The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922, April 09, 1920, Image 8
NORTH PLATTE SEMI-WEEKLY TRIBUNE. WOODEN (Copyright, 1010, by Gcorgo H. CHAPTER XIII. 10 The Island. Lnfc and Hilary started for tho Is land nt one o'clock. They planned to upend threo hours there and return on tho evening tide. nilary, seated opposlto his friend, told him of tho conversation with Louis, who, manipulating tho tiller, heard nothing. "If Loulfl will swear to what ho In formed mo," he said, "It means that we can clap Brousseau Into jail. Oth erwise he'll never glvo up his schemes agnlnst me, becauso he has a personal irrleTance." "Mr. Askew," said Lafe, "might I put a question to you without giving offense?" "You may, Connell." "I'm only saying what everybody's tmylng In St. Donlfnce, and that Is about your cutting Brousscau out with Madcmol8ello Itosny." "I guess lt'fl true, Lnfo," said Hilary, "Lafo, Bho'o well, you understand." "I guess I do," Bald Lafe. Ho stretched out a sinewy band and gripped Hilary's warmly. "I wish Clarice my wife could meet you," ha said. "I hopo sho will, Lafo, somo day. But now, about Brousscau." "1 asked you that," said Lafe, "be cause thero's a lot hangs on It. Now as to Louis ho wouldn't swear. , If ho did swear, ho'd swear that he'd beeu lying as soon as Brousscau slipped him a ten-dollar bill. No, sir, it-won't do. We've got to get tho fox right Into tho trap beforo wo spring It.",, "I'm nfrald, l am no hand at spring' (ngjtraps, Lafe." "No, But wo'vo got to give him ropo enough to hang himself. Wo don't wanto go off at half-cock. That's plainer, ain't It? My advice Is aa be fore; Ho low. You see, sir, when n man schemes and schemes and plans his crooked work, all that ho's doing is to twist the rope tighter round his own neck. Wo'vo got him now, but wonust get tho nooso tight, so that ho won't wrlgglo out of it. And he'll twist It tight next tlrao ho' wriggles. That's my Idea, Mr. Askow." "I guess you're right as usual Lafe," nswered Hilary. "But 1'vo been ly ing low a thundering long time." No more was said upon tho subject Out In tho Gulf tho chopplness of tho waves had clinngcd to a steady sweep toward tho Island, which, lying in mid stream, received and broko tho full force of tho dally tides. Tho wind aided them, nnd they swept through tho water. Hilary watched tho nenr lng land with Interest that deepened as ho began to make out tho luxurious growth of conifers that covered It al most to tho sea's verge. hi tho center ho could now inako out u ridge of low hills, which seemed to ascend to n terminal cliff, hnvlng on one side a gentle slope and, on tho other, a precipitous descent toward tho water. "There ought to bo somo One cut ting thcro for us somo day," said Hilary. "Hollo I What's that?" "Somobody has got thcro beforo us," said Connell. I A boat camo Into view, a little fish ing sloop, much like Duval's, beached ou tho shore, tho sails down, tho bow high abovo high water. 1 "That boat belongs to Jacques Brousseau," said Louis, pointing to ward it "What's he doing on my limits. I wonder," mused Hilary. "I guess he's making this his winter quarters. He's trapped tho solgniory ho long that ho thinks lt'fl his terri tory." They grounded. Duval, leaping ashore brought tho bow round nbovo the water level. Lafo and Hilary stepped out and stretched their crnmp wl limbs. l The wind blew keenly, but, onco un der the sholtcr of tho Island, they found It warm autumn wenthcr. Leaving Louis stretched out In tho boat, under n tarpaulin, Lafo nnd Hil ary started up tho sloping bench toward tho Interior. Tho first thing that they noticed ub pccultnr, when they had passed tho outer fringe of trees, was tho exlstcnco of a well-dcflnod trail. They stopped and looked at It "Do you suppose old Jacques made all that?," asked Lafo. r""i!6Twlde." i "And too hard, Mr. Askow. This las beeu stamped out this summer. And Jacques has only been hero a week, at most." oJThen ?" asked Hilary. 