There was still light enough to see. The
last hymn was announced. Cameron was conscious of a deep, poignant
emotion. He glanced swiftly about him. The eyes of all were upon the
preacher's face while he read in slow sonorous tones the words of the
old Methodist hymn:
"Come, Thou Fount of every blessing!
heart to sing Thy grace;"
all except the group of young men of whom
Perkins was the centre, who, by means of the saccharine medium known as
conversation lozenges, were seeking to divert the attention of the band
of young girls sitting before them. Among these sat Mandy. As his eye
rested upon the billowy outlines of her figure, struggling with the
limitations of her white blouse, tricked out with pink ribbons, he was
conscious of a wave of mingled pity and disgust. Dull, stupid, and
vulgar she looked. It was at her that Perkins was flipping his
conversation lozenges. One fell upon her hymn book. With a start she
glanced about. Not an eye except Cameron's was turned her way. With a
smile and a blush that burned deep under the dull tan of her neck and
cheek she took the lozenge, read its inscription, burning a deeper red.
The words which she had read she took as Cameron's. She turned her eyes
full upon his face. The light of tremulous joy in their lovely depths
startled and thrilled him. A snicker from the group of young men behind
roused in him a deep indignation. They were taking their coarse fun out
of this simple-minded girl. Cameron's furious glance at them appeared
only to increase their amusement. It did not lessen Cameron's
embarrassment and rage that now and then during the reading of the hymn
Mandy's eyes were turned upon him as if with new understanding. Enraged
with himself, and more with the group of hoodlums behind him, Cameron
stood for the closing hymn with his arms folded across his breast. At
the second verse a hand touched his arm. It was Mandy offering him her
book. Once more a snicker from the group of delighted observers behind
him stirred his indignation on behalf of this awkward and untutored
girl. He forced himself to listen to the words of the third verse, which
rose clear and sonorous in the preacher's voice:
"Here I raise my Ebenezer,
by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy
to arrive at home."
The serene assurance of the old Methodist
hymn rose triumphant in the singing, an assurance born of an experience
of past conflict ending in triumph. That note of high and serene
confidence conjured up with a flash of memory his mother's face. That
was her characteristic, a serene, undismayed courage. In the darkest
hours that steady flame of courage never died down.
But once more he was recalled to the
service of the hour by a voice, rich, full, low, yet of wonderful power,
singing the old words. It took him a moment or two to discover that it
was Mandy singing beside him. Her face was turned from him and upwards
towards the trees above her, through the network of whose leaves the
stars were beginning to shine. Amazed, enthralled, he listened to the
flowing melody of her voice. It was like the song of a brook running
deep in the forest shade, full-toned yet soft, quiet yet thrilling. She
seemed to have forgotten her surroundings. Her soul was holding converse
with the Eternal. He lost sight of the coarse and fleshly habiliments in
the glimpse he caught of the soul that lived within, pure, it seemed to
him, tender, and good. His heart went out to the girl in a new pity.
Before the hymn was done she turned her face towards him, and, whether
it was the magic of her voice, or the glorious splendour of her eyes, or
the mystic touch of the fast darkening night, her face seemed to have
lost much of its coarseness and all of its stupidity.
As the congregation dispersed, Cameron, in
silence, and with the spell of her voice still upon him, walked quietly
beside Mandy towards the gap in the fence leading to the high road.
Behind him came Perkins with his group of friends, chaffing with each
other and with the girls walking in front of them. As Cameron was
stepping over the rails where the fence had been let down, one of the
young men following stumbled heavily against him, nearly throwing him
down, and before he could recover himself Perkins had taken his place by
Mandy's side and seized her arm. There was a general laugh at what was
considered a perfectly fair and not unusual piece of jockeying in the
squiring of young damsels. The proper procedure in such a case was that
the discomfited cavalier should bide his time and serve a like turn upon
his rival, the young lady meanwhile maintaining an attitude purely
passive. But Mandy was not so minded. Releasing herself from Perkins'
grasp, she turned upon the group of young men following, exclaiming
angrily, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Sam Sailor!" Then, moving
to Cameron's side, she said in a clear, distinct voice:
"Mr. Cameron, would you please take my
book for me?"
