The Magnetic North eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 442 pages of information about The Magnetic North.

Ol’ Chief nodded vigorously and with sudden excitement.  “Me jus’ like God.”

“Hein?”

“Oh, yes.  Me no stan’ wicked people.  When me young me kill two ol’ squaws—­witches!” With an outward gesture of his lean claws he swept these wicked ones off the face of the earth, like a besom of the Lord.

A sudden change had passed over the tired face of the priest.  “Go, go!” he called out, driving the Pymeuts forth as one shoos chickens out of a garden.  “Go to ze schoolhouse and get fed, for it’s all you seem able to get zere.”

But the perplexed flight of the Pymeuts was arrested.  Brother Paul and Brother Etienne blocked the way with a stretcher.  They all stood back to let the little procession come in.  Nobody noticed them further, but the Pymeuts scuttled away the instant they could get by.  The Boy, equally forgotten, sat down in a corner, while the three priests conferred in low-voiced French over the prostrate figure.

“Father Brachet,” a weak voice came up from the floor.

Brother Paul hurried out, calling Brother Etienne softly from the door.

“I am here.”  The Superior came from the foot of the pallet, and knelt down near the head.

“You—­remember what you said last July?”

“About—­”

“About making restitution.”

“Yes.”

“Well, I can do it now.”

“I am glad.”

“I’ve brought you the papers.  That’s why—­I—­had to come.  Will you—­take them—­out of my—­”

The priest unbuckled a travel-stained buckskin miner’s belt and laid it on the floor.  All the many pockets were empty save the long one in the middle.  He unbuttoned the flap and took out some soiled, worn-looking papers.  “Are zese in proper form?” he asked, but the man seemed to have dropped into unconsciousness.  Hurriedly the priest added:  “Zere is no time to read zem.  Ah!  Mr.—­will you come and witness zis last will and testament?”

The Boy got up and stood near.  The man from Minook opened his eyes.

“Here!” The priest had got writing materials, and put a pen into the slack hand, with a block of letter-paper under it.

“I—­I’m no lawyer,” said the faint voice, “but I think it’s all—­in shape.  Anyhow—­you write—­and I’ll sign.”  He half closed his eyes, and the paper slipped from under his hand.  The Boy caught it, and set down the faint words:—­“will and bequeath to John M. Berg, Kansas City, my right and title to claim No. 11 Above, Little Minook, Yukon Ramparts—­”

And the voice fell away into silence.  They waited a moment, and the Superior whispered: 

“Can you sign it?”

The dull eyes opened.  “Didn’t I—?”

Father Brachet held him up; the Boy gave him the pen and steadied the paper.  “Thank you, Father.  Obliged to you, too.”  He turned his dimming eyes upon the Boy, who wrote his name in witness.  “You—­going to Minook?”

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The Magnetic North from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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