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E-text prepared by Wallace McLean, Josephine Paolucci, Joshua Hutchinson,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team



THE MAN IN THE TWILIGHT

by

RIDGWELL CULLUM

G.P. Putnam's Sons
New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press

1922







BY RIDGWELL CULLUM

THE DEVIL'S KEG
THE HOUND FROM THE NORTH
THE BROODING WILD
THE NIGHT RIDERS
THE WATCHERS OF THE PLAINS
THE COMPACT
THE TRAIL OF THE AXE
THE ONE WAY TRAIL
THE SHERIFF OF DYKE HOLE
TWINS OF SUFFERING CREEK
THE GOLDEN WOMAN
THE WAY OF THE STRONG
THE LAW BREAKERS
THE SON OF HIS FATHER
THE MEN WHO WROUGHT
THE PURCHASE PRICE
THE TRIUMPH OF JOHN KARS
THE LAW OF THE GUN
THE HEART OF UNAGA






TO MY NEPHEW
GEOFFREY FREDERICK BURGHARD
THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY
DEDICATED




THE AUTHOR TO THE READER


The story of the Sachigo wood-pulp mills, told in this book, is entirely
a work of imagination. But as I have had to draw very largely on my
knowledge of the wood-pulp trade of Eastern Canada, and the conditions
under which it is carried on, I desire it to be clearly understood that
this story contains no portraiture of any person or persons, living or
dead, and contains no representation of any business organisation
connected with the trade.




CONTENTS


PART ONE

I. - THE CRISIS
II. - THE MAN WITH THE MAIL
III. - IDEPSKI
IV. - THE "YELLOW STREAK"
V. - NANCY MCDONALD
VI. - NATHANIEL HELLBEAM


PART TWO

EIGHT YEARS LATER

I. - BULL STERNFORD
II. - FATHER ADAM
III. - BULL LEARNS CONDITIONS
IV. - DRAWING THE NET
V. - THE PROGRESS OF NANCY
VI. - THE LONELY FIGURE
VII. - THE SKANDINAVIA MOVES
VIII. - AN AFFAIR OF OUTPOSTS
IX. - ON THE OPEN SEA
X. - IN QUEBEC
XI. - DRAWN SWORDS
XII. - AT THE CHATEAU
XIII. - DEEPENING WATERS
XIV. - THE PLANNING OF CAMPAIGN
XV. - THE SAILING OF THE _Empress_
XVI. - ON BOARD THE _Empress_
XVII. - THE LONELY FIGURE AGAIN
XVIII. - BULL STERNFORD'S VISION OF SUCCESS
XIX. - THE HOLD-UP
XX. - ON THE HOME TRAIL
XXI. - THE MAN IN THE TWILIGHT
XXII. - DAWN
XXIII. - NANCY
XXIV. - THE COMING OF SPRING
XXV. - NANCY'S DECISION
XXVI. - THE MESSAGE
XXVII. - LOST IN THE TWILIGHT




THE MAN IN THE TWILIGHT

PART I




CHAPTER I

THE CRISIS


They sat squarely gazing into each other's eyes. Bat Marker had only one
mood to express. It was a mood that suggested determination to fight to
a finish, to fight with the last ounce of strength, the last gasp of
breath. He was sitting at the desk, opposite his friend and employer,
Leslie Standing, and his small grey eyes were shining coldly under his
shaggy, black brows. His broad shoulders were squared aggressively.

There was far less display in the eyes of Leslie Standing. They were
wide with a deep pre-occupation. But then Standing was of very different
type. His pale face, his longish black hair, brushed straight back from
an abnormally high forehead, suggested the face of a student, even a
priest. Harker was something of the roused bull-dog, strong, rugged,
furious; a product of earth's rough places.

"Give us that last bit again."

Bat's tone matched his attitude. It was abrupt, forceful, and he thrust
out a hand pointing at the letter from which the other had been reading.

Standing's eyes lit with a shadow of a smile as he turned again to the
letter.

"There's just one thing more. It's less pleasant, so I've kept
it till the last. Hellbeam is in Quebec. So is his agent - the
man Idepski. My informant tells me he saw the latter leaving the
steam-packet office. It suggests things are on the move your way
again. However, my man is keeping tab. I'll get warning through
at the first sign of danger."

Standing looked up. His half smile had gone. There was doubt in his
eyes, and the hand grasping the letter was not quite steady. But when he
spoke his tone was a flat denial of the physical sign that Bat had been
quick to observe.

