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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 1, 1908)
HENRY WALLACE PHILLIPS
COPYRIGHT, 1902, BY MeCLURE. PMILUP5 tV COMPANY
w,r rtnr rtint M l)i )s
sengers, uud there's no tolling liou- ox
riled Ihein passengers will be when
lliry llnd they've got lo go ever the
hills ford hunting.'
" 'Are you going lo send Vin nil
"The whole hunch. Anynody com
ing Itnck from Ihe diggings has gold
in his clothes, so It won't hurt "cm
none, nnd I ptopoio to give Unit stage
Jlue au advertising that won't do it a
hit of good. Come along, lied. Let's
hee that lnd that has the shack up
the river. We need something to eat.
nnd maybe he's got a gun. If In- a
decent feller, we'll let htm in on a
claim. Never mind about the hole
It won't run away, and there's uoliody
to touch any thing. Come on.'
"So we went up the river. The
man's name wn- White, and he wax a
while man by nature too. lie fed us
well and wa- ju-t as hot a- n- when
we told him about Ihe Mage driver's
trick. Tlien we (eld him ahoin the
find and let him In
".Vow." savs Aggy, "have .von got -i
""1 have that,' xjis the man. l.v
dad Used to he a duck liuinrr 'ii 'lies,
apcal.e hay When jou .-a. gun"' I'll
show .von a gi.n' lie dove in under
his bonk and fetched out what I should
say was a No. 1 bore shotgun, with
barrel-: mx f-t long.
" 'Gentlemen, suvs he, holding the
gun up and patting it loviugl.v. it' ,vou
ram it quarter pound of powder in
each one of them bands ami a hand
ful of buck-hot on top of that you'
got an argument Unit couldn't lie iipsc'
by the supreme court. I'll guarantee
that when you point her au.vwlieres
within leu feet of a man not ocr a
bundled yards away aud let her do her
duty, all the talent that that tuaii'.
fumbly could employ couldn't gather
enough of him to recognize him by,
and jou won't be dn bed morc'n long
enough to heal a busted shoulder.
" '1 hope it nln't going to be my pn In
fill line of iH-rformuuce to pull the
trigger,' says Aggy. 1 think the -ight
of her would have weight with mo-t
people. When'H the stage due bark';
"'Pay after tomorrow, about noon.'
"That gives us lots of time to stake
and to salt claims that can't show
cause their own belies,' says Aggy. 'I
think we're all right.'
"The next day we worked like tile
old Harry. We had everything fixed
up right by nightfall, and there was
nothing to do but dig aud wait.
"Curious folks we all are, ain't wo?
1 should have hi id my own self that if
I'd found gold b. the bucketful. I'd be
more interested In that than I would
be In getting even with a null that had
done me dirt, bur it wasn't so. Per
haps il wsis because I hadn't paid
much attention to money all my life,
ami I bad paid the -irictc-t atieuiiiiu
lo (lie way olh-r people UM'd me. Liv
ing where thoie's so few folk ac
count for that. I suppose.
"('citing even on our eli euietl
friend, the stage driver. was right In
your l'ncle noddy's line, and Aggy and
our new pard. White, -coined to take
kindly to it, also.
"If ever jou saw three face tilled
with innocent glee, it was when we
heard the wheels of that stage c.iming
why, the night before I wax woke
up by somebody laughing. There was
Aggy sound asleep, sitting up hugging
himself in the moonlight.
'"Oh, my! Oh. my!' says he. 'It's
the only ford for J,HM miles!'
"Wo plnntcd a sign in the middle of
the road with thiH wording on it In big
letters, made with the black end f a
Thl nl ndjotnliiK claim nn tli prop,
rrty ot AKaniouuiou G .lone. Iteil S mo
del h. .Mm ltnr, Wblti. t al
TrespnsrbiK Ufini' at iOir unn tIhU.
OwnfiR will not be r nnnlbV for th
"There was a trelch of about a tulle
on the level before ua. When the stage
come In plain lght Aggy proceeds to
load tip 'Old Moral Suasion.' as lie
colled her. so thai the folks could see
there was no attempt a I deception
They come pretty fairly slow after
that. At fifty yards. Ag hollers Hall!'
The team sat right down on their
"'Now. Mr. Sulck'uuil'rUz,' sa.vx ,g
gy, 'you that drives, I menu, come here
nnd rend this little sign.'
