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About The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922 | View Entire Issue (April 22, 1919)
THE SEMI-WEEKLY TRIBUNE, NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA.
WITH HARDIN GONE, HIS AIDS DISORGANIZED, WHAT
WILL RICKARD SAY? INNES ACTS TO SAVE
HER BROTHER'S FACE
Synopsis. K. C. RIckard, un engineer of the Overland Pacific, 18
sent by President Marshall to Htop the ravages of the Colorado river
In the Imperial valley, a task at which Thomas Hardlu, head of tho
Desert Reclamation company, has failed. Itlckard foresees embarrass
ment because ho knows Hardin, who was n student uuder him In an
eastern college, married Gerty Holmes, with whom Itlckard once
thought himself In love. At the company ofllces at Calexlco Itlckard
finds the engineers loyal to Uardln and hostile to him. lie meets Mr.
and Mrs. Ilnrdln and Inncs llardln, the former's half sister. Innes
Is bitter against Itlckard for supplanting her brother. Hanlln dis
covers that Itlckard Is planning a levee to protect Calexlco and puts
him down as Incompetent. Gerty thinks her husband jealous. Gerty
Invites Itlckard to dinner and there plans a "progressive ride" In his
honor. Itlckard pushes work on tlic levee nnd is ordered by Marshall
Co "take a fighting chance" on the completion of Hardin's pet project, a
gate to shut the break In the river. In the midst of Gerty llurdln's
progressive ride, which is begun desplto a terrlflc wind and dust storm,
word comes that the river Is raging and every man is wanted on the
On the Levee.
' llardln did not go home that night.
He was feeling to trio quick tho irony
of ,hlH position ; bin duty now to pro
tect tlio levee he'fl ridiculed; now tho
only hope of the tf-vns 1 Tho integrity
of the man never faltered, though his
thbughts ran wild. Llko the relentless
hounds of Actacoti. they pursued him,
barking at his vanity.
He started the Anxious ranchers at
sacking sand. Bcfcfeldt ran up to tell
him that there vns a hill of Oiled
"Backs over in Mcxrall. "Itlckard had
'n bunch of Indlfls working for a
Tho confusion C tho shy fellow did
aot escapo Uardln. Oh, lin knew what
Bodcfeldt was tin)Ai& what every
one was saying I Tey wero all laugh
ing at him. The :olncldcnce of this
extraordinary flooC hnd upheld Rick
ard's wild guess, luloed bis Judgment.
It was all n piece fit his infernal luck.
Sickening, that's what it wasl His
orders scattered. lie ran up nnd down
tho levee, giving orders; recalling
them when ho found ho was repenting
' This new humlllr.tion, coming on the
heels of the dredge flnsco, put him In
execrable tcmpir. Ho shouted his or
ders over tho nols-.'s of tho night, no
rated tho men, buMIed there. No ono
did anything right! Lord, what ho
.had to put up wit'i! Tho other men,
tho ranchers and engineers, saw In
his excitement certnlnty of the valley's
Tho wind nnd tho darkness con
tributed to tho confusion. Roger
hovels were tossing up earth beforo
anyone could tell where the danger
point would be. '.Cho water was not
t ret high enough to letcrmlno tho plnco
of battle. Backed sand wns being
brought over from Mcxlcall. Fifty
pair of minds nmdo short work of
RIckard's "hill." lanterns wero flash
ing through tho darkness llko restless
fireflies. Tho wind nnd rushing water
deadened the sound of tho voices. It
was n bnttlo of giants against pyg
mies. In tho darkness, tho giants
threatened to conquer.
At three In tho piornlng, a horsemnn
rodo In from Fnssntt's, ono of tho big
ranches to tho notlh, cut by tho New
?The river Is uttln back," ho
called through the din, Cutting back
toward tho towns."
A turn in tho gorge, u careless
dump-pit had pulled tho river llko n
mad horso back on its haunches. It
was kicking back.
"They nro short-handed up there.
They need help."
"Dynamite," cried Silent and Har-
din antlphonally. They happened to
bo standing near.
"We must have dynamite," bawled
nardln. "Are tho wires down between
hero nnd Brawley? We must get n
wlro .somehow to Ios Angeles, to rush
It down hero this morning."
