"Miss me!" Livingstone sneered bitterly. "With every damned hill
covered by this time with your outfit! I'll tell you this. If I'd
had a gun you'd never have got me alive."
Bassett was puzzled and slightly ruffled.
"My outfit! I'll tell you this, son, I've risked my neck half the
night to get you out of this mess."
"God Almighty couldn't get me out of this mess," Dick said somberly.
It was then that Bassett saw something not quite normal in his face,
and he rode closer.
"See here, Livingstone," he said, in a soothing tone, "nobody's
going to get you. I'm here to keep them from getting you. We've
got a good start, but we'll have to keep moving."
Dick sat obstinately still, his horse turned across the trail, and
his eyes still suspicious and unfriendly.
"I don't know you," he said doggedly. "And I've done all the
running away I'm going to do. You go back and tell Wilkins I'm
here and to come and get me. The sooner the better." The sneer
faded, and he turned on Bassett with a depth of tragedy in his eyes
that frightened the reporter. "My God," he said, "I killed a man
last night! I can't go through life with that on me. I'm done, I
"Last night!" Some faint comprehension began to dawn in Bassett's
mind, a suspicion of the truth. But there was no time to verify
it. He turned and carefully inspected the trail to where it came
into sight at the opposite rim of the valley. When he was satisfied
that the pursuit was still well behind them he spoke again.
"Pull yourself together, Livingstone," he said, rather sharply.
"Think a bit. You didn't kill anybody last night. Now listen,"
he added impressively. "You are Livingstone, Doctor Richard
Livingstone. You stick to that, and think about it."
But Dick was not listening, save to some bitter inner voice, for
suddenly he turned his horse around on the trail. "Get out of
the way," he said, "I'm going back to give myself up."
He would have done it, probably, would have crowded past Bassett
on the narrow trail and headed back toward capture, but for his
horse. It balked and whirled on the ledge, but it would not pass
Bassett. Dick swore and kicked it, his face ugly and determined,
but it refused sullenly. He slid out of the saddle then and tried
to drag it on, but he was suddenly weak and sick. He staggered.
Bassett was off his horse in a moment and caught him. He eased
him onto a boulder, and he sat there, his shoulders sagging and
his whole body twitching.
"Been drinking my head off," he said at last. "If I had a drink
now I'd straighten out." He tried to sit up. "That's what's the
matter with me. I'm funking, of course, but that's not all. I'd
give my soul for some whisky."'
"I can get you a drink, if you'll come on about a mile," Bassett
coaxed. "At the cabin you and I talked about yesterday."
"Now you're talking." Dick made an effort and got to his feet,
shaking off Bassett's assisting arm. "For God's sake keep your
hands off me," he said irritably. "I've got a hangover, that's all."
He got into his saddle without assistance and started off up the
trail. Bassett once more searched the valley, but it was empty
save for a deer drinking at the stream far below. He turned and
He was fairly hopeless by that time, what with Dick's unexpected
resistance and the change in the man himself. He was dealing with
something he did not understand, and the hypothesis of delirium
did not hold. There was a sort of desperate sanity in Dick's eyes.
That statement, now, about drinking his head off - he hadn't looked
yesterday like a drinking man. But now he did. He was twitching,
his hands shook. On the rock his face had been covered with a cold
sweat. What was that the doctor yesterday had said about delirium
tremens? Suppose he collapsed? That meant capture.
He did not need to guide Dick to the cabin. He turned off the
trail himself, and Bassett, following, saw him dismount and survey
the ruin with a puzzled face. But he said nothing. Bassett waiting
outside to tie the horses came in to find him sitting on one of the
dilapidated chairs, staring around, but all he said was:
"Get me that drink, won't you? I'm going to pieces." Bassett found
his tin cup where he had left it on a shelf and poured out a small
amount of whisky from his flask.
"This is all we have," he explained. "We'll have to go slow
It had an almost immediate effect. The twitching grew less, and a
faint color came into Dick's face. He stood up and stretched
himself. "That's better," he said. "I was all in. I must have
been riding that infernal horse for years."
He wandered about while the reporter made a fire and set the coffee
pot to boil. Bassett, glancing up once, saw him surveying the
ruined lean-to from the doorway, with an expression he could not
understand. But he did not say anything, nor did he speak again
until Bassett called him to get some food. Even then he was
laconic, and he seemed to be listening and waiting.
