Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The frontier. (O'Neill City, Holt County, Neb.) 1880-1965 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 6, 1923)
By Edwin C. Sabin
Author of “How Are You Feeling?” etc.
Now it stirred, and erected a
little. I felt the unseemliness of
sitting and waiting for her to
make her toilet, so lustily dag
gered to achieve my own by aid
of the w'ater tank, tin basin, rol
ler towel and small looking
glass at the rear, substituting
my personal comb and brush for
the pair hanging there by cords.
The coach was the last in the
train. I stepped out upon the
platform, for fresh air.
We were traversing the real
plains of the Great American
Desert, I judged. The prairie
grasses had shortened to brown
stubble interspersed with bare
Bandy soil rising here and there
‘into low hills. It was a country
without north, south, east, west,
save as denoted by the sun,
broadly launching his first
beams of the day. Behind us
the single track of double rails
clear to the Missouri. The dull
blare of the car wheels was the
only token of life, excepting the
long-cared rabbits scampering
with erratic high jumps, and the
prairie dogs sitting bolt upright
in the sunshine among their hill
oeked burrows. Of any town
there was no sign. We had cut
loose from company.
Then we thundered by a
freight train, loaded with still
moie ties and iron, standing up
on a siding guarded by the idl
ing^ trainmen and by an opera
tor’s shack. Smoke was welling
from the chimney of the shack
—and that domestic touch gave
mo a sense of homesickness.
Yet I would have not have been
home, even for breakfast. This
wide realm of nowhere fasci
nated with the unknown.
The train and shack flattened
into the landscape. A bevy of
antelope flashed white tails at
us as they scudded away. Two
motionless figures, horeback,
whom I took to be wild Indians,
surveyed us from a distant
sand-hill. Across the river
there appeared a fungus of low
buildings almost indistinguish
able, with a glimmer of canvas
topped wagons fringing it. That
was the old emigrant road.
While I was thus orienting
myself in lonesome but not en
tirely hopeless fashion the car
door opened and closed. I turn
ed my head. The Lady of the
Blue Eyes had joined me. As
fresh as the morning she was.
“Oh ! You? I beg your pardon,
sir.” She apologized, but I felt
the diffidence was more politic
“You are heartily welcome,
madam,” I assured.
“There is air enough for us
“The car is suffocating,” she
said. “However, the worst is
over. We shall not have to
■pend another such a night,
son are still for Benton?”
“By all means.” And I bow
ed to her. “We are fellow-tra
velers to the end, I believe.”
“Yes?” She scanned me.
“But I do not like that word:
the end. It is not a popular
word, in the West. Certainly
not at Benton. For instance—”
We tore by another freight
waiting upon a siding located
amidst a wide debris of tin cans,
scattered sheet-iron, stark mud
and-stone chimneys, and barren
spots, resembling the ruins from
lire and quake.
“There is Julosbhrg.”
“A town?” t gasped.
“The end.” She smiled. “The
only inhabitants are now in the
statiop-house and the grave
yard ? ’ ’
“And the others? Where are
“Farther west. Many of
them iu Benton."
“Indeed? Or in North
Platte!" I bantered.
“North Platte!" She laughed
merrily. “Dear me, don’t men
tion North Platte—not in the
same breath with Benton, or even
Cheyenne. A town of hayseeds
and dollar-a-day clerks whose
height of sport is to go fishing
in the Platte! A young man
like you would die of ennui in
North Platte. Julesburg was a
good (Own while it lasted. Peo
pie lived, there; and moved on
because they wished to keep
alive. What is life, anyway,
but a constant shuffle of the
cards? Oh, I should have laugh
cd to see you in North Platte."
And laugh she did. “You dght
as well be dead underground as
buried in one of those smug
se\ en-Sabbaeth-a-weck places. ’'
Her free speech accorded ill
with what I bad been accustom
ed to in woman kind; and yet
became her sparkling eyes and
“To be dead ig past the jok
ing, madam,” I reminded.
“Certainly. To be dead is the
end. In Benton we live while
we live, and don’t mention the
end. So I took exception to
your gallantry.” She glanced
behind her, through the door
window into the car.
“Will you,” she asked hasti
ly, “join me in a little appetizer,
as they say? You will find it a
superior cognac—and we break
fast shortly, at Sidney.”
From the pocket of her shirt
she had extracted a small silver
flask, stoppered with a tiny
screw cup. Her face swam be
fore me in my astonishment.
“I rarely drink liquor, ma
dam,” I stammered.
“Nor I. But when traveling
—you know. And in high and
—dry Benton liquor is quite a
necessity. You will discover
that, 1 am sure. You will not
decline to taste with a lady?