"Come on, boys!" said Perkins, with his
never failing laugh. "I guess we're not in this."
"Take your medicine, Perkins," laughed one
of his friends.
"Yes, I'll take it all right," replied
Perkins. But the laugh could not conceal the shake of passion in his
voice. "It will work, too, you bet!"
So saying, he strode off into the
gathering gloom followed by his friends.
"Come along, Mr. Cameron," said Mandy with
a silly giggle. "I guess we don't need them fellows. They can't fool us,
Her manner, her speech, her laugh rudely
dissipated all Cameron's new feeling towards her. The whole episode
filled him only with disgust and annoyance.
"Come, then," he said, almost roughly. "We
shall need to hurry, for there is a storm coming up."
Mandy glanced at the gathering clouds.
"My goodness!" she cried; "it's comin' up
fast. My! I hate to git my clothes wet." And off she set at a rapid
pace, keeping abreast of her companion and making gay but elephantine
attempts at sprightly conversation. Before Cameron's unsympathetic
silence, however, all her sprightly attempts came to abject failure.
"What's the matter with you?" at length
she asked. "Don't you want to see me home?"
"What?" said Cameron, abruptly, for his
thoughts were far away. "Oh, nonsense! Of course! Why not? But we shall
certainly be caught in the storm. Let us hurry. Here, let me take your
His manner was brusque, almost rude.
"Oh, I guess I can get along," replied
Mandy, catching off her hat and gathering up her skirt over her
shoulders, "but we'll have to hustle, for I'd hate to have you get,
wet." Her imperturbable good humour and her solicitude for him rebuked
Cameron for his abruptness.
"I hope you will not get wet," he said.
"Oh, don't you worry about me. I ain't
salt nor sugar, but I forgot all about your bein' sick." And with
laboured breath poor Mandy hurried through the growing darkness with
Cameron keeping close by her side. "We won't be long now," she panted,
as they turned from the side line towards their own gate.
As if in reply to her words there sounded
from behind the fence and close to their side a long loud howl. Cameron
gave a start.
"Great Caesar! What dog is that?" he
"Oh," said Mandy coolly, "guess it's
Immediately there rose from the fence on
the other side an answering howl, followed by a full chorus of howls and
yelps mingled with a bawling of calves and the ringing of cow bells, as
if a dozen curs or more were in full cry after a herd of cattle. Cameron
stood still in bewildered amazement.
"What the deuce are they at?" he cried,
peering through the darkness.
"Huh!" grunted Mandy. "Them's curs all
right, but they ain't much dog. You wait till I see them fellows.
They'll pay for this, you bet!"
"Do you mean to say these are not dogs?"
cried Cameron, speaking in her ear, so great was the din.
"Dogs?" answered Mandy with indignant
scorn. "Naw! Just or'nary curs! Come along," she cried, catching his
arm, "let's hurry."
"Here!" he cried, suddenly wrenching
himself free, "I am going to see into this."
"No, no!" cried Mandy, gripping his arm
once more with her strong hands. "They will hurt you. Come on! We're
just home. You can see them again. No, I won't let you go."
In vain he struggled. Her strong hands
held him fast. Suddenly there was a succession of short, sharp barks.
Immediately dead silence fell. Not a sound could be heard, not a shape
"Come out into the open, you cowardly
curs!" shouted Cameron. "Come on! One, two, three at a time, if you
But silence answered him.
"Come," said Mandy in a low voice, "let's
hurry. It's goin' to rain. Come on! Come along!"
Cameron stood irresolute. Then arose out
of the black darkness a long quavering cat call. With a sudden dash
Cameron sprang towards the fence. Instantly there was a sound of running
feet through the plowed field on the other side, then silence.
