Read CHAPTER XVII of The Foreigner , free online book, by Ralph Connor, on ReadCentral.com.

THE FIGHT FOR THE MINE

The early approach of winter checked the railroad construction proper, but with the snow came good roads, and contractors were quick to take advantage of the easier methods of transportation furnished by winter roads to establish supply depots along the line, and to open tie camps up in the hills. And so the old Edmonton Trail was once more humming with life and activity far exceeding that of its palmiest days.

As for Kalman, however, it was the mine that absorbed his attention and his energies. By day and by night he planned and dreamed and toiled for the development of his mine. With equal enthusiasm Brown and French joined in this enterprise. It was French that undertook to deal with all matters pertaining to the organization of a company by which the mine should be operated. Registration of claim, the securing of capital, the obtaining of charter, all these matters were left in his hands. A few weeks’ correspondence, however, revealed the fact that for Western enterprises money was exceedingly difficult to secure. French was eager to raise money by mortgaging his ranch and all his possessions, but this proposal Kalman absolutely refused to consider. Brown, too, was opposed to this scheme. Determined that something should be done, French then entered into contracts with the Railroad Company for the supply of ties. But though he and Mackenzie took a large force into the woods, and spent their three months in arduous toil, when the traders and the whiskey runners had taken their full toll little was left for the development of the mine.

The actual working of the mine fell to Kalman, aided by Brown. There was an immediate market for coal among the Galicians of the colony, who much preferred it to wood as a fuel for the clay ovens with which they heated their houses. But they had little money to spare, and hence, at the beginning of the work, Kalman hit upon the device of bartering coal for labour, two days’ work in the mine entitling a labourer to a load of coal. Brown, too, needed coal for his mill. At the Crossing there was large demand for coal, while correspondence with the Railroad Company discovered to Kalman a limitless market for the product of his mine. By outside sales Kalman came to have control of a little ready money, and with this he engaged a small force of Galicians, who, following lines suggested by Brown, pushed in the tunnel, ran cross drifts, laid down a small tramway, and accomplished exploration and development work that appeared to Kalman’s uninstructed eyes wonderful indeed. The interest of the whole colony centred in the mine and in its development, and the confidence of the people in Kalman’s integrity and efficiency became more and more firmly established.

But Brown was too fully occupied with his own mission to give much of his time to the mine. The work along the line of construction and in the camps meant sickness and accident, and consequently his hospital accommodation had once more to be increased, and this entailed upon himself and his wife, who acted as matron, a heavy burden of responsibility and of toil.

It was a happy inspiration of Jack French’s that led Brown to invoke the aid of Mrs. French in securing the services of a nurse, and Mrs. French’s proposal that Irma, who for two years had been in regular training, should relieve Mrs. Brown of her duties as matron, was received by all concerned with enthusiastic approval. And so, to the great relief of Mrs. Brown and to the unspeakable joy of both Kalman and his sister, Irma and Paulina with her child were installed in the Wakota institution, Irma taking charge of the hospital and Paulina of the kitchen.

It was not by Brown’s request or even desire that Paulina decided to make her home in the Wakota colony. She was there because nothing could prevent her coming. Her life was bound up with the children of her lord, and for their sakes she toiled in the kitchen with a devotion that never flagged and never sought reward.

The school, too, came back to Brown and in larger numbers than before. Through the autumn and early winter, by his drunkenness and greed, Klazowski had fallen deeper and deeper into the contempt of his parishioners. It was Kalman, however, that gave the final touch to the tottering edifice of his influence and laid it in ruins. It was the custom of the priest to gather his congregation for public worship on Sunday afternoon in the schoolhouse which Brown placed at his disposal, and of which he assumed possession as his right, by virtue of the fact that it was his people who had erected the building. On a Sunday afternoon, as the winter was nearing an end, Klazowski, under the influence of a too complete devotion to the beer barrel that stood in his host’s kitchen, spent an hour in a furious denunciation of the opponents of his holy religion, and especially of the heretic Brown and all his works, threatening with excommunication those who in any degree would dare after this date to countenance him. His character was impugned, his motives declared to be of the basest. This was too much for his congregation. Deep murmurs rose among the people, but unwarned, the priest continued his exécrations of the hated heretic.

At length Kalman, unable any longer to contain his indignation, sprang to his feet, gave the priest the lie direct and appealed to the people.

