Puslapio vaizdai

a day later he had not been worth loading a pony with."

"You have fatted him till he could carry the pony himself, now."

"All I ever said was"-Enrique spoke again -"he has looked at her. Very good; so has many another long-legged coxcomb about the town."

"And I am forbidden the house till her father's return."

"Yes, but you art her novio, wolf in sheep's clothing."

"If I am a wolf, what is he ?"

"A very white little lamb beside you. If he sees her, it is in the American fashion, which means anything or nothing." Enrique's shoulders went up; his hands said the rest. "Extraordinary people! He has gone with three of them to-night, his little countrywomen; not a gray hair nor a wedding ring in the company. You might hear their parrot voices screaming the length of the street. With him it is not Antonia; it is any girl."

"I am in hell with thinking on them." "You will get there fast enough without so much thinking."

PHILIP reported this conversation to Dunsmuir. It was agreed now that Alan should be sent away; but where?

The family wound still rankled. The family itself on the other side had greatly changed in fifteen years. The present members had their own burdens sufficient to their incomes; correspondence had nearly ceased.

"Chuck him into a big school, and let him strike out for himself and learn his insignificance," said Philip.

"Send him to heaven if you happen to know the way!" was Dunsmuir's answer. The American schools were all alike in his estimation, skin-deep in scholarship, vulgar in tone, inordinately expensive.

Then Philip somewhat diffidently proposed the Continent as a compromise, with his mother's assistance in placing Alan at Zurich or Vevay. She would dote on another boy to "run" in vacations; and Alan would find it not so disagreeable to be preached to by an adorable woman old enough to be his mother, who, as she was not his mother, would know when to "let up."

To his surprise, Dunsmuir fell in with the proposition at once. Philip cabled his mother, and wrote, sending Alan's picture; the lad's good looks, he well knew, would be a great point in his favor. Meantime Philip talked to him like an elder brother. He could have wished to see him more touched in temper, and less placidly flattered by the attention his pastimes excited. Dunsmuir raved over the cost; VOL. XLIV.-92.

a cool thousand it meant at the first go off, and he had promised his next surplus to Job, who needed the money at once on his land. No matter; the old people must wait. From those that have not shall be taken even that which they have. Dunsmuir felt the want of money all the more, now that he had begun to straighten his affairs and to handle a salary again. He was impatient to be free.

Pacheco had been arrested. Vargas had returned with his mules from Sheep Mountain, and was looking after his daughter. Alan was on parole. Dolly was cold, and would not talk of her brother. Her shame for him went hard with her; it was like a bilious sickness. She was for abjuring sentiment henceforth in any and every form. Away with it all! The lights were out in her own secret place of worship; cold daylight showed the images to be mere tawdry dolls; her flowers of passion were turned to rags and shreds of tinsel. Not one kind word could Philip get from her in her revolt; not a single acknowledgment of all that had so nearly come to pass between them.


THE river was now at its lowest. Cofferdams were in place, which were to cramp it and turn it aside, and at night, when the pile-drivers, and the steam-hoists, and the dump-carts were silent, the harassed stream made loud its complaint. Dunsmuir's orders were to “go ahead" and put in his dam on a pile foundation where the rock gave out, that water might be turned into the ditch by May 1, in time to reap the next season's crop of contracts. Dunsmuir had protested in vain against the issuing of contracts which called for this early delivery of water. He had submitted his own plan of the dam-excavation till solid rock should be reached, that the masonry might rise in one coherent mass from a permanent and homo- . geneous foundation. But such construction demanded more time than the contracts were giving him.

"What's the matter with piles and concrete?" Norrisson had asked; and he mentioned several dams with pile foundations that were doing their duty. While in Denver, soon afterward, he took the occasion of meeting a friend, an engineer of reputation, to put the case of the Wallula dam, and asked his opinion. The engineer gave it, unofficially, on the facts as Norrisson presented them; he said that a pile foundation would serve. Norrisson quoted him triumphantly to Dunsmuir, who was unshaken, though considerably irritated by Norrisson's methods of warfare. If he had wanted a consulting engineer, why had he not retained one and got his report after a personal examination?

