hoped--there was no holding of Cameron any longer. Married he would be and without delay. The only drag in the proceedings had come from the Superintendent, who, on getting wind of Cameron's purpose, had thought, by promptly promoting him from Corporal to Sergeant, to tie him more tightly to the Service and hold him, if only for a few months, "till this trouble should blow over." But Cameron knew of no trouble. The trouble was only in the Superintendent's mind, or indeed was only a shrewd scheme to hold Cameron to his duty. A rancher he would be, and a famous rancher's wife Mandy would make. And as for his sister Moira, had she not highly specialized in pigs and poultry on the old home farm at the Cuagh Oir? There was no stopping the resistless rush of his passionate purpose. Everything combined to urge him on. Even his college mate and one time football comrade of the old Edinburgh days, the wise, cool-headed Dr. Martin, now in charge of the Canadian Pacific Railway Hospital, as also the little nurse who, through those momentous months of Mandy's transforming, had been to her guide, philosopher and friend, both had agreed that there was no good reason for delay. True, Cameron had no means of getting inside the doctor's mind and therefore had no knowledge of the vision that came nightly to torment him in his dreams and the memory that came daily to haunt his waking hours; a vision and a memory of a trim little figure in a blue serge gown, of eyes brown, now sunny with laughing light, now soft with unshed tears, of hair that got itself into a most bewildering perplexity of waves and curls, of lips curving deliciously, of a voice with a wonderfully soft Highland accent; the vision and memory of Moira, Cameron's sister, as she had appeared to him in the Glen Cuagh Oir at her father's door. Had Cameron known of this tormenting vision and this haunting memory he might have questioned the perfect sincerity of his friend's counsel. But Dr. Martin kept his secret well and none shared with him his visions and his dreams. So there had been only the Superintendent to oppose. Hence, because no really valid objection could be offered, the marriage was made. And with much shrieking of engines--it seemed as if all the engines with their crews within a hundred miles had gathered to the celebration--with loud thunder of exploding torpedoes, with tumultuous cheering of the construction gangs hauled thither on gravel trains, with congratulations of railroad officials and of the doctor, with the tearful smiles of the little nurse, and with grudging but finally hearty good wishes of the Superintendent, they had ridden off down the Kootenay Trail for their honeymoon, on their way to the Big Horn Ranch some hundreds of miles across the mountains. There on the Big Horn Ranch through the long summer days together they rode the ranges after the cattle, cooking their food in the open and camping under the stars where night found them, care-free and deeply happy, drinking long full draughts of that mingled wine of life into which health and youth and love and God's sweet sun and air poured their rare vintage. The world was far away and quite forgotten. Summer deepened into autumn, the fall round-up was approaching, and there came a September day of such limpid light and such nippy sprightly air as to suggest to Mandy nothing less than a holiday. "Let's strike!" she cried to her husband, as she looked out toward the rolling hills and the overtopping peaks shining clear in the early morning light. "Let's strike and go a-fishing." Her husband let his eyes wander over the full curves of her strong and supple body and rest upon the face, brown and wholesome, lit with her deep blue eyes and crowned with the red-gold masses of her hair, and exclaimed: "You need a holiday, Mandy. I can see it in the drooping lines of your figure, and in the paling of your cheeks. In short," moving toward her, "you need some one to care for you." "Not just at this moment, young man," she cried, darting round the table. "But, come, what do you say to a day's fishing away up the Little Horn?" "The Little Horn?" "Yes, you know the little creek running into the Big Horn away up the gulch where we went one day in the spring. You said there were fish there." "Yes, but why 'Little Horn,' pray? And who calls it so? I suppose you know that the Big Horn gets its name from the Big Horn, the mountain sheep that once roamed the rocks yonder, and in that sense there's no Little Horn." "Well, 'Little Horn' I call it," said his wife, "and shall. And if the big stream is the Big Horn, surely the little stream should be the Little Horn. But what about the fishing? Is it a go?" "Well, rather! Get the grub, as your Canadian speech hath it." "My Canadian speech!" echoed his wife scornfully. "You're just as much Canadian as I am." "And I shall get the ponies. Half an hour will do for me." "And less for me," cried Mandy, dancing