“You all know Mr. Brown,” he cried, “what sort of man is he? And what sort of man is this priest who has spoken to you? You, Simon Simbolik, when your child lay dead and you sought help of this Klazowski, what answer did he give you?”

“He asked me for ten dollars,” said Simon promptly, “and when I could not give it he cursed me from him. Yes,” continued Simbolik, “and Mr. Brown made the coffin and paid for it, and would take no money. My daughter is in his school, and is learning English and sewing, beautiful sewing, and she will stay there.”

“You, Bogarz,” cried Kalman, “when your children were down with scarlet fever and you went to the priest for help, what was his reply?”

“He drove me from his house. He was afraid to death.”

“Yes,” continued Kalman, “and Mr. Brown came and took the children to his hospital, and they are well to-day.”

“Yes,” cried Bogarz, “and he would take nothing for it all, but I paid him all I could, and I will gladly pay him more.”

And so from one to another went the word. The friends of Klazowski, for he still had a following, were beaten into silence. Then rose more ominous murmurs.

“I would not have Klazowski in my house with my family,” cried one, “a single day. It would not be safe. I need say no more.”

Others were found with similar distrust of Klazowski’s morals. Klazowski was furious, and sought with loud denunciations and curses to quell the storm of indignation that had been roused against him. Then Kalman executed a flank movement.

“This man,” he cried, his loud, clear voice gaining him a hearing, “This man is promising to build us a church. He has been collecting money. How much money do you think he has by this time? I, myself, gave him ten dollars; Mr. French gave him twenty-five.”

At once cries came from all parts of the building. “I gave him twenty-five.” “And I ten.” “And I five.” And so on, Kalman keeping count.

“I make it nearly two hundred dollars,” he cried. “Has any one seen the books? Does any one know where the money is?”

“No, no,” cried the crowd.

“Then,” cried Kalman, “let us enquire. We are not sheep. This is a free country, and we are free men. The days of the old tyranny are gone.” The house rocked with the wild cheers of the excited crowd. “Let us examine into this. Let us appoint a committee to find out how much money has been paid and where it is.”

With enthusiasm Kalman’s suggestion was carried into effect. A committee was appointed and instructed to secure the information with all speed.

Next day Klazowski was not to be found in the colony. He had shaken the Wakota snow from off his feet, and had departed, carrying with him the people’s hard-earned money, their fervent curses, and a deep, deep grudge against the young man upon whom he laid the responsibility for the collapse of his influence among the faithful and long-suffering people of Wakota.

A few days later, to an interested and devout congregation in the city of Winnipeg, he gave an eloquent account of his labours as a missionary in the remote colony of Wakota, depicted in lurid colours the persécutions he had endured at the hands of the heretic Brown, reserving his most fervid periods for the denunciation of the unscrupulous machinations of an apostate and arch traitor, Kalman Kalmar, whose name would forever be remembered by his people with infamy.

Among those who remained to congratulate and sympathize with the orator, none was more cordial than Mr. Rosenblatt, with whom the preacher went home to dine, and to whom, under the mellowing influence of a third bottle, he imparted full and valuable information in regard to Wakota, its possibilities as a business centre, its railroad prospects, its land values, its timber limits, and especially in regard to the character and work of Kalman Kalmar, and the wonderful mine which the young man had discovered.

The information thus obtained Rosenblatt was careful to impart to his friend and partner, Samuel Sprink. As a result of further interviews with the priest and of much shrewd bargaining with railroad contractors and officials, in early spring, before the break up of the roads, Mr. Samuel Sprink had established himself along the line of construction as a vendor of “gents’ furnishings,” working men’s supplies, tobaccos and cigars, and other useful and domestic articles. It was not announced, however, in the alluring posters distributed among the people in language suited to their comprehension, that among his stores might be found a brand of whiskey of whose virtues none could speak with more confidence than Mr. Sprink himself, for the sufficient reason that he was for the most part the sole manufacturer thereof.

Chief among Mr. Sprink’s activities was that of “claim jumping,” to wit, the securing for himself of homesteads for which patents had not been obtained, the homesteaders for one reason or another having not been able to complete the duties required by Government. In the prosecution of this business Mr. Sprink made a discovery, which he conveyed in a letter to Mr. Rosenblatt, who was still in charge of the Winnipeg end of the Company’s business.

“You must come at once,” wrote Mr. Sprink. “I have a great business on hand. I have discovered that no application has been made for the coal mine claimed by young Kalmar, and this means that the mine is still open. Had I the full description of the property, I should have jumped the claim at once, you bet. So get a move on and come. Get the description of the land on the quiet, and then do some work among the Galician people to prepare for the change of ownership, because there will be trouble, sure. So, come along. There is other big business too, so you must come.”

