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- Carnac's Folly, Volume 3. - 18/18 -

"What rights had I? None at all. I'll come out of it with over a half- million dollars--isn't that enough for a backwoodsman? I get the profits of the working for three years, and two hundred thousand dollars besides. I ought to be satisfied with that."

"Who knows of the will besides yourself?" asked Carnac sharply.

"No one. There is a letter to the bank simply saying that another will exists and where it is, but that's all.

"And you could have destroyed that will in my favour?"

"That's so." The voice of Tarboe was rough with feeling, his face grew dark. "More than once I willed to destroy it. It seemed at first I could make better use of the property than you. The temptation was big, but I held my own, and now I've no fear of meeting anyone in Heaven or Hell. I've told you all. . . .

"Not quite all. There's one thing more. The thought of Junia Shale made me want to burn the second will, and I almost did it; but I'm glad I didn't."

"If you had, and had married her, you wouldn't have been happy. You can't be fooling a wife and be safe."

"I guess I know that--just in time. . . . I have a bad heart, Carnac. Your property came to me against my will through your father, but I wanted the girl you're going to marry, and against my will you won her. I fought for her. I thought there was a chance for me, because of the rumour you were secretly married--"

"I'll tell you about it, Tarboe, now. It was an ugly business." And he told in a dozen sentences the story of Luzanne and the false marriage.

When he had finished, Tarboe held out his hand. "It was a close shave, Carnac."

After a few further remarks, Tarboe said: "I thought there was a chance for me with Junia Shale, but there never was a real one, for she was yours from a child. You won her fairly, Carnac. If you'll come to the office to-morrow morning, I'll show you the will."

"You'll show me the will?" asked Carnac with an edge to his tone.

"What do you mean?" Tarboe did not like the look in the other's eyes.

"I mean, what you have you shall keep, and what John Grier leaves me by that will, I will not keep."

"You will inherit, and you shall keep."

"And turn you out!" remarked Carnac ironically. "I needn't be turned out. I hoped you'd keep me as manager. Few could do it as well, and, as Member of Parliament, you haven't time yourself. I'll stay as manager at twenty thousand dollars a year, if you like."

Carnac could not tell him the real reason for declining to inherit, but that did not matter. Yet there flashed into his heart a love, which he had never felt so far in his life, for John Grier. The old man had believed he would come out right in the end, and so had left him the fortune in so odd a way. How Carnac longed to tell Tarboe the whole truth about Barode Barouche, and yet dare not! After a short time of hesitation and doubt, Carnac said firmly:

"I'll stand by the will, if you'll be my partner and manager, Tarboe. If you'll take half the business and manage the whole of it, I'll sell the half for a dollar to you, and we can run together to the end."

Tarboe's face lighted; there was triumph in his eyes. It was all better than he had dared to hope, for he liked the business, and he loathed the way the world had looked at John Grier's will.

"Halves, pardner, halves!" he said, assenting gladly, and held out his hand.

They clasped hands warmly.

The door opened and Junia appeared. She studied their faces anxiously. When she saw the smiling light in them:

"Oh, you two good men!" she said joyously, and held out a hand to each.


Don't be a bigger fool than there's any need to be Life is only futile to the futile Youth's a dream, middle age a delusion, old age a mistake


Carnac's Folly, Volume 3. - 18/18

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