The Sabbath was a day of glory and peace in the Burntwood country. The sun rose warm and golden, the birds were singing, and never had the air seemed sweeter to Father John when he came out quietly from the cabin and breathed it in the early break of dawn. Best of all he loved this very beginning of day, before darkness was quite gone, when the world seemed to be awakening mid sleepy whisperings and sounds came clearly from a long distance.

This morning he heard the barking of a dog, a mile away it must have been, and Peter, who followed close beside him, pricked up his ears at the sound of it. Father John had noted Peter's vigilance, the cautious expectancy with which he was always sniffing the air, and the keen alertness of his eyes and ears. McKay had explained the reason for it. And this morning, as they made their way down to the pool at the creekside, Peter's ceaseless watching for danger held a deeper significance for Father John. All through the night, in spite of his faith and his words of consolation, he was thinking of the menace which was following McKay, and which eventually must catch up with him.

And yet, how short a time was five years! Looking backward, each five years of his life seemed but a yesterday. It was eight times five years ago that a sweet-faced girl had first filled his life, as Nada filled Jolly Roger's now, and through the thirty years since he had lost her he could still hear her voice as clearly as though he had held her in his arms only a few hours ago, so swift had been the passing of time. But looking ahead, and not backward, five years seemed an eternity of time, and the dread of it was in Father John's heart as he stood at the side of the pool, with the first pink glow of sunrise coming to him over the forest-tops.

Five years, and he was an old man now. A long and dreary wait it would be for him. But for youth, the glorious youth of Roger and Nada, it would seem very short when in later years they looked back upon it. And for a time as he contemplated the long span of life that lay behind him, and the briefness of that which lay ahead, a yearning selfishness possessed the soul of Father John, an almost savage desire to hold those five years away from the violation of the law—not alone for Nada's sake and Roger McKay's—but for his own. In this twilight of a tragic life a great happiness had come to him in the love of these two, and thought of its menace, its desecration by a pitiless and mistaken justice, roused in him something that was more like the soul of a fighting man than the spirit of a missioner of God.

Vainly he tried to stamp out the evil of this resentment, for evil he believed it to be. And shame possessed him when he saw the sweet glory in Nada's face later that morning, and the happiness that was in Roger McKay's. Yet was that aching place in his heart, and the hidden fear which he could not vanquish.

And that day, it seemed to him, his lips gave voice to lies. For, being Sunday, the wilderness folk gathered from miles about, and he preached to them in the little mission house which they had helped him to build of logs in the clearing. Partly he spoke in Cree, and partly in English, and his message was one of hope and inspiration, pointing out the silver linings that always lay beyond the darkness of clouds. To McKay, holding Nada's hand in his own as they listened, Father John's words brought a great and comforting faith. And in Nada's eyes and voice as she led in Cree the song, "Nearer, My God, to Thee," he heard and saw the living fire of that faith, and had Breault come in through the open doorway then he would have accepted him calmly as the beginning of that sacrifice which he had made up his mind to make.

In the afternoon, when the wilderness people had gone, Father John heard again the story of Yellow Bird, for Nada was ever full of questions about her, and for the first time the Missioner learned of the inspiration which the Indian woman's sorcery had been to Jolly Roger.

"It was foolish," McKay apologized, in spite of the certainty and faith which he saw shining in Nada's eyes. "But—it helped me."

"It wasn't foolish," replied Nada quickly. "Yellow Bird did come to me. And—she knew."

"No true faith is folly," said Father John, in his soft, low voice. "The great fact is that Yellow Bird believed. She was inspired by a great confidence, and confidence and faith give to the mind a power which it is utterly incapable of possessing without them. I believe in the mind, children. I believe that in some day to come it will reach those heights where it will unlock the mystery of life itself to us. I have seen many strange things in my forty-odd years in the wilderness, and not the least of these have been the achievements of the primitive mind. And it seems to me, Roger, that Yellow Bird told you much that has come true. And has it occurred to you—"

He stopped, knowing that the cloud of unrest which was almost fear in his heart was driving him to say these things.

