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TheProjectGutenbergeBook,KindredoftheDust,byPeterB Kyne ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net Title:KindredoftheDust Author:PeterB Kyne ReleaseDate:September26,2004[eBook#13532] Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***STARTOFTHEPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKKINDREDOFTHE DUST*** E-textpreparedbyStephenSchulze andtheProjectGutenbergOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeam KINDREDOFTHEDUST BY PETERB KYNE AUTHOROF CAPPYRICKS,THEVALLEYOFTHEGIANTS,WEBSTER—MAN'SMAN, ETC ILLUSTRATEDBY DEANCORNWELL 1920 TOIRENE MYDEAR,TYRANNICAL,PRACTICALLITTLEFOSTER-SISTER WITHOUT WHOSE AID AND COMFORT, HOOTS, CHEERS AND UNAUTHORIZED STRIKES, THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF MY ALLEGED LITERARY OUTPUT WOULD BE APPRECIABLY DIMINISHED,THISBOOKISAFFECTIONATELYDEDICATED CONTENTS CHAPTERI CHAPTERII CHAPTERIII CHAPTERIV CHAPTERV CHAPTERVI CHAPTERVII CHAPTERVIII CHAPTERIX CHAPTERX CHAPTERXI CHAPTERXII CHAPTERXIII CHAPTERXIV CHAPTERXV CHAPTERXVI CHAPTERXVII CHAPTERXVIII CHAPTERXIX CHAPTERXX CHAPTERXXI CHAPTERXXII CHAPTERXXIII CHAPTERXXIV CHAPTERXXV CHAPTERXXVI CHAPTERXXVIII CHAPTERXXIX CHAPTERXXX CHAPTERXXXI CHAPTERXXXII CHAPTERXXXIII CHAPTERXXXIV CHAPTERXXXV CHAPTERXXXVI CHAPTERXXXVII CHAPTERXXXVIII CHAPTERXXXIX CHAPTERXL CHAPTERXLI CHAPTERXLII CHAPTERXLIII CHAPTERXLIV CHAPTERXLV CHAPTERXLVI CHAPTERXLVII THEILLUSTRATIONS HectorMcKayewasbredofanacquisitiverace Shestoletotheoldsquarepianoandsangforhim Donaldbowedhishead,"Ican'tgiveherup,father" "I'mamanwithoutahomeandyou'vejustgottotake mein,Nan" I In the living-room of The Dreamerie, his home on Tyee Head, Hector McKaye, owner of the Tyee Lumber Company and familiarly known as "The Laird,"waswonttositinhishoursofleisure,smokingandbuildingcastlesin Spain—forhissonDonald Hereheplannedtheacquisitionofmoretimberand theinstallationofanelectric-lightplanttofurnishlight,heat,andpowertohis owntownofPortAgnew;everandanonhewouldgazethroughtheplate-glass windowsouttoseaandwatchforhisshipstocomehome WheneverTheLaird puthisdreamsbehindhim,healwayslookedseaward Inthecourseoftime,his home-bound skippers, sighting the white house on the headland and knowing that The Laird was apt to be up there watching, formed the habit of doing something that pleased their owner mightily When the northwest trades held steady and true, and while the tide was still at the flood, they would scorn the servicesofthetugthatwentouttomeetthemandcomerampingintothebight, alltheirwhitesailssetandthegloryofthesunuponthem;astheysweptpast, far below The Laird, they would dip his house-flag—a burgee, scarlet-edged, withafirtreeembroideredingreenonafieldofwhite—thesymboltotheworld thatherewasaMcKayeship Andwhenthehouse-flagflutteredhalf-waytothe deck and climbed again to the masthead, the soul of Hector McKaye would thrill "Guidlads!Mybonnybravelads!"hewouldmurmuraloud,withjustatouch of his parents' accent, and press a button which discharged an ancient brass cannonmountedattheedgeofthecliff Wheneverhesawoneofhisshipsinthe offing—andhecouldidentifyhisshipsasfarashecouldseethem—heordered thegardenertoloadthiscannon Presently the masters began to dip the house-flag when outward bound, and discoveredthat,whetherTheLairdsatathisdeskinthemillofficeorwatched fromthecliff,theydrewanansweringsalute Thiswastheirhailandfarewell Onemorning,thebarkentineHathor,towingoutforDelagoaBay,dippedher house-flag,andthewatchattheirstationsbenttheirgazeuponthehouseonthe cliff Longtheywaitedbutnoansweringsalutegreetedtheacknowledgmentof