They spoke no word and took no oath of life-and-death fidelity, those men and women who now had been entrusted with the fate of the world. But in their eyes one read unshakable devotion to the Cause of Man, unswerving loyalty to the Great Ideal, and a calm, holy faith that would make light of death itself, could death but pave the way to victory!
Brevard was the first to speak. “Gabriel,” said he, “we have agreed that you must be the leader in this whole affair. The actual, personal leader. To begin with, you’re younger and physically stronger than any of us men. Your executive ability is, without any question whatever, far and away ahead of ours—for we are more in the analytical, compiling, organizing, preparing line. To cap all, your personality carries more, far more, with the mass of the comrades than any of ours. Your career, in the past, your conflict with Flint and Waldron, and your long imprisonment, have given you the necessary following. You, and you alone, must issue the final call, lead the last, supreme attack, and carry the old flag, the Crimson Banner of Brotherhood, to the topmost battlement of an annihilated Capitalism!”
Gabriel demurred, but they overruled him. So, presently, he consented; and pledged his life to it; and thrilled with pride and joy at thought of what now lay written in the Book of Fate, for him to read.
Catherine’s eyes shone with a strange light, as she looked upon him there, so modest yet so strong. And he, smiling a little as his gaze met hers, foresaw other things than war, and was glad. His heart sang within him, that memorable and wondrous night, up there in the hiding-place among the Great Smokies—there with Catherine and the other comrades—there planning the last great blow to strike away forever the shackles from the bleeding limbs of all the human race!
But serious and urgent things were to be thought of, and at once, for on the morrow Brevard was going down, disguised, to Louisville, in one of the two monoplanes, to attend a final secret meeting of the North-middle Section Committee. From this he would proceed to the refuge near Port Colborne, Ontario.
“Let us make that our meeting-place, one week from tonight,” said Gabriel, “in case anything happens. Should we be detected, or should any accident befall, we must have some time and place to rally by. Is my suggestion taken?”
They all agreed, after some discussion.
“But,” added Mrs. Grantham, “let’s hope we’re still secure here, for a while. It doesn’t seem possible they could find us here, in this broad mountain wilderness!”
Brevard, meanwhile, was spreading out diagrams and plans.