The girl smiled as she gazed at the beautiful pen. She shook her head.
“No,” she said. “I never possessed anything so beautiful in my life.”
“But you drop it as you come, I think, yes?” The man’s eyes were levelled at her devouringly. Quick as thought he turned to Elas watching the scene. “Is it yours? I see it on the carpet, yes?”
The manager was prompt to take his cue.
“It’s not mine,” he said. “It must be yours, Miss McDonald. If it isn’t I guess you’d best have it till we find its owner.”
The girl smiled from one to the other.
“Thanks ever so much,” she said, with frank pleasure. “I’ll keep it till we find the owner. It’s a lovely thing.”
She took the glittering pen from the fleshy fingers holding it. And just for an instant her hand encountered the banker’s. It was only for an instant, however. A moment later the door was closed carefully behind her by the man who had thought Elas crazy to employ a woman.
Elas Peterman was seated behind his desk again. His challenging smile was directed at the heavily breathing figure of the banker who had hurried back to his chair.
The great man laughed. It was a curious, unpleasant laugh. His heavy cheeks were flushed, and his eyes glittered curiously.
“You’re a judge, Elas, my boy,” he exclaimed, with clumsy geniality. “Oh, yes. But you are a young man. There is power in that young woman’s eyes.” He laughed again. “Oh, no, I think of the young woman. It not her capability is. See you look to your place in Skandinavia. Let her go. She may not buy this Sachigo as I think to buy it. She will buy the men we would drive from our path.”
THE LONELY FIGURE
The girl was leaning against the storm-ripped bole of a fallen tree. The great figure of her companion was silhouetted against the brilliant sky-line. He was contemplating the distance at the brink of a sheer-cut ravine, which dropped away at his feet to giddying depths.
Nancy gazed out beyond him. For the moment he held no interest for her. She only had eyes for the splendid picture of Nature. They were on high ground, a great shoulder lifted them clear above their surroundings. Far as the eye could see was a lustreless green world of unbroken forest. It seemed to have neither beginning nor end. To the girl’s imagination there could be no break in it until the eternal snows of the Arctic were reached.
The breadth of it all was a little overwhelming. Nancy was gazing upon just one portion of the Skandinavia’s untouched forest limits, and somehow it left her with a feeling of protest.
She pointed with one gauntleted hand, stirred to an impulse she could not deny.
“It’s too beautiful,” she said. “It isn’t fair: it’s not right. To think it’s all ours, and we have the right to destroy it.”