theiraffectionateandwillingservice Themate'sglancemetthemaster's "Theoldlairdmustbeunwell,sir,"heopined Butthemastershookhishead "Hewastohavehaddinneraboardwithuslastnight,butearlyintheafternoon he sent over word that he'd like to be excused He's sick at heart, poor man! Daneytellsmehe'sheardthetowngossipaboutyoungDonald." "Thelad'sagentleman,sir,"thematedefended "He'llnotdisgracehispeople." "He'syoung—andyouthmustbeserved Man,Iwasyoungmyselfonce—and NanoftheSawdustPileisnotawomanayoungmanwouldlookatonceandgo hisway." InthesouthwesterncornerofthestateofWashington,nestledintheBightof Tyee and straddling the Skookum River, lies the little sawmill town of Port Agnew Itisacommunitysomewhatdifficulttolocate,fortheBightofTyeeis not of sufficient importance as a harbor to have won consideration by the cartographers of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and Port Agnew is not quite fortyyearsold Consequently,itappearsonlyontheverylateststatemapsandin thesmallestpossibletype WhenHectorMcKayefirstgazeduponthebight,thetranscontinentallineshad not yet begun to consider the thrusting of their tentacles into southwestern Washington, and, with the exception of those regions where good harbors had partially solved the problem of transportation, timber in Washington was very cheap Consequently, since Hector McKaye was one of those hardy men who never hesitate to take that which no man denies them, he reached forth and acquiredtimber Astripoflandaquarterofamilewideandfrontingthebeachwasbarrenof commercial timber As grazing-land, Hector McKaye was enabled to file on a full section of this, and, with its acquisition, he owned the key to the outlet While "proving up" his claim, he operated a general store for trading with the Indiansandtrappers,andatthisheprospered Fromtimetotimehepurchased timber-claims from the trappers as fast as they "proved up," paying for these stumpage-pricesvaryingfromtwenty-fivetofiftycentsperthousand Onhisfrequenttripstotheouterworld,McKayeextolledtheopportunitiesfor acquiring good timber-claims down on the Skookum; he advertised them in letters and in discreet interviews with the editors of little newspapers in the sawmill towns on Puget Sound and Grays Harhor; he let it be known that an honestfellowcouldsecurecreditforawinter'sprovisionsfromhim,andpayfor itwithpeltsinthespring Theinfluxofhomesteadersincreased—singlemen,forthemostpart,andpoor —menwholaboredsixmonthsoftheyearelsewhereandlivedtheremainingsix months in rude log huts on their claims down on the Skookum And when the requirementsofthehomesteadlawshadbeencompliedwithandapatenttotheir quarter-sectionobtainedfromtheLandOfficeinWashington,thehomesteaders werereadytosellandmoveontootherandgreenerpastures Sotheysoldtothe only possible purchaser, Hector McKaye, and departed, quite satisfied with a profitwhichtheyflatteredthemselveshadbeentheresultoftheirownprudence andforesight Thus,inthecourseoftenyears,HectorMcKaye'acquiredtenthousandacres of splendid Douglas fir and white cedar But he had not been successful in acquiring claims along the south bank of the Skookum For some mysterious reason, he soon found claims on the north bank cheaper and easier to secure, albeit the timber showed no variance in quantity or quality Discreet investigations brought to light the fact that he had a competitor—one Martin Darrow, who dwelt in St Paul, Minnesota To St Paul, therefore, journeyed HectorMcKaye,andsoughtanaudiencewithMartinDarrow "I'mMcKaye,fromtheSkookumRiver,Washington,"heannounced,without preamble "I'vebeenexpectingyou,Mr McKaye,"Darrowreplied "Gotapropositionto