"'Suppose I don't";' sa.vs the feller,
trying to be smart before the passen
gers. "'It's a horrible supposition,' says
Aggy, 'nnd the Innocent will have to
Buffer with the guilty.' Then he cocks
"God hakes! Iioti'l shoot!' yells one
of the passengers. 'Man, you ought lo
hnvo more sense than to try and pick
hltn out of a crowd with a shotguu!
i'et down there, you fool, and make It
"So the driver walked our way and
read. He never said a word. 1 reck
on ho realized It was the only ford
$A 'i h L
".llflVlul (III" (".'" '"-' lllllll rt.
for I. hiii miles, more or less, as Agg.v
had remarked. There he stood, with
Ids mouth and o.vos wide open.
"I'd like to have you other gentle
men come up and see our ilrsl cleanup,
so you won't think we're running in a
windy.' says Aggy. They wanted to
.ice bad, as you can Imagine, and when
they did see about fifteen pounds of
gold in the bottom of my old hat they
talked like people that hadn't had a
Christian bringing up.
""Oil, Lord!" groans one man. "Ilrlg.
ham Young ami all the prophets of
the Mormon religion! This Is my
tenth trip over this I Int. and me and
Pete Hendricks played a game of
seven up right on the spot where that
gent hll her not over a month ago,
when the stage broke down! Some
body Just make a guess at the way I
feel aud give me one small drink.'
Aud he put his hand lo his head.
'Say, boys,' he goes on, 'you don'l want
the whole blamed creek, do yon? Let
"'How's that, fellers?' says Ag to
me and White. We said we was agree
able. '"All right, in you come!' says Agg.v.
'There ain't no hog about our firm.
Hut :is for you,' says he, walking on
his tiptoes up to the driver 'as for yon.
you i oi keyed whelp, around you go'.
Around you go!' he hollers, Jamming
the end of Moral Suasion into the driv
er's trap. 'Oh, and won't you go
round, though:' says lie. Listen to
me. now: if any one of your ancestors
for iwonty-foiir general Ions had evei
done any tiling as decent as robbing a
hencoop it would haw conferred a
kind of degree of nobility Upon him. It
wouldn't be possible tu (in, ,m onirici
cuss than you if a man raked all hell
wiin a line loomed comb, .now, you
slate coated, mangy, haud.v legged,
misbegotten, outlaw co.vole. tly lly!'
whoops Aggy. jumping four loot in the
air, 'before 1 .squirt enough lead into
your system to make It a paying Job
to melt yon down!'
'"The stage driver acted according to
order.-. Three wide steps ami he was
in the wagon, and with one screech
like a pizoncd bobcat he fairly lifted
the cayuses over the first ridge. No
body never saw him any more, and no
body wanted to.
"So that's the way I hi I my stake,
sou. lust as I'd always expected -by
not knowing what I was doing any
part of the lliiie-aml now. there
conies my Iron horse coughing up the
track! I'll write ,ou sine, boy. and you
let old I'oddy know what's going on
and on ,otir life don't forget lo give
it to the lads straight why I sneaked
oft' on Ihe iiiil ! I've got ten years
older ill the las six months. Well,
here we go quite fresh, and d d If
I altogether wain to neither. Too
lute to argue though. Hy-by, son!"
ISS MATTIK sal on her little
lioiit pmvh, racing the setting
sun. Across i ho road, now au-
fcle deep In June dust, was the
of the Peters place hack
broken roof, crumbling chimneys, huiiI
ters haugimr down like broken wings,
the old house had the pathetic appeal
of shipwrecked gentility. A houso
without people In it, even when It Jh
In repair. Is as forlorn ax dog who
has lost Ids in, inter.
!', Jhe roml were more houses of the
thcr for mi- . I io
knows why ''.
Perhaps It wa ''
old Puritan lite-
physical perfection I
of there were k " ' ' 'i
dow glass, but there v run i r'i I oo
relations to spoil the e c
I wii the road between the arches of
the weeplwg willows came first Ihu
brook, wlUi the stone bridge this
broken as to coiling and threadbare
In general then on the hither side of
the way soniu three or four neigh
bors' houses and opposite the black
smith's shop and postollice, the latter
of course In a store, where you could
buy anything from stale groceries to
In short, Fairfield was au eastern
village whose cause had departed, a
community drained of the male prin
ciple, leaving only a few queer men,
the blacksmith and some battling boys
to give time to the background of doz
ens of old maids.
