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The wilderness mine


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Title:TheWildernessMine
[publishedinEnglandas“Stayward’sVindication”]
Author:Bindloss,Harold(1866-1945)
Dateoffirstpublication:1920
Placeanddateofeditionusedasbaseforthisebook:

NewYork:FrederickA.Stokes,1920


Datefirstposted:11May2008
Datelastupdated:11May2008
ProjectGutenbergCanadaebook#117

Thisebookwasproducedby:DavidT.Jones,AudreyLonghurst
&theOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeamat
http://www.pgdpcanada.net

Thisfilewasproducedfromimagesgenerouslymadeavailable
byTheInternetArchive/CanadianLibraries

THEWILDERNESSMINE

BYTHESAMEAUTHOR

Wyndham’sPal
PartnersoftheOut-Trail
TheBuccaneerFarmer
TheLureoftheNorth
TheGirlfromKeller’s
Carmen’sMessenger


BrandonoftheEngineers
JohnstoneoftheBorder
TheCoastofAdventure
HardingofAllenwood
TheSecretoftheReef
FortheAllinsonHonor
TheLeagueoftheLeopard
TheIntriguers
PrescottofSaskatchewan
RanchingforSylvia
TheLongPortage
VaneoftheTimberlands
APrairieCourtship
SydneyCarteret,Rancher


MastersoftheWheatlands
TheGoldTrail
ThurstonofOrchardValley
TheGreaterPower
ThriceArmed
LorimeroftheNorthwest
ByRightofPurchase


DelilahoftheSnows
ForJacinta
WinstonofthePrairie
TheDustofConflict
AltonofSomasco
TheCattleBaron’sDaughter

[Illustration:“‘TRYTHEKNOBTOTHELEFT,’HESAID.‘THENIFYOU
CAN
REACHTHECRACK—’”—_Page255_]

THE
WILDERNESS
MINE

ByHAROLDBINDLOSS

Authorof“Wyndham’sPal,”“PartnersoftheOut-Trail,”
“TheBuccaneerFarmer,”“TheLureoftheNorth,”
“TheGirlfromKeller’s,”“Carmen’sMessenger,”etc.



NEWYORK

FREDERICKA.STOKESCOMPANY

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT,1920,BYFREDERICKA.STOKESCOMPANY
PUBLISHEDINENGLANDUNDERTHETITLE“STAYWARD’S
VINDICATION”

ALLRIGHTSRESERVED

CONTENTS


PARTI—CREIGHTON’SPATENT
CHAPTERPAGE
IMrs.Creighton’sExtravagance1

IITheReckoning11

IIITheSpiritTank21

IVStaywardFindsOut32

VMrs.CreightonRefuses41

VIRuthIsMovedtoAnger49

VIIRuth’sAdventure58

VIIIMrs.Creighton’sJealousy70

IXRuthGetstoWork81



XGeoffrey’sNewPost92


PARTII—THERIDEAUMINE
ITheBush103

IIGeoffreyEngagesaCook112

IIISnow122

IVTheMine131

VGeoffreyTrespasses140

VICarsonExperiments151

VIITheDam161

VIIICarsonResumesHisOccupation172

IXGeoffrey’sHoliday181

XCarson’sAdvice191



XIGeoffrey’sTriumph200

XIICarson’sLastJourney211


PARTIII—THESTRUGGLE
IGeoffrey’sReturn221

IIGeoffreyMeetsMissCreighton229

IIITheShieling238

IVTheStack249

VRuth’sPersuasion259

VITheBrownCar270

VIIMrs.Creighton’sWeakMoment281

VIIITheBrownCarStops289

IXRuthGoestoNethercleugh298

XThePortrait308



XIRuthRebels318

XIIMrs.CreightonRetracts328

THEWILDERNESSMINE


PARTI
CREIGHTON’SPATENT


CHAPTERI
MRS.CREIGHTON’SEXTRAVAGANCE

Thedrawing-roomwindowatIveghyllwasopen,andCreighton,lounging
ontheseatinthethickwall,listenedwhileMrs.Creightontalked.
Thiswashishabit,forMrs.Creightontalkedmuch,andasarule
expectedhimtoagree.Shewasresoluteand,byconcentratingonher
objectanddisregardingconsequences,hadsofarbeenabletosatisfy
herrathermeanambitions.NowCreightonsawtheconsequencesmustbe
faced.Infact,itwasgettingobviousthatJanetmustpullup,buthe
doubtedifhecouldpersuadeher.

