! The Voice of the Pack By CHAPTER I Continued. . When tlie Ice made a cru.it over the now, he learned to walk on snow hoes. At first there were pained ankles and endless floundering In the drifts, nut between the fall of fresh now and the thaws that softened the crust, he slowly mastered the art. Bnowhlrd and Dan never reullzed the full significance of her name until he saw her flying with Incredible grace over the snow laughed at liltn nt first and ran him races that would usually end In his fulling headfirst Into a ten foot snowbank. She taught him how to ski and more than once she would top In the middle of an earnest bit of pedagogy to find that he wasn't lis tening at all. He would seem to be fairly devouring her with bis eyes, de lighting In the play of soft pinks and reds In her cheeks, and drinking, as a man drinks wine, the amazing change of light and shadow In her eyes. She seemed to blossom under his gaze. Not one of those short winter days went by without the discovery of some new trait or little vanity to astonish or delight hlrn sometimes an unlooked-for tenderness toward the weak, often a sweet, untnlned philos ophy of life, or perhaps Just a lower ing of her eyelids In which her eyes would show lustrous through the lashes, or some sweeping, exuberant gesture startllngly graceful. Lennox wakened one morning with the realization that this was one of the hardest winters of his experience. He began to be very glad of the abun dant stores of provisions that over crowded his pantry savory hums and bacons, dried venison, sacks of pota toes and evaporated vegetables, and, of courRe, canned goods past count ing. With the high fire roaring In the grate, the season held no Ills for them. But sometimes, when the bitter cold came down nt twilight, and the moon looked like a thing of Ice Itself over the now, he begun to wonder how the wild creatures who wintered on the Divide were faring. Of course most of them were gone. Woof, long since, had grunted and mumbled his way Into a winter lair. But the wolves re mained, strange gray shadows on the snow, and possibly a few of the hardier smaller creatures. More than once In those long win ter nights their talk was chopped oft short by the song of the pack on some distant ridge. Sometime, when the world Is old, possibly a man will be born that can continue to talk and keep his mind on his words while the wolf pack alngs. Hut he Is certainly an unknown quantity today. The cry sets In vibration curious memory chords, and for a moment the listener sees In his mind's eye his ancient home In an ancient world Darkness and Fear and Eyes Bhlnlng about the cave. It carries him buck, and he knows the wilderness as It really Is; and to have such knowledge dries up nil Inclination to talk, as a sponge dries water. Of course the picture Isn't entirely plain. It Is more a thing guessed at, a photograph In some dark part of an undor-consclousness that has constantly grown more dim as the centuries have passed. Possibly some time It will fade out altogether; and then a man may continue to discuss the weather while the Song from the ridge shudders In at the windows. But the world will be quite cold by then, and no longer particularly Interesting. And possibly even the wolves them selves will then be tamed to play dead and speak pieces which means the wilderness Itself will be tamed. For ns long as the wild lasts, the pack will run through It In the winter. They were her In the beginning, and In spite of constant war and constant hatred on the part of men, they will be here In the end. The reason Is Just that they are the symbol of the wil derness Itself, and the Idea of tt con tinuing to exist without them Is stranger than that of a nation without a flag. It wasn't quite the same song Hint Pan had listened to In the first days of fall, tt had been triumphant then, and proud with the wilderness pride. Of course tt had been sad then, too. but It was more and now. Anil It was stranger, too, and crept farther Into the souls of Its listeners. It was the song of strength that couldn't avail against the snow, possibly of cold and the despair and courage of starvation. These three that heard It 'jere Inured to the wilderness; but a moment was always needed after Its last note bad died to regain their gayety. "They're getting lean and they're getting savage," Lennox said one night, stretched on his divan before the fireplace. He was still unable to walk; but the fractures were knitting slowly and the doctor had promised that the summer would find him well. "If we had a dog. I wouldn't offer much for his life. One of these day we'll find 'em In a big circle around the house and then we'll hav to open up with the rifles." But thle picture appalled neither of his two young listeners. No wolf pack can stand against three marksmen, armed with rifles and behind oaken walls. Chrtatmai cam and passed, and EDISON MARSHALL January brought clear days and an Ineffective sun shining on the snow. These were the best days of nil. Every afternoon Dan and Snowbird would go out on their skis or on snowshoes, unarmed except for the pistol that Snowbird carried In the deep pocket of her macklnaw. "But