The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923, March 22, 1917, Image 6

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Autnor nna cierayman
Civil Entflnccr
This Is a Thrilling Story
of American Life as Strong,
Courageous Men Live It
Copyright by Fleming II. Revell Co.
The Martlet Construction Company Is building Krcut Interna
tional bridge planned by Bertram Meade, Sr., a famous engineer. Ills
Hon, Rortrum Meade, Jr., resident engineer nt the bridge, Is In lovo
with Helen Illlngwortli, daughter of Colonel Illlngworth, president of
the company. Young Meado questioned his father's Judgment on tho
strength of certain Important steel beams In tho gigantic structure
but was laughed to scorn. Ho still has prlvato doubts, though out
wardly agreeing with his elder.
CHAPTER II Continued.
In spite of herself the woman looked
ht him.
"Hut now?" she whispered ns ho hes
itated, anil then she turned her head
half fearful of his answer.
"I am almost afndd to say It." ho
said, lowering his voice to match her
"A soldier of steel," sho said, "and
afraid I"
"Well, then, all that wns tho second
now takes the third place."
"And before, your father comes?"
Hut she did not give him tlmo to an
swer. "Lome," sue sum, "ici us go out
on the bridge."
"It's a rough plnce for you. Those
little slippers you wear"
He looked down, and ns If In obedi
ence to his glance sho outthrust her
foot from her gown. It was not the
smnllest foot that ever upbore a wom
an. Quite the contrary. Which Is not
saying It was too large, not at all. It
was Just right for her height and fig
tire, and Its shape and shoo left noth
ing to bo desired.
"Never mind the slippers," sho said;
"they are stronger than they look.
They'll serve."
"Hut the distanco between hero and
the bridge Is Inches deep In dust."
"Dust I" she exclaimed In dismay.
I don't mind rough walking, but
"I never thought of that," admitted
the man. "The fact Is I have thought
of nothing but you since I saw you,
but now we'll have to go back or "
"I shall not go back," she answered
lie stepped down off tho platform,
and before she knew what ho would be
at, ho lifted her straight up In his
arms. He did not carry her like a
baby, he held her erect, crushed
against his breast, and before sho had
time to litter a protest, or even to say
a word, ho started through tho dusty
roadway toward the bridgehead.
It was a strange position. She knew
she ought to protest, but the words
would not come. Whilst she was try
ing to think them up, they had crossed
tho little desert that Intervened be
tween tho portal of the bridge and the
end of the platform. Then he set her
down gently.
"Thank you," sho said simply, "that
was very nice of you. You are wou
derfully strong."
The moon, by this time, had passed
tho floor level nnd the cross-bracing
cast a network of shadows over them,
upon track and lloor beams nnd string
ers. The silence of tho half-light, the
mystery of It all oppressed them a
little. It was with beating hearts that
they pressed on.
Fall and Revelation.
"It's rather confused In here," said
tho man, "but wo will soon got out
toward tho end nnd then the view Is
tuagultlcent. You can see up and down
the river for miles and tho night boat
will be along In a few minutes."
"Isn't that It?" asked tho woman,
pointing up tho river to where a clus
ter of lights rounded n huge bend not
far away, and swung out In midstream.
"Yes," said tho man, "If wo listen I
think wo can hear her."
They both stopped and, suro enough,
faintly across tho water enmo tho
noise of clanking paddles of the big
river steamer. With that sound also
mingled the song of the night wind,
for a wonder comparatively gentle,
making strange, weird harmonies as It
sifted through the taut and rigid bars
of steel. She listened enchanted with
the sound.
Tho big lloor beams extended from
one Bide to tho other of the bridge,
between the trusses at intervals of
fifty feet. At right angles to them and
Glx feet apart, the stringers ran length
wuyB parallel to tho trusses. Here and
there pieces of timber falsework had
been thrown across tho stringers for
tho convenience of tho workmen, but
as these two slowly moved toward mid
st ream at last these pieces became
fewer, and finally there was nothing
to be seen hut the heavy lloor beams
end tho lighter stringers.
