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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 31, 1923)
RED CLOUD. NEBRASKA. CHIEF
NEVER TOO LATE
SYNOl'Stfl.-ArrlvInK at the lone
ly llttlu nillroiul Ntiitlon of V.l Cnjiin,
Ni'W Mexico. Miiilcllno lliiininoiiil.
Now York foi'lcty Klrl, fttxtn nn ono
to meet lior. Whllo In tho wultltiK
room, a drunken cowboy entcru,
iiiikH If who Im iii.'irilcd, ntiil dcimrtn,
IvaviiiK her tcrrlllcd, Ho loturiiH
with u priest, who roch through
onio nort of ceremony, ntul tho
cowboy force her to nay "SI."
AdkliiK her name and learnlriB her
Identity tlio cowboy uncum dazed.
In a nhnntlni; ncrnpo outHldo the
i-o-mii n Mexican In killed. The cow
boy iotH a Rlrl, Itonlta, lako IiIh
horse and escape, then conducts
Madeline to Florence KlnKflley.
friend of hor brother. Florence
welcomes her, learns bur atory, and
dlsmlpjiea the cowboy, fletin Stew
art. Next nay Alfred Ihiinmond,
Mndellnc'n brother, takcH Stewart
to task. Madeline exonerates him
of any wrong Intent. Alfred, hcIoii
of a wealthy family, bad been dis
missed from his borne because of
tils dissipation. Madeline hcuh that
the West linn redeemed him. Hbe
meets Stlllwell, Al's employer, typ
ical western ranchman. Stlllwell
tells her how Stewart beat up tho
sheriff to save her from arrest and
then lit out for the bonier. Danny
Mains, ono of StlllweH'a cowboys,
has disappeared, with some of Still
well's money. Ills friends link hla
name with the Rlrl Ilonlta. Made
line pi-tn a glimpse of life on a
western ranch. Stewart sends Made
line his hnrsQ Majesty. Shu buys
out Stniwell and "Iter MaJesty'B
Kancho" becomes famous. She
finds her life work under "Tho
Msht of Western Stars."
CHAPTER VII Continued.
Sometimes hIio thought of licr par
ents, HlHtiT, frli'tidH, of how they hail
imrMlsioiitly refused to ucllcvu kIic
could or would stay In thu West. They
wcro always asking her to come home.
Slit" wrote that sliu would return to
her old home u-jiiio time, of course, for
u visit; and letters such as this
brought returns (hat amused Made
line, sometimes saddened her. Her
father's business had been mieli that
lie could not leave It for Ihu time re
(tilred for u western trip, or else,
iiceordlnK to his letter, he would have
come for her. Mrs.- Hammond could
not have been driven to cross the
Hudson river; her un-American Idea
of the wilderness westward wns that
Indians still chased buffalo on the out
Nlclrts of Chicago. .Madeline's sister
Helen had long been eager to come, as
much from curiosity, Madeline
thought, as from sisterly regard. And
lit length Madeline concluded that the
proof of her breaking permanent ties
might better be, seen by visiting rela
tives anil friends before, she went back
East. With that In mind sbo Invited
Helen to visit her during the summer,
and bring as many friends as she
No slight tnslc Indeed was It to over
set' the many business details of Her
Majestj's Ilancho and to keep a rec
ord of them. Madeline found the
course of business training upon which
Jier father hud Insisted to he Invalu
able to her now. It helped her to us
Klnillate and arrange thu practical
details of cattle-raising as put forth
by the blunt Stlllwell. She established
an extensive vegetable farm, and she
planted orchards. The climate was
superior to that of California, and,
with abundant water, trees ntul plantH
and gardens nourished and bloomed
In a way wonderful to behold. Hero
In the farming section of the ranch
Madeline found employment for the
little colony of Mexicans. Their lives
had been as bard .and barren as the
dry valley where they had lived. Hut
as the valley had been transformed
by the soft, rich touch of water, bo
llielr lives had been transformed by
help and sympathy and work., Tho
children wore wretched no more, and
many that had been blind could now
see, and Madeline had become to them
a new and ble.ssed Virgin.