Let us drink to better acquaint,
ance, in Benton.”
“With all my heart, madam,”
She poured, while swaying to
the motion of the train; passed
the cup to me with a brightly
“Ladies first. That is the
custom, is it not?” I queried.
“But I am hostess, sir. I do
the honors. Pray do you your
“To our better acquaintance,
then, madam,” I accepted. “In
The cognac swept down my
throat like a stab of hot oil.
She poured for herself.
“A votre sante, monsieur—
and continued beginnings, no
ends.” She daintily tossed it
We had consummated our
pledges just in time. The b.ake
man issued, stumping noisily
and bringing discord into my
heaven of blue and gold and
“Howdy, lady and gent?
Breakfast is twenty minutes.”
He grinned affably at her; yes,
with a trace of familiarity.
“Sleep well, madam?”
“Passably, thank you.” Her
voice held a certain element of
calm interrogation as if to ask
how far he intended to push ac
quaintance. “We’re nearing
Sidney, you say? Then I bid
you gentlemen goodraorning.”
With a darting glance at him
and a parting smile for mo she
passed inside. The brakeman
leaned for an instant’s look
ahead, up the track, and linger
“Friend of yours, is she?”
“I met her in Omaha, is ail.”
I stiffly informed.
“Considerable of a dame,
eh?” He eyed me. “You’re
booked for Benton, too?”
“Never been there, myself.
She’s another hellroarer, they
“Sir!” I remonstrated.
“Oh, the town, the town,”
he enlightened. “I’m not say
ing nothing against it, for that
matter—nor against her, either.
They’re both O. K.”
“You are acquainted with the
uer* sure. l know about
everybody along the line be-1
tween Platte and Cheyene.
Been running on this division
ever since it opened.”
“She lives in Benton, though,
I understand,” I proffered.
“Why, yes; sure she does.
Moved there from Cheyenne.”
lie looked at me queerly. “Na
turally. Ain’t that so?”
“Probably it is,” I admitted.
“I see no reason to doubt your
“Yep. Followed her man. A
heap of people moved from
Cheyenne to Benton, by way of
“She is married, then?”
“Far as I know. Anyway,
she's not single, by a long
shot.” And he laughed. “But,
Lord, that cuts no great figger.
People here don’t stand on cere
mony in those matters. Every
thing’s aboveboard. Hands on
the table until time to draw—
then draw quick.”
His language was a little t<io
bluff for me.
“Her husband is in business,
“Business?” He stared un
blinking. “I see.” He laid a
finger alongside his nose, aqd
winked wisely. “Yoq bet yuh!
And good business. Yes, siree.
Are you on?”
“Am I on?” I repeated. “On
what? The train?”
“Oh, on your ^svay.”
“To Benton; certainly.”
“Do you see any green in my
eye, friends?” he demanded.
“I do not.”
“Or in the moon, maybe.?”
“No, nor in the moon,” I re
torted. “But what is all this
“I’ll be damned 1” he round
ly vouchsafed. And—“You’ve
been having quite a little smile
with her, eh?” He sniffed sus
piciously. “A few swigs of
that’ll make a pioneer of you
quicker’n alkali. She’s favor
ing you—eh? Now if she tells
you of a system, take my advice
and quit while your hair’s
“My hair is my own fashion,
sir,” I rebuked.
“And the lady is not for dis
cussion between gentlemen, par
ticularly as my acquaintance
with her is only casual. I don’t
Understand your remarks, but
if they are insinuations I shall
have to ask you to drop the
“Tut,tut!” he grinned. “No
offense intended, Mister Pil
grim. Well, you’re all right.
We can’t be young more than
once, and if the lady takes you
in tow in Benton you’ll have
the world by the tail as long as
it holds. She moves with the
top-notchers; she’s a knowing
little piece-^o offense. Her
and me are good enough friends.
There’s no brace game in that
deal. I only aim to give you a
steer. Savvy?” And he wink
ed. “You’re out to see the
“I am seeking health, is all,”!
I explained. “My physician
had advised a place in the Par
West, high and dry; and Benton
His response was identical
with others preceding.
“High and dry? By golly,
then Benton’s the ticket. It’s
sure high, and sure dry. Ym
bet yuh! High and dry and
“Why ‘roaring’?” I demand
ed at last. The word has beeD
“Up and coming. Pop goes
the weasel, at Benton. Benton?
Lord love you! They say it’s
got Cheyenne and Laramie back
ed up a tree, and the best days
they ever seen. When you step
off at Benton step lively and
keep an eye on the back of your
head. There’s money to be
made at Benton, by the wise
ones. Watch out for ropers
and if you get onto a system,
play it. There ain't any limit
to money or suckers.”