Rosenblatt needed no further urging. In a week he was on the ground.

Meanwhile, Kalman was developing his mine, and dreaming great dreams as to what he should do when he had become a great mine owner. It was his custom, ever since Irma’s coming, to spend the Sunday evening with her at the hospital. His way to the mine lay through scrub and sleugh, a heavy trail, and so he welcomed the breaking up of the ice on the Eagle River. For, taking Brown’s canoe, he could paddle down to the Saskatchewan, and thence to the mouth of the Night Hawk Creek, from which point it was only a short walk to camp.

It was a most fortunate thing for old Pere Garneau that Kalman had adopted this method of transportation on the very night the old priest had chosen for his trip down the Eagle. Pere Garneau, a pioneer priest of the North Saskatchewan country, had ministered for twenty years, by river and by trail, to the spiritual and temporal needs of the half-breeds and the Indians under the care of his church. A heroic soul was the old Father, not to be daunted by dangers, simple as a child, and kindly. But the years had done their work with him on eye and hand. The running ice in the spring flood of the Eagle River got itself under the nose of the good Father’s canoe, and the current did the rest. His feeble cry would have brought no aid, had not Kalman, at the very moment, been shoving out his canoe into the current of the Eagle. A few strong sweeps of the paddle, and Kalman had the old priest in tow, and in a few minutes, with Brown’s aid, into the hospital and snugly in bed, with his canoe, and what of his stuff could be rescued, safe under cover. Two days of Irma’s nursing and of Brown’s treatment, and the ill effects of his chilly dip had disappeared sufficiently to allow the Father to proceed on his way.

“Eet will be to me a pleasant remembrance of your hospitalité,” he said to Brown on the morning of the third day.

“And to us of your stay, Father Garneau,” replied Brown. “But you need not go to-day. You are not strong enough, and, besides, I have some work for you. There is a poor Galician woman with us here who cannot see the morning. She could not bear the priest Klazowski. She had trouble with him, and I think you could comfort her.”

“Ah, dat Klazowski!” exclaimed Pere Garneau. “Eet ees not a good man. Many peep’ tell me of dat man. He will be no more priest, for certainly. I would see dis woman, poor soul!”

“To-night Kalman will be here,” said Brown, “and he will interpret for you.”

“Ah, he ees a fine young man, Kalman. He mak’ troub’ for dat priest, ees eet not?”

“Well, I am afraid he did,” said Brown, laughing. “But I fancy it was the priest made trouble for himself.”

“Yes, dat ees so, and dat ees de worse troub’ of all,” said the wise old man.

The poor woman made her confession, received her Sacrament, and thus comforted and at peace, made exit from this troubled life.

“My son,” said the priest to Kalman when the service was over, “I would be glad to confess you.”

“Thank you, Father,” said Kalman. “I make my confession to God.”

“Ah, my son, you have been injured in your faith by dat bad priest Klazowski.”

“No, I think not,” said Kalman. “I have for some years been reading my Bible, and I have lived beside a good man who has taught me to know God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I seek to follow him as Peter and the others did. But I am no longer of the Galician way of religion, neither Greek nor Roman.”

“My son,” exclaimed the old priest in horror, “you are not an apostate? You have not denied your faith?”

“No, I have not. I try to please Christ.”

Long and painfully, and with tears, did the old priest labour with Kalman, to whom his soul went out in gratitude and affection, but without making any change in the young man’s mind. The teaching, but more the life, of his friend had not been lost, and Kalman had come to see clearly his way.

Next morning the good Father was ready for his journey.

“I leave to you,” he said to Brown, “my double blessing, of the stranger whom you received, and of the sick to whom you served. Ah! what a peety you are in the darkness of error,” he continued with a gentle smile; “but I will pray for you, for you both, my children, many times.”

“Thank you, thank you,” said Brown warmly. “The prayers of a good man bring blessing, and I love to remember the words of our Master, ‘He that is not against us is on our part.’”

“Ah! dat ees true, dat ees true. Dat ees like Heem. Adieu.”

