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About The frontier. (O'Neill City, Holt County, Neb.) 1880-1965 | View Entire Issue (March 7, 1935)
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Ben Elliott — from "Yonder’* —
makes his entry into the lumbering
town of Tlncup, bringing along an
old man, Don Stuart, who had been
eager to reach Tlncup. Nicholas
Brandon, the town's leading citizen,
resents Stuart's presence, trying to
force him to leave town and Elliott,
resenting the act, knocks him down.
Elliott is arrested, but finds a friend
in Judge Able Armltage. The judge
hires him to run the one lumber
camp, the Hoot Owl, that Brandon
has not been able to grab. This be
longs to Dawn McManus, daughter
of Brandon's old partner, who has
disappeared with a murder charge
hanging over his head. Brandon
sends his bully, Duval, to beat up
Ben, and Ben worsts him In a fist
fight and throws him out of camp.
Old Don Stuart dies, leaving a let
ter for Elliott, "to be used when
the going becomes too tough.” Ben
refuses to open the letter at this
time, believing he can win the fight
by his own efforts. Fire breaks out
In the mill.
"Getting her!" Ben panted as
Able tried to say something to him.
"Getting her!’ He coughed and his
words had come In a hnlf strangle
but, even so, the exultation in his
tone was unmistakable.
Living flame no longer leaped and
roared through the hole In the floor.
Thick smoke swept upward but that
was all and as Ben ran up the Icy
slide tor the first time and saw this
he cried out:
“Good work. Buller! Over there,
Fire had taken fresh hold In a
•greasy timbe.- and was worming its
way up beneath the trimmer saw.
Buller dashed a half dozen pails of
water on the spot and it went black.
“Keep going, Buller!” Ben cried.
“I’ll take half your men.”
He went slipping down the slide
and at the bottom called men from
the bucket line.
"Stretch out, the rest of you!" he
called. “Now, this way, ycu lads;
Mn here and mop her up, and make
Stubborn flames ate Into the lit
ter on the ground floor. Again and
again they broke out, but the driv
ing heat was gone, roaring gases no
longer gave Impetus to the spread
of destruction as the first need for
speed became less imperative.
Not until the final curl of smoke
had been subdued completely did
Ben Elliott relax. Then, with lan
tern lighted, he entered the saw
floor, completely Ice glazed, charred
In places, and surveyed the damnge.
As he swung his lantern and looked
about, peering at timbers eaten half
away, at burned belting, at other
vital damage, he moved slowly, said
little, as a man will who is think
He stopped beside Able Armltage
"Well, the Insurance’ll cover It,”
the old Justice said, as If trying to
make the best of things.
Ben laughed shortly.
"But she’s two weeks idle at the
Inside. And belting gone and a good
many other things. If—
It was the night watchman,
sheathed in flakes of ice from his
waist down, whom Ben hailed.
“Where were you?”
“Eating, when it broke out” Ben
only nodded. The watchman, by long
custom, went to the boarding house
kitchen for his midnight meal where
food was kept warm for him. "I
went through the yard and the mill,
Just like you told me to do. I
looked in at the boiler the last
thing. I hadn't been out of here ten
minutes before I Just happened to
glance through the window and see
“Yeah. Gasoline starts in a hur
“Gasoline !’* the watehnlan croaked.
“Sure.” Ben laughed drily. “The
ground floor was drenched with It.
They’d scraped rubbish into piles
and soaked them, too. They nlmost
did a good Job. Almost five minutes’
start, or if I hadn’t happened to
nje a garage fire put out with salt
omce where nothing else was handy
to smother it, and it’d have been all
day with us.”
He rubbed his chin, thoughtfully.
“Didn’t see anybody? Or hear any
"Not n soul or a sound."
Elliott looked up. No snow was
“Buller!’’ he called. The foreman,
face blackened, eyebrows gone, came
un at his hail. "Herd this crew In
Hfse. It snowed early In the eve
ning. Maybe I’ll want to do a Job
of trailing and I don’t want tracks
all over the country."
He did his Job of trailing. The
fresh tracks of a single man led
away from the trampled snow about
the mill toward decks of logs. The
tracks went out along the siding
toward town but Ben did not follow
far. He stopped when be found a
three-gallon demijohn badly con
cealed beneath the end of a log. He
sniffed Its neck and nodded grimly.