"It's hero. There Is a carload on
tho siding," yelled Silent
Uardln did not need to nsk by
whoso orders. It was there. An angry
scowl spoiled his face.
"Put some on tho mnchlno." Ho
wns turning away.
Silent called after him. Did Mr.
nardln think it ws Bafo? There was
no road between tho towns nnd Fas
eett's. Tho night, UVq explosive should
tbey not wait till morning? Tho ques
(ion threw his lato chief Into a rage.
t "Did I nsk you to tnko it?" It was
tho opening for his fury. "Safo I Will
the towns bo safe It tho river cuts back
here? The channel has got to bo
widened, and you talk of your own
precious skin I Walt till I ask you to
tnko it Get out tho machine. I'll tako
Ifc'to Fassctt's myself."
Silent left tho levee, smarting. Uo
backed tho machine out of tho shed
nd sped through the darkness toward
Mexlcnll, where tho car of explosives
Hardin, bnttoned up to tho cars, bis
soft bat pulled tight over his forehead,
was waiting impatiently. Hero was
something to be done; ho coveted tho
"I thought you wero never coming,"'
"Let mo take it I" pleaded the en
gineer. "Nonsense, there Is no danger." Har
din saw pcrsounl affection In the plea.
Ho put his hand affectionately on the
"You go homo and catch a nap; this
Is my Job." Ho was standing on tho
step. "Crnhk her."
There was nothing for Silent to do
but to get out. Hardin pointed the
long nose of tho enr into tho darkness.
Sho was off like tho greyhound sho
suggested, missing a telegraph pole by
half an inch.
"Who Is in charge hero?" a woman's
voice was piercing tho rncket of wind
Tho dawn was breaking. Down the
New river ho could sec the wind whlp-
Sho Collided With a Man.
ping tho water Into whltccnpped fury.
"Vicious," ho muttered. "Thoso heavy
waves play tho Old Harry with tho
"Whero is my brother?"
"MIbs Hardin I" cried Silent.
"Whero Is ho?" demanded Innes.
Her hair streamed away from her face.
Her cheeks wero blanched. Her yellow
eyes, peering Into tho dusk, looked
owlish. H,cr wlnd-spunkcd skirts clung
to lier limbs. To Silent sho looked
boyish, as though clipped nnd trou
sered. "Whero Is my brother?" eho re
pented. Silent told her without reservations
where he had gono und why. Thcro
wns no feminine foolishness about
that sister of Hardin's. A chip of tho
old block. Funny, tho men all thought
of her ns Hardin's daughter on uc-
count of tho difference of age. As to
n comrade, proudly, ho bragged of tho
taking of tho dynamlto over that road
"Whom did ho leave In his place?"
Silent knew, only, that ho himself
wns not In charge! Hardin had or
dered him to bed.
"Maybo Mr. Estrada?" eho haz
"no is not here, ho went down tho
road to look after tho track. Ilnrdln
went off in such n hurry, I guess ho
told nobody," chuckled tho engineer,
"Then I'm itl" cried Inncs Hardin.
"Will you tnko my orders, Silent?"
"Sure," ho chuckled again.
Through tho rush of tho wind nnd
water enmo tho whistle of n locomo
"A special I" cried Silent. Hardin's
sister and his friend looked at each
other, the samo thought in mind:
Itlckard, In from tho Heading!
On her face Hllent saw tho enmo
spectacular impulse which had flashed
over Hardin's features a short tlmo
Sho put her hand on his arm. "SI
lent, you'ro his friend. Straighten tills
out Wo can't have him como back-
spying; and And this," Sho wnvod hqr
hand toward tho disorganized groups.
When the Colorado
Burst Its Banks and
Flooded the Imperial
Valley of California
(Copyright, IJobbi-MerrlU Oompinr)
"I'd tnko more orders," suggested
"Then send a third of them home,
tell them to como back tonight at sir.
Send uwny tho other third, tell them
to come back at noon. Keep the other
shift. Soy you'll have coffeo sent
from tho hotel, tell them Hardin says
to stop wasting stuff. Tell them oh,
tell them nnythlng you can think of,
Silent, beforo he comes." Her break
down wns girlish.