AlthoughIveghyllwasnotalargecountryhouse,Creightonknewit
wastoolargeforhim.Itoccupiedagreenhollowatthebottomofa
darkfir-woodthatrolleddownthehill,andabeckbrawledamonggray
bowldersacrossthelawn.Thelawnwaswideandarhythmichummingled
withthedrowsysplashofwaterasthegardener’sboydroveapony
moweracrossthesmoothgrass.Behindthebeltofredandwhite
rhododendrons,agreenhouseglitteredinthelastbeamofsunshine
thatslanteddownthefell.Asweetresinoussmellfromthefir-wood


driftedintotheroom.

CreightonwasfondofIveghyll.Afterthesmokeanduglinessofthe
miningvillagewherehespenthisdays,itsquietbeautywassoothing.
Moreover,theoldhousegaveitsoccupantssomestandingintherather
lonelyneighborhood,andMrs.Creightonvaluedthis.Shewasthe
daughterofasmalllandlord,whohaddiedindebtbuthadbeenunable
toborrowmoneyonthepropertyhermotherhadlefther.Onlyher
lawyersknewhowsmalltheincomeshederivedfromhertied-up
inheritancereallywas.

Forallthat,CreightonmighthavelivedatIveghyllwithoutmuch
strain,hadhiswifebeencontenttostudyeconomyandhadhebeen
firm.Thetroublewas,Mrs.Creightonwasfirmandhewasweak.Ina
short-sightedway,shewasclever,andhermainobjectwastokeepup
thetraditionsofthelandowningstockfromwhichshesprang.Inorder
todoso,shehadurgedonherslackandcarelesshusband,andbyand
bymeanttomarryherdaughterwell.Inthemeantime,therewasno
reasonwhyRuthshouldnotdevelophermusicaltalent.Thegirlhadno
socialambitionandnotmuchbeauty,butnow-a-daystalentbroughtone
recognition.



“Youmustgetmethemoney,”shedeclared.“AlthoughIcutshortmy
stayintown,IwasforcedtoborrowfromChristine.Thenthereare
manybills,andRuth’sgoingtoMunichisanexpensivebusiness.She
musthaveaproperoutfitandallowance.Onecannottellwhomshemay
meet,andmydaughtermustnotbeshabby.”

“Oneunderstandsstudentsaregenerallypoor,”Creightonremarked.

“Ruthmustbeabletomeettheotherkind,”Mrs.Creightonrejoined.
“Sheis,ofcourse,alittleunconventional,butthisis,perhaps,
becausesheisyoung,andwhenonehastalent,atouchoforiginality
isnotadrawback.RuthwillnotforgetshespringsfromtheHassals.”

Creightonyawned.Hewastiredofhearingaboutthevanishedglories
ofhiswife’sfamily,andafteralltheyhadnotbeenpeopleofmuch
importance.TheirfamehadnotgonebeyondthesecludedNorthof
Englanddale.ThelastHassal’sdeathwas,however,regrettedby
numerousdisappointedcreditors.

“Oh,well,”saidCreighton.“Howmuchdoyouwant?”



WhenMrs.Creightontoldhimhemovedabruptlyandtriedtobrace
himself.

“Ican’tgetyouthissum,”hereplied.“WhenIwrotethelastcheck,
beforeyouwenttotown,youdeclaredyouwouldn’tbothermeagainfor
long.Forthatmatter,Ithoughtyououghtnottogoatall.”

Mrs.Creightongavehimacoldglance.“BeforeImarried,Ispent
everyseasonintown,andnowyougrudgemetwoorthreeweeks!Igave
upmuchforyoursake,butonecannotbealtogetherarecluse.Doyou
expectmetobesatisfiedwiththreeorfourdullneighborsandsuch
amusementsasonecangetatthisbleak,lonelyspot?”

Creightonhardlythoughtsheexpectedananswerandforafewmoments
hemusedandlookedabout.Thedrawing-roomwasexpensivelyfurnished,
butwithoutmuchhintoftaste;thelawnandgardenhisviewcommanded
weregood.Thiswashisprovince,althoughJanethadurgedhimto
buildthenewgreenhouseandgethelpforthegardener,andhewould
havebeenhappyatIveghyll,potteringabouthisgrassandflowers,
hadshelefthimalone.Still,keepingthingsinshapewasrathera


strain;heoughtnottoemployagardener,butJanetencouragedhis
spendingmoneyonthegrounds.ShelikedIveghylltogrowthefinest
flowersandearliestfruitinthedale.