The fuel of an Incendiary had been
carried to the mill In that container.
“And now,” Able said, after he
also had sniffed the bottle In Bull
er’s house, "what’s to be done?” He
tried to smile but deep trouble was
In his old eyes.
For the first time since he had
come to Hoot Owl Ben Elliott Bhook
his head dubiously as he dropped
Into a chair. He was both grave and
•‘They’re getting the least bit
rough,” he observed.
"Rather rough. I’d say 1" Abie’s
face flared suddenly In righteous
wrath. "D—n Nick Brandon! I’d
give a good deal to hang this night's
work on him!
"It’ll take no less than a miracle
now to pull us through. Two weeks
to get the mill running? Benny, In
that time we’ll be busted wide open !
They’ll have a case against me, I’ll
be walked as administrator and the
timber will be at Brandon’s mercy."
“Yeah. . . . Wide op^n . . . and
at his mercy."
Able rose and paced the small
room, hands In his hip pockets. He
came to a halt before Elliott and
eyed him narrowly. He stood so a
moment as if In debate with himself.
"We had a fire," he said. “Not the
kind you fight with fire, exactly. . ..
But old Don told Bird-E.ve that
you’d have to use fire to fight an
other kind with, didn’t he?”
Ben smiled slowly.
"You’re thinking of the old tim
er’s letter, eh? . , . Well, maybe
... But we’re not licked yet Some
thing may turn up. No, I guess I
won’t use whatever It was Stuart
gave me Just yet!"
The old man shook his head and
resumed his pacing.
“What can turn up to give us a
fighting chance, now?” he muttered.
STILL, something did turn up.
Just at breakfast time, while
Ben was prowling the mill, admit
ting to himself that perhaps It was
time to look at his hole card—the
letter that the old cruiser had sent
to him with Its intriguing Inscrip
tion—a stranger behind a light driv
ing team swung into the mill-yard,
stopped and tied his horses.
“Well, you had a fire!" he said as
Ben approached. “See you’ve still
got a mill standing, though?”
“Standing, yes. But that's all you
can say for It.”
“That’s tough!” The man eyed
him In genuine concern. “Are you
by any chance Ben Elliott?”
“Elliott, my name’s Blackmore.
Glad to see you! I was In here and
talked with Harrington week be
fore last and he wns saving out
some veneer logs for me. I’m with
the Veneer Exporting corporation
and we’re in the market for quite
a few cars of stuff. Wonder If I
could Interest you In a deal. Mar
ket’s right good and we’re In need
of some more stuff to fill out a ship
ment Maybe with your mil) shut
down you might be Interested."
“That’s a close guess. Shoot!’’
“I’ll pay you a hundred and twen
ty dollars a thousand for bird’s eye
maple and ninety dollars for veneer
birch; standard specifications and
delivery Inside of two weeks on,
say, thirty thousand. I know you’re
busy, so I name the top and pass
A hundred and twenty. ... And
ninety for birch! Ben’s heart leaped
but he gave no outward Indication
of the great relief that surged
“Two weeks?” he asked.
“Yes, and less. Let s see. . . .
I’ll have to have thirty thousand de
livered in just eleven days to be
safe in getting ’em to Montreal on
time. I’ll take fifty thousand at the
price but the thirty will have to be
loaded on track first.”
“That’ll be fast production."
“All of that! But if I can’t get
the stuff from you I can from Bran
don by going up a few dollars a
thousand. My cards are on the ta
ble, Elliott Can we deal?”
Ben considered, rubbing his chin
with a knuckle. He looked up the
road which led toward camp to see
a man approaching with that quick,
space devouring stride of the
“Had breakfast?” he asked.
“Blanket your team and go eat.
I’ll have an answer for you by the
time you’re through.”
As the veneer buyer entered the
boarding house Bird-Eye Blaine—
the traveler from camp—had reached
“For the love av—” he began,
turning his amazed stare from the
mill to Elliott.
“Yes, a fire, Bird-Eye. Never mind
that now. Where’d you get your
name? 1 mean ‘Bird-Eye.’ Why do
they call you that?"
“Oh, that! Why, I looked veneer
stuff from Brandon for years ontll
I got sick with disgust fer th‘ mon."