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Such an order from the manager to the chief engineer precisely indicated the relation between them, as Norrisson intended it should. The chief's resignation was in order, else he would remain as the servant of the company, not the responsible agent of the work. In his first outburst of indignation Dunsmuir wrote such an answer as the situation demanded. It was some consolation to watch Philip's face while he read it aloud to him with satisfied emphasis.

"Understand, I don't make it personal." Dunsmuir looked kindly, almost fondly, at Philip, who had not a word to say. "It is the old issue that parted us the first time. It has parted better friends than your father and I ever pretended to be; and I don't say the alternative is of his contriving. I was my own promoter some weary years; I should know something of the difficulties on that side. But my choice is plain. I must stick to the first principle in our profession, Philip: the honest builder can wait, he can fail, he can starve; he cannot botch his work. I speak for myself, who am the only one accountable."

"I shall leave the work when you do." "I don't see that you need; and I should be as jealous for you as for my son."

"I shall go with you, sir, for the sake of adding my protest, and because of what you have just said.”

"There are moments of defeat worth more than many a victory," said Dunsmuir.

But in the silence of night, when consequences obtrude, he revised his decision. No man may be captive, even to his own will, for as long as Dunsmuir, without suffering the prison change. If Norrisson's company owned the scheme, the scheme owned Dunsmuir; and he knew it now. He thought of his debts; of his children, restless and half-educated; of his forsaken connections in the world that no longer knew him. A morbid dread of change had grown upon him; his fixed life had singularly, appealingly unfitted him for a fresh start. He had lost the habit of society; he was out of touch with the new movements in his profession; he had no elasticity, no imagination,

no conviction left for any new work so long as he was chained to this. He knew his bondage at last, and his soul cried out against it; yet he could not go forth, a penniless, broken man, with the scars of failure upon him. He had worn out his powers of waiting. A specious victory had granted him the respite

of three months of action in command of forces he called his own; he could not bear now to feel the screws take hold again in the same old shrinking places.

Then followed those lower considerations that lie in wait for moments of irresolution to worry the doubting heart. The truth concerning his resignation would never be known. Gossip would have it, in circles where an engineer's reputation is discussed, that here was a presumptuous dreamer who fancied himself called to a great work, who, after more than a decade spent in contemplating it, was found unequal to the initial problem of its fulfilment. How he hated that word theorist! there was nothing he so loved as to be considered practical. Now, the practical man would be his successor. He would reap the honors should the dam stand; if it went out, how easily the blame might be shifted back upon the theorist. Dunsmuir was well acquainted with the dark side of his profession-the long waitings, the jealousies, the wrested honors, and the bitter rewards. He knew how a man's one mistake may follow him to his grave, while his successes are forgotten or credited to another man.

At daybreak, when the wind fell, and with it a silence upon the sleeping house, he stole out from his bedroom to the office, and abstracted his letter of resignation from the post-bag. His decision was already reversed, yet he hesitated before the act that should cancel all that brave talk of the night before.

Yet why assume that it was a betrayal of the work? What are the risks that success will not justify? It was well enough known in the history of engineering that there is an heroic margin outside the beaten track of precedent which bold spirits yet may tread. He was half angry with Philip, now, as he thought of their conversation, that the younger man should have seen no way out of the difficulty but his chief's resignation. Decidedly Philip was too conservative. Of what use to be twenty-three and an American! The letter was torn into bits and went into the waste-basket, and Dunsmuir sat out the dawn, and heard the house awake, scarcely moving, face to face with the first deep, secret humiliation of his life. By breakfast-time he had got his most presentable arguments in order. He sat working them, in silence, during the meal, and when it was over he summoned Philip into the office, and said to him coldly:

"I have called a halt, Norrisson. It is too

late now to back out of the work; it would be desertion. I do not give orders here, it seems, but that is the fortune of war. They have captured my scheme by the strong arm. They can make what hash of it they please; but for better or worse I stay with it, and pride may go to the dogs. My pride shall consist in making the dam as strong as their infernal meddling will let me. If it goes, at least I shall know all was done that could be done with such a management in the saddle. I know no fathers or fathers' sons in this business. It's a fight, and they have won. Let them make the most of it."

