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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (July 28, 1905)
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Sfe Wings f the
KilIT after night tlio Pleiades
swung higher in the" llnnu-
niont. Diiy nftor day tho sailor
perfected his defenses and mix-
iously scanned the ocean I' r sign of
friendly smoke or hostile sail. This re
spite would not have boon given to
him were it not for tin lucky bullet
which removed two lingers and part of
a third from the right hand of the
Dyak chief. Not even a healthy sav
age can afford to treat such a wound
lightly, and ton days elapsed before the
maimed robber was able to move the
injured limb without a curse.
Meanwhile each night .lenks slept
loss soundly. Each day his face be
came more careworn. He began to
realize why the island had not been
visited already by the vessel which
would certainly be deputed to search
for them. She was examining the
great coast Hue of China and Slam.
It was his habit to mark the progress
of time on the rudely made sundial,
which sufllciontly served their require
ments as a clock. Iris happened to
watch him chipping the forty-fourth
notch on the edge of the horizontal
block of wood.
"Have we really boon forty-four
days here?" she inquired after count
ing the marks with growing astonish
ment. "I believe the reckoning Is accurate,"
lie said. "The Sirdar was lost on the
ISth of March, and I make this the 1st
"It seems to be a tremendous time;
Indeed, In some respects, it figures in
my mind like many years. That Is
when I am thinking. Otherwise, when
busy, the days fly like hours."
"It must be convenient to hnve such
an elastic scale."
"Most useful. I strive to apply the
quick rate when you are grumpy."
Iris placed her arms akimbo, plnnt
cd her feet widely apart and surveyed
Jenks with an expression that might
almost be termed impudent. They
were great friends, these two, now.
When the urgent necessity for con
tinuous labor no longer spurred them
to exertion during every moment of
daylight, they tackled the box of books
suul read, not volumes which appealed
to them in common, but quaint tomes
In the use of which Jenks was tutor
stud Iris the scholar.
It became a fixed principle with the
girl that she was very ignorant, and
she insisted that the sailor should
tench her. For instance, among the
Looks lie found n treatise on astrono
my. It yielded a keen delight to both
to identify n constellation and lenrn
nil sorts of wonderful things concern
As n variant Jenks Introduced n
study of Hindustani. His method wns
1o write a short sentence and explain
in detail Its component parts. She
knitted her brows In the effort to mas
ter the ridiculous complexities of a
language which. Instead of simply say
ing "Take" or "Bring," compels one to
eay "Take-go" and "Take-come."
One problem defied solution that of
providing raiment for Iris. The united
skill of the sailor and herself would
not induce unraveled cordage to supply
the need of thread. It was either too
wonk or too knotty, nnd meanwhile the
girl's clothes were falling to pieces.
Jenks tried the fibers of trees, tlio
sinews of birds every possible expedi
ent he could hit upon aud perhnps
after experiments covering some weeks
he might have succeeded. But modern
dress stuffs, weakened by aniline dyes
and stiffened with Chinese clay, per
mit of no such exhaustive research. It
must he remembered that the lady
passengers on hoard the Sirdar were
dressed to suit the tropics, and the hard
usage given by Iris to her scanty stock
was never contemplated by the Man
chester or Bradford looms responsible
for the durability of the material.
As the days passed the position be
came irksome. It even threatened
complete collapse during some critical
moment, and the two often silently sur
veyed the largo number of merely male
garments in their possession. Of course
in the matter of coats and waistcoats
there was no difficulty whatever, lrig
had long been wearing those portions
of the doctor's uniform. But when It
came to the rest
At last one memorable morning she
crossed tlio Rubicon. Jenks had climb
ed, as usual, to the Summit rock. Ho
came back with the exciting news that
lie thought lie could not be certain,
but there were indications inspiring
hopefulness that toward the west of I
the i'nroff ibland ho could lUsjern tlioj
.smoke of a steamer.