1 "Homebody else hns been on tho lalund all summer, or at least most of tho summer. Maybo two or thrco of them. It looks like It" The trail had disappeared. They wore now scrambling up a gulley be tween great rocks that towered on lther side of them. At tho top of n. .intinn ntmonrw tin nnlnt of vtw lainnrt nnd tho face of tho creat cliff, cleft into numerous assures, somo widening into small caves. -- Suddenly Lafo gripped Hilary's arm sad nolnted. Through tho scrub thoy cnuld see Jacques Brousscau coming out of nn apcrturo lu tho cliff, a deep Doran Co.) but narrow cleft that opened toward tho bnse into a wide recess. Jacques saw thcra at the same time and stood motionless. As Lufo and Hilary advanced he seemed to bo gal vanized Into life. He rushed toward them, screaming, his faco convulsed with fury. Hilary cast his eyes about to ascer tain tho causo of the old man's fury. Ho saw, near tho envo's mouth, a largo slab of granlto, and a heavy hammer lying bcsldo It ' "Let's see what ho's got thcro," ho said. "It doesn't look like traps to mo." Tho sun, now very low, shone full into tho Interior. It revealed a cavern ous depth, whose recesses wero lost In gloom, a high arch, and tho remnants of many fires on tho granlto slabs that paved It almost as regularly as thoso of a city sidewalk. Somebody had camped hero for a long time pos sibly Jacques, though he must have burned a Vvholo cord of wood, to Judge from tho charred remnants that were scattered everywhere. "Lqokl" Bhoutcd Lafe, pointing. Tho ground was covered with frag ments of some sort of ore, nnd n trail of chips and dust led out of tho mouth of tho cavo Into another recess nmong tho rocks. Among the brambles, un der a roughly constructed roof, was a small hand machine, consisting In tho main of two steel rollers, whlto with crushed rock. .. "Looks like a hand flour-mill," said Lafo. "I thought maybo It might be gold. But It ain't gold. Alluvlal's washed In a stream, and quartz gold has to bo got with cyanide." A pick next caught their eyes. Some body,' or porty, rather, had been work-, lng at tho rockB, apparently., to, take samples of somo oro; but therowas certainly no gold in tho Laurcntlan granite. Suddenly Lafo uttered an exclama tion and, stooping down, picked up a matted handful of somo fibrous, wool- like material that had been stuffed into a cleft no pulled out yet anoth er handful, nnd more and moro stiff wool, yet of a stony consistency spun stone, If such n thing wero possible. "Rock flnxl" ho exclaimed. "I seen It down Thotford way years ago, Mr. Askow. Look there 1 Tho cliff's allvo with It I" "Asbestos I" cried nilary. "A regular asbestos quarry I" said Lafe. "Thero's thousands of dollnrs" worth here. Look at It I" nilary could see now thnt the coarso fibers ran through tho Bldo of tho cliff In every direction. They wero so blended with tho mottled stone thnt ho hnd not oven noticed them. "Thnt accounts for everything," ho snld. "Yes, Mr. Askew. I guess Brous seau wasn't paying nil thoso hands at Ste. Mario und pretending to work his limits Just to Jump your timber rights. I know ho had something up his sleeve, but I didn't know what I know thero wasn't no gold round here." "So that's why ho wants to get mo out of tho way." "That's tho wholo gamo, sir. no know you'd hit upon thlB mlno sooner or lator. though ho'd loft tho Island off the map of tho seigniory. Lord, what a fool I was not to have known t" "There's moro to It thnn that, Lafe. That's why ho tried to draw us off tho scent on the subject of tho river boun dary. Ho thought thnt If ho could get They Saw Marie Dupont Struggtlna in Pierre's Arms. Into n fight with us over thnt wo wouldn't be thinking of tho Island. And this mlno belongs to Itosny. No wonder Brousseau wants tho selgn lory I" "It's ns good as a play," 6uld Lafe. "It gives us tho trump enrd," said Ililarv. "It moans that ho'll lose his hold over hlni, and well, Lnfe, I feel too happy to say any more about It" Lafo grabbed him by tho hund. ..... . ,, . ,., ... nii.. "wo-vo won, - no uui raiuuiV. "And now I guess wo'd best bo sturt- lng for tho boat" ri They retraced their 6tep3 along tho trail. It wns a nervous experience, with tho thoucht thut old Jucquea might bo lurking In the bushes nearby. However, by the time they renched the little open space they satisfied them selves that ho was