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more conceive it than he could imagine noon and midnight in conjunction,
and feeling as guilty as if he had played the part of an eavesdropper he
turned away, snapped off the lights, and slipped into bed.

The pleasant warmth of sleep would not come. In its place the images of
the day filed past him like the dance of figures on a motion picture
screen, and always, like the repeated entrance of the hero, the other
images grew small and dim. He saw again the burly stranger wading
through the crowd in the arena, shaking off the packed mob as the prow
of a stately ship shakes off the water, to either side.

At length he started out of bed and glanced through the window. The
moving shadow still swept across the lighted shades of his father's
room; so he donned bathrobe and slippers and went down the long hall. At
the door he did not stop to knock, for he was too deeply concerned by
this time to pay any heed to convention. He grasped the knob and threw
the door wide open. What happened then was so sudden that he could not
be sure afterward what he had seen. He was certain that the door opened
on a lighted room, yet before he could step in the lights were snapped

He was staring into a deep void of night; and a silence came about him
like a whisper. Out of that silence he thought after a second that he
caught the sound of a hurried breathing, louder and louder, as though
someone were creeping upon him. He glanced over his shoulder in a slight
panic, but down the grey hall on either side there was nothing to be
seen. Once more he looked back into the solemn room, opened his lips to
speak, changed his mind, and closed the door again.

Yet when he looked down again from his own room the lights shone once
more on the shades of his father's windows. Past them brushed the shadow
of the pacing man, up and down, up and down. He turned his eyes away to
the jagged tops of the young trees, to the glimpses of dark fields
beyond them, and inhaled the scent of the wet, green things. It seemed
to Anthony as if it all were hostile - as though the whole outdoors were
besieging this house.

He caught the sway of the pacing figure whose shadow moved in regular
rhythm across the yellow shades. It entered his mind, clung there, and
finally he began to pace in the same cadence, up and down the room. With
every step he felt that he was entering deeper into the danger which
threatened John Woodbury. What danger? For answer to himself he stepped
to the windows and pulled down the shades. At least he could be alone.



There is no cleanser of the mind like a morning bath. The same cold,
whipping spray which calls up the pink blood, glowing through the marble
of the skin, drives the ache of sleep from the brain, and washes away at
once all the recorded thoughts of yesterday. So in place of a crowded
slate of wonders and doubts, Anthony bore down to the breakfast table a
willingness to take what the morning might bring and forget the night

John Woodbury was already there, helping himself from the covered
dishes, for the meal was served in the English style. There was the
usual "Good-morning, sir," "Good-morning, Anthony," and then they took
their places at the table. A cautious survey of the craglike face of his
father showed no traces of a sleepless night; but then, what could a
single night of unrest mean to that body of iron?

He ventured, remembering the implied command to remain within the house
until further orders: "You asked me to speak to you, sir, before I left
the house. I'd rather like to take a ride this morning."

And the imperturbable voice replied: "You've worn your horses out
lately. Better give them a day of rest."

That was all, but it brought back to Anthony the thought of the shadow
which had swept ceaselessly across the yellow shades of his father's
room; and he settled down to a day of reading. The misty rain of the
night before had cleared the sky of its vapours, so he chose a nook in
the library where the bright spring sun shone full and the open fire
supplied the warmth. At lunch his father did not appear, and Peters
announced that the master was busy in his room with papers. The
afternoon repeated the morning, but with less unrest on the part of
Anthony. He was busy with _L'Assommoir_, and lost himself in the story
of downfall, surrounding himself with each unbeautiful detail.

Lunch was repeated at dinner, for still John Woodbury seemed to be "busy
with papers in his room." A fear came to Anthony that he was to be
dodged indefinitely in this manner, deceived like a child, and kept in
the house until the silent drama was played out. But when he sat in the
library that evening his father came in and quietly drew up a chair by
the fire. The stage was ideally set for a confidence, but none was
forthcoming. The fire shook long, sleepy shadows through the room, the
glow of the two floor-lamps picked out two circles of light, and still
the elder man sat over his paper and would not speak.