I'huiili ho had eyes for n faint cloud
Copyright, 1903, by
Edward J. Clode .V-ri.'.'ik
of vapor at least fifty miles distant,
he saw nothing of a remarkable change
effected nearer home. Outwardly Iris
was attired in her wonted manner, but
If her companion's mind were not whol
ly monopolized by the bluish haze de
tected on the horizon he must have no
ticed the turned up ends of a pair of
trousers beneath the hem of her tat
It did occur to him tlint iris re
ceived his momentous announcement
with nu odd air of hauteur, and It was
passing strange she did not offer to
accompany him when, after bolting ills
breakfast, he returned to the observa
tory. He came back In an hour, and the
lines on his face were deeper than be
fore. "A false alarm," he said curtly in re
sponse to her questioning look.
And that was all, though she nerved
herself to walk steadily past him on
her way to the well. This was discon
certing, even annoying, to a positive
young woman like Iris. Uesolvlng to
end tlio ordeal, she stood rigidly before
"Well," she said, "I've done it!"
"Have you?" lie exclaimed blankly.
"Yes. They're a little too long, and I
feel very awkward, but they're better
than than my poor old dress unsup
ported." She blushed furiously, to the sailor's
complete bewilderment, but she brave
ly persevered and stretched out un un
"Oh, I see!" he growled, and he, too,
And during the remainder of the day
he did not once look at her feet. In
deed, he had far more serious matters
to distract his thoughts, for Iris, fe
verishly anxious to be busy, suddenly
suggested that It would be u good
thing were she able to use a rifle If a
fight at close quarters became neces
sary. The recoil of the Loe-Metford is so
slight that any woman can manipulate
the weapon with effect, provided she
is not called upon to lire from a stand
ing position, in which case the weight
is liable to cause bad aiming. Though
it came rather late in the day, Jenks
caught at the idea. He accustomed
her In the first instance to the use of
blank cartridges. Then when fairly
proficient in holding and sighting a
child can learn how to refill the clip
and eject each empty shell she fired
ten rounds of service ammunition. Tho
target was a white circle on a rock at
eighty yards, and those of tho ten
shots that missed the absolute mark
would have made an enemy at the
same distance extremely uncomforta
ble. Iris was much pleased with her pro
ficiency. "Now," she cried, "instead of
being a hindrance to you I may be
some help. In any case, the Dynks will
think there nre two men to face, nnd
they have good reason to fear one of
Then a new light dnwned upon
"Why did you not think of it be
fore?" he demanded. "Don't you see.
Miss Denne, tho possibility suggested
by your words? I am sorry to bo com
pelled to speak plainly, but I feel sure
thnt if those scoundrels do attack us in
force it will be more to secure you
than to avenge the loss of their follow
tribesmen. First and foremost, the sea
going Dynks arc pirates and maraud
ers. They prowl about tho coast look
ing not so much for a fight as for loot
and women. Now, if they return nnd
apparently find two well armed men
awaiting them, with no prospect of
plunder, there Is a chance thnt they
may abandon the enterprise."
Iris did not flinch from tlio topic.
She well knew its grave importance.
"In other words," she suid, "I must
bo seen by them dressed only in malo
"Yes; as a Inst resource, that Is. I
have some hope that they moy not dis
cover our whereabouts owing to the
precautions wo hnve adopted. Perched
up there on tlio ledge, we will bo pro
foundly uncomfortable, but that will
be nothing If It secures our safety."
She did not reply at once. Then
she said musingly: "Forty-four dnys!
Surely there lias been ample time to
scour tho China sea from end to end
In search of us! My father would nev
er abandon hope until ho had tho
most positive knowledge that tlio Sir
dar was lost with all on bonrd."
The sailor, through long schooling,
wns propnred with nu answer: "Each
day makes tho prospect of escapo
brighter. Though I was naturally dis
i.ppointed this morning, I must stnto
quite emphatically that our rescue may
ionic any hour."
Iris looked at him steadily.
"Do you remember, Mr. Jenks, that
soon after the wreck you told me we
might have to remain here many
"That wns n pardonable exaggera
tion." "No, no! It wns the truth. You nre
seeking now to buoy me up with false
hope, it Is 1,000 miles from Hong
kong to Singapore, and half as much
from Slam to Borneo. The Sirdar
might have been driven anywhere In
the typhoon. Didn't you say so, Mr.
