“But it would be suicide!” objected Lapierre. “No possible good can come of it! To kill a lion, one does not thrust his head into the lion’s mouth in an effort to choke him to death. There are other ways.”
Chloe laughed. “He will not harm us,” she answered. “I am not going to kill him as one would kill a lion. There has been blood enough spilled already. As you say, there are other ways. We are going to Snare Lake for the purpose of procuring evidence that will convict this man in the courts.”
“The courts!” cried Lapierre. “Where are the courts north of sixty?”
“North of sixty, or south of sixty, what matters it? There are courts, and there are prisons awaiting such as he. Will you go with me, or must I go alone?”
Lapierre glanced toward the flaring fires, where the endless line of canoemen still toiled from the river to the storehouse. Slowly he arose from his chair and extended his hand.
“I will go with you,” he answered simply, “and now I will say good night.”
THE WHISKEY RUNNERS
When Lapierre left Chloe Elliston’s cottage after promising to accompany her to Snare Lake, he immediately sought out LeFroy, who was superintending the distribution of the last of the supplies in the storehouse.
The two proceeded to LeFroy’s room, and at the end of an hour sought the camp of the canoemen. Ten minutes later, two lean-bodied scouts took the trail for the Northward, with orders to report immediately the whereabouts of MacNair. If luck favoured him, Lapierre knew that MacNair accompanied by the pick of his hunters, would be far from Snare Lake, upon his semi annual pilgrimage to intercept the fall migration of the caribou herd, along the northernmost reaches of the barren grounds.
If MacNair had not yet started upon the fall hunt, the journey to Snare Lake must be delayed. For the crafty Lapierre had no intention whatever of risking a meeting with MacNair in the heart of his own domain. Neither had he any intention of journeying to Snare Lake for the purpose of securing evidence against MacNair to be used in a court of law. His plans for crushing MacNair’s power included no aid from constituted authority.
He noted with keen satisfaction that the girl’s hatred for MacNair had been greatly intensified, not so much by the attack upon her school, as by the stories she heard from the lips of Indians who passed back and forth upon the river. The posting of those Indians had been a happy bit of forethought on the part of Lapierre; and their stories had lost nothing in LeFroy’s interpretation.
Lapierre contrived to make the succeeding days busy ones. By arrangement with Chloe, a system of credits had been established, and from daylight to dark he was busy about the storehouse, paying off and outfitting his canoemen, who were to fare North upon the trap-lines until the breaking up of the ice in the spring would call them once more to the lakes and the rivers, to move Lapierre’s freight, handle his furs, and deliver his contraband whiskey.