_L'Assommoir_ ended, and to rid himself of the grey tragedy, Anthony
looked up and through the windows toward the bright night which lay over
the gardens and terraces outside, for a full moon silvered all with a
flood of light. It was a waiting time, and into it the old-fashioned
Dutch clock in the corner sent its voice with a monotonous, softly
clanging toll of seconds, until Anthony forgot the moonlight over the
outside terraces to watch the gradual sway of the pendulum. A minute,
spent in this manner, was equal to an hour of ordinary time. Fascinated
by the sway of the pendulum he became conscious of the passage of
existence like a river broad and wide and shining which flowed on into
an eternity of chance and left him stationary on the banks.

The voice which sounded at length was as dim and visionary as a part of
his waking dream. It was like one of those imagined calls from the
world of action to him who stood there, watching reality run past and
never stirring himself to take advantage of the thousand opportunities
for action. He would have discarded it for a part of his dream, had not
he seen John Woodbury raise his head sharply, heard the paper fall with
a dry crackling to the floor, and watched the square jaw of his father
jut out in that familiar way which meant danger.

Once more, and this time it was unmistakably clear: "John Bard, - John
Bard, come out to me!"

The big, grey man rose with widely staring eyes as if the name belonged
to him, and strode with a thumping step into the secret room. Hardly had
the clang of the closing door died out when he reappeared, fumbling at
his throat. Straight to Anthony he came and extended a key from which
dangled a piece of thin silver chain. It was the key to the secret room.

He took it in both hands, like a young knight receiving the pommel of
his sword from him who has just given the accolade, and stared down at
it until the creaking of the opened French windows startled him to his

"Wait!" he called, "I will go also!"

The big man at the open window turned.

"You will sit where you are now," said his harsh voice, "but if I don't
return you have the key to the room."

His burly shoulders disappeared down the steps toward the garden, and
Anthony slipped back into his chair; yet for the first time in his life
he was dreaming of disobeying the command of John Woodbury.
Woodbury - yet the big man had risen automatically in answer to the name
of Bard. John Bard! It struck on his consciousness like two hammer blows
wrecking some fragile fabric; it jarred home like the timed blow of a
pugilist. Woodbury? There might be a thousand men capable of that name,
but there could only be one John Bard, and that was he who had
disappeared down the steps leading to the garden. Anthony swerved in his
chair and fastened his eyes on the Dutch clock. He gave himself five
minutes before he should move.

The watched pot will never boil, and the minute hand of the big clock
dragged forward with deadly pauses from one black mark to the next.
Whispers rose in the room. Something fluttered the fallen newspaper as
if a ghost-hand grasped it but had not the strength to raise; and the
window rattled, with a sharp gust of wind. The last minute Anthony spent
at the open French window with a backward eye on the clock; then he
raced down the steps as though in his turn he answered a call out of the

The placid coolness of the open and the touch of moist, fresh air
against his forehead mocked him as he reached the garden, and there were
reassuring whispers from the trees he passed; yet he went on with a
long, easy stride like a runner starting a distance race. First he
skirted the row of poplars on the drive; then doubled back across the
meadow to his right and ran in a sharp-angling course across an orchard
of apple trees. Diverging from this direction, he circled at a quicker
pace toward the rear of the grounds and coursed like a wild deer over a
stretch of terraced lawns. On one of these low crests he stopped short
under the black shadow of an elm.

In the smooth-shaven centre of the hollow before him, the same ground
over which he had run and played a thousand times in his childhood, he
saw two tall men standing back to back, like fighters come to a last
stand and facing a crowd of foes. They separated at once, striding out
with a measured step, and it was not until they moved that he caught the
glint of metal at the side of one of them and knew that one was the man
who had answered to the name of John Bard and the other was the grey
man who had spoken to him at the Garden the night before. He knew it not
so much by the testimony of his eyes at that dim distance as by a queer,
inner feeling that this must be so. There was also a sense of
familiarity about the whole thing, as if he were looking on something
which he had seen rehearsed a thousand times.

As if they reached the end of an agreed course, the two whirled at the
same instant, the metal in their hands glinted in an upward semicircle,
and two guns barked hoarsely across the lawns.