Madeline looked abroad over these
lands and likened the change In them
and those who lived by them to the
change In her heart. It may have been
laucy, but the sun seemed to he
brighter, the sky bluer, tho wind
sweeter. Certain It was that the deep
green of grass and garden wns not
fancy, nor the wlilto and pink of blos
som, nor the blaze and perfume of
llower, nor the sheen of lako and the
Jlutterlng of new-born leaves. Where
there had been monotonous gray there
was now vivid and chnnglng color.
Formerly there had been silence both
day and night; now during the sunny
hours there was music. Tho whistle
of prancing stallions pealed In from
the grassy ridges. Innumerable birds
bad come and, like the northward
Journeying ducks, they had tarried to
stay. Tho song of meadow-lark and
blackbird and robin, familiar to Made
Hue from childhood, mingled with the
new and strange heart-throbbing song
of the mocking-bird and the piercing
blast of the desert eagle find tho mel
ancholy moan of the turtle-dove.
StlllwoH's Interest In tho revolution
across the Mexican line had manifestly
Increased with the news that Gene
Stewart hnd achieved distinction with
tho rebel forces. Thereafter the old
cattleman sent for Kl l'aso nnd Doug
las newspapers, wrote to ranchmen he
knew on tho big bend of the Illo
Grande, and ho would talk Indefinitely
Jto anyone who would listen to him.
. There upneureU to be no doubt tlmt
the cowboy hnd performed sonic dar
ing feats for tho rebels. Madeline
found his name mentioned In several
of the border papers. When the rebels
under Muilcro stormed and captured
Hits city of Juarez, Stewart did fight
ing that won him the name of Kl Capi
tal!. This battle apparently ended the
revolution. The capitulation of Presi
dent Diaz followed shortly, and there
whs a feeling of relief among ranchers
on tho border from Texas to Califor
nia. Nothing more was beard of
(lene Stewart until April, when n re
port reached Stlllwell that the cow
boy had arrived In Ml Cajon, evidently
hunting troubk'. The old cattleman
saddled a horse and started post-haste
for town. In two days he returned,
depressed In spirit. Mndellno hap
pened to he present when Stlllwell
talked to Alfred.
"Wal, It's sure uuuizln' strange uhniit
(Ii'iie. It's got me locoed, lie arrived
In Kl Cajon weak or so ago. He was
I rained down like as If he'd been rldln'
the range all winter. Ho had plenty
of money Mex., they said. An' all
the Greasers was crazy about him.
Called him Kl Capltnu. Ho got drunk
an' went roarln' round for I'at IJnwe.
You remember that Greaser who was
plugged lust October- the night Miss
Majesty arrived? Wal, he's (laid, an
people say thet I'at Is u-goln' to lay
thet klllln' onto Gene. I reckon thet's
Jest talk, though I'at Is mean enough
to do It, If ho lied the nerve. Any
way, If ho was in Kl Cajon ho kept
mighty much to hlsself. Genu walked
up an' down, up an' down, all day
an' night, look in' for I'at. Then Gone
met Danny an tried to get Danny
drunk. An' he couldn't 1 Whut do
you think of that? Danny hedn't been
drlnkln' wouldn't touch n drop. I'm
sure glad of thet, hut It's so nrnazln'
strange. Why, Danny was a llsh fer
red liquor. I guess ho an' Gene had
some pretty hard words, though I'm
not suro nbout thet. Anyway, Gene
went down to thu railroad an' ho got
on an engine, an' he was In the engine
when It pulled out. I Jest lied an Idee,
Miss Majesty. If I can get him, Gene
Stuwart Is the cowboy I want for my
foreman. He can manage this bunch
of cow-punchers that are drlvln' me
dotty. What's more, since he's fought
fer tho rebels nn' got that name Kl
Capltan, all tho Greasers In tho coun
try will kneel to him. Now, Miss
Majesty, we hevn't got rid of Don
Carlos an' his vauueros yet
like tho looks of things a little hit
I'll tell you now thet Don Carlos
knows somethln' about the cattle 1
lost, an' thet you've been losln' right
along. Thet Greaser Is hand nn' glove
with the rebels. I'm wlllln' to gamble
thet when ho does get out ho an' his
vnqueros will make another one of
the bunds of guerrillas thet are liar
assln' the border. This revolution
ain't over yet. It's Jest commenced.