why not?" Dan replied to Lennox's objection. "She could kill five wolves with five shots, or pretty near It, and you know well enough that that would hold 'em till we got home. They'd stop to eat the five. I have hard enough time keep ing up with her as It Is, without carry ing a rifle." And Lennox was content. Dan had told the truth when he said that live deaths or even fewer, would repel the attack of any wolf pack he had ever seen. There was Just one troubling thought. He had heard, long ago, and he had forgotten who had told him, that In the most severe win ters the wolves gather In particularly large packs; and a quality In the song that they had heard at night seemed to bear It out. The chorus hnd been exceptionally loud and strong, and he had been unable to pick out Individual voices. The snow was perfect for skiing. Previously their sport had been many times Interrupted either by the fall of fresh snow or a thaw that had soft ened the snow crust; but now every afternoon was too perfect to remain Indoors. They shouted and romped In the silences, and they did not dream but that they hnd the wilderness all to themselves. The fact that one night Lennox's keen eyes had seen what looked like the glow of a camp fire In the distance didn't affect this belief of theirs at all. It was evidently Just the phosphorus glowing In a rotten log from which the winds had blown the snow. Once or twice they caught glimpses of wild life: once a grouse that had burled In the snow flushed from their path and blew the snow-dust from Its wings; and once or twice they saw snowshoe rabbits bounding away on flat feet over the drifts. But Just one day they caught sight of a wolf. They were on snowshoes on a particularly brilliant afternoon lute In Janunry. He was a lone male, evidently a straggler from the pack, and he leaped from the top of a tall thicket that had remained above the snow. The man and the girl had entirely different re actions. Dan's first Impression was amazement at the animal's condition. It seemed to be In the last stages of starvation; unbelievably gaunt, with rib bones showing plainly even through the furry hide. Ordinarily the heavily furred animals do not show signs of famine; but even an Inexperienced eye could not make a mistake In this case. The eyes were red, and they carried Dan back to his first adventure In the Oregon forest the day he had shot the mad coyote. Snowbird thought of the beast only as an enemy. The wolves killed her father's stock ; they were brigands of the worst order; and she shared the hatred of them that Is a common trnlt of all primitive peoples. Her hand whipped back, seized her pis tol, and she tired twice at the fleeing figure. The second shot was a hit: both of them saw the wolf go to Its side, then spring up and race on. Shouting, both of them sped after him. In a few moments he was out of sight among the distant trees, but they found the binod-trall and mushed over the ridge. They expected at any mo ment to find him lying dead; hut the track led them on clear down the next canyon. And now they cared not at all whether they found hlra: It was simply a tramp in the out-of doors ; and both of them were young with red blood In their veins. But all at once Dan stopped In his tracks. The girl sped on for six paces before she missed the sound of his snowshoes; then she turned to find him standing, wholly motionless, with eyes fixed upon her. It startled her, and she didn't know why. A companion abruptly freezing In his path, his muscles Inert, and his eyes filling with speculation, Is always startling. When this occurs It means simply that a thought so compelling and engrossing that even the half unconsclous physical functions, such as walking, cannot continue, has come Into his mind. And It la part of the old creed of self-preservation to dislike greatly to be left out on any such thought as this. If danger Is present, the sooner It Is identified the better. "What Is It?" she demanded. He turned to her curiously Intent. "How mauy shells have you In that pistol?" She took one breath and answered hlra. "It holds five, and I shot twice. I haven't any others." "And I don't suppose It ever oc curred to you to carry extra ones In your pocket?" "Father Is always telling me to and several times I have. But I'd shoot them away at target practice and for get to take any more. There was never any danger except that night with a cougar. I did Intend to but what doea It matter now?" "We're a couple of wise ones, going after that wolf with only three shots to our name. Of course by himself I I I .....