One of them stood with his gun still poised; the other leaned gradually
forward and toppled at full length on the grass. The victor strode out
toward the fallen, but hearing the wild yell of Anthony he stopped,
turned his head, and then fled into the grove of trees which topped the
next rise of ground. After him, running as he had never before raced,
went Anthony; his hand, as he sprinted, already tensed for the coming
battle; two hundred yards at the most and he would reach the lumbering
figure which had plunged into the night of the trees; but a call reached
him as sharp as the crack of the guns a moment before: "Anthony!"

His head twitched to one side and he saw John Bard rising to his elbow.
His racing stride shortened choppily.


He could not choose but halt, groaning to give up the chase, and then
sped back to the fallen man. At his coming John Bard collapsed on the
grass, and when Anthony knelt beside him a voice in rough dialect began,
as if an enforced culture were brushed away and forgotten in the crisis:
"Anthony, there ain't no use in followin' him!"

"Where did the bullet strike you? Quick!"

"A place where it ain't no use to look. I know!"

"Let me follow him; it's not too late - "

The dying man struggled to one elbow.

"Don't follow, lad, if you love me."

"Who is he? Give me his name and - "

"He's acted in the name of God. You have no right to hunt him down."

"Then the law will do that."

"Not the law. For God's sake swear - "

"I'll swear anything. But now lie quiet; let me - "

"Don't try. This couldn't end no other way for John Bard."

"Is that your real name?"

"Yes. Now listen, Anthony, for my time's short."

He closed his eyes as if fighting silently for strength.

Then: "When I was a lad like you, Anthony - " That was all. The massive
body relaxed; the head fell back into the dewy grass. Anthony pressed
his head against the breast of John Bard and it seemed to him that there
was still a faint pulse. With his pocket knife he ripped away the coat
from the great chest and then tore open the shirt. On the expanse of the
hairy chest there was one spot from which the purple blood welled; a
deadly place for a wound, and yet the bleeding showed that there must
still be life.

He had no chance to bind the wound, for John Bard opened his eyes again
and said, as if in his dream he had still continued his tale to Anthony.

"So that's all the story, lad. Do you forgive me?"

"For what, sir? In God's name, for what?"

"Damnation! Tell me; do you forgive John Bard?"

He did not hear the answer, for he murmured: "Even Joan would forgive,"
and died.



As Anthony Woodbury, he knelt beside the dying. As Anthony Bard he rose
with the dead man in his arms a mighty burden even for his supple
strength; yet he went staggering up the slope, across a level terrace,
and back to the house. There it was Peters who answered his call, Peters
with a flabby face grown grey, but still the perfect servant who asked
no questions; together they bore the weight up the stairs and placed it
on John Bard's bed. While Anthony kept his steady vigil by the dead man,
it was Peters again who summoned the police and the useless doctor.

To the old, uniformed sergeant, Anthony told a simple lie. His father
had gone for a walk through the grounds because the night was fine, and
Anthony was to join him there later, but when he arrived he found a
dying man who could not even explain the manner of his death.

"Nothin' surprises me about a rich man's death," said the sergeant,
"not in these here days of anarchy. Got a place to write? I want to make
out my report."

So Anthony led the grizzled fellow to the library and supplied him with
what he wished. The sergeant, saying good-bye, shook hands with a
lingering grip.

"I knew John Woodbury," he said, "just by sight, but I'm here to tell
the world that you've lost a father who was just about all man. So long;
I'll be seein' you again."

Left alone, Anthony Bard went to the secret room. The key fitted
smoothly into the lock. What the door opened upon was a little grey
apartment with an arched ceiling, a place devoid of a single article of
furniture save a straight-backed chair in the centre. Otherwise Anthony
saw three things-two pictures on the wall and a little box in the
corner. He went about his work very calmly, for here, he knew, was the
only light upon the past of John Bard, that past which had lain passive
so long and overwhelmed him on this night.

First he took up the box, as being by far the most promising of the
three to give him what he wished to know; the name of the slayer, the
place where he could be found, and the cause of the slaying. It held
only two things; a piece of dirty silk and a small oil can; but the oil
can and the black smears on the silk made him look closer, closer until
the meaning struck him in a flare, as the glow of a lighted match
suddenly illumines, even if faintly, an entire room.