off to her work. And she was right. For, clever housekeeper that she was, she stood with her hamper packed and the fishing tackle ready long before her husband appeared with the ponies. The trail led steadily upward through winding valleys, but for the most part along the Big Horn, till as it neared a scraggy pine-wood it bore sharply to the left, and, clambering round an immense shoulder of rock, it emerged upon a long and comparatively level ridge of land that rolled in gentle undulations down into a wide park-like valley set out with clumps of birch and poplar, with here and there the shimmer of a lake showing between the yellow and brown of the leaves. "Oh, what a picture!" cried Mandy, reining up her pony. "What a ranch that would make, Allan! Who owns it? Why did we never come this way before?" "Piegan Reserve," said her husband briefly. "How beautiful! How did they get this particular bit?" "They gave up a lot for it," said Cameron drily. "But think, such a lovely bit of country for a few Indians! How many are there?" "Some hundreds. Five hundred or so. And a tricky bunch they are. They're over-fond of cattle to be really desirable neighbors." "Well, I think it rather a pity!" "Look yonder!" cried her husband, sweeping his arm toward the eastern horizon. From the height on which they stood a wonderful panorama of hill and valley, river, lake and plain lay spread out before them. "All that and for nine hundred miles beyond that line these Indians and their kin gave up to us under persuasion. There was something due them, eh? Let's move on." For a mile or more the trail ran along the high plateau skirting the Piegan Reserve, where it branched sharply to the right. Cameron paused. "You see that trail?" pointing to the branch that led to the left and downward into the valley. "That is one of the oldest and most famous of all Indian trails. It strikes down through the Crow's Nest Pass and beyond the pass joins the ancient Sun Dance Trail. That's my old beat. And weird things are a-doing along that same old Sun Dance Trail this blessed minute or I miss my guess. I venture to say that this old trail has often been marked with blood from end to end in the fierce old days." "Let's go," said Mandy, with a shudder, and, turning her pony to the right, she took the trail that led them down from the plateau, plunged into a valley, wound among rocks and thickets of pine till it reached a tumbling mountain torrent of gray-blue water, fed from glaciers high up between the great peaks beyond. "My Little Horn!" cried Mandy with delight. Down by its rushing water they scrambled till they came to a sunny glade where the little fretful torrent pitched itself headlong into a deep shady pool, whence, as if rested in those quiet deeps, it issued at first with gentle murmuring till, out of earshot of the pool, it broke again into turbulent raging, brawling its way to the Big Horn below. Mandy could hardly wait for the unloading and tethering of the ponies. "Now," she cried, when all was ready, "for my very first fish. How shall I fling this hook and where?" "Try a cast yonder, just beside that overhanging willow. Don't splash! Try again--drop it lightly. That's better. Don't tell me you've never cast a fly before." "Never in my life." "Let it float down a bit. Now back. Hold it up and let it dance there. I'll just have a pipe." But next moment Cameron's pipe was forgotten. With a shout he sprang to his wife's side. "By Jove, you've got him!" "No! No! Leave me alone! Just tell me what to do. Go away! Don't touch me! Oh-h-h! He's gone!" "Not a bit. Reel him up--reel him up a little." "Oh, I can't reel the thing! Oh! Oh-h-h! Is he gone?" "Hold up. Don't haul him too quickly--keep him playing. Wait till I get the net." He rushed for the landing net. "Oh, he's gone! He's gone! Oh, I'm so mad!" She stamped savagely on the grass. "He was a monster." "They always are," said her husband gravely. "The fellows that get off, I mean." "Now you're just laughing at me, and I won't have it! I could just sit down and cry! My very first fish!" "Never mind, Mandy, we'll get him or just as good a one again." "Never! He'll never bite again. He isn't such a fool." "Well, they do. They're just like the rest of us. They keep nibbling till they get caught; else there would be no fun in fishing or in-- Now try another throw--same place--a little farther down. Ah! That was a fine cast. Once more. No, no, not that way. Flip it lightly and if you ever get a bite hold your rod so. See? Press the end against your body so that you can reel your fish in. And don't hurry these big fellows. You lose them and you lose your fun." "I don't want the fun," cried Mandy, "but I do want that fish and I'm going to get him." "By Jove, I believe you just will!" The young man's dark eyes flashed an admiring glance over the strong, supple, swaying figure of the girl at his side, whose every move, as she cast her