The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923, February 24, 1905, Image 3

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II Gibe Gentleman
.5 f m m
" "It was iiiHotlriittin, wasn't It?" she
aid. lie laughed, but she shook her
"Purest comedy." lie said gayly, "ex
cept your part or It. You shouldn't have
done U. Thl evening was not arranged
In ho'ior of 'visiting ladles Hut you
mustn't think mo a comedian. Truly. I
didn't plan It. .My friend from Six
Crossroads miNt he given the eredlt of
devising the scene, though you divined
"It wim a little too picturesque, I
think. I know about Six Crossroads.
Please tell uie what you mean to do."
"Nothing. What should IV"
"You mean that you will keep on let
y ting them shoot at you until they -until
Ju" She struck the bench angrily
with her hand.
"There's no summer theater In Six
Crossroads. There's not even a church.
Why shouldn't theyV" he asked grave
ly. "I Miring the long and tedious even
ings it cheers the poor C.rossroader's
soul to drop over here and take a shot
at me. It whiles away dull care for
him, and he has the additional exercise
of running all the way home."
"Ah!" she cried Indignantly. "They
told me yon always answered like this."
"Well, you see. i he Crossroads efforts
fbave proved so thoroughly hygienic for
me. As a patriot I have sometimes felt
extreme mortillcatlou that such bad
marksmanship should exist In the coun
ty, but I console myself with the
thought that their best shots are, un
happily, in the penitentiary."
"There are many left. Can't you un
derstand that they will organize again
and come in a body, as they did before
you broke them up? And then, if they
come on a night when they know you
arc wandering out of town"
"You have not had the advantage of
an Intimate study of the most exclusive
people or the Crossroads, Miss Slier--wood.
There are about thirty gentle
men who remain in that neighborhood
while their relatives sojourn under dis
cipline. If you had the entree over
there, you would understand that these
thirty could not gather themselves Into
a company and march the seven miles
without physical debate In the ranks.
They are not precisely amiable people,
even among themselves. They would
quarrel and shoot one another to pieces
long before they got here."
g "Hut they worked In a company
"Never for seven miles. Four miles
was their radius. Five would see them
all dead."
She struck the bench again. "Oil, you
laugh at me! You make a Joke of your
own life and death and laugh at every
thing. Have live years of Plattville
taught you to do that?"
"1 laugh only at taking the poor
Crossroaderx too seriously. I don't laugh
at your running into lire to help a fel
low mortal."
"I knew there wasn't any risk. I
know he had to stop to load before ho
" shot again."
"He did shoot again. If I had known
you before tonight, I" His tone
changed, and he spoke gravely. "I am
at your feet in worship of your divine
philanthropy. It's so much liner to risk
your life for a stranger than for a
"That Is a man's point of view, Isn't
"You risked yours for a man you had
never seen before."
- "Oh. no. 1 saw you nt the lecture. I
heard you Introduce the Hon. Mr. Hal
loway." "Then I don't understana your wisn
lng to save me."
She smiled unwillingly nml turned her
gray eyes upon htm with troubled sun
nlncss, and under the Bwcetness of her
regard he set a watch upon his lips,
though he knew it would not avail him
long. He had driveled along respect
ably so far, he thought, but he had the
tentlmeiitnl longings of years, Htarved
of expression, culminating In his heart
She continued to look at him wistfully,
soarchlngly, gently. Then her eyes trav
eled over his big frame, from his
shoes (a patch of moonlight fell on
tliem; they were dusty; ho drew them
nuder the bench with a shudder) to his
broad shoulders (he shook the stoop out
of thcin). She stretched her small white
hands toward him and looked at them
in contrast and broke Into the most de
licious low laughter in the world. At
this he knew the watch on his lips was
worthless. It was a question of min
utes till he should present himself to
her eyes as a sentimental and suscep
tible Imbecile. Ho knew It. He was in
wild spirits.
"Co'Jl you realize that ono of your
dang'i) might be a shaking?" sho
cried. "Is your seriousness a lost art?"
TTnr himditer ceased suddenly, -aii,
I understand Thiers said the
4 ' - X,
& Copyright, I3D9. by Voubteday t3l McClurt Co. 1
,!!ji Copyright. 1902, by MeCturt. Vhllttpj 3L Co. ?
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By 'Booth TAHKiffCTO
French always in order not to
weep. I haven't lived here five years.
