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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (March 24, 1905)
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Copyright, 1890. by Doabtcday
(CONTIMT.I) rilO.M LAST WEIIK.)
"Sweetheart, you mustn't fret," she
soothed in motherly fashion. "Don't
you worry, dear. m,.s ,,n ,.Ki,t, u
Isn't yom- fault, dear. They wouldn't
come on 11 night like thK"
I'.ut Helen drew nwny and went to
the window, flattening her arm against
the pane, her forehead pressed against
lior arm. She had lot him go; she had
let him s alone. She hiufforgotton the
danger that always beset hlim she had
been so crazy; she had seen nothing
thought of nothing. She had let him
go Into that and Into the storm alone.
Who knew better than she how cruel
they were. She had seen the lire leap
from the white blossom and heard the
bnll whNtle. the hall they had meant
for his heart that good, -rent heart.
She had run to him the night before.
Why had she let him so Into the un
known and the storm tonight? itut
how could she have stopped him? How
could she have kept him after what lie
had said? He had put it out of her
power to speak the word "Stay!" She
peered into the night through distort
The wind had gone down a little, but
only a little, and the electrical Hashes
tinnccd all round the horizon in mag
nificent display, sometimes far away,
sometimes dazlngly near, the darkness
doubly deep between the intervals
when the long sweep of Hat lands lay
In dazzling clearness, clean cut in the
washed air to the finest detail of strick
en Hold and heaving woodland.
A staggering llame clove earth and
Bky. and sheets of light echoed it, and
a frightful uproar shook the house and
rattled the casements, but over the
crash of thunder Minnie heard her
friend's loud scream and saw her
spring back from the window with
both hands, palms outward, pressed to
her face. She leaped to her and threw
Iier aniH about her.
"What Is It?"
Look!" Helen dragged her to the
'Window. "At the next flash! Tue
fence beyond the meadow."
"What was it? What was it like?"
The lightning flashed incessantly.
Helen tried to point. Her hand only
Jerked from side to side.
"Look:" she cried.
"I see nothing but the lightning,"
Winnie answered breathlessly.
"Oh, the fence! The fence! And In
"Helen: What was it like?"
"Ah. ah!" she panted. "A long line
of white looking things horrible
"What like?" Minnie turned from
the window and caught the other's
wrist in a strong clasp.
"Minnie, Minnie! Like long white
gowns and cowls crossing the fence!"
Helen released her wrist from her
companion's grasp and put botli hands
on Minnie's cheeks, forcing her around
to face the flickering pane. "You must
look! You must look!" she cried.
"They wouldn't do it! They wouldn't
It Isn't!" Minnie shuddered. "They
couldn't come In the storm. They
wouldn't do it In the pouring rain."
"Yes! Such tilings would mind the
rain!" She burst Into hysterical laugh
ter, and Minnie seized her round the
waist, almost as unnerved as Helen,
yet trying to soothe her. "They would
mind the rain," Helen whispered.
"They would fear a storm. Yes, yes!
And I let him go; I let him go!"
Pressing close together, clasping
aeh other's waist, the two girls peer
ed out at the landscape.
Up from the dlstnnt fence that bor
dered the northern side of Jones' field
a pale, pelfld, flapping thlilg reared
itself, poised and seemed, just as the
blackness came again, to drop to the
"Did you see?"
But Minnie had thrown herself Into
a deep chair with n laugh of wild re
lief. "My darling girl!" Bho cried.
"Not n line of white things Just one
Mr. Jones' scarecrow! And we saw It
"No, no, no! I saw the others. They
were In the Held beyond. I saw them.
When I looked the first tlrao they wero
nearly all on the fence. This tirao wo
saw the last man crossing. Ah, I let
bini go alone!"
Minnie sprang up and infolded her.
"No; you dear, imagining child, you're
'upset and nervous, that's all the mat
ter In the world. Don't worry; don't,
child; it's all right. Mr. Harkless Is
homo and safe in bed long ago. I
know that old scarecrow on the fence
like a book, and you're ho unstrung
you fancied the vest. He all right.
Don't you bother, dear."
