“And now, children,” said Mrs. Bean, when the excitement of the evening had somewhat subsided, “it’s getting late. Let’s have a Christmas hymn, and then Dora must go to bed. You don’t mind, sir, I hope. We always sing several hymns on Christmas eve, and last year he was here to start them, for he had a good voice.”
“Oh, no,” Sinclair replied. “I don’t mind, so go ahead.”
The mother started and all joined in; and as the words of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” floated forth, old memories came drifting into the mind of the silent listener on the sofa. He forgot for a time his surroundings and saw only the little parish church, of his boyhood days, decked with fresh bright evergreens, and heard the choir singing the familiar carols. Several faces stood forth in clear relief; his parents’, honest and careworn; his rector’s, transfigured with a holy light; and one, fresh and fair, encircled by a wreath of light-brown tresses.
He came to himself with a start, thinking the choir was singing “Glory to the New-Born King,” when it was only the little group at his side finishing their hymn. Tears were stealing down his cheeks, which he quickly brushed away, lest his emotion should be observed.
That night, when the house was quiet, Sinclair drew forth a small note-book and wrote a few lines to the foreman of Camp Number Three. “Send word to the other camps as quickly as possible, and tell the men they need not come back till next Monday.” He then brought forth a thin book and made out a cheque for no small amount, payable to Mrs. Bean on account.
Little did Peter Sinclair realise that the letter written to the foreman would never reach its destination, and that months would pass before the cheque would be presented for payment.
THE NIGHT SUMMONS
All through the fall and winter Jasper had been very busy. The planning of the work, the overseeing of the men and ordering the supplies rested upon him alone. He felt the responsibility, and he was determined that as far as he was concerned the company should not be disappointed in the amount of logs cut and hauled to the large “brow” near the falls. He left the woods only when it was absolutely necessary for him to do so. Several times he was tempted to drive to the city when new supplies were needed instead of ordering them over the telephone from Creekdale. He longed to see Lois, even for a few minutes. Such a visit, no matter how brief, would be an inspiration to him in his arduous work. But he had always resisted the temptation, however, and had remained firmly at his post. His desire to see her and to listen to her voice was great. But he dreaded the idea of presenting himself at her home when she might have company, and he would feel so much out of place in their presence. It might embarrass Lois as well, so he reasoned, and it would be better for him not to go.