The Long Fellow of Ti by J. T. Mckay
Colman put down his book and looked about the parlors and piazzas of
the hotel, and went and spoke to the barkeeper: "Have you seen Mr.
"No: he hasn't been in here since supper."
Colman went out and walked down toward the head of the lake. Passing
out of the shadow of the trees, the open shore was before him, and the
wharf at some distance, with the tiny steamer, the Wanita, lying by it
in the moonlight. There was some one coming along the sandy road, and
Colman leaned against a tree and waited for him. The dark side of the
boat was toward him, and though it was quite late, a light showed in
one of her windows. When the person on the beach came near Colman, he
turned and stood watching the light till it went out, and then came
on. Colman stepped out, and the comer said, "Halloa, Phil! is that
you? You startled me. Going in?"
Philip only nodded, and they walked back to the house together, Field
whistling absently. They went up to their room, and Field sat by the
window while Colman struck a light.
"Dan," said Philip abruptly, "I want you to come on with me
Field was looking out through the trees toward the wharf and boats at
the head of the lake. He turned sharply and answered: "Phil, you're a
prig. I'll do nothing of the kind."
"We've been here long enough, Dan," Philip went on, taking no notice
of the rudeness except in his manner. "I shall go north in the
morning. I wish you would come with me."
"The deuce you do!" Field retorted. "You may do as you please. We came
to stay as long as we enjoyed it here, and there's nothing to go for,
that I know of."
No more was said. Colman went to bed, and Field sat smoking by the
window. After a while he forgot his cigar, and it went out. He heard
the wind whispering among the trees that almost brushed his face.
Through the branches he got glimpses of the lake placid under the
moon, and the black breadths of shadow below the opposite hills. He
sat a long while, and the house became still. He seemed alone with the
night, and the hush and awe of it touched him and moulded his thought.
It was very late when he got up at last. The lamp was still burning,
and Field had not taken off his hat. He went over and sat down on the
edge of the bed, and looked at his sleeping friend until the latter
opened his eyes.
"Phil," said Field, "you're not a prig, but I'm a fool. I'm coming
with you in the morning."
"All right, Dan," Philip answered. "I'm glad you are coming.
They went on north next day with no definite plan, came to the lower
lake and the old fort on the cliff, and, taking a great liking to the
place, lingered in the neighborhood from day to day. They happened
one evening upon a queer, secluded public-house across the lake, where
they fell in with a long, lean, leathery young native, who appeared
to be a guide and waterman, and told them stories of the hunting and
fishing among the lakes and mountains in a vein of unconscious humor
and a low, even, husky voice which the friends found very agreeable.
They met him again at a fair and horse-race at Scalp Point, and found
their liking for him increased. Finally, they were to go south at noon
on Friday, and then put it off till the night boat. After supper they
took out the skiff from the rocky landing for a last row. They pulled
round under the dark cliffs that rose sheer from the water and were
crowned with the wall of the old fort, the cliffs themselves seamed
across with strata of white, like mortar-lines of some Titanic
masonry. They gave chase to a tug puffing northward half a mile to the
right, towing two or three canal-boats through the still water and the
stiller night. Then a sail came ghostily out of the shadow astern, and
stole on them as they drew away and waited for it. By and by the boat
crept up, dropped away a little from the light wind, and passed close
to leeward. There was one man in her sitting in the stern, and the
whole made hardly a sound. They knew the man at the tiller: it was the
long fellow again. He took them in, and they talked as they drifted
on. The lights behind the locusts fell far astern.
"Come, come!" said Colman at last: "this won't do. We have a long pull
now, and we're to be off at two in the morning."
Field turned and asked the young fellow if he was engaged for a week
or two. No, not especially: he had been running parties a good deal
off and on, but they were getting pretty thin now, and there was not
much call for boats.
"Will you go with me on a gunning and fishing cruise through the
lakes?" asked Field; and the long fellow said he'd go with him
as soon as any other man, and when should they start? "To-morrow
morning," answered Field, "any time you like."