She could hear the signal of tho lo
comotive; coming closer. Then sho
could hear tho pant of the englno ns
it worked up tho grade. It was a
steady gentle climb all the way from
tho junction, two hundred feet below
senlevel, to the towns rcstlnj at tho
level of tho sea. It quickened her
thought of the power of1 the river.
Nothing between it nnd the trncks at
Salton. Nothing to stop its flow into
that spectacular new sea whose basin
did not need a drop of the precious
misguided flow. She could hear the
bells; now tho train was coming Into
the station; she would not wnlt for
Silent She did not want to meet
No ono snw her as she left tho levee.
She pussed Silent, who was issuing or
ders. She heard him say, "Tho boss
She took tho road by tho railroad
sheds, to nvold tho dismissed shifts,
moving townwnrd. At full speed, she
collided with a roan, rounding tho
sheds' corner. It was Itlckard. Her
veil had slipped to her shoulders and
he saw her face.
"Miss Hardin I" ho exclaimed.
"Whatever are you doing here?" .
"I wns looking for my brother."
"You ought not to bo out at night
"With every Indian In tho country
coming in. I'll send Pnrrlsh with
Sho recognized Parrlsh behind him.
Sho tried to tell him that she knew
every Indian in Mexican, every Mexi
can in the twin towns, but ho would
not listen to her. "I'm not going to let
you go homo nlone."
She blinked rebellion at the sup
planter of her brother. But she found
herself following Pnrrlsh. Sho took a
deep pride in her Independence, her
fearlessness. Tom lot her go where
sho liked. Sho had an impulso to dis
miss Parrlsh; every man was needed,
but ho would obey RIckard's orders.
MacLean had told her that! "They
don't liko him. but they mind him!"
Itlckard made his way down to the
levee. "Whero is Hardin?" ho asked
of every ono ho met. Silent came up
to explain that Hardin had gono up to
Fassctt's just a fow minutes ago to
carry dynamite. Tho river was cut
ting back there. "Good," cried Rick
nrd, "that's bully 1"
"Ho left mo in chnrgc," glibly lied
the friend of Hardin. "Any orders,
"Things nro going all right?" began
tho manager. He stopped. From
above came a dull roar.
"Dynamite 1" cried RIckard. ,
The friend of Hardin had nothing
to say. "I thought you said ho went
only a few minutes ago?" demanded
There was nnothcr detonation. Down
tho river enmo the booming of tho sec
"That's dynamite for .sure," evaded
"Not n minute too soon I" declnred
RIckard, going back to his Inspection.
RIckard In Town.
Tho town woko to a matter-of-fact
day. Tho sensational aspect of tho
runaway river had passed with tho
night Tho word spread that tho flood
waters were under control; thnt tho
men had gono homo to sleep, so tho
women got brenkfast ns usual, and
tidied their homes. Tho Colorado was
always breaking out, llko a naughty
child from school. Never would tho
cry of "Tho river 1" fall to' drag the
blood from their cheeks. But relief
always came; tho threatened danger
was always averted, and these pioneer
women hnd ncqulred tho habit of swift
That afternoon, Mrs. Youngberg wns
to entertain at tho A B C ranch the
ladles of tho Improvement club. It
wns a sclf-glorlflcatlon meeting, to
celcbrnto tho planting of trees In the
streets of Calexlco. and to plan the
campaign of their planting. Mrs.
Bllnn drovo Into town to get Gerty
Hardin. Neither woman had seen her
husband since tho Interrupted drive
the night before.
"I don't know whether I should go,"
Mrs. Hardin hesitated, her face turned
toward tho ABO ranch. "Perhnps
thcro Is something wo could do."
"I have Just come from tho levee.'
Mrs. Bllnn's Jolly fnco had lost it
apprehension. "Tho water has not
risen an Inch since brenkfast. Most of
tho men have been Bent home. When
noward didn't come home to lunch, 1
grow anxious. But Mr. Rlcknrd says
he sent him to Fnssott's with moro
"Thcro ho Is," thrilled Gerty.
Mrs. Bllnn's eye swept tho street
"Whero? Your husband?"
"N, Air. rticknrd. Passing ttie nnnk.