After they passed the top of the pier
and got beyond the small space of
river bank on which the pier was set,
there was nothing between them and
tho wnter, now moonlit and quivering,
except these cross-girders of steel on
either hand beyond the planking In the
"Have you a cleur head?" asked the
man. "I mean does It affect you to
bo on high elevations? Do you get
"I never have," was the answer,
"I think I'll hold you," was tho reply.
Ho grasped her llrmly by the arm.
Tho loose wrap sho was wearing over
her shoulders did not cover her arms,
and It was u bure arm that ho took In
his hand.
"I beg your pardon," ho said quick
ly, "but"
"It doesn't matter. I understand.
You would better hold me, I might
slip." There was something electric
and compelling In tho pressure of his
strong hand upon the firm flesh of her
round arm. She shrank closer to him,
again unthinkingly, by a natural Im
pulse. Tho moon was now well clear of the
brow of tho highest hill. Its yellow
wns turning to silver and In Its cold
and beautiful Illumination tho whole
river flowed bright beneath them. Ev
ery Inch of tho bridge was now clearly
revealed In tho white, passionless light.
Fifty feet away it ended In tho air.
They were now almost directly be
neath tho traveler, near the end of the
suspended span. Its huge legs sprawled
out like those of a gigantic nnlmnl on
tho extreme edges of the brldgo on ei
ther side above their heads. Tho wood
en platform on tho truck ran out half
tho distanco to the bridge end. Slowly
tho two walked nlonir It until but a
few feet were left between them and
tho naked floor beams and tho string
ers carrying tho ties to which tho rails
were bolted and the planks laid.
Uy tho side of tho track on tho top
of the stringers had been placed a pile
of material surmounted by a lnrge flat
plate of steel, which lay level upon It.
It was triangular In shape, the blunt
point Inward. The base which waB
about six feet wide paralleled tne
courso of the river. Tho plato on tho
top of tho pile was raised about three
feet above the level of tho truck. They
stopped ubreast of It.
"Can't wo go any further?" asked
tho girl In low tones, still closo to tho
young man, who still lightly clasped
her arm.
"I'm nfruld It wouldn't bo Bafo to
go nny farther," he said.
"I want to see the steamer. It will
pass directly under tho bridge."
"They have no business to pass un
der the bridge," said Meade. "They'vo
been warned hundreds of times nnd or
ders have been Issued. Thero is al
ways danger that something might
"Why can't I stand up thero?"
"On that gusset plate?"
"Is that what you call It?"
"Yes, It bears the same relation to
structural steel that a gusset does to
a woman's dress.
"Exactly. Hut can't I stand on It?"
"Walt," he answered.
IIo climbed to tho center of It, lifted
himself up and down on bis feet to test
It, and found It solid apparently.
"I think so, but I shall have to put
you up," ho said at last as ho lifted
her up and set her down on her feet In
the middle of the plate of steel.
"Oh, thero comes tho steamer," sho
cried. "I can see It beautifully from
"Ho careful. You must not move.
Stand perfectly steady. I am not so
sure of that plate." lie reached over
from where ho stood on tho track be
low her and by her side and gathered
the material of her dress In an Iron
"I do not think that Is necessary,"
she said. "This plate seems as solid as
the rest of the bridge ami oh, there's
the steamer ! She's right under us."
Tho big river craft was tilled with
light and laughter. The wind fortu
nately blew the smoko away from tho
bridge so that they hail a clear and
perfect view of her. There was a band
playing aboard her. They heard tho
music above the beat of the whirling
puddles, the song of tho rising wind.
The passengers were congregated
about the rails on tho tipper decks
staring upward. Tho bridge wns as
fascinating to them us It wus to tho
people ashore evidently.
"How Interesting," said tho delight
ed girl. "Why don't you como up here
yourself, you can see so much better?"
The man had dropped her gown, lift
ed his right foot to tho pllo on tho
stringers to follow her suggestion.
