And he hated them!
Dark came down at last. MacRae went out on the porch. The few scattered clouds had vanished completely. A starry sky glittered above horizons edged by mountain ranges, serrated outlines astonishingly distinct. The sea spread duskily mysterious from duskier shores. It was very still, to MacRae suddenly very lonely, empty, depressing.
The knowledge that just across a narrow neck of land the Gowers, father, daughter and son, went carelessly, securely about their own affairs, made him infinitely more lonely, irritated him, stirred up a burning resentment against the lot of them. He lumped them all together, despite a curious tendency on the part of Betty’s image to separate itself from the others. He hated them, the whole damned, profiteering, arrogant, butterfly lot. He nursed an unholy satisfaction in having made some inroad upon their comfortable security, in having “sunk his harpoon” into their only vulnerable spot.
But that satisfaction did not give him relief or content as he stood looking out into the clear frost-tinged night. Squitty had all at once become a ghostly place, haunted with sadness. Old Donald MacRae was living over again in him, he had a feeling, reliving those last few cheerless, hopeless years which, MacRae told himself savagely, Horace Gower had deliberately made more cheerless and hopeless.
And he was in a fair way to love that man’s flesh and blood? MacRae sneered at himself in the dark. Never to the point of staying his hand, of foregoing his purpose, of failing to strike a blow as chance offered. Not so long as he was his father’s son.
“Hang it, I’m getting morbid,” MacRae muttered at last. “I’ve been sticking around here too close. I’ll pack a bag to-morrow and go to town for a while.”
He closed the door on the crisp, empty night, and set about getting himself something to eat.
The Swing of the Pendulum
MacRae did himself rather well, as the English say, when he reached Vancouver. This was a holiday, and he was disposed to make the most of it. He put up at the Granada. He made a few calls and presently found himself automatically relaunched upon Vancouver’s social waters. There were a few maids and more than one matron who recalled pleasantly this straight up-standing youngster with the cool gray eyes who had come briefly into their ken the winter before. There were a few fellows he had known in squadron quarters overseas, home for good now that demobilization was fairly complete. MacRae danced well. He had the faculty of making himself agreeable without effort. He found it pleasant to fall into the way of these careless, well-dressed folk whose greatest labor seemed to be in amusing themselves, to keep life from seeming “slow.” Buttressed by revenues derived from substantial sources, mines, timber, coastal fisheries, land, established industries, these sons and daughters of the pioneers, many but one degree removed from pioneering uncouthness, were patterning their lives upon the plan of equivalent classes in older regions. If it takes six generations in Europe to make a gentleman, western America quite casually dispenses with five, and the resulting product seldom suffers by comparison.