An' these gangs of outlaws are goln'
to take ndvantage of It. We'll see
some old times, inebbe. Wal, I need
Gene Stewart. I need him hnd. Will
you let me hire him, Miss Majesty, If
I can get him straightened up?"
The old cattleman ended huskily.
"Stlllwell, by nil means tlnd Slew
art, and do not wait to straighten him
up. Hrlng him t the ranch," replied
Thanking her, Stlllwell led his horse
Madeline had discovered that a good
deal of her sympathy for Stlllwell In
his hunt for the reckless Stewart had
Insensibly grown to be sympnthy for
the cowboy. It was rather a paradox,
"Gene Walked Up an' Down, Up an'
Down, All Day and Night, Lookln'
hh thought, that opposed to the con
tinual reports of Stewart's wildness
as he caroused from town to town
were Hie continual expressions of good
will and faith and hope universally
glen out by those near her at the
ranch. Stlllwell loved the cowboy;
Florence was fond of htm ; Alfred
liked and admired him, pitied him;
tho cowboys swore their regard tor
him tho more ho disgraced himself.
The Mexicans called him Kl Gran
Capltan. Madeline's personal opinion
of Stewart had not changed In the
least since tho night It had been
formed. Hut certain attributes of his,
not clearly dnllned In her mind, nnd
the sift of his beautiful horse, his
' JLl b
By Zane Grey
Copyright by Harper and Brothers
valor with the lighting rebels, nnd all
this strange regard for him, especially
that of her brother, inado her exceed
ingly regret the cowboy's present be
havior. Meanwhile Stlllwell wns so earnest
nnd zealous that one not familiar with
the situation would have believed he
was trying to find und reclaim his own
son, lie made several trips to little
stations In tho valley, nnd from these
he returned with n gloomy face. Made
lino got the details from Alfred. Stew
art was going from hnd to worst
drunk, disorderly, savage, sure to
land In the penitentiary. Then came
u report that hurried Stlllwell oiT to
Kodeo. He returned on the third day,
n crushed man. Ho had been so bit
terly hurt that no one, not oven Made
line, could get out of him what had
happened. Ho admitted llndlng Stew
art, falling to lnllucnco him ; nnd when
tho old cattlemnn got so fnr ho turned
purple In tho fnce and talked to him
self, ns If dazed: "Hut Gene wns
drunk. Ho wns drunk, or ho couldn't
hev treated old Hill like thet!"
Mndellno was stirred with nn anger
toward the brutal cowboy that was ns
strong as her sorrow for tho loyal old
cattleniun. And It wns when Stlllwell
gave up that she resolved to take a
hand. She yenrncd to hnvo the faith
In human nature tlmt Stlllwell had in
She sent Nels, mounted upon his
own horse, nnd leading Majesty, to
Kodeo In search of Stewart Nel.s had
Instructions to bring Stewart back to
the ranch. In due time Nels re
turned, leading tho roan without n
"Yep, I shore found him," replied
Nels, when questioned. "Found him
half sobered up. He'd been In n scrap,
an somebody hod put him to sleep, 1
guess. Wal, when ho seen thet roan
boss he let out a yell nn grabbed him
round the neck. The boss knowed
him, nil right. Then Gene hugged the
boss an' cried cried like I never
seen no ono who cried like he did. 1
waited awhile, an' was Jest goln' to
say somethln' to him when ho turned
on mo rod-eyed, mnd ns lire. 'Nels,'
ho said, 'I care n It I of a lot fer
ptbot boss, nn' I liked you pretty well.
hut If you don't take lilni uwny quick
I'll shoot you both.' Wnl, I lit out.