They got into the skiff, threw off the line, and pulled back to the
Fort House; that is, Field pulled and Colman lay in the stern and
listened to the water gurgling under the boat. They landed and climbed
up the rocks.
"So you're going back?" said Colman. "Dan, I wish you'd come home."
Field flushed and turned sharply. "Oh, hang your preaching, Phil!"
he snapped out. "You're too infernally flat. Who said anything about
The steamer was due in three or four hours. They went straight to
bed, and it seemed about ten minutes afterward when Colman woke with
a start and saw Field striking a light: it was twenty minutes of two.
They waited an hour for the boat, walking about or sitting by
fire. Then the landlord came in with a lantern and said the boat was
coming, and they went down to the wharf and waited for her. The bell
rang, the wheels ploughed in, the friends bade each other good-night,
gave a hearty grip of the hand, and then there was one left alone.
Field went back to bed. In the morning he made himself a rough outfit
of clothes and boots, and started on foot with his guide. He did not
know the guide's name, and called him "Long" to begin with, and the
guide answered as if that had been his name from his christening, only
glancing askance at Field the first time with a twinkle in his eye,
and would give no other name after that. "A name was only a handle to
a man, any way, and one was as good as another, or better."
It would be hard to define the motive that led Field to answer. "Well,
if it's the same to you, Long it is. You can call me Meadow when you
don't think of anything better."
Long had an evident admiration for his companion which increased every
day. Field was a good shot, as good a fisherman as himself, rowed
and walked and sailed with about equal strength and skill, could do
wonderful tricks of tossing balls and other feats, could eat
anything or go without, sleep anywhere, and be good-humored in any
circumstances; and Field found Long a trusty, self-contained, clever
fellow, and was much entertained by his dry humor and amusing stories
of bear-hunts and deer-hunts and queer adventures. They tramped that
region pretty thoroughly, camping out at nights or sleeping at the
nearest of the little settlements.
One morning they took a boat at the head of the lake and rowed down
toward a pond on the east side among the hills, where Long said the
ducks came "so thick you couldn't see through 'em, and where the water
was so shallow and the mud so deep that, when the ducks were shot, the
Devil couldn't get 'em 'thout he had a dog." After a while a wind
came swooping down on the quiet water through a dip in the hills, and
nearly blew the skiff's bows out of water. The
sleeping lake woke up,
pitched and foamed, and beat upon the bows and dashed over the young
men till they were nearly as wet as the waves themselves. Field was
pulling to Long's stroke, the wind fluttering his hair in his eyes and
the water running down his back, but he would not say anything till
Long did. Presently Long looked round over his shoulder, and hailed,
"I guess we'd best throw up and get a tow: I hear the Wanita coming
Presently the little steamer came along and threw them a line. Long
caught it and made it fast. They were nearly jerked out of the water
or flung into it, and then went boiling along in the steamer's wake.
A boat-hand drew in the line, and they climbed out, swaying and
floundering through a cloud of spray, and all the passengers crowding
back to see. They went forward and up on deck, and the captain spoke
to Long from the pilot-house, calling him Trapp. Long talked to him
through the window and introduced Field when he came along: "Mr.
Meadow, Cap'n Charner. I'm showing him bear-tracks and things around
"How do you do, captain?" said Field. "Don't know me in the part of
"Oho!" said the captain, glancing aside from the wheel. "It's you, is
it? Where's your friend?—Trapp," he continued, "you'd better take
Mr. Meadow down and get Hess to dry his coat." They went down to the
little cabin, where a trim, plainly dressed, but very pretty girl was
busy with some sewing. She started and laughed when she saw Long and
how wet he was. Then she saw there was somebody else, and she blushed
"Mr. Meadow, Hess," and "Miss Hessie Charner, Meadow," introduced
Long; and he told her what the captain had bidden him.
The girl brought a coat of her father's for Field, and hung his up
to dry near the furnace, and the three chatted together till the boat
warped in to the wharf at her trip's end.
Long did not know how it was, but it happened constantly after that
that they fell in with the Wanita somewhere on her trip. He found that
accident pleasant enough at first, but somehow changed his mind before
long, and managed that they did not happen upon the boat the next day.