Thoughtlessly she stepped toward tho
gctful of his caution. Heforo ho could
complete his step or warn her of tho
danger, It now bent forward. It tilted
distinctly. In spite of herself, Helen
Illlngworth was carried still farther
forward ns sho sought to reguln her
balance. Tho piece of steel began to
slip downwnrd, grating on tho pllo of
beams ns It moved; another second
and It would be off and on Its way Ir
revocably. Meado throw himself nt tho girl, no
lunged out and caught her Just ns sho
was slipping downward with tho plato
now almost perpendicular. To catch
her he had to step to the very edge of
tho planking beyond which tho rails
ran naked on tho ties.
With n tremendous effort ho caught
her by tho waist, swung her up and In,
nnd stood fast on the brink quivering,
heaving himself desperately buckward
as he sought to maintain his balance
and take tho backwurd step that meant
A wild shout roso from the steamer
as tho huge plato dropped, like tho
blade of n mighty guillotine, straight
down through the air. If it had struck
tho boat, It would have cut through
like n knife. Fortunately It cleared
tho gangway by Inches. In n second
It had disappeared. Screams, shouts,
arose from the boat which promptly
sheered off into midstream.
Ilelen Illlngworth'a back had been
toward Meade us he seized her. She
hud seen ns ho hud everything that
happened. Recovering himself at last,
he stepped back slowly, almost drug
ging her, until they were a safo dis
tance from tho edge. His face wns
ghastly white In tho 'moonlight Sweat
covered his forehead. He was shaking
like n wind-blown leaf.
"Tho whole world went blnck when
I saw you go," ho said slowly.
"Do you caro that much?" asked tho
girl, trembling herself.
Thero wns no necessity for maidenly
reticence now.
"Caro?" said tho man. "Care?"
"I'm nil right now."
"You arc more fortunato than I. I
stood to lose you. you stood to lose
only life. Don't you see? Cun't you
Suddenly ho swept her to his breast
as this tlmo she faced him. Sho was
very near him and sho did not make
the slightest resistance. She had wait
ed for this hour nnd sho wns glad.
They had faced death too nearly for
uny hesitation now. Sho knew ho
loved her, and knew that ho had
saved her at tho Imminent risk of his
own life. Thero had been swift yet
eternal moments when It seemed that
both of them, trembling on tho brink,
would follow the downward rush of
tho gUBset plnte. Now as ho strained
her to him, she lifted her fnco to hlra,
glad that sho was tall enough for him
to kiss her with so slight n uena or
the head.
There, under the great trusses of
steel, nmld tho huge, gaunt, mnsslvo
evidences of tho power of tho might,
of tho mastery of man, two hearts
spoke to each other In tho silence, and
told tho story that was old beforo tho
flrst smelter had ever turned the first
oro Into tho flrst bit of Iron, beforo
Tubal Cnln ever smoto the anvil; tho
story of love that began with creation,
that will outlast nil tho Iron In all the
hills of tho earth that Is as eternal
ns It Is divine I
After Mint wild embrace, that flrst
rapturous meeting of lips, he released
He Lunged Out and Caught Her.
her slightly, though ho still held her
closely and she was qalto content.
"I'm qulto culm now," he began,
"that Is, I am as composed as any man
could be who Is holding you In his
urms. Hut if It had not been for me,
you would never have been In danger.
It was my fault. 1 should have made
sure. I shall never forgive myself."
"Hut If I had not been In danger I
might not now bo hero In your arms.
And If I were not here," sho went on
1 swiftly, too happy In her lovo to lie
mindful of nn thing else, "I certulnly
outer end to a u hint room, quite for- would not be doing this."
And of her own motion she kissed
him In the moonlight.
"And if you were not doing this,"
snld he, making the proper return, "I
might not have hud the courugo to tell
"You haven't told mo anything In
words," sho answered, fain to hear
from his lips what she well knew from
the beating of his heurt.
"It's not too Into then to tell you
Mint I love you, that I am yours. To
give myself to you seems to bo tho
highest possibility In life, If you will
only take me."