There was little Philip could say not seeming to remind Dunsmuir of his recantation. Dunsmuir understood him. They spent a bad day, each inside his defenses. The pause in the work left them conscious of each other's presence as a burden in the room where they had labored and argued together harmoniously. Philip brought on the explosion by a restless allusion to Dolly. He was always trying the ice of Dunsmuir's doubtful sanction, boy-fashion, to know when it would bear. To-day he ventured too far; it cracked without warning; it thundered from shore to shore.

Philip had hazarded a nervous expression of the hope that, whatever grinds or hitches should come to the work, the peace of the relation might stand; and since men do not usually mean each other when they talk in this strain, Dunsmuir became fidgety and Philip

more nervous.

He had never had a home life before, he awkwardly expatiated, unsupported by a sign of encouragement from Dunsmuir, even for as long as he had lived in the cañon; never known a girl in her home as he had been privileged to know

He paused, and Dunsmuir growled: "I don't know where you got the privilege. The home is one thing, the office is another."

Philip, seated on the table-ledge, thrust his hands into his pockets to hide that they were trembling. "The distinction comes a trifle late," he said.

"I will thank you to take note of it now. We have worked together well enough; my daughter is another matter."

"She is to me.”

"What is she to you?"

"She is the girl I hope, with your leave, to marry."

"And how long have you had this hope?" "I hardly know," said Philip, white with stress of feeling. "I have been trying, for some time, to speak to you."

"I don't know what has prevented you. Are you sure you have not spoken to her?" Dunsmuir laid his keen blue eyes on Philip's conscious face.

"Ye have spoken! Deny it if you can." His big voice rang as clear as a sheet of iron under the hammer.

"Why should I wish to deny it? It is the American way to speak to the girl first; her answer is the only one any man would take.”

"I know nothing of your American ways. But if you have spoken to my motherless child before that you spoke to me, ye have done me a treachery worthy your father's son; and you may quit my house!"

Philip jumped to his feet, and the table recoiled with a loud jar; for a moment there was no other sound in the room. Then he said, striving for self-control: "I don't know whether you consider yourself in a position to insult my father; but I am in no position to answer you as your words deserve. As my father's son, or as anybody's son, my record is before you. By heaven! I don't know why fathers should be so arrogant. A father is not a god. If you are the one appointed to look after Dolly, it's not my fault if you have neglected your business. No, sir; I will finish now. I found her here where you had fixed her, at the mercy of your scheme. I was first, and I took no advantage that was not simply a man's. If I don't deserve her, do men generally deserve the girls they marry? None the less I mean to make her love me, if I can. I am not called traitor for nothing. I shall take all the chances now, whatever comes."

Dunsmuir listened coolly to this explicit though somewhat mixed defiance, and smiled to himself, "The lad has spirit, after all." His eyebrows went up like clouds after a storm; a gleam of humor tugged at the corners of his grim mustache. He held, with most short-tempered men, that you cannot make a doubledealer forsake his guard; anger being like drink, in that it exposes a man. When, therefore, he had seen this smooth-mannered son of the "commissioner " in a fine, loose-tongued rage,

with his jacket off, so to speak,- his own tall mood unconsciously subsided. Presumably the charge of treachery had not come from very deep.

"We have taken a hot day for it," he remarked, with moderation, while Philip's mental reflection was that he would be happy to punch his much-desired father-in-law's head.

Dunsmuir filled his pipe, thrust his hands into the pockets of his loose riding-breeches, and strode out upon the blazing porch, where the western sun, barred by shadows of the pillars, lay half across the floor. The seat of his wooden chair was as hot as a hearthstone; he kicked it away, and took a canvas one, stretching his long length on it, with a loud, obtrusive yawn. He was in one of his man-childish moods, not so lovely and pleasant as he might

have been. It might well be doubted if at Philip's age he had thought greatly of father's rights himself.

