The King Of Beaver, and Beaver Lights
by Mary Hartwell Catherwood
THE KING OF BEAVER AND BEAVER LIGHTS
From Mackinac And Lake Stories", 1899
By Mary Hartwell Catherwood
THE KING OF
THE KING OF BEAVER
Success was the word most used by the King of Beaver. Though he
stood before his people as a prophet assuming to speak revelations,
executive power breathed from him. He was a tall, golden-tinted man
with a head like a dome, hair curling over his ears, and soft beard and
mustache which did not conceal a mouth cut thin and straight. He had
student hands, long and well kept. It was not his dress, though that
was careful as a girl's, which set him apart from farmers listening on
the benches around him, but the keen light of his blue eyes, wherein
shone the master.
Emeline thought she had never before seen such a man. He had an
attraction which she felt loathsome, and the more so because it drew
some part of her irresistibly to him. Her spirit was kin to his, and
she resented that kinship, trying to lose herself among farmers' wives
and daughters, who listened to their Prophet stolidly, and were in no
danger of being naturally selected by him. This moral terror Emeline
could not have expressed in words, and she hid it like a shame. She
also resented the subservience of her kinspeople to one no greater than
herself. Her stock had been masters of men.
As the King of Beaver slowly turned about the circle he encountered
this rebel defying his assumption, and paused in his speaking a full
minute, the drowsy farmers seeing merely that notes were being shifted
and rearranged on the table. Then he began again, the dictatorial key
transposed into melody. His covert message was to the new maid in the
congregation. She might struggle like a fly in a web. He wrapped her
around and around with beautiful sentences. As Speaker of the State
Legislature he had learned well how to handle men in the mass, but
nature had doubly endowed him for entrancing women. The spiritual part
of James Strang, King and Prophet of a peculiar sect, appealed to the
one best calculated to appreciate him during the remainder of his
The Tabernacle, to which Beaver Island Mormons gathered every
Saturday instead of every Sunday, was yet unfinished. Its circular
shape and vaulted ceiling, panelled in the hard woods of the island,
had been planned by the man who stood in the centre. Many openings
under the eaves gaped windowless; but the congregation, sheltered from
a July sun, enjoyed freely the lake air, bringing fragrance from their
own fields and gardens. They seemed a bovine, honest people, in
homespun and hickory; and youth, bright-eyed and fresh-cheeked, was not
lacking. They sat on benches arranged in circles around a central
platform which held the Prophet's chair and table. This was his simple
plan for making his world revolve around him.
Roxy Cheeseman, Emeline's cousin, was stirred to restlessness by the
Prophet's unusual manner, and shifted uneasily on the bench. Her short,
scarlet-cheeked face made her a favorite among the young men. She had
besides this attraction a small waist and foot, and a father who was
very well off indeed for a Beaver Island farmer. Roxy's black eyes,
with the round and unwinking stare of a bird's, were fixed on King
Strang, as if she instinctively warded off a gaze which by swerving a
little could smite her.
But the Prophet paid no attention to any one when the meeting was
over, his custom being to crush his notes in one hand at the end of his
peroration, and to retire like a priest, leaving the dispersing
congregation awed by his rapt face.
The two cousins walked sedately along the street of St. James
village, while their elders lingered about the Tabernacle door shaking
hands. That primitive settlement of the early '50's consisted of a few
houses and log stores, a mill, the Tabernacle, and long docks, at which
steamers touched perhaps once a week. The forest partially encircled
it. A few Gentiles, making Saturday purchases in a shop kept by one of
their own kind, glanced with dislike at the separating Mormons. The
shouts of Gentile children could also be heard at Saturday play.
Otherwise a Sabbath peacefulness was over the landscape. Beaver Island
had not a rugged coastline, though the harbor of St. James was deep and
good. Land rose from it in gentle undulations rather than hills.
Emeline and Roxy walked inland, with their backs to the harbor. In
summer, farmers who lived nearest St. James took short-cuts through the
woods to meeting, and let their horses rest.
The last house on the street was a wooden building of some
pretension, having bow-windows and a veranda. High pickets enclosed a
secluded garden. It was very unlike the log-cabins of the island.
He lives here, said Roxy.
Emeline did not inquire who lived here. She understood, and her
How many with him?
All of themeight. Seven of them stay at home, but Mary French
travels with him. Didn't you notice her in the Tabernaclethe girl
with the rose in her hair, sitting near the platform?
Yes, I noticed her. Was that one of his wives?
Roxy waited until they had struck into the woods path, and then
looked guardedly behind her.
Mary French is the youngest one. She was sealed to the Prophet only
two years ago; and last winter she went travelling with him, and we
heard she dressed in men's clothes and acted as his secretary.
But why did she do that when she was his wife according to your
I don't know, responded Roxy, mysteriously. The Gentiles on the
mainland are very hard on us.
They followed the track between fragrant grapevine and hickory, and
the girl bred to respect polygamy inquired
Do you feel afraid of the Prophet, Cousin Emeline?
No, I don't, retorted the girl bred to abhor it.
Sometimes I do. He makes people do just what he wants them to. Mary
French was a Gentile's daughter, the proudest girl that ever stepped in
St. James. She didn't live on the island; she came here to visit. And
he got her. What's the matter, Cousin Emeline?
Some one trod on my grave; I shivered. Cousin Roxy, I want to ask
you a plain question. Do you like a man's having more than one wife?
No, I don't. And father doesn't either. But he was obliged to marry
again, or get into trouble with the other elders. And Aunt Mahala is
very good about the house, and minds mother. The revelation may be
plain enough, but I am not the kind of a girl, declared Roxy,
daringly, as one might blaspheme, that cares a straw for the
Emeline took hold of her arm, and they walked on with a new sense of
A great many of the people feel the same way about it. But when the
Prophet makes them understand it is part of the faith, they have to
keep the faith. I am a reprobate myself. But don't tell father,
appealed Roxy, uneasily. He is an elder.
My uncle Cheeseman is a good man, said Emeline, finding comfort in
this fact. She could not explain to her cousin how hard it had been for
her to come to Beaver Island to live among Mormons. Her uncle had
insisted on giving his orphan niece a home and the protection of a male
relative, at the death of the maiden aunt by whom she had been brought
up. In that day no girl thought of living without protection. Emeline
had a few thousand dollars of her own, but her money was invested, and
he could not count on the use of it, which men assumed a right to have
when helpless women clustered to their hearths. Her uncle Cheeseman was
undeniably a good man, whatever might be said of his religious faith.
