Custer County Republican. (Broken Bow, Neb.) 1882-1921, August 23, 1900, Image 3

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    I REMDINGllOCGRIES
Privata House and Office Eont Pr.id iu
Grocoriw Taken
FROM SOLDIERS HOME AT MILPORD
Old Soldier * Crowded Out to IMnko Itnom
for IteliitlvcB mid Friends of Olllrluls
How Stntc lfiiml Arc Uncleanly
dercil by I'oimllit Olllcluls.
\\Mthout a doubt the most open nnil
flagrant corruption practiced In any
of the state Institutions Is practiced
at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at
Milford.
Officials of the Home have gone so
far as to appropriate public property to
their private use ; ns to pay private
lillls , such as house and ofllce rent ,
with groceries and provisions bought
-with state funds ; ns to dispose of pub
lic property and not properly account
font.be same ; as to purchase clothing
and fancy furnishing Roods for rela
tives and have them put on the books
ns groceries nnd pay for them out ot
moneys belonging to the state ; and as
to nil the building with relatives and
friends and furnish them with bed ,
board and lodging at the expense of
the state. In short , there Is scarcely
nn offense associated with the saving
nnd obtaining of money fraudulently
that has not been committed by some
one or another connected with the
Home.
James Fowler succeeded Captain Cul
ver as commandant of the Home about
four years ago. From the time he
assumed control up to the present he
has kept both hands on the public
teat. After getting his own name on
the pay roll at $900 per year , with
bed and board , he set out to have his
wife's name placed there also , and he
finally succeeded in causing the re
moval of Matron Ferguson and the
appointment of his wife , who Is now
on the pay roll as matron at § 480 per
year , though at this time there is not
a female ward in the building.
Though drawing $10 per month for
performing the duties of matron , Mrs.
Fowler , wife of the commandant , has
spent a goodly portion of her time
visiting relatives and friends in other
parts of the state. At one time she
left the Home and was gone for several
weeks , while the only female inmate of
the Home , Sarah Prime , the aged and
helpless widow of an old soldier , lay
on her' sick bed and had to be at
tended by the old soldier Inmates. Mrs.
Fowler remained away , and , finally ,
feeble , sick and penniless , poor old
Sarah Prime was hauled to the depot
and left on the platform with only
$3 in her possession and no place to
go or lay her head.
A FAMILY AFFAIR.
Nor did Commandant Fowler con
tent himself with placing his wife's
name on the pay roll. He went fur
ther and converted the Home into a
family boarding house. At various
fimes he has had himself , his wife ,
his two sons and their wives , his two
daughters , and a grand child , all sleep
ing and eating at the Home at the ex
pense of the state. Half of the entire
second story Is occupied by the com
mandant and his relatives and friends.
It is charged , and , presumably on
good authority , that fancy linen , laces
and material for female nether ap
parel have been purchased for the
( laughters and daughters-in-law of a
certain official at the expense of the
state. In making these purchases , ru
mor says that the bills and vouchers
were made out for groceries , provisions
or other material , so as to cover up
the transaction. The fact that the
commandant has purchased oysters
and other eatables of a luxurious char
acter and had the bills and vouchers
made out as butter and other staples
in the grocery and provision line Is
a fact which he himslf can not truth
fully deny. Nor is it likely that he
will or dare deny that he has per
mitted Dr. Tracy , the physician in
charge at the Home , to take flour ,
sugar , coffee and canned goods from
the store room of the Home goods
paid for by the state and ostensibly
bought for the Home , and pay house
and office rent with them.
RENT PAID IN GROCERIES.
The physician in charge at the Home
Is Dr. S. P. Tracy. Shortly after Fowler
ler was appointed commandant he is
sued rations to Dr. Tracy , something
which had never before been done , and
which is clearly in violation of law.
This was kept up for some time un
til finally , to avoid threatened expos
ure , It was to all outward appear
ances stopped by order of the Board of
Public Lands and Buildings.
