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equal of mine. You know that," he said, "Aye," said his brother; “it is a pity appealing almost anxiously to his brother. he has not a better chance.
He is great “ You know that well. You know that for his books, but he has no chance, whatI am brought to this "—he held up his ever, and he will be a bowed man before gaunt, bony hands—" by a man that is he has cleared this farm and paid the debt no equal of mine, and I will never be able to look him in the face and say as much Never you fear,” said his brother. to him. But if the Almighty would send “ Ranald will do well. But, man, what a him to hell, I would be following him there.” size he is !" · "Whisht, Hugh,” said Macdonald “ He is that,” said his father, proudly. Bhain, in a voice of awe. “ It is a terrible “ He is as big as his father, and I doubt word you have said, and may the Lord some day he may be as good a man as forgive you."
his uncle." “Forgive me!" echoed his brother in a “God grant he may be a better !” said kind of frenzy. Indeed, He will not be Macdonald Bhain, reverently. doing that. Did not the minister's wife “ If he be as good,” said his brother, tell me as much ?”
kindly, “I will be content; but I will not “No, no," said his brother. - She be here to see it." would not be saying that.”
“Whisht, man," said his brother, hastily. “ Indeed, that is her very word,” said “You are not to speak such things, nor Black Hugh.
have them in your mind." “She could not say that,” said his “ Ah," said Macdonald Dhu, sadly,“my brother, "for it is not the Word of God.” day is not far off, and that I know right
“ Indeed," replied Black Hugh, like a well.” man who had thought it all out, “she Macdonald Bhain flung his arm hastily would be reading it out of the Book to round his brother's shoulder. “ Do not me that unless I would be forgiving, that, speak like that, Hugh,” he said, his voice that--" he paused, not being able to find breaking suddenly. And then he drew a word, but went on—" then I need not away his arm as if ashamed of his emotion, hope to be forgiven my own self." and said, with kindly dignity, “Please God,
“ Yes, yes. That is true,” assented you will see many days yet, and see your Macdonald Bhain. “ But, by the grace boy come to honor among men.” of God, you will forgive, and you will be But Black Hugh only shook his head in forgiven."
silence. “Forgive !" cried Black Hugh, his face Before they came to the door, Macdonald convulsed with passion. “ Hear me.” He Bhain said, with seeming indifference, raised his hand to heaven. “ If I ever “ You have not been to church since you forgive”
got up, Hugh. You will be going to-morrow But his brother caught his arm and if it is a fine day.” drew it down swiftly, saying: “ Whisht, " It is too long a walk, I doubt,” anman! Don't tempt the Almighty." Then swered his brother. he added, “You would not be shutting “ That it is, but Yankee will drive yourself out from the presence of the you in his buckboard," said Macdonald Lord and from the presence of those he Bhain. has taken to himself ?”
“In the buckboard ?” said Macdonald His brother stood silent a few moments, Dhu. “And, indeed, I was never in a buckhis hard, dark face swept with a storm of board in my life.” emotions. Then he said, brokenly: “ It “ It is not too late to begin to morrow,” is not for me, I doubt.”
said his brother. And it will do you good.” But his brother caught him by the arm "I doubt that," said Black Hugh, gloomand said to him, “Hear me, Hugh. It is ily. “ The church will not be doing me for you."
much good any more.” They walked on in silence till they were “ Do not say such a thing ; and Yankee near the house. Ranald and Yankee were will drive you in his buckboard to-mordriving their teams into the yard.
row.” " That is a fine lad," said Macdonald His brother did not promise, but next Bhain, pointing to Ranald.
day the congregation received a shock of
surprise to see Macdonald Dhu walk down the circumstances under which it had the aisle to his place in the church. And overtaken him, had aroused in the comthrough all the days of the spring and munity a very deep sympathy for him, summer his place was never empty; and and people were glad of the opportunity though the shadow never lifted from his to manifest this sympathy. And, more face, the minister's wife felt comforted than all, a logging bee was an event that about him and waited for the day of his always promised more or less excitement deliverance.
and social festivity.