That afternoon Field had some business in Bee, and set off in that
direction, engaging to meet Long with traps and bear-bait at the
Hexagon Hotel the next morning. His business in Bee could not have
required much time, for when Long happened down at Leewell that
evening, Field was smoking with Captain Charner in the little cabin of
the Wanita, the captain's daughter sitting by with some sewing. Long
sat with them a while, but he would not smoke, and his conversation
could not be called brilliant or amusing. Field, on the other hand,
talked his best and was in the highest spirits. Long got up and went
away presently, with only a good-night to the captain.
One evening, a little later, two persons were looking out on the lake
and the dark hills beyond, and talking in low tones by the rail on the
lower deck of the Wanita as she lay at her wharf. A tall man passed
down along the shore, and went by without looking round. An hour
later Field was walking quickly along the shore-road in the moonlight,
crushing the gravel and whistling an air under his breath, when Long
came out of the shaded piece ahead and started past without any sign
On Thursday of that same week Field left Long at a point on the east
side of the lake, to go to Bee; and half an hour after arriving there
was out on the Leewell road, on horseback, galloping south, singing
a stave of a song as he dashed along. There was a dance that night at
the George Hotel, and Field was there, the handsomest and gayest
of men; and there was no prettier girl in the rooms than the one he
brought and danced so well with, and whom no one else knew. Late at
night, looking up from her flushed and happy face in a pause of the
dance, his eyes fell on another face, neither flushed nor happy,
looking at him from a door across the length of the saloon, and he was
doubly spirited and devoted after that. He did not see the face again,
but he was half conscious of being watched as the ball came at last to
an end, and he saw his charge home to the house of the friend in the
town with whom she was to spend the night. He turned away with a set
face when the door had closed upon her, and walked back quickly the
way he had come, peering into the shadows, but he saw nothing. He got
his horse from the stable and rode north along the shore as the gray
morning stole over the sky and the ever-sleeping hills and the broad,
calm, misty lake. He gave the black mare heel and rein, and brought
her white and panting into Bee. He did not put on the rough clothes
again, but went as he was to meet Long at the appointed place across
the lake. He ordered the boatman who rowed him to wait. Long was
waiting for him, lying on a grassy slope. He nodded when Field came
"Long," said the latter, "I guess this is about played out."
"Just about," answered Long, looking at him steadily without moving.
"guess you'd best quit."
"Very well, come up to the Ti House at noon and we'll settle up." And
he turned and strode away. He was smoking on the porch of the Ti House
when Long came up about noon. He took down his feet from the rail,
threw away his cigar and went in with him. He sat down at a table, and
Long took a chair opposite without a word. Field made a calculation
on a scrap of paper, took out a roll of bills' and counted out the
amount. "There, Long," he said good-humoredly, "this week won't be up
till Monday, but we'll call it even time."
Something unpleasant came into the guide's eyes when Field said
"Long." "I'll trouble you," he said, "not to mention that there name
again, meaning me."
He put out his long arm and knuckled hand and drew the bills across
the board. He counted out part and pushed the rest back. "This is
mine," he said: "I'd ha' made about that on the lake,
average luck. I
don't want to be beholden to you, nor you to me."
"As you please," answered Field, folding up the bills. He wrote on a
slip of paper, wrapped it round the roll and tied all with a bit of
string: "I'll keep this for you if you say so. When you want it, just
let me know. There is my number."
He twirled a card across the table, and it fell face down before Long.
He took it up without turning it over, tore it across and dropped it
on the floor.
"Stranger," he said, "you and me's quits. I don't know you and you
don't know me. But if I was a friend of yours, and advisin' you what
was best for you, I'd say to you, 'Go home.'" His skull-cap drawn
forward, and his face set and threatening, he leaned forward with his
powerful arms on the table and spoke in his usual low, unemphatic way,
and with his deliberate, huskily-musical voice. Field laughed: his
right arm was back upon the arm of his chair, and his fingers under
his coat played with something that clicked.