I like father myself, assented Roxy. He is never strict with us
unless the Prophet has some revelation that makes him so. Cousin
Emeline, I hope you won't grow to be taken up with Brother Strang, like
Mary French. I thought he looked at you to-day.
Emeline's face and neck were scarlet above her black dress. The
Gentile resented as an insult what the Mormon simply foreboded as
distasteful to herself; though there was not a family of that faith on
the island who would not have felt honored in giving a daughter to the
I hate him! exclaimed Emeline, her virgin rage mingled with a kind
of sweet and sickening pain. I'll never go to his church again.
Father wouldn't like that, Cousin Emeline, observed Roxy, though
her heart leaped to such unshackled freedom. He says we mustn't put
our hand to the plough and turn back. Everybody knows that Brother
Strang is the only person who can keep the Gentiles from driving us off
the island. They have persecuted us ever since the settlement was made.
But they are afraid of him. They cannot do anything with him. As long
as he lives he is better than an army to keep our lands and homes for
You are in a hard case betwixt Gentiles and Prophet, laughed
Yet the aspects of life on Beaver Island keenly interested her. This
small world, fifteen miles in length by six in breadth, was shut off by
itself in Lake Michigan, remote from the civilization of towns. She
liked at first to feel cut loose from her past life, and would have had
the steamers touch less often at St. James, diminishing their chances
of bringing her hateful news.
There were only two roads on the islandone extending from the
harbor town in the north end to a village called Galilee at the extreme
southeast end, the other to the southwest shore. Along these roads
farms were laid out, each about eighty rods in width and a mile or two
in length, so that neighbors dwelt within call of one another, and the
colony presented a strong front. The King of Beaver could scarcely have
counselled a better division of land for the linking of families. On
one side of the Cheesemans had dwelt an excellent widow with a bag
chin, and she became Elder Cheeseman's second wife. On the other side
were the Went-worths, and Billy Wentworth courted Roxy across the fence
until it appeared that wives might continue passing over successive
The billowy land was green in the morning as paradise, and Emeline
thought every day its lights and shadows were more beautiful than the
day before. Life had paused in her, and she was glad to rest her eyes
on the horizon line and take no thought about any morrow. She helped
her cousin and her legal and Mormon aunts with the children and the
cabin labor, trying to adapt herself to their habits. But her
heart-sickness and sense of fitting in her place like a princess cast
among peasants put her at a disadvantage when, the third evening, the
King of Beaver came into the garden.
He chose that primrose time of day when the world and the human
spirit should be mellowest, and walked with the farmer between garden
beds to where Emeline and Roxy were tending flowers. The entire loamy
place sent up incense. Emeline had felt at least sheltered and
negatively happy until his voice modulations strangely pierced her, and
she looked up and saw him.
He called her uncle Brother Cheeseman and her uncle called him
Brother Strang, but on one side was the mien of a sovereign and on the
other the deference of a subject. Again Emeline's blood rose against
him, and she took as little notice as she dared of the introduction.
The King of Beaver talked to Roxy. Billy Wentworth came to the line
fence and made a face at seeing him helping to tie up sweet-peas. Then
Billy climbed over and joined Emeline. They exchanged looks, and each
knew the mind of the other on the subject of the Prophet.
Billy was a good safe human creature, with the tang of the soil
about him, and no wizard power of making his presence felt when one's
back was turned. Emeline kept her gray eyes directed towards him, and
talked about his day's work and the trouble of ploughing with oxen. She
was delicately and sensitively made, with a beauty which came and went
like flame. Her lips were formed in scarlet on a naturally pale face.
Billy Wentworth considered her weakly. He preferred the robust arm
outlined by Roxy's homespun sleeve. And yet she had a sympathetic
knowledge of men which he felt, without being able to describe, as the
most delicate flattery.
The King of Beaver approached Emeline. She knew she could not escape
the interview, and continued tying vines to the cedar palisades while
the two young islanders drew joyfully away to another part of the
garden. The stable and barn-yard were between garden and cabin. Long
variegated fields stretched off in bands. A gate let through the cedar
pickets to a pasture where the cows came up to be milked. Bees
gathering to their straw domes for the night made a purring hum at the
other end of the garden.
I trust you are here to stay, said Emeline's visitor.
I am never going back to Detroit, she answered. He understood at
once that she had met grief in Detroit, and that it might be other
grief than the sort expressed by her black garment.
We will be kind to you here.
Emeline, finishing her task, glanced over her shoulder at him. She
did not know how tantalizingly her face, close and clear in skin
texture as the petal of a lily, flashed out her dislike. A heavier
woman's rudeness in her became audacious charm.
I like Beaver Island, she remarked, winding the remaining bits of
string into a ball. 'Every prospect pleases, and only man is vile.'
You mean Gentile man, said King Strang. He is vile, but we hope
to get rid of him some time.
By breaking his fish-nets and stealing his sailboats? Is it true
that a Gentile sail-boat was sunk in Lake Galilee and kept hidden there
until inquiry ceased, and then was raised, repainted, and launched
again, a good Mormon boat?
He linked his hands behind him and smiled at her daring.
How many evil stories you have heard about us! My dear young lady,
I could rejoin with truths about our persecutions. Is your uncle
Cheeseman a malefactor?
My uncle Cheeseman is a good man.
So are all my people. The island, like all young communities, is
infested with a class of camp-follow-ers, and every depredation of
these fellows is charged to us. But we shall make it a gardenwe shall
make it a garden.
Let me train vines over the whipping-post in your garden,
suggested Emeline, turning back the crimson edge of her lip.
You have heard that a man was publicly whipped on Beaver
Islandand he deserved it. Have you heard also that I myself have been
imprisoned by outsiders, and my life attempted more than once? Don't
you know that in war a leader must be stern if he would save his people
from destruction? Have you never heard a good thing of me, my child?
Emeline, facing her adversary, was enraged at the conviction which
the moderation and gentleness of a martyr was able to work in her.
Oh yes, indeed, I have heard one good thing of youyour
undertaking the salvation of eight or nine wives.
Not yet nine, he responded, humorously. And I am glad you
mentioned that. It is one of our mysteries that you will learn later.
You have helped me greatly by such a candid unburdening of your mind.
For you must know that you and I are to be more to each other than
strangers. The revelation was given to you when it was given to me in
the Tabernacle. I saw that.
The air was thickening with dusky motes. Emeline fancied that living
dark atoms were pressing down upon her from infinity.
You must know, she said, with determination, that I came to
Beaver Island because I hated men, and expected to see nothing but
Not counting them men at all, indulgently supplemented the King of
Beaver, conscious that she was struggling in the most masculine
presence she had ever encountered. He dropped his voice. My child, you
touch me as no one has touched me yet. There is scarcely need of words
between us. I know what I am to you. You shall not stay on the island
if you do not wish it. Oh, you are going to make me do my best!