submit?" "Naturally,orIwouldn'thavecometoSt Paul Inoticeyouhaveaweakness forthetimberonthesouthbankoftheSkookum You'veopposedmetherehalf adozentimesandwon IhavealsoobservedthatIhaveafreehandwithclaims northoftheriver That'sfair—andthere'stimberenoughfortwo Hereafter,I'll keeptomyownsideoftheriver." "Iseewe'regoingtocometoanunderstanding,Mr McKaye Whatwillyou acceptyouorkeepoutofPortAgnew;atanyratethey'llneverbotheryou,my dear Ithink,"headdedgrimly,"thatImayfindawaytomakethemtreatyou withcivilityatleast." "He'saprettygoodoldsportafterall,isn'the,Nan?"herhusbandsuggested "I'lltelltheworldheis,"sheansweredarchly,employingtheA.E.F slangshe hadalreadylearnedfromDonald ShelinkedherarminoldHector'sandsteered himdownthehalltotheliving-room "Yourgrandsonisinthere,"shesaid,and openingthedoorshegentlypropelledhimintotheroom XLVII Nanwasright Hisgrandsonwasthere,butstrangetorelatehewasseated,as nakedasVenus(saveforadiaper)onhisgrandmother'slap HectorMcKayepausedandglaredathiswife "Damnit,Nellie,"heroared,"whatthedevildoyoumeanbythis?" "I'mtiredofbeinganoldfool,Hector,"sherepliedmeekly,andheldthebaby upforhisinspection "It'stimeyouwere,"hegrowled "Comehere,youyoungrascaltillIheftyou Bythegodsofwar,he'saMcKaye!"Hehuggedthesquirmingyoungstertohis heartandcontinuedtoglareathiswifeasifshewereahardenedcriminal "Why didn't you tell me you felt yourself slipping?" he demanded "Out with it, Nellie." "There will be no post-mortems," Nan interdicted "Mother McKaye and Elizabeth and Jane and I patched up our difficulties when Donald came home yesterday Howwediditorwhattranspiredbeforewedidit,doesn'tmatter,you dearoldsnooper." "What?ElizabethandJane?Unconditionalsurrender?" She nodded smilingly and The Laird admitted his entire willingness to be— jiggered Finally,havinginspectedhisgrandson,heturnedforanequallyminute inspectionofhissoldiersonunderthelamplight "Threeservice stripesandonewoundstripe,"hemurmured "Andyou'renot crippled,boydear?" "Do I fight like one? Hector, man, those punches of yours would have destroyedabattalionofcripples Oh,youoldfalse-alarm!Honestly,Dad,you're the most awful dub imaginable And trying to bribe me into permitting you to escape—whatthedeucehaveyoubeenmonkeyingwith?Youreekofammonia —here,goawayfrommyson You'repoison." TheLairdignoredhim "What'sthatribbon?"hedemanded "DistinguishedServiceCross." "Youmusthaveboughtitinapawnshop Andthatthing?" "CroixdeGuerre." "Andthatredone?" "Legiond'Honneur." Apause "WhatdidDirtyDanget,son?" "Theonethingintheworldhethoughthedespised TheCongressionalMedal of Honor for valor in saving the life of a British colonel, who, by the way, happenstobeanOrangeman Whenhediscoveredithewantedtobayonetthe colonelandIwontheCroixdeGuerreforstoppinghim." "Oh,ceaseyournonsense,Donald,"hiswifeurged,"andtellyourfatherand mothersomething Ithinktheyareentitledtothenewsnow." "Yes,Nan,Ithinktheyare Listen,folks Nowthatyou'veallbeenniceenough tobehumanbeingsandacceptmywifeatherfacevalue,Ihaveasurprisefor you OnthedaywhenNanmarriedthefatherofmyadoptedson,hewaiteduntil theofficiatingministerhadsignedthemarriagelicenseandattestedthathehad performed the ceremony; then while the minister's attention was on something else,hetookpossessionofthelicenseandputitinhisovercoatpocket Laterhe andNandrovetoarestaurantforluncheonandtheovercoatwiththelicensein thepocketwasstolen,fromtheautomobile Thethiefpawnedthecoatlaterand thepawnbrokerdiscoveredthelicenseinthepocketafterthethiefhaddeparted Thefollowingdaythefellowwasarrestedintheactofstealinganotherovercoat; thepawnbrokerreadofthearrestandrememberedhehadloanedfivedollarson