He wavered under this merciless
"I had no idea your memory was so
good," lie said weakly.
"Excellent, I assure you. Moreover,
during our forty-four days together
you have taught me to think. Why do
you adopt (subterfuge with me? We
are partners In all else. Why cannot
I share your despair as well as your
She blazed out in sudden wrath, nnd
he understood that she would not lie
denied the full extent of his secret,
fear. Up lf."cv2 rvverviiy ict'oro her,
as n mortal paying homage to an an
"I can only admit that you are
right," lie murmured. "We must pray
that God will direct our friends to tills
island. Otherwise we may not be
found for a year, as unhappily the
fishermen who once came hero now
avoid the place. They hnve been
frightened by the contents of tlio hol
low behind tlio cliff. I am glad you
have solved the difficulty unaided, Miss
Donne. I have striven at times to be
coarse, even brutal, toward you, but
my heart flinched from the task of tell
ing you the possible period of your Im
prisonment." Then Iris, for the first time in many
days, wept bitterly, and Jenks, blind to
the true cause of her emotion, picked
up a rifle to which, lit spare moments,
he had alllxed n curious device, nnd
walked slowly across I 'respect park
toward the half obliterated road lead
ing to tho valley of death.
The girl watched him disappear
among tlio trees. Through her tears
shone a sorrowful little smile.
"He thinks only of me, never of him
self," she communed. "If it pleases
Providence to spare us from these sav
ages, what does it matter to me how
long we remain here? I have never
been so happy before In my life. I fear
I never will be again. If it were not
for my father's terrible anxiety I
would not have a care in tho world. I
only wish to get away so that one
bravo soul at least may be rid of need
less tortures. All his worry Is on my
account, none on his own."
That was what tearful Miss Iris
thought or tried to persuade herself to
think. Perhaps her cogitations would
not bear strict analysis. Perhaps she
harbored u sweet hope that the future
might yet contain bright hours for her
self and the man who was so devoted
to her. She refused to believe that
Bobert Anstruther, strong of arm and
clear of brain, a knight of the Hound
Table in all that was noble and ohlvul
rlc, would permit his name to bear an
unwarrantable stigma when and she
blushed like a June rose lie came to
tell her that which ho had written.
The sailor returned hastily, with tlio
manner of one hurrying to perforin a
neglected task. Without any explana
tion to Iris ho climbed severnl times
to tlio ledge, carrying armloads of
grass roots, which lie planted In full
view. Then he entered the cave, and,
although lie wns furnished only with
the dim light that penetrated through
"0?i, J sec!" he growled,
tho distnnt exit, she henrd him hewing
manfully at tho rock for a couplo of
hours. At last ho emerged, grimy with
dust nnd perspiration, Just In time to
pay a last visit to Summit rock before
tho sun sank to rest. He asked tlio
girl to delay somewhat tho prepara
tions for their evening meal, its ho
tvlshed to tstko n bath; so it was quito
dark when they sat down to oat.
his had long recovered her usuul
staiQ of high spirits.
"Why were you burrowing In the
cavern again?" she Inquired. "Are you
In a hurry to got rich?"
"I was following an air shaft, not a
lode," he replied. "I am occasionally
troubled with after wit. and this Is nn
Instance. Do you remember how the
flame of tho lamp flickered while wo
were opening up our mine?"
"I wns so absorbed In contemplating
our prospective wealth that I failed to
pny heed to the true significance of
that Incident. It meant the existence
of an upward current of nlr. Now,
where the current goes there must be
u passage, and while 1 wns busy this
afternoon among the trees over there"
he pointed toward the valley of
death "It came to me like an Inspira
tion that possibly it few hours' hewing
and delving might open n shaft to (lie
ledge. I have been well rewarded for
the effort. The stuff In the vault Is so
eaten away by witter that it Is no
more solid than hard mud for the most
part. Already I have scooped out a
chimney twelve feet high."
"What good can that be?"