I didn't even git to say howdy to him."
"Nels, you think It useless any nt
tenipt to see him persuade him 7"
"I shore do, Miss Hammond," re
plied Nels, gravely. "I've seen n few
sun-blinded an' locoed an' snuke
polhoned and skunk-bitten cow-punchers
In my day, but Gene Stewart beats
em all. He's shore runnln' wild lor
Mndellno dismissed Nels, but before
ho got out of earshot she heard him
speak to Stlllwell, who uwnltcd him
on the porch.
"Hill, put this In your pipe an'
smoke It none of them scraps Gene
bus lied was over n woman ! It used
to be thet when he wns drunk he'd
scrap over every pretty Greaser girl
he'd run across. Wal, Gene's scrap
pin' now Is Jest to git shot up hls
self, for some reason thet only God
Nels' story of how Stewart wept
over Ids horse Influenced Mndellno
powerfully. Her next move was to
persuade Alfred to see If he could not
do better with this doggedly bent cow
boy. Alfred needed only a word ot
persuasion, for he said hu had con
sidered going to IJodeo ot his own
nccord. llo went, and returned alone.
"Majesty, 1 can't explain Stewart's
singular uctlons," said Alfred. "Ho
has changed terribly. I fancy Ids once
magnlllcent strength Is breaking. It
It actually hurt me to look at him. 1
couldn't have fetched him hack hero
not us ho Is now. Hill did all any man
could do for another. We've nil done
our best for Stewnrt. If you'd been
given u chance perhnps you could have
saved him. Hut It's too lute. Tut It
out of mind now, dear."
Madeline, however, did not forget
nor glvcjlt up. Days passed, and
each one brought additional gossip of
Stewart's headlong career toward the
Yuma penitentiary. For he had crossed
the line Into Cochise county, Arizona,
where sheriffs kept a stricter observ
ance of law. Finally a letter cntno
from a friend of Nels' In Chlrlcaliua
saying that Stewart had been hurt In
a brawl there. This epistle Inclosed a
letter to Stewart from his sister. Kvl
dently. It had been found upon him.
It told u story of Illness nnd made nn
appeal for aid. Nels' friend forwarded
this letter without Stewart's knowl
edge, thinking Stlllwell might care to
help Stewart's family. Stewart had
no money, he said.
The sister's letter found Its way to
Madeline. She read It, tears in her
eyes. It told Mndellno much more
than Its brief story of Illness and pov
erty and wonder why Gene had not
written homo for so long. It told of
motherly love, sisterly love, brotherly
love dear family ties that had not
been broken. It spoke of pride In this
Kl Capltan brother who had become
famous. It was ulgneil "your loving
Not Improbably, Mndellno revolved
In her mind, this letter was one renson
for Stewart's headstrong, lnng-cniitin-
, ued abatement. It had been received
too late after he had squandered the
money that would have meant so much
to mother nnd sister. Ho that as It
might, Madeline Immediately sent n
hank-draft to Stewart's sister with n
letter explaining tlmt tho money was
drawn In advance on Stewnrt's salary.
This done, she Impulsively determined
to go to Chlrlcaliua herself.
Nels, when Mndellno asked him to
nceompany her to Chliicnhua, replied,
reluctantly, that he would rather fol
low on his horse. However, she pre
vailed over his hesitancy, and with
Florence also In the car they set out.
For miles and miles the vnlloy road
was smooth, hnrd-packed, and slightly
downhill. And when speeding was
perfectly safe, Madeline wns not
averse to It. And when the enr
stopped In tho wide, dusty street of
Clilrfcnhua Nels gladly tumbled out.
