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foreign accent; "up toward John Herrick's big trees nodded overhead, the roar of the house, only not so far.”
waterfall came from beyond the house, the He went in and shut the door abruptly, and creek, rushing ard tumbling, slid away down Beatrice could hear his voice inside calling the mountain-side. Somebody had planted roughly, "Christina, Christina!"
pansies on both sides of the step, pansies that He had a roll of large papers in his hand, crowded and jostled each other as they only posters that he had evidently been putting up can in the cool air of the high mountains, along the way, for she had noticed them on spreading sheets of gleaming color over the trees and fence-posts nearer town. They barren soil. With a quivering sigh, Beatrice seemed to announce some sort of meeting, sat down upon the door-stone. with English words at the top, repeated below “Mine!" she said out loud, just to see how in more than one language, to judge by the it would sound. “Mine!" odd, foreign printing. She had felt a hot It took a long time to explore the place flash of indignation at the man's surly tone, thoroughly. Behind the cabin was the tumbut in a moment she had forgotten him com- bling cascade that identified the place; a pletely as she and Buck went scrambling up plunge of foaming waters over a high ledge, the steep and difficult road.
with a still black pool below, shot with gleams She came at last to a tiny bridge. Broken of sunshine and full of darting trout. Beyond Bow Creek, which was little more than a the stream, almost hidden from sight by the series of pools in the parched stream-bed in high slope of the ravine, was the roof of anthe valley, was here a singing rivulet, flowing other house, a larger one than hers, with a below the rude crossing amid a group of sil- group of chimneys sending forth a curl of very aspen-trees. At the left of the trail she smoke to indicate that here were neighbors. could see a gate, a set of bars hung between Looking up the course of the brook, she could two rough posts. It was with a beating see where the dense shadows of the pine grove heart that she dismounted to take them ended and the waters ran in brighter sundown for Buck to pass. Once inside, she shine on the higher slope. would be on her own ground.
Buck, with his bridle over the post at the The agility of a mountain-bred pony was cabin door, at last whinnied insistently to so new to her that she was much astonished, call her back. He had been searching for after she had removed two of the bars, to have tufts of grass between the stones and nipping Buck step over the remaining three as neatly at the pansies, but had not found them to his as a dog would have done. She slipped into liking. His impatience, as well as the creepthe saddle again, making a greater success ing shadows in the valley below, reminded than at the first attempt, and followed the her that evening was near, in spite of the nearly invisible path. The huge straight clear sunlight higher up the mountain-side. pine-trees stood in uneven ranks all about Reluctantly she mounted and, with many a her, their branches interweaving overhead, glance backward at her house, rode slowly the ground covered with their red-brown down the trail. Through an opening in the needles that muffled the sound of the horse's trees she caught a glimpse, as she descended, hoofs. Up and up they went, with the splash of the house beyond the stream. She could of falling water sounding louder and ever even see a man ride up to the door and a girl louder. Here at last was the place she sought of about her own age come running out to a square, sturdy cabin of gray logs chinked
Then a drop in the path hid both with white plaster, with a solid field-stone house and people abruptly from her view. chimney and a sloping roof drifted over with A figure came into sight, moving ahead of pine-needles. She slid from the saddle and her through the trees, a woman, very tall and stood upon the rugged door-step. Here was lean, with a basket on her arm. her house, her very own!
“Some one has been berrying on my land,” It was a larger dwelling than she had Beatrice reflected, with a throb of pride at expected and very solidly and substantially the thought of her proprietorship. built. Wooden bars had been nailed across The stranger had a yellow handkerchief the doors and windows, and she had, more- covering her hair and a green shawl slanting over, forgotten to obtain the keys from Dan across her shoulders. She had a foreign look O'Leary, so that she could not go in. She that reminded Beatrice, somehow, of that could, however, peep through the casement surly man at the cottage door from whom she windows and see the low-ceilinged rooms,
had asked the way.
Almost unconsciously the rough stairs, and the wide fireplace. The she reined Buck into a slower pace, then
noticed with a sinking heart that the woman he has been! He was wild to go in the Navy had looked back and was waiting at the when the war began, but he was too young, barred gate to intercept her as she and her so it was not until last year that he slipped horse came out into the road.
away, as I had always feared he would. He
hardly even said good-by to me, and this is CHAPTER II
my only letter from him. But I talk too CHRISTINA'S LETTER
long, you will not be able to see.”