The big, motherly girl took her com
panion in her arms and rocked her,
back and forth soothingly and petted,
and reassured her uudthon cried a lit
"By Booth Tatucimgtos
Si McClure Co.
by McClure. Thittipj &. Co.
tle with her, as a good hearted girl al
ways will with a friend. Then who left
her for the night, with many a cheer
ing word and tender caress. "CJet to
sleep, my dear," she called through the
door when she had closed It behind her.
"You must if you have to go in the
morning. It Just breaks my heart. 1
don't know how we'll bear It without
you. Father will miss you almost as
much as I will. Good night. Don't
bother about that old white scarecrow;
that's all It was. Good night, dear;
"Good night, dear," answered n plain
tive little voice. Helen's cheek pressed
the pillow and tossed from side to side.
By and by she turned the pillow over;
It had grown wet. The wind blew
about the eaves and blew itself out.
Sleep would not come. She got up and
laved her burning eyes; then she sat
by the window. The storm's strength
was spent at last. The rain grew light
er nnd lighter until there was but the
sound of running water and the drip,
drip on the tin roof of the porch. Only
the thunder rumbling in the distance
marked the storm's course, the chariots
' of the gods rolling farther and farther
away till they finally ceased to be
heard altogether. The clouds parted
"Look!" bhc cried.
majestically, and then, between great
curtains of mist, the day star was seen
shining In the east.
The night was hushed, nnd the peace
thnt falls before dawn was upon the
Jvet, flat lands. Somewhere in the sod
den grass a swamped cricket chirped;
from an outlying flange of the village
a dog's howl rose mournfully; it was
answered by another far away and by
another and another. The sonorous
chorus rose above the village, died
away, and quiet fell again.
Helen sat by the window, no comfort
touching her heart. Tears coursed her
cheeks no longer, but her eyes were
wide and staring, and her lips parted
breathlessly, for the hush was broken
by the far clamor of the courthouse
bell ringing in the night. It rang and
rang and rang and rang. She could
hot breathe. She threw open the win
dow. The bell stopped. All was quiet
flnce more. The east was gray.
Suddenly out of the stillness there
came the sound of a horse galloping
over a wet road. Ho was coming like
mad. Som one for n doctor? No; the
hoof beats grow louder, coming out
from the town, coming faster and
faster, coming here. There was a
plashing and trampling In front of the
house and a sharp "Whoa!" In the
dim light of first dawn she made out
a man on a foam flecked horse. He
drew up at the gate.
A window to the right of hers went
screeching up. She heard the Judge
clear hl throat before ho spoke.
"What: Is it? That's you, Isn't It,
Wiley? What Is it?" He took u good
deal of time and coughed between tho
sentences. Ilia voice wns more thnn
ordinarily quiet, nnd it Bounded husky.
"What is It, Wiley?"
"Judge, what time did Mr. nnrklesa
leave here last night, nnd which way
did he go?"
There wns a silence. The Judge turn
ed away from tho window. Minnie
was Binninng just outside ills door.
"It must have been nbout half past 0,
wasn't It, father?" slio called In a
choked voice. "And you know Helen
thought lie went west."
"Wiley 1" Tho old man leaned from
the sill again.
"Yes," answered tho man on horse
back. "Wiley, ho left about half past 0
JUHt beforo the storm. They think ho
. "Much obliged, Wllletts la so upset (
II 1 1 v
he Isn't sure of anything."
"Wiley!" The old man's voice shook.
Minnie began to cry aloud. Tho horse
man wheeled about and turned his mil
mal's head toward town. "Wiley!"
"Wiley, they haven't you don't think
they've got him?"
Said the man 011 horseback, "Judge,
I'm afraid they have."
UK courthouse bell ringing In
tho night! No hesitating
stroke of Schollelds' Henry,
no uncertain touch, was on
the rope. A loud, wild, hurried clamor
pealing out to wake the countryside, a
rapid clang! clang! clang! that struck
clear In to the spine. The courthouse
bell bad tolled for the death of Mor
ton, of Garfield, of Hendricks; had
rung joy peals of peace after the war
and after political campaigns, but It
had rung as It was ringing now only
three times once when milliard's mill
burned, once when Webb l.iidls killed
Sep Bardlock and Intrench himself
In the lumber yard and would not be
taken until he was shot through and
through, and once when the Itoueu ac
commodation, crowded with children
and women nnd men, was wrecked
within twenty yards of the station.