"Nels, we shall wait hero In the car
whllo you find Stewnrt," snld Made
line. Nels crossed the rnllroad track nnd
disappeared behind the low, lint
houses. After n little time he reap
peared nnd hurried up to the car.
"Miss Hammond, I found him," said
Nels. "He was sleepln'. I woke him.
lie's sober an' not bad hurt; but I
don't believe' you ought to sec him.
Mehbo Florence "
"Nels, I wn it to see him myself.
Why not? Wl. it did he say when you
told him I wn 'lore?"
"Shore I did., t tell him that. I Jest
says, 'Hullo, Gene!' an' he says, 'My
Gawd! Nels I mc'-be I nln't glad to see
a human belli'.' lie nsked me who was
with me, nn' I told him Link nn' sonic
friends. I sal. I I'd fetch them In. lie
hollered at thet. Hut I went, anyway.
Now, If you really will see him, Miss
Hammond, It's u good chance. Hut
shore It's n touchy matter, an' you'll
be some sick nt sight of him. He's
layln' In n Greaser hole over here.
Likely the Grensers hev been kind to
him. Hut they're shore n poor lot."
Mndellno did not hesitate a moment.
"Thank you, Nels. Take me at once.
They left the cnr. now surrounded
by gaplng-cyed Mexican children, and
crossed the dusty space to u narrow
lane between red adobe walls. Pass
ing by several houses, Nels stopped at
the door of what nppeared to, ho uu
ulleywny lending back. It was lllthy.
"He's In there, round thet first cor
ner. It's a patio, open nn' sunny. An",
Miss Hammond, If you don't mind. I'll
wait here .for you. I reckon Gene
wouldn't like any fellers around when
ho sees you girls."
"Florence, you wait also." said
Madeline, nt the doorway, und turned
And she hud stepped Into n broken
down pntlo littered with alfalfa straw
and debris, nil clear In the sunlight.
Upon a bench, hack toward her, sat n
mun looking out through the rents in
the broken wall. lie had not heard
her. Madeline did not recognize Stew
nrt. The side of his face exposed to
her was black, bruised, boarded. Ills
clothes' were ragged and soiled. There
were bits of alfalfa In his hair. His
shoulders sagged. He made a wretched
and hopeless figure sitting there.
Madeline divined something of why
Nels shrunk from being present.
"Mr. Stewart. It Is I, Miss Ham
mond, come to see you," she said.
He grew suddenly perfectly motion
less, ns If he had been changed to
stone. She repeated her greeting.
Ills body Jerked. He moved violent
ly us If Instinctively to turn nnd face
this Intruder; but a more violent
movement checked him.
Mndellno wnlted. How singular
that this ruined cowboy had pride
which kept him from showing his face!
And was It not shame more tluui
"Go away," he muttered.
"Mr. Stewnrt !" she began. "I have
come to help you. Will you let ineV"
"For God's sake! You you " he
choked over the words. "Go uwny I"
"Stewart, perhnps It was for God's
sake that I came," said Madeline,
gently. "Surely It wns for yours
and your sister's " Madeline hit her
tongue, for she had not meant to be
tray her knowledgo of I.etty.
Ho groaned, and, staggering up to
the broken wall, he leaned there with
his face hidden.' Madeline rellected
that perhaps the slip of speech had
"Stewart, plenso let me say what I
have to sr.y?"
lie was silent. And she gathered
courage and Inspiration.
"Stlllwell Is deeply hurt, deeply
grieved that he could not turn you back
from this this fatal course. My
brother Is, also. They wanted to help
you. And so do I. I hnvo come, think
ing somehow I might succeed where
they have failed. Nels brought your
sister's letter. I I read It. I was
only the more determined to try to
help you, nnd Indirectly help your
mother ncd Letty. Stuwart, we want
you to come to the ranch. My cow
boys aro without a capablo leader.
Will you come?"
"No," bo answered.