"And do you lovo mo inoro than tho
"More thun nil tho bridges In tho
world, pnBt, present nnd to come ; more
than anything or anybody. I tell you
I never knew what lovo was or what
llfo was until I saw you Blldlng to your
denth. If I had not succeeded I should
have followed you."
"I felt that, too," she answered
"We must go back, dearest," he said
nt last, "I am bo fearful for you even
now that I am almost unwilling to try
It. Every tlmo I glunce down through
these Interspaces between tho string
ers my blood runs cold."
"You supported mo beforo; I will
support you now," laughed the woman,
"No," suld tho man, "'wo will go to
They turned toward Mio shore, ne
took her hand and slipped his other
arm about her Just ns simply nnd nat
urally as If they had been nny humble
lover and his lass In tho countryside.
Hy and by they got to tho end of tho
bridge. Far down the platform they
could seo tho lights of the cur.
"Listen," sho said as they walked
slowly nlong. "You must not tell fa
ther anything about this little acci
dent" "I obey, but why not?"
"It would only worry him, and It
was my fault."
"No, mine."
"I will not hear you say It"
"Rut I must speuk to your father
about "
"And tho sooner tho better; he Is In
good humor with you nnd tho bridge
now. I hnvo heard him speak well of
you. I believe ho will bo glad to glvo
mo to you."
"And If not?"
"I should hate to grlevo my father,
Sho turned and looked at him In tho
moonlight, her glorious golden head,
her neck, her shoulders, her urms baro
nnd beautiful In tho celestial Illumi
nation. He seized her hand nnd lifted
It to his lips as a devotee, and she un
derstood tho renson for tho little touch
of old-world formality nnd reserve,
when naught but his will prevented
hlra from taking her to his heart and
making her lips, her eyes, her faco, his
"Now may God deal with mo as I
deal with you," ho said fervently, "If I
ever fall at least to try with all my
heart and soul and strength to measure
up to your sweetness and light"
"My prayer for myself, too," she
"You need It not."
"You must wait here," sho said,
deeply touched, ns they hnd now
reached tho steps of tho car, "until I
hnvo changed my dress; father would
notice anybody would that tear.
When I have finished I will como back
fo you and then we will seek him nud
tell hlmi,r
Accordingly Monde stood obediently
waiting outside tho car In the shadow
It cast There wus no one about Tho
servants hud gono to bed. Tho porter
of tho car wus nodding In his quarters,
waiting for the tlmo to turn out the
lights. Tho engineer hnd tho long
platform all to himself. After a tlmo
ho chose to walk quietly up and down,
thinking. The future looked very fair
to him.
"Hert," a sweet voice enmo to him
out of tho dnrkness. Ho turned to dis
cover her standing In the door of tho
cur dressed ns sho should have been
for such an excursion had she at Hrst
followed her father's wise suggestion.
Ills heart thrilled to tho use of tho fa
miliar name. "Hert, I'm coming down
to you."
Hand In hand they wulked to tho
renr of the cur, where tho observation
platform wus still brightly lighted. Ab
bott had gone nnd the other threo men
were on their feet. They were about
to sepurnto for the night, although It
wus still rnthor early.
"Father," said his daughter out of
the darkness.
"Oh, you'ro there," answered tne
colonel. "I wondered when you were
coming buck. I was Just thinking of
coins to fetch you. Is Mr. Meade?"
"I'm here, sir."
"Good night, gentlemen," said tho
colonel ns tho others turned away,
leaving him nlono on tho platform.
Ho camo to tho edgo and leaned over
tho brass railing.
"Are you two going to mnko a night
of It?" ho asked Jocosely.
"Colonel Illlngworth," began Meade.
"Father," said his daughter at tho
same time, "we huvo sumethiug to say
j to you."
Colonel Illlngworth opened the gate,
lifted tho platform, und descended the
"Here I am," he said ns he stopped
by the two.
His daughter took him by the nrm
nnd they wulked down the platform so
ns to be out of any possible hearing
from the car.
"Now," she Paid to Meade, who fol
lowed her.