Once more Beatrice turned to the paper THE yellow pony, stamping and sidling, came and began: to an unwilling stop before the sturdy figure “My dear Mother: I expect you think I am that blocked the way. Beatrice began to see never going to send you a letter—" that the twilight had made the woman seem She read through to the end, thinking that unduly terrifying and that her face, while it it sounded affectionate, but contained little was sunburned almost to the color of leather, news beyond the fact that the writer was was merely a square, stolid one, with keen going to China. blue eyes and heavy fair hair showing under “He gives an address in San Francisco the picturesque head-handkerchief. With where they will forward an answer,” she one hard, big hand, the stranger was feeling observed, as she folded the paper and handed within her dress, and as Beatrice came close, it back. "What did you write to him?” she held up a letter.
To her surprise she saw big tears stand “I saw you in the town yesterday and you suddenly in Christina's eyes. looked kind. I want you to read my letter to “Ah, Thorvik would not let me ask any me. I cannot read English myself. I am one, and I could n't write myself,” she said. from Finland. My name is Christina Jen- “And
Olaf is such an American he cannot The letter is from my boy.”
read my language. That is perhaps why he She spoke with a strong accent that, while has not written again and has not come home.” it was somewhat like that of the man of Then, seeing Beatrice's puzzled look, she whom Beatrice had asked the way, was not explained more fully, although it was diffiunpleasant, for her voice was rich and clear. cult to make plain her foreign notion that The girl thought, as she looked into the up- women are subject to the men in their houses. turned face, that she had never seen such “It was my brother who would not permit eager, appealing eyes.
me—Thorvik, once a good Finn like myself, "You can't read?" Beatrice exclaimed, for- but now-oh, so different. He was to come getting politeness in her surprise.
over to us some years ago, but the war broke “My own language, yes, but not yours. out and he went, instead, into the Russian My boy Olaf made me learn to talk English army. When there was peace again he came plain, but I was always too busy with my to us, but how that time in Russia had two hands to learn to read or write. Read, changed him! He is full of wild talk of revoread, please, before it is too dark to see the lution and tyrants and destroying capital. letter.”
He and Olaf never agreed. It was what Beatrice spread out the paper on the pom- made my boy unhappy at home and why he mel of the saddle.
went from us at last." "Why," she said, glancing at the date, "it Beatrice leaned forward in her saddle with is nearly a year old!".
sudden interest. "Yes," returned the woman, nodding “Do you live in a little cottage half-way up heavily, “ten months ago he wrote it from the hill above Ely? That man I saw there his ship in Marseilles. I have nearly worn it when I rode by—is that your brother?” out carrying it around and having it read to Christina nodded.
But it is only kind people I ask to read "And if you could write to your son,” the it now, for some begin to say, 'Your Olaf will girl pursued, “what would you say?" never come back.'
"I would say, 'Come home!” cried Chris“Is this his first voyage?” the girl asked. tina. “Over and over I would say, 'Come
"Yes, but he was always bound he would home, if it is only for a week or a day between be a sailor. His father was drowned at sea voyages'; I would say, 'Come still, no matter when we still lived in Finland and when Olaf what happened before you went away.'” was a baby. I brought my boy to this Beatrice felt in the pocket of her ridingcountry then, where I could support him skirt. There were a note-book and pencil better; and what a credit and a comfort to me there, she felt sure, for she had made a list of
supplies to be bought in the village before "But strikes mean just parades and people she set out on her ride.
carrying banners and talking on street-cor“Do you want me to put down the address ners,” Beatrice protested. She had seen and write to your son for you?” she offered. industrial unrest at home and had thought “Oh, if you would !” said Christina. “And
little of it. What she did fear was the you would never tell Thorvik?”
long journey which had been so difficult for “There is no danger of that," Beatrice her aunt and which it seemed impossible to assured her. “And I think, somehow, that face soon again. your boy will come back."
“Strikes are not the same in the West. She could not tell, herself, what made her Men carry something besides banners in the offer such a definite opinion.
parades, and talking on street-corners ends There was something she liked about the in fights. You had better take your aunt words of the letter:
away." I went ashore at Marseilles, and it is such a
"It does not seem possible," Beatrice strange place that before I had been there an hour replied, “but thank you for telling me.” I wanted to stay a year. But loafing does n't suit Again she said good-by and rode on, feeling me, so I am off again for Hong Kong, but I'll not
only a little uneasy, for, she reflected, “To forget you, Mother, not even on the other side of the world.
live with such a man as that brother would
make any one think that things were going She folded the worn page once again, gave wrong." it to Christina, and rode on.
