She could not discuss Monohan with him, with any one. Why should she ask? she told herself. It was a closed book, a balanced account. One does not revive dead issues.
THE OPENING GUN
The month of November slid day by day into the limbo of the past. The rains washed the land unceasingly. Gray veilings of mist and cloud draped the mountain slopes. As drab a shade colored Stella Fyfe’s daily outlook. She was alone a great deal. Even when they were together, she and her husband, words did not come easily between them. He was away a great deal, seeking, she knew, the old panacea of work, hard, unremitting work, to abate the ills of his spirit. She envied him that outlet. Work for her there was none. The two Chinamen and Martha the nurse left her no tasks. She could not read, for all their great store of books and magazines; the printed page would lie idle in her lap, and her gaze would wander off into vacancy, into that thought-world where her spirit wandered in distress. The Abbeys were long gone; her brother hard at his logging. There were no neighbors and no news. The savor was gone out of everything. The only bright spot in her days was Jack Junior, now toddling precociously on his sturdy legs, a dozen steps at a time, crowing victoriously when he negotiated the passage from chair to chair.
From the broad east windows of their house she saw all the traffic that came and went on the upper reaches of Roaring Lake, Siwashes in dugouts and fishing boats, hunters, prospectors. But more than any other she saw the craft of her husband and Monohan, the powerful, black-hulled Panther, the smaller, daintier Waterbug.
There was a big gasoline workboat, gray with a yellow funnel, that she knew was Monohan’s. And this craft bore past there often, inching its downward way with swifters of logs, driving fast up-lake without a tow. Monohan had abandoned work on the old Abbey-Monohan logging-grounds. The camps and the bungalow lay deserted, given over to a solitary watchman. The lake folk had chattered at this proceeding, and the chatter had come to Stella’s ears. He had put in two camps at the lake head, so she heard indirectly: one on the lake shore, one on the Tyee River, a little above the mouth. He had sixty men in each camp, and he was getting the name of a driver. Three miles above his Tyee camp, she knew, lay the camp her husband had put in during the early summer to cut a heavy limit of cedar. Fyfe had only a small crew there.
She wondered a little why he spent so much time there, when he had seventy-odd men working near home. But of course he had an able lieutenant in Lefty Howe. And she could guess why Jack Fyfe kept away. She was sorry for him—and for herself. But being sorry—a mere semi-neutral state of mind—did not help matters, she told herself gloomily.