It was a sad day for Tracy when this
edict was promulgated. For Dr. Tracy
had a very nice thing of It. Ho not
only received rations , but he had ac
cess to the store room , with the op
portunity of helping himself. It was
while this condition of affairs prevailed
vailed that he hit upon the plan of
paying his house and ofllce rent in
groceries and provisions.
He rented an office from an aged
widow named Diantha Brown. When
asked if It were true that Dr. Tracy
paid his rent In groceries , Mrs. Brown
Bald :
"Yes , Dr. Tracy , on divers occasions '
brought mo Hour , sugar , canned goods !
tea and the like. He told me ho goi ;
the articles from the Soldiers' Home '
I asked him to give me some coal j'
but ho said he could not do it , as they
did not give him much of that. I
think the last groceries he gave mo
was in 1898. Ho moved out of my
building owing me $50 back rent , and
I have his note for $50 at this time for
rent , which he owes , only $10 of which
lias been paid. I don't remember just
how much groceries ho gave mo In all. \
I remember at one time he brought :
jno a whole sack of Hour. "
Mrs. Brown is a widow and is S3
years of ago. She Is an old citizen of
Milford and has a large number of
relatives residing in that vicinity , all
of whom stand high in publfc esteem.
Dr. Tracy has for six years occupied
n house owned \ > y J. D. Cunningham.
Mr. Cunningham was abked as to
whether Dr. Tracy ever paid any portion
tion of his rent in groceries or pro
visions. Ho said :
"Yes , I have recclvsd some of the
rent in that way. He has given me
flour , groceries and canned goods. 10I
cannot say just how much it all
amounted to. He is owing mo back
rent now , but I have reduced his rent
and have required him to pay part of
the back rent each month , so that ho
Is catching up. As for groceries , I
cannot say where ho got them. All
I know Is that he brought them to ray
house and gave them to mo In pay
ment of rent. "
An old soldier who was formerly
connected with the homo , in siuli a
position as to speak authoritatively ,
and whose name is not mentioned
heroin , through fear of his expulsion
from the Homo , stated that ho had
seen Dr. Tracy go to the store room ,
unlock the door and go in and help
himself. Ho had a key and was priv
ileged to take what he wanted. On one
occasion , this authority states , ho took ,
among other things , a whole sack of
sugar.
, Dr. Tracy has his horse pastured at
the expense of the state , but whether
he Is still receiving an allowance of
rations , nobody outside the Homo ap
pears to know to a certainty.
Dr. Tracy has considerable profes
sional practice outside the Home , but
the druggists of the town say that ho
has very few private prescriptions
filled by them. This may explain in
part the depletion of the 'drug and
surgical instrument" fund of the
Homo , in face of the fact that thcro
has been little sickness at the Homo
within the last eighteen months. .
MANIPULATING THE FUNDS.
The manner in which the funds are
being manipulated nproaches and re
flects criminality. The last legislature
appropriated for the Home $37,474.
Of this , $500 was for furniture and
bedding. This fund is practically ex
hausted , and the vouchers that should
be drawn against it and against no
other fund , have been drawn against
other funds. In ono Instance a vouch
er lor nearly $40 was drawn on the
"clothing and maintenance" fund for
carpets , fringe and window shades.
Of the funds received from sale of
state property , such as stock and prod
ucts raised on the grounds of the
Home , timber cut and sold , and the
pasturing of stock , little IB known of
their disposition. None of this money
lias over been paid into the treasury ,
and no report of it has ever been made
to the auditor. It Is kept by the com
mandant for "emergency" purposes ,
though the receipts amount to more
than $300 per year. The commandant
reports the amount of money received
to the governor seml-annnally. The re
port for the first half of the present
year should have been filed with the
governor Juno 1st , but up to July 27
no report was on Hie. Inquiry at the
governor's office elicited the informa
tion that "The report had been offered
for filing , but It contained errors and
was sent back for correction. "
About $1,500 worth of timber was
cut from the grounds several months
ago. Much of It was sold , but thus
far no complete report has been made
of it. About n dozen head of cattle
and horses have been pastured at the
Homo all spring and summer , but there
is nothing In the reports on Hie which
account for any part of this money.