“I may not qualify as to
money,” I informed.
“But I trust that I am no
“No green in the eye, eh?” he
approved. “Anyhow, you have
a good lead if your friend in
black cottons to you.” Again
he winked. “You’re not a bad
looking young feller.” He
leaned over the side steps, and
gazed ahead. “Sidney is in
sight. Be there directly. We’re
hitting twenty miles and better
through the greatest country on
earth. The engineer smells
I Rise In Favor
With that he went forward.
So did I; but the barricade at
the end of My Lady’s seat was
intact, and I sat down in my
own seat, to keep expectant eye
upon her profile—a decided re
lief amidst that crude melange
of people in various stages of
hasty dressing after a night of
The brakeman’s words, al
though mysterious in part, had
concluded reaasuringly. My
Lady, he said, would prove a
valuable friend in Renton. A
friend at hand means a great
deal to any young man, strang
er in a strange land.
The conductor came back—a
new conductor; stooped famil
iarly over the barricade and evi
dently exchanged pleasantries
“Sidney! Sidney! Twenty
minutes for breakfast!” the
brakeman bawled, from the
There was the general stir.
My Lady shot a glance at me,
with inviting eyes, but arose in
response to the proffered arm of
the conductor, and I was late.
The aisle filled between us as
be ushered her on and the train
slowed to grinding of brakes
and the tremendous clanging of
Of Sidney there was little to
see: merely a stationhouse and
the small Railroad Hotel, with a
handful of other buildings form
ing a single street—all squat
ting here near a rock quarry that
broke the expanse of uninhabit
ed brown plains. The air, how
ever, was wonderfully invigor
ating : the meal excellent, as
usual; and when I emerged from
the dining room, following close
lyly a black figure crowned with
gold, I found her strolling alone
upon the platform.
(Continued next week.)
Beating ’Em to It.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Before the annual Christmas letters
to Santa Claus begin to crowd the
old gentleman's mail, we wish to call
his attention to our following needs:
1. About $7,432.86 In cash or certi
fied check. That’ll ttreak us even
and give us a chance to start over
2. A new motor car. The one
we’ve got Is getting tired, and any
how, we’re old enough now to enjoy
3. Two months of rest Just the
way we want to take It. We’ve never
had a vacation after our own Idea,
4. A forgiving disposition. We’re
plumb tired of hating our enemies
and despising our detractors. It Just
naturally kills Joy.
6. Finally, a little attention to
these requests. Every time we write
Santa Claus he sticks his tongue In
his cheek and winks the other eye.
We’re in deadly earnest this time,
Dr. Kris. Come across!
From the Washington Post.
More than 75,000 deaths by acci
dent In 1922, and the great majority
of them avoidable. So runs a re
cord that should give every man,
woman and child In the United JStates
pause In carelessness. It Is a for
bidden price that the nation pays for
failure to exercise proper care.
The above figures represent a
terrific economic loss. Not only has
the nation In the past year been
weakened by the loss of man power,
but the dependents of those killed,
who have suffered as a result, run
Into the hundreds of thousands.
Analysis of the record shows that
carelessness in highway traffic Is an
Increasing menace to life, for while
accidents In industry have decreased,
those of the street have increased.
Figures for recent years show that
this increase Is not to be wholly
charged to the Increase in the number
Realization of the price that Is be
ing paid for carelessness In street
traffic by motors and pedestrians
should drive home to all the neces
sity for exercise of proper care.
Why Farmer’s Boys Make Good.
"There is often a question In the
minds of the public as to why so
many boys from the farm make good
in business.” As I look at it, it is
first of all because they have the
foundation of rugged health without
which the average man cannot meet
the terrific strain which comes with
“The farmer’s boy has been brought
up in the open, he has lived on
simple, nutritious food, has been ob
liged to depend on himself, and has
no false notions of life, because he
has studied it from its primitive side.
He is simple'in his tastes, direct In
his action, honest in his intent, and a
hard worker. All these traits are
essential to the man who Is building
up a business.
“His greatest handicaps are hla
lack of khowledge of finance and of
the world at large. The early diffi
culties of many men who started
from a farm might be traced to the
fact that they minimized the need for
sufficient capital and depended too
much on their own efforts to pull
them through. Without daabt, self
confidence and individual ability were
the foundations of their success, but
they often passed through serious
financial difficulties before it was
attained.” _ _ _
Stinging Tree of Queensland.
From London Tit Bits.
Among the curious plants of Queens
land Is the “stinging tree," a luxurious
shrub, pleasing to the eye but danger
ous to the touch. It grows from
two or three inches to 10 or 15 feet
in height and emits a disagreeable
Speaking of its effects, a naturalist
says: "One often forgets the danger
of the tree until warned by Its smell.