anovercoattoamanwhogavethesamenamethisthiefgavetothepolice So thepawnbroker—" "Iamnotinterested,myson Irequirenoproofs." "Thankyouforthat,father Butyou'reentitledtothemandyou'regoingtoget them The pawnbroker found on the inside lining of the inner breast pocket of the overcoat the tag which all tailors sew there when, they make the garment Thistagborethenameoftheowneroftheovercoat,hisaddressandthedateof deliveryoftheovercoat." "Now,thepawnbrokernoticedthatthemanwhoownedtheovercoatwasnot the person named in the marriage license Also he noticed that the marriage licensewasattestedbyaministerbutthatithadnotbeenrecordedbythestate board of health, as required by law—and the pawnbroker was aware that marriagelicensesarenotpermitted,bylaw,tocomeintothepossessionofthe contracting parties until the fact that they have been legally married has been dulyrecordedontheevidenceofthemarriage—whichis,ofcourse,themarriage license." "Whydidn'ttheidiotsendthelicensebacktotheministerwhohadperformed the ceremony?" The Laird demanded "Then this tangle would never have occurred." "Hesayshethoughtofthat,buthewassuspicious Itwasbarelypossiblethat theofficiatingclergymanhadconnivedatthetheftofthelicensefromhisdesk, so the pawnbroker, who doubtless possesses the instincts of an amateur detective,resolvedtogetthelicenseintothehandsofNanBrentdirect Before doingso,however,hewrotetothemannamedinthelicenseandsenthisletterto the address therein given In the course of time that letter was returned by the post-office department with the notation that the location of the addressee was unknown Thepawnbrokerthenwrotetothemanwhosenameappearedonthe tailor'stagintheovercoat,andpromptlyreceivedareply Yes,anovercoathad beenstolenfromhisautomobileonacertaindate Hedescribedtheovercoatand stated that the marriage license of a friend of his might be found in the breast pocket,providedthethiefhadnotremovedit Ifthelicensewastherehewould thankthepawnbrokertoforwardittohim Heenclosedachecktoredeemthe overcoat and pay the cost of forwarding it to him by parcel post, insured The pawnbrokerhadthatcheckphotographedbeforecashingitandheforwardedthe overcoatbutretainedthemarriagelicense,forhewasmorethaneverconvinced thatthingswerenotastheyshouldhavebeen "His next move was to write Miss Nan Brent, at Port Agnew, Washington, informing her of the circumstances and advising her that he had her marriage certificate This letter reached Port Agnew at the time Nan was living in San Francisco, and her father received it He merely scratched out Port Agnew, Washington,andsubstitutedforthataddress:'Careof——usingNan'smarried name,AltamontApartments,SanFrancisco.' "By the time that letter reached San Francisco Nan had left that address, but since she planned a brief absence only, she left no forwarding address for her mail That was the time she came north to visit her father and in Seattle she discovered that her supposed husband was already married I have told you, father,andyouhavedoubtlesstoldmother,Nan'sreasonsforrefusingtodisclose thisman'sidentityatthattime "OfcourseNandidnotreturntoSanFrancisco,butevidentlyherhusbanddid andattheirapartmenthefoundthisletteraddressedtoNan Heopenedit,and immediately set out for San José to call upon the pawnbroker and gain possessionofthemarriagelicense Unknowntohim,however,hislineswereall tangledandthepawnbrokertoldhimfranklyhewasafraudanddeclinedtogive himthelicense Finallythepawnbrokertriedabluffanddeclaredthatiftheman didnotgetoutofhisplaceofbusinesshewouldhavehimarrestedasabigamist —andthefellowfled "AmonthortwolaterthepawnbrokerwasinSanFranciscosohecalledatthe