--. ----- ---------- wnssweeeewe Copyright, WD, by Little, Brown & Co. he' harmless but he'a likely enough to lead us straight toward the pack. And Snowbird I didn't like his looks, lie's too gaunt and he' too hungry and I haven't a bit of doubt he waited In that brush for us to come, Intend ing to attack us and lost his nerve (he last thing, That shows he's des perate. I don't like him, and I wouldn't like his pack, And a whole pack might not lose Its nerve." "Then you think we'd better turn back?" "Yes, I do, and not come out any more without a whole pocket of shells. I'm going to carry a rifle, too, Just as Lennox has always. He's got only a flesh-wound. Tou saw what you did with two cartridges got In one flesh wound. Three of 'em against a pack wouldn't be a great deal of aid. I don't mean to say you can't shoot, but a Jumping, lively wolf Is worse than a bird In the air. We've gone over three miles; and he'd lead us ten miles farther even If he didn't go to the pack. Let's go back." "If you say so. But I don't think there's the least bit of danger. We can always climb a tree." "And have 'em make a beautiful circle under It I They've got more pa tience than we have and we'd have to come down some time. Your father can't come to our help, you know. It's the sign of the tenderfoot not to think there's any danger and I'm not going to think that way any more." They turned back and mushed In silence a long time. "I suppose you'll think I'm a cow ard," Dan asked her humbly. "Only prudent, Dan," she answered, smiling. Whether she meant It he did not know. "I'm Just beginning to un derstand that you living here only a few months really know and under stand all this better than I do." She stretched her arms wide to the wilder ness. "I guess It's vour Instinct." "And I do understand," he told her earnestly. "I sensed danger back there Just as sure as I can see your face. That pack and It's a big one Is close; and It's terribly hungry. And you know you can't help but know that the wolves are not to be trusted In famine times." "I know It only too well," she said. Then she paused and asked him about a strange grayness, like snow blown by the wind, on the sky over the ridge. Bert Cranston waifed in a clump of exposed thicket on the hillside until he saw two black dots, that he knew were Dan and Snowbird, leave the Lennox home. He lay very still ai they circled up the ridge, noticing that except for the pistol that he knew Snowbird always carried, they were unarmed. There was no par ticular reason why he should be Inter ested In that nolnt. It was lost the mountain way always to look foJ weapons, and It Is rather difficult to trace the mental processes behind this Impulse. Perhaps It can be laid to the fact that many mountain families are often at feud with one another, and anything in the way of violence may happen before the morning. The two passed out of his sight, and after a long time he heard the crack of Snowbird's pistol. He guessed that she had either shot at some wild creature, or else was mere ly at target practice rather a com mon proceeding for the two when they were on the hills together. Thus It Is to be seen that Cranston knew their habits fairly well. And since be had kept a close watch upon them for several days, tht was to be expected. He had no Intention of being Inter rupted In this work he was about to do. He had planned It all very well. The elder Lennox was still helpless. Cranston had noticed that when Dan and Snowbird went out, they were usually gone from two to four hours; and that gave him plenty of time for his undertaking. The moment had come at last to make a thorough search of Lennox's house for those In criminating documents that Dan had found near the body of Landy HU dieth. The only nally dangerous part ef his undertaking was his approach. If by any chance Lennox were looking out of the window, he might be found waiting with a rifle across his arms. It would be quite like the old moun taineer to have his gun beside him, and to shoot tt quick and exceptional ly straight, without asking questions, nt any stealing figure In the snow. Yet Cranston felt fairly sure that Lennox was still too helpless to raise a gun to a shooting position. He had observed that the moun taineer spent hli time either on the fireplace divan or on his own bed. Neither of these places was available to the rear windows of the house. So, ery wisely, he made his attack from the rear. (TO BE CONTINUED.) Life and Art Td like to meet that man. He plays Monte Crtsto with such under standing." "I'll introduce you, but h' tight wad. Won't spend a nickel." Lottl Till Courier-Journal. - vW, fflJL of Tim Ml copvtffso'. ' CHAPTER I Continued. 18 ne came stealing across the snow a musher of the first degree. Very silently and swiftly he slipped off his snowshoes at the door. The door It self was unlocked, Just as he had sup posed. In an Instant more he was tip toeing, a dark, silent figure, through the corridors of the house. He held bis rifle ready In his hands. He peered Into Lennox's bedroom first. The room was unoccupied. Then the floor of the corridor creaked beneath his step; and he knew noth ing further was to be gained by wait ing. If Lennox suspected his pres ence, he might be waiting with aimed rifle as he opened the door of the liv ing room. He glided faster. He halted once more a moment at the living-room door to see If Lennox had been dis turbed. He was lying still, however, so Cranston pushed through. Lennox glanced up from his mnga lne to find that unmistakable thing, the barrel of a rifle, pointed at his breast. Cranston was one of those rare marksmen who shoot with both eyes open and that meant that he kept his full visual powers to the last Instant before the hammer fell. "I can't raise