fly, seemed specially designed to reveal some new combination of the graceful curves of her well-knit body. "Keep flicking there. You'll get him. He's just sulking. If he only knew, he'd hurry up." "Knew what?" "Who was fishing for him." "Oh! Oh! I've got him." The girl was dancing excitedly along the bank. "No! Oh, what a wretch! He's gone. Now if I get him you tell me what to do, but don't touch me." "All you have to do is to hold him steady at the first. Keep your line fairly tight. If he begins to plunge, give him line. If he slacks, reel in. Keep him nice and steady, just like a horse on the bit." "Oh, why didn't you tell me before? I know exactly what that means--just like a colt, eh? I can handle a colt." "Exactly! Now try lower down--let your fly float down a bit-- there." Again there was a wild shriek from the girl. "Oh, I've got him sure! Now get the net." "Don't jump about so! Steady now--steady--that's better. Fine! Fine work! Let him go a bit--no, check--wind him up. Look out! Not too quick! Fine! Oh! Look out! Get him away from that jam! Reel him up! Quick! Now play him! Let me help you." "Don't you dare touch this rod, Allan Cameron, or there'll be trouble!" "Quite right--pardon me--quite right. Steady! You'll get him sure. And he's a beauty, a perfect Rainbow beauty." "Keep quiet, now," admonished Mandy. "Don't shout so. Tell me quietly what to do." "Do as you like. You can handle him. Just watch and wait--feel him all the time. Ah-h-h! For Heaven's sake don't let him into that jam! There he goes up stream! That's better! Good!" "Don't get so excited! Don't yell so!" again admonished Mandy. "Tell me quietly." "Quietly? Who's yelling, I'd like to know? Who's excited? I won't say another word. I'll get the landing-net ready for the final act." "Don't leave me! Tell me just what to do. He's getting tired, I think." "Watch him close. Wind him up a bit. Get all the line in you can. Steady! Let go! Let go! Let him run! Now wind him again. Wait, hold him so, just a moment--a little nearer! Hurrah! Hurrah! I've got him and he's a beauty--a perfectly typical Rainbow trout." "Oh, you beauty!" cried Mandy, down on her knees beside the trout that lay flapping on the grass. "What a shame! Oh, what a shame! Oh, put him in again, Allan, I don't want him. Poor dear, what a shame." "But we must weigh him, you see," remonstrated her husband. "And we need him for tea, you know. He really doesn't feel it much. There are lots more. Try another cast. I'll attend to this chap." "I feel just like a murderer," said Mandy. "But isn't it glorious? Well, I'll just try one more. Aren't you going to get your rod out too?" "Well, rather! What a pool, all unspoiled, all unfished!" "Does no one fish up here?" "Yes, the Police come at times from the Fort. And Wyckham, our neighbor. And old man Thatcher, a born angler, though he says it's not sport, but murder." "Why not sport?" "Why? Old Thatcher said to me one day, 'Them fish would climb a tree to get at your hook. That ain't no sport.'" But sport, and noble sport, they found it through the long afternoon, so that, when through the scraggy pines the sun began to show red in the western sky, a score or more lusty, glittering, speckled Rainbow trout lay on the grass beside the shady pool. Tired with their sport, they lay upon the grassy sward, luxuriating in the warm sun. "Now, Allan," cried Mandy, "I'll make tea ready if you get some wood for the fire. You ought to be thankful I taught you how to use the ax. Do you remember?" "Thankful? Well, I should say. Do YOU remember that day, Mandy?" "Remember!" cried the girl, with horror in her tone. "Oh, don't speak of it. It's too awful to think of." "Awful what?" "Ugh!" she shuddered, "I can't bear to think of it. I wish you could forget." "Forget what?" "What? How can you ask? That awful, horrid, uncouth, sloppy girl." Again Mandy shuddered. "Those hands, big, coarse, red, ugly." "Yes," cried Allan savagely, "the badge of slavery for a whole household of folk too ignorant to know the price that was being paid for the service rendered them." "And the hair," continued Mandy relentlessly, "uncombed, filthy, horrid. And the dress, and--" "Stop it!" cried Allan peremptorily. "No, let me go on. The stupid face, the ignorant mind, the uncouth speech, the vulgar manners. Oh, I loathe the picture, and I wonder you can ever bear to look at her again. And, oh, I wish you could forget." "Forget!" The young man's lean, swarthy face seemed to light up with the deep glowing fires in his dark eyes. His voice grew vibrant. "Forget! Never while I live. Do you know what _I_ remember?" "Ah, spare me!" moaned his wife, putting her hands over his mouth. "Do you know what _I_ remember?" he repeated, pulling her hands away and holding them fast. "A girl with hands, face, hair, form, dress, manners damned to coarseness by a cruel environment? That?
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