For some days Rosenblatt had been at work quietly in the colony, obtaining information and making friends. Among the first who offered their services was old Portnoff and a friend of his, an old man with ragged beard, and deep-set, piercing eyes looking out from under shaggy brows, to whom Portnoff gave the name of Malkarski. As Portnoff seemed to be a man of influence among his people, Rosenblatt made him foreman over one of the gangs of workmen in his employ. It was through Portnoff he obtained an accurate description of the mine property. But that same night Portnoff and Malkarski were found at Brown’s house.

“There is a man,” said Portnoff, “who wishes to know about the mine. Perhaps he desires to purchase.”

“His name?” enquired Brown.

“Rosenblatt.”

“Rosenblatt? That name has a familiar sound. It would be wise,” he continued, “to carry your information to Kalman at once.”

“It shall be done to-night,” said Malkarski in a deep voice. “It is important. Portnoff will go.” Portnoff agreed.

The following morning brought Kalman to Wakota. The arrival of Rosenblatt in the country had changed for him the face of heaven and earth. Before his eyes there rose and remained the vision of a spot in a Russian forest where the snow was tramped and bloody. With sobs and exécrations he poured forth his tale to Brown.

“And my father has sworn to kill him, and if he fails I shall take it up.”

“Kalman, my boy,” said Brown, “I cannot wonder that you feel like this. Killing is too good for the brute. But this you cannot do. Vengeance is not ours, but God’s.”

“If my father fails,” said Kalman quietly, “I shall kill him.”

“You must not think like that, much less speak so,” said Brown. “This is Canada, not Russia. You are a Christian man and no heathen.”

“I can’t help it,” said Kalman; “I can only see that bloody snow.” He put his hands over his eyes and shuddered violently. “I must kill him!”

“And would you ruin your own life? Would you shut yourself off forever from your best and holiest thoughts? And what of your sister, and Jack, and me? And what of of all your friends? For this one fierce and sinful passion for it is sinful, Kalman you would sacrifice yourself and all of us.”

“I know all that. It would sacrifice all; but in here,” smiting his breast, “there is a cry that will not cease till I see that man’s blood.”

“God pity you, Kalman. And you call yourself a follower of Him who for His murderers prayed, ‘Father, forgive them.’” Then Brown’s voice grew stern. “Kalman, you are not thinking clearly. You must face this as a Christian man. The issue is quite straight. It is no longer between you and your enemy; it is between you and your Lord. Are you prepared to-night to reject your Lord and cut yourself off from Him? Listen.” Brown took his Bible, and turning over the leaves, found the words, “’If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’; and remember, these are the words of Him who forgave those who had done their worst on Him, blighting His dearest hopes, ruining His cause, breaking His heart. Kalman, you dare not.”

And Kalman went his way to meet his Gethsemane in the Night Hawk ravine, till morning found him on his face under the trees, with his victory still in the balance. The hereditary instincts of Slavic blood cried out for vengeance. The passionate loyalty of his heart to the memory of his mother and to his father cried out for vengeance. His own wrongs cried out for vengeance, and against these cries there stood that single word, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Before a week was gone old Portnoff came hot foot to Brown to report that early that morning Rosenblatt had ridden off in the direction of the Fort, where was the Government Land Office.

“It is something about the mine. He was in good spirits. He offered me something good on his return. If this were only Russia!” said the old Nihilist.

“Yes, yes,” growled his friend Malkarski, in his deep voice, “we should soon do for him.”

“Left this morning?” said Brown. “How long ago?”

“Two hours.”

Brown thought quickly. What could it mean? Was it possible the registration had been neglected? Knowing French’s easy-going methods of doing business, he knew it to be quite possible. French was still away in his tie camp. Kalman was ten miles off at the mine. It was too great a chance to take.

“Throw the saddle on my horse, Portnoff,” he cried.
“I must ride to the Fort.”

“It would be good to kill this man,” said old Malkarski quietly.

“What are you saying?” cried Brown in horror. “Be off with you.”

He made a few hurried preparations, sent word to Kalman, and departed. He had forty miles before him, and his horse was none of the best. Rosenblatt had two hours’ lead and was, doubtless, well mounted. There was a chance, however, that he would take the journey by easy stages. But a tail chase is a long chase, especially when cupidity and hate are spurring on the pursued. Five hours’ hard riding brought Brown to the wide plain upon which stood the Fort. As he entered upon the plain, he discovered his man a few miles before him. At almost the same instant of his discovery, Rosenblatt became aware of his pursuer, and the last five miles were done at racing speed. But Brown’s horse was spent, and when he arrived at the Land Office, it was to find that application had been made for one hundred and sixty acres of mining land, including both sides of the Night Hawk ravine. Brown stared hard at the entry.