“I see. And you’ve been on the
Hoot Owl for three years, haven’t
you? Know the timber pretty
“1 know I very quarter stake by its
‘‘How much bird’s-eye and veneer
birch Is there within draying dis
tance of the steel? I.et's get down
to cases. Do you think there's ten
thousand? Or fifty?*’
“Fifty? Naw! Tin?"—twisting his
head. “Twlct that, annyhow. ’Nd
on twint.v-three the’ ’s another hunch
av ut Scattered all through, too.
but bunched. Mist her Elliott, loike
ye don’t see ut frequent. That
makes ut easy to git out."
"What I’m getting at is this: With
the crew I've got could we get thir
ty thousand out In ten days?’’
“Domn, h’y, but that’s a chore!
With this crew av hay tossers?” He
shook his head. “Mebhy yon could
. . . yon ’nd Paul Bunynn. Most
men couldn’t even so much as
“Wait here. I’ll see yon in a few
He entered Buller’s house where
Able Armitage sipped coffee gloom
ily, neglecting the food on his plate.
“This Is the nineteenth," Ben
said. “With what bank balance we
have, how much must we get to
gether to meet the payroll, that one
note that you think can’t be re
newed and Interest on others that’ll
be due? My figures are all up at
Able considered at length.
“Three thousand might let us
He put that question dryly.
“I just wondered.” Ben turned to
Buller. “How many men will you
need to get the mill In shape? I
mean, how many can you use and
not have them falling over each
“Oh, four or five besides myself."
Ben nodded. ’’That’ll give me fif
teen of the mill crew to throw Into
the woods." Ills eyes snnpped as he
looked back at Able. “A half hour
ago I was feeling nbout half licked.
I’ll make the three thousand by the
first or break my neck!”
“What are you getting at, Ben
ny?” Able demanded.
“This." Ben hitched his chair
close to the table and with a relish
which Indicated the love of battle,
sketched his plan.
By noon that plan was In partial
operation. Bird-Eye Blaine, his
duties ns ham boss temporarily del
egated to nnother, and Ben Elliott
cruised through the timber north of
camp, belt axes In their hands. And
In the morning the camp crew, aug
mented by fifteen men from the
mill, loft ofT the work of felling
timber In strips, scattered through
the woods and dropped marked
trees. Swampers were with them,
clearing the way for teams that
followed close on the sawyers’ heels
and drayed these high quality logs
out to the railroad.
“But it’s a man’s sized Job to
keep your eye on such an opera
tion!" Ren declared to Able. “I’ve
got to watch Buller and the mill,
too. I’ve got to think about mar
kets so we’ll be all set when we
commence to saw again. And the
devil of It Is I’m only one hand and
there are only twenty-four hours In
a day!” He grinned. "Where’s this
good man you told mp about? Jef
fers? Is that his name?”
“Tim Jeffers? Over In the next
town! Rut I doubt he’ll even lis
ten. He hasn’t wanted a job In
“Doubting isn’t knowing,” Ren
said grimly and the next afternoon
drove hard for Jeffers’ little farm
The old logger met Elliott with
an eye that seemed at first to be
hostile but which on closer obser
vation proved to be only one of se
“So you’re after a camp fore
man,” he said. “No, I’ve quit the
timber for good. Elliott. I’m through.
A man has trouble enough without
hunting It. I’m not a young man,
son. I’ve no years nor strength
any more to put into nnother man’s
“We won’t lose. Brandon’s tried
everything up to and including fire
and he hasn’t got me licked yet.
Come along with me, Tim Jeffers,
and we’ll run him Into his hole!”
Rut the man was obdurate and
Ren left him. chagrined and a bit
angered nt his failure.
"Brandon’s got a crimp in the
whole country." he muttered as he
drove on toward camp. “And here
I am. trying to do four men’s work.
Tough nut? I’ll tell the world!"
In Tlncup he drove to the ex
press office to Inquire for the new
piston head for the locomotive which
was due. lie wanted to start load
ing his veneer logs and getting
them out to the siding as rapidly
as they came from the woods. He
had signed a contract with the time
for delivery s|H'cifled and wanted
to run no chance of delay.
Rut the repair part was not there.
"Hot file hill of it," tlie station
agent said. ‘Rut It hasn’t shown
up. Ought to lie along tomorrow."
However, the next day did not
bring the repairs and the driver of
Ren’s supply team reported the fact
‘‘And the agent, he wants to sec
yon," the man added enigmatically.