my arms," Lennox said simply. "One of 'em won't work at all besides, against the doctor's orders." Cranston stole over toward htm, looking closely for weapons. He pulled aside the woolen blanket that Lennox had drawn up over his body, and he pushed his hand Into the cushions of the couch. A few deft pats, holding his rifle through the fork of his arm, finger colled Into the trigger guard, assured him that Lennox was not "heeled" at all. Then he laughed and went to work. "I thought I told you once," Len nox began with perfect coldness, "that the doors of my house were no longer opn to you." "You did say that," was Cranston' guttural reply. "But you see I'm here just the same, don't you? And what are you going to do about It?" "I probably felt that sooner or later you would come to steal Just as you and your crowd stole the supplies from the forest station last winter and that probably Influenced me to give the orders. I didn't want thieves around -my house, and I don't want them now. I don't want coyotes, either." "And I don't want any such remarks out of you, either," Cranston an swered him. "You He still and shut up, and I suspect that sissy boarder of your will come back, after he's through embracing your daughter In the snow, and find you In one piece. Otherwise not." "If I were in one piece," Lennox an swered him very quietly, "Instead of a bundle of broken bones that can't "I Can't Rale My Arms," Lennox Said Simply. lift Its arms, I'd get up off this couch, unarmed as I am, and stamp on your lying Hps." But Cranston only laughed and tied Lennox's feet with a cord from the window shade. He went to work very systematical ly. First he rifled Lennox's desk In the living room. Then be looked on all the mantels and ransacked the cupboards and the drawers. He was taunting and calm at first But as the momenta passed, his passion grew up on him. He no longer smiled. The rodent features became Intent; the j-es narrowed to curious, bright tilt under the dark lashes. He went to Dan' room, searched his bureau drawer and all the pockets of the clothes hanging In his closet. He up set his trunk and pawed among old letters In the suitcase. Then, stealing like some creature of the wilderness, be came back to the living room. Lennox was not on the divan where he had left him. He lay Instead on the floor near the fireplace; and he met the passion-drawn face with entire calmness. His motives were perfectly plain. He had Just made a desperate effort to procure Dun's rifle that hung on two sets of deer horns over the fire place, and was entirely exhausted from It He had succeeded In getting down from the couch, though wracked by agony, but had been unable to lift himself up in reach of the gun. Cranston read his Intention In one glance. Lennox knew It but he sim ply didn't care. He had passed the point, where anything seemed to mat ter. "Tell me where It Is," Cranston or dered him. Again he pointed his rifle at Lennox's wasted breast. "Tell you where what is? My money?" "You know what I want and It Isn't money. I mean those letters that Falling found on the ridge. I'm through fooling, Lennox. Dan learned that long ago, and It's time you learned It now." "Dan learned It because he was sick. He Isn't sick now. Don't presume too much on that." Cranston laughed with harsh scorn. "But that Isn't the question. I said I've wasted all the time I'm going to. You are an old man and helpless; but I'm not going to let that stand In the way of getting what I came to get. They're hidden somewhere around this house. I've watched, and he's had no chance to take them Into town. I'll give you Just five seconds to tell me where they're hidden." "And I give you," Lennox replied, "one second less than that to go to h 11 1" Both of them breathed hard In the quiet room. Cranston was trembling now, shivering Just a little In his arms and shoulders. "Don't get me wrong, Lennox," he warned. "And don't have any delusions In re gard to me, either," Lennox replied. "I've stood worse pain from this acci dent than any man can give me while I yet live, no matter what he does. If you want to get on me and hammer me In the approved Cranston way, I can't defend myselfbut you won't get a civil answer out of me. I'm used to pain, and I can stand It I'm not used to fawning to a coyote like you, and I can't stand It." But Cranston hardly heard. An Idea had flamed In his mind and cast a red glamor over all the scene about him. It was instilling a poison in his nerves and a madness in his blood, and It was searing him, like Are, in his dark brain. Nothing seemed real. He sud denly bent forward, tense. "That's all right about you," he said. "But you'd be a little more polite If It was Snowbird and Dan that would have to pay." Perhaps the color faded slightly In Lennox's face; but his voice did not change. "They'll see your footprint before they come In and be ready," Lsnnox replied evenly. "They always come In by the back way. And even with a pistol, Snowbird's a match for you." "Did you think that was what I meant?" Cranston scorned. "I know a way t destroy those letters, and I'll do It In the four seconds that I said, unless you tell. I'm not even sure I'm