m VOICE mimm fll I. W' 1L I I ?.,t S. I COPYPfjtfT. 79Z O By LITTLE, CHAPTER II Continued. 19 The thought sobered and halted her. She glanced once at the dark fuce of her companion. Pan couldn't under stand the strange light that suddenly leaped to her eyes. Perhaps she her sell couldn't have explained the wave of tenderness that swept over her with no cause except the look In Dan's earnest gray eyes and the lines that cut so deep. Since the world was new, It has been the boast of the boldest of men.thnt they looked their Fate In the face.' And this Is no mean looking. For fate Is a sword from the darkness, a power that reaches out of the mystery, and cannot be classed with sights of human origin. It burns out the eyes of all but the strongest men. Yet Dan was looking at his fate now, and his eyes held straight They walked together down to the ruined house, and the three of them sat silent while the fire burned red. Then Lennox turned to thein with a half-smlle. "You're wasting time, you two," he said. "Remember, all our food Is gone. If you start now, and walk hard, may be you can make It out." "There are several things . to do first," Dan answered simply. "I don't know what they are. It Isn't going to be any picnic, Dan. A man can travel only so far without food to keep up his strength, particularly over such ridges as you have to cross. It will be easy to give up and die. It's the test, man; It's the test." "And what about you?" ills daugh ter asked. "Oh, I'll be all right. Besides It's the only thing that can be done. I can't walk, and you can't carry me on your backs. What else remains? I'll stay here and I'll scrape together enough wood to keep a fire. Then you can bring help." He kept his eyes averted when he talked. He was afraid for Dan to see them, knowing that he could read the lie In them. "How do you expect to find wood In this snow?" Dan asked him. "It will take four days to get out; do you think you could lie here and battle with a fire for four days, and then four days niore that it will take to come back? You'd have two choices: to burn green wood that I'd cut for you before I left, or the rain-soaked dead wood under the snow. You couldn't keep either one of them burning, and you'd die In a night. Besides this Is no time for an unarmed man to be alone In the hills." Lennox's voice grew pleading. "Be sensible, Dan!" he cried. "That Cranslon's got us, and got us right. I've only one thing more I cnre about and that Is that you pny the debt I I can't hope to get out myself. I say that I can't even hope to. But If you bring my daughter through and when spring comes, pay what we owe to Cranslon I'll be content. Heavens, son I've lived my life. The old pack leader dies wbeu his time comes, and so does a man." Ills daughter crept to him and shel tered his gray head against her breast. "I'll stay with you, then," she cried. "Don't be a littlo fool, Snowbird," he urged. "My clothes are wet al ready from the melted snow. It's too long a way It will be too hard a fight, and children I'm old and tired out. I don't want to make the try hunger and cold; and even If you'd stay here and grub wood, Snowbird, they'd find us both dead when they came back in a week. We cun't live without food, and work and keep warm and there Isn't a living creature In the hills." " "Except the wolves," Dan reminded hi ni. "Except the wolves," Lennox echoed. "Remember, we're unarmed and they'd find It out. You're young, Snowbird, and so Is Dan and you two will be happy. I know how things are, you two more than you know yourselves and in the end you'll be happy. But me I'm too tired to make the try. I don't care about It enough. I'm going to wave you good by, and smile, and lie here and let the cold come down. You feel warm In a little while" , But she stopped his lips with her hand. And he bent and kissed it, "If anybody's going to stay with you," Dan told them In a clear, flrui voice, "It's going to be me. Hut aren't any of the cabins occupied?" "You know they aren't," Lennox an swered. "Not even the houses beyond the North Fork, even If we could get across. The nearest help is over sev enty miles." "And Snowbird, think I Haven't any supplies bwn left In the ranger sta tion?" "Not one thing," the girl told him. "You know Cranston and his crowd 'robbed the place last winter. And the telephone Hues were disconnected when the rangers left." "Then the only way U for m to i ill RBOWJV AM COAfPArry. stay here. You can take the pistol, and you'll have a fair chance of get ting through. I'll grub wood for our camp meanwhile, and you can bring help." "And If the wolves come, or If help didn't come In time," Lennox whis pered, passion-drawn for the first time, "who would pay what we owe to Cranston?" "But her life counts first of all." "I know It does but mine doesn't count at all. Believe me, you two. I'm speaking from my own desires when I say I don't want to make the fight. Snowbird would never make It through alone. There are the wolves, and maybe Cranston too the worst wolf of all. A woman can't mush across those ridges four days without food, without some one who loves her and forces her