not following them. "Wo've passed our landing plnce," snld Hilary. Looking out ncross tho gray waters ho perceived, close at hnnd, and ap parently benched on tho shore, tho whlto sail of a sloop. It seemed to be the vessel which they hnd seen cnrllcr thnt afternoon, tncklng townrd the south shore. Tho men looked at each other, and the same unspoken question was In tho eyes of each. Then Lafo grabbed Hilary by the shoulders. "See herol" ho snld. "We ain't go ing to stay and fight Brousscau's gnng Just for the fun of It I guess It's Pierre and Lcblnnc In that boat all right, nnd thut they're on their wny home. Wo bent It for ours ns hard ns we can go see? You ain't fit to do no more fighting anyway," he pleaded. "And I won't, no matter what happens that's straight to you. I'll fight any mnn with fists If I got to, but I'm darned If I'll stand up against thut scum with camp knives." "You're quite right, Lnfe," answered Hllnry. "Come, let's get to the boat ns quick as wo can." But ns they stnrted thcro rang out n womon's cry. Again camo the screnm; nnd In an instnnt, forgetful of their resolution, they had turned nnd raced back along the trail. Not many steps, nnd, brenking through tho trees, they saw Mnrle Du- pont struggling in Pierre's arms, while Lcblnnc and Nanette stood near them, laughing. Lafe leaped at Pierre, and his bony fist caught the outlaw beneath the chin. Pierre went down In a heap. Hilary made for Leblanc, whose ex pression would, under other circum stances, have been comical in its sur prise. He turned upon tho girl nnd knocked her down savagely. Then, without another glance at Hilary, he mndo for the sloop. Leaving Pierre where ho had fallen, Lnfe Joined In tho pursuit But Lc blnnc hnd several yards' start, and his experience of Hilary's prowess lent wings to his feet Ho plunged Into tho water and, by a miracle of strength, swung tho sloop clear of tho sand on which sho had been beached. As the vessel was carried clear by the swift llowlng tide tho ex-Jobber scrambled aboard, dripping, nnd pushed off with tho onr. Lafo nnd Hllnry stood, bnf llcd, upon tho brink of the water. whllo Lcblnnc, at nn over Increasing distance, began to put up tho sail, shouting back defiant curses mean while. They heard a sound of feet upon tho shingle behind them, and turned quickly. It was Pierre, but ho was bolting for Ihe woods. They ran nt him, but ho had gained tho shelter of tho trees, nnd It wns growing too dnrk to follow. They stopped nnd looked back. Leblanc wns now aulte a dls- tnnco from tho Island, and ranking for tho north shore upon tho Incoming tide. "Let's go," said Hilary, and he took Marie gently by the arm. She went with him obediently, and Lnfo fol lowed with Nanette, whoso Hp was bloody from Lcblnnc's blow, The tide wns running fairly for St. Boniface. It wns nlmost dnrk now. but tho wind hnd died nwny nnd the stnrs were brilliant Hllnry. tnkluc off his ovcrcont wranned It nbout Mnrle. Tho girl's bewilderment hnd yielded to nbject gratitude. She raised HUnry's hand to her Hps and pressed It Beside her Nanette, wrapped m JiUfo's waterproof, was sobbing wildly and wiping her wounded lip. The words that passed woro drowned In the sound of the lap ping waves beforo they reached, the enrs of LtrMc, at Uio tiller. "Now, whnt happcncuY' asked Hil ary of Mario. "Tell me, and wo'll clap thoso ruffians Into Jail, I nssuro you. llow did they get you into that bont?" Mario sobbed out her explanation; but when Hilary gathered, with diffi culty from tho broken words, stam mered in French, thnt she hnd gone nboard with Plorre to mnrry him In Quebec, ho could hurdly believe his enrs. 