Yankee was “boss” for the day. This Chapter XIII.—The Logging Bee position would naturally have fallen to
Macdonald Bhain's visit to his brother Macdonald Bhain, but at his brother's was fruitful in another way. After taking
bee Macdonald Bhain shrank from taking counsel with Yankee and Kirsty, he the leading place. resolved that he would speak to his neigh
The men with the axes went first, chopbors and make a “Bee,” to attack the ping up the half-burnt logs into lengths brûlé. He knew better than to consult suitable for the burning-piles, clearing either his brother or his nephew, feeling away the brushwood, and cutting through sure that their Highland pride would the big roots of the fire-eaten stumps so forbid accepting any such favor, and all that they might more easily be pulled. the more because it seemed to be needed. Then followed the teams with their logBut without their leave the Bee ging-chains, hauling the logs to the piles, arranged, and in the beginning of the jerking out and drawing off the stumps following week the house of Macdonald whose huge roots stuck up high into the Dhu was thrown into a state of unparalleled air, and drawing great heaps of brushconfusion, and Kirsty went about in a wood to aid in reducing the heavy logs to state of dishevelment that gave token that ashes. At each log-pile stood a man with the daily struggle with dirt had reached a hand-spike to help the driver to get the the acute stage. From top to bottom, log into position, a work requiring strength inside and outside, everything that could and skill, and, above all, a knowledge of be scrubbed was scrubbed, and then she the ways of logs which comes only by settled about her baking, but with all experience. It was at this work that caution, lest she should excite her brother's Macdonald Bhain shone. With his mighty or her nephew's suspicion. It was a good strength he could hold steady one end of thing that little baking was required, for a log until the team could haul the other the teams that brought the men with into its place. their axes and logging-chains for the day's The stump-pulling was always attended work at the brûlé brought also their sisters with more or less interest and excitement. and mothers with baskets of provisions. Stumps, as well as logs, have their ways, A logging bee without the sisters and and it takes a long experience to undermothers with their baskets would hardly stand the ways of stumps. be an unmixed blessing.
In stump-hauling young Aleck McThe first man to arrive with his team Rae was an expert. He rarely failed was Peter McGregor's Angus, and with to detect the weak side of a stump. He him came his sister Bella. He was shortly knew his team, and, what was of far afterwards followed by other teams in greater importance, his team knew him. rapid succession —the Rosses, the Mc- They were partly of French-Canadian Kerachers, the Carnerons, both Don and stock, not as large as Farquhar McMurdie, the Rory McCusigs, the McRaes, Naughton's big, fat blacks, but “as full two or three families of them, the Frasers, of spirit as a bottle of whisky," as Aleck and others, till some fifteen teams and himself would say. Their first tentative forty men, and boys who thought them- pulls at the stump were taken with causelves quite men, lined up in front of the tion, until their driver and themselves brûlé.
had taken the full measure of the strength The bee was a great affair, for Mac- of the enemy. But when once Aleck had donald Bhain was held in high regard by made up his mind that victory was posthe people; and, besides this, the misfor- sible, and had given them the call for the tune that had befallen his brother, and final effort, then his team put their bodies
and souls into the pull, and never drew show of deliberation, were striving for the back till something came. Their driver first place, with Aleck easily leading. was accustomed to boast that never yet Like a piece of machinery, Aleck and his had they failed to honor his call.
team worked together. Quickly and Farquhar's handsome blacks, on the neatly both driver and horses moved about other hand, were never handled after this their work with perfect understanding of fashion. They were slow and sure and each other. With hardly a touch of the steady, like their driver. Their great lines, but almost entirely by word of comweight gave them a mighty advantage in mand, Aleck guided his team. And when a pull, but never, in all the solemn course he took up the whippletrees to swing of their existence, had they thrown them- them around to a log or stump, his horses selves into any doubtful trial of strength. wheeled at once into place. It was beauIn a slow, steady haul they were to be tiful to see them, wheeling, backing, haulrelied upon ; but they never could be got ing, pulling, without loss of time or temper. to jerk, and a jerk is an important feature With Don and his team it was all hard in stump-hauling tactics. To-day, how- work. His horses was willing and quick ever, a new experience was awaiting them. enough, but they were ill trained and Farquhar was an old man and slow, and needed constant tugging at the lines. In Yankee, while he was unwilling to hurry vain Don shouted and cracked his whip, him, was equally unwilling that his team hurrying his team to his pile and back should not do a full day's work. He again; the horses only grew more and more persuaded Farquhar that his presence awkward, while they foamed and fretted was necessary at one of the piles, not and tired themselves out. with the hand-spike, but simply to super- Behind came Ranald, still humoring intend the arranging of the mass for burn- his slow-going team with easy hand and ing. “ For it ain't every man,” Yankee quiet voice. But, while he refrained from declared, “could build a pile to burn.” hurrying his horses, he himself worked As for his team, Yankee persuaded the hard, and by his good judgment and skill old man that Ranald was unequaled in with the chain, and in skidding the logs handling horses, that last winter no driver into his pile, in which his training in the in the camp was up to him. Reluctantly shanty had made him more than a match Farquhar handed his team over to Ranald, for any one in the field, many minutes and stood for some time watching the were saved. result of the new combination.