Hestudiedherrathercritically.Shehadkeptsomethingofher
beauty,althoughherfaceandhairweregettingthin.Hermouthand
eyesweregoodbuthard,andonthewholeshelookedquerulousand
dissatisfied.Janetwasnotrobustandsometimesusedherweakhealth
asameansforextortingconcessionsCreightonknewheoughtnotto
make.Hehadatouchofcynicalphilosophyandadmittedhis
feebleness.Now,however,hemusttrytobefirm.

“Wehavebeenspendingtoomuchandmuststop,”hesaid.“Ican’tgive
youthemoneyyouwant.Ouraccountatthebankisverylowandit’s
luckyStaywardistoooccupiedtolookatthebooks.I’mratherafraid
there’llbetroublewhenhefindsouthowmuchI’vedrawn.”

“YouareStayward’spartner.”

“Thatisso.Asthelawstands,I’mjustifiedinusingthehouse’s
money;ethically,I’mnot.IinvestednothingwhenStaywardbuiltthe


cokeovens,andhehasspentremarkablylittleonhimself.Infact,
JohnusesSpartanself-denial;Idon’tknowhowthefellowlives.”

“Youdidinvestsomething.Staywardcouldnothavestartedthecoke
ovensbutforyourinvention.”

Creightonagreed.Hewasslackandcareless,buthehadatalentfor
chemistryandhadsometimesincepatentedanapparatusforrefining
tar.Itwastypicalthatafterafewdisappointmentshehadgivenup
hiseffortstogettheinventionusedandhaddonenothingwithit
untilStaywardbuiltthecokeovens.Indeed,itwasthenowingtoMrs.
Creighton’surgingthathetalkedabouthisretortsandcondensersto
Stayward,whosawtheinventionmightbeprofitableandgavehima
shareinthebusiness.

“Tosomeextent,Isupposeyourargumentisgood,”hesaid.“Thecoal
inourneighborhoodisnotadaptedforcoking;thestuff’stoosoftto
standaheavyloadandblast-furnaceownerspayussomeshillingsa
tonlessthantheygivetheDurhammakers.Ifitwasnotforthe
by-productswedistill,Idoubtifwecouldcarryon.Butyouknow
somethingaboutthis–-”



“It’simportantthatStaywardknew.”

“Oh,well,”saidCreighton.“Staywardisshrewdandobstinate.Ifhe
hadnotbeenobstinate,weshouldhavebeenforcedtostopsometime
since.Ourexperimentswereexpensive;wehadnomoneybehindus,and
couldn’tborrow,becauseStaywardhadmortgagedtheovens.Hehas
workedearlyandlate,andspentnothingexceptonthenewplant.You
see,theinterestonthemortgagewasasteadydrain.Nowourstuffis
gettingknown,andalthoughmoneyisveryshort,itbeginstolookas
ifwewouldsoonturnthecorner.Allthesamewehavegottouse
sterneconomy.There’sthetrouble,becauseifwecouldspendasumon
betterretorts,itwouldhelpourprogress.”

“Inthemeantime,ImustpayourdebtsandRuthmustgotoMunich.
Christineneedsthemoneyshelentmeandourcreditorscannotbeput
off.”

Creighton’ssmilewasironicallyresigned.“Ihavepreached
retrenchment,butIsupposethereisnouseintalkingaboutthis.We
havegotthethingsyouwantedandmusttrytomeetthebill,although


whethertheywereworththepriceornotisanothermatter.Wehave
outshoneourneighborswhenwegaveadinner;youandRuthhavegone
toLondonwhenHarrogatesatisfiedyourfriends,andournamehasbeen
prettynearthetopoflocalsubscriptionlists.Idon’tknowifit
wascharity,butwegavemorethanweought.NowRuthistogoto
Munichwithanallowancethatwillnodoubtexcitetheotherstudents’
envy.Well,Igrudgethisleast,butallthesameI’mbankruptandthe
billhascomein.”

TherewasanewnoteinCreighton’svoiceandMrs.Creightonlookedat
himratherhard.Hewasahandsomeman,butoneremarkedahintof
indulgencethathadnotbeentherewhenhemarried.ThenTomhadbegun
tolookold;therewerelinesonhisforeheadandwrinklesabouthis
eyes.Forallthat,Mrs.Creightondidnotmeantobedisturbed.Tom
hadlongtalkedeconomy,buthehadlefthertopinch.

