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HOME > Classical Novels > For the Allinson Honor > CHAPTER XXI A BUSHMAN'S SATISFACTION
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 Andrew reached the Landing physically1 exhausted2 and troubled by a heavy depression. The long-continued strain had left its mark on him, for, having proposed the expedition, he felt responsible for the safety of his friends; and his strength and endurance deserted3 him shortly after the arrival of the rescue party. Relief had been followed by a severe reaction, which left him limp and nerveless; and the homeward march proved long and toilsome. As they had food, there was no longer the same necessity for haste, but the rigor5 of the weather forced the men to push on as fast as possible, and Andrew found it difficult to emulate6 his rescuers' pace. Moreover, he was seriously troubled about Graham, whose foot appeared to be getting worse, and he was deeply disappointed with the result of his search. He had found the lode7, but, so far as he had been able to test it, the ore did not promise much.  
Dusk was falling when they saw the lights of the settlement, and as they passed the first house a man greeted them. After a word or two, he ran on ahead; and the party, following slowly, worn with the march, found most of the inhabitants gathering8 in the street. Eager helpers took their packs from them and seized the traces of the sled; questions and congratulations were showered on them, and, to Andrew's annoyance9, they entered the town in a triumphal procession. He[Pg 213] was plodding10 along, too tired and listless to notice the remarks of the curious and sympathetic crowd, when Carnally touched his arm.
"You can go straight to the hotel," he said. "I'll take Graham home."
"No," said Andrew firmly; "that's my business and it can't be shirked. You might send the doctor."
Carnally disappeared among the crowd and Andrew went on, shrinking from the meeting with his comrade's wife, though when the time came he found it less trying than he had feared. As they turned into a side street there was a shout:
"Make room; let her pass! It's Mrs. Graham!"
The men in the traces stopped and Graham spoke11 to them.
"You might help me up, boys."
They got him on his feet and fell back as a woman hurried toward him. She flung her arms about his neck and it was several moments before she saw Andrew.
"We have brought him back, but I'm afraid he's a little the worse for wear," he said.
"You have brought him back!" she cried. "That is the greatest thing."
Graham walked along with her for a few yards, and then stopped, his face contorted.
"If you don't mind, I'll finish the journey on the sled. My foot's rather sore."
When they reached his house, he insisted on getting up, and after telling Andrew to follow, limped in unhelped, but he sat down heavily on a couch.
"I suppose this moccasin had better come off now, though it's going to give me trouble," he said with a rueful smile.
[Pg 214]"No," advised Andrew, "not until the doctor comes; he should be here directly. I'd like to see him, Mrs. Graham, but you'll want to talk to your husband. May I wait in the other room?"
She let him go and he spent an anxious half-hour. He heard the doctor arrive and Mrs. Graham hurry about the house—getting water and bandages, he thought. Then there was silence for a while, until the doctor entered the room where he was sitting.
"His foot's in a very bad state," he reported. "There's some risk of mortification12, though I think it can be averted13. I'll be able to tell you more in a day or two."
"Do you know of any surgeon in Winnipeg or Toronto you would like to bring out?"
"There's a good man in Winnipeg, which is much nearer. On the whole, it might be advisable to get his opinion."
"Then wire for him," said Andrew, "and send for a trained nurse if one can be had."
The doctor left and Andrew rose as Mrs. Graham came in.
"I'm afraid you'll find it hard to forgive me," he said.
Mrs. Graham looked troubled.
"I must try to be fair. You are really not to blame; even if he hadn't met you, he would have gone to look for the lode some day. Then I'm confident you took every care of him. But, after all——"
"I know," Andrew sympathized. "He was well and strong when I took him away, and I have brought him back disabled. That can't be got over." He paused and resumed in a diffident tone: "I feel responsible. There are things I can't put right—your distress14,[Pg 215] the pain your husband suffers, his regret at being laid up helpless while his foot gets better—but I must insist on making what amends15 are in my power. I think you understand."
"Yes." Mrs. Graham gave him a grateful glance. "But we'll talk of that later." Then she smiled. "He sent you a message—you are to mail the specimens16 to an assayer17 the first thing."
"I'll do so," Andrew promised, turning toward the door. "I'll come back and see how he's getting on early to-morrow."
On reaching the hotel he sought Carnally.
"Jake," he said, "you might fix things with the packers; give them any bonus you think fit over regulation wages. Then, because we owe them more than we can pay in money, you had better get up a supper and dance they could bring their wives to."
"It's a good idea! They'll like that. I'll see about it to-morrow. I need a rest to-night, and there's a job I want to be fit for in the morning."
Andrew was too weary to ask him what it was and after sending a message to Frobisher and getting supper he went off to bed. Rising late the next day, he went to Graham's and then took a sleigh drive, and by doing so missed a scene which caused some sensation in the town.
About the middle of the morning Mappin was sitting in his office, which was situated18 above a store opposite the second-class hotel. The hotel was full, for some loggers had come in the previous night, and a number of railroad carpenters, whose work had been interfered19 with by a snowstorm, were staying there. Mappin had heard of Andrew's return and he was in a thoughtful mood, though he had so far avoided meeting with[Pg 216] any of the party. He could not, however, continue to do so, and he felt that he might as well get the interview with Allinson over as soon as possible. Even if Allinson suspected treachery, he had no proof, and the worst charge he could make would be one of carelessness. On the whole, it had been a relief to see that the man had escaped: he had acted in the heat of passion when he cut off his supplies and had afterward20 experienced a twinge of remorse21. Mappin felt that he was a match for the fellow, and he had gone a needless length in plotting to destroy him.
He was thinking over the matter when he heard some one ask for him in the store, through which it was necessary to pass to reach his office. Then there were footsteps on the stairs and he looked up in surprise as Carnally came in. It was Allinson he had expected to see.
Carnally was smartly dressed, and though his face was thin and worn it wore a look of satisfaction that puzzled Mappin.
"Where's your boss this morning?" Mappin inquired. "I've been waiting for him."
"At Graham's," said Carnally, sitting down. "I've come instead. Mr. Allinson's got into a habit of leaving matters to me. There are things I do better than he can. I'm not so fastidious as he is."
"Then let me know what you want."
"It's about those provisions you sent up. Mr. Allinson told you where to make the caches?"
"Yes; I carefully put it down."
"Got the paper or the notebook?"
"I can't say where the notebook is, but I believe I could find it."
Carnally smiled, as if he were enjoying the situation.
[Pg 217]"If you produce the book, it will be because it doesn't agree with what Mr. Allinson says he told you; but that wouldn't prove much. You're capable of writing down what you meant to do and not what he said. If you're not able to find it, the reason is that you thought of the trick you played us after you saw him."
"Then you didn't find the provisions I sent as easily as you expected?"
"No; you know we didn't."
Mappin had plenty of courage.
"Well, what about it?" he asked with a little smile of scorn.
"I know the hand you're playing from; it's a pretty good one. Mr. Allinson believes he gave you orders to make the caches in certain places; you contend he told you somewhere else, and there was nobody about when you were talking to decide the thing. Somehow an unfortunate mistake was made."
"It looks like that," said Mappin, feeling uneasy at the man's ready acquiescence22 in the situation.
"Sure thing!" Carnally cheerfully assented23. "You fixed24 it all so neatly25 that you left only one way of getting after you; but I won't
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