Why was the bell ringing now? Men
and women, startled into wide wake
fulness, groped to windows. No red
mist hung over town or country. What
was It? The bell rang on. Its loud
alarm beat Increasingly Into men's
hearts and quickened their throbbing
to the rapid measure of Its own. Vague
forms loomed In the gloaming. A horse,
madly ridden, splashed through the
town. There were shouts; voices called
hoarsely; lamps began to gleam In the
windows; half clad people emerged
from their houses, men slapping their
braces on their shoulders as they ran
out of doors; questions were shouted
Into the dimness.
Then the news went over the town.
It was cried from yard to yard, from
group to group, from gate to gale, and
reached the furthermost confines. Run
ners shouted It as they sped by, and
boys panted It, breathless; women with
loosened hair stumbled into darkling
chambers and faltered It out to new
wnkencd sleepers, and pale girls, clutch
ing wraps at their throats, whispered
It across fences. The sick, tossing on
their hard beds, heard It. Tho bell
clamored It far and near; It spread over
the countryside, and it flew over tho
wires to distant cities. The White Caps
had got Mr. Harkless!
Llgo Wllletts had lost track of him
out near Briscoe's, It was said, and had
come into town at midnight seeking
him. He had found Parker, the Herald
foreman, and Ross Schofleld, the type
setter, and Hud Tlpworthy, the devil,
at work in the printing office, but no
sign of Harkless there or In the cot
tage. Together these had sought for
bun and had roused others who had In
quired at every house where he might
have gone for shelter, and they had
heard nothing. They had watched for
his coming during the slackening of
the storm. He had not come, and there
was no place he could have gone. Ho
wns missing. Only one thing could
They had roused up Warren Smith,
the prosecutor, and Horner, the sher
iff, and .lured Wiley, the deputy. Wil
liam Todd had rung the alarm. It was
agreed that the first thing to do was
to find him. After that there would
be trouble, If not before. It looked ns
If there would bo trouble before. The
men tramping up to the muddy square
In their shirt sleeves wero bulgy about
the right hips, and when Homer Tlbbs
Joined Columbus Lundis at the hotel
corner and Landls saw that Homer
Was carrying a shotgun Landls wont
tack for his. A hastily sworn posse
galloped out Main street. Women and
children ran Into neighbors' yards and
bognn to cry. Day was coming, and
ns the light grew men swore and sav
agely kicked at the palings of fences
as they ran by them.
In the foreglow of dawn they gather
ed In the square and listened to War
ren Smith, who made a speech from
tho courthouse fence and warned
them to go slow. They answered him
with angry shouts and hootlngs. But
he made his big bass voice heard and
lade them do nothing rash. No facta
tvere known, ho said. It wiih fur from
certain that harm had been done, and
no one knew that the Six Crossroads
people had done it, even if .something
had happened to Mr. Hnrklcss. He de
clared that he sjwke in Harkless' name.
Nothing could distress him so much ns
for them to defy the law, to take It
out of the proper hands. Justice would
"Yes, It will!" shouted n mnn below
him, brandishing tho butt of a ruwhldo
whip above his head. "And whllo you
Jaw on about It hero he may be tied up
like a dog In the woods, shot full of
boles by the men you never lifted a
finger to bender, because you want
their votes when you run for circuit
Judge. What are we doin' hero? What's
tho good of listening to you?"
TJiero was a yell at this, and those
who heard the speaker would probably
have started for tho Crossroads had
not n rumor sprung up which passed
rapidly from mnn to man and in a few
momentB had reached every person In
tho crowd. Tho news came that tho
two shell gamblers had wrenched a bar
out of a window Jiudej; cover of the
sforn'iT h"ndlroken Ja'if nnd 'were at
large. Their threats of the day before
were remembered now with convincing
vividness. They had sworn repeatedly
to Hardlock and to the sheriff and In the
hearing of others that they would "do"
for the man who had taken their mon
ey from them and had them arrested.
