It was McTrigger, in the beginning of the starlight, who alone looked with clear vision upon the wonder of the thing that was happening. After a little Kent realized that McTrigger was talking, that a hand was on his shoulder, that the voice was both joyous and insistent. He rose to his feet, still holding Marette, her arms clinging to him. Her breath was sobbing and broken. And it was impossible for Kent to speak. He seemed to stumble over the distance between them and the lights, with McTrigger on the other side of Marette. It was McTrigger who opened a door, and they came into a glow of lamplight. It was a great, strange-looking room they entered. And over the threshold Marette’s hands dropped from Kent, and Kent stepped back, so that in the light they faced each other, and in that moment came the marvelous readjustment from shock and disbelief to a glorious certainty.
Again Kent’s brain was as clear as the day he faced death at the head of the Chute. And swift as a hot barb a fear leaped into him as his eyes met the eyes of the girl. She was terribly changed. Her face was white with a whiteness that startled him. It was thin. Her eyes were great, slumbering pools of violet, almost black in the lamp glow, and her hair—piled high on her head as he had seen it that first day at Cardigan’s—added to the telltale pallor in her cheeks. A hand trembled at her throat, and its thinness frightened him. For a space—a flash of seconds—she looked at him as if possessed of the subconscious fear that he was not Jim Kent, and then slowly her arms opened, and she reached them out to him. She did not smile, she did not cry out, she did not speak his name now; but her arms went round his neck as he took her to him, and her face dropped on his breast. He looked at McTrigger. A woman was standing beside him, a dark-haired, dark-eyed woman, and she had laid a hand on McTrigger’s arm, Kent, looking at them, understood.
The woman came to him. “I had better take her now, m’sieu,” she said. “Malcolm—will tell you. And a little later,—you may see her again.”
Her voice was low and soft. At the sound of it Marette raised her head, and her two hands stole to Kent’s cheeks in their old sweet way, and she whispered,
“Kiss me, Jeems—my Jeems—kiss me—”
A little later, clasping hands in the lamp glow, Kent and Sandy McTrigger stood alone in the big room. In their handclasp was the warm thrill of strong men met in an immutable brotherhood. Each had faced death for the other. Yet this thought, subconsciously and forever a part of them, expressed itself only in the grip of their fingers and in the understanding that lay deep in their eyes.
In Kent’s face the great question was of Marette. McTrigger saw the fear of it, and slowly he smiled, a glad and yet an anxious smile, as he looked toward the door through which Marette and the older woman had gone.