I wish you would go away!
Some Gentile has hurt you, and you are beating your bruised
strength on me.
Please go away! I don't like you. I am bound to another man.
You are bound to nobody but me. I have waited a lifetime for you.
How dare you talk so to me when you have eight wives already!
Solomon had a thousand. He was a man of God, though never in his
life was there a moment when he took to his breast a mate. I shall fare
Did you talk to them all like this?
Ask them. They have their little circles beyond which they cannot
go. Have you thoughts in common with your cousin Roxy?
Yes, very many, asserted Emeline, doggedly. I am just like Cousin
You have no mind beyond the milking and churning, the sewing and
No, I have no mind beyond them.
I kiss your handsthese little hands that were made to the finest
uses of life, and that I shall fill with honors.
Don't touch me, warned Emeline. They can scratch!
The King of Beaver laughed aloud. With continued gentleness he
explained to her: You will come to me. Gentile brutes may chase women
like savages, and maltreat them afterwards; but it is different with
you and me. He brought his hands forward and folded them upright on
[Illustration: Always prayed this prayer alone 124]
I have always prayed this prayer alone and as a solitary soul at
twilight. For the first time I shall speak it aloud in the presence of
one who has often thought the same prayer: O God, since Thou hast shut
me up in this world, I will do the best I can, without fear or favor.
When my task is done, let me out!
He turned and left her, as if this had been a benediction on their
meeting, and went from the garden as he usually went from the
Tabernacle. Emeline's heart and eyes seemed to overflow without any
volition of her own. It was a kind of spiritual effervescence which she
could not control. She sobbed two or three times aloud, and immediately
ground her teeth at his back as it passed out of sight. Billy and Roxy
were so free from the baleful power that selected her. They could chat
in peace under the growing darkness, they who had home and families,
while she, without a relative except those on Beaver Island, or a
friend whose duty it was to shelter her, must bear the shock of that
The instinct that no one could help her but herself kept her silent
when she retired with Roxy to the loft-chamber. Primitive life on
Beaver Island settled to its rest soon after the birds, and there was
not a sound outside of nature's stirrings till morning, unless some
drunken fishermen trailed down the Galilee road to see what might be
inflicted on the property of sleeping Mormons.
The northern air blew fresh through gable windows of the attic, yet
Emeline turned restlessly on her straw bed, and counted the dim rafters
while Roxy slept. Finally she could not lie still, and slipped
cautiously out of bed, feeling dire need to be abroad, running or
riding with all her might. She leaned out of a gable window, courting
the moist chill of the starless night. While the hidden landscape
seemed strangely dear to her, she was full of unspeakable homesickness
and longing for she knew not whata life she had not known and could
not imagine, some perfect friend who called her silently through space
and was able to lift her out of the entanglements of existence.
The regular throbbing of a horse's feet approaching along the road
at a brisk walk became quite distinct. Emeline's sensations were
suspended while she listened. From the direction of St. James she saw a
figure on horseback coming between the dusky parallel fence rows. The
sound of walking ceased in front of the house, and presently another
sound crept barely as high as the attic window. It was the cry of a
violin, sweet and piercing, like some celestial voice. It took her
unawares. She fled from it to her place beside Roxy and covered her
ears with the bedclothes.
Roxy turned with a yawn and aroused from sleep. She rose to her
elbow and drew in her breath, giggling. The violin courted like an
angel, finding secret approaches to the girl who lay rigid with her
Cousin Emeline! whispered Roxy, do you hear that?
What is it? inquired Emeline, revealing no emotion.
[Illustration: Brother Strang serenading 134]
It's Brother Strang serenading.
How do you know?
Because he is the only man on Beaver who can play the fiddle like
that. Roxy gave herself over to unrestrained giggling. A man fifty
I don't believe it, responded Emeline, sharply.
Don't believe he is nearly fifty? He told his age to the elders.
I haven't a word of praise for him, but he isn't an old man. He
doesn't look more than thirty-five.
To hear that fiddle you'd think he wasn't twenty, chuckled Roxy.
It's the first time Brother Strang ever came serenading down this
He did not stay long, but went, trailing music deliciously into the
distance. Emeline knew how he rode, with the bridle looped over his bow
arm. She was quieted and lay in peace, sinking to sleep almost before
the faint, far notes could no longer be heard.
From that night her uncle Cheeseman's family changed their attitude
towards her. She felt it as a withdrawal of intimacy, though it
expressed reverential awe. Especially did her Mormon aunt Mahala take
little tasks out of her hands and wait upon her, while her legal aunt
looked at her curiously. It was natural for Roxy to talk to Billy
Wentworth across the fence, but it was not natural for them to share so
much furtive laughter, which ceased when Emeline approached. Uncle
Cheese-man himself paid more attention to his niece and spent much time
at the table explaining to her the Mormon situation on Beaver Island,
tracing the colony back to its secession from Brigham Young's party in
Brother Strang was too large for them, said her uncle. He can do
anything he undertakes to do.
The next Saturday Emeline refused to go to the Tabernacle. She gave
no reason and the family asked for none. Her caprices were as the
gambols of the paschal lamb, to be indulged and overlooked. Roxy
offered to stay with her, but she rejected companionship, promising her
uncle and aunts to lock herself within the cabin and hide if she saw
men approaching from any direction. The day was sultry for that
climate, and of a vivid clearness, and the sky dazzled. Emeline had
never met any terrifying Gentiles during her stay on the island, and
she felt quite secure in crossing the pasture and taking to the farm
woods beyond. Her uncle's cows had worn a path which descended to a run
with partially grass-lined channel. Beaver Island was full of brooks
and springs. The children had placed stepping-stones across this one.
She was vaguely happy, seeing the water swirl below her feet, hearing
the cattle breathe at their grazing; though in the path or on the log
which she found at the edge of the woods her face kept turning towards
the town of St. James, as the faces of the faithful turn towards Mecca.
It was childish to think of escaping the King of Beaver by merely
staying away from his exhortations. Emeline knew she was only
The green silence should have helped her to think, but she found
herself waitingand doing nothing but waitingfor what might happen
next. She likened herself to a hunted rabbit palpitating in cover,
unable to reach any place of safety yet grateful for a moment's
breathing. Wheels rolled southward along the Galilee road. Meeting was
out. She had the caprice to remain where she was when the family wagon
arrived, for it had been too warm to walk to the Tabernacle. Roxy's
voice called her, and as she answered, Roxy skipped across the brook
and ran to her.