'And your fnther knows nothing of this?" ho inquired, when she had ended. "Ho knows nothing, monsieur. Ah, monsieur, you saved me before, and I I wns ungrateful. Promlso me, swear to me, tnat no snail never know I" "Aim you, XNnnone, continued un ary, addressing tno weeping girl, "what have you to say, who lured her here, knowing this?" "I did not know, monsieur," cried Nanette. "Pierre told mo thnt If I bring her ho would got mo back my sweetheart' "Lebluuc, chr "Oul, monsieur. Then ho tako mo to Quebec, and wo get married. And ho promised mo u wedding ring of gold, monsieur." "And ho told you that ho wub going to marry Mario?" "Oul, monsieur, wo nil go to Quebec together. Only Just beforo wo land he tell me that we nil stay on the I Island together first, und havo a holi day." "Nanette, Leblanc never Intended to marry you," said Hilary. "They wero using you to get Mario Into Pierre's power. Nanette " Ho bent toward her nnd touched her on the shoulder. Sho looked up at him, her lips quivering, her faco pa thetic as n scolded child's. "is it long slnco you left your homo?" "Two yenrs, monsieur." "Nanette, you were a child then, like Mnrle here? Leblanc came to you und told you of the great world outside, and how he would marry you and bo kind to you. Two years havo passed, and he hns rulpcd your life, and he has not kept his promise, and still he deceives you with his promises. Would you go buck to him?" "Never, monsieur I ue strucK me bcoI Not In Just nnger, ns a mnn "I'll Kill Youl" Panted Baptlste. strikes his wife who nags him, but be cause ho wns afraid. Seo where his fist fell seel" "Yet, Nanette, even ns Leblanc did to you, you would have had Pierre do to Marie here." "Monsieur 1 I thought ho wns to mnrry her, Pierre told mc, If I bring Marie to Ste. Mnrle no harm is done, because ho loves her nnd he wishes to save her from you, who mean no good to her." 'From me, Nanette 1" exclnlmed Hil ary, stupefied. "Oul, monsieur, and then you go to Ste. Mnrle to meet her nnd tako her home. And everybody say Monsieur Askew loves her, and no doubt ho hns a wife in his own- country." Hllnry looked uC her In amnzeracnt He noticed that Lafo was staring over the sldo of tho boat, as if he had not heard. "Nanette, if yom went borne, would your father receive you?' "All, monsieur, do not spcaK or it. Perhaps he is dead. Perhaps they are all dnd from grief."" "Would you like to go- home, Nan ette?" "Yes, monsieur, I will go now, for I havo nothlnc more to live for. I shnll go nnd beg on my knees " "I ahull send you home, then, Nan ette. But now ask forgiveness from Mnrle here, nnd then thank God thnt Ho hns saved her tonight In splto of all the evil thnt was ngulnst her." Nanette crouched townrd Marie Du- pont, whoso nrms stole round her neck, and the two girls tried nnd whispered together. Hllnry turned away. Ho thought of Madeleine, and breathed a prayer that their Hires might run to gether, nnd thnt thy might strive to gether for tho right all their days. Ho turned bnck Uto the bont. "Now, Mnrle, no word of this night's doings shall ever pnss my Hps," he said. "Bnt, Mnrle, your life is unhappy. There is a good man In St, BoniJaco who cares for you. Do you think that vou could learn to enro for Mm?" "Ah, pauvre Jean!" wept tho girl. "I hnvo been ungrateful to him, uon sleur. And now I nm not worthy thnt ho should hnve anything to do with me." "He shall know nothing unless you tell him." snld Hilary. "As to that. I cannot advise. But you need havo no fenrs ns to me.' The blnck shadow of the wharf be gnn to project out of the shore line, with Baptlste's schooner moored along side. Lights of lanterns wero moving. and as the sloop drew near Hllury per ceived a little group of peoplo near tho whnrf-hcad. Louis Duval lot down the sails and guided the vessel's prow toward tho mooring ring, nilury stepped out but before ho could turn to glvo his hand to Mario n woman stepped forward. , It was Madeleine. She ran to him with a llttlo cry of gladness. Sho raised her Hps to his. "Dear, I have been waiting since dnrk," sho snld, prosslng his arm. "I only got your letter this afternoon, telling me that you hnd gone to the Islund, and I wns frightened, Hilary." Ho patted her arm, "I am quite By VICTOR ROUSSEAU Illustrations by Irwin Myers snfe, dour." ho nnswered, smiling. There wns never any danger. Lafe was with me, and wo went and camo on the tide." As he spoke ho noticed that the crowd at tho whnrf-hcad hnd drawn nearer. He heard a mnn shouting; there seemed to bo some disturbance which ho funded they wero trying to quell. Lufo stepped upon the wharf with the two girls, walking past Hil ary. Madeleine turned. Her