When the cow-bell sounded for dinner, Ranald was a born horseman. He loved Aleck's team stepped off for the barn, wet, horses and understood them. Slowly he but fresh and frisky as ever, and in permoved the blacks at their work, knowing fect heart. Don’s horses appeared fretted that horses are sensitive to a new hand and jaded, while Ranald brought in his and voice and that he must adapt himself blacks with their glossy skins white with to their ways, if he would bring them at foam where the harness had chafed, but last to his. Before long Farquhar was unfretted, and apparently as ready for contented to go off to his pile, satisfied work as when they began. that his team were in good hands, and not “ You have spoiled the shine of your sorry to be relieved of the necessity of team,” said Aleck, looking over Ranald's hurrying his pace through the long, hot horses as he brought them up to the day, as would have been necessary in trough. “ Better turn them out for the order to keep up with the other drivers. afternoon. They can't stand much more
For each team a strip of the brûlé was of that pace." marked out to clear after the axes. The Aleck was evidently trying to be goodlogs, brush, and stumps had to be removed natured, but he could not hide the sneer and dragged to the burning-piles. Aleck in his tone. They had neither of them with his active, invincible French-Cana- forgotten the incident at the church door, dians, Ranald with Farquhar's big sleek and both felt that it would not be closed blacks, and Don with his father's team, until more had been said about it. But worked side by side. A contest was to-day Ranald was in the place of host, inevitable, and before an hour had passed and it behooved him to be courteous, and Don and Aleck, while making a great Aleck was in good humor with himself, for his team had easily led the field, and, time a cool breeze began to blow, and he besides, he was engaged in a kind and took fresh heart. If he could hurry his neighborly undertaking, and he was too team a little more, he might catch Aleck much of a man to spoil it by any private yet; so he held his own a little longer, grudge. He would have to wait for his preserving the same steady pace, until the settlement with Ranald.
clouds from the west had covered all the During the hour and a half allowed for sky. Then gradually he began to quicken dinner Ranald took his horses to the his horses' movements and to put them well, washed off their legs, removed their on heavier loads. Wherever opportunity harness, and led them to a cool spot offered, instead of a single log, or at most behind the barn, and there, while they two, he would take three or four for his munched their oats, he gave them a good load; and, in ways known only to horsehard rub-down, so that when he brought men, he began to stir up the spirit of his them into the field again his team looked team, and to make them feel something of as glossy and felt as fresh as before they his own excitement. began the day's work.
To such good purpose did he plan, and As Ranald appeared on the field with so nobly did his team respond to his quiet his glossy blacks, Aleck glanced at the but persistent pressure, that, ere Aleck horses, and began to feel that, in the con- was aware, Ranald was up on his flank; test for first place, it was Ranald he had and then they each knew that until the to fear, with his cool, steady team, rather supper-bell rang each would have to use to than Don. Not that any suspicion crossed the best advantage every moment of time his mind that Farquhar McNaughton's and every ounce of strength in himself sleek, slow-going horses could ever hold and his team if he was to win first place. their own with his, but he made up his Somehow the report of the contest went mind that Ranald, at least, was worth over the field, till at length it reached the watching.
ears of Farquhar. At once the old man, “ Bring up your gentry," he called to seized with anxiety for his team and moved Ranald, “ if you are not too fine for com- by the fear of what Kirsty might say if mon folks.
Man, that team of yours," the news ever reached her ears, set off he continued, “should never be put to
the brûlé to remonstrate with work like this. Their feet should never Ranald and, if necessary, rescue his team be off pavement."
from peril. “Never you mind," said Ranald, quietly. But Don saw him coming, and, knowing “I am coming after you, and perhaps that every moment was precious, and before night the blacks may show you dreading lest the old man should snatch their heels yet.”
from Ranald the victory which seemed to “ There's lots of room,” said Aleck, be at least possible for him, arrested scornfully, and they both set to work with Farquhar with a call for assistance with a all the skill and strength that lay in them- big log, and then engaged him in conversaselves and in their teams.