Cousin Emeline, the breathless girl announced, here comes Mary
French to see you!
Emeline stiffened upon the log.
Roxy glanced behind at a figure following her across the meadow.
What does she want of me? inquired Emeline. If she came home with
the family, it was not necessary to call me.
She drove by herself. She says Brother Strang sent her to you.
Emeline stood up as the Prophet's youngest wife entered that leafy
silence. Roxy, forgetting that these two had never met before, slipped
away and left them. They looked at each other.
How do you do, Mrs. Strang? spoke Emeline.
How do you do, Miss Cheeseman? spoke Mary French.
Will you sit down on this log?
Mary French had more flesh and blood than Emeline. She was larger
and of a warmer and browner tintthat type of brunette with startling
black hair which breaks into a floss of little curls, and with
unexpected blue eyes. Her full lips made a bud, and it only half
bloomed when she smiled. From crown to slipper she was a ripe and
supple woman. Though clad, like Emeline, in black, her garment was a
transparent texture over white, and she held a parasol with crimson
lining behind her head. She had left her bonnet in her conveyance.
My husband, said Mary French, quiet and smiling, sent me to tell
you that you will be welcomed into our family.
Emeline looked her in the eyes. The Prophet's wife had the most
unblenching smiling gaze she had ever encountered.
I do not wish to enter your family. I am not a Mormon.
He will make you wish it. I was not a Mormon.
They sat silent, the trees stirring around them.
I do not understand it, said Emeline. How can you come to me with
such a message?
I can do it as you can do it when your turn comes.
Emeline looked at Mary French as if she had been stabbed.
It hurts, doesn't it? said Mary French. But wait till he seems to
you a great strong archangelan archangel with only the weakness of
dabbling his wings in the dirtand you will withhold from him nothing,
no one, that may be of use to him. If he wants to put me by for a
while, it is his will. You cannot take my place. I cannot fill yours.
Oh, don't! gasped Emeline. I am not that sort of womanI should
That is because you have not lived with him. I would rather have
him make me suffer than not have him at all.
Oh, don't! I can't bear it! Help me! prayed Emeline, stretching
her hands to the wife.
Mary French met her with one hand and the unflinching smile. Her
flesh was firm and warm, while Emeline's was cold and quivering.
You have never loved anybody, have you?
But you have thought you did?
I was engaged before I came here.
And the engagement is broken?
Mary French breathed deeply.
You will forget it here. He can draw the very soul out of your
He cannot! flashed Emeline.
Some one will kill him yet. He is not understood at his best, and
he cannot endure defeat of any kind. When you come into the family you
must guard him from his enemies as I have constantly guarded him. If
you ever let a hair of his head be harmedthen I shall hate you!
Mrs. Strang, do you come here to push me too! My uncle's family,
everything, all are closing around me! Why don't you help me? I
loatheI loathe; your husband!
Mary French rose, her smile changing only to express deep
You are a good girl dear. I can myself feel your charm. I was not
so self-denying. In my fierce young girlhood I would have removed a
rival. But since you ask me, I will do all I can for you in the way you
desire. My errand is done. Good-by.
Good-by, said Emeline, restraining herself.
She sat watching the elastic shape under the parasol move with its
shadow across the field. She had not a doubt until Mary French was
gone; then the deep skill of the Prophet's wife with rivals sprung out
like a distortion of nature.
Emeline had nearly three weeks in which to intrench herself with
doubts and defences. She felt at first surprised and relieved. When her
second absence from the Tabernacle was passed over in silence she found
in her nature an unaccountable pique, which steadily grew to unrest.
She ventured and turned back on the woods path leading to St. James
many times, each time daring farther. The impulse to go to St. James
came on her at waking, and she resisted through busy hours of the day.
But the family often had tasks from which Emeline was free, and when
the desire grew unendurable she knelt at her secluded bedside in the
loft, trying to bring order out of her confused thoughts. She reviewed
her quarrel with her lover, and took blame for his desertion. The
grievance which had seemed so great to her before she came to Beaver
Island dwindled, and his personality with it. In self-defence she
coaxed her fancy, pretending that James Arnold was too good for her. It
was well he had found it out. But because he was too good for her she
ought to go on being fond of him at a safe distance, undetected by him,
and discreetly cherishing his large blond image as her ideal of
manhood. If she had not been bred in horror of Catholics, the cloister
at this time would have occurred to her as her only safe refuge.
These secret rites in her bedroom being ended, and Roxy diverted
from her movements, she slipped off into the woods path, sometimes
running breathlessly towards St. James.
The impetus which carried Emeline increased with each journey. At
first she was able to check it in the woods depths, but it finally
drove her until the village houses were in sight.
When this at last happened, and she stood gazing, fascinated, down
the tunnel of forest path, the King of Beaver spoke behind her.
Emeline screamed in terror and took hold of a bush, to make it a
support and a veil.
Have I been a patient man? he inquired, standing between her and
her uncle's house. I waited for you to come to me.
I am obliged to go somewhere, said Emeline, plucking the leaves
and unsteadily shifting her eyes about his feet. I cannot stay on the
farm all the time. Through numbness she felt the pricking of a sharp
The King of Beaver smiled, seeing betrayed in her face the very
vertigo of joy.
[Illustration: You will give yourself to me now 142]
You will give yourself to me now? he winningly begged, venturing
out-stretched hands. You have felt the need as I have? Do you think
the days have been easy to me? When you were on your knees I was on my
knees too. Every day you came in this direction I came as far as I
dared, to meet you. Are the obstacles all passed?
No, said Emeline.
He was making her ask herself that most insidious question, Why
could not the other have been like this?
Tell mecan you say, 'I hate you,' now?
No, said Emeline.
I have grown to be a better man since you said you hated me. The
miracle cannot be forced. Next time? He spoke wistfully.
No, Emeline answered, holding to the bush. She kept her eyes on
the ground while he talked, and glanced up when she replied. He stood
with his hat off. The flakes of sun touched his head and the fair skin
of his forehead.
He moved towards Emeline, and she retreated around the bush. Without
hesitating he passed, making a salutation, and went on by himself to
St. James. She watched his rapid military walk furtively, her eyebrows
crouching, her lips rippling with passionate tremors. Then she took to
flight homeward, her skirts swishing through the woods with a rush like
the wind. The rebound was as violent as the tension had been.
There were few festivities on Beaver Island, the Mormon families
living a pastoral life, many of them yet taxed by the struggle for
existence. Crops shot up rank and strong in the short Northern summer.
