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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 14, 1911)
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I HERE are no more Christ-
mas stories to write. Fic
tion Is exhausted; and
newspaper Items, the noxt
best, are manufactured by
clover young Journalists
who have married early and havo an
engagingly pessimistic view of life.
Thoreforo, for seasonable diversion,
wo are reduced to two very question
able sources facts and philosophy.
Wo will begin with whichever you
choose to call It.
Children are pestilential little ani
mals with which wo linve to copo un
der a bewildering variety of condi
tions. Especially when childish sor
rows overwhelm them are we put to
our wit's end. Wo exhaust our paltry
store of consolntlon; and then beat
them, sobbing, to sleep. Then we
grovel In the dust of a million years,
and ask God why. Thus we call out
of the rat-trnp. As for tho children,
no one understands them except old
maids, hunchbacks, and shepherd
Now come the facto In the caso of
the Rag-Doll, tho Tatterdemalion, and
tho Twenty-fifth of December. '
On tho tenth of that month the
Child of tho Millionaire lost her rag
doll. There were many servants In
the Millionaire's palace on the Hud
eon, and theso ransacked the house
And grounds, but without finding tho
lost treasure. Tho Child was a girl
of flvo, and one of those perverse lit
tin beasts tha often wound the sensi
bilities of wealthy parents by fixing
tholr affections upon some vulgar, in
expensive toy Instead of upon diamond-studded
automobiles and pony
Tho Child grievod sorely and truly,
a thing Inexplicable to tho Million
aire, to whom tho rag-doll market was
about as Interesting. ns Day Stato Gas;
and to tho Lady, tho Child's mother,
who was all for form that Is, nearly
all, as you shall see.
Tho Child cried tnconsolably, and
"grew hollow-eyed, knock-kneed, spin
dling, and corykilverty in many other
respects. The Millionaire smiled and
tapped his coffers confidently. The
pick of the output of the French and
German toymakers was rushed by spe
cial delivery to the mansion, but Ra
chel refused to be comforted. She
was weeping for her rag child, and
was for a high protective tariff
against all foreign foolishness. Then
doctors with the finest bedside manv
ners and stop-watches were called In.
Ono by one they chattered futllely
about peptomanganate of Iron and
sea voyages and hypophosphltes until
their stop-watches showed that Bill
Rendered' was under the wire for show
or place. Then, as men, they advised
that the rag-doll be found as soon as
possible and restored to Its mourning
parent. The Child sniffed at thera
peutics, chewed a thumb, and waited
The Child Grieved Sorely and Truly.
ror hor Betsy. And all this time ca
blegrams wero coming from Santa
Claus saying that ho would soon bo
here and enjoining us to show a true
Christian spirit and let up on -tho
, poolrooms and tontine policies and
platoon systems long enough to give
jiim a welcome. Everywhere tho spir
it of Christmas was diffusing Itself
Tho banks wero refusing loans,' the
pawnbrokers had doubled their gang
of helpers, people bumped your shins
on tho streets with red sleds, Thomas
and Jeremiah bubbled before you on
tho bars while you waited on ono foot,
holly-wreaths of hospitality wero hung
In windows of tho stores, they who
had 'em wore getting out their furs,
,You hardly knew which was tho best
bet In balls threo, high, moth, or
snow. It was no time at which to lose
tho rag-doll of your hearty
If Doctor Watson's Investigating
friend had beeu called In to solve this
mysterious disappearance ho might
nave obeorvod on the Millionaire's
wall a copy of "The Vampire." That
would have quickly suggested, by in
ductlon, "A rag and a bono and a
hank of hair." "Flip," a Scotch ter
rier, next to the rag-doll In tho child's
heart, frisked through the balls. Tho
hank of hatrt Aha! X, the unfound
quantity, represented the rag-doll.
Hut, the bone? Well, when dogs And
bones they Dono! It were an
ensy and a fruitful task to examine
Flip's fore feet. Look, Watson I Earth
dried earth betwoen tho toes.. Of
courso tho dog but Sherlock was not
thero. Therefore It devolves. But
topography and architecture must In
tervene. The Millionaire's palace occupied a
lordly space. In front of It was a
lawn close-mowed as a South Ireland
man's face two days after a shavo.