"Come back, you cowards!" raged Cameron.
"Isn't there a man among you?"
For answer a clod came hurtling through
the dark and struck with a thud upon the fence. Immediately, as if at a
signal, there fell about Cameron a perfect hail of clods and even
"Oh! Oh!" shrieked Mandy, rushing towards
him and throwing herself between him and the falling missiles. "Come
away! Come away! They'll just kill you."
For answer Cameron put his arms about her
and drew her behind him, shielding her as best he could with his body.
"Do you want to kill a woman?" he called
At once the hail of clods ceased and,
raging as he was, Mandy dragged him homeward. At the door of the house
he made to turn back.
"Not much, you don't," said Mandy,
stoutly, "or I go with you."
"Oh, all right," said Cameron, "let them
go. They are only a lot of curs, anyway."
For a few minutes they stood and talked in
the kitchen, Cameron making light of the incident and making strenuous
efforts to dissemble the rage that filled his soul. After a few minutes
conversation Cameron announced his intention of going to bed, while
Mandy passed upstairs. He left the house and stole down the lane toward
the road. The throbbing pain in his head was forgotten in the blind rage
that possessed him. He had only one longing, to stand within striking
distance of the cowardly curs, only one fear, that they should escape
him. Swiftly, silently, he stole down the lane, every nerve, every
muscle tense as a steel spring. His throat was hot, his eyes so dazzled
that he could scarcely see; his breath came in quick gasps; his hands
were trembling as with a nervous chill. The storm had partially blown
away. It had become so light that he could dimly discern a number of
figures at the entrance to the lane. Having his quarry in sight, Cameron
crouched in the fence corner, holding hard by the rail till he should
become master of himself. He could hear their explosions of suppressed
laughter. It was some minutes before he had himself in hand, then with a
swift silent run he stood among them. So busy were they in recounting
the various incidents in the recent "chivaree," that before they were
aware Cameron was upon them. At his approach the circle broke and
scattered, some flying to the fence. But Perkins with some others stood
"Hello, Cameron!" drawled Perkins. "Did
you see our cows? I thought I heard some of them down the line."
For answer Cameron launched himself at him
like a bolt from a bow. There was a single sharp crack and Perkins was
literally lifted clear off his feet and hurled back upon the road, where
he lay still. Fiercely Cameron faced round to the next man, but he gave
back quickly. A third sprang to throw himself upon Cameron, but once
more Cameron's hand shot forward and his assailant was hurled back
heavily into the arms of his friends. Before Cameron could strike again
a young giant, known as Sam Sailor, flung his arms about him, crying—
"Tut-tut, young fellow, this won't do, you
know. Can't you take a bit of fun?"
For answer Cameron clinched him savagely,
gripping him by the throat and planting two heavy blows upon his ribs.
"Here—boys," gasped the young fellow,
From all sides they threw themselves upon
him and, striking, kicking, fighting furiously, Cameron went down under
the struggling mass, his hand still gripping the throat it had seized.
"Say! He's a regular bull-dog," cried one.
"Git hold of his legs and yank him off," which, with shouts and
laughter, they proceeded to do and piled themselves upon him, chanting
the refrain—"More beef! More beef!"
A few minutes more of frantic struggling
and a wild agonised scream rose from beneath the mass of men.
"Git off, boys! Git off!" roared the young
giant. "I'm afraid he's hurt."
Flinging them off on either side, he stood
up and waited for their victim to rise. But Cameron lay on his face,
moaning and writhing, on the ground.
"Say, boys," said Sam, kneeling down
beside him, "I'm afraid he's hurted bad."
In his writhing Cameron lifted one leg. It
toppled over to one side.
"Jumpin' Jeremiah!" said Sam in an awed
voice. "His leg's broke! What in Sam Hill can we do?"
As he spoke there was a sound of running
feet, coming down the lane. The moon, shining through the breaking
clouds, revealed a figure with floating garments rapidly approaching.