The prosecuting attorney, quickly per
1 celvlng the value of this complication
I In holding back the mob that was al
ready forming, called Horner from the
crowd and made him get up on the
fence and confess that his prisoners
had escaped, at what time ho did not
know, probably toward the beginning
of the storm, when It was noisiest.
"You see," cried the attorney, "there
Is nothing as yet of which we can ac
cuse the Crossroads. If our friend has
been hurt It Is much more likely that
these crooks did it. They escaped In
time to do It, and we nit know they
were laying for him. You want to be
mighty careful, fellow citizens. Hor
ner Is already In telegraphic communi
cation with every town around here,
and he'll have those men before night.
All you've got to do Is to control your
selves a little and go home quietly."
Ho could see that his words (except
those In reference to returning home
no one was going home) made an im
pression. There was a babble of shout
ing and argument and swearing that
grew louder and louder.
Mr. Kphralm Walts, In spite of all
confusion, dad us carefully as upon
the preceding day, deliberately climbed
the fence and stood by the lawyer and
made a single steady gesture with his
hand. He was listened to at once, as
his respect for the law was less noto
rious than his Irreverence for It, and
he had been known In Carlow as ens
tomailly a reckless man. They want
ed Illegal and desperate advice and
quieted down to hear It. He spoke In
his professionally calm voice.
"Gentlemen, It seems to mo that Mr.
Smith and .Mr. Rlbshuw," nodding to
tho man with the rawhide whip, "are
both right. What good are we doing
here? What we want to know is what's
happened to Mr. Harkless. It looks
Just now like the shell men might havo
done It. Let's find out what they done.
Scatter and hunt for him. Soon ns any
thing's known for certain Illbbnrd's
mill whistle will blow three times.
Keep on looking till it does; then," ho
finished, with n barely perceptible
scornful smllo at the attorney "then
wo can decide on what had ought be
Six Crossroads lay dark and steam
ing In the sun thnt morning. The forgo
wns silent, the saloon locked up, the
roadway deserted even by the pigs.
The broken old buggy stood rotting in
the mud without a single lean little old
man or woman such were the chil
dren of the Crossroads to play about
It. Once, when the deputy sheriff rode
through alone, a tattered black hound,
more wolf than dog, half emerged,
growling, from beneath one of the
tumbledown barns and was Jerked
back into the darkness by his tall, with
a snarl flercwr than his own, whllo n
gun barrel shone for a second as It
swung for a stroke on tho brute's head.
The hound did not yelp or whine when
the blow fell. Ho shut his eyes twlco
Und slunk sullenly back to his place.
The shanties might have received a
volley or two from some of the mount
ed bands, exasperated by futile search
ing, bad not the escape of Horner's,
prisoners made tho guilt of tho Cross
roads appear doubtful in the minds of
many. As the morning waned tho nd-j
vocates of the theory that the gam
blers had made away with Harkless
grew In number. There came a tele
gram from the Itoueu chief of police
that he had a clow to their whereabouts.
He thought they had succeeded In
reaching Rouen, nnd It. began to bo
generally believed that they had es-
They answered hm with anyril sho)iUs.
enped by the 1 o'clock freight train
which had stopped to take on some
empty cars at a side track a mile north
west of town, across the fields from
tho Briscoe house. Toward noon n
party wont out to examine tho rail
Men began to come back Into the vil
lage for breakfast by twos and threes,
but many kept on searching the woods,
not feeling the need of food or caring
If they did. Hvory grove nnd clump
of underbrush, every thicket, was ran
sacked. Tho waters of the creek, shal
low .fop, tho most part, but swollen
Bvornlght,' were H'fagged at'every pool.
Nothing was found. There was not a
The bar of the hotel was thronged
all morning as the returning citizens
rapidly made their way thither, nnd
those who had breakfasted and wero
going out again paused for Internal as
well as exl'M'tial re-enforcement. The
landlord, himself returned from a long
hunt, set out his whisky with a lavjsh
"He was the best man we had, boys,"
on Id Landls as he poured the litilo
glasses full. "We'd ort of sent htm to
the legislative halls of Washington
long ago. He'd of done us honor there.