An unsympathetic stranger would
have felt that nothing was left to the
Fnlrfieldlans but memory, atid the
sooner they lost that the better.
Take a wlneglassful of raspberry
vinegar, two tablespoonfuls of sugar,
half a rup each of boneset and rhu
bard, a good full cup of the milk of
human kindness, dilute in a gallon of
water and you have the flavor of
Fairfield. There was just enough of
each Ingredient to spoil the taste of
all the rest.
Miss Matlle rested her elbow on the
railing. Iter chin In her baud, and
gazed thoughtfully about her. As a ,
matter of fact, she was the most In
spiring thing In view. At a distance
of fifty jards she was still a tall, slen
der girl. Her body retained the habit '
as well as the lines of voiith. a trick
of gliding into unexpected, plea-lug at
titudes, which would have been awk
ward bill for the suppleiie-s of limb
to which they testified and the uiieon
xclouxness ami ea-e of their irieguiar-
. . I
Her face was a child s lace In the
ennobling sense of (lie word The rec
ord of the years written upon It seem
ed a masquerade the face of a clear
eyed girl of fourteen made up to rep
resent her own aunt at a fancy dress
parly; a face drawn a trifle fine, a lit
tle ascetic, but balanced by the hu
mor of the large, shapely mouth, and
really beautiful In bone and contour,
the beauty of mignonette and doves
and gentle things.
Von could see that she was thirty-five
in the blatant eaudor of noon, but now,
blushed with the pink of the setting
sun, bhe was still in the days of the
Miss Mattle'B reverie Idled over the
year upon year of respectable stupidity
that represented life In Fairfield, while
her eyes and soul were In the boiling
gold of the sky glory. She sighed.
A. panorama of llfeuilucea before
MI?k M?ttics mind about as vivid and
full of led corpuscles as a Greek
fiiesce. Her affectionate nature was
starved. They visited each other, tho
ladles of Fairfield these women who
had rolled on the floor together as
halites in their best black or green or
whatever It might be, ami gloves
this though Ihe summer sun might he
hammering down with all his might.
And then they sat In a closed room
and talked In a reserved fashion which
was entirely the property of the call.
Of course one could have a moment's
real talk by chance meeting, and there
were the natural griefs or life to break
(he corsets of this etiquette, although
hi general the griefs seemed to be
long drawn out ami conventional af
fairs, as If nature herself at last yield
ed to the system, conquered by the
Invincible conventionality and stub
bornness of the ladles of Fairfield. It
was the unspoken but firm belief of
each of these women that a person
of their circle who had no more Idea
of respectability than to drop dead on
the public road would never go to
Poor Miss Mattle! Small wonder
she dropped her hands, sat Lack and
wondered, with another sigh, If It were
for this she was boru. She did not
rebel-there was no violence In her -but
Nhe regretted exceedingly. In spito
of her sleiideruess It was a wide
mother lap lu which her' hands rested,
an obvious cradle for Utile children.
And Instinctively It would come to you
as you looked at her that there could
be no more comfortable place for a
tired man to come home to than u
household presided over by this hlow
moving, gentle woman.
There was nothing old maidinh about
Miss Multle hut the tale of her years.
She had had offers, such as Fairfield
and viclulty could boast, and declined
them with tact and the utmost grati
tude to the suitor for the compliment,
but her "uo," though mild, wuh (inn,
for there lay within her n certain quiet
valiant spirit which would rather en
dure the fatigue and loneliness of old
age lu her little house than to tnko a
larger life from any hut the man who
was nil a commonplace In fiction, In
real life sometimes quite, a strain.
The nun distorted himself Into a Hug
by football nnd hurried down as though
to be through with Fairfield as soon
as possible, it was u most magnificent
sunset, flaming, gorgeous, wild be
yond the maiiugement of the women of
Fairfield and Miss Mattle stared Into
the heart of it with a loiikitig.for some-
thing to hnnpen Then the thought '
came. "What could happen?" She
slgle'' tin. and. with e cm blinded i
b ilea cm "hino. glanced down the vil
She t' .i 'it she ."