I Bhould laugh, too, If I were you."
"Look at tin' moon," he responded.
"We rinttvllllans own that with the
best of metropolitan!', and, for my part,
I see more of It here. Y'ou do not ap
preciate us. We have largo landscapes
In the heart of the city, and what other
capital has advantages like that? Next
winter the railway station Is to have a
new stove for the waiting room. Heav
en Itself Is one of our suburbs it is so
close that all one has to do is to die.
You Insist upon my being French, you
see. and I know you are fond of non
sense. How did you happen to put
'The Walrus and the Carpenter' at the
bottom of a page of Flsbue'.s notes?"
"Was It? How were you sure It was
"In Carlow comity!"
"Ho might have written It himself."
"Fisbce has never in bis life read
anything lighter than cuneiform in
scriptions." "Miss Briscoe"
"She doesn't read Lewis Carroll, and
It was not her hand. What made you
write it on Flsbeo's manuscript?"
"He was here this afternoon. I
teased him a little about your heading
In the Herald 'Business and the Cra
dle, the Altar and the Grave isn't it?
nud he said It had always troubled
him. but your predecessor had used it,
and you thought It good. So do I. He
asked me If I could think of anything
that you might like better and put in
place if it and I wrote 'The Time Has
Come because It was the only thing
I could think of that was as appropri
ate and as fetching as your headlines.
He was perfectly dear about It. He
was so serious. He said he feared It
wouldn't be acceptable. I didn't notice
that the paper tic handed me to write
on was part of his notes; nor did he, I
think. Afterward he put it back in ids
pocket. It wasn't a message."
"I'm not so sure he did not notice.
He is very wise. Do you know, I have
the impression that the old fellow
wanted me to meet you."
"How dear and good of him!" She
spoke earnestly, and her face was suf
fused with a warm light. There was
no doubt about her meaning what she
"It was' John answered unsteadily.
"He knew how great was my need of
a few minutes' companlonablcness
"No," she interrputed. "I meant dear
and good to me. I think he was think
ing of me. It was for my sake he
wanted us to meet."
It might have been hard to convince
a woman If she had overheard this
speech that Miss Sherwood's humility
was not tlie calculated affectation of a
coquette. Sometimes a man's unsus
plelon is wiser, and Hnrkloss knew
that she was not flirting with him. In
addition, he was not a fatuous man;
he did not extend the implication of
her words nearly so far as she would
have had him.
"Hut I had met you," said he, "long
"What!" she cried, and her eyes
danced. "You actually remember?"
"Yes. Do you?" he answered. "I
stood In Jones' field and heard you
singing, and I remembered. It was a
long time since I had heard you sing:
"I was a ruffler of Flanders
And fought 'for a florin's hire.
You were the dnmo of my enptnin
And sang to my heart's desire.
"Rut that is the bnlladlst's notion.
The truth Is thnt ycu were a lady at
the court of Clovls, and I was a heath
en captive. I heard you sing a Chris
tian hymn and asked for baptism."
Sho did not seem ovcrpleased with
his fancy, for, the surprise fading from
her face, "Oh, that was the way yott
remembered," she said.
"Perhaps it was not that way alone.
You won't despise me for being mawk
ish tonight?" he asked. "I haven't had
the chance for so long."
The night air wrapped them warmly,
and the balm of the Ilttlo breezes that
stirred the foliage around them was
the smell of dnmask roses from the
garden. The creek splashed over the
pebbles at their feet, and a drowsy
bird, half wakened by the moon, croon
ed languorously in the sycamore "The
girl looked ant at the sparkling water
through downcast lashes. "Is it be
cause it is no transient that beimtv a
! pathetic," she said, "because wo can
i never como back to it In quite the
same way? I am a sentimental girl.
If you are born so It is never entirely
, teased out of you, Is it? Resides, to
night Is all u dretta. It Isn't real, you
know. You couldn't bo mawkish."
Her tone was gentlo as a caress, and
It made him tingle to his finger tips.
"How do you know?" he neked.
"I Just know;. Do you think I'm
very bold and forward?" she said
"It wiih your song I wanted to be
sentimental about. 1 am like one 'who
through long days of toll'-only that
doesn't quite apply 'and nights devoid
of ease but I can't claim that one
doesn't sleep well here; It Is Plnttvtllo'a
specialty like one who
"Still henril In Ida soul the music
Of wonderful melodies."