"My cats!" cried Sam in a terrified voice.
Like leaves before a sudden gust of wind
the group scattered and only Sam was left.
"What—what are you doin'?" panted Mandy.
"Where is he? Oh, is that him?" She flung herself down in the dust
beside Cameron and turned him over. His face was white, his eyes glazed.
He looked like death. "Oh! Oh!" she moaned. "Have they killed you? Have
they killed you?" She gathered his head upon her knees, moaning like a
"Good Lord, Mandy, don't go on like that!"
cried Sam in a horrified voice. "It's only his leg broke."
Mandy laid his head gently down, then
sprang to her feet.
"Only his leg broke? Who done it? Who done
it, tell me? Who done it?" she panted, her voice rising with her gasping
breath. "What coward done it? Was it you, Sam Sailor?"
"Guess we're all in it," said Sam
stupidly. "It was jist a bit of fun, Mandy."
For answer she swung her heavy hand hard
upon Sam's face.
"Say, Mandy! Hold hard!" cried Sam,
surprise and the weight of the blow almost knocking him off his feet.
"You cowardly brute!" she gasped. "Get out
of my sight. Oh, what shall we do?" She dropped on her knees and took
Cameron's head once more in her arms. "What shall we do?"
"Guess we'll have to git him in somewheres,"
said Sam. "How can we carry him though? If we had some kind of a
"Wait! I know," cried Mandy, flying off up
Before many minutes had passed she had
returned, breathing hard.
"It's—the—-milkhouse—door," she said.
"That'll do all right, Mandy. Now I wish
some of them fellers would come."
Sam pulled off his coat and made of it a
pillow, then stood up looking for help. His eye fell upon the prostrate
and senseless form of Perkins.
"Say, what'll we do with him?" he said,
pointing to the silent figure.
"Who is it?" enquired Mandy. "What's the
"It's Perkins," replied Sam. "He hit him a
"Perkins!" said Mandy with scorn. "Let him
lie, the dog. Come on, take his head."
"You can't do it, Mandy, no use trying.
You can't do it."
"Come on, I tell you," she said fiercely.
"Quit your jawin'. He may be dyin' for all I know. I'd carry him alone
if it wasn't for his broken leg." Slowly, painfully they carried him to
the house and to the front door.
"Wait a minute!" said Mandy. "I'll have to
git things fixed a bit. We mustn't wake mother. It would scare her to
She passed quickly into the house and soon
Sam saw a light pass from room to room. In a few moments Mandy
reappeared at the front door.
"Quick!" whispered Sam. "He's comin' to."
"Oh, thank goodness!" cried Mandy. "Let's
git him in before he wakes."
Once more they lifted their burden and
with infinite difficulty and much painful manoeuvering they got the
injured man through the doors and upon the spare room bed.
"And now, Sam Sailor," cried Mandy, coming
close to him, "you jist hitch up Deck and hustle for the doctor if ever
you did in your life. Don't wait for nothin', but go! Go!" She fairly
pushed him out of the door, running with him towards the stable. "Oh,
Sam, hurry!" she pleaded, "for if this man should die I will never be
the like again." Her face was white, her eyes glowing like great stars;
her voice was soft and tremulous with tears.
Sam stood for a moment gazing as if upon a
"What are you lookin' at?" she cried,
stamping her foot and pushing him away.
"Jumpin' Jeremiah!" muttered Sam, as he
ran towards the stable. "Is that Mandy Haley? Guess we don't know much
His nimble fingers soon had Dexter hitched
to the buggy and speeding down the lane at a pace sufficiently rapid to
suit the high spirit of even that fiery young colt.
At the high road he came upon his friends,
some of whom were working with Perkins, others conversing in awed and
"Hello, Sam!" they called. "Hold up!"
"I'm in a hurry, boys, don't stop me. I'm
scared to death. And you better git home. She'll be down on you again."