"At present we have only a front
door- up the face of the rock. When
my work Is couiplotod-bofoie tomor
row night, I hope we shall have n
back door also. Of course I may en
counter unforeseen obstacles as 1 ad
vance. A twist In the fault would be
nearly fatal, but I am praying that It
may continue straight to the ledge."
"I still don't see the great advantage
"The advantages nre many, believe
me. The more points of attack pre
sented r ty o;,:r.y tho iu'j.)e effective
will be our resistance. I doubt If they
would ever be able to rush the cae
were we to hold It, whereas 1 can go
up and down our back staircase when
ever I choose. If you don't mind being
left In the dark I will resume work
now by the light of your lamp."
But Iris protested against this ar
rangement. She felt lonely. The long
hours of silence had been distasteful
to her. She wanted to talk.
"I agree," said Jenks, "provided you
do not pin mo down to something I
told you a month ago."
"I promise. You can tell me as much
or as little as you think tit. Tho sub
ject for discussion is your court mar
tial." He could not see the tender light In
her eyes, but the quiet sympathy of
her voice restrained the protest prompt
on Ids lips. Yet ho blurted out after n
"That Is a very unsavory subject."
"Is it? I do not think so. 1 am a
friend, Mr. Jenks, not an old one, I ad
mit, but during the past six weeks we
have bridged an ordinary acquaintance
ship of ns many years. Can you not
Trust her? lie laughed softly. Then,
choosing lils words with great delibera
tion, he answered: "Yes, I can trust
you. I Intended to tell you the story
some day. Why not tonight?"
Unseen in the darkness, Iris' hand
sought and clasped the gold locket sus
pended from her neck. She already
knew some portion of the story lie
would tell. The remainder was of
"It Is odd," he continued, "that you
should have alluded to six years a mo
ment ago. It is exactly six years al
most to a day since the trouble began."
"With Lord Ventnor?" The nainn
slipped out involuntarily.
"Yes. I was then n staff corps sub
altern, and my proficiency in native
laugunges attracted the attention of
a friend in Slmln, who advised me to
apply for an appointment on the po
litical sldo of the government of In
dia. I did so. He supported the appli
cation, and I was assured of the next
vacancy In n native state provided that
I got married. I was not a marrying
man, Mls Denne, and the requlslto
qualification nearly staggered me. But
I looked around the station and came
to the conclusion that the commission
er's niece would make u stiltablo wife.
I regnrded her 'points, so to speak, and
they filled the bill. She was smart,
good looking, lively, understood tlio
nrt of entertaining, was first rato in
sports and had excellent teeth. Indeed,
if a man selected a wife us he docs a
"Don't bo horrid. Was she really
"I believe so. People said she was."
"But what did you think?"
"At tlio time my opinion was biased.
I have seen her since, and she wears
badly. She is married now and after
thirty grow very fat."
Artful Jenks! Iris settled herself
comfortably to listen.
"I have Jumped that fence with n lot
In hand," lie thought.
"Wo became engaged," lie said aloud.
"She threw herself at him," commun
"Her nnmo wns Elizabeth Eliza
beth Morris." The young lieutenant
of those days called her Bessie, but no
"Well, you didn't ninrry her, any
how," commented his, a triflo sharply.
And now tho sailor wns on level
"Thank heaven, no!" ho said earnest
ly. "We had barely become engaged
when she went with her undo to Sim
la for tho hot weather. There she mot
Lord Ventnor, who was on tho vice
roy's staff, and -If you don't mind, wo
will skip, a portion o tho narrative
I discovered" then why men In India
usually go to England for their wives.
While In Simla on ten days' lenvo I
had a foolish row with Lord Ventnor
In the United Service club-hammered
htm, lu fact, In defense of n worthless
woman -and was only saved from a
severe icprhuuud because. I had been
badly treated. Nevertheless, my hopes
of a political appointment vanished,
nnd I returned to my regiment to learn
after due reflection wlmt a very lucky
person I wan."
"Concerning Miss Morris, you menu?"
"Exactly. And now exit Elizabeth.