Soft cloud masses sailed over the island, and rain-storms marched
across it with drums of thunder which sent reverberations along the
water world. Or fogs rolled in, muffling and obliterating homesteads.
Emeline stayed in the house, busying herself with the monotonous
duties of the family three days. She was determined never to go into
the woods path again without Roxy. The fourth day a gray fog gave her
no choice but imprisonment. It had the acrid tang of smoke from fires
burning on the mainland. About nightfall the west wind rose and blew it
back, revealing a land mantled with condensed drops.
Emeline put on her hat and shawl to walk around in the twilight. The
other young creatures of the house were glad to be out also, and Roxy
and Roxy's lover talked across the fence. Emeline felt fortified
against the path through the woods at night; yet her feet turned in
that direction, and as certainly as water seeks its level she found
herself on the moist elastic track. Cow-bells on the farm sounded
fainter and farther. A gloom of trees massed around her, and the forest
gave up all its perfume to the dampness.
At every step she meant to turn back, though a recklessness of night
and of meeting the King of Beaver grew upon her. Thus, without any
reasonable excuse for her presence there, she met Mary French.
Is that you, Miss Cheeseman? panted the Prophet's youngest wife.
Emeline confessed her identity.
I was coming for you, but it is fortunate you are so far on the
way. There is a steamboat at the dock, and it will go out in half an
hour. I could not get away sooner to tell you. Mary French breathed
heavily from running. When the steamboat came in the captain sent for
my husband, as the captains always do. I went with him: he knows how I
dread to have him go alone upon a boat since an attempt was made last
year to kidnap him. But this time there was another reason, for I have
been watching. And sure enough, a young man was on the steamboat
inquiring where he could find you. His name is James Arnold. The
captain asked my husband to direct him to you. You will readily
understand why he did not find you. Come at once!
I will not, said Emeline.
But you wanted me to help you, and I have been trying to do it. We
easily learned by letter from our friends in Detroit who your lover
was. My husband had me do that: he wanted to know. Then without his
knowledge I stooped to write an anonymous letter.
To James Arnold?
What did you tell him?
I said you were exposed to great danger on Beaver Island, among the
Mormons, and if you had any interested friend it was time for him to
And that brought him here?
I am sure it did. He was keenly disappointed at not finding you.
But why didn't he come to the farm?
My husband prevented that. He said you were on Beaver Island three
or four weeks ago, but you were now in the Fairy Isle. It was no lie.
He spoke in parables, but the other heard him literally. We let him
inquire of people in St. James. But no one had seen you since the
Saturday you came to the Tabernacle. So he is going back to Mackinac to
seek you. Your life will be decided in a quarter of an hour. Will you
go on that steamboat?
Throw myself on the mercy of a man who dareddared to break his
engagement, and who ought to be punished and put on probation, and then
refused! No, I cannot!
The minutes are slipping away.
Besides, I have nothing with me but the clothes I have on. And my
uncle's familythink of my uncle's family!
You can write to your uncle and have him send your baggage. I dare
not carry any messages. But I thought of what you would need to-night,
and put some things and some money in this satchel. They were mine.
Keep them all.
Emeline took hold of the bag which Mary French shoved in her hand.
Their faces were indistinct to each other.
For the first time in my life I have deceived my husband!
Oh, what shall I dowhat shall I do? cried the girl.
A steamer whistle at St. James dock sent its bellow rebounding from
tree to tree in the woods. Emeline seized Mary French and kissed her
violently on both cheeks. She snatched the bag and flew towards St.
Stop! commanded the Prophet's wife.
She ran in pursuit, catching Emeline by the shoulders.
You sha'n't go! What am I doing? Maybe robbing him of what is
necessary to his highest success! I am a foolto think he might turn
back to me for consolation when you are goneGod forgive me such silly
fondness! I can't have a secret between him and myselfI will tell
him! You shall not goand cause him a mortal hurt! Wait!stop!the
boat is gone! It's too late!
Let me loose! struggled Emeline, wrenching herself away.
[Illustration: Let me loose! 148]
She ran on through the woods, and Mary French, snatching at garments
which eluded her, stumbled and fell on the damp path, gathering dead
leaves under her palms. The steamer's prolonged bellow covered her
Candles were lighted in St. James. The Tabernacle spread itself like
a great circular web dark with moisture. Emeline was conscious of
running across the gang-plank as a sailor stooped to draw it in. The
bell was ringing and the boat was already in motion. It sidled and
backed away from its moorings.
Emeline knelt panting at the rail on the forward deck. A flambeau
fastened to the wharf bowed its light to the wind as the boat swung
about, showing the King of Beaver smiling and waving his hand in
farewell. He did not see Emeline. His farewell was for the man whom he
had sent away without her. His golden hair and beard and blue eyes
floated into Emeline's past as the steamer receded, the powerful face
and lithe figure first losing their identity, and then merging into
night. What if it was true that she was robbing both him and herself of
the best life, as Mary French was smitten to believe at the last
moment? Her Gentile gorge rose against him, and the traditions of a
thousand years warred in her with nature; yet she stretched her hands
towards him in the darkness.
Then she heard a familiar voice, and knew that the old order of
things was returning, while Beaver Island, like a dream, went silently
down upon the waters.
Some years later, in the '50's, Emeline, sitting opposite her
husband at the breakfast-table, heard him announce from the morning
Murder of King Strang, the Mormon Prophet of Beaver Island. All
the details of the affair, even the track of the bullets which crashed
into that golden head, were mercilessly printed. The reader, surprised
by a sob, dropped his paper.
What! Are you crying, Mrs. Arnold?
It was so cruel! sobbed Emeline. And Billy Wentworth, like a
savage, helped to do it!
He had provocation, no doubt, though it is a horrid deed. Perhaps I
owe the King of Beaver the tribute of a tear. He befogged me
considerably the only time I ever met him.
You see only his evil. But I see what he was to Mary French and the
others. His bereaved widows? The ones who believed in his best.
A magnificent fountain of flame, visible far out on the starlit
lake, spurted from the north end of Beaver Island. It was the temple,
in which the Mormon people had worshipped for the last time, sending
sparks and illumined vapor to the zenith. The village of St. James was
partly in ashes, and a blue pallor of smoke hung dimly over nearly
every hill and hollow, for Gentile fishermen crazed with drink and
power and long arrears of grievances had carried torch and axe from
farm to farm. Until noon of that day all householding families had been
driven to huddle with their cattle around the harbor dock and forced to
make pens for the cattle of lumber which had been piled there for
transportation. Unresisting as sheep they let themselves be shipped on
four small armed steamers sent by their enemies to carry them into
exile. Not one of the twelve elders who had received the last
instructions of their murdered king rose up to organize any defence.