eyes, lighting upon Mario's face, and then Nanette's, sought Hllnry's in astonishment. But she nsked nothing, nnd wnitcd. Her hnnd, which hnd rested upon his nrm, remained there. But whereas it had been a living, warm part of her, It now felt cold and heavy, and lifeless. Then out of tho crowd burst Jcnn Bnptlste, screnming. Ho ran townrd Ullnry. A knife was flashing in his hnnd. His onset was so swift that It took Hilary and Madeleine completely by surprise. As tho little mnn closed with him Hilary Just managed to grasp his arm. "I'll kill you 1" panted Bnptlste, and tho breath whistled through his throat as If the force of his passion hnd con stricted It to a pipe's dimension. "It Is she, und you took her from her home Inst night. I sought for her; I wns uniting and watchful; I did not sleep. I swore you should die" He fought for freedom of the stab bing arm like a man possessed of a thousand devils. He worked the hand free, and It went up and down, tho long knife flashing nnd slicing into nilnry's cont. And Madeleine did not utter a word. She watched tho struggle like a womnn In a dream. Twice Hilary felt the point of tho knife as It drove through the air and slashed to the end of Baptlste's reach. Then the crowd closed about them. But Baptlste fought like a devil. He hurled tho lumbermen aside; three times he fought out of their grasp nnd mnde for Hllnry, who, horrified und still unccrtnin, made no attempt to escnpe or strike. Each time ho caught the knife hand by a miracle of luck, nnd all the time he fought Bap tlste never censed shouting. "Let me get at him I" he panted. "I wntched them. I wnlted. I did not sleep. Ho took her last night to the Island. I swore to kill him. Let me gol Let me got" His voice rang high above the shrieks of the frightened girls and the shouts of the men. They had closed about him now, but for the fourth time he broke through and made for Hilary, the knife held low now, ready for the rrpplng upward stroke. Hilary grasped at his arm again and missed. The knife flashed back and then In an Instnnt Madeleine stood where Bap tlste had been, nnd the blood dripped from her sleeve. And atlll she- had not uttered n sound. They hnd got Bnptlste down now, still fighting like a wild beaet. They were holding him, one man to each limb, and his body writhed and curses broke from his Hps. And' Madeleine stood before Hilary, quiet and cnlm nnd silent He- sprang toward her. "Madeleine 1" Her seized her arm and' tnce the sleeve- away. .There was a gash, long, but not deep, from which the blood wns welling. He felt beside himself with mingled fury and fenr. Ho begnn to bind it with hta handkerchief, the icily cola arm that had been warm ngnlnst his shoulder. But Madeleine drew herself away. "It is nothing," she said, and begnn to wnllc townrd the head of the wharf. Her rig: was waiting! there, the horse held by a boy. Hilary walked by her side, speaking ho never remembered what It was he said Imploring; Madeleine snld noth ing. Nothing until sho renched the cnrrinRO step. Drops of blood marked her progress. There sho paused and looked at him. He could seo her face now in tho Ucht of tho boy's lantern, nnil tous n-Ulipr srnrnfnl nor nrnuiL but very hsrd like the Seigneur's, Hilary thought afterwnrd. But all his thoughts were on the wound. "Madeleine, your arml" he cried, catching at it. i It Is nothing," she said once more. turning to mount the step. Then Hilary knew what he had not let himself know he know. He caught her hand nnd pressed It to his lips. "Marolelno!" ho cried. "You do not do not surely you nro not colnc to condemn me when I " She placed her foot on the step. "I told you nothing but your faith lessness could kill my love," sho salt! la a whisper. And, in a lower whis per, "Hood-by l" Tho wheels were moving before Hil ary could grasp the scene, bring It homo to Ills consciousness. And after ward he remembered that ho run be side tho carriage, senselessly calling to her to let him bind her nrm. He must have been half way through tho vlllngo before his reason camo back to him. CHAPTER XIV. A Letter From Morris. Tho weather continued mild, and Hilary's financial prospects