and his soul knit itself into the resolve that if he should have to walk his way, bearing his cross alone, he would seek the same high spirit of faith and patience and courage that he saw shining in her gray- brown eyes.

After the service he walked home with the minister's wife, seeking opportunity for a few last words with her. He had meant to tell her something of his heart's sorrow and disappointment, for he guessed that knowing and loving Kate as she did, she would understand its depth and bitterness. But when he told her of his early departure, and of the fear that for many years he could not return, his heart was smitten with a great pity for her. The look of disappointment and almost of dismay he could not understand until, with difficulty, she told him how she had hoped that he was to spend some weeks at home and that Hughie might be much with him.

"I wish he could know you better, Ranald. There is no one about here to whom he can look up, and some of his companions are not of the best." The look of beseeching pain in her eyes was almost more than Ranald could bear.

"I would give my life to help you," he said, in a voice hoarse and husky.

"I know," she said, simply; "you have been a great joy to me, Ranald, and it will always comfort me to think of you, and of your work, and I like to remember, too, how you helped Harry. He told me much about you, and I am so glad, especially as he is now to be married."

"Yes, yes," replied Ranald, hurriedly; "that will be a great thing for him." Then, after a pause, he added: "Mrs. Murray, the West is a hard country for young men who are not--not very firmly anchored, but if at any time you think I could help Hughie and you feel like sending him to me, I will gladly do for him all that one man can do for another. And all that I can do will be a very poor return for what you have done for me."

"It's little I have done, Ranald," she said, "and that little has been repaid a thousand-fold, for there is no greater joy than that of seeing my boys grow into good and great men and that joy you have brought me." Then she said good by, holding his hand long, as if hating to let him go.

"I will remember your promise, Ranald," she said, "for it may be that some day I shall need you." And when the chance came to Ranald before many years had gone, he proved himself not unworthy of her trust.

               *        *        *        *       *

At the meeting of share-holders of the British-American Coal and Lumber Company, held in Bay City, the feeling uppermost in the minds of those present was one of wrath and indignation at Colonel Thorp, for he still clung to the idea that it would be unwise to wind up the British Columbia end of the business. The colonel's speech in reply was a triumph of diplomacy. He began by giving a detailed and graphic account of his trip through the province, lighting up the narrative with incidents of adventure, both tragic and comic, to such good purpose that before he had finished his hearers had forgotten all their anger. Then he told of what he had seen of Ranald's work, emphasizing the largeness of the results he had obtained with his very imperfect equipment. He spoke of the high place their manager held in the esteem of the community as witness his visit to Ottawa as representative, and lastly he touched upon his work for the men by means of the libraries and reading-room. Here he was interrupted by an impatient exclamation on the part of one of the share-holders. The colonel paused, and fastening his eye upon the impatient share-holder, he said, in tones cool and deliberate: "A gentleman says, 'Nonsense!' I confess that before my visit to the West I should have said the same, but I want to say right here and now, that I have come to the opinion that it pays to look after your men--soul, mind, and body. You'll cut more lumber, get better contracts, and increase your dividends. There ain't no manner of doubt about that. Now," concluded the colonel, "you may still want to close up that business, but before you do so, I want you to hear Mr. Macdonald."

After some hesitation, Ranald was allowed to speak for a few minutes. He began by expressing his amazement that there should be any thought on the part of the company of withdrawing from the province at the very time when other firms were seeking to find entrance. He acknowledged that the result for the last years did not warrant any great confidence in the future of their business, but a brighter day had dawned, the railroad was coming, and he had in his pocket three contracts that it would require the company's whole force for six months to fulfill, and these contracts would be concluded the day the first rail was laid.

"And when will that be?" interrupted a shareholder, scornfully.

"I have every assurance," said Ranald, quietly, "from the premier himself, that the building of the railroad will be started this fall."

"Did Sir John A. MacDonald give you a definite promise?" asked the man, in surprise.

"Not exactly a promise," said Ranald.

A chorus of scornful "Ohs" greeted this admission.

"But the premier assured me that all his influence would be thrown in favor of immediate construction."

"For my part," replied the share-holder, "I place not the slightest confidence in any such promise as that."

"And I," said Ranald, calmly, "have every confidence that work on the line will be started this fall." And then he went on to speak of the future that he saw stretching out before the province and the whole Dominion. The feeling of opposition in the air roused him like a call to battle, and the thought that he was pleading for the West that he had grown to love, stimulated him like a draught of strong wine. In the midst of his speech the secretary, who till that moment had not been present, came into the room with the evening paper in his hand. He gave it to the president, pointing out a paragraph. At once the president, interrupting Ranald in his speech, rose and said, "Gentlemen, there is an item of news here that I think you will all agree bears somewhat directly upon this business." He then read Sir John A. MacDonald's famous telegram to the British Columbia government, promising that the Canadian Pacific Railway should be begun that fall. After the cheers had died away, Ranald rose again, and said, "Mr. President and gentlemen, there is no need that I should say anything more. I simply wish to add that I return to British Columbia next week, but whether as manager for this company or not that is a matter of perfect indifference to me." And saying this, he left the room, followed by Colonel Thorp.

"You're all right, pardner," said the colonel, shaking him vigorously by the hand, "and if they don't feel like playing up to your lead, then, by the great and everlasting Sammy, we will make a new deal and play it alone!"

