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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 18, 1907)
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By REX E. BEACH.
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MTClCir BWjwB stqy
"Oli, there ain't much to say. This
Is the lady wo brought aboard last
"Wlit gave you permission?"
"Nobody. Thoro wasn't time."
'"I'liero wasn't time, oh? Which one
of ynn conceived the novel Hcheme of
stowing away ladles hi your cabin?
Whose is site? Quick! Answer me."
Indignation was vibrant In his voice.
"Oh!" the girl erlctl. her eyes widen
ing tl.ukly. She stood slim ami pale
and slightly trembling.
Ills words bail cut her bitterly,
though fhtopgh It all he had scrupu
lously . i voided addressing her.
Tht! captain turned to Glcnlster, who
had ordered and closed the door.
"Is this your work? Is she yours?"
"No," be answered quietly, while
Hex try hlmed In:
"Hotter hear details, captain, before
you make breaks like that. We helped
the lady side step some sailors last
iiluht, and we most not left doing It.
It wan up i.) her to make a quick pet
away, v) we helped her aboard."
"A M)or story! What was she run
ning away from?" He still addressed
the men, Un irlng, her completely till,
with hoarse olee, she broke In:
"You must n't talk nlnMit me that
way I can answer your questions.
It's true I ran away. I had to. The
sailors came after me and fought with
these men. I had to net away quickly,
juiil our friends helped me on here
from gentlemanly kindness, because
they Hiiw me unprotected. They are
still protecting me. I can't exploit
how Important it is for me to reach
Nome ou the tlrst boat, because It isn't
my secret. It was important enough
to make me leave my uncle at Seattle
jit mi hour's notice when we found
there was no one else who could go.
That's all I can say. I took my maid with
me, but the sailors caught her Just as
she was following me down the ship's
ladder. She had my ban of clothes
when they -elzed her. I cast off the
rope and rowed ashore as fast as I
could, but they lowered another boat
and followed me."
The captain eyed her sharply, and
Ills grim lines softened n hit, for she
was clean cut and womanly and utter
ly out of place. He took her In shrewd
ly, detail by detail, then spoke directly
"My dear young lady, the other ships
will net there Just as quickly as ours,
maybe more quickly. Tomorrow wc
strike the l'o pack, and then It Is all
a matter of luck."
"Yes, but the ship I left won't net
At this the commander started and,
Parting a great, thick fingered hand at
her, spoke savagely:
"What's that? What ship? Which
one did you come from? Answer me."
"The Ohio." she replied, with tho
effect of a hand grenade. The master
glared at her.
"The Ohio! Good God! You dare
to stand there and tell me that?" Ho
turned and poured his rage upon tlw
"She says the Ohio, d'ye hear? You've
mined me! I'll put you in Irons all of
you. The Ohio!"
"What d'ye mean? 'What's up?"
"What's up! There's smallpox aboard
the Ohio! Tli'a girl has broken quar
antine. The health Inspectors bottled
"I'll put you in irons all of you"
up the boat at 0 o'clock last ulght
That's why I pulled out of Uualaska
ahead of time, to avoid any possible
delay. Now we'll all be held ui when
wo get to Nome. Great Heavens! Do
you realise what this means bringing
this hussy aboard?"
Ills eyes burned, and his voice shook,
while the twA partners stared. at each
other In dismay. Too well they kuew
tho result of a smallpox panic obourd
this crowded troop ship. Not only was
every available cabin bulging with pas
sengers, but .the lower decka were Jam
med wHh. both humanity and Uv,' " "
all In the most urisnnlwiry conditions.
Tho craft, built for .'11)0 passengers, was
carrying triple her capacity. Men and
women were stowed uw.ny like cattle.
Qrdcr ami a half tolerable condition
were maintained only by the efforts of
the passengers themselves, who held to
the thought that Imprisonment and in
convenience would last but a few days
longer. They had been aboard three
weeks, ami every heat was atlaine
with the desire to reach Nome - to
reach it ahead of the pressing horde
What would be the temper of this
gold frenzied army If thrown Into
quarantine within sight of their goal?
The impatient hundreds would have to
lie packed in their lloatlug prison, sub
mitting to the foul disease. Long they
must lie thus, till a month should have
pased after the disappearance of the
last symptom. If the disease recurred
sporadically, that might mean endless
weeks of maddening Idleness. It might
even be Impossible to impose the neces
sary restraint. There would be vio
lence, perhaps mutiny.
The fear of the sickness was noth
ing t,o Detry and t'lenlster. but of
their mine they thought with terror.
What would happen in their absence,
where conditions were as unsettled as
in this new land, where titles were held
only by physical possession of the
premises? During the long winter of
their absence Ice had held their treas
ure Inviolate, but with the warming
summer the Jewel they had fought for
so wearily would He naked and ex
posed to the tlrst coiner. The Midas
lay In the valley of the richest creek,
where men had schemed and fought
and slain for the right to Inches. It
was the fruit of cheerless, barren years
of toll, and if they could not guard It
they knew the result.
The girl Interrupted their distressing
"Don't blame these men, sir," she
begged the captain. "I am the only
one at fault. Oh, I had to get away!
I have papers here that must be deliv
ered quickly." She laid a baud upon
her bosom. "They couldn't be trusted
to the unsettled mall service. It's al
most life ami death. And I assure
you there is no need of putting me In
quarantine. I haven't the smallpox.,
1 wasn't even exposed to It."
"There's nothing else to do," said
Stephens. "I'll Isolate you In the deck
smoking cabin. God knows what these
madmen oij board will do when they
hear about It, though. They're apt to
tear you to shreds. They're crazy!"
Glcnlster had been thinking rapidly
"If you do that, you'll have mutiny
in an hour. This Isn't tho crowd to
stand that sort of thing."
"IJah! Let 'em try It. I'll put 'em
down." The ofllcer's square Jaws
"Maybe so; but what then? Wo
reach Nome and the health Inspector
hears of smallpox suspects, then we're
alT quarantined for thirty days; 8C0
of us. We'll He at Egg lsltind all sum
mer while your company pays 11 ve
thousand n day for this ship. Thaft
not all. The firm is liable in damages
for your carelessness in letting dlseaso
"My carelessness!" The old man
ground his teeth.
"Yes; that's what It amounts to.
You'll ruin your owners, all right.
You'll tie up your ship and lose your
Job, that's n cinch!"
Captain Stephens wiped tho moisture
from his brow angrily.
"My carelessness! Curse you you
say it well! Don't you reallzo that I
am criminally liable if I don't take
every precaution?" He paused for n
moment, considering. "I'll baud her
over to the ship's doctor."
"See here, now," Glcnlster urged.
"We'll be In Nomo In a week before
the young indy would have time to
show symptoms of the disease, oven
If she were going to have it and a
thousand to one she hasn't bee ex
posed and will never show a traco of
it. Nobody knows she's aboard but wo
three. Nobody will see her get off.
She'll stay In this cabin, which will be
just as effectual us though you Isolated
her In any other part of the boat. It
will avoid a panic you'll save your
ship and your company nobody will
be the wiser then If the girl comes
down with smallpox after she gets
ashore she can go to the pesthouso and
not jeopardize tho health of all the
people aboard this ship. You go up
forrad to your bridge, sir, and forget
that 3ou stopped in to see old Bill
Dextry this morning. We'll tnke care
of this matter all right It means as
much to us ns it does to you. We'vo
got to bo on Anvil creek before the
ground thaws or we'll lose tho Midas.
I (Continued on Pak tilx.
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