goin' to give you a chance to tell now ; It's too good a scheme. There won't be any witnesses then to yell around In the courts. What If I choose to set fire to this house?" "It wouldn't surprise me a great deal. It' your own trade." Lennox shuddered once on his place on the floor. "I wouldn't have to -worry about those letters then, would I? They are somewhere In the bouse, and they'd be burned to ashes. But that Isn't all that would be burned. You could may be crawl out but you couldn't carry the guns, and you couldn't carry the pantry full of food. You're nearly eighty miles up here from the nearest occupied house, with two pair of snowshoes for the three of you and one dinky pistol. And you can't walk at all. It would be a nice pickle, wouldn't It? Wouldn't you have a fat chance of getting down to civiliza tion r The voice no longer helJ steady. It trembled with passion. This was no idle threat The brain had already aeized upon the scheme with every In tention of carrying it out The wil derness lay stark and bare, stripped of all delusion not only In the snow world outside but In the hearts of these two men, Its sons. "I hav only on hope," Lennox re plied. "I hope, unknown to me, Wat Dan has already dispatched those let ters. The arm of the law Is long, Cranston. It's ensy to forget that fact up here. It will reach you la me end." Cranston turned through the door, inin the kitchen. He was gone a long time. Lennox henrd him at work; the crinkle of puper and then a pour ing sound around the walls. Then he heard the sharp crack of a match. Au Instant later the first wisp of smoke came curling, pungent with burning oil, through the corridor. "You crawled from your couch to reach that gun," Cranston told him when he came In. "Let's see you crawl out now." Lennox's answer was a curse th last, dread outpouring of an unbroken will. He didn't look again at the glit tering eyes. He scarcely watched Cranston's further preparations: th oil poured on the rugs and furnishings, the kindling placed at the base of the curtains. Cranston was trained in this work. He was tuklng no chances on the fire being extinguished. And Len nox began to crawl toward the door. He managed to grasp the corner of the blunket on the divan as he went, and he drugged It behind him. Pain wracked him, and smoke half-blinded him. But he made It at last. And by the time he had crawled one hundred feet o-er the snow crust the whole structure was In flames. The red tongues spoke with a roar. Cranston, the fire-madness on his face, hurried to the outbuildings. There he repeated the work. He touched a mutch to the hay In the He Called Once to the Prone Body of Lennox, barn, and the wind flung the flame through It In an Instant The sheds and other outbuildings were treated with oil. And seeing that his work was done, he called once to the prone body of Lennox on the snow and mushed away Into the silences. Lennox's answer was not a curse this time. Bather it was a prayer, un uttered, and In his long years Lennox had not prayed often. When h prayed at all, the words were burning fire. His prayer was that of Samson that fbr a moment bis strength might come back to him. CHAPTER II. Two miles across the ridges, Dan and Snowbird saw a faint mist blow Ing between the trees. They didn't recognize It at first. It might be fin snow, blown by the wind, or even one of those mysterious fogs that some times sweep over the snow. "But It looks like smoke," Snowbird said. "But It couldn't be. The trees are too wet to burn." But then a sound that at first was Just the faintest whisper In which neither of them would let theraselve believe, became distinct past all deny ing. It was that menacing crackle of a great fire, that In the whole world of sounds Is perhnps the most terrible. "It's our house," Snowbird told him. "And father can't get out." She spoke very quietly. Perhap the most terrible truths of life are al ways spoken in that same quiet voice. Then both of them started across the snow as fast as their unwieldy snow Bhoes would permit "He can crawl a little," Dan called to her. "Don't give up, Snowbird mine. I think he'll be safe." They mounted to the top of the ridge; and the long sweep of the for est was revealed to them. The nous was a singular tall pillar of flame, al ready glowing that dreadful red from which firemen, despairing, turn away. Then the girl seized hi hands and danced about him In a mad circle. "He's alive I" she cried. "You can see him Just a dot on the snow. Ha crawled out to safety." She turned and sped at breakneck pace down the ridge. Dan had to race to keep up with her. But It wasn't en tirely wise to try to mush co fast A dead log lay beneath the snow with a broken limb stretched almost to It surface, und It caught her snowshoe. The wood cracked sharply, and she fU forward In the snow. But the wasn't hurt and the snowshoe Itself, In spite of a small crack In the wood, was stlil serviceable. "Haste makes waste," he told her. "Keep your feet on the ground, Snow bird; the house 1 gone already and your father Is safe. Remember what lies before us." (TO BE CONTINUED.) If truth Is stranger than fiction. It I because fact outrun imagination.