"Hut Stlllwell wants you so badly."
"Stewart, I want you to come."
Ills replies had been hoarse, loud,
furious. All his motions, like his
speech, hud been violent.
"Will you please go away?" he
"Stewnrt, certainly I cannot remain
here longer If you Insist upon my go
ing. Hut why not listen to me when I
want so much to help you? Why?"
"I'm u d d blackguard," he burst
out. "Hut I was a gentleman once,
nnd I'm not so low that I can stand
for you seeing mo here."
"When I tnndu up my mind to help
you I tnnde It up to see you wherever
you were. Stewnrt, como away, come
back with us to the rnnch. When you
nre anions friends again you will get
well. You will bo your old self. Tho
very fact that you wore once u gentle
man, that you como of! good fumlly,
makes you owe so much more to your
self. Why, Stewnrt, think how young
you nre! It Is n shame to waste your
life. Come hack with me."
"Miss Hammond, this wns my Inst
plunge," he replied, despondently.
"It's too Into."
"At least make nn effort, Stewnrt.
"No. There's no use. I'm done for.
I'lense leave me thank you for "
He had been savuge, then sullen,
nnd now ho wns grim. Madellnu nil
hut lost power to resist his strange,
"My Cowboys Are Without a Capable
Leader. Will You Come?
deadly, cold finality. No doubt ho
know ho was doomed. Yet something
halted her held her oven as she took
fn backward step. And she became
conscious of n subtle change lit her
own feeling. She had come Into that
squalid hole. Madeline Hammond,
earnest enough, kind enough In her
own Intentions; but she hnd been al
most Imperious a woman habitually,
proudly used to being obeyed. She di
vined that all tho pride, blue blood,
wealth, culture, distinction, nil the Im
personal condescending persunsion, all
tho fatuous philanthropy on earth
would not avail to turn this man a
single hnlr's-breadth from his down
ward career to destruction. She was
going to fall to help him. Sbo experi
enced a sensation of Impotence that
amounted almost to distress. The sit
uation assumed a tragic keenness.
"Stewnrt; look nt me," she asked.
He shuddered. He was abject,
crushed, lie dared not show his
swollen, blackened face. Ills fierce,
cramped posture revealed more th-in
his features might have shown; It be
trayed the torturing shame of n man
of pride and pnssion, it man who had
been confronted In his degradation by
the woman he had dared to enMiriiie
In his heart. It betrayed his love.
"Listen, then," went on Madeline,
nnd her voice was unsteady. "Listen
to me, Stewnrt. You can shake off
this desperate mood and be n man."
"No!" he cried.
"Listen to me ngaln. Somehow I
know you're worthy of Stlllwell's love.
Will you come back with us for his
"No. It's too late, I tell you."
"Stuwart, the best thing In life Is
faith In human nature. I have faith
In you. I believe you are worth It."
"You're only kind und good saying
that. You can't meiyi It."
"I mean It with all my henrt," sho
replied, a sudden rich warmth suffus
ing her body as she saw the llrst sign
of his .softening. "Will you como bade
If not for your own sake or Still
well's then for mine?"
"Whut nm I to such a woman ns
"A man In trouble, Stewnrt. Hut I
have como to help you, to show my
faith In you."
"If I believed that, I might try," ho
"Listen," she began, (softly, hurried
ly. "My word Is not lightly given.
Let It prove my faith In you. Look at
mo now nnd say you will como."
lie heaved up his big frame ns If
trying to east off a giant's burden, nnd
then slowly he turned toward her.
Ills face was a blotched and terrible
thing. The physical brutalizing murks,
were there, ami at that Instant all
that appeared human to Madeline wns
(ho dawning In dead, furnuce-llke eyes
of u beautiful light.
"I'll come," he whispered, huskily.
"Give me a few days to straighten up,
then I'll come."
"But, Majesty, remember he's
n composite of tiger breed and
(TO BB CONTINUBU34
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