on I Neither can she stay here with me and try to make green branches burn In a fire. She's got three little pistol balls and we'd all die for a whim. Oh, please, please " But Dan leaped for his hand with glowing eyes. "Listen, man !" he cried. "I know another way yet. I know more than one way; but one, if we've got the strength, Is almost sure. There Is an ax in the kitchen, and the blade will still be good." "Likely dulled with the fire" "I'll cut a limb with my Jackknife for the handle. There will be nails In the ashes, plenty of them. We'll make a rude sledge, and we'll get you out too." Lennox seemed to be studying his wasted hands. "It's a chance, but it Isn't worth it," he said at last. "You'll have fight enough without tugging nt a heavy sled. It will take all night "The Thing Bert Cranston Burned the House Down to Destroy." to build It, and It would cut down your chances of getting out by pretty near half. Remember the ridges, Dan" "But we'll climb every ridge be sides, Its a slow, down grade most of the way. Snowbird toll him he must do It" Snowbird told him, overpowering him with her enthusiasm. And Dan shook his shoulders with rough hands. "You're hurting, boy!" Lennox warned. "I'm a bag of broken bones." "I'll tote you down there if I have to tie you In," Dan Falling replied. "Before, I've bowed to your will; but this time you have to bow to mine. I'm not going to let you stay here and die, no matter if you beg on your knees 1 It's the test and I'm going to bring you through." He mennt what he said. If mortal strength and sinew could survive such a test, he would succeed. There was nothing In these words to suggest the physical weakling that both of them had known a few months before. The eyes were earnest, the dark face ln tnt, the determined voice did not waver at nil. "Dan Falling speaks!" Lennox re plied with glowing eyes. He was re calling another Dan Falling of the dead years, a boyhood hero, and his remembered voice had never been more determined, more masterful than this he had Just heard. "And Crunston didn't get his pur pose, after all." To prove his words, Dan thrust his hand Into his Inner coat pocket He drew forth a little, Hat package, half as thick as a pack of cards. He held It up for them to see. "The thing Bert Cranston burned the house down' to destroy," he ex plained. "I'm learning to know this mountain breed, Lennox. I kept It in my pocket where I could fight for it, at any minute." Cranston had been mistaken, after all, in thinking that In fear of himself Dan would be afraid to keep the packet on his person, and would crav enly conceal It in the house. He would have been even more surprised to know that Dan had lived in constant hope of meeting Cranston on the ridges, showing him what it contained, and fighting him for it hands to hands. And even yet perhaps the day would come when Cranston would know at last that Snowbird's words, after the fight of long ago, were true. The twilight was falling over the snow, so Snowbird and Dan turned to the toll of building a sled. The snow was steel-gray in the moonlight when the little party made their start down the long trail. Their preparations, simple and crude as they were, had taken hours of ceaseless labor on the part of the three. The ax. Its edge dulled by the flame and Its handle burned away, had been cooled In the snow, and with one sound arm, Lennox had driven the hot rails that Snowbird gathered from the ashes of one of the outbuildings. The embers of the house Itself still glowed red In the darkness. - Dan had cut the green limbs of the trees and planed them with his ax. The sled had been completed, handles attached for pushing It, and a piece of fence wire fastened with nails as a rope to pull it. The warm macklnaws of both of them as well as the one blanket that Lennox had saved from the fire were wrapped about the old frontiersman's wasted body Dan and Snowbird hoping to keep warm by the exercise of propelling the sled. Ex cept for the dull ax and the half empty pistol, their only equipment was a single charred pot for melting snow that Dan had recovered from the ashes of the kitchen. The three had worked almost in silence. Words didn't help now. They wasted no sorely needed breath. But they did have one minute to talk when they got to the top of the little ridge that had overlooked the house. "We'll travel mostly at night," Dan told them. "We can see In the snow, and by taking our rest In the daytime, when the sun Is bright and warm, we can save our strength. We won't have to keep such big fires then and at night our exertion will keep us as warm as we can hope for. Getting up all night to cut green wood with this dull ax In the snow would break us to pieces very soon, for remember that we haven't any food. I know how to build a fire even In the snow es pecially If I can find the dead, dry heart of a rotten log but it isn't any fun to keep It going with green wood. We don't want to have to spend any more of our strength stripping off wet bark and hacking at saplings than we can help; and that means we'd better do our resting In the heat of the day. After all, it's a fight