"Yes," she answered, "to come here
and to do what you have done ami to
live this Isolated village life that must
be so desperately dry and dull for a
man of your sort, and yet to have the
kind of heart that makes wonderful
melodies sing In Itself oh," she cried,
"I say that Is line!"
"You do not understand," he return
ed sadly, wishing before her to be un
mercifully Just to himself. "I came
here because 1 couldn't make a living
anywhere else. Anil the 'wonderful
melodies' I have only known you one
evening and the melodies" He rose
to his feet ami took a few steps toward
the garden. "Come." he said, "let me
take yon back. Let us go before 1"
He linished with a helpless laugh.
She stood by the bench, one hand
resting on It. She stood all In the
tremulant shallow. She moved one
step toward him, and a single long
silver of light pierced the sycamores j
and fell upon her head. He gasped.
"What was It about the melodies?"
she said.
"Nothing. I don't know how to thank
you for this evening that you have giv
en mi'. 11 suppose you are leaving to
morrow. No one ever stays here. I"
"What about the melodies?"
He gave it up. "The moon makes peo
ple insane!" he cried.
"If that is true, then you need not ho
more afraid than I, because 'people' Is
plural. What wore you saying about"
"1 had heard them in my heart.
When 1 heard your voice tonight I
knew that 7t was you who sang them
there, had been singing them for me al
ways." "So!" she cried gayly. "All that de
bate about a pretty speech!" Then,
sinking before him in a courtesy, "I am
beholden to you," she said. "Do you
think no man ever made a little flat
tery for me before tonight?"
At the edge of the orchard, where
they could keep an unseen watch on the
garden and the bank of the creek, Judge
Briscoe and Mr. Todd were ensconced
under an apple tree, the former still
armed with his shotgun. When the
young people got up from their bench,
the two men rose hastily, then saunter
ed slowly toward them. When they
met, I lark less shook each of them cor
dially by th2 hand without seeming to
know it.
"Wo wore coining to look for you,"
explained the judge. "William was
afraiil to go home alone thought some
one might take him for Mr. HarklcsH
and shoot htm before he got into town.
Can you come out with Willetts In the
morning, llnrklcss," he went on, "anil
go with the young ladies to see the
parade? And Minnie wants you to stay
to dinner anil go to the show with them
in the afternoon."
Ilarkless seized his hand and shook It
and then laughed heartily as he accept
ed the Invitation.
At the gate Miss Sherwood extended
her hand to him and said politely,
while mockery shone from her eyes:
"Good night, Mr.. Hark less. I do not
leave tomorrow. I am very glad to have
met you."
"We are going to keep her nil sum
mer, if we can," said Minnie, weaving
her arm about her friend's waist.
"You'll eome in the morning?"
"Good night, Miss Sherwood," he re
turned hilariously. "It has been such
a pleasure to meet you. Thank you so
much for saving my life. It was very
good of you, indeed. Yes; in the morn
ing. Good night, good night." He
shook hands with all of them, Includ
ing Mr. Todd, who was going with him.
He laughed all the way home, and Wil
liam walked at his side In amazement.
The Herald building was a decrepit
frame structure on Main street. It
had once been a small warehouse and
was now sadly in need of paint. Close
ly adjoining it, In a large, blank looking
ynrd, stood a low brick cottage, over
which tho second story of the o',d ware
house leaned in an effect of tipsy nf
fectlon that had reminded Ilarkless,
when ho first saw it, of an old Sunday
school book woodcut of an inebriated
parent under convoy of a devoted child.
The title to these two buildings and
the blank yard had been included in
the purchase of the Herald, and the
cottage was the editor's home.
There was a light burning upstairs
In the Herald olllcc. From tho street
a broad, tumbledown stairway ran up
on tho outside of the building to tho
second floor, and at the stairway rail
ing John turned and shook his com
panion warmly by tho hand.
"Good night, William," he said. "It
was plucky of you to Join In that muss
tonight. I shan't forget it."
"I Jest happened to come along' re
plied tho other awkwardly. Then,
with a portentous yawn, ho asked,
"Ain't ye goln' to bed?'
"No; Parker wouldn't allow it."
"Well," observed William, with an
other yawn, which threatened to ex
pose tho veritable soul of him, "I
d'kuow how ye stand It. It's closto on
11 o'clock. Good night."