"Just so," Long went on, as if Field had spoken, perhaps a shade
darker in the face, but with the same even manner and voice. "Our
bears don't carry no coward's devil-fingers that kill by p'inting at
twenty foot, but they hev got teeth and claws."
Field started up and flushed like fire. "Did you say coward?" he
said. "By ——! that's more than I'll take from you!" And his voice
and his hand on the back of his chair shook a little as he spoke.
Long lay back in his chair, folded his arms and nodded: "You heard
what I said. Maybe it ain't York English, but it's such as we hev in
Field stood a minute looking at him. Then he drew out a silver-mounted
revolver from his pocket and laid it on the table.
"There," he said, "I make you a present of it. Be careful: it is
loaded and cocked."
Long looked up with something like admiration in his face. He took the
pistol in his hand, went to the window
and fired the six barrels, one
after the other. The landlord came in to see what it was.
"Mr. Wannock," said Long, "lockup this pistol till Mr. Meadow calls
"It is not mine," said Field: "I gave it to you, and you took it."
Long went out without a word.
Field did not go home. He was back and forth about the lakes, mostly
about the upper one, for a week or two after that. He turned up in all
sorts of places, fished in deep water and shoal, rowed and shot and
climbed the mountains. He fell in with the Wanita and her people very
often. One evening—it was Thursday, the twentieth—he was in the
village of Ti, and walked out with his cigar, alone. He strolled
up the road to the high levels and walked on. The moon was high and
bright, and the country about him surpassingly peaceful and beautiful
under the white sheen. He came at last to the old fort and wandered
through the ruins, ghostly and weird in the calm moonlight. A flock
of sheep was lying under the trembling old walls. "Peace and war,"
he muttered to himself, and leaned against a crumbling wall a little
while, looking at the dreamy picture. He got up on the old ramparts
and picked his way out till he stood on the outermost point of the
star, where the massive wall stands almost as solid as when the
Frenchmen built it a century and a half ago. This outer angle of the
fort rises sheer from the edge of the perpendicular cliff whose foot
is washed by the waters of the lake.
Field sat down on the stones with his feet hanging over, and looked
down and around. The still, bright water, the hills bright and black
in light or shadow, and the serene sky made a scene exceedingly solemn
and impressive. Below, in the sombre shadow of the cliff, Field heard
the faint, musical bubble of the water among the rocks, and a sheep
bleated once behind the ruined fort: those were the only sounds. He
dropped the end of his cigar, and watched the spark till it went out
suddenly far down.
The scene very naturally reminded him of his friend. Down there they
had rowed together—twice was it, or three times? Strange that he had
forgotten already, but it seemed a long time since. Below this wall on
the left they had stood the first day they were here, and chipped bits
of mortar and stone for mementoes. He remembered how Phil had hunted
the whole place for a flower without finding one—he wondered whether
it was for any one in particular that he had wanted it so much. Yes,
it seemed an age since that day, and how everything had changed! Under
the cliff there to the left—he could not see it, but he knew it
was there—was the little wooden wharf where he had parted from Phil
between night and morning. And he wished to God he had gone home with
He heard a crunching sound behind him, and looked round sharply.
Then he turned and got up on his feet, and stood with his back to
the precipice. The long fellow stood in the path facing him, with his
hands in his pockets and his dark face in the shadow. A glance told
Field, what he knew already, that there was only one way to go back.
His face was white, but there was no more tremor in his voice than if
he had leaned against a pyramid instead of a hundred feet of thin air,
when he said, "Well?"
There was something just a little strained and by no means pleasant
to hear in the familiar, husky voice that answered, "Ain't it kind o'
dangerous out there? Suppose you was to fall off there?"
"I don't choose to suppose it," was the steady answer. "Let's talk
about something else."
"It ain't pleasant to think of, is it?" the huskily-musical voice
went on. "It must be something like a hundred foot to the rocks down
there." He paused and began again: "Moonshine's a queerish light,
though, ain't it? Makes you look as white now as if you was scared."