against starva tion more than anything else." "Just think," the girl told them, re proaching herself, "If I had shot straight at that wolf today, we could have gone back and got his body. It might have carried us through." Neither of the others as much as looked surprised at these amazing re grets over the lost, unsavory flesh of a wolf. They were up against reali ties, and they didn't mince words. Dan smiled at her gently, and his great shoulder leaned against the traces. They moved through a dead world. The ever-present manifestations of wild life that had been such a delight to Dan In the summer and fall were quite lacking now. The snow was trackless. Once they thought they saw a snowshoe rabbit, a strange shadow on the snow, but he was too far away for Snowbird to risk a pis tol shot The pound or two of flesh would be sorely needed before the Journey was over, but the pistol car tridges might be needed still more, she didn't let her mind rest on certain possibilities wherein they might be needed. Such thoughts stole the cour age from the spirit and courage was essential beyond all things else to bring them through. As the dawn came out they all stood still and listened to the wolf pack, singing on the ridge somewhere behind them. It was a large pack. They couldn't make out Individual voices neither the more shrill cry of the females, the yapping of the cubs, or the low, clear G-below-middle-C note of the males. "If they should cross our tracks " Lennox suggested. "No use worrying about that now not until we come to it," Dan told him. The morning broke, the sun rose bright in a clear sky. But still they trudged on. In spite of the fact that the sled was heavy and broke through the snow crust as they tugged at it they had made good time since their departure. But now every step was a pronounced effort. It was the dread ful beginning of fatigue that only food and warmth and rest could rectify. (TO BE CONTINUED.) Oldtlme Sleeping Couches. The ancients slept on skins, bnt later beds were made of rushes, heather and straw. The Romans were the first to use feathers to make their beds more comfortable, nellogabalus, 218 B. C, Is credited with having em ployed air cushions, and air beds were used generally in the Sixteenth cen tury. Some Very Old Treee Yew trees grow to a great age. Those at Torentaln's abbey, Yorkshire, England, were old in 1132. California has trees thousands of years old in the Mariposa grove, and baobab trees In Africa are over four centurlea old. flte Voice i the P&ei By t: CHAPTER II Continued. 20 "We'll rest now," Dan told them at n o'clock. "The sun Is warm enough io that we won't need much of a fire. Uid we'll try to get five hours' sleep." "Too long, if we're going to make it rat," Lennox objected. "That leaves a workday of nineteen Jours," Dan persisted. "Not any too lttle. Five hours it will be." He found where the snow had drift id against a great, dead log, leaving lie white covering only a foot in lepth on the lee side. He began to icrape the snow away, then hacked at lie log with his ax until he had pro :ured a piece of comparatively dry wod from its center. They all stood reathless while he lighted the little pile of kindling and heaped it with treen wood the only wood procur ible. But It didn't burn freely. It imoked fitfully, threatening to die out, ind emitting very little heat. But they didn't particularly care. The sun was warm above, as always ti the mountain winters of southern Dregon. Snowbird and Dan cleared ipaces beside the fire and slept. Len nox, who had rested on the journey, lay on his sled and with his uninjured irm tried to hack enough wood from the saplings that Dan had cut to keep the fire burning. At three they got up, still tired and idling In their bones from exposure. Twenty-four hours had passed since they had tasted food, and their unre plenlshed systems complained. There Is no better engine In the wide world than the human body. It will stand more neglect and abuse than the finest iteel motors ever made by the hands Df craftsmen. A man may fast many flays If he lies quietly In one place ind keeps warm. But fasting Is a deadly proposition while pulling iledges over the snow. Dan was less hopeful now. His face told what his words did not. The tines cleft deeper about his lips and eyes; and Snowbird's heart ached when he tried to encourage her with t smile. It was a wan, strange smile that couldn't quite hide the first sick ness of despair. The shadows quickly lengthened limply leaping over the snow from the fast-falling sun. The twilight deep ened, the snow turned gray, and then, In a vague way, the Journey began to partake of a quality of unreality. It was not that the cold and the snow and their hunger were not entirely real, or that the wilderness was no longer naked to their eyes. It was just that their whole effort seemed like some dreadful, unburdened journey In a dream a stumbling advance under difficulties too many and real to be true. The first sign was the far-off cry of the wolf pack. It was very faint, simply a stir In the enrdrums, yet It was entirely clear. That clear, cold mountain air was a perfect