Soon one of the Indian servants entered the room for the purpose of conducting him to a smaller apartment, where he was left alone for some time longer. Food was brought him. He ate heartily, for he considered that wise. Then at last the summons for which he had been so long in readiness. Me-en-gan himself entered the room, and motioned him to follow.
Ned Trent had already prepared his message on the back of an envelope, writing ft with the lead of a cartridge. He now pressed the bit of paper into the Indian’s palm.
“For O-mi-mi,” he explained.
Me-en-gan, bored him through with his bead-like eyes of the surface lights.
“Nin nissitotam,” he agreed after a moment.
He led the way. Ned Trent followed through the narrow, uncarpeted hall with the faded photograph of Westminster, down the crooked steep stairs with the creaking degrees, and finally into the Council Room once more, with its heavy rafters, its two fireplaces, its long table, and its narrow windows,
“Beka—wait!” commanded Me-en-gan, and left him.
Ned Trent had supposed he was being conducted to the canoe which should bear him on the first stage of his long journey, but now he seemed condemned again to take up the wearing uncertainty of inaction. The interval was not long, however. Almost immediately the other door opened and the Factor entered.
His movements were abrupt and impatient, for with whatever grace such a man yields to his better instincts the actual carrying out of their conditions is a severe trial. For one thing it is a species of emotional nakedness, invariably repugnant to the self-contained. Ned Trent, observing this and misinterpreting its cause, hugged the little revolver to his side with grim satisfaction. The interview was likely to be stormy. If worst came to worst, he was at least assured of reprisal before his own end.
The Factor walked directly to the head of the table and his customary arm-chair, in which he disposed himself.
“Sit down,” he commanded the younger man, indicating a chair at his elbow.
The latter warily obeyed.
Galen Albret hesitated appreciably. Then, as one would make a plunge into cold water, quickly, in one motion, he laid on the table something over which he held his hand.
“You are wondering why I am interviewing you again,” said he. “It is because I have become aware of certain things. When you left me a few hours ago you dropped this.” He moved his hand to one side. The silver match-safe lay on the table.
“Yes, it is mine,” agreed Ned Trent,
“On one side is carved a name.”
The Free Trader hesitated. “My father’s,” he said, at last.
“I thought that must be so. You will understand when I tell you that at one time I knew him very well.”
“You knew my father?” cried Ned Trent, excitedly.