"What, father," questioned Nada, bending toward him.

"I was about to express a thought which suggests an almost childish curiosity, and you will laugh at me, my dear. I am wondering if it has occurred to Roger the mysterious 'Country Beyond' of which Yellow Bird dreamed might be the great country down there—south—beyond the border—the United States?"

Something which he could not control seemed to drive the words from his lips, and in an instant he saw that Nada had seized upon their significance. Her eyes widened. The blue in them grew darker, and Roger observed her fingers grip suddenly in the softness of her dress as she turned from Father John to look at him.

"Or—it might be China, or Africa, or the South Seas," he tried to laugh, remembering his old visions. "It might be—anywhere."

Nada's lips trembled, as if she were about to speak; and then very quietly she sat, with her hands tightly clasped in her lap, and Father John knew she was not expressing the thought in her heart when she said,

"Someday I want to tell Yellow Bird how much I love her."

Now in these hours since he and his master had come to the Burntwood it seemed to Peter that he had lost something very great, for in his happiness McKay had taken but scant notice of him, and Nada seemed to have found a greater joy than that which a long time ago she had found in his comradeship. So now, as she saw him lying in his loneliness a short distance away, Nada suddenly ran to him, and together they went into the thick screen of the balsams, Peter yipping joyously, and Nada without so much as turning her head in the direction of Roger and Father John. But even in that bird-like swiftness with which she had left them, Father John had caught the look in her eyes.

"I have made a mistake," he confessed humbly. "I have sinned, because in her I have roused the temptation to urge you to fly away with her—down there—south. She is a woman, and being a woman she has infinite faith in Yellow Bird, for Yellow Bird helped to give you to her. She believes—"

"And I—I—also believe," said McKay, staring at the green balsams.

"And yet—it is better for you to remain. God means that judgment and happiness should come in their turn."

Jolly Roger rose to his feet, facing the south.

"It is a temptation, father. It would be hard to give her up—now. If Breault would only wait a little while. But if he comes—now—"

He walked away slowly, following through the balsams where Nada and Peter had gone. Father John watched him go, and a trembling smile came to his lips when he was alone. In his heart he knew he was a coward, and that these young people had been stronger than he. For in their happiness and the faith which he had falsely built up in them they had resigned themselves to the inevitable, while he, in these moments of cowardice, had shown them the way to temptation. And yet as he stood there, looking in the direction they had gone, he felt no remorse because of what he had done, and a weight seemed to have lifted itself from his shoulders.

For a time the more selfish instincts of the man rose in him, fighting down the sacrificial humility of the great faith of which he was a messenger. The new sensation thrilled him, and in its thrill he felt his heart beating a little faster, and hope rising in him. Five years were a long time—for him. That was the thought which kept repeating itself over and over in his brain, and with it came that other thought, that self-preservation was the first law of existence, and therefore could not be a sin. Thus did Father John turn traitor to his spoken words, though his calm and smiling face gave no betrayal of it when Nada and Roger returned to the cabin an hour later, their arms filled with red bakneesh vines and early wildflowers.

Nada's cheeks were as pink as the bakneesh, and her eyes as blue as the rock-violets she wore on her breast.

And Father John knew that Jolly Roger was no longer oppressed by the fear of a menace which he was helpless to oppose, for there was something very confident in the look of his eyes and the manner in which they rested upon Nada.

Peter alone saw the mysterious thing which happened in the early evening. He was with Nada in her room. And she was the old Nada again, hugging his shaggy head in her arms, and whispering to him in the old, excited way. And strange memory of a bundle came back to Peter, for very quietly, as if unseen ears might be listening to her, Nada gathered many things in a pile on the table, and made another bundle. This bundle she thrust under her bed, just as a long time ago she had thrust a similar bundle under a banksian clump in the meadowland below Cragg's Ridge.

