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V. A Friend of Justice Henry van Dyke

Section I.

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Table Of Contents: The Ruling Passion

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First, there had been a question of suzerainty between Dan Scott and the local representative of the Astor family, a big half-breed descendant of a fur-trader, who was the virtual chief of the Indians hunting on the Ste. Marguerite: settled by knock-down arguments. Then there was a controversy with Napoleon Bouchard about the right to put a fish-house on a certain part of the beach: settled with a stick, after Napoleon had drawn a knife. Then there was a running warfare with Virgile and Ovide Boulianne, the free traders, who were his rivals in dealing with the Indians for their peltry: still unsettled. After this fashion the record of his relations with his fellow-citizens at Seven Islands was made up. He had their respect, but not their affection. He was the only Protestant, the only English-speaker, the most intelligent man, as well as the hardest hitter in the place, and he was very lonely. Perhaps it was this that made him take a fancy to Pichou. Their positions in the world were not unlike. He was not the first man who has wanted sympathy and found it in a dog.

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Alone together, in the same boat, they made friends with each other easily. At first the remembrance of the hot pipe left a little suspicion in Pichou's mind; but this was removed by a handsome apology in the shape of a chunk of bread and a slice of meat from Dan Scott's lunch. After this they got on together finely. It was the first time in his life that Pichou had ever spent twenty-four hours away from other dogs; it was also the first time he had ever been treated like a gentleman. All that was best in him responded to the treatment. He could not have been more quiet and steady in the boat if he had been brought up to a seafaring life. When Dan Scott called him and patted him on the head, the dog looked up in the man's face as if he had found his God. And the man, looking down into the eye that was not disfigured by the black patch, saw something that he had been seeking for a long time.

All day the wind was fair and strong from the southeast. The chaloupe ran swiftly along the coast past the broad mouth of the River Saint-Jean, with its cluster of white cottages past the hill- encircled bay of the River Magpie, with its big fish-houses past the fire-swept cliffs of Riviere-au-Tonnerre, and the turbulent, rocky shores of the Sheldrake: past the silver cascade of the Riviere-aux- Graines, and the mist of the hidden fall of the Riviere Manitou: past the long, desolate ridges of Cap Cormorant, where, at sunset, the wind began to droop away, and the tide was contrary So the chaloupe felt its way cautiously toward the corner of the coast where the little Riviere-a-la-Truite comes tumbling in among the brown rocks, and found a haven for the night in the mouth of the river.

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The Ruling Passion
Henry van Dyke

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