In the last year fully 200 chickens were
disposed of in ono way and another ,
yet the reports account for less than
half that number. Other property has
passed through the hands of the offi
cials , but neither the records at the
Home nor the reports on file with the
governor , disclose what has been done
with the proceeds.
In cutting the timber much damage
was done the ground from a pictur
esque point of view , and , while the
commandant affected to make it appear
that the foliage was not destroyed
through ulterior motives , there Is ev
ery reason to believe that the primary
object was to swell the "emergency" '
fund.
The "labor" fund is exhausted , the
employes not having received any pay
since Juno 1st , thus making a large
deficiency in this fund inevitable. June
30 there remains in the Furniture and
Bedding Fund only $8.72 ; in the Drug
and Surgical Instrument Fund only
$29.75 ; In the Fuel and Light Fund ,
$251.10 ; Maintenance and Clothing ,
for which $8,000 was appropriated ,
$2OG8 ; Stock , Feed and Farm Imple
ment Fund , $63.13 ; Visiting and Ex
amining Board Fund , $81.80.
It will be seen by the foregoing
that there is scarcely a fund whose
condition is not such at this time as
to foreshadow a deficiency at the end
of the year.
In connection with this it may be
well to call attention to the fact that ,
while the law requires Commandant
Fowler , among other things , to make
a report December 1st , of each year
to the Commissioner of Public Land
and Buildings , setting forth the num
ber of inmates admitted and dis
charged , receipts , disbursements and 1
expenditures of money or other funds
( see section 49C4 Revised Statutes
1899) ) , he has never in the four years
of his Incumbency made such a re
port. This statement is made on the
authority of attaches of the department
of Public Lands and Buildings.
OPENLY VIOLATING THE LAW.
There is at the Home , a young man
who has only recently crossed the
threshold of his majority. Ills name
Is J. H. Perkinson , and he occupies
' the Important position of adjutant.
The law distinctly and explicitly
says that : "The commandant shal
perform the duties of adjutant ami
quartermaster , or have these dutle :
performed without expense to the
state" ( sec Sec. 49GS Revised Statutes
1899) ) , yet J. H. Perkinson is adjutan
at the Home and draws a salary o
$25 per month and board , washing
and lodging. In the official reports o
the Home and In his official duties he
is known only as adjutant. To evade
the law in making out vouchers for his
pay , however , he la made to appca
as "Commissary Sergeant. " Thus , in
the records at the Homo and in th
official reports ho Is one thing , and in
the voucher record in the auditor1 !
office ho' is another. Under nelthe
title Is it lawful for him to draw monej
from the state. When Captain Culvc
was commandant , under a republican
administration , he had his son perform
the duties of adjutant , but he never
claimed any pay for him and none was
over allowed.
INHUMAN TREATMENT OF OLD
SOLDIERS.
Reports of Inhuman treatment of old
soldiers at the Homo are numerous.
Only those who have been there and
left the Homo , however , dare utter a
protest. Commandant Fowler rules
with a hand of tyranny , and any one
who dares to complain of treatment ro-
colved at the Home , or say anything
reflecting on the management , la under
pain nt once of summary discharge
for "disgraceful conduct. "
A few weoka ago nil' ' ' oil soldier
named Martin V. BoVard wns dlshon-
orably discharged from the Homo , nnd
his only offense was that solno lime
before that ho protested to the govi
crnor against nn unlawful assessment
that was boiiiK levied upon the inmates -
mates by the commandant.
Last year , for six months , the comc
mnndant levied an asseBsmcnt of DO
cents per month on all the pensioned
inmates to ralso funds for "help" in
the dining room. All told , about $30
per month was collected , thcro being
about sixty inmates. Out of this fund
four Inmate received $5 par month
each ns waiters In the dining room.
Where the remaining $1C went to nobody -
body but Commandant Fowler appears
to know. Prior to this it was custom
ary to detail inmates for this class of
work , and , to nil appearances , it had
been satisfactory. BcVard was one of
those who had th ccourago to protest
against the tax , but this protest count
ed for nothing. Finally , the Inmates
raised $1 to pay BeVard's expenses to
Lincoln nnd ho went there and laid
the facts before Governor Poyntor.