“Didn't that piston hend come
yet?" Ben demanded angrily of the
stippl.v teamster after the man’s
next trip to town.
“I told you the agent wanted to
The other's manner was doggedly
mysterious and Klllott. without
further questioning, harnessed and
drove to Tlneup.
The agent shook hands cordially
and drew him Inside the tiny ticket
office. He spoke In n cautious tone,
although they were alone.
"The messenger on the train says
he put thnt engine part off for me
the night the hill cnme through. It
ain’t here and I’m tnkin' a chance
of losing my Job just telling you
even that much."
"What nre you driving it? It’s not
here and you’ll lose— You mean, the
express company’ll hold yon respon
sible for an article lost out of the
“That don’t worry me. The ship
ment cnme In nnd I never saw it
and If I w’ns to tell you that the
only thing thnt could've happened
was thnt It was taken off the truck
while I was handling baggage It
wouldn’t he a had guess. But If cer
tain parties knew I told you that
much the railroad would get such a
complaint about me thnt I’d be out
of a Job between days nnd don’t
yon forget It 1"
“Oh, I see.” Ben looked at n cal
endar. "It took them five days to
get It back to me. Can’t wait that
long. Give me n telegraph blank.
I’ll have ’em notify me by w ire when
they ship nnd If I have to meet
trains myself . . . why, I can
do that, too."
The other nodded nnd gave Ben a
“I sort of liked the way you did
up Duval In that log rollin'; and I
heard about the trlmmln’ you gave
him at camp. And I’m. . . Well,
I’ve seen enough raw stuff go on
around this man’s town to feed me
up. I’ll help you nil I can but I’ve
got kids to think about.”
Ben made a wry face.
“Even children don’t seem safe,”
he said. “Some of us have got only
our dander Invested In the particu
lar fracas I’m mixing In, but every
thing the little McManus girl has
got is at stake.”
“Yup. You’re— Little girl?”
“Yes. The McManus girl. She
owns the Hoot Owl.”
“Oh,” the agent said with a
The following morning, a half
hour after the men had gone to the
woods, a sawyer came running to
ward the camp office Just In time
to catch Ben before he left for the
“HI. Elliott!” he called. “Hold on
He came breathlessly up to the
"Somebody cut three inches offen
the measures Inst night. Thought
you ought to know. Logs three
Indies short might he thrown out.”
“Somebody cut— How’d you find
“Well, we left the measuring
stick layin’ on a tree we'd dropped
last night. I’d marked It myself,
figurin’ on making one more log be
fore we quit and then we decided
not to. It snowed just a mite durin’
the night. I laid the measure down
again tills morning and made an
other mark, forgetting about the
first which was covered up with
snow, you see. When 1 marked, it
knocked the snow off the log, show
ing up my first one three inches off.
I thought that was funny so I mens
tired again. Somethin’ was wrong,
sure. We looked her over and found
where n piece had been cut off the
stick and then we saw where
"lie with you pronto.” Ben mut
tered as he turned his team hack
toward the barn.
He found five of the saw gangs
with shortened measures. Fortu
nately, the discovery was made ear
ly In the day and only a few-under
length logs had been made. How
ever, it proved to Ben that menac
ing influences struck In unexpected
ways and from all quarters. An un
explained snowshoe trull wns found
which led in from the north arrt
none knew who had wide It. The
visitor evidently had gone out tty
road in the dead of nighh
(TO BE CONTINUE*? I
Santa Fe Hal No Ra't'oad*
Although Santa Fe is t~e capital
of New Mexico, no railrofd enters
there. A citizenry In love with Its
quiet city has consistently refi/sed
to permit the railroads to bulid
through Santa Fe. It largely be
cause of this that the charm of
the ancient town has been pre
Darwin’s Theory Given
Rap by English Author
Probably no biologist doubts the
validity of evolution. On the other
hand, natural selection and the sur
vival of the fittest, the very core of
Darwin’s theory, are no longer ac
cepted ns the sole agencies at work
in the creation of new species and
varieties. Since the days of Mendel
It has become apparent that the me
chanism of heredity is both delicate
and complex. Moreover, there are
the endocrine glands, with their tre
mendous potentialities for modifying
the organism. Lastly, the relation
of that organism to Its environment
Is not nearly so direct and simple as
Darwin assumed. How the more
Imaginative biologists tldnk about
evolution and especially the problem
of man's descent is well exemplified
by "The Coining of Man," n recently
published book In which Dr. It.
