Jacqueline of Golden River eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 216 pages of information about Jacqueline of Golden River.

I was within three hundred feet of Jacqueline’s home and yet as far away as though leagues divided us.  I looked down at the chateau and ground my teeth and swore that I would win her.  But all the rest of that day went in fruitless searching.

I must succeed in finding the entrance on the following day, for now Pere Antoine might return at any time, and I knew that he would prove far less tractable here in his own bailiwick than he had been when I defied him at the Frontenac.  By hook or by crook I must gain entrance to the valley.

This was to be my last night in the cabin.  I could not return, not though I were perishing in the snows.

Happily my eyes were now entirely well, and my hands, though chapped and roughened from the frost-bites, had suffered no permanent injury.  So I started out with grim resolution on the sixth morning, when the dawn was only a red streak on the horizon and the stars still lit my way.  Before the sun rose I was standing once more outside those two sentinel peaks.

To this point I knew the sleigh had come.  But whether it had continued straight down the valley or turned to the right along that same ridge which I had fruitlessly explored before, it was impossible to determine.

I tried to put myself in the position of a man travelling toward the chateau.  Which road would I take?  How and where would it occur to me to seek an entrance into the heart of those formidable hills?

The more I puzzled and pondered over the difficulty the harder it was to solve.

As I stood, rather weary, balancing myself upon my snow-shoes, I heard a wolf’s howl quite near to me.  Raising my head, I saw no wolf, but an Eskimo dog—­the very dog I had encountered in New York, Jacqueline’s dog!



The dog was standing on a rock at the base of the hill immediately before me—­and calling.

I almost thought that it was calling me.

I took a few steps toward it, and it disappeared immediately, as though alarmed—­apparently into the heart of the mountain.

I thought, of course, that it was crouching in a hollow place, or behind a boulder, and would reappear on my approach, but when I reached the spot where it had been it was nowhere to be seen.  And the pad-prints ran toward a tiny hole no bigger than the entrance to a fox’s lair—­and ended there.

At this spot an enormous boulder lay, almost concealing the burrow.  I put my shoulder against it—­in the hope of dislodging it sufficiently to enable me to see into the cavity.  To my astonishment, at the first touch it rolled into a new position, disclosing a wide natural tunnel in the mountainside, through which a sleigh might have passed easily!

I saw at once the explanation.  The boulder was a rocking stone.  It must have fallen at some time from the top of the arch, and happened to be so poised that at a touch it could be swung into one of two positions, alternately disclosing and concealing the tunnel in the cliff wall.

Project Gutenberg
Jacqueline of Golden River from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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