"How is he?" cried a voice.
"Don't know. I'm goin' for the doctor, and
the sooner we git that doctor the better for everybody around." And Sam
disappeared in a whirl of dust.
"Say! Who would a thought it?" he mused.
"That Mandy Haley? She's a terror. And them eyes! Oh, git on, Deck, what
you monkeyin' about? Wonder if she's gone on that young feller? I guess
she is all right! Say, wasn't that a clout he handed Perkins. And didn't
she give me one. But them eyes! Mandy Haley! By the jumpin' Jeremiah!
And the way she looks at a feller! Here, Deck, what you foolin' about?
Gwan now, or you'll git into trouble."
Deck, who had been indulging himself in a
series of leaps and plunges, shying at even the most familiar objects by
the road side, settled down at length to a businesslike trot which
brought him to the doctor's door in about fifteen minutes from the
Haleys' gate. But to Sam's dismay the doctor had gone to Cramm's Mill,
six or seven miles away, and would not be back till the morning. Sam was
in a quandary. There was another doctor at Brookfield, five miles
further on, but there was a possibility that he also might be out.
"Say, there ain't no use goin' back
without a doctor. She'd—she'd—Jumpin' Jeremiah! What would she do? Say,
Deck, you've got to git down to business. We're goin' to the city. There
are doctors there thick as hair on a dog. We'll try Dr. Turnbull. Say,
it'll be great if we could git him! Deck, we'll do it! But you got to
git up and dust."
And this Deck proceeded to do to such good
purpose that in about an hour's time he stood before Dr. Turnbull's door
in the city, somewhat wet, it is true, but with his fiery spirit still
Here again adverse fate met the
"Doctor Turnbull's no at home," said the
maid, smart with cap and apron, who opened the door.
"How long will he be gone?" enquired Sam,
wondering what she had on her head, and why.
"There's no tellin'. An hour, or two
hours, or three."
"Three hours?" echoed Sam. "Say, a feller
might kick the bucket in that time."
The maid smiled an undisturbed smile.
"Bucket? What bucket, eh? What bucket are
ye talkin' aboot?" she enquired.
"Say, you're smart, ain't yeh! But I got a
young feller that's broke his leg and—"
"His leg?" said the maid indifferently.
"Well, he's got another?"
"Yes, you bet he has, but one leg ain't
much good without the other. How would you like to hop around on one
leg? And he's hurt inside, too, his lights, I guess, and other things."
Sam's anatomical knowledge was somewhat vague. "And besides, his girl's
takin' on awful."
"Oh, is she indeed?" replied the maid,
this item apparently being to her of the very slightest importance.
"Say, if you only saw her," said Sam.
"Pretty, I suppose," said the maid with a
touch of scorn.
"Pretty? No, ugly as a hedge fence. But
say, I wish she was here right now. She'd bring you to your—to time, you
"Would she, now? I'd sort her." And the
little maid's black eyes snapped.
"Say, what'll I do? Jist got to have a
"Ye'll no git him till to-morrow."
"How far oot are ye?"
"Twelve miles? Ye'll no get him a minute
afore to-morrow noon."
"Say, that young feller'll croak, sure.
Away from home too. No friends. All his folks in Scotland."
"Scotland, did ye say?" Something appeared
to wake up in the little maid. "Look here, why don't ye get a doctor
instead o' daunderin' your time here?"
"Git a doctor?" echoed Sam in vast
surprise. "And ain't I tryin' to git a doctor? Where'll I git a doctor?"
"Go to the hospital, ye gawk, and ask for
Dr. Turnbull, and tell him the young lad is a stranger and that his folk
are in Scotland. Hoots, ye gomeril, be off noo, an' the puir lad wantin'
ye. Come, I'll pit ye on yer way." The maid by her speech was obviously
Sam glanced at the clock as he passed out.
He had been away an hour and a half.
"Jumpin' Jeremiah! I've got to hurry.