continued to Improve. There was every likeli hood now of being ublo to curry on through the winter. Brousseuu hnd showed no signs of further Interfer ence with his men, nnd there was oven tho possibility of getting out another small lond. Hllury had sent Nunetto homo to St. Joseph. Sho hnd promised to wrl'e to him, but, as he hnd expected, ho hnd not heard from her. Baptlste had thrown up his position with Dupont and gone Into the Ste. Mnrle limits to trap. Mnrle Dupont avoided Hilary; he had not seen her since the duy of their udventure. As for Dupont, whatever ho know, ho showed no signs. And things seemed to scttlo Into equilibrium, though Hll nry wns sure that n denouement was to follow. He could only wait pa tiently for that No action could como from him. He could not violate hla pledge to Mnrle in order to secure him self with Madeleine. Then came the news which stunned Hilary out of his mental apathy. Mad eleine was to mnrry Brousscau. It wns to bo In three weeks at Christ runs, nnd tho banns hnd been rend In church thnt Sundny morning for tho first time. What hnd happened was this: Tho Seigneur had not given his daughter any sign of remembrance of the events thut hnd transpired Immediately bo fore his stroke, though ho wns In othor respects normal, save for the paraly sis of tho left side. But as the weeks went by he grow more nnd moro nervous nnd depressed, until one night he blurted out: "Where will you take me nfter the cstnto changes hands? I cannot re mnln In St Boniface, nor can I rcmnln with you and the American. I am too old to go anywhere but to the grave." So ho hnd remembered all the timet Madeleine put her arms about his neck. "I am not going to murry Mon sieur Askew," sho nnswered. Then, without warning, the old Seigneur fell to crying and laughing, ns if n tremendous load of care had been lifted from his shoulders. Tho land, which hnd meant so much to him all his life, now seemed to be every thing, nnd lie interpreted Madeleine's answer to Indlcnte her willingness to mnrry Brousseau. "Well, why not?" she thought with Intense bitterness, ns she listened. "Hnve I nny other duty now, snve to my fnther?" She never doubted her Judgment of Hllnry. Tho story had been dinned into her enrs by Broussenu since Hll nry's first visit to Ste. Murle. Sho hnd henrd it from tradesmen's wives, the postmistress, until their attachment wus known; then had come silence nnd furtlvencss. And she had scorned to think of its possibility until that night And she had given him his chance and he had said nothing. She accepted the situation and sat down and penned a short, formal let ter to Brousseau. He came the next day, driving fo rlously up to tho Chateau. He thrust Robltaille out of his wny nnd pushed! into the living room, where he found Madeleine, denthly white, seated alone, waiting for him. He opened his arms? to embrace her. "Sit down, Edouard," she said with chilling apathy. "I nra going to talk frankly to you. Yooi wish to marry mcr "I want yon for my wife." snld Brousaeau. "You know that. You know I don't think anything of thut affair" Madeleine winced at tho word, but he did not notice it "with Mon sieur Askew. The man's a scoundrel, a thief, and a libertine " "I do not wish to hear that, mon sieur," snld Madeleine peremptorily. "Diablo, that's natural enough! And so that" forgotten." Broussean eouldi "Edouard," Said the Girl Quietly, "How Much Are Vou Willing to Pay for Me?" afford to le magnanimous. "I've heard for n week past that you'd quarreled, but I'm not the sort of mnn to push In where lie Isn't wanted." "Edouard," said tho girl quietly, "how much are you willing to pay for mo?" Broussenu stared. "Eh? Ah, mon D!ou, why do you talk about money? Haven't 1 enough?" "I nm going to hnvo nn agreement in place of nn indefinite understand ing. If I. mnrry you nt Christians you will, on the morning of the ceremony, destroy my fnther's mortgage, and you will wait until his denth to own the seigniory. It won't tako long," sho ended, with a flicker of scorn. (TO BE CONTINUED.) In the Birmingham district of Eng land there nro several factories which turn out 10,000,000 or more pins a day.