"That's very strange, isn't it?" Field replied. "Do you think it would
have the same effect on you if you stood in my place?"
"I'm —— if I don't!" Long broke out, with a twitching motion of his
head, and trembling as he spoke; "and I'd be so cold my teeth would
chatter and my veins grog."
"Come," Field said sternly, beginning to feel that if he stood much
longer on that spot he should grow dizzy and fall, "let's have no more
of this. Have you anything you wish to propose? If you haven't, I'll
trouble you to move on and let me pass."
"I propose," replied the other, with a twist of his head, as if there
was something in his throat hard to swallow, speaking slowly and
repeating the words—"I propose to throw you over."
Field knew that the fellow united the strength of the bear and the
agility of the wild-cat. He knew that, even if he had not the terrible
disadvantage of position, he would stand no chance in a struggle.
Glancing down, he caught the flash of a wave upon the black rocks
far below. But he only bit his lip and stood still, a little whiter
perhaps, but his eyes never flinching from the other's face. When he
did not speak, Long asked, "Do you know what that means?"
The answer came straight and startling, "Yes, it means death."
"I guess you're about right," Long continued. "And I calculate you're
about as well prepared as you'll 'most ever be."
Field began to show the strain upon his nerves and the sense of his
desperate state, but only by the evident tension of the muscles of the
jaw and the unnatural calm of his manner and low, forced tone. "Very
likely," he said; and added slowly, "but I'll not go alone."
"Maybe not. I don't much care," was the sullen reply. "This place
or that since you come, there ain't much choice. But if you've got
anything on your mind that you'd like to have off before you quit,
you'd best have it up."
"I have only one thing to say to you," was the reply: "you are not
going to throw me over." There was a dimness in his young eyes then
and a rising in his throat. He thought of a great many things and
people in a very brief space,
and the world and a score of friendly
faces seemed very sweet and hard to let go. And yet at the same time
another and sterner self steadfastly put all that aside, and triumphed
over the shrinking of the flesh from the dreadful certainty, and of
the spirit from the dread unknown; and to the long fellow's advance
and fierce question, "Who'll hinder me?" he cried aloud, "I will." He
turned and shut his eyes, gathered himself together, and sprang out
into the awful abyss. With his arms by his side and his feet together,
swift and straight as an arrow, he dropped through the moonlight
and through the black shadow, and struck with a quick, keen plunge a
moment afterward a dizzy distance down.
Lying on his face, looking down with staring eyes, and clinging
fiercely to the stones for a great fear that took hold of him and
shook him, the long fellow suddenly heard the shock of an oar, and
saw round to the left a boat slide out of the black shadow under the
cliffs and into the calm stretch of moonlit water. He rose up then and
fled for miles like a hunted hare.
Field was quickly missed, and suspicion immediately set upon long Bill
Trapp. More people knew of the little drama they and one more had
been playing than either had any idea of. A boy from the Ti House had
passed Field up near the old battle-ground, and coming back from the
village soon after had followed Trapp and seen him turn up toward
the old fort. A handkerchief was found on the top of the cliff marked
"D.F.," and Field's hat was found among the rocks along the shore. A
warrant was issued for Trapp's arrest, and he was hunted high and low
by a posse of constables, but not taken. And meanwhile Field was lying
unconscious in an old farm-house by the lake-side a mile or two north.