Once something startled the horses outside, and he sat up and
"They're here!" he said.
"I don't think so," Bassett replied, and went to the doorway. "No,"
he called back over his shoulder, "you go on and finish. I'll watch."
"Come back and eat," Dick said surlily.
He ate very little, but drank of the coffee. Bassett too ate almost
nothing. He was pulling himself together for the struggle that was
to come, marshaling his arguments for flight, and trying to fathom
the extent of the change in the man across the small table.
Dick put down his tin cup and got up. He was strong again, and the
nightmare confusion of the night had passed away. Instead of it
there was a desperate lucidity and a courage born of desperation.
He remembered it all distinctly; he had killed Howard Lucas the
night before. Before long Wilkins or some of his outfit would ride
up to the door, and take him back to Norada. He was not afraid of
that. They would always think he had run away because he was afraid
of capture, but it was not that. He had run away from Bev's face.
Only he had not got away from it. It had been with him all night,
and it was with him now.
But he would have to go back. He couldn't be caught like a rat in
a trap. The Clarks didn't run away. They were fighters. Only the
Clarks didn't kill. They fought, but they didn't murder.
He picked up his hat and went to the door.
"Well, you've been mighty kind, old man," he said. "But I've got
to go back. I ran last night like a scared kid, but I'm through
with that sort of foolishness."
"I'd give a good bit," Bassett said, watching him, "to know what
made you run last night. You were safe where you were."
"I don't know what you are talking about," Dick said drearily. "I
didn't run from them. I ran to get away from something." He turned
away irritably. "You wouldn't understand. Say I was drunk. I
was, for that matter. I'm not over it yet."
Bassett watched him.
"I see," he said quietly. "It was last night, was it, that this
"You know it, don't you?"
"And, after it happened, do you remember what followed?"
"I've been riding all night. I didn't care what happened. I knew
I'd run into a whale of a blizzard, but I - "
He stopped and stared outside, to where the horses grazed in the
upland meadow, knee deep in mountain flowers. Bassett, watching
him, saw the incredulity in his eyes, and spoke very gently.
"My dear fellow," he said, "you are right. Try to understand what
I am saying, and take it easy. You rode into a blizzard, right
enough. But that was not last night. It was ten years ago."
Had Bassett had some wider knowledge of Dick's condition he might
have succeeded better during that bad hour that followed.
Certainly, if he had hoped that the mere statement of fact and its
proof would bring results, he failed. And the need for haste, the
fear of the pursuit behind them, made him nervous and incoherent.
He had first to accept the incredible, himself - that Dick
Livingstone no longer existed, that he had died and was buried deep
in some chamber of an unconscious mind. He made every effort to
revive him, to restore him into the field of consciousness, but
without result. And his struggle was increased in difficulty by
the fact that he knew so little of Dick's life. David's name meant
nothing, apparently, and it was the only name he knew. He described
the Livingstone house; he described Elizabeth as he had seen her
that night at the theater. Even Minnie. But Dick only shook his
head. And until he had aroused some instinct, some desire to live,
he could not combat Dick's intention to return and surrender.
"I understand what you are saying," Dick would say. "I'm trying to
get it. But it doesn't mean anything to me."
He even tried the war.
"War? What war?" Dick asked. And when he heard about it he groaned.
"A war!" he said. "And I've missed it!"
But soon after that he got up, and moved to the door.
"I'm going back," he said.
"They're after me, aren't they?"
"You're forgetting again. Why should they be after you now, after
"I see. I can't get it, you know. I keep listening for them."
Bassett too was listening, but he kept his fears to himself.
"Why did you do it?" he asked finally.
"I was drunk, and I hated him. He married a girl I was crazy about."
Bassett tried new tactics. He stressed the absurdity of surrendering
for a crime committed ten years before and forgotten.
"They won't convict you anyhow," he urged. "It was a quarrel, wasn't
it? I mean, you didn't deliberately shoot him?"
"I don't remember. We quarreled. Yes. I don't remember shooting him."
"What do you remember?"
Dick made an effort, although he was white to the lips.
