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starving men are thrown together, they are capable of any sacrifice-of any crime, to keep the miserable life that they hold so dear-just in proportion as it becomes valueless. You have read in books-Grace! good God-what is the matter?"

If she had not read his meaning in books, she might have read it at that moment in the face that was peering in the door, a face with so much of animal suggestion in its horrible wistfulness that she needed no further revelation; a face full of inhuman ferocity and watchful eagerness, and yet a face familiar in its outlines the face of Dumphy! Even with her danger came the swifter instinct of feminine tact and concealment, and without betraying the real cause of her momentary horror, she dropped her head upon Philip's shoulder and whispered, "I understand." When she raised her head again the face was gone.

"Enough! I did not mean to frighten you, Grace, but only to show you what we must avoid-what we have still strength left to avoid. There is but one chance of escape, you know what it is—a desperate one, but no more desperate than this passive waiting for a certain end. I ask you again -will you share it with me? When I first spoke I was less sanguine than now. Since then I have explored the ground carefully, and studied the trend of these mountains. It is possible. I say no more."

"But my sister and brother?" "The child would be a hopeless impediment, even if she could survive the fatigue and exposure. Your brother must stay with her; she will need all his remaining strength and all the hopefulness that keeps him up. No, Grace, we must go alone. Remember, our safety means theirs. Their strength will last until we can send relief; while they would sink in the attempt to reach it with us. I would go alone, but I cannot bear, dear Grace, to leave you here."

"I should die if you left me," she said simply.

"I believe you would, Grace," he said as simply.

"But can we not wait? Help may come at any moment-to-morrow."


"To-morrow will find us weaker. should not trust your strength nor my own a day longer."

"But the old man-the Doctor?"

"He will soon be beyond the reach of help," said the young man sadly. "Hush, he is moving!"

One of the blanketed figures had rolled

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The cynical look on Philip's face deepened as he once more turned away. But before he reached the door he paused, and drawing from his breast a faded flower, with a few limp leaves, handed it to the old man. "I found a duplicate of the plant you were looking for.""

The old man half rose on his elbow, breathless with excitement as he clutched and eagerly examined the plant.

"It is the same," he said, with a sigh of relief," and yet-you said there was no news!"

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that this flower is not developed in perpetual | snow. It means that it is first germinated in a warm soil and under a kindly sun. means that if you had not plucked it, it would have fulfilled its destiny under those conditions. It means that in two months grass will be springing where you found iteven where we now lie. We are below the limit of perpetual snow."

"In two months!" said the young girl, eagerly, clasping her hands.

"In two months," said the young man, bitterly. "In two months we shall be far from here, or dead."

"Probably!" said the old man, coolly, "but if you have fulfilled my injunctions in regard to my papers and the collection, they will in good time be discovered and saved." Ashley turned away with an impatient gesture, and the old man's head again sank exhaustedly upon his arm. Under the pretext of caressing the child, Ashley crossed over to Grace, uttered a few hurried and almost inaudible words, and disappeared through the door. When he had gone, the old man raised his head again and called feebly:


"Dr. Devarges!" "Come here!"

She rose and crossed over to his side. "Why did he stir the fire, Grace ?" said Devarges, with a suspicious glance.

"I don't know."

"You tell him everything-did you tell him that ?"

"I did not, sir."

Devarges looked as if he would read the inmost thoughts of the girl, and then, as if re-assured, said:

"Take it from the fire, and let it cool in the snow."

The young girl raked away the embers of the dying fire, and disclosed what seemed to be a stone of the size of a hen's egg, incandescent and glowing. With the aid of two half-burnt sticks she managed to extract it, and deposited it in a convenient snow-drift near the door, and then returned to the side of the old man.

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Neither the contact of daily familiarity, the equality of .suffering, nor the presence of approaching death could subdue the woman's nature in Grace. She instantly raised her shield. From behind it she began to fence feebly with the dying man.

"Why, what we all know of him, sir,—a true friend; a man to whose courage, intellect, and endurance we owe so much. And so unselfish, sir!"

"Humph!-what else?"

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Nothing-except that he has always been your devoted friend-and I thought you were his. You brought him to us," she said, a little viciously.

"Yes-I picked him up at Sweetwater. But what do you know of his history? What has he told you?"

"He ran away from a wicked step-father and relations whom he hated. He came out West to live alone-among the Indians— or to seek his fortune in Oregon. He is very proud-you know, sir. He is as unlike us as you are, sir, he is a gentleman. He is educated."

"Yes, I believe that's what they call it here, and he doesn't know the petals of a flower from the stamens," muttered Devarges. "Well! After you run away with him does he propose to marry you?"

For an instant a faint flush deepened the wan cheek of the girl, and she lost her guard. But the next moment she recovered it.

"Oh, sir," said this arch hypocrite, sweetly, "how can you jest so cruelly at such a moment? The life of my dear brother and sister, the lives of the poor women in yonder hut, depend upon our going. He and I are the only ones left who have strength enough to make the trial. I can assist him, for, although strong, I require less to support my strength than he. Something tells me we shall be successful; we shall return soon with help. Oh, sir,-it is no time for trifling now; our lives-even your own is at stake!" My own life," said the old man impassively," is already spent. Before you return, if you return at all, I shall be beyond your help."