"Charlie Nisson's as keen as a needle," Standing said. "His whisper's a
sight more than another fellow's shout."

Bat regarded the letter. He watched the other lay it aside on a pile of
papers. He was thinking, thinking hard. And his thought was mostly of
the man whose shaking hand betrayed him. Suddenly an explosive movement
brought his clenched fist down on the table with a thud.

"Hell!" he cried, in a fury of impatience. "What's the use? The danger
sign's hoisted. I know it. You know it. Nisson knows it. Well? Say,
Hellbeam's been in Quebec a score of times since - since - . That don't
worry a thing. No. He's got big finance in the Skandinavia bunch in
Quebec. We know all about that. It's Idepski. Idepski ain't visiting the
packet office for his health. He ain't figgerin' on a joy trip up the
Labrador coast. No. That's the signal, sure. Idepski at the packet
office. Their darn mud-scow mostly runs here, to Sachigo, and there
ain't a thing along the way to interest Idepski - but Sachigo. We'll be
getting word from Charlie Nisson in some hurry."

"Yes, we'll get it in a hurry."

Standing nodded. He was transparently perturbed. Bat watched him
closely. Then, in a moment, his mind was made up.

"See right here, Les," he cried, in a tone he vainly endeavoured to
restrain. "I've figgered right along this thing would need to happen
sometime. You can't beat a feller like Hellbeam all the time and leave
him without a kick. It don't need me to tell you that. But I want to get
a square eye on the whole darn game. Maybe you don't get all you did to
that guy when you cleaned him out of ten million dollars on Wall Street
seven years ago.

"Say, you were a mathematical professor at a Scottish University before
you reckoned to buck the game on Wall Street, weren't you?" he went on,
more moderately. He forced a grin into eyes that were scarcely
accustomed. "One of those guys who mostly make two and two into four,
and by no sort of imagination can cypher 'em into five. I know. You
figgered out that Persian Oil gamble to suit yourself, and forgot to
figger that Hellbeam was at the other end of it. No. The other feller
don't cut any ice with you while you're playing around with figgers.
It's only afterwards you find that figgers ain't the whole game, and
wrostling ten million dollars out of one of the biggest railroad kings
and bank presidents in America has something to it liable to hand you
nightmare. Well, you got that nightmare. So did I. You've had it for
most the whole of the last seven years. But it ain't a nightmare now.
It's dead real, which is only a way of sayin' Hellbeam's set his dogs on
a hot trail, and we're the poor darn gophers huntin' our holes right up
here on the Labrador coast.

"Oh, yes. I know what you'd say. You've said it all before. Hellbeam
hasn't a kick comin'. You were both operators on Wall Street. You were
both playing the financial game as all the world knows it. You beat him
on a straight financial fight. It was just a matter of the figgers which
it's your job to play around with.

"Now I'm just going to say the thing that's in my mind," he went on, his
tone changing again to something clumsily persuasive. "You can take it
easy from me. You see, you picked me up when I was down and out. You
passed me a hand when there wasn't a hope left me but a stretch of
penitentiary. I fought that darn lumber-jack to a finish, which is
mostly my way in things. And it was plumb bad luck that he went out by
accident. Well, it don't matter. It was you who got me clear away when
they'd got the penitentiary gates wide open waiting for me, and it's a
thing I can't never forget. I'm out for you all the time, and I want you
to know it when I'm telling you the things in my mind. Hellbeam's got a
mighty big kick coming. It's the biggest kick any feller of his sort can
have. He's the money power of Sweden. He's one of the big money powers
of the States. He lives for money and the power it hands him. Well? This
is how I figger. Just how you played him up I can't say. But it's his
job to juggle around with figgers same as it's yours, and if you beat
him out of ten million dollars you must have played a slicker hand than
him. All of which says you must have got more to windward of the law
than him - and he knows it. Why, it's easy. The feller who has the money
power to hold the crown jewels of Sweden from falling into the hands of
yahoo politicians out to grab the things they haven't the brains to come
by honestly, is mostly powerful enough to buy up the justice he needs,
or any other old thing. Hellbeam means to get his hands on you. He's
going to get you across the darn American border. And when he's got you
there he's going to send you down, by hook or crook, to the worst hell
an American penitentiary can show you. It's seven years since you hurt
him. But that ain't a circumstance. If it takes him seventy-seven he'll
never quit your trail."