To her own
Dinner that night, in the candle-lit diningsurprise, she had that pleasant, satisfied feel- room, with the noiseless Chinaman serving ing, that comes with the making of a new delicious food, was very welcome to the friend. After a few rods, she turned to look hungry Beatrice.
hungry Beatrice. Aunt Anna, looking very back and saw the Finnish woman still looking frail and weary, but still able to sit up in her after her. Beatrice raised her hand in a cushioned chair, was at the head of the table, quick gesture of leave-taking. It was a slight with one tall chestnut-haired niece at her move, but it had important consequences, right, and with the other, the younger one, since it seemed to cement their regard for the pink and plump Nancy who was always each other and to strengthen Christina in a laughing and nearly always asking questions, wavering resolution. She came swiftly down sitting at her left. the road, calling in her clear, full voice:
“Joe Ling is a good cook," observed "Stop, I must tell you something."
Beatrice, with satisfaction, as they were going When she came to Buck's side she began to bed. with quick questioning that would have “He is," returned Nancy, with something sounded impertinent had it not been so of a sigh, “but I don't think I understand earnest.
Chinamen. Their faces don't ever seem to “Why did you come here, to Ely? How change and you can't tell what they are long are you going to stay?”
thinking. They look as though they knew Briefly Beatrice explained about her aunt's everything in the world.” health and the arrangements her father had Nancy had undertaken the housekeeping, made.
since she had more domestic tastes than her "I believe Aunt Anna wanted to come be- sister, yet she had already found the new and cause she had been here once before," she strange difficulties of this establishment in concluded rather vaguely. “I don't seem to Ely rather appalling. remember if she told me when or why she "I sometimes wonder a little,” she went on came. We are to stay for the summer." after a pause, “why Aunt Anna wanted so
“The place has changed since she was here, much to come here. Who was with her even since your father was here," Christina when she came to Ely long ago?” declared. “There is a whole army of foreign "It seems to me I heard her talking of it to laborers, Slavs, Poles, what the men call Dad,” Beatrice answered, “and that she said Bohunks, working on this irrigation project something about her her brother." to water the valley. There is a strike brew- “Her brother—why she has n't any but ing-ah, do I not know? my brother Thorvik Father,” objected Nancy. “If she had, we talks of nothing else. It is he who urges would know about him. It could n't be." them on. When such a thing breaks out, Ely Beatrice was thinking so deeply that she will not be a good place for you and your paused in brushing her hair. aunt and your sister."
"It does seem as though I remembered
about some such person, oh, a very long time so terrible.” After a moment's pause ago, when we were little. It was some one she added, “That is her brother Thorvik at younger than Dad or Aunt Anna, with yellow the head of them all. I wonder where he is hair like hers. He used to come up to the leading them and what they mean to do." nursery to play with us, and then all of a sud- The man below, looking up suddenly, saw den he did n't come any more and no one the girls in the window and gave them a talked about him, so I just forgot.”
scowling look of such fierce hatred that they Nancy had turned out the light and had shrank back into the room and did not look gone to the window to put up the curtain forth again until the last of the shouting, when she called her sister with a sudden cry. disorderly procession had passed. Then there
“Oh, look!" she cried in terror, as Beatrice was a moment of silence until Nancy sniffed came to her side.
suddenly and declared: The big, ramshackle building on the next “I smell smoke!” block, used as a meeting-place by the work- Before Beatrice could answer, they heard men, was plainly visible in the dark. Its in the next room the voice of Aunt Anna, who shutters were thrown back and its doors wide had been awakened by the uproar. open, as though the air within had become "It is just a public meeting breaking up,” stifling beyond endurance. The place was Beatrice reassured her, although the sharp packed with men, but no orderly company as smell of burning wood began to fill the room at an ordinary meeting. They were all as the blue smoke drifted in at the open winstanding, some of them had climbed upon the dow. There was the crack of a revolver-shot benches, and every one seemed to be shouting in the distance, then another that sounded at once. In the depths of the hall, almost nearer. A moment later there came beyond where they could see, somebody was thunderous knocking at the door below. waving a red flag. Presently a group of men "Shall I go down? Shall I answer it?” came rushing down the steps, then more and Beatrice wondered desperately. more, until the street was filled with a dark- She looked at Aunt Anna, thin, weak, and faced, shouting throng, waving hats, ban exhausted, lying upon the bed, she heard outdanas and banners, and shouting together in side the crash of falling timbers and a great such a babel of foreign tongues that it was roar of voices as a shower of red sparks went impossible to guess what they said.
sailing past the window. Then she went "It is the strike!” Beatrice gasped. “Chris- slowly and hesitatingly down the stairs as the tina did not say it would come so soon or be knocking grew louder and louder.