Ills heart wns bcntlng almost as rap
idly as It hud on the bridge, und for
exactly the sumo reason fear of los
ing her. He tried to sponk.
"Well, young man?" sold Illlng
worth, flicking the ushes from his clgur
und wishing to get It over, "you suld
you hud something to say to me."
"It's n very hard thing to sny, sir."
He looked helplessly nt the girl, but
she wus speechless. It wns his task.
If she were not worth asking for, she
wns not worth having, she might have
said. "Well, sir," he began desperate
ly, "I love your daughter, Ilelen. I
want to marry lior."
"Umph," said the colonel, "I sup
posed as much. How long have you
and Helen known each other?"
"Over a year, sir, but I loved her
from the very moment I saw her. 1
lid tint ibirn bono. I didn't dream, I
never imagined, und strange ns It muy
seem, sir, she seems to love me."
"Of course I do," said Helen, realiz
ing that It was now high time for her
to come to the rescue of her lover,
"und so would any other woman."
"You know, of course, that whllo I
nm not rich, I nni not poor, und I can
support my wife In every comfort, sir,"
urged the man, greatly relieved by the
woman's prompt avowul.
"She'll need a few luxuries besides,
I'm thinking."
"Yes, of course, sir, I'll seo Mint she
cots them. This bridge Is going to
make us all famous, and I shall huve
my father's Influence nnd"
"When the bridge Is finished," said
tho colonel decisively, "come to me nnd
you shall hnvo my daughter."
"Oh, father, the bridge won't be nn
lshed for" begun the girl.
"I understand, sir," answered the en
gineer, too huppy at her father's con
sent to mnke uny difficulties over nny
reasonable conditions ho might Impose.
"Yes, Helen, it's all right ; your father
Is right. This Job's got to be done bo-
fore I"
"Oh, don't say beforo you tackle an
other," protested the girl, hnlf disap
pointed, nnd yet seeing tho reasonable
ness of both men, while the colonel
laughed grimly.
"That's about tho size of It," Bald tne
old mun, "no matter how you put It
One thing nt a time. Meade, I don't
know anybody on earth I would rather
have for my son-in-law Minn a clean,
hniiosr. nblo American with n record
like yours. A man who can look me
In the eyo and grasp me by the hand,
like this."
He put out his hnnd ns he spoke.
Meade's own palm met It and the two
mnn Riinnk hands unemotionally but
flrmly, after tho manner of Mie self
restrained, practical American, who is
always fearful of a sceno und does not
wear his heart upon his sleeve. The
colonel threw nwoy his cigar, slipped
his arm around his daughter's wulst,
kissed her softly on tho forehead.
"I hate to lose you. Helen. I hate to
give you up to anyone. We have been
very happy together since your mother
died, leaving you n little girl to me;
but It had to come, I suppose, nud per
haps I shall be glad In tho end. Good
night, Meade. You will bo coming In
presently, Ilelen?"
He turned and walked awny ns they
answered him. They watched him go
slowly with bended head. They
watched him climb, rather heavily, up
the steps to the car that he wns an
old mnn seemed rather suddenly borno
In upon them. Ho stood for a moment
In tho light, smiling, remembering, nnd
then turned und mnrched within the
car. He switched the light out as he
passed down tho corridor.
"Wasn't ho splendid?" said nelen,
when she had tlmo to breathe and free
dom to speuk.
"Ono of the finest old men on enrth.
IIo nnd father would mnko a great
"I was Interested In tho brldgo, bo
fore," said tho woman, "but think how
1 shall watch It now. You must write
mo every day and tell me every Inch
that you have gained."
"Trust me, I'll measure It In milli
meters." "And now, sweet love, good night,"
sho whispered. And sho laughed ns
sho looked back at him through the
N.iw, nttei n week's conll .uent lu
lils cabin, he felt strong enough to ven
ture out again and to attack hts prob
lem They wero personnl problems
now, much moro Intimate Minn before,
for he wub building not only the brldgo
but weaving lu Us web of steel his own
future happiness.