Broom, an English authority on
amphibians, sets forth his own hy
It ii generally agreed that life first
developed In the sea. How, then,
did the first amphibian evolve?
What was the bold animal that first
ventured on land and adapted Itself
wholly or partially to life under en
terly new circumstances? When we
ask such questions It is apparent
that natural selection and the sur
vival of the fittest do not meet the
Doctor Brown holds that physical
structure, courage, pugnacity, efll
ciency were not solely responsible
for the transition. There was some
thing unstable about the first adven
turer that came out of the sea. He
was like an unstable chemical com
pound that changes into something
else—something out of which a rep
tile could evolve, something that was
the result of a crisis.
Examine all the other animals, and
the transition from an old to a new
er form seems always to he the re
sult of critical instability. Despite
the convincing array of fossils that
shows plainly enough how the one
toed horse of today evolved from an
ancient, five-toed equine animal not
much bigger than a St. Bernard dog,
the Jumps are marked. Between
five toes and four toes there Is no
gradual transition, nothing like a
Crisis, everywhere crisis, whether
It be fish or amphibian, reptile or
mammal. With man it is the same
—one of the most unstable creatures
ever evolved. In a state of some
thing like fermentntlon, he has al
ways been in n critical tm-m 11 f'n
like the ant <>r ttie lice, lie N m»t
highly specialized. If he ever does
settle down, his history will lie like
that of most social creatures—a rep
etition over hundreds of millions of
years of the sn»».o biological event*
and fncts. lie will cease to evolve.
—New York Times.
Oh. the comfort, the inexpressible
comfort of feeling safe with a per
son ; having neither to weigh
thoughts nor to measure words, but
pour them all rigtit out Just as they
are, chaff and grain together, know
ing that n faithful hand will take and
sift them, keep what Is worth keep
ing, and with the breath of kindness
blow the rest away.—John Oliver
(Jse Mentholalum 1
to help open the
nostrils and permit
\vOM€T BAWW® PO^Dcq
S^0U) ONLY 2? A P0UN0/
AND THE NEIU CAN isl
TO EASY TO OPEN/1
Along came Ruth
I DICK, I HATE TO DROP
$ VOD FROM THE TEAM- / SAV- WHAT IS \
BUT VOU’Ll NEUER } THIS, ANVHOW— J
- MAKE AN ATHLETE l A BASEBALL TEAM )
UNTIL VOU GET RID 1 OR A COURSE IN /
OF THAT BAO TEMPER! > SOCIAL GRACES ? ),r
ruth, if vou’d marrv ?
me id QuiTcoueee to-v
MORROW AND 60 TO WORKM
r -- -..
l'0 MARRY YOU INI A
WEREN'T SUCH A 6R0UCA.
BUT I REMEMBER WHAT
BECAUSE Of DAD'S BAD
DISPOSITION iy——- '
TO MARRW WOO THE" ft
LOCK 15 ALL ON J\
| of course there was some Fwhat a woman
| EXCUSE FOR FATHER. HE HAP j WHEN HER FATHER J
I HEADACHES AND INDIGESTION HAD 'EM SHE WAS V
\ ... AND DIDN'T SLEEP WELL 1 SORRV FOR HIM... J
^ WM£N VOi° M/WE EM J
GOOO GRIEF, ROTH...
DOM'T VOO REALISE
I HAVE 'EM,TOO V
^ r--; ■
the coach told Me,
[DICK. AND SINCE VOU
ruth,look ? »'ve switched to postum
BEEN VOTED THE I've BEEN THINKIN6
MOST VALUABLE VOU'LL MAKE AS 6000
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mm .. a -^
VOU PRO8A0CV HAVE COf FEC-NERVES! ]%/ DRSES/ )
WHV DON'T VOU GIVE DP COFFEE, LIKE M I'VE LOST \
DAD OlD, AND SWITCH TO POSIW ANOTHER )
FOR 30 0AV5 ? VICTIM * \
-JLI f CONFOUND
WELL...IT MUST HAVE HELPED F\ THAT ,
NOUR PAD... HE’S CERTAINLY \ ( ME00LIN6
NOT GRPUCHV NOW ! I BELIEVE L'w;0-£p / y
"I NEVER dreamed coffee could
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