“Idon’tthinkIhavebeenextravagant,”shereplied.“Ithasbeena
struggletokeepupourpositionwithinsufficientmeans.ButImust
havethemoney–-”

Shestopped,forasmallcarrolledupthedriveandvanishedbehind


theshrubs.Afewmomentsafterwardsagirlcarryingaviolincase
openedtheglassdoorontotheterraceandcameintotheroom.Ruth
Creightonwastall,withaslim,well-balancedfigureandgraceful
pose.Herlookwasfrankandhergrayeyesweresteady;hermouthwas
ratherlargeandherskinwascolorless.Asarule,strangersdidnot
thinkherattractive,butherfriendsdeclaredRuthhadacharmthat
graduallygotstrongerforpeoplewhoknewherwell.Perhapsthe
characteristicsonenotedfirstwereherfranknessandhonesty.

“HadyouapleasantafternoonatCarrock?”Mrs.Creightonasked.

Ruthsatdownandsmiled.“Yes;atleast,Iknowtheperformershad,
althoughit’spossibleourfriendswerebored.Wetookourselves
ratherseriouslyandgavethemthebestmusicwecouldplay.Jack
Fawcett’sfriendfromtownis,ofcourse,oneofourfamousamateurs.”

“Heiswellknown,”Mrs.Creightonagreed.“Whatdidhethinkabout
yourplaying?”

Ruthhesitatedforamoment,asifhalfdisturbed,andthenlookedup
frankly.



“Hetalkedaboutit—IexpectheknewwhyIwasaskedtoplay.Perhaps
Iimaginedsomething,butwhileheencouragedmeIdon’tthinkhewas
enthusiastic.”

“Youcanplay,”Creightondeclared.“Someofthesefellowsfeelthey
oughttobecritical.”

Ruthsmiled.“Iimaginehefeltheoughttobekind,andthiswas
perhapstheworst.Anartist’sadmirationis,sotospeak,spontaneous
whenhemeetsrealtalent.Ofcourse,seriousmusicdemandsallone
cangiveandIhaven’tstudiedhardverylong.Hetalkedmostaboutmy
techniqueandIlikedthat.Onecangetthemechanicaltrainingata
goodschoolandIoughttomakerapidprogresswiththeMunich
masters.”Shepausedandresumed,ratheranxiously:“Youdomeanto
letmego?”

“Iunderstandyourmotherpromised,”Creightonreplied.“Thefellow
hintedyouneededtrainingintechnique?”

“Yes,”saidRuth,thoughtfully.“Atleast,Iimagineso,andinaway,


itwasencouraging.Onecangetcontrolofwristandfingersand
developthepropermuscles.IfthisisallIneed,Ioughtn’ttobe
afraid;butitmeansclosestudyandproperteaching.”

Creightonnodded.“Youwon’tshirkthestudy.Isupposeitwouldn’t
carryyouveryfarbyitself?”

“Notwithoutcleverteaching,”saidRuth.“Oneneedsgoodmasters,and
Iwantsomuchtogo.”Shestoppedforamomentandresumedinan
apologeticvoice:“IfIhaveanytalent,it’sformusic,andsinceI
wasaverylittlegirlI’vemeanttobeaplayer.SometimesIthink
it’spossibleandsometimesIdoubt,butIfeelifIwanttomakemy
markit’sthebestchanceI’vegot.I’mnotverypretty,I’mnota
clevertalker,andIknownousefulwork.Butthisisnotimportant;I
lovemusicandthinkIcouldplay.”

Creightonwasmoved.HeknewRuthfeltkeenly.Moreover,shewas
tenacious;itwasnotaromanticambitionshehadindulged.Thegirl
wasverydeartohimandhecouldnotrefuseher.

“Youmustgetyourchance,”hesaid.“Besides,yourmotherpromised.


Wewillletyougo.”

Ruthgavehimagratefulglance,andhewentoutontheterraceand
lightedhispipe.Thesunhadleftthehillside,thewoodsdownthe
daleweregettingdim,andthedewhadbeguntofall.Athinstreakof
misttouchedthehighesttrees,whichrosefromthevaporinblurred,
darkspires,andthecryingoflambscamedownfromthemoor.Except
forthesplashofthebeck,allwasverycalm,butCreightonfelt
moody.

HewasgladhehadagreedtoletRuthgo;herswasacleanambition
andshemustfollowherbent.Forallthat,theextraexpensewouldbe
anawkwardstrainjustnow;Janethadbeenhorriblyextravagant,and
sincehehadnomoney,hehadusedhispartner’s.Tosomeextent,
perhaps,hewasjustified;theinventionthatenabledthemtostart
thebusinesswashis,buttheworkshadhardlybeguntopayandtheir
capitalwasnearlyexhausted.Infact,hesometimesdoubtedifthey
couldholdoutuntilthetar-refiningplantworkedproperly.The
alterationstheywereforcedtomakecostmuch.

Creighton,however,banishedhisdisturbingthoughts.Hishabitwasto


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