Father Adam was holding the small gauntleted hand, and he seemed loth to release it. His eyes were very gentle, very earnest.
“Don’t worry to remember, child. Don’t ever think about—this time. It won’t help you. You’ve set your goal. Make it. You will do the good things you fancy to do, though maybe not the way you think them. It seems to me that ‘good’ mostly has its own way all the time. You can’t drive it. And the best of it is I don’t think there’s a human creature so bad in this world, but that in some way God’s work has been furthered through his life. Good-bye.”
* * * * *
For some moments the lonely figure stood gazing down the woodland aisles. The deep, shining light of a great hope was in his eyes. A wonderful tender smile had dispersed the shadows of his ascetic face. At length, as the girl’s figure became completely swallowed up in the twilight of it all, he turned away and passed into the foliage shelter which was his home.
He was squatting on his box, and the small canvas bag containing his belongings was open beside him. Its contents were strewn about. He was writing a long letter. There was several pages of it. When he had finished he read it over carefully. Then he carefully folded it and placed it in an envelope, and addressed it. It was addressed:
MR. BULL STERNFORD,
Sachigo, Farewell Cove,
THE SKANDINAVIA MOVES
Bat gazed up at the wooded ridge. They were standing in the marshy bottom of a natural hollow amidst a sparse scattering of pine and attenuated spruce. Beyond the ridge lay the waters of the cove. And to the left the broad waters of the river mouth flowed by. It was a desolate, damp spot, but its significance to the two men studying it was profound.
Skert Lawton, the chief engineer of Sachigo, tall, loose-limbed, raw-boned, watched his superior with somewhat mournful, unsmiling eyes. There was something of deadly earnest in his regard, something anxious. But that was always his way. Bat had once said of him: “Skert Lawton’s one hell of a good boy. But I won’t get no comfort in the grave if I ain’t ever see him grin.” There was not the smallest sign of a smile in him now.
“It’s one big notion,” Bat said, at last. Then he added doubtfully. “It comes mighty nigh being too big.”
Lawton emitted a curious sound like a snort. It was mainly, however, an ejaculation of violent impatience. Bat turned with a twinkling grin, surveying the queer figure. His engineer was always a source of the profoundest interest for him. Just now, in his hard, rough clothing, he might have been a lumber-jack, or casual labourer. Anything, in fact, rather than the college-bred, brilliant engineer he really was.