Old Trapp had been out that night, looking for his son—he and
Bill's mother had been a good deal worried about him the last week
or two—and the old man had been down to Ti inquiring for him, having
heard nothing of him for some days. He was pulling out, on his
way home, from under
the rocks below the fort, and saw the two men
standing out in the angle of the wall high up. He saw the awful leap
and plunge, rowed round and fished out the limp shape of a young man
he had never seen, worked the water out of him, rowed him home and
carried him and laid him in bed. He left him there, breathing but
unconscious, and went for Dr. Niedever of Rawdon. He must have struck
his head in some way: there was a cut on his forehead, but no other
serious injury that could be seen. If he had struck sidewise, it would
not have mattered much whether it was water or rock that he struck;
but his leap had carried him beyond the debris at the cliff's foot,
and, coming down perfectly straight as he did, ten feet deeper water
would have let him off little the worse. As it was, he was unconscious
for some time. When he came to himself he was extremely weak and
hungry, and perfectly contented to let them do with him as they
pleased. The doctor's daily visits, the movements of the queer old
couple as they came in and out, fed him and gave his draughts, the
homely old place and the placid expanse of the lake which he saw by
turning his head, were as much and no more to him than his own body
lying there day after day. They were parts of a pantomime, of which he
was actor and spectator, but in which he had no special interest, and
which he was perfectly happy to go to sleep and leave. Gradually his
brain cleared, and slowly he got back the thread of recollection where
it had broken so sharply, and began to spin again; and among the first
clear new ideas that took shape out of his scattered wits was one,
that the queer old couple had been exceedingly good to him, and that
they had no special reason for kindness in his case; and, second,
that this gruff, ruddy, Indian-haired doctor was a man of skill and
decision, and one not too fond of Mr. Daniel Field.
The second Sunday afternoon Field was lying quietly looking out on the
lake from the bed, and thinking in a mood uncommonly serious for
him, not very complacent nor very proud. Some feelings that had been
stronger than he cared to resist these last few weeks had grown vague
and intermittent—some new ones had come into their place.
Dr. Niedever came in and looked at him, giving him no greeting and
treating him brusquely enough. He took a turn about the room, and
faced round. "Well, young man," he said, "we pulled you through a
pretty tight place."
The manner and tone angered Field. "That's your trade, isn't it?" he
answered. "I suppose money will pay you."
"Money!" roared the old doctor. "Of course you'll pay, and pay well.
But do you think I've done it for your sake, or your money? Look here:
he served you right when he threw you over."
"I suppose he'd hang as well as another," answered Field.
"He wouldn't hang. There's no evidence but hearsay and surmise against
him. If you had died, your body would never have been found. A hundred
good men would testify to his character, and I'd have been one. He
stands a worse chance now than if you were anchored to the bottom of
the lake. I haven't saved your life for his sake nor for yours: I have
done it for this old man. You owe me nothing but money, but everything
you've got, and all you'll ever have, and the chance of redeeming
yourself, you owe to old Joe Trapp; and I wish him joy of his debtor!"
"Now, old man," Field answered, "you can go. You needn't come back. I
haven't the money now, but old Trapp will give you my card out of my
coat. Send your bill to that address and I'll pay you when I can."
The doctor stood looking at him a minute with his hands in his
pockets, his red face scowling savagely. He muttered something, turned
on his heel and went down. Old Trapp was away at the time, and came
home an hour later. He came up and into Field's room with his queer
gait and face and stooping old figure.
"My friend," said Field, "I'll trouble you to bring me my clothes: I'm
going to get up."
The old man went down and brought them, helped him to dress and come
down stairs, and set him by the fire in an easy-chair. The old wife
brought and laid on the table a knife, a bunch of keys, a letter, a
card-case and cigar-case, a handkerchief newly washed and ironed,
a pair of soiled gloves, some pennies and trifles, and two rolls of
"They was wet, you know, and we had to dry 'em separate," said the old
man, "but you'll find 'em right, I guess."
Field flushed up when he saw one of the rolls: it was tied with a
string, and a bit of paper about it was marked in pencil, partly
obliterated, "Long Fellow of Ti." He put that package into his pocket
with the' other things, and left the other roll of money on the table.
"You two people have done uncommonly neighborly by me," he said. "I
should like to know your reason." "I guess most anybody'd done it,
stranger," answered Trapp. "Like's you'd be done by, you know, ef
you'd ha' been me, wouldn't you?"
"No, I'll be hanged if I would!" broke out Field. "But look here,
friends: you think he threw me down. He did not: I jumped off myself.
He did not touch me."
"Oh, God bless you!" cried the bowed old wife, her worn face turning
radiant upon him and bright drops starting in the dull old eyes. They
were almost the first words he had heard her speak. Though she had
been very attentive to him all along, she had done it almost in
silence and with an averted face. Her voice was high and almost sweet.