Philip went about his preparations for leaving with the haste Dunsmuir's hint demanded. But he proposed to retreat with his baggage in good order, not to have his things hurled after him. He swept a place on the office table, which he heaped with small effects from drawers and pigeonholes. Then he shot out across the hill bareheaded to the tent where the junior assistants worked, returning with an armful of drawing-tools and rolls of paper.

"I suppose I may take these-copies of my drawings for the head-works?" He indicated, without looking at his chief, a roll of photographic blue-prints.

"Take anything you want."

Half an hour later Dolly heard him in the attic chamber, dragging trunks about furiously; he was making a lane for his own, which were stowed far back under the eaves, bitterly recalling meanwhile how he and Dolly had discussed their location three months before. They had been civil to each other in those days, and Dolly had insisted that he should take the high part, as he was tall, and he had refused because he went less often to his trunks than she to the family chests. No talk could have been smaller, but it was a thing to remember now when all the little homely intimacies were at an end. Already the spent days and bygone evenings began to glow and shine like memory pictures in the retrospect. Under the eaves the temperature was near to that of the stoke-hole of a steamer. Dolly opened the door, letting in a breath of freshness and a vision of herself, on a bright background, in a thin blue muslin frock.

"Leave it open, will you, please? I want the light," Philip panted.

"What are you looking for? It's frightful in here; can't you wait till evening?" "I shall not be here this evening." "Going to town again?" "I'm going to leave."

Dolly appeared to be closely considering a veil of dust-laden cobweb that wavered from the nearest beam.

"To leave the cañon? Dear me! Jenny must sweep this place," she parenthesized.

Philip gave her no answer. Down came a trunk on top of another trunk with an offensive slam.

"I did n't understand you. Are you going on some other part of the work?"

"I have left the work."

"I suppose it's none of my business why?" "It is; and I don't mind telling you. I've been fired."

"Not from the work?"

"Not precisely; only from the house." "I don't believe it. There must be some mistake. It's the silliest thing I ever heard," cried Dolly, indignantly.

"Silly if you like, but quite true. Your father's language is plain."

Here Philip grappled with a trunk, hurling his weight upon the handle; the bulk gave way more quickly than he had expected, he lurched forward, rose too suddenly, and his bump of self-esteem smote the rafter overhead with a blinding crash. He dropped sidewise on the trunk, and clutched his head, setting his teeth upon the brutal pang. As if that were not enough, Dolly, sickening at the sound of the blow, began to "poor" him and pity him with all her might.

"Oh, how it hurts!" she moaned, as if the head had been her own. She dropped on her knees before him, and begged to see the place. He shuddered, feeling her cool hands take soft hold of his throbbing wrists, and the natural man in him demanded that he snatch her instantly and kiss away the anguish of his double hurt. Why not be the traitor he had been called? But the barbarian was not on deck this time; he subsided, with a groan, which Dolly thought was for the aching head.

When Philip looked up, frowning and blushing with pain, and his clouded eyes met hers brimming with purest mother-pity, he blessed God that he had not wounded her innocent trust, or blotted the memory—all that was left him- of their perfect days together in the cañon.

He gave thanks again, that afternoon, when Dunsmuir made overtures of peace on magnanimous terms, including a withdrawal of all uncertain charges.

About four o'clock the up-cañon wind, forerunner of a dust-storm, began to blow. The women ran about, shutting doors and windows, and Dunsmuir was driven in from the porch. Dead leaves, chips, bits of paper, whatever was detachable, drove past the house, whirled in the murky onset of the storm.

Dunsmuir heard the hammock slapping the piazza-posts; the willow rockers slammed to and fro; one went over with a crash, and the front door banged wide, filling the room with dust. Every day for six weeks Dunsmuir had meant to fix that latch; he cursed it now, and went outside to pick up chairs and pile them to leeward, locking the door after him in the teeth of the storm. Half his letters and papers were on the floor, and where he stepped to pick them up he left prints of his feet in the dust.

Philip came down-stairs, pale from his hurt, with bloodshot eyes. He was dressed for the road, and carried a canvas covert-coat on his arm. A transit-book he had forgotten showed

in the inside pocket; he drew it out and tossed it on the desk.