At one sldo of It and fronting on an-
He 8at Betsy on the Bar and Ad
dressed Her Loudly and Humor
ously. other street was a plcasaunce trim
med to a leaf, and the garage and
stables. The Scotch pup bad ravished
the rag-doll from the nursery, drag
god it to a corner of the lawn, dug a
hole, and burled it aftor the manner
of careless undertakers. There you
have the mystery solved, and no
checks to write for tho bypodermlcal
wizard or fl-pun'notos to toss to the
Bergeant. Then let's get down to the
heart of the thing, tiresome readers
the ChrlBtmas heart of tho thing.
Fuzzy waB drunk. Not riotously or
helplessly or loquaciously, as you or
I might get, but decently, appropriate
ly, and Inoffensively, as becomes a
gentleman down on his luck.
Fuzzy was a soldier of misfortune.
The road, tho haystack, tho park
bench, the kitchen door, the bitter
round of eleemosynary beds-wlth-shower-bath-attachment,
pickings and ignobly garnered larg
esse of great cltltes these formed
the chapters of his nlBtory.
Fuzzy walked toward the river,
down tho street that bounded ono
6ldof tho Millionaire's house and
grounds. Ho saw a log of Betsy, the
lost rag-doll, protruding, like the cluo
to a LUIputlnn murder mystery, from
Its untimely grave In a cornor of tho
fence. He dragged forth the maltreat
ed Infant," tucked it under his arm, and
went on his way crooning a song of
his brethren that no doll that has
been brought up to the sheltered llfo
should hear. Well for Betsy that sho
had no oars. And wqll that the had
no eyes save unseeing, circles of
black; for the faces of Fuzzy and tho
Scotch terrier wero those of brothers,
and the heart of no rag-doll could
withstand twice to become the prey
of Buch foarsome monsters.
Though you may not know It, Gro
gan's saloon stands near the river and
near the foot of the stroet down
which Fuzzy travoled. In Qrogan's,
ChrlBtmas cheer was already rampant.
Fuzzy entered with his doll. He fan
cied that as a mummer at tho feast of
Saturn -he might earn a few drops
from tho wassail cup.
He set- Betsy on the bar and ad
dronscd hor loudly and humorously,
seasoning his speech with exaggerat
ed compliments and endearments, as
one entertaining his lady friend. The
loafers and bibbers around caught tho
farce of it, and roared. The barten
der gave Fuzzy a drink. "Oh, many
of us carry rag-dolls.
"Ono for the lady?" suggested Fuz
zy impudently, and tucked another
contribution to Art beneath his waist
coat Ho began to see possibilities in
Betsy. Ills first-night, bad been a suc
cess. Visions of a vaudeville circuit
about town dawned upon him.
In a group near tho stovo sat "Pig
eon" McCarthy, Black RHoy, and
"Ono-oar" Mike, well and unfavorably
known In the tough shoestring district
that blackened tbo left bank of tho
rlvor. They passed a newspaper back
and forth among thomselves. The
Hem that each solid and blunt for
'Svtr Srvi4 V3
eigner pointed out was an advertise
ment headed "Ono Hundred Dollars
Reward." To earn It, ono must re
turn tho rag-doll lost, strayed, or
.stolon from tho Millionaire'!) man
sion. It seemed that grlof still rav
aged, uncheckod, In tho bosom of the
too faithful Child. Flip, the terrier,
capered and shook his absurd whis
kers before her, powerless to distract.
Sho walled for her Betsy In tho faces
of walking, talking, mn-ma-ing, and
eye-closing French Mnhcllcs and Vlo
lettcs. The advertisement was a last
Black Riley came from behind tho
stovo and approached Fuzzy In his
ono-sldod, parabolic wny.
Tho Christmas mummer, flushed
with success, had tucked Betsy under
his arm, and was about to depart to
the filling of Impromptu dates else
where. "Say, 'Bo," snld Black Riley to him,
"whore did you cop out dat doll?"
"This doll?" asked Fu.zy, touching
Botsy with his forefinger to bo sure
that she was tho ono referred to.