A spasm of pain appeared to pass over his face. He lay still for a moment as if to concentrate his strength for a further effort. But, when he again spoke, his voice was much lower, and he seemed to articulate with difficulty.

"Grace," he said at last, "come, nearer, girl,—I have something to tell you."

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Grace hesitated. Within the last few moments a shy, nervous dread of the man

which she could not account for had taken | breath came with difficulty. Grace would possession of her. She looked toward her sleeping brother.

"He will not waken," said Devarges, following the direction of her eyes. "The anodyne still holds its effect. Bring me what you took from the fire."

Grace brought the stone-a dull bluishgray slag. The old man took it, examined it, and then said to Grace:

"Rub it briskly on your blanket."

Grace did so.

After a few moments it began to exhibit a faint white luster on its polished surface.

"It looks like silver," said Grace, doubtfully. "It is silver!" replied Devarges.

Grace put it down quickly and moved slightly away.

"Take it," said the old man,—“it is yours. A year ago I found it in a ledge of the mountain range far west of this. I know 'where it lies in bulk-a fortune, Grace, do you hear?-hidden in the bluish stone you put in the fire for me last night. I can tell you where and how to find it. I can give you the title to it-the right of discovery. Take it-it is yours."

"No, no," said the girl hurriedly, keep it yourself. You will live to enjoy it."

"Never, Grace! even were I to live I should not make use of it. I have in my life had more than my share of it, and it brought me no happiness. It has no value to me-the rankest weed that grows above it is worth more in my eyes. Take it. To the world it means everything,-wealth and position. Take it. It will make you as proud and independent as your lover-it will make you always gracious in his eyes; it will be a setting to your beauty,—it will be a pedestal to your virtue. Take it-it is yours."

"But you have relatives-friends," said the girl, drawing away from the shining stone with a half superstitious awe. "There are others whose claims-”

"None greater than yours," interrupted the old man, with the nervous haste of failing breath. "Call it a reward if you choose. Look upon it as a bribe to keep your lover to the fulfillment of his promise to preserve my manuscripts and collection. Think, if you like, that it is an act of retribution-that once in my life I might have known a young girl whose future would have been blest by such a gift. Think-think-what you like but take it!"

His voice had sunk to a whisper. A grayish pallor had overspread his face and his

have called her brother, but with a motion of his hand Devarges restrained her. With a desperate effort he raised himself upon his elbow, and drawing an envelope from his pocket, put it in her hand. "It contains-map-description of mine and locality-yours-say you will take it— Grace, quick, say—"

His head had again sunk to the floor. She stooped to raise it. As she did so a slight shadow darkened the opening by the door. She raised her eyes quickly and saw-the face of Dumphy!

She did not shrink this time; but, with a sudden instinct, she turned to Devarges, and said:

"I will!"

She raised her eyes again defiantly, but the face had disappeared.

"Thank you," said the old man. His lips moved again but without a sound. A strange film had begun to gather in his eyes.

"Dr. Devarges," whispered Grace.

He did not speak. "He is dying," thought the young girl as a new and sudden fear overcame her. She rose quickly and crossed hurriedly to her brother and shook him. A prolonged inspiration, like a moan, was the only response. For a moment she glanced wildly around the room and then ran to the door.


She climbed up

There was no response. through the tunnel-like opening. It was already quite dark and a few feet beyond the hut nothing was distinguishable. She cast a rapid backward glance, and then, with a sudden desperation, darted forward into the darkness. At the same moment two figures raised themselves from behind the shadow of the mound and slipped down the tunnel into the hut-Mrs. Brackett and Mr. Dumphy.

They might have been the meanest predatory animals-so stealthy, so eager, so timorous, so crouching, and yet so agile were their motions. They ran, sometimes upright and sometimes on all fours, hither and thither. They fell over each other in their eagerness, and struck and spat savagely at each other in the half darkness. They peered into corners, they rooted in the dying embers and among the ashes, they groped among the skins and blankets, they smelt and sniffed at every article. They paused at last apparently unsuccessful, and glared at each other.

"They must have eaten it,-d-n 'em!" said Mrs. Brackett in a hoarse whisper.

"It didn't look like suthin' to eat," said Dumphy.

"You saw 'em take it from the fire ?" "Yes!"

"And rub it?"


"Fool. Don't you see-' "What?"

"It was a baked potato." Dumphy sat 'dumbfounded.

"Why should they rub it-it takes off the cracklin' skin?" he said.

"They've got such fine stomachs!" answered Mrs. Brackett with an oath.

Dumphy was still aghast with the importance of his discovery.

"He said he knew where there was more!" he whispered eagerly.


"I didn't get to hear."

"Fool! Why didn't ye rush in and grip his throat until he told yer," hissed Mrs. Brackett, in a tempest of baffled rage and disappointment. "Ye ain't got the spunk of a flea. Let me git hold of that galHush! what's that?"

"He's moving!" said Dumphy.

In an instant they had both changed again into slinking, crouching, baffled animals, eager only for escape. Yet they dared

not move.

