Custer County Republican. (Broken Bow, Neb.) 1882-1921, November 04, 1909, Image 3

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    0vr"MABB > N CBAWTH
BnrnUn , n Tartar ulrl , became enamored
of a golden bearded KtruiiKor who was
prospectlnK and studying herbs. In the
vicinity ot her homo In central Asia , and
rovcnlcd to him the location oC a mine
or rubles hoping that the stranucr would
love her In return for her disclosure.
They were followed to the cave by tlio
' blocked the entrance
Rlrl's relatives , who up
trance , and drew off the water supply ,
'saving the couple to die.
CHAPTER I. Continued.
The traveler fished up the Hack and
waded out upon the tiny beach. He
looked up rather anxiously , though he
could not have seen a head looking
down from above If there had been
any one there. There was not light
enough. He understood also that If
the men were going to shoot at him
from the height they would wait till It
was daylight. Baraka stood still In
the water , which was up to her waist ,
and he paid no attention to her , but
eat down to think what ho should do.
Tlfo night was warm , and his clothes
would dry on him by degrees. He
would have taken them off and spread
them out , for ho thought no more of
Baraka's presence than If she had
been a harmless young animal stand
ing there in the pool , but he could not
tell what might happen at any iuo-
jnent , and so long as he was dressed
and had all his few belongings about
him , ho felt ready to meet fate.
Baraka saw that he did not heed
her , and was thinking. She came up
out of the water very slowly , and she
modestly loosened her wet garment
from her , so that it hung straight
when she stood at the end of the
beach , as far from the traveler as pos
sible. She , also , sat down to dry her
self ; and there was silence for a long
After half an hour the traveler rose
and began to examine the rock , fool
ing it with his hands wherever there
was the least shadow , as high as ho
could reach , to find if there was any
foothold , though he was already sure
that there was not.
"There is no way out , " Baraka said
at last. "I have been here by day. I
have seen. "
"They will let themselves down
from above with ropes' , till they are
near enough to shoot , " the traveler
"No , " replied Baraka. "They know
that you have a good weapon , and
they will not risk their lives. They
will leave us here to starve. That is
what they will do. It in our portion ,
and we shall die. It will be easy , for
there is water , and when we are him-
cry we can drink our nil. You will
die first. You arc not as we are , you
cannot live so long without food. "
The traveler wondered if she was
right , but ho said nothing.
"If we had got out with the treas
ure , " continued Baraka , "you would
have loved me for it , because you
would have been the greatest man in
the world through me. But now , be
cause we must die , you hate me. I
understand. If you do not kill mo
you will die first ; and when you are
dead I shall kiss you many times , till
I die also. It will be very easy. I am
not afraid. "
The man sat quite still and looked
at the dark streak by the edge of the
pool where the water had wet it when
the falling boulder outside had sent in
little waves. He could see it dis
tinctly. Again there was silence fern
n long time. Now and then Baraka
loosened her only garment about her
as she sat , so that it might dry more
quickly ; and she quietly wrung out
her thick black hair and shook it over
her shoulders to dry it , too , and
stuck her two silver pins into the
sand beside her.
Still the traveler sat wiMi bent head ,
gazing at the edge of tUu pool. His
hands were quite dry now , and ho
slowly rubbed the clinging moist.iro
from his revolver. Some men would
have been thinking , in such a plight ,
that if starving were too hard to bear ,
n bullet would shorten their sufferings
in the end ; but this man was very full
of life , and the love of life , and while
ho lived ho would hope.
Ho still watched the same dark
streak where the sand was wet ; he
had not realized that he had been so
far from It till then , but by looking at
It a long time in the starlight his sight
had probably grown tired , so that he
no longer saw It distinctly. Ho raised
himself a little on his hands and
pushed himself down till it was quite
clearly visible again , and he looked at
the rock opposite and up to the stars
again , to rest his eyes. Ho was not
more than a yard from the water no\ > .
The place was very quiet. From far
above a slight draught of air descended ,
warm from the rocks that had been
heated all day In the sun. But there
was no sound except when Baraka
moved a little.