telephone system, conveying a message distinct ly, no matter how faintly. There were no tall buildings or cities to dis turb the ether waves. And all three of them knew at the same Instant It was not exactly the cry they had heard before. They couldn't have told Just why, even If they had wished to talk about It In some dim way. It had lost the strange quality of despair it had held before. It was as if the pack were running with renewed life, that each wolf was calling to another with a dreadful sort of exultation. It was an excited cry, too not the long, sad song they had learned to listen for. It sounded immediately behind them. They couldn't help but listen. , No human ears could have shut out the sound. But none of them pretended that they had heard. And this was the worst sign of all. Each one of the three was hoping against hope In his very heart ; and at the same time, hop ing that the others did not understand. For a long time, as the darkness deepened about them, the forests were still. Perhaps, Dan thought, he had been mistaken after all. His shoulders straightened. Then the chorus blared again. The man looked back at the girl, smiling into her eyes, Lennox lay as If asleep, the lines of his dark face curiously pronounced. And the girl, because she was of the mountains, body and soul, answered Dan's smile. Then they knew that all of them knew the truth. Not even an Inexperienced ear could have any delusions about the pack song now. It was that old est of wilderness songs, the hunting cry that frenzied song of blood-lust that the wolf pack utters when It Is running on the trail of game. It had found the track of living flesh at last. "There's no use stopping, or trying to climb a tree," Dan told them sim ply. "In the first place, Lennox can't do it In the second, we've got to take a chance for cold and hunger can get up a tree where the wolf pack can't" He spoke wholly without emotion. Once more be tightened the traces of the sled. "I've heard that sometimes the pack will chase a man for days without at tacking," Lennox told them. "It all depends on bow long they've gone EDISON MARSHALL without food. Keep on and try to for get 'em. Maybe we can keep 'em bluffed." But as the hours passed, It became Increasingly difficult to forget the wolf pack. It was only a matter of turning the head and peering for an Instant Into the shadows to catch a glimpse of one of the creatures. Their usual fear of men, always their first emo tion, had given way wholly to a hunt ing cunning ; an effort to procure their game without too great risk of -their own lives. In the desperation of their hunger they could not remember such things as the fear of men. They spread out farther, and at last Dan looked up to find one of the gray beasts waiting, like a shadow himself, In the shadow of a tree not one hun dred feet from the sled. Snowbird whipped out her pistol. "Don't dare!" Dan's voice cracked out to her. He didn't speak loudly ; yet the words came so sharp and com manding, so like pistol fire Itself, that they penetrated into her consciousness and choked back the nervous reflexes that in an instant might have lost them one of their three precious shells. She caught herself with a sob. Dun shouted at the wolf, aud it melted into the shadows. "You won't do it again, Snowbird?" he asked her very humbly. But his meaning was clear. He was not as skilled with a pistol as she ; but If her nerves were breaking, the gun must be taken from her hands. The three shells must be saved to the moment of utmost need. "No," she told him, looking straight Into his eyes. "I won't do It again." He believed her. He knew that she spoke the truth. He met her eyes with a half smile. Then, wholly without warning, Fate played its last trump. Again the wilderness reminded them of its might, and their brave spirits were almost broken by the utter re morselessness of the blow. The girl went on her face with a crack of wood. "Maybe We Can Keep Them Bluffed." Her snow shoe had been cracked by her fall of the day before, when run ning to the fire, and whether she struck some 'other obstruction in the snow, or whether the cracked wood had simply given way under her weight, mattered not even enough for them to Investigate. As In all great disasters, only the result remained. The result In this case was that her snowshoe, without which she could not walk at all in the snow, was irrepara bly broken. "Fate has stacked the cards against us," Lennox told them, after the first moment's horror from the broken snowshoe. But no one answered him. The girl, white-faced, kept her wide eyes on Dan. He seemed to be peering Into the shadows beside the trail, as if he were watching for the gray forms that now and then glided from tree to tree. In reality, he was not looking for wolves. He was gazing down Into his own soul, measuring his own spirit for the trial that lay before him. The girl, unable to step with the broken snowshoe, rested her weight on one foot and hobbled like a bird with broken wings across to him. No sight of all this terrible Journey had been more dreadful In her father's eyes than tills. It seemed to split