AltamontApartmentstodeliverthelicenseinperson,onlytodiscoverthatthe personhesoughthaddepartedandthatheraddresswasunknown Sohewrote Nan again, using her married name and addressed her at Port Agnew, Washington Youwillremember,ofcourse,thatatthistimeNan'smarriagewas notknowntoPortAgnew,shehadkeptitsecret Naturallythepostmasterhere didnotknowanybodybythatname,andinduecourse,whentheletterremained unclaimedhedidnotbothertoadvertiseitbutreturnedittothesender." "It doesn't seem possible," Mrs McKaye declared, quite pop-eyed with excitement "It was possible enough," her son continued drily "Well, the bewildered pawnbrokerthrustthelicenseawayinhisdesk,andawaitedthenextmoveofthe maninthecase Buthenevermoved,andafterawhilethepawnbrokerforgothe hadthelicense Andtheministerwasdead Oneday,incleaningouthisdeskhe cameacrosstheaccumulatedpapersinthecaseanditoccurredtohimtowrite thestateboardofhealthandexplainthesituation Promptlyhereceivedaletter fromtheboardinforminghimthatinquirieshadbeenmadeattheboardofhealth office for a certified copy of the license, by Miss Nan Brent, of Port Agnew, Washington,andthattheboardhadbeenunabletofurnishsuchacertifiedcopy Immediatelyourobligingandintelligentpawnbroker,whosename,bytheway, isAbrahamGoldman,bundledupthemarriagelicense,togetherwiththecarbon copyofthepawntickethehadgiventhethief;apressclippingfromtheSanJosé Mercuryrecountingthestoryofthecaptureofthethief;carboncopiesofallhis correspondenceinthecase,theoriginalofalllettersreceived,thephotographof the check—everything, in fact, to prove a most conclusive case through the medium of a well-ordered and amazing chain of optical and circumstantial evidence ThisevidencehesenttoMissBrent,PortAgnew,Washington,andshe receiveditaboutaweekbeforeImarriedher Consequently,shewasinposition toprovetothemostcaptiouscriticthatshewasawomanofundoubtedvirtue, the innocent victim of a scoundrel who had inveigled her into a bigamous marriage Of course, in view of the fact that the man she went through a legal marriage ceremony with already had a wife living, Nan's marriage to him was illegal—howdoyouexpressit?Ipsofactoorperse?Intheeyesofthelawshe had never been married; the man in the case was legally debarred from contractinganothermarriage TheworstthatcouldpossiblybesaidofNanwas thatsheplayedinmightyhardluck." "Inthenameofheaven,whydidyounottellmethisthedayyoumarriedher?" TheLairddemandedwrathfully "Ididn'tknowitthedayImarriedher Shewascuriousenoughtowanttosee howgameIwas ShewantedtobecertainItrulylovedher,Ithink—andinview of her former experience I not blame her for it It pleased you a whole lot, didn'tit,honey?"headded,turningtoNan,"whenImarriedyouonfaith?" "Butwhydidn'tyoutellusafteryouhaddiscoveredit,Donald?"Mrs McKaye interrupted "Thatwasnotkindofyou,myson." "Well,"heansweredsoberly,"inthecaseofyouandthegirlsIdidn'tthinkyou deserved it I kept hoping you and the girls would confess to Dad that you telephonedNantocomebacktoPortAgnewthattimeIwassickwithtyphoid —" "Eh?What'sthat?"TheLairdsatupbristling Mrs McKayeflushedscarletandseemedonthevergeoftears Donaldwentto herandtookherinhisarms "Awfullysorrytohavetopeachonyou,olddear," hecontinued "DonotthinkNantoldonyou,Mother Shedidn't Ifigureditall out by myself However, as I started to remark, I expected you would confess andthatyourconfessionwouldstartafamilyriot,inthemidstofitIknewfather wouldriseupanddeclarehimself Igiveyoumyword,Dad,thatfortwoweeks beforeIwenttoworkupatDarrowIwatchedandwaitedalldaylongforyouto comedownhereandtellNanitwasabetandthatwe'dplayitasitlay." Old Hector gritted his teeth and waged his head sorrowfully "Nellie," he