She'll take my head off."
"Of course ye have," said the maid
sharply. "Go down two streets there, then take the first turn to your
left and go straight on for half a dozen blocks or so. Mind ye tell the
doctor the lad's frae Scotland!" she cried to Sam as he drove off.
At the hospital Sam was fortunate enough
to catch Dr. Turnbull in the hall with one or two others, just as they
were about to pass into the consulting room. Such was Sam's desperate
state of mind that he went straight up to the group.
"I want Dr. Turnbull," he said.
"There he is before you," replied a
sharp-faced young doctor, pointing to a benevolent looking old
"Dr. Turnbull, there's a young feller hurt
dreadful out our way. His leg's broke. Guess he's hurt inside too. And
he's a stranger. His folks are all in Scotland. Guess he's dyin', and
I've got—I've got a horse and buggy at the door. I can git you out and
back in a jiffy. Say, doctor, I'm all ready to start."
A smile passed over the faces of the
group. But Dr. Turnbull had too long experience with desperate cases and
with desperate men.
"My dear Sir," he replied, "I cannot go
for some hours."
"Doctor, I want you now. I got to have
somebody right now."
"A broken leg?" mused the doctor.
"Yes, and hurt inside."
"How did it happen?" said the doctor.
"Eh? I don't know exactly," replied Sam,
taken somewhat aback. "Somethin' fell on him. But he needs you bad."
"I can't go, my man, but we'll find some
one. What's his name did you say?"
"His name is Cameron, and he's from
"Cameron?" said the sharp-faced young
doctor. "What does he look like?"
"Look like?" said Sam in a perplexed
voice. "Well, the girls all think he looks pretty good. He's dark
complected and he's a mighty smart young feller. Great on jumpin' and
runnin'. Say, he's a crackajack. Why, at the Dominion Day picnic! But
you must a' heard about him. He's the chap, you know, that won the
hundred yards. Plays the pipes and—"
"Plays the pipes?" cried Dr. Turnbull and
the young doctor together.
"And his name's Cameron?" continued the
young doctor. "I wonder now if—"
"I say, Martin," said Dr. Turnbull, "I
think you had better go. The case may be urgent."
"Cameron!" cried Martin again. "I bet my
bat it's—Here, wait till I get my coat. I'll be with you in a jerk. Have
you got a good horse?"
"He's all right," said Sam. "He'll git you
there in an hour."
"An hour? How far is it?"
"Great heavens! Come, then, get a move
on!" And so it came that within an hour Cameron, opening his eyes,
looked up into the face of his friend.
"Martin! By Jove!" he said, and closed his
eyes again. "Martin!" he said again, looking upon the familiar face.
"Say, old boy, is this a dream? I seem to be having lots of them."
"It's no dream, old chap, but what in the
mischief is the matter? What does all this fever mean? Let's look at
A brief examination was enough to show the
doctor that a broken leg was the least of Cameron's trouble. A hasty
investigation of the resources of the farm house determined the doctor's
"This man has typhoid fever, a bad case
too," he said to Mandy. "We will take him in to the hospital."
"The hospital?" cried Mandy fiercely.
"Will you, then?"
"He will be a lot of trouble to you," said
"Trouble? Trouble? What are you talkin'
"We're awful busy, Mandy," interposed the
mother, who had been roused from her bed.
"Oh, shucks, mother! Oh, don't send him
away," she pleaded. "I can nurse him, just as easy." She paused, with
"It will be much better for the patient to
be in the hospital. He will get constant and systematic care. He will be
under my own observation every hour. I assure you it will be better for
him," said the doctor.
"Better for him?" echoed Mandy in a faint
voice. "Well, let him go."
In less than an hour's time, such was Dr.
Martin's energetic promptness, he had his patient comfortably placed in
the democrat on an improvised stretcher and on his way to the city
And thus it came about that the problem of
his leave-taking, which had vexed Cameron for so many days, was solved.