Governor Poyntor was not disposed to
interfere , but when informed by Be-
Vard that the matter would be laid
before the authorities at Washington ,
ho said he would see that It was
stopped immediately. From that day
until n few weeks ago , when BoVard
was dishonorably discharged , Fowler
made it anything but pleasant for him.
Finally , a few weeks ago BoVard ,
without any other cause , was dishon
orably discharged and , against his ap
peals to permit him to remain another
week until ho got his pension , was
turned out on the world among strang
ers , n penniless and helpless object of
charity. Another old soldier named
Greshnm , who has scarcely a crumb of
bread to spare , finding BoVard lying
in the weeds and suffering from a run
ning sore in the leg and moaning from
rheumatic pains , took him in and gave
him something to eat. From the 3rd
to the 10th of July BoVnrd ate at
Gresham's lltlo cabin , but , as there
was only ono bed and one room , he
had to look elsewhere ' for lodging.
Poverty-stricken , sick , helpless aijd
alone the old veteran wandered nbout
in the night until ho found a shed ,
almost In the shadow of the Home ,
where ho crawled In and 'slept. For
seven nights he slept there on the
hard plank floor , with no companion
but the stars and nothing to shield
him from the storms and the elements
but the will of Providence. Exposure
nnd dampness , both incentives to asth
ma and rheumatic affilctlons , had fur
ther impaired his health , and , when
ho got his pension and loft Milford ,
his suffering was so Intense that tears
coursed down his cheeks.
BeVard had a splendid war record ,
having served four years as n Union
soldier , part of the time In the famous
brigade commanded by General Mulli
gan. He enlisted ns a private In Bat
tery L , First Regiment , Illinois Volun
teer Light Artillery. For eighty days
he was a prisoner of war in Libby
Prison , having been captured while
gallantly defending a vantage point
known as Four Mile Ford on the Po
tomac. Ho Is well known among the
railroad men of Nebraska , hnvlng
worked on the various railroads off
and on for about twenty-eight years.
Speaking of the treatment accorded
old soldiers at the homo , William G.
Gresham , n former inmate , said :
"Tho fact is , Fowler despises the
Grand Army of the Republic. I know
whereof I speak , when I say ho hates
old soldiers. I myself , spent some time
nt the Home.
"I have taken my discharge twice
from the Homo since ho has been
thoro. I tried to put up with the
abuses but could not. "
CALLED THEM YANKEE BUM
MERS. .
"I have heard Harry Fowler's wife , "
continued Mr. Gresham , "call old sol
diers 'Yankee Bummers' and 'Yankee
Rebels' right to their face. Now , it is
harsh under any conditions to apply
any such names to old soldiers , and
when you consider that she was the
daughter ofn notorious confederate ,
who was a lieutenant in Quantrell's
army you can readily realize the mag
nitude of the insult. The old boys
knew who and what she was , but she
was the daughter-in-law of the com
mandant and we had to put up with
her jeers , snubs and Insults and say
nothing.
"Now , there is Perklnson. Think
of putting a young man scarcely old
enough to vote in as adjutant where
he exercises authority over -a lot of
men three times his ago.
"I took my second discharge some
time ago and I hope to be able to make
a living for myself and mother , doing
such work as I can get around town
for the rest of our days. Mother
( meaning his wife ) was discharged
from the Homo shortly after I left
because Fowler did not like me. She
Is C9 years old and I am 60. She was
there two years , and in that time was
allowed only two calico dresses , worth
about 50 cents each , and two pairs of
cheap shoes , amounting In all to less
than $10. The government allows $25 j
per year for clothing and shoes for I
each inmate , but that Is all mother I
could get.