warnedhistremblingwife,"thisiswhatcomesofalackofconfidencebetween manandwife." Sheflaredupatthat "Hush,youhypocrite AtleastIhaven'tsnoopedaround here trying to poison dogs and kill people when I was discovered playing PeepingTom Aprettyfigureyou'vecutthroughoutthisentireaffair Didn'tIbeg younottobehardonourpoorboy?" "Yes, you had better lay low, Father," Donald warned him "You've been marriedlongenoughtoknowthatifyoustartanythingwithawomanshe'llputit all over you We will, therefore, forget Mother's error and concentrate on you RememberthenightIdraggedyouashoreatDarrow'slogboom?Well,permit me to tell you that you're a pretty heavy tow and long before my feet struck bottomIfiguredontwoWidowsMcKaye IfI'dhadtoswimtwentyfeetfurther Iwouldhavelostout Really,Ithoughtyou'dcomethroughafterthat." "Iwouldifyou'dwaitedabit,"oldHectorprotestedmiserably "Yououghtto knowIneverdothingsinahurry." "Well,Ido,Dad,butallthesameIgrewwearywaitingforyou ThenImade upmymindI'dnevertellyouaboutNanuntilyouandMotherandthegirlshad completelyreversedyourselvesandtakenNanforthewomansheisandnotthe womanyouoncethoughtshewas." "Well,you'vewon,haven'tyou?"TheLaird'svoicewasveryhusky "Yes,Ihave;andit'sasweetvictory,Iassureyou." "Thenshutup Shutup,Itellyou." "Allright!I'mthrough—forever." TheLairdbenthisbeetlingbrowsuponNan "Andyou?"hedemanded "Have youfinished?" Shecametohimandlaidhersoftcheekagainsthis "Youfunnyoldman,"she whispered "DidyoueverhearthatIhadbegun?" "Well,nae, I havenot—nowthatyoumentionit And,bytheway,mydear! Referringtomygrandson'shalf-brother?" "Yes." "Iunderstandhe'saMcKaye." "Yes,Donaldhaslegallyadoptedhim." "Well,then,I'llaccepthimasanadoptedgrandson,mydear Ithinkthere'llbe money enough for everybody But about this scalawag of a man that fathered him I'llhavetoknowwhoheis Wehaveasuitofzebraclothing waitingfor him,mydear." "No, you haven't, Father McKaye My boy's father is never going to be a convict Thatmanhasotherchildren,too." "I'm going to have a glass frame made and in it I'm going to arrange photographicreproductionsofallthedocumentsinNan'scase,"Donaldstated "Thehistoryofthecasewillallbethere,then,withtheexception,ofcourse,of thenameoftheman IndeferencetoNan'sdesiresIwillomitthat ThenI'llhave that case screwed into the wall of the post-office lobby where all Port Agnew canseeandunderstand—" "Nellie,"TheLairdinterrupted,"pleasestopfiddlingwiththatbabyanddress him Daughter, get my other grandson ready, and you, Donald, run over to the milloffice Mycarisstandingthere Bringithereandwe'llallgohometoThe Dreamerie—yes,andtellDaneytocomeupandhelpmeemptyabottleto—to— tomyadditionalfamily He'llbringhiswife,ofcourse,butthenwemustendure thebitterwiththesweet Goodoldfile,Daney Nonebetter." Donald put on his cap and departed As the front gate closed behind him HectorMcKayesprangupandhurriedoutofthehouseafterhim "Hey,there, son,"hecalledintothedarkness,"Whatwasthatyousaidaboutaglasscase?" Donaldreturnedandrepeatedthestatementofhisplan "Andyou'regoingtothetroubleofexplainingtothissorryworld,"theoldman criedsharply "Man,thelongestdayshelivesthere'llbebrutesthatwillsay'twas oldmanMcKaye'smoneythatframedanalibiforher.'Son,nomanorwoman was ever so pure that some hypocrite didn't tread 'em under foot like dust and regard them as such Lad, your wife will always be dust to some folks, but— we'rekindredtoher—sowhatdowecare?Weunderstand Donotexplaintothe damnedPharisees Theywouldn'tunderstand Hangthatthinginthepost-office lobbyandsomesuperiorpersonwillquoteShakespeare,andsay:'Methinksthe ladydothprotesttoomuch.'" 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