The journey up the pass was even more wonderful than the journey down. Sunset lights lay on the forests, on the glorious lonely mountains, and on the valley of the Yoho, roadless and houseless now, but soon to be as famous through the world as Grindelwald or Chamounix. They dismounted and explored the great camps of workmen in the pass; they watched the boiling of the stream, which had carved the path of the railway; they gathered white dogwood, and yellow snow-lilies, and red painter’s-brush.
Elizabeth and Anderson hardly spoke to each other. She talked a great deal with Delaine, and Mariette held a somewhat acid dispute with her on modern French books—Loti, Anatole France, Zola—authors whom his soul loathed.
But the day had forged a lasting bond between Anderson and Elizabeth, and they knew it.
* * * * *
The night rose clear and cold, with stars shining on the snow. Delaine, who with Anderson had found quarters in one of Laggan’s handful of houses, went out to stroll and smoke alone, before turning into bed. He walked along the railway line towards Banff, in bitterness of soul, debating with himself whether he could possibly leave the party at once.
When he was well out of sight of the station and the houses, he became aware of a man persistently following him, and not without a hasty grip on the stout stick he carried, he turned at last to confront him.
“What do you want with me? You seem to be following me.”
“Are you Mr. Arthur Delaine?” said a thick voice.
“That is my name. What do you want?”
“And you be lodging to-night in the same house with Mr. George Anderson?”
“I am. What’s that to you?”
“Well, I want twenty minutes’ talk with you,” said the voice, after a pause. The accent was Scotch. In the darkness Delaine dimly perceived an old and bent man standing before him, who seemed to sway and totter as he leant upon his stick.
“I cannot imagine, sir, why you should want anything of the kind.” And he turned to pursue his walk. The old man kept up with him, and presently said something which brought Delaine to a sudden stop of astonishment. He stood there listening for a few minutes, transfixed, and finally, turning round, he allowed his strange companion to walk slowly beside him back to Laggan.
Oh! the freshness of the morning on Lake Louise!
It was barely eight o’clock, yet Elizabeth Merton had already taken her coffee on the hotel verandah, and was out wandering by herself. The hotel, which is nearly six thousand feet above the sea, had only just been opened for its summer guests, and Elizabeth and her party were its first inmates. Anderson indeed had arranged their coming, and was to have brought them hither himself. But on the night of the party’s return to Laggan he had been