Presently she did not wove anymore
moro , and when the traveler looked ho
saw that she was curled up on the
sand , as eastern women llo when they
sleep , and her head rested on her
. .s hand ; for her garment wan dry now ,
and she was drowsy after .ho wmk
\ nnd the effort she had made. Bo-
Rides , since there was no escape from
death , and as the man did not love
her , she might as well sleep If she
Ho had boon certain of tlio distance
between his feet and the water's edfic
as ho sat ; It had been a yard at the
most. But now It was more ; he was
sure that it was a yard and a half at
the least. Ho rubbed his eyes and
looked hard at the dark belt of wet
sand , and it was twice ns wide as it
had been. The water was still run
ning out somewhere , but it was no
longer running in , and In an hour or
two the pool would ho dry. The trav
eler was something of an engineer ,
and understood sooner than an or
dinary man could have done , that his
enemies had intentionally stopped up
the narrow entrance through which
ho had to como , both to make his es
cape impossible , and to hasten his end
by depriving him of water. The fallen
boulder alone could not have kept out
the overflow of the spring effectually.
They must have shoveled down mass
es ot earth , with the plants that grew
in it abundantly and filled it with
twining threadlike roots , and they
must have skillfully forced quantities
of the stuff into the openings all round
the big stone , making a regular dam
against the spring , which would soon
run down In the opposite direction.
They knew , of course , that Barnku
had led him to the place and had gone
in with him , for she had left all her
outer garments outside , and they
meant that she should die also , with
her secret. In a week , or a fortnight ,
or a month , they would como and dig
away the dam and pry the boulder
aside , and would got in and find the
white bones of the two on the sand ,
after the vultures had picked them
clean ; and they would take the trav
eler's good revolver , and his money ,
He thought of all these tilings as ho
sat there in the dim light , and watched
the slow receding of tlio water-lino ,
and listened to the girl's soft and reg
ular breathing. There was no death
in her dream , as she slepts away the
last hours of the night , though there
might not be many more nights for
her. Ho heard her breath , but ho did
not hood her , for the water was sink
ing before him , sinking away into the
sand , now that it was 110 longer fed
from the opening.
He sat motionless , and his thoughts
ran madly from hope to despair and
hack again to hope. The water was
going down , beyond question ; if it
was merely draining itself through the
sand to some subterranean channel ,
he .was lost , but if it was flowing
away through any passage like the
one by which he had entered , there
was still a chance of escape a very
small chance. When death is at the
gate the tiniest loophole looks wide
enough to crawl through.
Tlio surface of the pool subsided ,
but there was no loophole ; and as the
traveler watched , hope sank in his
heart , like the water in the hollow of
the sand ; but Baralca slept on peace
fully , curled up on her side like a lit
tle wild animal. When the pool was
almost dry the traveler crept down
to tie edge and drank his fill , that he
might not begin to thirst sooner than
need be ; and just then day dawned
suddenly and the warm darkness gave
way to a cool light In a few moments.
Immediately , because It was day ,
Baraka stretched herself on the sand
and then sat up ; and when she saw
what the traveler was doing she also
went and drank as much as she could
swallow , for she had understood why
he was drinking as soon as she saw
that the pool was nearly dry. When
she could drink no moro she looked
up at the roclcs high overhead , and
they wore already white and rod and
yellow in the light of the risen sun ;
for in that country there is no very
long time between dark night and
broad day. ,
Baraka sat down again , on tlio spot
where she had slept , but she said
nothing. The man was trying to dig
a little hole in the wet sand with his
hands , beyond the water that was
still left , for perhaps ho thought that
ir he could make a pit on one side ,
some \vi\t9v would stay in it ; but the
sand ran vOgether as soon as ho
moved it ; and presently , as ho bent
over , he felt that 1m was sinking Into
it himself , and understood that it was
a sort of quicksand that would suck
him down. He therefore threw himself
flat on his back , stretching out his
arms and legs , and , making move
ments as if he were swimming , he
worked his way from the dangerous
place till he was safe on the firm
white beach again. Ho sat up then , and
bent his head till his forehead pressed
on his hands , and ho shut his eyes to
keep out the light of day. He had
not slept , as Baraka had , but he was
not sleepy ; perhaps ho would not bo
able to sleep again before the end
como. Baraka watched him quietly ,
for she understood that ho despaired
of life , and she wondered what lie
would do ; and , besides , ho scorned to
her the most beautiful man in the
world , and she loved him , and she was
going to die with him.