Of course he bad been able to get
out on the rough porch of his galvan
ized Iron shuck where he hud tho
bridge In full view, and the day beforo
he hud even wnlked unsteadily down to
the river bank, where he hnd been
equally surprised und delighted nt tho
progress that had been made. Abbott
wns a driver after bis own heart ltcni
ly tilings seemed to have gone on Just
ns well without him ns if he hnd been
on the Job. He hnd not been lonely In
his Illness, for till of the chief men con
nected with the construction had dono
their best to beguile the tedium of hts
hours by visiting him whenever they
could spare the time.
Abbott had been especially kind la
his somewhat rough-and-ready way.
The big construction superintendent
was fond of Mende, although he un
dervalued him. He regarded him moro
as n Mieoretlcal than a practical man
and the lnevltablo antagonism between
the theorist und the practical man,
when they are not combined In one per
sonullty, wns Intent In Abbott's heart
Nightly, he brought to Meade details
of the progress of the work. That eve
ning, Just before leaving, he remarked
In the moBt casual manner In tho worla, '
as If It were a matter of little or no lm
portnnce, that C-10-It was a trifle out
of line.
Now C-10-R wns the biggest member
of the grent right-hand truss on tho
north side of the river. It consisted
of four parallel composite webs, each
v 7 II
"When the
Bridge Is Finished."
formed of several plates of steel riv
eted together. Those webs were con
nected across their upper and lower
edges by diagonal latticing mnde of
steel angle bars. C-IO-U nnd Its parallel
companion member, C-10-L, In the lef t
hnnd truss, carried Mie entire weight
of tho cantilever span to the shoo rest
ing on the pier. These members were
sixty feet long nnd flvo feet wide. Tho
Uivebs were over four feet deep and In
size and responsibility the grent struts
were the most Important of the whole
To say that C-10-R wns out of lino
meant that it had buckled, or bent or
wns springing, nnd hnd departed from
that rigid rectangularlty and pnrullel
Ism which wns absolutely necessary to
maintain the stability and Immobility
of the truss nnd the strengMi of the
bridge. To the theorist nothing on
earth could be more terribly por
tentous than such a statement
If It were true. To the prac
tical man, who, to do him Justice, had
never dealt with such vast structures
and ho wns not singular In that bo-
cause the brldgo wus unique on'
count of Its size the deflection noted
meant little or nothing.
"Good God!" exclaimed Meade,
aflnme on tho lnstnnt with anxious np
prehenslon. The night wns warm aud
he wus dressed in his pnjnmns and had
been lying on tho bed. As If he had
been shocked Into action he sat up, for
getful of his weakness. "Deflection t"
ho fairly shouted at Abbott, who re
garded him with half-amused astonish
ment, "a camber In O-IO-R? Why
didn't you tell mo?"
Hy this time Meado had got his feet
Into his slippers und was standing
"It Isn't enough to mnke any differ
once," answered Abbott quickly, per
haps a little disdainfully.
"It makes nil tho difference on
enrth," cried Mende. "It means tho
ruin of tho bridge."
He reached for his Jacket, hanging
nt tho foot of the bed, and dragged It
on him.
"Don't worry about It youngster."
snld Abbott rather contemptuously, al
though ho meant to be soothing. "I'm
going to Jack it Into lino nnd here,"
ho cried ns Mendo bolted out of Mio
door, "you'd better not excite your
tunc wuy. Como nncu to nod, ranic
The Deflection In the Member.
Threo days after the departure of
tho Illlngworth party the young en
gineer fell HI with follicular toiisllltls,
which Is about tho meanest small thing
Mint can lay a strong man low. Ho
fretted over his enforced absence from
tho work und In the end had to pay for
that very fretting, for ho got up too
soon and went nut too quickly, and was
promptly forced to bed again ns a con
sequent of his Impatience.
How young Meade faces a
great crisis and what he does In
trying to avert serious trouble
Is told in a thrilling chapter In
the next Installment.
Mu6t Do Able to Overlook.
Two persons will not bo Mends
long if they cannot forglvo each other
I'ttio fallings. La Uruyuru,