“You can’t stay here. Where do you want me to take you?” he asked, and his cold hardness reminded her of the Tom Morse who had led her to the whip one other night.
She did not know that inside he was a caldron of emotion and that it was only by freezing himself he could keep down the volcanic eruption.
“I’ll go to Susie Lemoine’s,” she said in a small, obedient voice.
With his hands in his pockets he stood and let he find a fur coat and slip into it. He had a sense of frustration. He wanted to let go of himself and tell all that was in his torrid heart. Instead, he encased himself in ice and drove her farther from him.
They walked down the road side by side, neither of them speaking. She too was a victim of chaotic feeling. It would be long before she could forget how he had broken through the door and saved her.
But she could not find the words to tell him so. They parted at the door of Lemoine’s cabin with a chill “Good-night” that left them both unhappy and dissatisfied.
“D’you wonder she hates me?”
To Morse came Angus McRae with the right hand of friendship the day after the battle in the log house.
Eyes blue as Highland lochs fastened to those of the fur-trader. “Lad, I canna tell ye what’s in my heart. ’The Lord bless thee, and keep thee. The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.’”
Tom, embarrassed, made light of the affair. “Lucky I was Johnnie-on-the-Spot.”
The old Scot shook his head. “No luck sent ye back to hear the skreigh o’ the lass, but the whisper of the guid Father withoot whose permission not even a sparrow falls to the ground. He chose you as the instrument. I’ll never be forgettin’ what you did for my dawtie, Tom Morse. Jess will have thankit you, but I add mine to hers.”
In point of fact Jessie had not thanked him in set words. She had been in too great an agitation of spirit to think of it. But Morse did not say so.
“Oh, that’s all right. Any one would have done it. Mighty glad I was near enough. Hope she doesn’t feel any worse for the shock.”
“Not a bit. I’m here to ask ye to let bygones be bygones. I’ve nursed a grudge, but, man, it’s clean, washed oot o’ my heart. Here’s my hand, if you’ll tak it.”
Tom did, gladly. He discovered at the same moment that the sun was striking sparks of light from a thousand snow crystals. It was a good world, if one only looked for the evidence of it.
“The latchstring is always oot for you at the hame of Angus McRae. Will you no’ drap in for a crack the nicht?” asked the trapper.
“Not to-night. Sometime. I’ll see.” Tom found himself in the position of one who finds open to him a long-desired pleasure and is too shy to avail himself of it immediately. “Have you seen Whaley yet to-day?” he asked, to turn the subject.