"I saw him on the floor," he said slowly, and staggered a little.
"Then you don't even know you did it."
"I hated him."
But Bassett saw that his determination to surrender himself was
weakening. Bassett fought it with every argument he could summon,
and at last he brought forward the one he felt might be conclusive.
"You see, you've not only made a man's place in the world, Clark,
as I've told you. You've formed associations you can't get away
from. You've got to think of the Livingstones, and you told me
yesterday a shock would kill the old man. But it's more than that.
There's a girl back in your town. I think you were engaged to her."
But if he had hoped to pierce the veil with that statement he
failed. Dick's face flushed, and he went to the door of the cabin,
much as he had gone to the window the day before. He did not look
around when he spoke.
"Then I'm an unconscionable cad," he said. "I've only cared for
one woman in my life. And I've shipwrecked her for good."
"You mean - "
"You know who I mean."
Sometime later Bassett got on his horse and rode out to a ledge
which commanded a long stretch of trail in the valley below. Far
away horsemen were riding along it, one behind the other, small
dots that moved on slowly but steadily. He turned and went back
to the cabin.
"We'd better be moving," he said, "and it's up to you to say where.
You've got two choices. You can go back to Norada and run the
chance of arrest. You know what that means. Without much chance
of a conviction you will stand trial and bring wretchedness to the
people who stood by you before and who care for you now. Or you
can go on over the mountains with me and strike the railroad
somewhere to the West. You'll have time to think things over,
anyhow. They've waited ten years. They can wait longer."
To his relief Dick acquiesced. He had become oddly passive; he
seemed indeed not greatly interested. He did not even notice the
haste with which Bassett removed the evidences of their meal, or
extinguished the dying fire and scattered the ashes. Nor, when
they were mounted, the care with which they avoided the trail. He
gave, when asked, information as to the direction of the railroad
at the foot of the western slope of the range, and at the same
instigation found a trail for them some miles beyond their starting
point. But mostly he merely followed, in a dead silence.
They made slow progress. Both horses were weary and hungry, and
the going was often rough and even dangerous. But for Dick's
knowledge of the country they would have been hopelessly lost.
Bassett, however, although tortured with muscular soreness, felt
his spirits rising as the miles were covered, and there was no sign
of the pursuit.
By mid-afternoon they were obliged to rest their horses and let
them graze, and the necessity of food for themselves became
insistent. Dick stretched out and was immediately asleep, but the
reporter could not rest. The magnitude of his undertaking obsessed
him. They had covered perhaps twenty miles since leaving the
cabin, and the railroad was still sixty miles away. With fresh
horses they could have made it by dawn of the next morning, but he
did not believe their jaded animals could go much farther. The
country grew worse instead of better. A pass ahead, which they
must cross, was full of snow.
He was anxious, too, as to Dick's physical condition. The
twitching was gone, but he was very pale and he slept like a man
exhausted and at his physical limit. But the necessity of crossing
the pass before nightfall or of waiting until dawn to do it drove
Bassett back from an anxious reconnoitering of the trail at five
o'clock, to rouse the sleeping man and start on again.
Near the pass, however, Dick roused himself and took the lead.
"Let me ahead, Bassett," he said peremptorily. "And give your
horse his head. He'll take care of you if you give him a chance."
Bassett was glad to fall back. He was exhausted and nervous. The
trail frightened him. It clung to the side of a rocky wall,
twisting and turning on itself; it ran under milky waterfalls of
glacial water, and higher up it led over an ice field which was a
glassy bridge over a rushing stream beneath. To add to their
wretchedness mosquitoes hung about them in voracious clouds, and
tiny black gnats which got into their eyes and their nostrils and
set the horses frantic.
Once across the ice field Dick's horse fell and for a time could
not get up again. He lay, making ineffectual efforts to rise, his
sides heaving, his eyes rolling in distress. They gave up then,
and prepared to make such camp as they could.
With the setting of the sun it had grown bitterly cold, and Bassett
was forced to light a fire. He did it under the protection of the
mountain wall, and Dick, after unsaddling his fallen horse, built
a rough shelter of rocks against the wind. After a time the
exhausted horse got up, but there was no forage, and the two
animals stood disconsolate, or made small hopeless excursions,
noses to the ground, among the moss and scrub pines.