"Why, this doll was presented to me
by tho Emperor of Boloochlstan. I
havo seven hundred others In my
country homo In Newport. This
"Cheese the funny business," snld
Riley. "You swiped It or picked it up
at de houso on do hill whore but
never mind dat. Ybu want to take
fifty cents for dn rnga. and take it
quick. Mo brother's kid at home
might be wantin' to play wld It Hey
He produced tho coin.
Fuzzy laughed a gurgling, insolent,
alcoholic laugh In his faces Go to the
ofllco of Sarah Bernhardt'H mnnngor
and proposo to him that sho be re
leased from a night's performance to
entertain the Tackytown Lyceum and
Literary Coterie. You will hoar the
duplicate of Fuzzy's laugh.
Black Riley gauged Fuzzy quickly
with his blueberry cyo as a wrestler
does. His hand was Itching to play
tho Roman and wrest tho rag Sabine
from the extemporaneous racrryan
drew who was entertaining an angel
unaware. But he refrained. Fuzzy
was fat and solid and big. Three
Inches of well-nourished corporeity,
defended from the winter winds by
dingy linen, intervened between bis
vest and trousers. Countless small,
circular wrinkles running around his
coat-aleeveB and knees guaranteed
the quality of his bone and muscle.
His small, blue eyes, bathed in the
moisture of altruism and woozlness,
looked upon you kindly yet without
abashment. He was whlskerly, whis
kyly, fleshlly formidable. So, Black
"Wot'll you take 'for it, denf he
"Money," said Fuzzy, with husky
firmness, "cannot buy her."
He was intoxicated with the artist's
first sweet cup of attainment To set
"Money," 8ald Fuzzy With Husky
Firmness, "Cannot Buy Her."
a faded-bluo, carth-staluod rag-doll on
a bar, to hold mimic converse with It,
and to find his heart leaping with tho
sense of plaudits earned and his
throat scorching with free libations
poured In bis honor could baeo coin
buy him from such achievements.
You will perceive that Fuzzy had tho
Fuzzy walked out with the gait of a
trained sea-lion in search of other
cafes to conquer.
Though the dusk of twilight was
hardly yot apparent, lights were begin
ning to spangle the city like pop-corn
but sting In a deep skillot. Christmas
eve, Impatiently expocted, was peep
ing over tho brink of tho hour. Mil
lions had prepared for Its celebration.
Towns would bo painted red. You,
yourself, havo hoard tho horns and
dodged tho capets of tho SnturnnllanH.
"Pigeon" McCarthy, Black Riley,
and "One-ear" Mlko held a hasty con
verso outsldo Qrogan's. They were
narrow-chested, pallid striplings, not
fighters In tho open, but moro danger
ous In their ways of wnrfaro than the
most tcrrlblo of Turks. Fuzzy, In a
pitched r-nttlo, could have eaten the
threo of them. In a go-ns-you-plcnso
encounter hn was already doomed.
They ovortook htm Just ns he and
BotBy wero entering Costlgnn's Ca
sino. They deflected him, and shoved
tho newspaper under his nose. Fuzzy
could read and more.
"IJoyB," said he, "you nro certainly
damn truo friends. Give mo a week
to think it over."
Tho soul of a real artist Is quenched
The boys carefully pointed out to
him that advertisements wero soul-
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Fuzzy Entered the Millionaire's Gate
and Zigzagged Toward the Softly
Glowing Evldenoe of the Mansion.
less and the deficiencies of the day
might not be supplied by the morrow.
"A cool hundred," said Fuzzy
thoughtfully and mushlly.
"Boys," said he, "you are truo
friends. I'll go up and claim the re
ward. Tho show business is not what
It used to be."
Night was falling more surely. Tho
three tagged at his sides to the foot
of the rise on which stood the Mil
lionaire's houso. There Fuzzy turned
upon them acrimoniously.
"Yon are a pack of putty-faced
beagle-hounds," he roared. "Go away."
They wont away a little way.
In Pigeon McCarthy's pocket was
n section of two-inch gas-plpo eight
inches long. In one end of It and In
the middle of it was a lead plug. One
half of it was packed tight with solder.