Not being cut out for matrimonial en
terprise, I tried to become a good of
ficer. A year ago, when the govern
ment asked for volunteers to form
Chinese regiments, I sent In my namo
and was accepted. I had tho good for
tune to serve under an old friend, Colo
uel CostoboII, but some malign star
sent Lord Ventnor to tho far east,
this time In an Important civil capaci
ty. I met him occasionally, and wo
found we did not like each otlvn any
better. My l.orse beat his for the Pa
goda Hurdle handicap. Poor old Sul
tan, I wonder whore he Is now!"
"Colonel CostoboII fell III, and tho
command of the regiment devolved up
on me, our only major being absent In
the Interior. The colonel's wife, unhap
pily, chose that moment to flirt, as peo
ple Hay, with Lord Ventnor. Not hav
ing learned tlio advisability of minding
my own business, I remonstrated with
her, thus making her my deadly ene
my. Lord Ventnor contrived an offi
cial mission to a neighboring town mid
detailed me for the military charge. 1
sent u junior olllcer. Then Mrs Costo
boII and he deliberately concocted a
plot to ruin me, ho for the sake of his
old animosity you remember thnt I
had also crossed his path In Egypt
she because she feared I would speak
to her husband. On pretense of seek
ing my advice she Inveigled me at
night Into it deserted corner of the club
grounds at Hongkong. Lord Ventnor
appeared, and us the upshot of their
vile statements, which created un Im
mediate uproar, I well, Miss Donne, I
nearly killed hbu."
Iris vjvidjj- recalled the ivigulsh he
betrayed when this topic was inadver
tently broached one day early In their
acquaintance. Now he was reciting Ills
painful history with the air of a man
far more concerned to be scrupulously
accurate than aroused In his deepest
passions by tho memory of past
wrongs. What had happened lu the In
terim to blunt these bygone sufferings?
Iris clasped her locket. Sho thought
"The remainder may be told in a sen
tence," lie said. "Of what avail wero
my frenzied statements against tlio
definite proofs adduced by Lord Vent
nor and his unfortunate ally? Even
her husband believed her and became
my bitter foe. Poor woman! I have it
in my heart to pity her. Well, that Is
all. I am here!"
"Can a man be ruined so easily?"
murmured the girl, her exquisite tact
leading her to avoid any direct expres
sion of sympathy.
"It seems so. But I have had my re
ward. If ever I meet Mrs. CostoboII
again I will thank her for a great serv
ice." Iris suddenly became confused. Her
brow and neck tingled with a quick
access of color.
"Why do you say that?" she asked.
And Jenks, who was rising, either did
uot hear or pretended not to hear tho
tremor In her tone.
"Because you once told me you would
never marry Lord Ventnor, and after
what I have told you now I nm quite
sure you will not."
"Ah, then you do trust mo?" she al
He forced back the words trembling
for utterance. Ho even strove weakly
to assume an air of good humored
"See how you havo tempted mo front
work, Miss Denne," lie cried. "We havo
gossiped here until the fire grew tired
of our company. To bed, please, ut
Iris caught him by tho arm.
"I will pray tonight and every night,"
she said solemnly, "that your good
name may be cleared In the eyes of all
men, as It Is In mine. And I nm sure
my prayer will bo answered."
Sho passed Into her chamber, but her
angelic influence remained. In his
very soul tlio man thanked God for tho
tribulation which brought this woman
Into his life. Ho had traversed tho
wilderness to find nu oasis of raro
It was a beautiful night. After a
baking hot day tho rocks wero radiat
ing their stored up heat, but tlio pleas
ant southwesterly breeze thnt general
ly set In at sunset tempered the at
mosphere and made sleep refreshing.
Jenks could not settle down to rest for
a little while after Iris left him. Sho
did not bring forth her lamp, and, un
willing to disturb her, ho picked up a
resinous branch, lit It in tho dying llro
and went Into tho cave.
IIo wanted to survey the work nl
reudy done nnd to determine whether
it would bo better to resumo operations
In the morning from lusldo the exca
vation or from tho ledge. Owing to
tho difficulty of constructing a vertical
upward shaft and tho danger of a sud
dgiL fall of. heavy, material ho decided.
(Continued on Sixth Pago.)
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