"There is no use talking , the Home
is shamefully mismanaged. I , for one ,
have seen the commandant in a condi
tion that convinced mo that he was
under the Influence of liquor. At one
time I remember he had to bo assisted
up the stairs , and I was that near to
him that I detected the odor of whis
key.
key."Then
"Then there Is that man Benton , the
steward. Ho draws $20 per month and
board and lodging , besides money ho
makes on the side. Ho is rich and
owns lots of property , but ho Is the
steward , though there Is no more need
of a steward than there Is for two
governors nt Lincoln.
"I do not wish to present myself In
the light of an outlaw , but let mo
tell you that we were ucing so badly
treated at the Homo at ono time that
a rope was purchased with a view to
disciplining and making an example
of one or moro of the officials. I have
the rope in my house at the present
time. It wns not used for that pur
pose , but It cnme very near being.
"I wish some of the nllegod 7Ctorans ,
who are sending out appeals for votes
for fusion could come hero and see
what fusion has done for the veterans. "
Mr. Orcsham wns a member of Com
pany i B , Nlnotonth Iowa Infantry , and
saw four years' of terrible service ,
having 1 been wounded thrco times.
These are the type of in on Oommnnd-
nnt Fowler'o daughlor-ln-law called
Yankee ! Rebels. Could any affront be
moro wanton nnd cruel ?
When Fowler came to Milford It Is
reported that ho wore a Grand Army
button I In the lapel of hhi coat. Some
time afterwards It disappeared. When
asked by ono ot the veterans outatdo
of the Homo where It was , hq said :
"I really nm not entitled to wear
U. I Besides , I am not much of a , G. A.
U. 1 man anyhow. "
A BUNGLING JOB.
Within the last year nn addition has
ben I built to the Homo nt a cost of
$5,000. J The contract for brick and
stone work wns let to n fusion con
tractor t at Lincoln , as Was also the
contract for plumbing. The brick and
mason work Is far short of n first-claHS
job. Very llttlo cement was used in
the foundation , nnd Uio outer layer In
the walls reveals the fact that a very
large number of broken brick nnd
brick-bats wns used in constructlii ! ;
the building. Much of the brick work
was done by stone masons , presuma
bly because the wages of stone masons
are lower. The construction of the
building was not supervised , hnd the
contractors followed the plans and
specifications In a way to suit them
selves. The work was so poorly per
formed that even n thick cor.t of red
paint falls to thoroughly dlngule It.
A fuslonlst named Blake from Lin
coln had the building contract and ho
left the town owing a board bill for
his men at the Grand hotel of $58 , and
labor bills aggregating $75.
LOOSE BUSINESS METHODS.
LOOFO business methods prevail at
the Home. Not nn article delivered
from the stores nt the Homo Is
weighed. Seldom are the goods
chocked over to see If the delivery Is
in accordance with bills rendered.
In connection with this It is reported
that tobacco Is bought at the state's
expense and again sold at the Homo.
No positive proof of this could bo
found , though there nro people who
say that it is true. It lias been cus
tomary for certain of the officials to
keep tobacco on sale at the Home , and
rumor has it that oomo of the tobacco
purchased at the expense of the state
has found Its way Into such private
sources. Considerable tobacco Is used
at the Homo. The inmates nro al
lowed to smoke In the assembly room
and there only , but the commandant
may bo seen at almost any hour going
all through the building puffing amoko
like a slx-wheled "mogul" going up
grade. IIo breaks his own rules with
impunity. If any of the Inmates would
dare to atempt to exorcise like priv
ileges they would bo "dishonorably dis
charged" instanter.
VISITING COMMITTEE.
Perhaps the most palpable fraud on
the taxpayers is the so called "Visit
ing and Examining Board. " This
committee pays a visit to the Homo
once a month , ostensibly to audit the
books , but in reality to have a pleasure
trip without cost to themselves. The
members are allowed $4 per day each
and their expenses. Ono woman from
Lincoln , who is n member of the com
mittee , invariably leaves Lincoln after
supper time and waits until she gets to
the Homo before dining. She reaches
there about 8 o'clock in the evening ,
and a sumptuous spread Is laid for
her. Her train does not leave Lin
coln until after 6 o'clock , giving her
ample time to have supper , or C o'clock
dinner at homo before she starts.