Bat paused, and, for a moment, turned from the wide black eyes he had
held seemingly fascinated while he was talking. It almost seemed that
the emotions stirring in his broad bosom were too overpowering for him,
and he needed respite from their pressure. But he came again. He was
bound to. It was his nature to drive to the end at whatever cost to
himself.

"I'm handing you this stuff, Les, because I got to," he went on. "It
ain't because I'm liking it. No, sir. And if you've the horse sense I
reckon you have, you'll locate my object easy. Those words of Nisson's
have told us plain we got to fight. We got to fight like hell. And the
time's right now. Oh, yes, we're going to fight. You an' me, just the
same as we've fought a heap of times before. There ain't a feller I know
who's got more fight in him than you - when you feel that way.
But - well, say, you just need a boost to make you feel like it. You
ain't like me who wants to fight most all the time. No. Well - I'm going
to hand you that boost."

"How?"

Standing's unruffled interrogation was in sharp contrast with the
other's earnestness. There was a calm tolerance in it. The tolerance of
a temperament given to philosophy rather than passion. Perhaps it was a
mask. Perhaps it was real. Whatever it was, Bat's next words sent the
hot fire of a man's soul leaping into his eyes.

"When your boy's born, what then?"

"Ah!"

Bat's fists clenched at the sound of the other's ejaculation. It was the
nervous clenching at a sound that threatened danger. Swift as a shot he
followed up his challenge.

"Your pore gal's down there in Quebec hopin' and prayin' to hand you
that boy child you reckon Providence is going to send you. Well, when he
gets along, and Hellbeam's around - and - "

Bat broke off. Standing had risen from his chair. He had moved swiftly,
his lean figure propelled towards the window by long, nervous strides.
His voice came back to the man at the table, while his eyes gazed down
upon the waters of Farewell Cove, over the widespread roofs of the great
groundwood mill, the building of which was the result of his seven
years' sojourn on the Labrador coast.

"You've handed it me, Bat," he said, in a quick, nervous way. "I'll
fight. I know. You guess I'm scared at Nisson's news. Maybe I am, I
don't know. I'm not a man of iron guts. Maybe I never shall be. It's
hell to me to feel a shadow dogging my every step. Yes, you're right.
It's been a nightmare, and now - why, now it's real. But get your mind at
rest. I'm going to fight Hellbeam all I know. And with the thought of
Nancy, and the boy she's going to give me, I don't need a thing else.
No."

"That's how I figgered."

Bat's delight softened his hard eyes for the moment, and his attitude
relaxed as Standing went on.

"You reckon I've no imagination," he said. "You reckon I'm just a
calculating machine that can juggle figures better than any other
machine." He shook his dark head. "I guess you don't do me full justice.
When I quit the university on the other side it was because I had built
myself up a big dream. I crossed to the United States with my
imagination full of the things I hoped to do. It was the chance I looked
for. And I found it in Hellbeam, and the Persian Oils it was his hobby
to manipulate. I jumped in and grabbed it with both hands. And, as you
say, I beat him at his own game. But that was only part of my dream. The
next part you also know, though you choose to think it was only as a
refuge from Hellbeam that I came here to Sachigo. I admit circumstances
have modified my original dream, but then I dreamed my first dream as a
man unmarried. Now I have added to it in the thought of the son my
wife's going to present me with. After beating Hellbeam and making the
fortune I desired, I didn't flee here to the coast of Labrador as a mere
refuge from the man you tell me I robbed. No. This place served its
purpose that way, it's true. But it was the place I selected long since
for the fulfilment of the second part of my dream.

"Bat - Bat, old friend. It isn't I who lack imagination. It's you, with
your bull-dog, fighting nature. Years ago, way back there in my rooms at
the university, I took up a study that interested me mightily. It was
when the European war was on, and was doing its best to unship the
brains of half the world. I took it up to relieve myself of the strain
of things. And it inspired me with a desire to achieve something that
looked well-nigh impossible. I was watching the Swedes, the
Skandinavians generally, and I saw them getting fat and rich by holding
the rest of the world to ransom for paper and wood pulp - the stuff we
call here groundwood. It was then that my dream was born. Oh, yes, it's
changed a bit since then. But not so much. All I learned at that time
told me there was only one country in the world that was due to hold the
world's paper industry, and that country was yours - Canada. The
illimitable forests of the country are one of the most amazing features
of it. The water power - yes, and even the climate. But I saw all
Skandinavia's advantage. Hitherto they've had a complete monopoly.
Geographically they were in the thick of the world. The whole darn thing
was in their lap. But they have a weakness which you could never find in
this country. Their forests are being eaten into. Their lumber is
receding farther and farther from their mills. Their labour is
difficult. Well, I set to work with a map and those figures which you
guess are my strong point. I played around with all the information of
Quebec and Labrador I could get hold of. Then, after worrying around
awhile, I realised that, with only eighteen hundred sea miles dividing
Britain from Labrador, given the cheapness of power, sufficiently
extensive plant and forest limits and adequate shipping, I could put
groundwood on the European market in favourable competition with
Skandinavia. By this means I could build up an industry which means the
wealth of Canada for the Canadians, and establish the paper industry of
the world within the heart of our British Empire. So it was Farewell
Cove and Sachigo on the coast of Labrador for me. And the locality had
nothing to do with the man who guesses I robbed him."