Its effects are curious. It leaves no
mark, but the pain Is maddening and
for months afterward the effected
part is tender, and when touched In
rainy weather or when it gets wet in
“I have seei\ men who treated or
dinary pain lightly roll on the ground
in agony after being stung, and I
have known a horse so completely
mad after getting into a grove of the
trees that he rushed open-mouthed
at every one who approached him
and had to be shot.”
Opposite Twist in Tree Grains.
From The Chicago News.
There are two common trees In the
eastern United States which admir
ably Illustrate in their winding grain
the opposite tendencies in direction.
These are the red maple and the
sourwood, or sorrel tree. Both trees
are distinctly Inclined to form a
twisting growth, and in practically
all cases of pronounced twisting the
maple turns to the left and the sour
wood to the right. Not more than
one or two trees In a hundred of
cither species will be found departing
from this rule.
No very satisfactory attempt has
been made by scientists to explain
why so many plants of twining habits
have adopted definite and constant
directions of curvature, says the
Detroit News. It has been suggested
that In some species of vines ths tip
of the growing plant is attracted by
and drawn toward the sun, resulting
In a left, or ‘‘anticlockwise.” curva
ture; while in other species the tip
is repelled by the sun. causing it to
bend to the right in a “clockwise"
The climbing garden bean is a good
example of the vines which always
rise by twining to the right. When
ever the cultivated or wild runner
beans grow, whether feeble or strong,
in sunshine or shade, every part of
the main stem will be found bending
constantly to the right in climbing
its support. The common hop vine is
Just as constant in its inclination to
the left. __
A tariff on tobacco and canned sal
mon produced outside the empire was
recommended recently by the imperial
conference now in session at London. It
Is also planned to extend Imperial
preferences to all wines of a certain
alcoholic standard from the dominions.
The Argentine government has sus
pended for a month the decree applying
the minimum price law to the purchase
of cattle for export. The law has been
strenuously opposed by American and
other foreign packing Interests.
Over 500 million
Aunt Jemima Pancakes
served last year!
That old-time Southern flavor!
You cangetitonly with
Aunt Jemima Pancake Flour
**I*se in town,
Start your chil
dren out right—
teach them how
to bake good,
Send for free booklet
"The Art of Baking Bread*9
Northwestern Yeast Co*
1730 N. Ashland Ave.
‘RAIN TREE' SUPPLIES WATER
Beautiful and Common Tree in Tropi
cal America Holds Liquid
The name “rain tree” has been given
to a beautiful and very common tree
of tropical America. The name is prob
ably due to the fact that the tree has
the habit of closing its leaflets before
and during rains, and not to any ten
dency to shed water from the leaves.
The original rain tree story, as found
in the narratives of early voyagers
back as far as tho Fifteenth century,
located the tree in tlje Island of Ferro,
one of the Canaries. This island has
no springs and a scanty rainfall, but,
according to the story, derived an am
ple supply of fresh water from a sin
The natives say that the famous
tain tree that once supplied the whole
island was blown down in a storm.—
Why He Was Amused.
Bald-Headed Guest—“Well, sonny,
what is't that amuses you?” Sonny—
"Nothing; only mother has put a
brush and comb In your bedroom.”
Knew Where It Was.
Pat had got a Job ns steward on
board a liner and on his first trip, he
was anxious to have everything as
nice as possible so ns to please the
captain. Accordingly, the first thing
he did was to have a good cleanout
of ttie captain’s quarters, and among
other things he polished up the tea
service, of which the captain was very
Unfortunately, he let the teapot slip
overboard and it sun.; like a stone to
the bottom of the sea.
He did not know what to do, hut at,
last an idea struck him and, approach
ing the captain, he said:
“Captain, can anything be lost if
you know where it is?” j
“No; certainly not,” replied the cap4
tain, rather sharply.
“Well, sir,” retorted the Irishman,
“your silver teapot is at the bottom
of the Atlantic.
That Kind of Feet.
Customer—I would like to see a pair
of shoes that would fit my feet.
Salesman—So would I.
The whole world loves to get
laugh on n lover.
— ■■■■■ 1■■ ■ »
THE test of a mealtime drink is not
alone how it tastes, but also what it
does* Many a coffee-user finds wakeful
ness and restlessness after drinking coffee
with the evening meal—and other health
disturbances follow on.
There’s double pleasure and benefit in
Postum; delightful taste, complete satis
faction, and agreeable friendship with
nerves and health.
There’s charm without harm in Postum.
Let a ten-days’ trial of Postum instead
of coffee show you the marked improve
ment in health and comfort which so
many others have found.
Sold by grocers everywherel
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