Scarcely a month had passed since his wounding unto death, and his
withdrawal, like Arthur, in the arms of weeping women to that spot in
Wisconsin where he had found his sacred Voree plates or tables of the
law. Scarcely two weeks had passed since news came back of his burial
there. And already the Mormon settlement was swept off Beaver Island.
Used to border warfare and to following their dominating prophet to
victory, they yet seemed unable to strike a blow without him. Such
non-resistance procured them nothing but contempt. They even submitted
to being compelled to destroy a cairn raised over the grave of one
considered a malefactor, carrying the heap stone by stone to throw into
the lake, Gentiles standing over them like Egyptian masters.
Little waves ran in rows of light, washing against the point on the
north side of the landlocked harbor. A primrose star was there
struggling aloft at the top of a rough rock tower. It was the fish-oil
flame of Beaver lamp, and the keeper sat on his doorsill at the bottom
of the light-house with his wife beside him.
The lowing of cattle missing their usual evening tendance came
across from the dock, a mournful accompaniment to the distant roaring
of fire and falling of timbers.
Do you realize, Ludlow, the young woman inquired, slipping her
hand into her husband's, that I am now the only Mormon on Beaver
You never were a very good Mormon, Cecilia. You didn't like the
breed any better than I did, though there were good people among them.
Will they lose all their cattle, Ludlow?
The cattle are safe enough, he laughed. The men that are doing
this transporting will take the cattle. None of our Mormon friends will
ever see a hoof from Beaver Island again.
But it seems robbery to drive them off and seize their property.
That's the way King Strang took Beaver from the Gentiles in the
first place. Mormons and Gentiles can't live together.
I told you that you were a poor Mormon, Cecilia. And from first to
last I opposed my family's entering the community. Tithes and meddling
sent my father out of it a poor man. But I'm glad he went before this;
and your people, too.
She drew a deep breath. Oh yes! They're safe in Green Bay. I
couldn't endure to have them on those steamers going down the lake
to-night. What will become of the community, Ludlow?
God knows. They'll be landed at Chicago and turned adrift on the
world. I'm glad they're away from here. I've no cause to love them, but
I was afraid they would be butchered like sheep. Your father and my
father, if they had still been elders on the island, wouldn't have
submitted, as these folks did, to abuse and exile and the loss of
everything they had in the world. I can't understand it of some of
them. There was Jim Baker, for instance; I'd have sworn he would
I can understand why he didn't. He hasn't taken any interest since
his second marriage.
Now, that was a nice piece of work! I always liked Jim the best of
any of the young men until he did that. And what inducement was there
in the woman?
The light-house keeper's wife fired up. What inducement there was
for him ever to marry Rosanne I couldn't see. And I know Elizabeth
Aiken loved him when we were girls together.
And didn't Rosanne?
OhRosanne! A roly-poly spoiled young one, that never will be a
woman! Elizabeth is noble.
You're fond of Elizabeth because she was witness to our secret
marriage when King Strang wouldn't let me have you. I liked Jim for the
same reason. Do you mind how we four slipped one at a time up the back
stairs in my father's house that night, while the young folks were
I mind we picked Elizabeth because Rosanne would be sure to blab,
even if she had to suffer herself for it. How scared the poor elder
We did him a good turn when we got him to marry us. He'd be on one
of the steamers bound for nowhere, to-night, instead of snug at Green
Bay, if we hadn't started him on the road to what King Strang called
The light-house keeper jumped up and ran out on the point, his wife
following him in nervous dread.
What is the matter, Ludlow?
Their feet crunched gravel and paused where ripples still ran in,
endlessly bringing lines of dimmer and dimmer light. A rocking boat was
tied to a stake. Anchored and bare-masted, farther out in the mouth of
the bay, a fishing-smack tilted slightly in rhythmic motion. While they
stood a touch of crimson replaced the sky light in the water, and great
blots like blood soaking into the bay were reflected from the fire. The
burning temple now seemed to rise a lofty tower of flame against the
horizon. Figures could be seen passing back and forth in front of it,
and shouts of fishermen came down the peninsula. The King's
printing-office where the Northern Islander was once issued as a
daily had smouldered down out of the way. It was the first place to
which they had set torch.
I thought I heard some one running up the sail on our sail-boat,
said the light-house keeper. No telling what these fellows may do. If
they go to meddling with me in my little Government office, they'll
find me as stubborn as the Mormons did.
Oh, Ludlow, look at the tabernacle, like a big red-hot cheese-box
on the high ground! Think of the coronation there on the first King's
The light-house keeper's wife was again in imagination a long-limbed
girl of fifteen, crowding into the temple to witness such a ceremony as
was celebrated on no other spot of the New World. The King of Beaver,
in a crimson robe, walked the temple aisle, followed by his council,
his twelve elders, and seventy ministers of the minor order. In the
presence of a hushed multitude he was anointed, and a crown with a
cluster of projecting stars was set on his golden head. Hails and
shouts, music of marching singers and the strewing of flowers went
before him into the leafy July woods. Thus King's Day was established
and annually observed on the 8th of July. It began with
burnt-offerings. The head of each family was required to bring a
chicken. A heifer was killed and carefully cut up without breaking a
bone; and, while the smoke of sacrifice arose, feasting and dancing
began, and lasted until sunset. Firstlings of flocks and the
first-fruits of orchard and field were ordained the King's; and he also
claimed one-tenth of each man's possessions. The Mosaic law was set up
in Beaver Island, even to the stoning of rebellious children.
The smoke of a sacrificed people was now reeking on Beaver. This
singular man's French ancestryfor he was descended from Henri de
L'Estrange, who came to the New World with the Duke of Yorkdoubtless
gave him the passion for picturesqueness and the spiritual grasp on his
isolated kingdom which keeps him still a notable and unforgotten
It makes me feel bad to see so much destruction, the young man
said to his wife; though I offered to go with Billy Wentworth to shoot
Strang if nobody else was willing. I knew I was marked, and sooner or
later I would disappear if he continued to govern this island. But with
all his faults he was a man. He could fight; and whip. He'd have sunk
every steamer in the harbor to-day.
It's heavy on my heart, Ludlowit's dreadful! Neighbors and
friends that we shall never see again!
The young man caught his wife by the arm. They both heard the swift
beat of footsteps flying down the peninsula. Cecilia drew in her breath
and crowded against her husband. A figure came into view and identified
itself, leaping in bisected draperies across an open space to the
Why, Rosanne! exclaimed the keeper's wife. She continued to say
Why, Rosanne! Why, Rosanne Baker! after she had herself run into the
house and lighted a candle.
