Alton, too, and as Jack is mixed up in some business of theirs and they are going to stay down in Vancouver we shall probably see a good deal of them. Jack, however, is sometimes a little hasty in making friends, and I want to know the other reason that brought Mr. Seaforth out from the old country." "You fancy there is one?" Thorne said quietly. "Yes.
Seaforth was now left in a dwelling that bid fair to emulate Noah's ark in an hour or two, without a chance of escape, and with no better company than five black oxen, in the dining-room, besides three sheep that were now scarcely able to keep their heads above water, and three little pigs that were already drowned.
Alton regarded him sternly out of half-closed eyes. "There are jokes that don't please me, Charley," he said, and then laughed softly. "I'm a fool with a red-hot temper, but it's a consolation that I know a bigger one than me." "You need not be bashful, Harry. You mean me?" Alton nodded as he turned upon his heel, and Seaforth watched him meditatively.
Argyle did not mean to fight him directly, but to keep dogging him at a distance and then to come up when he should be engaged with Seaforth! Instantly, therefore, he resolved not to go on against Seaforth, but to turn back, and fall upon Argyle first by himself.
Seaforth held his breath a moment until he heard the voice of the injured man. "I wouldn't worry about my head. It would take an axe to hurt me there," he said. "Look at the lashings."
While the Bonaventure and the Seaforth lay in front of the fort, two ships of France, in command of Serigny, one of d'Iberville's brothers, with provisions for La Forest, sailed in, and on sight of the English ships sailed out again to the open sea so hurriedly, indeed, that one of the craft struck an icefloe, split, and sank.
Nor was it till the next day that a half-frozen little girl, who was heard crying in the snow in front of a neighbor's house, disclosed the secret that Uncle Rube was missing. How had they known at all that there were seals on the ice that day? Known? Why, Mark Seaforth had gone all along the coast telling them early in the morning.
Alton was silent a space. "Three thousand pounds," he said, "is a good deal, even in the old country." "Yes," said Seaforth wearily; "though it goes a very little way as I spent it, it is, and I've been paying it back, at first a few dollars at a time, ever since I came out to the Dominion.
Do you think I don't know both of you better?" The last words were a trifle strained, and Alton stared at his comrade in bewildered astonishment, for Seaforth had betrayed himself in his passion. Then there was silence for a full minute until he said very quietly "And I never guessed." "No?" said Seaforth, still a trifle hoarsely. "And now I think you know."
A big man rose up slowly with an axe in his hand, and pointed to a board with rough letters cut in it nailed to a tree. "It may have been yours one time. It's ours now," he said. "There's no getting over the laws of this country." Seaforth expected an outbreak, and heard a growl from his comrades, who commenced to close in behind him, but Alton only closed one hand a little.