"I'll send you those vouchers to-morrow," he said to Dunsmuir. Then he asked which of the men should drive him to town.

"Sit down." Dunsmuir looked at him hard. "You can't start till this is over." He went out and gave an order in the kitchen, which was followed soon by Jenny with beer and biscuits. Philip would take neither, and Dunsmuir finished the beer himself, feeding the biscuits to Jenny's boy, who had tagged his mother into the room, and declined to be peacefully evicted. Every few mouthfuls the child paused in his copious eating, and pointed to the chimney, saying: "Hark! Win'!"

"Right you are, mannie. Wind that would take the hair off your head if you were out in it. Now the little beggar 's choking! Save us! where 's that woman?" Dunsmuir picked up the child by his garments, coughing and spluttering, and handed him out of the door like a puppy.

"Have a pipe?" he suggested affably, when peace was restored, with the sound of the wind asserting itself.

"Thanks, I don't care to smoke," said Philip. "What's your quarrel with the work, man? I never said you could not do your work." "I never said you did. If you had, it would not have been true," Philip answered roughly. "Then why do you quit it?"

"Should you care to work under a man that had called you a traitor and the son of a traitor ?"

"Tush! you would have it. You brought it on yourself. Ye knew I was hit between wind and water, and the less said about that the better. But you need not have come purring after my daughter."

"The time was ill chosen, I acknowledge; but the fact remains," said Philip.

“Let it remain, then. There's no occasion to meddle with it. You did not come here to make love to my daughter."

"I had not done so-not more than I could help-when you opened on me. But you have relieved me of my scruples. I intend to give my mind to it now."

"You said that before. Now suppose we talk sense. It's ill changing horses when you 're crossing a stream. I don't deny that I'd rather have you than another on this job, now we've started in. There 's little time to waste, and I might be a month wiring back and forth for a man to fill your place. Stay where you are, and behave yourself cannily, and when the right time shall come, maybe we can talk of it and keep our hair on. I would see first if you are a man of your word as well as your work. What 's six months to

serve for a lassie! When the work is done, when the dam is in, why, then, if I am content with the way you have borne yourself, we 'll speak of this again. This is no time for marrying or giving in marriage."

"I am willing enough to wait," said Philip, "if the terms of waiting are not made impossible."

Dunsmuir smiled. "You may look at her in reason, so far as is needful to keep out of her way. No, no, lad; ye shall be friends. Make each other's acquaintance, but keep to the windward of promises and-and such toys. I have some notion of a man myself. I'm not taking you on trust altogether-and I'm not so ruthless, nor so careless of my household as you 've had the insolence to insinuate. Now, shall we take a fresh grip of the work? It would be a waste of good manmaterial for you and me to quarrel."

They looked each other in the eyes hard and long. Then Philip went to the mantelshelf and filled him a pipe, and they smoked together in silence, while the wind fell, and scattering gleams from the low sun showed lines and surfaces of dust like fine ashes that toned the colors of the room.

"But am I not to have leave to explain ?" asked Philip, frowning over the match with which he was lighting his second pipe. "Not a word before the shutting down? Consider, I have told her—”

"You have told her enough, I have little doubt. I'll do the explaining myself." "But she will think—”

"Let her think, and let her fash herself with thinking. Philip, I mean this in fair kindness to you both. If the lassie cannot bear with a touch of doubt beforehand, do you think you'll be able to satisfy her hereafter? Let her think, and let her misdoubt and upbraid you in her thoughts. It's what you well deserve, if I know what young men are. A little thinking beforehand will do you both no harm.


THE false position on the work began to make itself felt. Dunsmuir settled into a cynical tone, which he held from this forth: that the new plan was well enough; that the dam would stand; that he had been over-conservative, but was not hidebound or wedded to a method. He rather implied that Philip was. There was a ghastly amity between the chief and the manager, which Philip blushed to behold.

The work went on, but the light of a fine enthusiasm was gone. The changed atmosphere pervaded the house. Dolly guessed that her father and Philip disagreed about the work, and that Philip had been sullen in yielding

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