y i . nil t i viked "
stfel" tie'-e" a
hoi ' on I'.t'iMleld'
she rubbed her
ii' ,!,, mid
' t was be
" "'iln Hoy
'n'te'i : : throti"h
al P.-t'iril gor '
the d" t It rouh' not hae ieen more
unustril '''he mii"4,h'!(i '., !( man: a
vorv l'r e and ir" :'' shvilderod man,
win lookc 1 about him with a bold. Im
perious, kei") the change regard. There
waq something lu the swing of him
that seg-ested the Hengal tiger. He
wore high heeled boots outside of his
trousers, a flannel shirt with a yellow
silk kerchief around his neck, and on
his head sat a white hat which seemed
to Miss Mattle to be at least a yard In
diameter. Under the hat was a re
markable head of hair. II hung below
the man's tiouldcrs In a silky mass of
dark scarlet Decked with brown gold.
Miss Mattle had seen red hair, but she
remembered no such color as this, nor i
could she recall ever having seen hair J
a foot ami a half long on a man. That
hair would have made a fortune on the I
head of an actress, but Miss Mattle!
was Ignorant of the possibilities of the
The face of the man was a fine tan,
Against which eyes, teeth and iiiuh
taehe came out in brisk relief. The I
mustache avoided the tropical tint of i
the upper hair and was content with
a modest brow u. The owner came i
right along, walking with a stiff,
strong, straddling gait, like a man i
not used to that way of traveling. I
Ml-s Mattle e.ved him in some fear.
He would be by her house directly,
ami It wa- hardly modest to sit ag
grcsse!y en one's front porch while
a sinuige man went by, partU ulaiiy
-itch a very strange man as thl--. Yet
a thrill of curiosity held her for the
moment, and then il was too hite, foi
the man stopped and asked little I'd
tile Newell, who was plavlng placidly I
in the dust-all fhe children played,
placldl.v in Fairfield asked Kddtc In
a voire whhh reached Miss Mattie
philnl.v, although the owner evidently
made no attempt to raise It, it" he knew
where Ml-s Mattle Saunders lived?
Fddic had not not bed the large
man's approach and nearly fell over
lu a I right, but seeing, with a child s
Intuition, that there was no danger
lu this fierce looking person lie piped
"V-y-yessIr, I kin tell yer where she
lives yesslr! She lives right down
there lu that little house. I kin go
down with you Jes' Hwell 's not! Why,
there she Is now, on the stoop!"
"Thaukee, sonny," said the big voice.
"Here's for mlggles," and Miss Mattle
caught the sparkle of a coin as It
flew into the grimy fists of Kddle.
"Much obligedl" yelled Eddie and
vanished up the street.
Miss Mattle sat transfixed. Her
breath came lu nwallows, and her
heart beat irregularly. Here was nov
elty with n vengeance! The big mun
turned and fastened his eyes upon
her. There was no retreat. She no
Heed with some reassurance that his
eyes were grave and kindly.
Ah ho advanced Miss Mattle rose In
agitation, unconsciously putting her
hand on her throat. What could It
The gate was opened and the stran
ger stroile up the cinder walk to the
porch. He stopped a whole minute
and looked at her. At last!
"Well. Mattie!" lie said, "don't you
A flood of the wildest hypotheses
Hashed through Miss Ma (tie's mind
without enlightening her. Who was
thin picturesque giant who stepped
out of the past witli so familiar a sal
utation? Although the porch was a
foot high, and Miss Mattle a fairly
tall woman, their eyes were almost on
a level as she looked at him In won
der. Then he laughed aud showed hi
white teeth. "No use to bother and
worry you. Mattle," said he. "You
couldn't call It in ten years. Well, I'm
your lis If uncle Fred's boy Hill, and I
hope you're a quarter as glad to Bee
me as I am to see you."
"What!" she cried. "Not little Wlll.v
who ran away!"
"The Hiune little Willy," he replied
in a tone that made Miss Mattle laugh
a Utile, nervously, "aud what I want
to know Is, are you glad to see meV"
"Why. or course! Hut. Will I sup
pose I should call you Will? 1 am so
flustered not expecting you nud It's
been so warm today. Won't you come
In and take a chair?" wound up Mlts
i Matlle In desperation nnd fury at her
self for saying tilings so different from
what she meant to say.
There was a twinkle In the man's
e.ves as ho replied lu au Injured tone:
"Why. good Lord, Mattie! I've come
J.UOO miles or more to see you, and
you ask me to take a chair just as If
I'd stepped In from across the way!
Can't on give a man a little warmer
welcome than Hint?"
