Poor Man
98 Pages
English

Poor Man's Rock

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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Poor Man's Rock, by Bertrand W. Sinclair This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Poor Man's Rock Author: Bertrand W. Sinclair Illustrator: Frank Tenney Johnson Release Date: August 17, 2005 [EBook #16541] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK POOR MAN'S ROCK *** Produced by Suzanne Shell, Paul Ereaut and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Novels by: BERTRAND W. SINCLAIR NORTH OF FIFTY-THREE BIG TIMBER BURNED BRIDGES POOR MAN'S ROCK "I'm afraid I must apologize for my father" she said simply. POOR MAN'S ROCK BY BERTRAND W. SINCLAIR WITH FRONTISPIECE BY FRANK TENNEY JOHNSON BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY Published September, 1920 THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U.S.A. CONTENTS POOR MAN'S ROCK__Prologue—Long, Long Ago CHAPTER I__The House in Cradle Bay CHAPTER II__His Own Country CHAPTER III__The Flutter of Sable Wings CHAPTER IV__Inheritance CHAPTER V__From the Bottom Up CHAPTER VI__The Springboard CHAPTER VII__Sea Boots and Salmon CHAPTER VIII__Vested Rights CHAPTER IX__The Complexity of Simple Matters CHAPTER X__Thrust and Counterthrust CHAPTER XI__Peril of the Sea CHAPTER XII__Between Sun and Sun CHAPTER XIII__An Interlude CHAPTER XIV__The Swing of the Pendulum CHAPTER XV__Hearts are not Always Trumps CHAPTER XVI__En Famille CHAPTER XVII__Business as Usual CHAPTER XVIII__A Renewal of Hostilities CHAPTER XIX__Top Dog CHAPTER XX__The Dead and Dusty Past CHAPTER XXI__As it was in the Beginning POOR MAN'S ROCK PROLOGUE LONG, LONG AGO The Gulf of Georgia spread away endlessly, an immense, empty stretch of water bared to the hot eye of an August sun, its broad face only saved from oily smoothness by half-hearted flutterings of a westerly breeze. Those faint airs blowing up along the Vancouver Island shore made tentative efforts to fill and belly out strongly the mainsail and jib of a small half-decked sloop working out from the weather side of Sangster Island and laying her snub nose straight for the mouth of the Fraser River, some sixty sea-miles east by south. In the stern sheets a young man stood, resting one hand on the tiller, his navigating a sinecure, for the wind was barely enough to give him steerageway. He was, one would say, about twenty-five or six, fairly tall, healthily tanned, with clear blue eyes having a touch of steely gray in their blue depths, and he was unmistakably of that fair type which runs to sandy hair and freckles. He was dressed in a light-colored shirt, blue serge trousers, canvas shoes; his shirt sleeves, rolled to the elbows, bared flat, sinewy forearms. He turned his head to look back to where in the distance a white speck showed far astern, and his eyes narrowed and clouded. But there was no cloud in them when he turned again to his companion, a girl sitting on a box just outside the radius of the tiller. She was an odd-looking figure to be sitting in the cockpit of a fishing boat, amid recent traces of business with salmon, codfish, and the like. The heat was putting a point on the smell of defunct fish. The dried scales of them still clung to the small vessel's timbers. In keeping, the girl should have been buxom, red-handed, coarsely healthy. And she was anything but that. No frail, delicate creature, mind you,—but she did not belong in a fishing boat. She looked the lady, carried herself like one, —patrician from the top of her russet-crowned head to the tips of her white kid slippers. Yet her eyes, when she lifted them to the man at the tiller, glowed with something warm. She stood up and slipped a silk-draped arm through his. He smiled down at her, a tender smile tempered with uneasiness, and then bent his head and kissed her. "Do you think they will overtake us, Donald?" she asked at length. "That depends on the wind," he answered. "If these light airs hold they may overhaul us, because they can spread so much more cloth. But if the westerly freshens—and it nearly always does in the afternoon—I can outsail the Gull. I can drive this old tub full sail in a blow that will make the Gull tie in her last reef." "I don't like it when it's rough," the girl said wistfully. "But I'll pray for a blow this afternoon." If indeed she prayed—and her attitude was scarcely prayerful, for it consisted of sitting with one hand clasped tight in her lover's—her prayer fell dully on the ears of the wind god. The light airs fluttered gently off the bluish haze of Vancouver Island, wavered across the Gulf, kept the sloop moving, but no more. Sixty miles away the mouth of the Fraser opened to them what security they desired. But behind them power and authority crept up apace. In two hours they could distinguish clearly the rig of the pursuing yacht. In another hour she was less than a mile astern, creeping inexorably nearer. The man in the sloop could only stand on, hoping for the usual afternoon westerly to show its teeth. In the end, when the afternoon was waxing late, the sternward vessel stood up so that every detail of her loomed plain. She was full cutter-rigged, spreading hundreds of feet of canvas. Every working sail was set, and every light air cloth that could catch a puff of air. The slanting sun rays glittered on her white paint and glossy varnish, struck flashing on bits of polished brass. She looked her name, the Gull, a thing of exceeding grace and beauty, gliding soundlessly across a sun-shimmering sea. But she represented only a menace to the man and woman in the fish-soiled sloop. The man's face darkened as he watched the distance lessen between the two craft. He reached under a locker and drew out a rifle. The girl's high pinkish color fled. She caught him by the arm. "Donald, Donald," she said breathlessly, "there's not to be any fighting." "Am I to let them lay alongside, hand you aboard, and then sail back to Maple Point, laughing at us for soft and simple fools?" he said quietly. "They can't take you from me so easily as that. There are only three of them aboard. I won't hurt them unless they force me to it, but I'm not so chicken-hearted as to let them have things all their own way. Sometimes a man must fight, Bessie." "You don't know my father," the girl whimpered. "Nor grandpa. He's there. I can see