Field talked on then, and told them several things at which they both
fell to crying like children. He took out one bill from the roll on
the table and made the old man take the rest. "I do not pretend that
money can pay what I owe you," he said, "but what I have you must let
me give you for my own satisfaction."
During the next few days, while he gathered his strength, our friend
sat about the house in the sunny places and took a strong liking for
the simple, kind old wife, and told her by degrees the
story of his
life and his friends. In that wonderful air he rallied like magic.
He took longer and longer walks, keeping well out of sight of prying
eyes, though the place was retired enough, for that. Thursday morning
of that week he borrowed some clothes of the farmer and made a bundle
of his own. He bade the old couple good-bye, not without regret on
either side. As the Wanita ploughed up the lake that day on her return
trip, a man came down from the hurricane-deck into the cabin, sat by
the table and took up a magazine lying there and turned it over.
He was dressed in coarse, ill-fitting, homespun clothes, and had a
newly-healed scar on his forehead. His upper lip was roughly shorn,
and the rest of his face covered with a two or three weeks' beard. He
was not an attractive-looking person, certainly, and yet the pretty
girl sewing by the window, her face quite wan and worn-looking now,
glanced at him many times in a flurried, nervous way; and when he was
gone she went and took up the old magazine, opened it where a leaf was
turned down, and read these lines of an old-fashioned ballad:
Oh, alone and alorn, as the night came down,
Sir Reginald walked on the wet sea-sands;
And all as he walked came Marianne,
King's daughter of all those lands.
That evening, as the dusk was coming on, Hester Charner walked on the
path along the lake, round toward the forest, and suddenly in a shaded
place she met the unkempt stranger of the boat She started back and
almost screamed. His face had a dark look that scared her.
"Is it you, Mr. Meadow?" she entreated.
"No," he answered: "Meadow's dead—drowned in the lake for ever, I
hope to God."
The girl drew back with a little cry. "Then he did kill him?" she
wailed. "Oh, I wish I might die! I wish he'd killed me!"
"Oh, you false girl!" Field broke out. "But he did not kill him. I
killed him myself. He would if I hadn't, and served him right, too.
But he did not put a finger on him. I saved him from
me. Yes, you—don't shrink—you drove him to it; and you would have
been the guiltier of the two. You were as good as promised to him—you
know you were—and you should have been proud to be. He would have
given his life for you any day, and you broke your faith for a
smooth—faced, brazen fop, who played with you to your peril, and
despised you in his heart all the while for a false jade. You may
thank Trapp all your life for cutting that short when he did, and
thank God you can yet be an honest wife to an honest man."
As he thus spoke there came a watery feeling into his eyes, and a
yearning to take the girl to his heart and brave all the world for her
sake. He hated the long fellow as he had never done before, and cursed
him in his heart while he praised him with his lips. But he kept his
thoughts upon a picture of a gray old farm-house by the water-side,
and a bent old man and woman therein, and went on playing his game,
and won it.
Her face paled, and she clasped her hands. "Where is he?" she asked
"He's lying to-night in Aleck Jarley's cabin, back of the haystack."
She was turning away, but he stopped her. "Wait a minute," he said.
"Here is some money belonging to Trapp: you can give it to him."
The money was in her hand before he had finished speaking. She folded
her shawl across her breast and turned away in the direction he had
The next morning Field started for home. He had just one dollar in his
pocket and two hundred miles of ground to get over. He walked, caught
a ride now and then, got a lift on a canal-boat two or three times,
ate bread and drank water and slept in barns or under grain-stacks.
He came walking into Colman's office one morning looking cheerful but
somewhat disreputable. Colman did not know him at first. When they had
shaken hands. Colman looked in his friend's shaggy face and asked, "Is
it all square, Dan?"
"All square, Phil," answered Field, looking the other as straight in
"Well, I'm glad you pulled through, Dan," said Colman; "but you'd
better have come home with me."
"Well, I don't know, Phil," Field answered musingly: "I'm not sure
whether I'm sorry or glad."