Between fraud , loose management
and needless expense , the cost per
capita the last few years at the Homo
has been greater by 15 per cent than
formerly. The state would actually
save money by paying the board and
lodging of the veterans at good hotels
ami in addition giving them a reason
able allowance for clothing.
SHOULD SUPPRESS FORAGING.
Some steps should bo taken to sup
press foraging by fusion officials and
their friends. At the Homo , S. A.
Langford and wife are on the pay roll
for doing the laundry work at $22 per
month , board and lodging. Tills work
was formerly done by inmates. The
change was made to make room for
the Langfords who are popullots.
Three Inmates were shifted out of
their .quarters to make room for the
Langfords.
Adjutant Porklnson occupies quar
ters formerly occupied by four in
mates.
It is charged that Superintendent
Edwards has practiced false economy ,
In that she has gone so far as to solicit
prices from firms or business houses
as far away as Chicago , and at the
same time has put the state to the
loss of ten times the amount she
would thus save by keeping relatives
and friends at the Homo at the state's
expense. The voucher record at Lin
coln shows n slight Jugglery of the
funds of this institution , newspaper
subscription in one instance having
been charged up to the "burial" fund
Ono Improvement might be made ,
and that is , in pitting a stop to the
practice of permitting the steward of
the Soldiers' 'Homo to come to the In
stitutlon and pose ns a minister of the
gospel and collect money from the in-
mates for performing that service
There are ministers of the gospel Ir
Milford , schooled in Biblical lore , who
would no doubt for the asking cheer
fully perform the corvlco without tax
ing the unfortunate inmates. Upon the
whole , however , the management o
this Institution is far better than the
average.
Only recently Mrs. Benton , wife o
the hospital steward , paid a protract
ed visit to the Homo. She was ac
companicd by a lady friend from Creti
who also remained nt the Homo for a
considerable length of time.
Two of Commandant Fowler's daugh
ters , who are attending the State Uni
versity , are now spending their vaca
tion nt the Home , where they have
always spent It. Two of his sons are
frequently thoro.
A private dining room Is main
tained for those guests nnd sumptuous
repasts are spread , for all of which the
dear people of Nebraska must stop up
to the captaln'B desk and settle.
INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS.
There is another state institution at
Milford known as the Industrial School j
for Girls. This institution , though
not entirely free from spoliation , IB
perhaps less tainted with It than any
other In the state. So far aa disci
pline Is concerned It Is due to Mrs.
Edwards , the superintendent , to Bay
® A Story Illustrating
the Horrors
of War
By II. D. WELSH. . . .
CHAPTER VII. ( Continued. )
"You have conn1 ? " ho said , pant-
lusly , hla voice BO weak oho could
hardly hoar what ho said , "it Is good
brave of you. If you know nil you
would shrink from me with loath-
In" . "
i
* * * - >
"No , no ! " oho said quickly. "None
of us have a right to do that to an
other , Major Kayburn. If you have
wronged mq in any way , nnd nro sorry
for it , I forgive you freely , as I hope
to bo forgiven. "
(
"God bless you for these words"ho !
paid , weakly ; "I have never known
an hour's happiness since I vowed
that , , lf you would not bo mine , you
should never bo another man's , I nm
bud enough , God knows ; but not so
bad as that. "
And then , weakly and pantlngly , ho
told her all.
"I knew where the Khalifa was , " he
said. "I had a black boy who had de
serted from his camp In my boy , and
ho told me. I felt confident Clcland
would talco that direction , and sooner
or later fall Into their clutches. And
I believe ho hns done so. I bcllovo ho
Is ntill thcro , unless ho Is dead. "
He paused. Adrlenno lifted her
head to speak , but ho wont on rapIdly -
Idly :
"I have moro to tell you. Walt ! It
Is about mysolf. I wish to toll you
that you may toll Doctor Margaret
Crawford , who Is in Cairo just now.