She set the candle on the chimney. It showed her rock-built
domicile, plain but dignified, like the hollow of a cavern, with blue
china on the cupboard shelves and a spinning-wheel standing by the
north wall. A corner staircase led to the second story of the tower,
and on its lowest step the fugitive dropped down, weeping and panting.
She was peculiarly dressed in the calico bloomers which the King of
Beaver had latterly decreed for the women of his kingdom. Her trim legs
and little feet, cased in strong shoes, appeared below the baggy
trousers. The upper part of her person, her almond eyes, round curves
and features were full of Oriental suggestions. Some sweet inmate of a
harem might so have materialized, bruising her softness against the
Why, Rosanne Baker! her hostess reiterated.
Cecilia did not wear bloomers. She stood erect in petticoats. I
thought you went on one of the boats!
I didn't, sobbed Rosanne. When they were crowding us on I slipped
among the lumber piles and hid. I've been hid all day, lying flat
between boardson top where they couldn't see me.
Suppose the lumber had been set on fire, too! And you haven't had
anything to eat?
I don't want to eat. I'm only frightened to death at the wicked
Gentiles burning the island. I couldn't stay there all night, so I got
down and ran to your house.
Of course, you poor child! But, Rosanne, where's your husband?
The trembling creature stiffened herself and looked at Cecilia out
of the corners of her long eyes. He's with Elizabeth Aiken.
The only wife of one husband did not know how to take hold of this
But your father was there, she suggested. How could you leave
your father and run the risk of never seeing him again?
I don't care if I never see him again. He said he was so
discouraged he didn't care what became of any of us.
Cecilia was going to plead the cause of domestic affection further,
but she saw that four step-mothers could easily be given up. She turned
helplessly to her husband who stood in the door.
Poor thing! Ludlow, what in the world shall we do?
Put her to bed.
Of course, Ludlow. But will anybody hurt you to-morrow?
There are two good guns on the rack over the chimney. I don't think
anybody will hurt me or her either, to-morrow.
Rosanne, my dear, said Cecilia, trying to lift the relaxed soft
body and to open the stairway door behind her. Come up with me right
off. I think you better be where people cannot look in at us.
Rosanne yielded and stumbled to her feet, clinging to her friend.
When they disappeared the young man heard her through the stairway
enclosure sobbing with convulsive gasps:
I hate Elizabeth Aiken! I wish they would kill Elizabeth Aiken! I
hate herI hate her!
The lighthouse-keeper sat down again on his doorstep and faced the
prospect of taking care of a homeless Mormon. It appeared to him that
his wife had not warmly enough welcomed her or met the situation with
that recklessness one needed on Beaver Island. The tabernacle began to
burn lower, brands streaming away in the current which a fire makes. It
was strange to be more conscious of inland doings than of that vast
unsalted sea so near him, which moistened his hair with vaporous drifts
through the darkness. The garnet redness of the temple shed a huger
amphitheatre of shine around itself. A taste of acrid smoke was on his
lips. He was considering that drunken fishermen might presently begin
to rove, and he would be wiser to go in and shut the house and put out
his candle, when by stealthy approaches around the lighthouse two
persons stood before him.
Is Ludlow here? inquired a voice which he knew.
I'm here, Jim! Are all the Mormons coming back?
Is Rosanne in your house?
Rosanne is here; up-stairs with Cecilia. Come inside, Jim. Have you
Elizabeth with you?
Yes, I have Elizabeth with me.
The three entered together. Ludlow shut the door and dropped an iron
bar across it. The young men standing opposite were of nearly the same
age; but one was fearless and free and the other harassed and haggard.
Out-door labor and the skill of the fisheries had given to both depth
of chest and clean, muscular limbs. But James Baker had the desperate
and hunted look of a fugitive from justice. He was fair, of the
strong-featured, blue-eyed type that has pale chestnut-colored hair
clinging close to a well-domed head.
Yes, Rosanne is here, Ludlow repeated. Now will you tell me how
you got here?
I rowed back in a boat.
Who let you have a boat?
There were sailors on the steamer. After I found Rosanne was left
behind I would have had a boat or killed the man that prevented me. I
had to wait out on the lake until it got dark. I knew your wife would
take care of her. I told myself that when I couldn't find any chance to
land in St. James's Bay until sunset.
She's been hiding in the lumber on the dock all day.
Did any one hurt her?
The Mormon husband's face cleared with a convulsion which in woman
would have been a relieving burst of tears.
Sit down, Elizabeth, said the lighthouse-keeper. You look fit to
Yes, sit down, Elizabeth, James Baker repeated, turning to her
with secondary interest. But she remained standing, a tall Greek figure
in bloomers, so sure of pose that drapery or its lack was an accident
of which the eye took no account. She had pushed her soft brown hair,
dampened by the lake, behind her ears. They showed delicately against
the two shining masses. Her forehead and chin were of noble and
courageous shape. If there was fault, it was in the breadth and height
of brows masterful rather than feminine. She had not one delicious
sensuous charm to lure man. Her large eyes were blotted with a hopeless
blankness. She waited to see what would be done next.
Now I'll tell you, said Baker to his friend, with decision, I'm
not going to bring the howling Gentiles around you.
I don't care whether they come or not.
I know you don't. It isn't necessary in such a time as this for you
and me to look back.
I told you at the time I wouldn't forget it, Jim. You stood by me
when I married Cecilia in the teeth of the Mormons, and I'll stand by
you through any mob of Gentiles. My sail-boat's out yonder, and it's
yours as long as you want it; and we'll provision it.
That's what I was going to ask, Ludlow.
If I were you I'd put for Green Bay. Old neighbors are there, my
father among them.
That was my plan!
But, Ludlow added, turning his thumb over his shoulder with
embarrassment, they're all Gentiles in Green Bay.
Elizabeth and I talked it over in the boat. I told her the truth
before God. We've agreed to live apart. Ludlow, I never wanted any wife
but Rosanne, and I don't want any wife but Rosanne now. You don't know
how it happened; I was first of the young men called on to set an
example. Brother Strang could bring a pressure to bear that it was
impossible to resist. He might have threatened till doomsday. But I
don't know what he did with me. I told him it wasn't treating Elizabeth
fair. Still, I married her according to Saints' law, and I consider
myself bound by my pledge to provide for her. She's a good girl. She
has no one to look to but me. And I'm not going to turn her off to
shift for herself if the whole United States musters against me.
Now you talk like a man. I think better of you than I have for a
couple of weeks past.
It ought to make me mad to be run off of Beaver. But I couldn't
take any interest. May I see Rosanne?