There, ho's stopped. I wonder if ho Is
going In? You call him, Mrs. Bllnn."
Obediently her friend balled Itlck
ard. no turned bnck to the windy
street no felt boyish; tho crisis wns
giving him mercurial feet, ne loved
the modern battle. Elements to pit
one's brains against, wits ngalnst
Gerty nnrdln's fnco was flushing
and paling. "The river," sho faltered.
"Should we bo alarmed, Mr. RIckard?"
Smiling, ho assured her sho should
not ho alarmed ; tho levees would pro
tect the towns.
"Mr. Hardin Is up at Fassctt's
ranch, he will be coming back today.
I told your husband, Mrs. Bllnn, to
catch a nap nnd then relieve Mr. nar
dln." Gerty found a significance in his
words. He had said "Mr. nardln," and
"your husband, Mrs. Bllnn." It was
enough to weave dreams around.
"Wo can't do anything, Mr. Itlckard,
to help?" urged Gerty Hardin, her
"I hopo we won't have to call on you
There was no excuse to linger.
Gerty threw a wistful little smile nt
The second night of the flood, the
women of the towns dragged brush
and filled sacks for tho men to carry.
It wns past midnight when Innes Har
din left the levee. While her feet nnd
lingers bad tolled, her mind had been
fretting over Tom. Two nights, nnd
no rest 1 It was told by men who came
down tho river how nardln was hero
ically laboring. Sho yearned to go to
him ; perhaps he would stop for a few
hours to her entreaty. But an uncer
tain trail across country, with tho
dust-laden wind in her face? Sho de
cided to wait for the dawn. A snutched
sleep first, but who would call her?
She would sleep for hours, so weary
every muscle. Her mind fixed on Sam
as tho only man in town who bad
time tot saddle a horse for a woman.
She went in search of him. She
found that the long adobe ofllce build
ing had nlready taken on the look of
defeat, of ruin. Tho casements hnd
been torn from the partitions; the
doors and windows were out. The fur
niture had been hauled up to high
ground farther away for safety. Sho
went hunting through the ghoulish
gloom for the dnrky, turning her Inn
tern In every dark corner. Sho knew
that sho would And him sleeping.
Then sho heard steps on the veranda.
She ran toward them, expecting to see
Sam. She swung her lantern full on
two figures mounting tho shallow
steps. Itlckard was with her sister-ia-law.
"Oh, excuse me I" she blurted blun
deringly. Of course Gerty would tako
a wrong intention irom tno stupid
Tho blue eyes met those of Inncs
with defiance. It was as though she
had spoken: "Well, think what you
will of It, you Hardinsl I don't caro
what you think of me I"
What indeed did sho think of It?
Why should she feel llko the culprit
beforo these two, her words desert
ing her? It was Gerty's look that
made her feel guilty, as though sho
had been spying. To meet them to
gether, here nt midnight, why should
not they feel ashamed? She had done
nothing wrong. And Tom down yon
der fighting and they make his ab
sence a cover for their rendezvous.
"I'm looking for Sam I" The effort
behind tho words turned them into an
"So are we. I want to send him
homo with Mrs, Hardin. She's worn
"She can go homo with me. I nm go
ing directly. As soon ns I give a mes
sage to Sam." She instantly regretted
her words, abruptly halting. It came
RIckard Was With Her Slster-ln.law.
to her that RIckard would Insist upon
delivering her message. Of course, ho
would opposo her going. Some petty
reason or other. Sho knew from tho
men that ho was oppositional, that ho
liked to show his power. Not eafo, he
would say, or tlio horso was needed,
or Sam too busy to wait on her!
"You cannot go homo alone, you
two. The town is full of strange Tn
dinns. Glvo mo your lantern, Miss
Ilnrdln; I'll rout out that darky."
Itcbelllousiy sno gave him tlio lan
tern. 'I'm- light tovned xuii ou nor
averted nngry eyes.
A haughty Thusnclda followed him.
Snm was discovered asleep in the
only room where the windows hnd not
yet been attacked. His head rested on
a bundlo of sacked trees which tho
ladies of tho Improvement club had
planned to plant the next day. Deep
snores betrayed his refuge.
"Here, Sam! I want you to tako
these Indies home. Chase yourself.