"What shall 1 do?" asked ptwr Mlsr
"Well, you might kiss me for a
start," snld he.
Miss Mattle was all abroad. Still
O'jc's half cousin, who has come such
a distance aud been received ho very
oddly, Is entitled to consideration; She
raised her agitated face and for Ihe
first time lu her life realized the pleas
urj' of wearing u. mustache. .
Tnen iteti Miundcrs, late or tlie
Chunta Seechee ranch, North DakotK
sat htm down.
"I'm obliged to you, Mattle," he sulci
In all seriousness. "To tell you in
truth, I felt In need of a little comfort
inghere I've come all this distance--and,
of course, I heard about fulhor
nnd mother but I couldn't believe Ic
wob true. Seemed as If they must be
waiting at the old place for mc In
come back, and when I saw ft allium
to ruin- Well, then I sot out to find
somebody, aud do you know, of all the
family there's only you nnd me left?
That's all, Mattle. Just us two! Whllo
1 was growing up out west 1 kind of
expected things to be standing sill
back here aud be Just the same as T.
left them hum Well, how are you,
"I'm well. Will. niid"-!nylng her
hand upon his, "don't think I'm not.
glad lo siM' you please don't. I'm so
glad. Will, I can't tell you-but I'm all
confused -so little happens here."
"I shouldn't guess it was the liveliest,
place In the world, by the look of It,"
.said Red. "And as far as that's con
cerned, I kinder don't know what tc
say myself. There's such a heap to
talk about It's hard lo tell where lu
begin. Hut we've got to be friends,
though, Mattle- we've just got to lm
friends. Good Lord. We're all there's
left! Funny I never thought of such
a thing! Well, blast It! That's enough
of such jillc. I've brought you a pres
ent, Mnttle." He stretched out a !o
that reached beyond the limits of tli
front porch and dove Into his tronscrx
pocket, bringing out a buckskin sack
He fumbled at the knot a minute ami
then passed It over, saying, "You nu
tie It your lingers are soopller than
mine.'' Ml-s Muffle's lingers wert
shaking. Imt the knots finally canmun
done, and fioiu the sack .she hioiigh.
forth a ( bain of rich, dull yellow lump
fashioned into a necklace. It weighed
a pound. She spread It out and looked
at II astounded, "('radons, Will! I
that gold?" she asked.
"That's what." he replied. "The rea
article. Just as It came out of llnv
ground; 1 dug it myself. That's fli-
"ifo'8 iny own rousln," bhc wh Inhered
reason I'm here. I'd never got money
enough to go anywhere further tha:i
a horse could carry me if I hadn t
taken a fly al placer mining and hit
her lo beat h- er the very inlhchief "'
Miss Mattle looked first at tjie bar
baric, splendid necklace aud then at
the barbaric, splendid man. Thing
grew confused before her In trying to
realize that It was real. What two
planets so separated in their orbits as
her world aud his? She had the Im
agination that is usually lacking lu
small communities, and the feeling ot
a fairy story come true possessed her.
"And now Muttle," said lie, "1 don t
know what's manners lu this part of
the country, but I'll make free enough,
on Ihe cousin part or It to tell "yoa
that I could look at .some supper with
out flinching. I've walked a heap to
day, and I ain't used to walking."
Miss Matlle sprang up, herself again,
at the elm nee lo offer hospitality.
"Why, .von poor man!" said she. "Of
course you're slurred! It must b
nearly S o'clock. I almost forget about
eating, living here alone. You shun
have supper dlreitly. Will you eomw
In or sit a spell ont.-ide?"
"Iteckou I'll come In." -aid Hed
"Hon't wain to lose sight of you now
I that I've found jou."
It was some time since Mlts Mitlllft
i had fell that any one had cared enough
for her not to waul lo lose sight of
I her, and a delicate warm bloom went
over her cheeks. She hurried Into thu
little kitchen. '
"Mattle: ' caned lieu.
"What is it, Will?" she answered,
coming to ihe door.
"Can 1 .-moke In this little house?"
"Cer-laluly. Sit light down and make
yourself comfortable. Don't jou re
member what a smoker father was?"
lied tried the different chairs with
his hand. They were uot a stalwart
lot. Fluiilly he spied the homemade
rocker lu the corner. "There's the ludL
for me," he said, drawing II out. "Got
to be kinder careful how you throw
To be continued.
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