Father John went to his bed very early, and he was thinking of Breault. The Hudson's Bay Company post was only twelve miles away, and Breault would surely go there before questing from cabin to cabin for his victim.

So it happened that a little after midnight he rose without making a sound, and by the light of a candle wrote a note for Nada, saying he had business at the post that day, and without wakening them had made an early start. This note Nada read to McKay when they sat at breakfast.

"Quite frequently he has gone like that," Nada explained. "He loves the forests at night—in the light of the moon."

"But last night there was no moon," said Roger.


"And when Father John left the cabin the sky was clouded, and it was very dark."

"You heard him go?"

"Yes, and saw him. There was a worried look in his face when he wrote that note in the candle-glow."

"Roger, what do you mean?"

McKay went behind her chair, and tilted up her face, and kissed her shining hair and questioning eyes.

"It means, precious little wife, that Father John is hurrying to the post to get news of Breault if he can. It means that deep in his heart he wants us to follow Yellow Bird's advice to the end. For he is sure that he knows what Yellow Bird meant by 'The Country Beyond.' It is the great big world outside the forests, a world so big that if need be we can put ourselves ten thousand miles away from the trails of the mounted police. That is the thought which is urging him to the post to look for Breault."

Her arms crept up to his neck, and in a little voice trembling with eagerness she said,

"Roger, my bundle is ready. I prepared it last night—and it is under the bed."

He held her more closely.

"And you are willing to go with me—anywhere?"

"Yes, anywhere."

"To the end of the earth?"

Her crumpled head nodded against his breast.

"And leave Father John?"

"Yes, for you. But I think—sometime—he will come to us."

Her fingers touched his cheek.

"And there must be forests, big, beautiful forests, in some other part of the world, Roger."

"Or a desert, where they would never think of looking for us," he laughed happily.

"I'd love the desert, Roger."

"Or an uninhabited island?"

Against him her head nodded again.

"I'd love life anywhere—with you."

"Then—we'll go," he said, trying to speak very calmly in spite of the joy that was consuming him like a fire. And then he went on, steadying his voice until it was almost cold. "But it means giving up everything you've dreamed of, Nada—these forests you love, Father John, Yellow Bird, Sun Cloud—"

"I have only one dream," she interrupted him softly.

"And five years will pass very quickly," he continued. "Possibly it will not be as bad as that, and afterward all this land we love will be free to us forever. Gladly will I remain and take my punishment if in the end it will make us happier, Nada."

"I have only one dream," she repeated, caressing his cheek with her hand, "and that is you, Roger. Where-ever you take me I shall be the happiest woman in the world."

"Woman," he laughed, scarcely breathing the word aloud.

"Yes, I am a woman—now"

"And yet forever and ever the little girl of Cragg's Ridge," he cried with sudden passion, crushing her close to him. "I'd lose my life sooner than I would lose her, Nada—the little girl with flying hair and strawberry stain on her nose, and who believed so faithfully in the Man in the Moon. Always I shall worship her as the little goddess who came down to me from somewhere in heaven!"

Yet all through that day, as they waited for Father John's return, he saw more and more of the wonder of woman that had come to crown the glory of Nada's wifehood, and his heart trembled with joy at the miracle of it. There was something vastly sweet in the change of her. She was no longer the utterly dependent little thing, possibly caring for him because he was big and strong and able to protect her; she was a woman, and loved him as a woman, and not because of fear or helplessness. And then came the thrilling mystery of another thing. He found himself, in turn, beginning to depend upon her, and in their planning her calm decision and quiet reasoning strengthened him with new confidence and made his heart sing with gladness. With his eyes on the smooth and velvety coils of hair which she had twisted woman-like on her head, he said,

"With your hair like that you are my Margaret of Anjou, and the other way—with it down you are my little Nada of Cragg's Ridge. And I—I don't quite understand why God should be so good to me."