In that box the revolver had lain, and here every day through all the
year, John Bard retired to clean and oil his gun, oil and reclean it,
keeping it ready for the crisis. That was why he went to the secret room
as soon as he heard the call from the garden, and carrying that gun with
him he had walked out, prepared. The time had come for which he had
waited a quarter of a century, knowing all that time that the day must
arrive. It was easy to understand now many an act of the big grim man;
but still there was no light upon the slayer.

As he sat pondering he began to feel as if eyes were fastened upon him,
watching, waiting, mocking him, eyes from behind which stared until a
chill ran up his back. He jerked his head up, at last, and flashed a
glance over his shoulder.

Indeed there was mockery in the smile with which she stared down to him
from her frame, down to him and past him as if she scorned in him all
men forever. It was not that which made Anthony close his eyes. He was
trying with all his might to conjure up his own image vividly. He
looked again, comparing his picture with this portrait on the wall, and
then he knew why the grey man at the Garden had said: "Son, who's your
mother?" For this was she into whose eyes he now stared.

She had the same deep, dark eyes, the same black hair, the same rather
aquiline, thin face which her woman's eyes and lovely mouth made
beautiful, but otherwise the same. He was simply a copy of that head
hewn with a rough chisel - a sculptor's clay model rather than a smoothly
finished re-production.

Ah, and the fine spirit of her, the buoyant, proud, scornful spirit! He
stretched out his arms to her, drew closer, smiling as if she could meet
and welcome his caress, and then remembered that this was a thing of
canvas and paint - a bright shadow; no more.

To the second picture he turned with a deeper hope, but his heart fell
at once, for all he saw was an enlarged photograph, two mountains,
snow-topped in the distance, and in the foreground, first a mighty pine
with the branches lopped smoothly from the side as though some
tremendous ax had trimmed it, behind this a ranch-house, and farther
back the smooth waters of a lake.

He turned away sadly and had reached the door when something made him
turn back and stand once more before the photograph. It was quite the
same, but it took on a different significance as he linked it with the
two other objects in the room, the picture of his mother and the
revolver box. He found himself searching among the forest for the
figures of two great grey men, equal in bulk, such Titans as that wild
country needed.

West it must be, but where? North or South? West, and from the West
surely that grey man at the Garden had come, and from the West John Bard
himself. Those two mountains, spearing the sky with their sharp
horns - they would be the pole by which he steered his course.

A strong purpose is to a man what an engine is to a ship. Suppose a hull
lies in the water, stanchly built, graceful in lines of strength and
speed, nosing at the wharf or tugging back on the mooring line, it may
be a fine piece of building but it cannot be much admired. But place an
engine in the hull and add to those fine lines the purr of a
motor - there is a sight which brings a smile to the lips and a light in
the eyes. Anthony had been like the unengined hulk, moored in gentle
waters with never the hope of a voyage to rough seas. Now that his
purpose came to him he was calmly eager, almost gay in the prospect of
the battle.

On the highest hill of Anson Place in a tomb overlooking the waters of
the sound, they lowered the body of John Bard.

Afterward Anthony Bard went back to the secret room of his father. The
old name of Anthony Woodbury he had abandoned; in fact, he felt almost
like dating a new existence from the moment when he heard the voice
calling out of the garden: "John Bard, come out to me!" If life was a
thread, that voice was the shears which snapped the trend of his life
and gave him a new beginning. As Anthony Bard he opened once more the
door of the chamber.

He had replaced the revolver of John Bard in the box with the oiled
silk. Now he took it out again and shoved it into his back trouser
pocket, and then stood a long moment under the picture of the woman he
knew was his mother. As he stared he felt himself receding to youth, to
boyhood, to child days, finally to a helpless infant which that woman,
perhaps, had held and loved. In those dark, brooding eyes he strove to
read the mystery of his existence, but they remained as unriddled as the
free stars of heaven.