open the strong heart of the man. She touched her hand to his arm. "I'm sorry, Dan," she told him. "You tried so hard " Just one little sound broke from his throat a strange, deep gasp that could not be suppressed. Then he caught her hand In his and kissed It again and again. "Do you think I care about that?" he asked her. "I only wish I could have done more and what I have done doesn't count Just as la my fight with Cranston, nothing Copyright, 1320, by Little. Brown & Co. counts because I didn't win. It's Just fata. Snowbird. It's no one's fault, but maybe, In this .world, nothing Is ever anyone's fault" For In the twilight of those winter woods, in the shadow of death itself, perhaps he was catching glimmerings of eternal truths that are hidden from all but the most far-see-lug eyes. "And this Is the end?" she asked him. She spoke very bravely. "No I" His hand tightened on hers. "No, so long as an ounce of strength remains. To fight never to give up may God give me spirit for it till I die." And this was no Idle prayer. His eyes raised to the starry sky as he spoke. "But, son," Lennox asked him rath er quietly, "what can you do? The wolves aren't going to wait a great deal longer, and we can't go on." "There's one thing more one more trial to make," Dan answered. "I thought about it at first, but It was too long a chance to try If there was any other way. And I suppose you thought of It too." "Overtaking Cranston?" "Of course. And It sounds like a crazy dream. But ljsten, both of you. If we have got to die, up here In the snow and It looks like we had what Is the thing you want done worst be fore we go?" Lennox's hands clasped, and he leaned forward on the sled. "Pay Cranston !" he said. "Yes I" Dan's voice rang. "Crans ton's never going to be paid unless we do it. There will be no signs of in cendiarism at the house, and no proofs. They'll find our bodies in the snow, and we'll just be a mystery, with no one made to pay. The evi dence in my pocket will be taken by Cranston, some time this winter. If 1 don't make him pay, he never will pay. And Hint's one reason why I'm going to try to carry out this plan I've got. "The second reason Is that It's the one hope we have left. I take it that none of us are deceived on that point. And no man can die tamely If he Is a man while there's a chance. I mean a young man, like me not one who Is old and tired. It sounds perfectly silly to talk about finding Cranston's win ter quarters, and then, with my bare hands, conquering him, taking his food and his blankets and his snowshoes and his rifle, to- fight away these wolves, and bringing 'era back here." "You wouldn't be barehanded," the girl reminded him. "You could have the pistol." He didn't even seem to hear her. "I've been thinking about It. It's a long, long chance much worse than the chrmee we had of getting out by straight walking. I think we could have made It, If the wolves had kept off and the snowshoe hadn't broken. It would have nearly killed us, but I believe we could have got out. That's why I didn't try this other way first. A man with his bare hands hasn't much of a chance against another with a rifle, and I don't want you to be too hopeful. And of course, the hardest problem Is finding his camp. "But I do feel sure of one thing: that he is back to his old trapping line on the North Fork somewhere south of here and his camp Is somewhere on the river. I think he would have gone there so that he could cut off any attempt I might make to get through with those letters. My plan Is to start back at an angle that will carry me between the North Fork and our old house. Somewhere In there I'll find his tracks, the tracks he made when he first came over to burn up the house. I suppose he was careful to mix 'em up after once he arrived here, but the first part of the way he likely walked straight toward the house from his camp. Somewhere, If I go that way, I'll cross his trail with in 10 miles at least. Then I'll back track him to his camp." "And never come back!" the girl cried. "Maybe not But at least every thing that can be done will be done. Nothing will be left No regrets. We will have made the last trial. I'm not going to waste any time, Snowbird, The sooner we get your fire built th better." (TO BE CONTINUED.) Make Love and Live Long. The act of love-making has a direct Influence on the heart and blood, says a medical correspondent It stimu lates the working capacity of the for mer organ, and keeps It up to concert pitch. As a result, the blood circu lates with greater strength, and every part of the body Is accordingly strengthened. Love-making, moreover, has a very decided Influence In stimu lating the working of the liver. Pat ent medicines would have to go out of business to a considerable extent if the world were more generally given to the art of making love with genuine feeling. Perhaps the most striking proof of the Immunity of lovers from one form of 111, viz., colds and chills. Is kffnrded by the fact that a pair of Cupid's devotees will sit on a damp bench for hours and take no harm. It la Just as wise to watch yonr windings as it is to wind jour watch.