“Is there no record of this claim having been entered before?” said Brown.

“None,” said the agent.

“This man,” Brown said at length to the agent, “never saw the mine. He is not the discoverer.”

“Who is?”

“A young friend of mine, Kalman Kalmar. To that I can swear.” And he told the story of the discovery, adding such details as he thought necessary in regard to Rosenblatt’s character.

The official was sympathetic and interested.

“And how long is it since the discovery was made?” he enquired.

“Six months or so.”

“And why was there no application sent in?”

Brown was silent.

“The Government cannot be responsible for neglect,” he said. “You have yourselves to blame for it. Nothing can be done now.”

The door opened, and Brown turned to find Rosenblatt with a smile of triumph upon his face. Before he was aware, his open hand had swung hard upon the grinning face, and Rosenblatt fell in a huddled heap into the corner. He rose up sputtering and spitting.

“I will have the law on you!” he shouted. “I call you as witness,” he continued to the agent.

“What’s the matter with you?” said the agent. “I didn’t see anything. If you trip yourself up and pitch into the corner, that is your own business. Get out of this office, you disorderly beast! Hurry up!” The agent put his hand upon the counter and leaped over.

Rosenblatt fled, terrified.

“Brute!” said the agent, “I can’t stand these claim jumpers. You did that very neatly,” he said to Brown, shaking him warmly by the hand. “I am awfully sorry, but the thing can’t be helped now.”

Brown was too sick at heart to reply. The mine was gone, and with it all the splendid castles he and Kalman had been building for the last six months. He feared to meet his friend. With what heart now could he ask that this brute, who had added another to the list of the wrongs he had done, should be forgiven? It was beyond all human strength to wipe out from one’s mind such an accumulation of injuries. Well for Brown and well for his friend that forty miles lay before him. For forty miles of open country and of God’s sun and air, to a man whose heart is open to God, work mighty results. When at last they came together, both men had won their victory.

Quietly Brown told his story. He was amazed to find that instead of rousing Kalman to an irrepressible fury, it seemed to make but little impression upon him that he had lost his mine. Kalman had faced his issue, and fought out his fight. At all costs he could not deny his Lord, and under this compulsion it was that he had surrendered his blood feud. The fierce lust for vengeance which had for centuries run mad in his Slavic blood, had died beneath the stroke of the Cross, and under the shock of that mighty stroke the loss of the mine had little effect upon him. Brown wondered at him.

The whole colony was thrown into a ferment of indignation by the news that Kalman had been robbed of his mine. But the agents of Rosenblatt and Sprink were busy among the people. Feast days were made hilarious through their lavish gifts of beer. Large promises in connection with the development of the mine awakened hopes of wealth in many hearts. After all, what could they hope from a young man without capital, without backing, without experience? True, it was a pity he should lose his mine, but men soon forget the losses and injuries of others under the exhilaration of their own ambitions and dreams of success. Kalman’s claims and Kalman’s wrongs were soon obliterated. He had been found guilty of the unpardonable crime of failure. The new firm went vigorously to work. Cabins were erected at the mine, a wagon road cut to the Saskatchewan. In three weeks the whole face of the ravine was changed.

It was in the end of April before French returned from his tie camp, with nothing for his three months’ toil but battered teams and empty pockets, a worn and ill-favoured body, and with a heart sick with the sense of failure and of self-scorn. Kalman, reading at a glance the whole sordid and heart-breaking story, met him with warm and cheery welcome. It was for French, more than for himself, that he grieved over the loss of the mine. Kalman was busy with his preparations for the spring seeding. He was planning a large crop of everything the ranch would grow, for the coming market.

“And the mine, Kalman?” enquired French.

“I’ve quit mining. The ranch for me,” exclaimed Kalman, with cheerful enthusiasm.

“But what’s up?” said French, with a touch of impatience.

“Jack, we have lost the mine,” said Kalman quietly. And he told the story.

As he concluded the tale, French’s listlessness vanished. He was his own man again.

“We will ride down and see Brown,” he said with decision.

“No use,” said Kalman, wishing to save him further pain. “Brown saw the entry at the Land Office, and the agent plainly told him nothing could be done.”

“Well, we won’t just lie down yet, boy,” said Jack. “Come along or well, perhaps I’d better go alone. You saddle my horse.”

In half an hour French appeared clean shaven, dressed in his “civilization clothes,” and looking his old self again.