Before turning in Bassett divided the remaining contents of the
flask between them, and his last cigarettes. Dick did not talk.
He sat, his back to the shelter, facing the fire, his mind busy
with what Bassett knew were bitter and conflicting thoughts. Once,
however, as the reporter was dozing off, Dick spoke.
"You said I told you there was a girl," he said. "Did I tell you
"All right. Go to sleep. I thought if I heard it it might help."
Bassett lay back and watched him.
"Better get some sleep, old man," he said.
He dozed, to waken again cold and shivering. The fire had burned
low, and Dick was sitting near it, unheeding, and in a deep study.
He looked up, and Bassett was shocked at the quiet tragedy in his face.
"Where is Beverly Carlysle now?" he asked. "Or do you know?"
"Yes. I saw her not long ago."
"Is she married again?"
"No. She's revived 'The Valley,' and she's in New York with it."
Dick slept for only an hour or so that night, but as he slept he
dreamed. In his dream he was at peace and happy, and there was a
girl in a black frock who seemed to be a part of that peace. When
he roused, however, still with the warmth of his dream on him, he
could not summon her. She had slipped away among the shadows of
He sat by the fire in the grip of a great despair. He had lost ten
years out of his life, his best years. And he could not go back to
where he had left off. There was nothing to go back to but shame and
remorse. He looked at Bassett, lying by the fire, and tried to fit
him into the situation. Who was he, and why was he here? Why had
he ridden out at night alone, into unknown mountains, to find him?
As though his intent gaze had roused the sleeper, Bassett opened
his eyes, at first drowsily, then wide awake. He raised himself
on his elbow and listened, as though for some far-off sound, and
his face was strained and anxious. But the night was silent, and
he relaxed and slept again.
Something that had been forming itself in Dick's mind suddenly
crystallized into conviction. He rose and walked to the edge of
the mountain wall and stood there listening. When he went back to
the fire he felt in his pockets, found a small pad and pencil, and
bending forward to catch the light, commenced to write...
At dawn Bassett wakened. He was stiff and wretched, and he grunted
as he moved. He turned over and surveyed the small plateau. It
was empty, except for his horse, making its continuous, hopeless
search for grass.
David was enjoying his holiday. He lay in bed most of the morning,
making the most of his one after-breakfast cigar and surrounded by
newspaper and magazines. He had made friends of the waiter who
brought his breakfast, and of the little chambermaid who looked
after his room, and such conversations as this would follow:
"Well, Nellie," he would say, "and did you go to the dance on the
pier last night?"
"Oh, yes, doctor."
"Your gentleman friend showed up all right, then?"
"Oh, yes. He didn't telephone because he was on a job out of town."
Here perhaps David would lower his voice, for Lucy was never far
"Did you wear the flowers?"
"Yes, violets. I put one away to remember you by. It was funny
at first. I wouldn't tell him who gave them to me."
David would chuckle delightedly.
"That's right," he would say. "Keep him guessing, the young rascal.
We men are kittle cattle, Nellie, kittle cattle!"
Even the valet unbent to him, and inquired if the doctor needed a
man at home to look after him and his clothes. David was
"Well," he said, with a twinkle in his eye. "I'll tell you how I
manage now, and then you'll see. When I want my trousers pressed I
send them downstairs and then I wait in my bathrobe until they come
back. I'm a trifle better off for boots, but you'd have to knock
Mike, my hired man, unconscious before he'd let you touch them."
The valet grinned understandingly.
"Of course, there's my nephew," David went on, a little note of
pride in his voice. "He's become engaged recently, and I notice
he's bought some clothes. But still I don't think even he will
want anybody to hold his trousers while he gets into them."
David chuckled over that for a long time after the valet had gone.
He was quite happy and contented. He spent all afternoon in a
roller chair, conversing affably with the man who pushed him, and
now and then when Lucy was out of sight getting out and stretching
his legs. He picked up lost children and lonely dogs, and tried
his eye in a shooting gallery, and had hard work keeping off the
roller coasters and out of the sea.
Then, one day, when he had been gone some time, he was astonished
on entering his hotel to find Harrison Miller sitting in the lobby.
David beamed with surprise and pleasure.
