“No. I told you you were to have nothing to do with my Indians. I also warned my Indians against you—and your partner Lapierre. I cannot warn them against you and then take you among them.”
“Very well. I shall go myself, then. I came up here to see your fort and the condition of your Indians. You knew I would come.”
“No. I did not know that. I had not seen the fighting spirit in your eyes then. Now I know that you will come—but not while I am here. And when you do come you will be taken back to your own school. You will not be harmed, for you are honest in your purpose. But you will, nevertheless, be prevented from coming into contact with my Indians. I will have none of Lapierre’s spies hanging about, to the injury of my people.”
“Lapierre’s spies! Do you think I am a spy? Lapierre’s?”
“Not consciously, perhaps—but a spy, nevertheless. Lapierre may even now be lurking near for the furtherance of some evil design.”
Chloe suddenly realized that MacNair’s boring, steel-grey eyes were fixed upon her with a new intentness—as if to probe into the very thoughts of her brain.
“Mr. Lapierre is far to the Southward,” she said—and then, upon the edge of the tiny clearing, a twig snapped. The man whirled, his rifle jerked into position, there was a loud report, and Bob MacNair sank slowly down upon the grass mound that was his mother’s grave.
BACK ON THE YELLOW KNIFE
The whole affair had been so sudden that Chloe scarcely realized what had happened before a man stepped quickly into the clearing, at the same time slipping a revolver into its holster. The girl gazed at him in amazement. It was Pierre Lapierre. He stepped forward, hat in hand. Chloe glanced swiftly from the dark, handsome features to the face of the man on the ground. The grey eyes opened for a second, and then closed; but in that brief, fleeting glance the girl read distrust, contempt, and silent reproach. The man’s lips moved, but no sound came—and with a laboured, fluttering sigh, he sank into unconsciousness.
“Once more, it seems, my dear Miss Elliston, I have arrived just in time.”
A sudden repulsion for this cruel, suave killer of men flashed into the girl’s brain. “Get some water,” she cried, and dropping to her knees began to unbutton MacNair’s flannel shirt.
“But—” objected Lapierre.
“Will you get some water? This is no time to argue! You can explain later!” Lapierre turned and without a word, walked to the lake and, taking a pail from the canoe, filled it with water. When he returned, Chloe was tearing white bandages from a garment essentially feminine, while Big Lena endeavoured to stanch the flow of blood from a small wound high on the man’s left breast, and another, more ragged wound where the bullet had torn through the thick muscles of his back.