"All right, Colonel," said Ranald; "I almost think I'd rather play it without them and you can tell them so."

"Where are you going now?" said the colonel.

"I've got to go to Toronto for a day," said Ranald; "the boys are foolish enough to get up a kind of dinner at the Albert, and besides," he added, resolutely, "I want to see Kate."

"Right you are," said the colonel; "anything else would be meaner than snakes."

But when Ranald reached Toronto, he found disappointment awaiting him. The Alberts were ready to give him an enthusiastic reception, but to his dismay both Harry and Kate were absent. Harry was in Quebec and Kate was with her mother visiting friends at the Northern Lake, so Ranald was forced to content himself with a letter of farewell and congratulation upon her approaching marriage. In spite of his disappointment, Ranald could not help acknowledging a feeling of relief. It would have been no small ordeal to him to have met Kate, to have told her how she had helped him during his three years' absence, without letting her suspect how much she had become to him, and how sore was his disappointment that she could never be more than friend to him, and indeed, not even that. But his letter was full of warm, frank, brotherly congratulation and good will.

The dinner at the Albert was in every way worthy of the club and of the occasion, but Ranald was glad to get it over. He was eager to get away from the city associated in his mind with so much that was painful.

At length the last speech was made, and the last song was sung, and the men in a body marched to the station carrying their hero with them. As they stood waiting for the train to pull out, a coachman in livery approached little Merrill.

"A lady wishes to see Mr. Macdonald, sir," he said, touching his hat.

"Well, she's got to be quick about it," said Merrill. "Here, Glengarry," he called to Ranald, "a lady is waiting outside to see you, but I say, old chap, you will have to make it short, I guess it will be sweet enough."

"Where is she?" said Ranald to the coachman,

"In here, sir," conducting him to the ladies' waiting-room, and taking his place at the door outside. Ranald hurried into the room, and there stood Kate.

"Dear Kate!" he cried, running toward her with both hands outstretched, "this is more than kind of you, and just like your good heart."

"I only heard last night, Ranald," she said, "from Maimie, that you were to be here to-day, and I could not let you go." She stood up looking so brave and proud, but in spite of her, her lips quivered.

"I have waited to see you so long," she said, "and now you are going away again."

"Don't speak like that, Kate," said Ranald, "don't say those things. I want to tell you how you have helped me these three lonely years, but I can't, and you will never know, and now I am going back. I hardly dared to see you, but I wish you everything that is good. I haven't seen Harry either, but you will wish him joy for me. He is a very lucky fellow."

By this time Ranald had regained control of himself, and was speaking in a tone of frank and brotherly affection. Kate looked at him with a slightly puzzled air.

"I've seen Maimie," Ranald went on, "and she told me all about it, and I am--yes, I am very glad." Still Kate looked a little puzzled, but the minutes were precious, and she had much to say.

"Oh, Ranald!" she cried, "I have so much to say to you. You have become a great man, and you are good. I am so proud when I hear of you," and lowering her voice almost to a whisper, "I pray for you every day."

As Ranald stood gazing at the beautiful face, and noticed the quivering lips and the dark eyes shining with tears she was too brave to let fall, he felt that he was fast losing his grip of himself.

"Oh, Kate," he cried, in a low, tense voice, "I must go. You have been more to me than you will ever know. May you both be happy."

"Both?" echoed Kate, faintly.

"Yes," cried Ranald, hurriedly, "Harry will, I'm sure, for if any one can make him happy, you can."

"I?" catching her breath, and beginning to laugh a little hysterically.

"What's the matter, Kate? You are looking white."

"Oh," cried Kate, her voice broken between a sob and a laugh, "won't Harry and Lily enjoy this?"

Ranald gazed at her in fear as if she had suddenly gone mad.

"Lily?" he gasped.

"Yes, Lily," cried Kate; "didn't you know Lily Langford, Harry's dearest and most devoted?"

"No," said Ranald; "and it is not you?"

"Not me," cried Kate, "not in the very least."

"Oh, Kate, tell me, is this all true? Are you still free? And is there any use?"

"What do you mean?" cried Kate, dancing about in sheer joy, "you silly boy."

By this time Ranald had got hold of her hands.

"Look here, old chap," burst in Merrill, "your train's going. Oh, beg pardon."

"Take the next, Ranald."

"Merrill," said Ranald, solemnly, "tell the fellows I'm not going on this train."

"Hoorah!" cried little Merrill, "I guess I'll tell 'em you are gone. May I tell the fellows, Kate?"

"What?" said Kate, blushing furiously.

"Yes, Merrill," cried Ranald, in a voice strident with ecstasy, "you may tell them. Tell the whole town."

Merrill rushed to the door. "I say, fellows," he cried, "look here."

The men came trooping at his call, but only to see Ranald and Kate disappearing through the other door.

"He's not going," cried Merrill, "he's gone. By Jove! They've both gone."

"I say, little man," said big Starry Hamilton, "call yourself together if you can. Who've both gone? In short, who is the lady?"

"Why, Kate Raymond, you blessed idiot!" cried Merrill, rushing for the door, followed by the whole crowd.

"Three cheers for Macdonald!" cried Starry Hamilton, as the carriage drove away, and after the three cheers and the tiger, little Merrill's voice led them in the old battle-cry, heard long ago on the river, but afterward on many a hard-fought foot-ball field, "Glengarry forever!"