It was Bat who was held silent now. He nodded his head at the narrow
back that remained turned on him.

"Well, since then," Standing went on, "seven years have passed.
Circumstances have forced modifications on my plans. Hellbeam is the
circumstance. You say we are the gophers hunting our holes. Maybe you're
right. Anyway Hellbeam's shadow is haunting me. It's haunting me in that
I know - _I_ feel - that the fulfilment of this dream is not for me. Why?"

He turned abruptly from the window. His pale face was even paler under
the excitement burning in his dark eyes. He thrust out a hand, a
delicate, long-fingered hand pointing at his friend and faithful
servant.

"Say, you reckon I've no imagination. Listen. I see the time coming when
all you say of Hellbeam's purpose will be fulfilled, and my dream
shattered and tumbling about my head. If Hellbeam succeeds, can I let
this thing happen? Can I sacrifice this great purpose in such a personal
disaster? No. My hope is in my little wife, that dear woman who's given
herself to me with the full knowledge of the threat hanging over my
future. She and I have dreamed a fresh dream. And she's even now
fulfilling her part of that dream. Yes, you're right. I'm going to fight
for our dream with every ounce that's in me. I know my failings. I'm at
heart a coward. But I'm out to fight though the gates of hell are agape
waiting for me. And when I'm beaten, and Hellbeam's satisfied his kick,
my boy, my little son, will step into my shoes and carry on the work
till it's complete. Oh, yes, I say 'my son.' Nancy will see to it that
she gives me a son. And, by God, how I will fight for him!"

Bat was silent before the tide of his friend's passion. He listened to
the strange mixture of clear thinking and unreasoning faith with a
feeling of something like awe of a man whom he had long since given up
attempting to fathom. He was a rough lumberman, a mill-boss, who, by
sheer force, had raised himself from the dregs of a lumber camp to a
position where his skill and capacity had full play. And in his utter
lack of education it was impossible that he should be able to fathom a
nature so complex, so far removed from his sphere of culture.

His devotion to the ex-university professor was based on a splendid
gratitude such as only the native generosity of his temper could bestow.
The man had once served him in his extremity. Even to this day he never
quite realised how the thing had come about, and Leslie Standing refused
to talk of it. All he knew was that as mill-boss of an obscure mill, far
in the interior of Quebec, away down south of Sachigo, he had fought one
of those sudden battles with a lumber-jack which seem to spring up
without any apparent reason. And in the desperateness of it, in the
fierce height to which his battling temper had arisen, he had killed his
man. Even so, these things were sufficiently common for little notice of
the matter to have been taken. But it so happened that the dead man was
the hero of the workers of the mill, and Bat Harker was their well-hated
boss. Forthwith, in their numbers, the workers at once determined that
Bat should pay the penalty. They seized and imprisoned him, while they
sent down country to get him duly tried and condemned. It was then the
miracle happened.

It happened in the night, with the appearance of a lean, tall man, with
a high forehead, and smooth black hair, and the clothes of civilisation
to which Bat Harker was little enough accustomed. He entered his prison
room seemingly without question. He told Bat that if he cared to get
away he had the means awaiting him outside. And the prisoner who had
visions of hanging, or at best, a long term of imprisonment, snatched at
the helping hand held out. And Leslie Standing had brought him in safety
straight to Farewell Cove, where together, with the vast capital which
the former had wrung from the Swedish financier, Nathaniel Hellbeam,
they had undertaken the creation of the great mill of Sachigo.

Bat, in his wonder at the apparent ease of his rescue, had sought
information. But little enough had been forthcoming. Leslie Standing had
only smiled in his pensive fashion.

"Money," he had said calmly. "Just money. It can do most things."