The old man had turned over, and his lips were moving in the mutterings of delirium. Presently he called "Grace!"

With a sign of caution to her companion the woman leaned over him.

"Yes, deary, I'm here."

"Tell him not to forget. Make him keep his promise. Ask him where it is buried!" "Yes, deary!" "He'll tell you. "Yes, deary!"

He knows!"


"At the head of Monument Cañon. hundred feet north of the lone pine. Dig two feet down below the surface of the cairn."


"Where the wolves can't get it." "Yes!"

"The stones keep it from ravenous beasts."

“Yes, in course!”

"That might tear it up."


"Starving beasts!"

"Yes, deary!"

| suddenly like a candle. His jaw dropped. He was dead. And over him the man and woman crouched in fearful joy,-looking at each other with the first smile that had been upon their lips since they had entered the fateful cañon.



It was found the next morning, that the party was diminished by five. Philip Ashley and Grace Conroy, Peter Dumphy and Mrs. Brackett were missing; Dr. Paul Devarges was dead. The death of the old man caused but little excitement and no sorrow; the absconding of the others was attributed to some information which they had selfishly withheld from the remaining ones, and produced a spasm of impotent rage. In five minutes their fury knew no bounds. The lives and property of the fugitives were instantly declared forfeit. Steps were taken-about twenty, I think-in the direction of their flight, but finally abandoned.

Only one person knew that Philip and Grace had gone together-Gabriel Conroy. On awakening early that morning he had found pinned to his blanket, a paper with these words in pencil:

"God bless dear brother and sister, and keep them until Philip and I come back with help."

With it were a few scraps of provisions, evidently saved by Grace from her scant rations, and left as a parting gift. These Gabriel instantly turned into the common stock.

Then he began to comfort the child. Added to his natural hopefulness he had a sympathetic instinct with the pains and penalties of childhood, not so much a quality of his intellect as of his nature. He had all the physical adaptabilities of a nurse—a large, tender touch, a low persuasive voice, pliant yet unhesitating limbs, and broad wellcushioned surfaces. During the weary journey women had instinctively intrusted babies to his charge, most of the dead had died in his arms, all forms and conditions of helplessness had availed themselves of his easy capacity. No one thought of thanking him. I do not think he ever expected it; he always appeared morally irresponsible and quite unconscious of his own importance, and, as is frequent in such cases, there was a tendency to accept his services at his own valuation. Nay more; there was a slight

The fire of his wandering eyes went out consciousness of superiority in those who

thus gave him an opportunity of exhibiting | loosen the tongue and imagination of the story-teller, but at four o'clock the body had not yet been buried.

his special faculty.

"Olly," he said, after an airy preliminary toss, "would ye like to have a nice dolly?' Olly opened her wide hungry eyes in hopeful anticipation and nodded assent.

"A nice dolly with a real mamma," he continued, "who plays with it like a true baby. Would ye like to help her play with it ?"

The idea of a joint partnership of this kind evidently pleased Olly by its novelty.

"Well then, brother Gabe will get you one. But Gracey will have to go away so that the doll's mamma kin come.'

Olly at first resented this, but eventually succumbed to novelty, after the fashion of her sex, starving or otherwise. Yet she prudently asked:

"Is it ever hungry?"

"It is never hungry," replied Gabriel, confidently.

"Oh!" said Olly, with an air of relief. Then Gabriel, the cunning, sought Mrs. Dumphy, the mentally alienated.

"You are jest killin' of yourself with the tendin' o' that child," he said, after bestowing a caress on the blanket and slightly pinching an imaginary cheek of the effigy. "It would be likelier and stronger fur a playmate. Good gracious! how thin it is gettin'. A change will do it good; fetch it to Olly, and let her help you tend it until until-to-morrow." To-morrow was the extreme limit of Mrs. Dumphy's future.

So Mrs. Dumphy and her effigy were installed in Grace's place, and Olly was made happy. A finer nature or a more active imagination than Gabriel's would have revolted at this monstrous combination; but Gabriel only saw that they appeared contented, and the first pressing difficulty of Grace's absence was overcome. So alternately they took care of the effigy, the child simulating the cares of the future and losing the present in them, the mother living in the memories of the past. Perhaps it might have been pathetic to have seen Olly and Mrs. Dumphy both saving the infinitesimal remnants of their provisions for the doll, but the only spectator was one of the actors, Gabriel, who lent himself to the deception; and pathos to be effective must be viewed from the outside.

At noon that day the hysterical young man, Gabriel's cousin, died. Gabriel went over to the other hut and endeavored to cheer the survivors. He succeeded in infecting them so far with his hopefulness as to

It was evening, and the three were sitting over the embers, when a singular change came over Mrs. Dumphy. The effigy suddenly slipped from her hands, and, looking up, Gabriel perceived that her arms had dropped to her side, and that her eyes were fixed on vacancy. He spoke to her, but she made no sign nor response of any kind. He touched her, and found her limbs rigid and motionless. Olly began to cry.

The sound seemed to agitate Mrs. Dumphy. Without moving a limb, she said, in a changed, unnatural voice:

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