They'vo been working while you've
slept. I thought you'd have all these
windows out by now."
Gerty hnd to supply the courtesy for
two. Sh6 told Mr. Itlckard In her ap
pealing way that he bad been very
kind; thnt sho "would have been
frightened to death to go homo alone."
Inncs had to say something I "Good
night!" Tho words hnd an insulting
Tho wind covered a passionate si
lence, ns the two women, followed by
Snm, yawning hnd stretching, made
their way down the shrieking street
"It wns true," Innes was thinking. Sho
hnd at last stumbled on the rout, but
It was not a matter of personal, but
moral untidiness; not a carelessness
of pins or plates, of tapes or dishes. It
was far worse; n slackness of ethics.
It meant more unhnppiness for Tom.
Her aching muscles told her thnt
she could not have slept four hours
when the durky was back, knocking nt
Innes' horse loped through the
Til run past the levee; perhaps
Tom has como back." It occurred to
her that there might be a messnge nt
the hotel. She' pulled on her left rein,
nnd swept past the deserted adobe.
As she reined in her horse, RIckard
stepped out on the sidewalk. He, too,
was heavy-eyed from a snatched nap.
"Wero you looking for me?"
The scorn in tho girl's face told him
that his question was stupid. For
"Has my brother come back?"
He said ho did not know. "You can
see I have been dreaming 1" Sho would
not smile back at him, but rode oft
toward the levee.
Was this the river? West of the
levee, a sea of muddy water spread
over the land. There was yet n chance
to save the towns, the town, she cor
rected herself, ns her cyo fell on tho
Mexican village across the ditch. For
Mexlcali was doomed. Some of the
mud huts had nlready fallen; the wa
ter was running close to tho station
She saw Wooster standing near, cal
culating the distance, the time, per
haps, before tho new station woujd go.
She hailed Wooster. Ruin was pre
saged in the lines of his forehead.
"Pretty bad?" she cried.
He shook his head.
"Is Tom back?"
"Ho's over there, now. Fighting like
all possessed, ne'll work till he
drops." Wooster was proud of that
"Wo all know Tom 1" Her pride
sprang up. "But he's got to stop for
a while. I'm going up nfter him."
"Not if my nnme's Wooster. I'll go.
He'll mind me."
Sho wntched the flowing river, swol
len with wreckage. Sho saw, with
comprehension, a section of a fence;
somebody s crop gone. Thero was a
railway tie, another! The river was
eating up Estrnda's new roadbed? A
cry broke from her as a mesquit on
the coffee-colored tide caught on a
burled snag. The current swirled dan
gerously around it. Instnntly, tho wa
ter rose townrd tlio top of the levee.
Men came running to pry away the
tree. A minute later, it' was dancing
down the stream. They raised the
bank against the pressing tannine:
waves. There, the tree had struck
again. They ran down the levee with
their long poles. Each time that hap
pened, unless the obstruction wero
swiftly dislodged, she knew it meant
an artificial' fall somewhere, a quick
scouring out of the channel. The men
were working llko silent parts of a big
machine; the confusion of the first
night wns gone. From their faces one
would not guess that their fortunes,
their homes, hung on the subduing of
thnt Indomitable force which had not
yet known defeat, which had turned
bnck explorer and conqulstndor. Ah,
there was the lurking fear of It! Vic
tory still lay to Its credit; tho other
column was blank.
She saw Wooster coming toward
her. His snapping black eyes shot out
sparks of anger.
"ne won't let mo go."
"Who won't let you?" But she knew.
"Casey. Says he'll send somo ono
else. I said as nobody clse'd make
Hardin stop. He said as that was up
Of course, he wouldn't let Wooster
"Orders me to bed," spat Wooster.
"Wonder why, he didn't order gruel,
too. It's spite, antagonism to Hardin,
that's what It Is 1" She believed that,
too. Tom was right. RIckard did tako
advantage of his authority.
Sho did not see RIckard until he
stood by her 6ldo.
"I'm sorry not to spare Wooster,
Miss llardln. Rut there's stiff work
ahead, He's got to be ready for a call.
If nardln Insists on spoiling one good
soMler, thnt's his affair. I can't let
him spoil two."