That was all. And thenceforward the subject had been taboo. Even after
seven years of intimate relations, Bat was still mystified on the
subject, he was still guessing.

Now, as he listened to his friend's expressions of faith, so strangely
jumbled with calculated purpose, he sat at the table groping helplessly.
Suppose - suppose that faith were to be shattered. What then? His mind
was concerned, deeply concerned. And he dared not put his fears into
words.

Standing came back to his chair.

"Here, we've talked these things enough," he said. "You've got my word.
Just don't worry a thing. If Hellbeam's dogs get around, well - we're
here first. All I want is news of Nancy. And that'll be along any old
time now. When I get that - ."

The door of the office was thrust open, and an olive-hued face appeared.
It was the clerk who worked in direct contact with the owner of the
Sachigo mill. He was one-third nigger, another French Canadian, and the
rest of him was Indian. It was a combination that appealed to the man
who employed him.

"They've 'phoned it through from the wireless at the headland, Boss,"
the man said without preamble, pushing a sheet of paper into Leslie
Standing's hand.

He had gone as swiftly and silently as he came, and the door was closed
softly behind him.

Standing was gazing across at Bat. He had not even glanced at the
message.

"I'd like to bet," he cried, his eyes alight with a smiling excitement.
Then he shook his head. "No. I wouldn't bet on it. It's too sacred.
Nancy - my Nancy - ."

He broke off, and glanced down at the paper. In a moment the smile fell
from his eyes. When he looked up it was to flash a keen glance at the
rugged face beyond the desk.

"Here, listen," he cried, with a sharp intake of breath.

"Watch _Lizzie_ for U.G.P. Signed - Nisson."

Bat nodded.

"U.G.P. That's Union Great Peninsular Railroad. That's Hellbeam's. It
means - ."

"It means Hellbeam's men are aboard. The packet _Lizzie_ is due at our
quay in less than an hour."

Standing tore the message into small fragments and dropped them into the
wastepaper basket beside him. Only was his emotion displayed in the
deliberate care with which he reduced the paper to the smallest possible
fragments.




CHAPTER II

THE MAN WITH THE MAIL


The calm waters of Farewell Cove lay a-shimmer under the slanting rays
of the sun. A wealth of racing white cloud filled the dome of the summer
sky, speeding under the pressure of a strong top wind. Even the harsh
world of Labrador was smiling under the beneficence of the brief summer
season.

Leslie Standing stood for a moment before passing down the winding
woodland trail on his way to the water-front below. The view of it all
was irresistible to him in his present mood, and he feasted his eyes
hungrily while the resolve he had taken yielded an inflexible hardening.

Bat Harker was less affected by the things spread out before him. He was
concerned only for the mood of the man beside him. So he waited with
such patience as his hasty nature could summon.

"It's all good, Bat, old friend," Standing said, after a moment's silent
contemplation. "It's too good to lose. It's too good for us to stand for
interference from - Nathaniel Hellbeam."

Bat grunted some sort of acquiescence. He was gazing steadily out over
the spruce belt which covered the lower slopes of the hillside. His keen
deep-set eyes were on the shipping lying out in the cove, watching the
fussy approach of the bluff packet boat.

It was a scene of amazing natural splendour which the works of man had
no power to destroy. Farewell Cove was a perfect natural harbour,
deep-set amidst surrounding, lofty, forest-clad hills. It was wide and
deep, a veritable sea-lake, backing inland some fifteen miles behind the
wide headland gateway to the East, which guarded its entrance from the
storming Atlantic. Its shores were of virgin forest, peopled with the
delicate-hued spruce, and all the many other varieties of soft, white,
long-fibred timber demanded in the manufacture of the groundwood pulp
needed for the world's paper industry.

Far as the eye could see, in every direction, it was the same; forest
and hill. And, in the heart of it all, the great watercourse of the
Beaver River debouched upon the cove which linked it with the ocean
beyond. It was a world of forest, seeming of limitless extent.

But the feast that had inspired Leslie Standing's words was less the
banquet which Nature had spread than the things which expressed the
labours he and his companion had expended during the past seven years.
He was concerned for the endless forests. He appreciated the great
waterfall to the west, where the Beaver River fell off the highlands of
the interior and precipitated itself into the cove below. These were the
two things in Nature he had demanded to make his work possible. For the
rest, the rugged immensity of scenery, the mighty contours of the aged
land about him, the vastness of the harsh primordial world, so
inhospitable, so forbidding under the fierce climate which Nature had
imposed, made no appeal. It served, and so it was sufficient. The lights



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