But we never thought of doln' any
thing for him. Jest set round und left
him build up the town and give htm
empty thankyes. Drink hearty, gen
tlemen," ho finished gloomily. "I don't
grudge 110 liquor today-except to Llgo
"lie was u good man," said young
William Todd, whose nose wns red, not
rrom the whisky. "I've about give
"It's golu' to seem mighty empty
around here," said Ross ScholWd.
"What's golu' to become o the Herald
nnd the parly In this district? Whore's
the man to run either of 'cm no.vV
Like ns not," ho continued desperately,
"It'll go against us In the fall."
Dlbb Znno choked over his four flu
gers. "We might's well bust up the
dab dustul ole town ef bo's gone."
"1 don't know what's come over that
Cynthy Tlpworthy," said the landlord.
"She's waited table on him last two
years, and her brother Bud works at
tho Herald office, she didn't say a
word, only looked nnd looked nnd
looked, like a crazy woman; then her
nnd Hud went off together to hunt In
the wootls. They Jest tuck hold of
each other's hands, like"
"I reckon there nln't many crnzler
than them two Bowlders, father nnd
son," Interrupted a patron, wiping tho
drops from his beard as he sot his
glass on the bar. "They rid Into town
like a couple or wild Indians, tho old
man beatln' that gray maro o thelrn
till she was one big wait, nnd he nln't
natcherly no cruel man cither. 1 ex
pect Llgo Wllletts bettor keep out of
"I keep out of no man's way!" cried
a voice behind him. Turning, they saw
Llgo standing on the threshold of tho
door that led to the street. In his hand
ho held the bridle of the horse ho had
ridden across the sidewalk and that
now stood panting, with lowered head
half through the doorway, besldo his
master. Llgo was hatless, splashed
with mud from head to foot; his Jaw
was set, his teeth ground together, his
eyes burned under red lids, und his
hair lay tossed and damp on his brow.
"I keep out of no man's way," ho re
peated hoarsely. "I hoard you, Mr.
Tlbbs. but I've got too much to do,
while you loaf and gas and drink over
Landls' bar. Pvo got other business
than keepln' out of. Hart Bowlder's
way. I'm lookln' for John Harkless.
He wns tho best man wo hnd In this
ornery hole, and he was too good for
us, and so we've maybe let him got
killed, und maybe I'm to blame. But
I'm goln' to find htm, nnd if he's hurt
I'm goln' to have a hand on the ropo
that lifts the men that did it If I havo
to go to Rouen to put It there. After
that I'll answer for my fault, not be
fore." He thrcwf himself on his horse nnd
was gone. Soon the room emptied, as
tho patrons of the bur returned to the
search, and only Mr. Wllkerson nnd
the landlord remained, tho bnr being
tho professional office, so to speak, o
At 11 o'clock Judge Brlscoo dropped
wearily from his horse at his own gato
and said to a wan girl who camo run
ning down tho walk to meet hlnrn
"There is nothing yet. I sent tho tel
egram to your mother to Mrs. Sher
wood." Helen turned away without answer
ing. Her fa co was very white and
looked pinched about the mouth. She
went back to where old FIsbeo sat on
the porch, his white head held between,
his two hands. Ho was rocking hlm-i
self to and fro. She touched him gen
tly, but he did not look up. She spoko'
to him. "Father," she said.
He did not seem to hear her.
"There Isn't anything yet. no sent
the telegram. I shall stay with you
now, no matter what you say." Sua
sat beside him nnd put her head down
on his shoulder, and, though for a mo
ment lie appeared not to notlco it, when!
Minnie came out on the porch, hearing,
her father nt tho door, tho old man,
had put his arm about tho girl and waa
Stroking her fair hair softly.
Brlscoo glanced at them nnd raised'
n warning finger to his daughter, andl
Ihey went tiptoeing Into tho house,!
therc the judge dropped heavily upon1
h Hum. aiiiuiiu moon uuioro 111m wiiin
a look of palo Inquiry, and ho shook
(to he continued.)
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