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The La Chance Mine Mystery   By: (1864?-1926)

Book cover

First Page:

THE LA CHANCE MINE MYSTERY

BY

S. CARLETON

WITH FRONTISPIECE BY

GEORGE W. GAGE

BOSTON

LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

1920

Copyright, 1920 , BY LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY.

All rights reserved

Published March, 1920

[Illustration: "I STOOD UP AND DROVE FOR ALL I WAS WORTH, AND THE GIRL BESIDE ME SHOT, AND HIT!" FRONTISPIECE. See page 76. ]

THE LA CHANCE MINE MYSTERY

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. I COME HOME: AND THE WOLVES HOWL 1

II. MY DREAM: AND DUDLEY'S GIRL 16

III. DUDLEY'S MINE: AND DUDLEY'S GOLD 30

IV. THE MAN IN THE DARK 46

V. THE CARAQUET ROAD: AND THE WOLVES HOWL ONCE MORE 56

VI. MOSTLY WOLVES: AND A GIRL 71

VII. I FIND LITTLE ENOUGH ON THE CORDUROY ROAD, AND LESS AT SKUNK'S MISERY 86

VIII. THOMPSON! 100

IX. TATIANA PAULINA VALENKA! 116

X. I INTERFERE FOR THE LAST TIME 134

XI. MACARTNEY HEARS A NOISE: AND I FIND FOUR DEAD MEN 148

XII. THOMPSON'S CARDS: AND SKUNK'S MISERY 164

XIII. A DEAD MAN'S MESSENGER 182

XIV. WOLVES AND DUDLEY 199

XV. THE PLACE OF DEPARTED SPIRITS 218

XVI. IN COLLINS'S CARE 231

XVII. HIGH EXPLOSIVE 247

XVIII. LAC TREMBLANT 265

XIX. SKUNK'S MISERY 283

XX. THE END 293

THE LA CHANCE MINE MYSTERY

CHAPTER I

I COME HOME: AND THE WOLVES HOWL

I am sick of the bitter wood smoke, And sick of the wind and rain: I will leave the bush behind me, And look for my love again.

Little as I guessed it, this story really began at Skunk's Misery. But Skunk's Misery was the last thing in my head, though I had just come from the place.

Hungry, dog tired, cross with the crossness of a man in authority whose orders have been forgotten or disregarded, I drove Billy Jones's old canoe across Lac Tremblant on my way home to Dudley Wilbraham's gold mine at La Chance, after an absence of months. It was halfway to dark, and the bitter November wind blew dead in my teeth. Slaps of spray from flying wave crests blinded me with gouts of lake water, that was oddly warm till the cutting wind froze it to a coating of solid ice on my bare hands and stinging face, that I had to keep dabbing on my paddling shoulder to get my eyes clear in order that I might stare in front of my leaky, borrowed canoe.

To a stranger there might have seemed to be nothing particular to stare at, out on a lake where the world was all wind and lumpy seas and growing November twilight; but any one who had lived at La Chance knew better. By the map Lac Tremblant should have been our nearest gold route to civilization, but it was a lake that was no lake, as far as transport was concerned, and we never used it. The five mile crossing I was making was just a fair sample of the forty miles of length Lac Tremblant stretched mockingly past the La Chance mine toward the main road from Caraquet our nearest settlement to railhead: and that was forty miles of queer water, sown with rocks that were sometimes visible as tombstones in a cemetery and sometimes hidden like rattlesnakes in a blanket. For the depth of Lac Tremblant, or its fairway, were two things no man might ever count on. It would fall in a night to shallows a child could wade through, among bristling needles of rocks no one had ever guessed at; and rise in a morning to the tops of the spruce scrub on its banks, a sweet spread of water with not a rock to be seen. What hidden spring fed it was a mystery. But in the bitterest winter it was never cold enough to freeze, further than to form surging masses of frazil ice that would neither let a canoe push through them, nor yet support the weight of a man... Continue reading book >>




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