"I joined the army under n false
name. My ro.il name Is , strangely
enough , the same as that of the man
I counted my enemy. It is Paul Story
Clclland. Wo iipoll it with two Tu. '
Wo were not connected in any way
with the other Clclands. It is a com
mon enough name in Scotland.
"Dr. Margaret Crawford's father bc-
llovcd that ho had done mo a great
wrong he had altered a cheque of my
father's which I went to cash. Hut 1
had committed n greater crimo. I hnd
forged my father's name to it ! The
shock killed my father. I loft home ,
changed my name , joined the army ,
nnd worked my way upwards from the
ranks.
"That Is all. Will you toll Doctor
Crawford ? It Is possible her father
may have told her. " '
"I will toll her , " whispered Adrlen
no. Her lips were ns white aa death.
With a woman's Intuition alio had
guessed the whole truth ; the dying
confession had been to her ns n reve
lation.
"Will you also say once moro that
you forgive mo ? " asked the dying
man. His voice was almost gone now.
Adrlonno bent her head for n mo
ment ; then suddenly she laid her hand
on the lingers that were so restlessly
toying with the white fringe of the
coverlet.
"I forglvo you , " she said , slowly ,
nnd may God in His great'mercy aiso
grant you forgiveness. Wo all have
need of that forgiveness , and of Ills
great help. "
A straango sound left the dying
man's lips. It startled Adrionnc , who
beckoned to the nurao who had Just
entered the room. ISro the nurse had
reached his bedside all was over. Paul
Clclland , so long known as Philip Ray-
burn , had gone Into the presence of
the only Judge who dare temper jus
tice with mercy.
CHAPTER IX.
"Yield , you Christian dog ! Become
a Moslem , or , by Allah , you die !
Look out there and see the end of
those who have refused to bow to la-
lam or yield to the power ot tno
Khalifa ! "
Paul Cloland staggered feebly to the
door of the miserable hut , In whoso
black and filthy depths ho had spent
the last few days , and looked out on
the scene pointed out to him by his
grim gaoler. It was ono that might
make the boldest shudder.
It was Metommeh the corpse of n
town. The mud houses were moro
shells broken beams , tattered cur
tains fluttering in the breeze , shat
tered roofs , through which the rain
poured. Facing Clcland and his guar
dian stood a strange construction of
wood two upright posts with a cross
bar between. Below lay some brown
palm-fibre rope , and mixed with it a
decaying mass of human bonea.
For what Clcland wan looking upon
was a gallows.
Ho was weak almost too weak to
walk. For three months of starva
tion , torture , suspense thrco months
passed in dark and loathsome huts ,
black as the mouth of a pit , close and
foul an the black hole of Calcutta ,
with hardly any water to drink , and
only the loathsome food offered him
nro sufficient to reduce any man to the
lowest ebb. Sometimes Cleland almost
prayed for death ; then , again , the
love of life , common to every human
being , came back to him with full
force , nnd ho told himself that whrle
thcro was life thcro was hope hope
of rescue or of escape.
How often in those days and nights
of misery nnd physical Buffering did
the memory of Margaret's palo , sweet
face come to comfort and to strength
en him !
Ho turned now to his gaoler no
other than Osman Azrak himself
after his first Involuntary shudder and
shook Ills head.
"I have already given you my an
swer , and that scores of times , I shall
not renounce my faith to escape
death ! "
"Then , by the Bword of the prophet ,
you have chosen your own fate ! " ex
claimed the fierce fanatic. Ho turned
nwny from Clelnnd and uttered a pe
culiar call.
In answer to H half a dozen black-
bearded , flerco-cyed dervishes sprang
as U wore from the earth Itself in
reality , out of some of the trenches
near at hand nnd came to 'his side.
Osinnn uttered his inntructlons In low ,
rapid tones , nnd two of the tallest anil
strongest , coming forward , laid 'each '
a hand under Clclnnd's arm , and led
him forword towards that awful bluck
thing facing him.