And this day Peter was trying in his dumb way to analyze the change. The touch of Nada's hand thrilled him, as it did a long time ago, and still he sensed the difference. Her voice was even softer when she put her cheek down to his whiskered face and talked to him, but in it he missed that which he could not quite bring back clearly through the lapse of time—the childish comradeship of her. Yet he began to worship her anew, even more fiercely than he had loved the Nada of old. He was content now to lie with his nose touching her foot or dress; but when in the sunset of early evening she went into her room, and came out a little later with her curling hair clouding her shoulders and breast, and tied with a faded ribbon she had brought from Cragg's Ridge, he danced about her, yelping joyously, and she accepted the challenge in a wild race with him to the edge of the clearing.

Panting and flushed she ran back to Jolly Roger, and rested in his arms.

And it was McKay, with his face half hidden in her riotous hair, who saw a figure come suddenly out of the forest at the far end of the clearing. It was Father John. He saw him pause for an instant, and then stagger toward them, swaying as if about to fall.

The sudden stopping of his breath—the tightening of his arms—drew Nada's shining eyes to his face, and then she, too, saw the little old Missioner as he swayed and staggered across the clearing. With a cry she was out of McKay's arms and running toward him.

Father John was leaning heavily upon her when McKay came up. His face was tense and his breath came in choking gasps. But he tried to smile as he clutched a hand at his breast.

"I have hurried," he said, making a great effort to speak calmly, "and I am—winded—"

He drew in a deep breath, and looked at Jolly Roger.

"Roger—I have hurried to tell you—Breault is coming. He cannot be far behind me. Possibly half a mile, or a mile—"

In the thickening dusk he took Nada's white face between his hands.

"I find—at last—that I was mistaken, child," he said, very calmly now. "I believe it is not God's will that you remain to be taken by Breault. You must go. There is no time to lose. If Breault does not stumble off the trail in this gloom he will be here in a few minutes. Come."

Not a word did Nada say as they went to the cabin, and McKay saw her tense face as pale as an ivory cameo in the twilight. But something in the up-tilt of her chin and the poise of her head assured him she was prepared, and unafraid.

In the cabin the Leaf Bud met them, and to her Nada spoke quickly. There was understanding between them, and Oosimisk dragged in a filled pack from the kitchen while Nada ran into her room and came out with the bundle.

Suddenly she was standing before McKay and Father John, her breast throbbing with excitement.

"There is nothing more to make ready," she said. "Yellow Bird has been with me all this day, and her spirit told me to prepare. We have everything we need."

And then she saw only Father John, and put her arms closely about his neck, and with wide, tearless eyes looked into his face.

"Father, you will come to us?" she whispered. "You promise that?"

The Missioner's arms closed about her, and he bowed his face against her lips and cheek.

"I pray God that it may be so," he said.

Nada's arms tightened convulsively, and in that moment there came a warning growl from outside the cabin door.

"Peter!" she cried.

In another moment Father John had extinguished the light.

"Go, my children," he commanded. "You must be quick. Twenty paces below the pool is a canoe. I had one of my Indians leave it there yesterday, and it is ready. Roger—Nada—"

He groped out, and the hands of the three met in the darkness.

"God bless you—both! And go south—always south. Now go—go! I think I hear footsteps—"

He thrust them to the door, Nada with her bundle and Roger with his pack. Suddenly he felt Peter at his side, and reaching down he fastened his fingers in the scruff of his neck, and held him back.

"Good-bye," he whispered huskily. "Good-bye—Nada—Roger—"

A sob came back out of the gloom.

"Good-bye, father."

And then they listened, Peter and Father John, until the swift footsteps of the two they loved passed beyond their hearing.

Peter whimpered, and struggled a little, but Father John held him as he closed the door.

"It's best for you to stay, Peter," he tried to explain. "It's best for you to stay—with me. For I think they are going a far distance, and will come to a land where you would shrivel up and die. Besides, you could not go in the canoe. So be good, and remain with me, Peter—with me—"

And the Leaf Bud, standing wide-eyed and motionless, heard a strange little choking laugh come from Father John as he groped in darkness for a light.

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