The next morning Angelique, Amedee's
wife, was in the kitchen baking pies, assisted by
old Mrs. Chevalier. Between the mixing-board
and the stove stood the old cradle that had been
Amedee's, and in it was his black-eyed son. As
Angelique, flushed and excited, with flour on
her hands, stopped to smile at the baby, Emil
Bergson rode up to the kitchen door on his mare
"'Medee is out in the field, Emil," Angelique
called as she ran across the kitchen to the oven.
"He begins to cut his wheat to-day; the first
wheat ready to cut anywhere about here. He
bought a new header, you know, because all the
wheat's so short this year. I hope he can rent it
to the neighbors, it cost so much. He and his
cousins bought a steam thresher on shares. You
ought to go out and see that header work. I
watched it an hour this morning, busy as I am
with all the men to feed. He has a lot of hands,
but he's the only one that knows how to drive
the header or how to run the engine, so he has
to be everywhere at once. He's sick, too, and
ought to be in his bed."
Emil bent over Hector Baptiste, trying to
make him blink his round, bead-like black eyes.
"Sick? What's the matter with your daddy,
kid? Been making him walk the floor with
Angelique sniffed. "Not much! We don't
have that kind of babies. It was his father that
kept Baptiste awake. All night I had to be get-
ting up and making mustard plasters to put on
his stomach. He had an awful colic. He said he
felt better this morning, but I don't think he
ought to be out in the field, overheating him-
Angelique did not speak with much anxiety,
not because she was indifferent, but because she
felt so secure in their good fortune. Only good
things could happen to a rich, energetic, hand-
some young man like Amedee, with a new baby
in the cradle and a new header in the field.
Emil stroked the black fuzz on Baptiste's
head. "I say, Angelique, one of 'Medee's grand-
mothers, 'way back, must have been a squaw.
This kid looks exactly like the Indian babies."
Angelique made a face at him, but old Mrs.
Chevalier had been touched on a sore point,
and she let out such a stream of fiery PATOIS that
Emil fled from the kitchen and mounted his
Opening the pasture gate from the saddle,
Emil rode across the field to the clearing where
the thresher stood, driven by a stationary
engine and fed from the header boxes. As
Amedee was not on the engine, Emil rode on to
the wheatfield, where he recognized, on the
header, the slight, wiry figure of his friend,
coatless, his white shirt puffed out by the wind,
his straw hat stuck jauntily on the side of his
head. The six big work-horses that drew, or
rather pushed, the header, went abreast at a
rapid walk, and as they were still green at the
work they required a good deal of management
on Amedee's part; especially when they turned
the corners, where they divided, three and
three, and then swung round into line again
with a movement that looked as complicated as
a wheel of artillery. Emil felt a new thrill of
admiration for his friend, and with it the old
pang of envy at the way in which Amedee could
do with his might what his hand found to do,
and feel that, whatever it was, it was the most
important thing in the world. "I'll have to
bring Alexandra up to see this thing work,"
Emil thought; "it's splendid!"
When he saw Emil, Amedee waved to him
and called to one of his twenty cousins to take
the reins. Stepping off the header without
stopping it, he ran up to Emil who had dis-
mounted. "Come along," he called. "I have
to go over to the engine for a minute. I gotta
green man running it, and I gotta to keep an
eye on him."
Emil thought the lad was unnaturally flushed
and more excited than even the cares of manag-
ing a big farm at a critical time warranted. As
they passed behind a last year's stack, Amedee
clutched at his right side and sank down for a
moment on the straw.
"Ouch! I got an awful pain in me, Emil.
Something's the matter with my insides, for
Emil felt his fiery cheek. "You ought to go
straight to bed, 'Medee, and telephone for the
doctor; that's what you ought to do."
Amedee staggered up with a gesture of
despair. "How can I? I got no time to be sick.
Three thousand dollars' worth of new machin-
ery to manage, and the wheat so ripe it will
begin to shatter next week. My wheat's short,
but it's gotta grand full berries. What's he
slowing down for? We haven't got header
boxes enough to feed the thresher, I guess."
Amedee started hot-foot across the stubble,
leaning a little to the right as he ran, and waved
to the engineer not to stop the engine.
Emil saw that this was no time to talk about
his own affairs. He mounted his mare and rode
on to Sainte-Agnes, to bid his friends there
good-bye. He went first to see Raoul Marcel,
and found him innocently practising the
"Gloria" for the big confirmation service on
Sunday while he polished the mirrors of his
As Emil rode homewards at three o'clock in the afternoon, he saw Amedee staggering out of the wheatfield, supported by two of his cousins. Emil stopped and helped them put the boy to bed.