McEwen complained of having been left alone; abused Mrs. Ginnell; vowed she had starved and ill-treated him; and then, to Anderson’s surprise, broke out against his son for having refused to provide him with the money he wanted for the mine, and so ruined his last chance. Anderson hardly replied; but what he did say was as soothing as possible; and at last the old man flung himself on his bed, excitement dying away in a sulky taciturnity.
Before Anderson left his room, Ginnell came in, bringing his accounts for certain small expenses. Anderson, standing with his back to his father, took out a pocketbook full of bills. At Calgary the day before a friend had repaid him a loan of a thousand dollars. He gave Ginnell a certain sum; talked to him in a low voice for a time, thinking his father had dropped asleep; and then dismissed him, putting the money in his pocket.
“Good night, father,” he said, standing beside the bed.
McEwen opened his eyes.
The eyes into which Anderson looked had no sleep in them. They were wild and bloodshot, and again Anderson felt a pang of helpless pity for a dishonoured and miserable old age.
“I’m sure you’ll get on at Vancouver, father,” he said gently. “And I shall be there next week.”
His father growled some unintelligible answer. As Anderson went to the door he again called after him angrily: “You were a d—— fool, George, not to find those dibs.”
“What, for the mine?” Anderson laughed. “Oh, we’ll go into that again at Vancouver.”
McEwen made no reply, and Anderson left him.
Anderson woke before seven. The long evening had passed into the dawn with scarcely any darkness, and the sun was now high. He sprang up, and dressed hastily. Going into the passage he saw to his astonishment that while the door of the Ginnells’ room was still closed, his father’s was wide open. He walked in. The room and the bed were empty. The contents of a box carefully packed by Ginnell—mostly with new clothes—the night before, were lying strewn about the room. But McEwen’s old clothes were gone, his gun and revolver, also his pipes and tobacco.
Anderson roused Ginnell, and they searched the house and its neighbourhood in vain. On going back into his own room, Anderson noticed an open drawer. He had placed his pocketbook there the night before, but without locking the drawer. It was gone, and in its place was a dirty scrap of paper.
“Don’t you try chivvying me, George, for you won’t get any good of it. You let me alone, and I’ll let you. You were a stingy fellow about that money, so I’ve took some of it. Good-bye.”
Sick at heart, Anderson resumed the search, further afield. He sent Ginnell along the line to make confidential inquiries. He telegraphed to persons known to him at Golden, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Ashcroft, all to no purpose. Twenty-four—thirty-six hours passed and nothing had been heard of the fugitive.