He sighed gently. “Good son,” he whispered again; his big body relaxed, and the great heart of the Argonaut was still. Bryce held him until the realization came to him that his father was no more— that like a watch, the winding of which has been neglected, he had gradually slowed up and stopped.
“Good-bye, old John-partner!” he murmured.
“You’ve escaped into the light at last. We’ll go home together now, but we’ll come back again.”
And with his father’s body in his strong arms he departed from the little amphitheatre, walking lightly with his heavy burden down the old skid-road to the waiting automobile. And two days later John Cardigan returned to rest forever—with his lost mate among the Giants, himself at last an infinitesimal portion of that tremendous silence that is the diapason of the ages.
When the funeral was over, Shirley and Bryce lingered until they found themselves alone beside the freshly turned earth. Through a rift in the great branches two hundred feet above, a patch of cerulean sky showed faintly; the sunlight fell like a broad golden shaft over the blossom-laden grave, and from the brown trunk of an adjacent tree a gray squirrel, a descendant, perhaps, of the gray squirrel that had been wont to rob Bryce’s pockets of pine-nuts twenty years before, chirped at them inquiringly.
“He was a giant among men,” said Bryce presently. “What a fitting place for him to lie!” He passed his arm around his wife’s shoulders and drew her to him. “You made it possible, sweetheart.”
She gazed up at him in adoration. And presently they left the Valley of the Giants to face the world together, strong in their faith to live their lives and love their loves, to dream their dreams and perchance when life should be done with and the hour of rest at hand, to surrender, sustained and comforted by the knowledge that those dreams had come true.