John went up tho stops, singing
"For tonight we'll merry, merry be,
For tonight we'll merry, merry be,"
and stopped on the sagging platform
at the top of the stairs and gave the
moon good night with a wave of the
hand and friendly laughter. At this It
suddenly struck him that he was twenty-nine
years of age and that he had
laughed a great deal that evening;
laughed and laughed over things not
In the least humorous, like an excited
schoolboy making a first formal call;
that he had shaken hands with Miss
Hriscoe when he left her as If he should
never see her again; that he had taken
Miss Sherwood's hand twice In ono
very temporary pudlng; that he had
shaken the Judge's hand five times and
William's four.
"Idiot!" he cried. "What has hap
pened to me?" Then he shook his fist
at the moon and went In to work, ho
II R bright sun of circus day
shone Into Ilarkless' window,
and he awoke to tlud himself
smiling. For a little while he
ny content, drowsily wondering why
he smiled, only knowing that there
was something new. It was thus as
a hoy he had wakened on birthday
mornings or on Christmas or on the
Fourth of July, drifting happily out of
pleasant dreams Into the consciousness
of long awaited delights that had come
true, yet lying only half awake In a
cheerful borderland, leaving happiness
The morning breeze was fluttering at
his window blind, a honeysuckle vine
tapped lightly on the pane. Birds were
trilling, warbling, whistling, and from
the street came the rumbling of wag
ons, merry cries of greeting and the
barking of dogs. What was it made
him feel so young nml strong and light
hearted? The breeze brought him the
smell of June roses, fresh and sweet
with dew, and then he knew why he
had come smiling from Ids dreams. He
leaped out of bed and shouted loudly:
"Zen! Hello. Xenophon!"
In answer an ancient, very black
darky, his warped and wrinkled vis
age showing under his grizzled hair
like charred paper In a fall of pluo
ashes, put bin head In at the door and
said: "Good uiawn', sub. Yessuh. Hit's
done pump' full. Good mawn', sub."
A few moments later the colored
man, seated on the front steps of the
cottage, heard n mighty splashing
within while the rafters rang with
stentorian song:
"Ho promised to buy mo n bonny blue
He promised to buy mo a bonny bluo
He promised to buy mo a bonny bluo
To tlo up my bonny brown hair.
"Oh, denr, what can tho mntter bo?
Oh, dear, what can the mutter ho?
Oh, dear, what can the matter bu?
Johnnie's so long at the fair!"
The listener's Jaw dropped, and his
mouth opened and stayed open. "Illm!"
he muttered faintly. "Slngln'!"
"Well the old triangle know tho music
of our tread;
How the peaceful Seminole would tremble
In his bed!"
sang the editor.
"I dunno hucccuie It," exclaimed the
old man, "but, bless Gawd, do young
man happy!" A thought struck hlin
suddenly, and he scratched his head.
"Maybe he goln' away," he said quer
ulously. "What become of ole Zen?"
The splashing ceased, but not the voice,
which struck into a noble marching
"Oh, my Lnwd," said tho colored man,
"I pray you listen at dat!"
"Soldiers marching up tho street.
They keep tho time;
They look sublbno!
Hear them play 'lite Wncht am Rhcln.'
They cull It Schneider's band.
Tra la la, la la."
The length of Main street and all
sides of the square resounded with the
rattle of vehicles of every kind. Since
earliest dawn they had boon pouring In
to the village, a long procession, on ev
ery country road. The air was full of
exhilaration; everybody was laughing
and shouting and calling greetings, for
Carlow county was turning out, and
from far and near the country people
came nay, from over tho county line;
and clouds of dust nrose from every
thoroughfare and highway and swept
into town to herald their coming.
Dlbb Zanc, the "sprinkling contract
or," had been nt work with the town
wnter cart Blnce the morning stars were
bright, but ho might as well have wa
tered the streets with his tears, which,
Indeed, when the farmers began to
come in, bringing their cyclones of
dust, he drew nigh unto nfter a burst
of profanity as futile as his cart.
"Tlef wle das Mecr soil delno Lleba seln,"
bummed the editor in the cottage. Ills
song had taken on a reflective tone, as
that of one who cons a problem or
musically ponders which card to play.
