Elizabeth sat silent, looking back on the grim defile the train was just leaving. It was evident that they had passed the water-shed, and the train was descending. In a few minutes they would be at Glacier.
She roused herself to hold a rapid consultation over plans.
They must of course do as they were advised, and spend the night at Glacier.
* * * * *
The train drew up.
“Well, of all the nuisances!”—cried Philip, disgusted, as they prepared to leave the car.
Yerkes, like the showman that he was, began to descant volubly on the advantages and charms of the hotel, its Swiss guides, and the distinguished travellers who stayed there; dragging rugs and bags meanwhile out of the car. Nobody listened to him. Everybody in the little party, as they stood forlornly on the platform, was in truth searching for Anderson.
And at last he came—hurrying along towards them. His face, set, strained, and colourless, bore the stamp of calamity. But he gave them no time to question him.
“I am going on,” he said hastily to Elizabeth; “they will look after you here. I will arrange everything for you as soon as possible, and if we don’t meet before, perhaps—in Vancouver—”
“I say, are you going to hunt the robbers?” asked Philip, catching his arm.
Anderson made no reply. He turned to Delaine, drew him aside a moment, and put a letter into his hand.
“My father was one of them,” he said, without emotion, “and is dead. I have asked you to tell Lady Merton.”
There was a call for him. The train was already moving. He jumped into it, and was gone.
The station and hotel at Sicamous Junction, overlooking the lovely Mara lake, were full of people—busy officials of different kinds, or excited on-lookers—when Anderson reached them. The long summer day was just passing into a night that was rather twilight than darkness, and in the lower country the heat was great. Far away to the north stretched the wide and straggling waters of another and larger lake. Woods of poplar and cottonwood grew along its swampy shore, and hills, forest clad, held it in a shallow cup flooded with the mingled light of sunset and moonlight.
Anderson was met by a district superintendent, of the name of Dixon, as he descended from the train. The young man, with whom he was slightly acquainted, looked at him with excitement.
“This is a precious bad business! If you can throw any light upon it, Mr. Anderson, we shall be uncommonly obliged to you—”
Anderson interrupted him.
“Is the inquest to be held here?”
“Certainly. The bodies were brought in a few hours ago.”