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Big Timber A Story of the Northwest   By: (1881-1972)

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First Page:

[Illustration: She, too, had seen Monohan seated on the after deck. FRONTISPIECE.]

BIG TIMBER

A Story of the Northwest

By BERTRAND W. SINCLAIR

With Frontispiece By DOUGLAS DUER

1916

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. GREEN FIELDS AND PASTURES NEW II. MR. ABBEY ARRIVES III. HALFWAY POINT IV. A FORETASTE OF THINGS TO COME V. THE TOLL OF BIG TIMBER VI. THE DIGNITY (?) OF TOIL VII. SOME NEIGHBORLY ASSISTANCE VIII. DURANCE VILE IX. JACK FYFE'S CAMP X. ONE WAY OUT XI. THE PLUNGE XII. AND SO THEY WERE MARRIED XIII. IN WHICH EVENTS MARK TIME XIV. A CLOSE CALL AND A NEW ACQUAINTANCE XV. A RESURRECTION XVI. THE CRISIS XVII. IN WHICH THERE IS A FURTHER CLASH XVIII. THE OPENING GUN XIX. FREE AS THE WIND XX. ECHOES XXI. AN UNEXPECTED MEETING XXII. THE FIRE BEHIND THE SMOKE XXIII. A RIDE BY NIGHT XXIV. "OUT OF THE NIGHT THAT COVERS ME"

CHAPTER I

GREEN FIELDS AND PASTURES NEW

The Imperial Limited lurched with a swing around the last hairpin curve of the Yale canyon. Ahead opened out a timbered valley, narrow on its floor, flanked with bold mountains, but nevertheless a valley, down which the rails lay straight and shining on an easy grade. The river that for a hundred miles had boiled and snarled parallel to the tracks, roaring through the granite sluice that cuts the Cascade Range, took a wider channel and a leisurely flow. The mad haste had fallen from it as haste falls from one who, with time to spare, sees his destination near at hand; and the turgid Fraser had time to spare, for now it was but threescore miles to tidewater. So the great river moved placidly as an old man moves when all the headlong urge of youth is spent and his race near run.

On the river side of the first coach behind the diner, Estella Benton nursed her round chin in the palm of one hand, leaning her elbow on the window sill. It was a relief to look over a widening valley instead of a bare walled gorge all scarred with slides, to see wooded heights lift green in place of barren cliffs, to watch banks of fern massed against the right of way where for a day and a night parched sagebrush, brown tumble weed, and such scant growth as flourished in the arid uplands of interior British Columbia had streamed in barren monotony, hot and dry and still.

She was near the finish of her journey. Pensively she considered the end of the road. How would it be there? What manner of folk and country? Between her past mode of life and the new that she was hurrying toward lay the vast gulf of distance, of custom, of class even. It was bound to be crude, to be full of inconveniences and uncouthness. Her brother's letters had partly prepared her for that. Involuntarily she shrank from it, had been shrinking from it by fits and starts all the way, as flowers that thrive best in shady nooks shrink from hot sun and rude winds. Not that Estella Benton was particularly flower like. On the contrary she was a healthy, vigorous bodied young woman, scarcely to be described as beautiful, yet undeniably attractive. Obviously a daughter of the well to do, one of that American type which flourishes in families to which American politicians unctuously refer as the backbone of the nation. Outwardly, gazing riverward through the dusty pane, she bore herself with utmost serenity. Inwardly she was full of misgivings.

Four days of lonely travel across a continent, hearing the drumming clack of car wheels and rail joint ninety six hours on end, acutely conscious that every hour of the ninety six put its due quota of miles between the known and the unknown, may be either an adventure, a bore, or a calamity, depending altogether upon the individual point of view, upon conditioning circumstances and previous experience.

Estella Benton's experience along such lines was chiefly a blank and the conditioning circumstances of her present journey were somber enough to breed thought that verged upon the melancholy... Continue reading book >>




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