He was kneeling before an old trunk In
bis bedchamber. From one compart
ment ho took a neatly folded pair of
duck trousers and a light gray tweed
coat, fron another a straw hat with a
ribbon 'of bright colors. lie examined
these musingly. They had lain In tho
trunk for a long time undisturbed. Ho
shook the coat and brushed it. Then ho
laid the garments upon his bed and
proceeded to shave himself carefully,
after which he donned the white trou
sers, tho grny coat and, rummaging In
tho trunk again, found a gay pink cra
vat, which ho fastened about, his tall.
collar (also a resurrection from tlm
trunk) with a pearl pin. He took a long
time to arrange his hair with a pair of
brushes. When at last It suited him
and his dressing was complete, ho sal
lied forth to breakfast.
Xenophon stared after htm as ho went
out of the gate whistling heartily. Tim
old darky lifted his hands, palms out
ward. "' name, who dat?" ho exclaimed
aloud. "Who dat In dem panjlngcrlos?
Ho gone Jlne de circus!" His hands
fell upon his knees, and he got to his
feet rheiimatlcally, shaking his head
with foreboding. "Honey, honey, hit
bald luck, bald luck slug 'fo' breakfus
Trouble 'fo de day be done. Trouble,
honey, great trouble. Bald luck, bald'
Along (he square the passing of the
editor In his cool equipments was a
progress, and wide were the eyes and
deep the gasps of astonishment caused
by his festal appearance. Mr. Tlbbs
and his sister rushed from the post
ofllce to stare after him.
"He looks Just beautiful, Solomon,"
said Miss Tlbbs.
Ilarkless usually ate his breakfast
alone, as "he was tho latest riser In
Plattville. There were days lit the
winter when he did not reach the hotel
until H o'clock. This morning he found
a bunch of white roses, still wet with
dew and so fragrant that the whole
room was fresh and sweet with fhelr
odor, prettily arranged In a bowl on
the table, and at his plate the largest
of all with a pin through the stem. Ho
looked up smilingly and nodded at the
red faced, red haired waitress who was
waving a long lly brush over his head.
"Thank you, Charinlon," he said.
"That's very pretty."
"That old Mr. Wlinby was here," sho
answered, "and he left word for you to
look out. The whole posselucky of
Johnsons from the Crossroads passed
his house thts mornlu', coniln' this
way. and he see Bob Skilled on the
Bipiare when he got to town. He left
them flowers. Mrs. Wlinby sent 'em to
e. 1 didn't bring 'em."
"Thank you for arranging them."
She turned even redder than slio al
ways was and answered nothing, vig
orously darting her brush at an imag-
inary lly on the cloth. After several
minutes she said abruptly, "You're wel
come." There was n silence, finally broken,
by n long, gasping sigh. Astonished,'
he looked at Hie girl. Her eyes were!
set uufathomahly upon his pink tie.'
The wand had dropped from her norvoi
less hand, and she stood rapt and im
movable. She started violently from
, ,
'Ioncy, hit bald luck slno 'fo' breakfus'."
her trance. "Ain't ye goln' to finish
yer coffee?" she asked, plying her In
strument ngaln, and, bending slightly,
whispered, "Say, Kph Watts ls over
there behind ye."
At n table in a far corner of the room
a large gentleman In n brown frock
coat was quietly eating his breakfast
and reading the Herald. He was of an
ornate presence, though entirely neat.
A sumptuous expanse of linen exhibit
ed Itself between the lapels of his low
cut waistcoat, and an Inch of bcdla
monded breastpin glittered there like
an lee ledge on a snowy mountain side.
He had a steady bluo eye und a dissi
pated Iron gray mustache. This per
sonage was Mr. Kphralm Watts, who,
following a calling more fashionable In
the eighteenth century than In the lat
ter decades of tho nineteenth, had
shaken the dust of Carlow from his
feet some three years previously at tho
strong request of the authorities. The
Herald had been particularly insistent
upon his deportation. In the local
phrase, Ilarkless had "run him out o
town." Perhaps It was because tho
Herald's opposition, as the editor had
explained at tho time, had been "mere
ly moral and impersonal," and the ed
itor had confessed to a liking for tho
unprofessional qualities of Mr. Watts,
that thero was but a slight embarrass
ment when the two gentlemen met to
day. Ills breakfast finished, Ilarkless
went over to tho other and extended
his hand. Cynthia, the waitress, held
her breath and clutched tho back of a
chair. However, Mr. Watts made no
motion toward his well known hip
pocket. Instead he rose, Hushing slight
ly, and accepted the hand offered him.
"I'm glad to soo youMr. WnttsJ.
(Contluued on Pago Sovon.)
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