Go right up-stairs. Cecilia took her up to put her to bed. The
walls and floors are thick here or she would have heard your voice.
Poor little Rosanne! It's been a hard day for her.
The young Mormon paused before ascending. Ludlow, as soon as you
can give me a few things to make the women comfortable for the run to
Green Bay, I'll take them and put out.
Tell Cecilia to come down. She'll know what they need.
Until Cecilia came down and hugged Elizabeth silently but most
tenderly the lighthouse-keeper stood with his feet and gaze planted on
a braided rug, not knowing what to say. He then shifted his feet and
It's a fine night for a sail, Elizabeth. I think we're going to
have fair weather.
I think we are, she answered.
Hurried preparations were made for the voyage. Elizabeth helped
Cecilia gather food and clothes and two Mackinac blankets from the
stores of a young couple not rich but open-handed. The
lighthouse-keeper trimmed the lantern to hang at the mast-head. He was
about to call the two up-stairs when the crunching of many feet on
gravel was heard around his tower and a torch was thrust at one of the
At the same instant he put Elizabeth and Cecilia in the stairway and
let James Baker, bounding down three steps at once, into the room.
Each man took a gun, Ludlow blowing out the candle as he reached for
Now you stand back out of sight and let me talk to them, he said
to the young Mormon, as an explosive clamor began. They'll kill you,
and they daren't touch me. Even if they had anything against me, the
drunkest of them know better than to shoot down a government officer.
I'm going to open this window.
A rabble of dusky shapes headed by a torch-bearer who had doubtless
lighted his fat-stick at the burning temple, pressed forward to force a
way through the window.
Get off of the flower-bed, said Ludlow, dropping the muzzle of his
gun on the sill. You're tramping down my wife's flowers.
It's your nosegays of Mormons we're after having, Ludlow. We seen
them shlipping in here!
It's shame to you, Ludlow, and your own da-cent wife that hard to
come at, by raison of King Strang!
Augh! thim bloomers!they do be makin' me sthummick sick!
What hurts you worst, said Ludlow, is the price you had to pay
the Mormons for fish barrels.
The mob groaned and hooted. Wull ye give us out the divil forninst
there, or wull ye take a broadside through the windy?
I haven't any devil in the house.
It's Jim Baker, be the powers. He wor seen, and his women.
Jim Baker is here. But he's leaving the island at once with the
He'll not lave it alive.
You, Pat Corrigan, said Ludlow, pointing his finger at the
torch-bearer, do you remember the morning you and your mate rowed in
to the lighthouse half-frozen and starved and I fed and warmed you?
Do I moind it? I do!
Did I let the Mormons take you then?
When King Strang's constables came galloping down here to arrest
you, didn't I run in water to my waist to push you off in your boat?
You did, bedad!
I didn't give you up to them, and I won't give this family up to
you. They're not doing you any harm. Let them peaceably leave Beaver.
But the two wives of him, argued Pat Corrigan.
How many wives and children have you?
Is it 'how many wives,' says the hay then! Wan wife, by the powers;
and tin childer.
Haven't you about as large a family as you can take care of?
Begobs, I have.
Do you want to take in Jim Baker's Mormon wife and provide for her?
Somebody has to. If you won't let him do it, perhaps you'll do it
Well, then, you'd better go about your business and let him alone.
I don't see that we have to meddle with these things. Do you?
The crowd moved uneasily and laughed, good-naturedly owning to being
plucked of its cause and arrested in the very act of returning evil for
I tould you Ludlow was the foine man, said the torch-bearer to his
There's no harm in you boys, pursued the fine man. You're not
making a war on women.
We're not. Thrue for you.
If you feel like having a wake over the Mormons, why don't you get
more torches and make a procession down the Galilee road? You've done
about all you can on Mount Pisgah.
As they began to trail away at this suggestion and to hail him with
parting shouts, Ludlow shut the window and laughed in the dark room.
I'd like to start them chasing the fox around all the five lakes on
Beaver. But they may change their minds before they reach the
sand-hills. We'd better load the boat right off, Jim.
In the hurrying Rosanne came down-stairs and found Elizabeth waiting
at the foot. They could see each other only by starlight. They were
alone, for the others had gone out to the boat.
Are you willing for me to go, Rosanne? spoke Elizabeth. Her sweet
voice was of a low pitch, unhurried and steady. James says he'll build
me a little house in your yard.
Rosanne did not cry, I cannot hate you! but she threw herself into
the arms of the larger, more patient woman whom she saw no longer as a
rival, and who would cherish her children. Elizabeth kissed her
husband's wife as a little sister.
The lights on Beaver, sinking to duller redness, shone behind
Elizabeth like the fires of the stake as she and Cecilia walked after
the others to the boat. Cecilia wondered if her spirit rose against the
indignities of her position as an undesired wife, whose legal rights
were not even recognized by the society into which she would be forced.
The world was not open to her as to a man. In that day it would have
stoned her if she ventured too far from some protected fireside. Fierce
envy of squaws who could tramp winter snows and were not despised for
their brief marriages may have flashed through Elizabeth like the
little self-protecting blaze a man lighted around his own cabin when
the prairie was on fire. Why in all the swarming centuries of human
experience had the lot of a creature with such genius for loving been
cast where she was utterly thrown away?
Solitary and carrying her passion a hidden coal she walked in the
footsteps of martyrs behind the pair of reunited lovers.
Take care, Rosanne. Don't stumble, darling! said the man to whom
Elizabeth had been married by a law she respected until a higher law
Cecilia noted the passionate clutch of her hand and its withdrawal
without touching him as he lurched over a rock.
He put his wife tenderly in the boat and then turned with kind
formality to Elizabeth; but Ludlow had helped her.
Well, bon voyage, said the lighthouse-keeper. Mind you run up the
lantern on the mast as soon as you get aboard. I don't think there'll
be any chase. The Irish have freed their minds.
I'll send your fishing-boat back as soon as I can, Ludlow.
Turn it over to father; he'll see to it. Give him news of us and
our love to all the folks. He will be anxious to know the truth about
Good-bye, Elizabeth and Rosanne!
A grinding on pebbles, then the thump of adjusted oars and the rush
of water on each side of a boat's course, marked the fugitives'
progress towards the anchored smack.
Suspended on starlit waters as if in eternity, and watching the
smoke of her past go up from a looted island, Elizabeth had the sense
of a great company around her. The uninstructed girl from the little
kingdom of Beaver divined a worldful of souls waiting and loving in
hopeless silence and marching resistlessly as the stars to their
reward. For there is a development like the unfolding of a god for
those who suffer in strength and overcome.