tion upon the merits of his splendid team, For the first hour or two Ranald was " And look," cried he, admiringly, “ how contented to follow, letting his team take Ranald is handling them! Did you ever their way, but saving every moment he see the likes of that?” could by his own efforts. So that, with- The old man stood watching for a few out fretting his horses in the least, or moments, doubtfully enough, while Don without moving them perceptibly out of continued pouring forth the praises of their ordinary gait, he found himself a his horses, and the latter, as he noticed little nearer to Aleck than he had been Farquhar's eyes glisten with pride, venat noon ; but the heavy lifting and quick tured to hint that before the day was done work began to tell upon him. His horses, "he would make Aleck McRae and his he knew, would not stand very much team look sick. And without a hurt to hurrying. They were too fat for any the blacks, too,” he put in, diplomatically, extra exertion in such heat, and so Ranald “for Ranald is not the man to hurt a was about to resign himself to defeat team.” And as Farquhar stood and when he observed that in the western sky watched Ranald at his work and noted clouds were coming up. At the same with surprise how briskly and cleverly
the blacks swung into their places, and blow with the lines—their first blow that detected also with his experienced eye day-swung them round to the top of the that Aleck was beginning to show signs of tree, ran the chain through its swivel, hurry, he entered into the spirit of the hooked an end round each of the top contest, and determined to allow his team lengths, swung them in towards the butt, to win victory for themselves and their unhooked his chain, gathered all three driver if they could.
lengths into a single load, faced his horses The axmen had finished their “stent.” toward the pile, and shouted at them. It wanted still an hour of supper-time, The blacks, unused to this sort of treatand, surely if slowly, Ranald was making ment, were prancing with excitement, and toward first place. The other teams when the word came they threw themwere left far behind with their work, and selves into their collars with a fierceness the whole field began to center attention that nothing could check, and, amid the upon the two that were now confessedly admiring shouts of the crowd, tore the engaged in desperate conflict at the front. logs through the black soil and landed One by one the axmen drew toward the them safely at the pile. It was the work end of the field, where Ranald and Aleck of only a few minutes to unhitch the chain, were fighting out their fight, all pretense haul the logs, one by one, into place, and of deliberation on the part of the drivers dash back with his team at the gallop for having by this time been dropped. They the stumps, while Aleck had still another no longer walked as they hitched their load of logs to draw. chains about the logs or stumps, but sprang Ranald's first stump came out with with eager haste to their work. One by little trouble, and was borne at full speed one the other teamsters abandoned their to the pile. The second stump gave him teams and moved across the field to join more difficulty, and before it would yield the crowd already gathered about the he had to sever two or three of its thickcontestants. Among them came Mac- est roots. donald Bhain, who had been working at Together the teams swung round to the farthest corner of the brûlé. As soon their last stump. The excitement in the as he arrived upon the scene and under- crowd was intense. Aleck's team were stood what was going on, he cried to moving swiftly and with the steadiness Ranald: “ That will do now, Ranald; it of clockwork. The blacks were frantic will be time to quit.”
with excitement and hard to control. Ranald was about to stop, and, indeed, Ranald's last stump was a pine of medium had checked his horses, when Aleck, size, whose roots were partly burned whose blood was up, called out tauntingly, away. It looked like an easy victim. " Aye, it would be better for him and his Aleck's was an ugly-looking little elm. horses to stop. They need it bad enough. Ranald thought he would try his first
This was too much for even Farquhar's pull without the use of the ax. Quickly sluggish blood. “Let them go, Ranald !” he backed up his team to the stump, he cried. “Let them go, man ! Never passed the chain round a root on the far you fear for the horses, if you take down side, drew the big hook far up the chain, the spunk o' yon crowing cock."
hitched it so as to give the shortest posIt was just what Ranald needed to spur sible draught, threw the chain over the him on-a taunt from his foe and leave top of the stump to give it purchase, from Farquhar to push his team.
picked up his lines, and called to his Before each lay a fallen tree cut into team. With a rush the blacks went at it. lengths and two or three half-burnt stumps. The chain slipped up on the root, tightRanald's tree was much the bigger. Aened, bit into the wood, and then the single length would have been an ordi- blacks flung back. Ranald swung them nary load for the blacks, but their driver round the point and tried them again, felt that their strength and spirit were but still the stump refused to budge. both equal to much more than this. He All this time he could hear Aleck determined to clear away the whole tree chopping furiously at his elm-roots, and at a single load. As soon as he heard he knew that unless he had his stump out Farquhar's voice, he seized hold of the before his rival had his chain hitched for whippletrees, struck his team a sharp the pull the victory was lost.