He repeated to himself his new name, his real name: "Anthony Bard." It
seemed to make him a stranger in his own eyes. "Woodbury" had been a
name of culture; it suggested the air of a long descent. "Bard" was
terse, short, brutally abrupt, alive with possibilities of action. Those
possibilities he would never learn from the dead lips of his father. He
sought them from his mother, but only the painted mouth and the painted
smile answered him.

He turned again to the picture of the house with the snow-topped
mountains in the distance. There surely, was the solution; somewhere in
the infinite reaches of the West.

Finally he cut the picture from its frame and rolled it up. He felt that
in so doing he would carry with him an identification tag - a clue to
himself. With that clue in his travelling bag, he started for the city,
bought his ticket, and boarded a train for the West.



The motion of the train, during those first two days gave Anthony Bard a
strange feeling that he was travelling from the present into the past.
He felt as if it was not miles that he placed behind him, but days,
weeks, months, years, that unrolled and carried him nearer and nearer to
the beginning of himself. He heard nothing about him; he saw nothing of
the territory which whirled past the window. They were already far West
before a man boarded the train and carried to Bard the whole atmosphere
of the mountain desert.

He got on the train at a Nebraska station and Anthony sat up to watch,
for a man of importance does not need size in order to have a mien.
Napoleon struck awe through the most gallant of his hero marshals, and
even the porter treated this little brown man with a respect that was
ludicrous at first glimpse.

He was so ugly that one smiled on glancing at him. His face, built on
the plan of a wedge, was extremely narrow in front, with a long,
high-bridged nose, slanting forehead, thin-lipped mouth, and a chin that
jutted out to a point, but going back all the lines flared out like a
reversed vista. A ridge of muscle crested each side of the broad jaws
and the ears flaunted out behind so that he seemed to have been built
for travelling through the wind.

The same wind, perhaps, had blown the hair away from the upper part of
his forehead, leaving him quite bald half way back on his head, where a
veritable forest of hair began, and continued, growing thicker and
longer, until it brushed the collar of his coat behind.

When he entered the car he stood eying his seat for a long moment like a
dog choosing the softest place on the floor before it lies down. Then he
took his place and sat with his hands folded in his lap, moveless,
speechless, with the little keen eyes straight before him - three hours
that state continued. Then he got up and Anthony followed him to the
diner. They sat at the same table.

"The journey," said Anthony, "is pretty tiresome through monotonous
scenery like this."

The little keen eyes surveyed him a moment before the man spoke.

"There was buffalo on them plains once."

If someone had said to an ignorant questioner, "This little knoll is
called Bunker Hill," he could not have been more abashed than was
Anthony, who glanced through the window at the dreary prospect, looked
back again, and found that the sharp eyes once more looked straight
ahead without the slightest light of triumph in his coup. Silence,
apparently, did not in the least abash this man.

"Know a good deal about buffaloes?"


It was not the insulting curtness of one who wishes to be left in peace,
but simply a statement of bald fact.

"Really?" queried Anthony. "I didn't think you were as old as that!"

It appeared that this remark was worthy of no answer whatever. The
little man turned his attention to his order of ham and eggs, cut off
the first egg, manoeuvred it carefully into position on his knife, and
raised it toward a mouth that stretched to astonishing proportions; but
at the critical moment the egg slipped and flopped back on the plate.

"Missed!" said Anthony.

He couldn't help it; the ejaculation popped out of its own accord. The
other regarded him with grave displeasure.

"If you had your bead drawed an' somebody jogged your arm jest as you
pulled the trigger, would you call it a miss?"

"Excuse me. I've no doubt you're extremely accurate."

"I ne'er miss," said the other, and proved it by disposing of the egg at
the next imposing mouthful.

"I should like to know you. My name is Anthony Bard."

"I'm Marty Wilkes. H'ware ye?"

They shook hands.

"Westerner, Mr. Wilkes?"

"This is my furthest East."

"Have a pleasant time?"

A gesture indicated the barren, brown waste of prairie.

"Too much civilization."


"Even the cattle got no fight in 'em." He added, "That sounds like I'm a
fighter. I ain't."

"Till you're stirred up, Mr. Wilkes?"

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