“You’re fine, Jack,” said Kalman in admiration. “We have got each other yet.”

“Yes, boy,” said Jack, gripping his hand, “and that is the best. But we’ll get the mine, too, or I’m a Dutchman.” All the old, easy, lazy air was gone. In every line of his handsome face, in every movement of his body, there showed vigour and determination. The old English fighting spirit was roused, whose tradition it was to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and despair.

Four weeks passed before Kalman saw him again. Those four weeks he spent in toil from early dawn till late at night at the oats and the potatoes, working to the limit of their endurance Mackenzie and the small force of Galicians he could secure, for the mine and the railroad offered greater attractions. At length the level black fields lay waiting the wooing of the sun and rain and genial air. Then Kalman rode down for a day at Wakota, for heart and body were exhausted of their vital forces. He wanted rest, but he wanted more the touch of a friend’s hand.

At Wakota, the first sight that caught his eye was French’s horse tethered on the grassy sward before Brown’s house, and as he rode up, from within there came to his ear the sound of unusual and hilarious revelry.

“Hello there!” yelled Kalman, still sitting his horse. “What’s happened to you all?”

The cry brought them all out, Brown and his wife, French and Irma, with Paulina in the background. They crowded around him with vociferous welcome, Brown leading in a series of wild cheers. After the cheering was done, Brown rushed for him.

“Congratulations, old boy!” he cried, shaking him by the hand. “It’s all right; we’ve won, after all! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!” Brown had clearly gone mad.

Then Irma came running toward him.

“Yes, it’s all true, Kalman dear,” she cried, pulling down his head to kiss him, her voice breaking in a sob and her eyes radiant with smiles and tears.

“Don’t be alarmed, old man,” said French, taking him by the hand when Irma had surrendered her place. “They are all quite sane. We’ve got it, right enough. We’ve won out.”

Kalman sat still on his horse, looking from one to the other in utter bewilderment. Brown was still yelling at intervals, and wildly waving his hat. At length Kalman turned to Mrs. Brown.

“You seem to be sane, anyway,” he said; “perhaps you will tell me what they all mean?”

“It means, Kalman,” said the little woman, offering him both hands, “we are so glad that we don’t know what to do. We have got back our mine.”

“The mine!” gasped Kalman faintly. “Impossible! Why, Brown there ”

“Yes! Brown here,” yelled that individual; “I know Brown. He’s a corker! But he’s sometimes wrong, and this is one of the times. A mine, and a company! And there’s the man that did it! Jack French, to whom I take off my hat! He has just got home, and we have just heard his tale, and school’s out and the band’s going to play and the game begin. And get down from your broncho, you graven image!” Here Brown pulled Kalman headlong from his horse. “And Jack will perform. I have not been mad like this for a thousand years. I have been in Hades for the last month, and now I’m out! I know I am quite mad, but it’s fine while it lasts. Now, Jack, the curtain’s up. Let the play proceed.”

The story was simple enough. Immediately after the discovery of the mine French had arranged with Mr. Robert Menzies that he should make application with the Department of the Interior at Ottawa for the necessary mining rights. The application had been made, but the Department had failed to notify the local agent.

“So,” said Jack, “the mine is yours again, Kalman.”

“No,” said Kalman, “not mine, ours; yours as much as mine, Jack, or not mine at all.”

“And the Company!” yelled Brown. “Tell him about the Company. Let the play proceed.”

“Oh,” said French, with an air of indifference, “Mr. Menzies has a company all organized and in his pocket, waiting only approval of the owner of the mine.”

“And the party will arrive in about three weeks, I think you said, French,” remarked Brown, with a tone of elaborate carelessness.

Kalman’s face flushed hot. The eyes of both men were upon him.

“Yes, in about three weeks,” replied French.

“If it were not that I am constitutionally disinclined to an active life, I should like to join myself,” said Brown; “for it will be a most remarkable mining company, if I know anything of the signs.”

But Kalman could not speak. He put his arm around Jack’s shoulder, saying, “You are a great man, Jack. I might have known better.”

“All right, boy,” said Jack. “From this time we shall play the man. Life is too good to lose for nothing. A mine is good, but there are better things than mines.”

“Meaning?” said Brown.

“Men!” said Jack with emphasis.

And,” shouted Brown, slipping his arm round his wife, “women.”

“Brown,” said Jack solemnly, “as my friend Pierre Lamont would say, ‘you have reason.’”