Black Riley carried a slung-shot, being
u conventional thug. "One-ear" Mlko
relied upon a pair of brass knucks
an 'heirloom In tho family.
"Why fetch and carry," said Black
Riley, "when some one will do it for
y? Let him bring it out to us. Hey
"We can chuck him In tho river,"
said "Pigeon" McCarthy, "with a
stone tied to his feet."
"Youse guys maka mo tired," said
"One-ear" Mike sadly. "Ain't prog
ress ever appoaled to none of yez?
Sprinkle a ltttlo gasoline on Mm, and
drop 'lm on the Drive well?"
Fuzzy entered the Millionaire's
gato and zigzagged toward tbo softly
glowing entrance of the mansion. The
threo goblins catno up to tbo gate and
lingered one on each side of It, ono
beyond tho roadway. They flngored
their cold metal and leather, confi
dent. Fuzzy rang the door-boll, smiling
foolishly and dreamily. An atavistic
Instinct prompted him to reach for the
button of bis right glove. But ho
wore no gloves; so his left band drop
The particular menial whoso duty
it was to open doors to cllku and laces
rfiicd at first sight of Fuzzy. But a
'second glance took In his passport,
his card of admission, his surety of
wolcomc the lost rag-doll of tho
daughter of tho houso dangling under
Fuzzy was admitted Into n great
hall, dim with tho glow from unseen
lights.. Tho hireling wont away and
returned with a maid and the Child.
The doll was restored to the mourn
ing one. 8no clnspod her lost darling
to her breast; and then, with tho in
ordinate selfishness and candor of
childhood, stamped hor foot and
whined hatred and foar of the odious
being "who had rescued her from the
depths of sorrow and despair. Fuzzy
wrlgglo.1 hlmsolflnto an ingratlotory
attitude and oBsnycd the (("otic smile
nnd blattering small talk that Is sup
posed to charm the budding intellect
of the young. The Child bawled, and
wns dragged away, hugging hor Betsy
Thero camo the Secretary, palo,
poised, polished, gliding In pumps,
and worshipping pomp and ceremony.
He counted out Into Fuzzy's hand ten
ten-dollar bills; then dropped his eye
upon tho door, transferred It to James,
Its custodian, Indicated the obnoxious
taruor of tho reward with tho other,
and allowed his pumps to waft htm
nway to secretarial regions.
When iho money touched Fuzzy's
dingy palm his first Instinct was to
tako to his heols; but a second
thought restrained him from that
blunder of etiquette. It was his; It
had boen glvon him. It and, oh,
what an elystum It opened to tho gaze
of hln mind's eye! Ho hnd tumbled to
tho foot of the ladder; ho was hun
gry, homeless, frlondlcss, ragged, cold,
drifting; and ho hold In his hand tho
key to a paradise of tho mud-honey
that he craved. Tho fairy doll had
waved a wand with her rag-stuffed
hand; and now wherever ho might go
the enchanted palaces with shining
foot-rests nnd magic red fluids inl
glenmlng glnsswnre would be open to
Ho followed James to tho door.
He paused thero as tho flunky drew
open tho great mahogany portal for
him to pass Into tho vestibule.
Beyond tho wrought-lron gates In
tho dark highway Black RUcy and his
two pnls casually strolled, fingering
under their coats the inevitably fatal
weapons that wero to mako the re
ward of tho rag-doll theirs.
Furzy stopped at tho Millionaire's
door and botl ought hlmsolf. Llko lit
tlo Bprlgs of mistletoe on a dead trco,
certain living green thoughts and
memories began to decorato his con
fused mind. He was qulto drunk,
mind you, and the present was begin
ning to fade. Thoso wreaths and fes
toons of holly with their scarlet bet
rles making the great ball gay
whore had he seen such things bo
foro? Somewhere ho had known pol
ished floors and odorB of fresh flowers
In winter, and and some one wns
singing a song In tho house that he
thought he bad heard before. Some
ono singing and playing a harp. Of
courso it was Christmas Fuzzy
thought he must have been pretty
drunk to have overlooked that.
And then he went out of the pres
ent, and there came back to him out
of eome impossible, vanished and ir
revocable past a little, pure-white,
transient, forgotten ghost the spirit
of noblesse oblige. Upon a gentleman
certain things devolve.