"You old humbug!" he said. "Off on a jaunt after all! And the
contempt of you when I was shipped here!"
Harrison Miller was constrained and uncomfortable. He had meant
to see Lucy first. She was a sensible woman, and she would know
just what David could stand, or could not. But David did not
notice his constraint; took him to his room, made him admire the
ocean view, gave him a cigar, and then sat down across from him,
beaming and hospitable.
"Suffering Crimus, Miller," he said. "I didn't know I was homesick
until I saw you. Well, how's everything? Dick's letters haven't
been much, and we haven't had any for several days."
Harrison Miller cleared his throat. He knew that David had not
been told of Jim Wheeler's death, but that Lucy knew. He knew too
from Walter Wheeler that David did not know that Dick had gone west.
Did Lucy know that, or not? Probably yes. But he considered the
entire benevolent conspiracy an absurdity and a mistake. It was
making him uncomfortable, and most of his life had been devoted to
He decided to temporize.
"Things are about the same," he said. "They're going to pave
Chisholm Street. And your Mike knocked down the night watchman
last week. I got him off with a fine."
"I hope he hasn't been in my cellar. He's got a weakness, but
then - How's Dick? Not overworking?"
"No. He's all right."
But David was no man's fool. He began to see something strange in
Harrison's manner, and he bent forward in his chair.
"Look here, Harrison," he said, "there's something the matter with
you. You've got something on your mind."
"Well, I have and I haven't. I'd like to see Lucy, David, if she's
"Lucy's gadding. You can tell me if you can her. What is it? Is
it about Dick?"
"In a way, yes."
"He's not sick?"
"No. He's all right, as far as I know. I guess I'd better tell
you, David. Walter Wheeler has got some sort of bee in his bonnet,
and he got me to come on. Dick was pretty tired and - well, one or
two things happened to worry him. One was that Jim Wheeler - you'll
get this sooner or later - was in an automobile accident, and it
did for him."
David had lost some of his ruddy color. It was a moment before he
"Poor Jim," he said hoarsely. "He was a good boy, only full of
life. It will be hard on the family."
"Yes," Harrison Miller said simply.
But David was resentful, too. When his friends were in trouble he
wanted to know about it. He was somewhat indignant and not a little
hurt. But he soon reverted to Dick.
"I'll go back and send him off for a rest," he said. "I'm as good
as I'll ever be, and the boy's tired. What's the bee in Wheeler's
"Look here, David, you know your own business best, and Wheeler
didn't feel at liberty to tell me very much. But he seemed to
think you were the only one who could tell us certain things. He'd
have come himself, but it's not easy for him to leave the family
just now. Dick went away just after Jim's funeral. He left a young
chap named Reynolds in his place, and, I believe, in order not to
worry you, some letters to be mailed at intervals."
"Went where?" David asked, in a terrible voice.
"To a town called Norada, in Wyoming. Near his old home somewhere.
And the Wheelers haven't heard anything from him since the day he
got there. That's three weeks ago. He wrote Elizabeth the night
he got there, and wired her at the same time. There's been nothing
David was gripping the arms of his chair with both hands, but he
forced himself to calmness.
"I'll go to Norada at once," he said. "Get a time-table, Harrison,
and ring for the valet."
"Not on your life you won't. I'm here to do that, when I've got
something to go on. Wheeler thought you might have heard from him.
If you hadn't, I was to get all the information I could and then
start. Elizabeth's almost crazy. We wired the chief of police
of Norada yesterday."
"Yes!" David said thickly. "Trust your friends to make every
damned mistake possible! You've set the whole pack on his trail."
And then he fell back in his chair, and gasped, "Open the window!"
When Lucy came in, a half hour later, she found David on his bed
with the hotel doctor beside him, and Harrison Miller in the room.
David was fighting for breath, but he was conscious and very calm.
He looked up at her and spoke slowly and distinctly.
"They've got Dick, Lucy," he said.
He looked aged and pinched, and entirely hopeless. Even after his
heart had quieted down and he lay still among his pillows, he gave
no evidence of his old fighting spirit. He lay with his eyes shut,
relaxed and passive. He had done his best, and he had failed. It
was out of his hands now, and in the hands of God. Once, as he lay