Then ho knew that the end had come
at last. Without preparation ho waste
to bo hurled out of life Into the great
Unknown beyond. In flvo minutes
moro he would bo beyond all hope of
rescue or escape ho would bo In eter
nity.
nity.Only
Only those who have seen death thus
suddenly near at hand know how dear
life Is to all. "Tho weariest nnd most
loathed worldly life" becomes the
most precious of nil possessions , be
cause to lose It Is to lose all that wo
have over been familiar with.
Thus Clcland felt for a moment ;
nt it was only for n moment.
Ono thought of Margaret rare , palo
largarot , soon to bo separated from
itn moro completely than over she
ad been by the "unplumbod , salt ,
strnnglng sea" who might novcr
vcn hear of his death ; ono passion-
to , miito farewell "Good-by , my
eve , my one , first nnd last lovo. Wo
hall meet some day , some day , Mar-
arot" and then his thoughts were
urncd to the solemn moment before
1m.
"My God , I commit myself Into Thy
lands. Thou wilt keep mo , for I have
rusted In Thee. " The wordless pray-
r In his heart might BO have boon
ranslated.
They were at the gallows now. Ono
f the dervishes held Cloland , while
ho other skilfully throw n long strand
f brown rope into a noose. It was Un
shed ; ho was Just About to throw it
over Cleland's nock , when
A wild shriek broke on the sultry
air , the sound of galloping horses uc-
ompanlpd It ; and Clcland , looking up ,
saw many-colored flags and banners
lloatlng on the air. , At the same mo-
ncnt Osman's volco was hoard calling
something in Arable. At the ' sound
the dervish who hold the rope dropped
t , nnd turned from Clcland with a
scowl.
The next moment Osmau ' himself
approached.
"It Is the will of Allah you should
lie spared Just now , " ho said , addi ss-
Ing Cleland. Then to the dervishes :
'Take him back to the hut. "
But Cleland , unable to' stand any
longer from sheer weakness , had
iropped on the ground. They lifted
! ilm up and carried him to the hut ,
whore ho wns chained to a huge
stone. Presently ho recovered himself
i little , nnd was able to get up to hla
feet.
feet.Then
Then ho was conscious of n great
noise outside braying of donkeys ,
stamping of horses' feet , the shrill
irles of Arabs , the sound of camcla'
heavy tread. It lasted for about ten
minutes , then suddenly ceased , and
perfect silence succeeded it
It reigned BO long that Clolnnd felt
vaguely uneasy. Ho moved at last
slowly across the hut , and , by pushIng -
Ing away some of the brushwood'was ,
able to look out.
The place was deserted ! Thcro was
not n tent , a donkey , a camel , or an
Aral ) to bo seen. IIo was alone alone
nnd chained up like a dog , with llttlo
or no hope of being able to rel'easo
himself.
Even if ho could , what then ? IIo
know ho was at Mctommoh , In the
heart of the desert , without food or
drink. Even If ho were free could ho
ever find his way to the British camp ?
Ho had no idea as to where they were ;
ho had not even heard that they were
again on the move.
Despair came to Cleland. It would
have been better if they had killed him
at once. Swift death was to be pre
ferred to this fearful thought of dying
inch by Inch.
Still , ho must do something rather
than IIo down In Inaction and despair.
IIo would try to file away his chain
that bound him.
* * c c *
It was flvo days later when the
Anglo-Egyptian troops marched
through Metcmmoh on their south
ward way.
"A town of the dead ! But , good
heavens ! what Is that , Reid ? " ex
claimed Colonel Beauchamp , as ho
rode by the nldo of ono of his subal
terns , pointing to tlm hut. "I could
almost fancy there seems to me some
thing like a man lying there on the
sand ! "
A moment Inter the command
"Halt ! " was given ; the moving mass
of camels and men came to a doail
stop. The colonel nnd his subaltern
dismounted and ran up to the hut.
True enough , there was a man in
British attlro , lying there on his face.
They turned him over ; the colonel ut
tered n startled exclamntlon ! "
' "Oh , God ! It's Paul Cleland ! "
IIo was to all appearances dead.
They raised him up , poured brandy-
and-wnter down his throat , nnd had
at last the satisfaction of hearing hlu
sigh faintly.
( To be continued. )