James opened the outer door. A
stream of light went down the grav
eled walk to the iron gate. Black
Riley, McCarthy and One-ear Mike
saw, and carelessly drew their sinister
cordon closer about the gate.
With a more Imperious geBturo than
James' master had ever used or could
ever use, Fuzzy compelled the mental
"It la Cust customary When a Gen
tleman Calls on Christmas Eve to
Pass the Compliments of the Sea
son With the Lady of the House."
to closo tho door. Upon a gentleman
certain things devolve, Especially at
the ChrlBtmas season.
"It Is cust customary," he said to
James, tbo flustered, "when a gentle
man calls on Christmas eve to pass
the compliments of the season with
tho lndy of the house. You und'standT
I chall not move Bhtop till I pass com
pl'ments season with lady tho houso.
Thoro was an argument James
lost Fuzzy raised bis volco and sent
it through the houso unploasantly. I
did not say he was a geutloman. Ho
was simply a tramp being visited by a
A sterling silver bell rang. James
went back to answer it leaving Fuzzy
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In the hall. James explained some
whero to somo one.
Thon ho camo and conducted Fuzzy
Into tho library.
Tho lady entered a momont later.
Sho was moro beautiful and holy than
any picture that Fuzzy had seen. Sho
smiled, and sold something about a
doll. Fuzzy didn't understand that;
he remembered nothing at nil about
A footman brought in two small
glasses o! sparkling wine on a
stamped sterling-silver waiter. Tho
lady took one. Tho other was handed
As his fingers closed on tho slender
glass stem his disabilities dropped
from him for one brief moment. He
straightened hlmsolf; and Time, so
disobliging to most of us, turned back
ward for a moment to accommodnto
Forgotten Christmas ghosts whiter
than tho false beards or tho most opu
lent Krlfls Krlnglo wero rising in the
fumes of Qrogan's whisky. What had
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"Comp'mente Sheason With Lady Th'
the millionaire's mansion to do with a
long, wainscoted Virginia hall, whero
the riders were grouped around a sil
ver punch-bowl, drinking the ancient
toast of the house? And why should
the patter of the cab horses' hoofs on
tho frozon street be in any wise re
lated to tho sound of the saddled hunt
ers stamping under the shelter of tho
west veranda? And what had Fuzzy
to do with any of it?
The lady, looking at him over her
glass, let her condescending smile
fade away like a false dawn. Her
eyes turned serious. She saw some
thing beneath tho rags and Scotch ter
rier whiskers that she did not under
stand. But it did not matter.
Fuzzy lifted hla glass and smiled
"P-pardon, lady," he said, "but
couldn't leave without excbangln'
comp'tnents Bheason with lady th'
house. 'Gainst prlnc'ples gen'leman
And then ho began the ancient salu
tation that was a tradition in tho
house when men wore lace ruffles and
"The the blessings of another
Fuzzy's memory failed him- The
" Bo upon this hearth."
"Tho guest" stammered Fuzzy,
"And upon her who" continued
the lady, with a leading smile.
"Oh, cut it out" said Fuzzy, ill
uiannerodly. "I can't remember. Drink
Fuzzy had shot his arrow. They
drank. The lady smiled again tho
smile of her caste. James envelopod
Fuzzy and re-conducted him toward
the front door. The harp muslo still
softly drifted through the house.
Outside, Black Riley br-athed on
his cold bands and bugged the gate
Cold though he was, he did not think
of dosortlng his post while Fuzzy re
"I wonder," said the lady to herself,
musing, "who but there were bo
many who came. I wonder whether
memory Is a curse or a blessing to
them after they have fallen so low."
Fuzzy and bis escort wero nearly
at the door when the lady called;
James stalked back obsequiously,
leaving Fuzzy waiting unsteadily,, with
his brief spark of the dlvlno lire en
Outside, Black Riley stamped his
cold feot and got a firmer grip on his
section of gas-plpo.
"You will conduct this gentleman,"
said the lady, "down-stairs. 'Then tell
Louis to get out the Mercedes and
take him to whatever place he wlsbe
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