Wooster shrugged, nnd left them.
"Spoiling good soldiers!"
"I've taken Uodefeldt off duty. I
told hlra to relieve Hardin."
Bodcfeldt ho blushed when anyone
looked at him 1 He would bo nbout ns
persuasive to Tom as a veil to a des
ert windl She turned away, but not
before RIckard saw again that trans
forming nnger. Her eyos shone liko
topazes in sunlight. . She would not
i trust herself to speak. Wooster was
waiting tov her. Rlckurrt onld"hcar
the man repeat "I'm corry, Miss Uar
dln. It's an outrage. That's what it
Queer, they couldn't sec thnt it was
Hardin's fault; Hardin who was up
the river fighting like a melodramatic'
hero; fighting without caution or re
serve, demoralizing discipline; he
couldn't help admiring the bulldog en
ergy, himself. That wns what all these
men adored. He'd clenched the gtrl's
nntngonlam, now, for sure! How her
eyes had flashed at htm !
Hello! Thcro was a tree floating
down toward tho station house. . . .
"Bring your poles!" ho yelled.
The Passing of the Waters.
Babcock came rushing down from
Los Angeles thnt morning to see what
In thunder It was all about. Uo asked
every one he met why some one didn't
get busy nnd stop tho cutting back of
that river? There was no one at tho
ofllces of the company to report to
"Orders Me to Bed."
him! Why, the building wus desert
ed. Ogllvle's letters had prophesied
ruin. It all looked wrong tofhlm. Go
ing on to the levee, he met MncLean,
Jr., wlio was coming away. The boy
told him vaguely that he would find
RIckard around there, somewhere.
"I'll hunt him up for you."
"Why, they nre letting itfget ahead
of theml" Babcock's manner sug
gested thnt he was aggrieved that such
carelessness to his revered company
should go unpunished. Something, he
told MacLean, might have been dona
before the situation got as bad as
His excited stride carried him
across the dividing ditch, which now
was carrying no water, into Mexlcnll.
MacLean had to lengthen his step to
keep pace with him. The havoc dono
to tho Mexicnn village excited Bab
cock still more.
Estrada, Just In from his submerged
trncks, wns lounging ngalnst an adobe
wall. His pensive gaze was turned
up-stream. The posture of exhaustion
suggested laziness to Babcock, who
was on the hunt for responsibility. He
was more than ever convinced that
the right thing was not being done.
Estrada took his eyes from the river.
Babcock looked like a snapping ter
rier taking the ditch nt a bound. Mac
Lean. Jr., a lithe greyhound, followed.
"What the devil are you doing to
stop this?" A nervous hand Indicated
the Mexican station gleaming in ita
fresh coat of paint ; to the muddy wa
ter undermining Its foundation.
Estrada drew a cigarette out of his
pocket; lighted It before answering.
"Not a thing. What do you sug
gest?" A big wave struck the bank. The
car on the siding trembled.
"Another wave like that and that
car'll go over," cried Babcpck, Jump
ing, mad. "Why don't you do some
thing? Why don't you hustle all of
you?" He would report this incompe
tency. Down tho streura camo a mass of
debris, broken timbers, ravaged brush,
a wrenched fence post, a chicken coop.
A red hen, clinging to its swaying
ship, took tho rapids.
"Hustle what?" murmured Es
trada. Babcock glared at him, then at the
river, nis eye caught the approach
ing wreckage. Men came running
with their poies. Tho caving bank was
too far gone. Tho Instant the drift
ing mass struck it, here was a shud
der of falling earth, the car toppled
toward the flood waters, the waves
breaking into clouds of spray.
Human responsibility fell to a cipher.
The river's might wns magnificent
Even Babcock, come to carp, caught
the excitement. "Come, MacLean,'
ho cried. "Watch this! Tho station'
going!" Ho Joined Estrada by the
"Have a cigarette?" murmured
What will the valley do? Fac
ing tremendous losses If It does
not push the damage cults filed
against tho railroad, it faoes ut
ter rulp If the railroad abandons
the fight against the river.
Marshal! puta the Issue squarely
up to the ranchers, but is he
bluffing? Go on with the story
in the next tasuo of this paper.
(TO BE CONTINUED
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