It comforted her to think that no
other woman could got him now. It
was almost worth while to die for that
alone ; for she could not have borne
that another woman should have him
since ho despised her , and If it had
com-j to pass she would have tried to
kill that other. But there was no
danger of such a thing now ; and he
would die first , and she would kiss
him many times when ho was dead ,
and then she would dlo also. ,
Tlio pool was all gone by this time ,
Leaving a Funnel-Shaped Hollow In the Sand.
leaving a funnel-shapped hollow - in
the sand where it had been. If any
water still leaked through from with
out it lost Itself under the sand , and
the man and the girl were at the bottom
tom of a great natural well that was
quite dry. Baraka looked up , and she
saw a vulture sitting in the sun on a
pinnacle , 300 feet above her head. lie
would sit there till she was dead , for
he knew what was coming ; then he
would spread his wings a little and let
himself down awkwardly , half-flying
and half-scrambling. When he had
finished , ho would sit and look at her
bones and doze , till he was able to lly
The hours passed , and the sun rose
higher in the sky and struck deeper
into the shady well , till he was almost
overhead , and there was scarcely any
shadow left. It became very hot and
stifling , because the passage through
which the air had entered with the
water was shut up. Then the traveler
took off his loose jacket , and opened
his flannel shirt at the neck , and
turned up his sleeves for coolness ,
andhe crept backwards Into the hol
low where the ruby mine was , to shel
ter himself from the sun. But Baraka
edged away to the very foot ot the
cliff , where there remained a belt of
shade , even at noon ; and as she sat
there she took the hem of her one
garment in her hands and slowly
fanned her little feet. Neither he nor
she had spoken for many hours , and
she could see that in the recess of the
rock he was sitting as before , with
his forehead against his hands that
wore clasped on his knees , in the at
titude and bearing of despair.
lie began to be athlrst now , in the
heat. If he had not known that there
was no water he could easily have
done without it through a long day ,
but knowledge that there was none ,
and Unit he was never to drink again ,
parched his life and his throat and his
tongue till it foil like a dried fig in his
mouth. He did not fool hunger , and
indeed he had a little food in a wallet
lie carried ; but he could not have eat
en without water , and it did not occur
to him that Baraka might bo hungry.
Perhaps , even if he had known that
she was , ho would not have given her
of what ho had ; he would have kept
it for himself. What was the life of a
wild Mil-girl compared with his ? But
the vulture was watching him , as well
as Baraka , and would not move from
its pinnacle till the end , though days
might pass.
Baraka was not thirsty yet , because
she had drunk her fill in the mornIng -
Ing , and was not used to drink often ;
It was enough that she could look at
the man she loved , for the end would
come soon enough without thinking
about It. All day long the traveler
crouched in the hollow of the ruby
cave , and Baraka watched him Irom
her place ; when it grew dark the vul
ture on the pinnacle of rock thrust Us
ugly head under its wing. As soon as
Baraka could not sco any moro she
curled herself up on the white sand
like a little wild animal and Avent to
sleep , though she was thirsty.
It was dawn when she awoke , and
her linen garment was damp with the
dow , so that the touch of It refreshed
her. The traveler had coino out and
was lying prone on the sand , his face
burled against his arm , as soldiers
sleep In a bivouac. She could not tell
whether ho .was asleep or not , but she
knew that ho could not see her , and
she cautiously sucked the dew from
her garment , drawing it up to her
mouth and squeezing it between her"
It was little enough refreshment ,
but it was something , and she was not
afraid , which made a difference. Just
as she had drawn the edge of. her shift
down and round her ankles again , the
man turned on his side suddenly , and
then , rose to his feet. For an inslanl
he glared at her , and she saw thai
his blue eyes were bloodshot and
burning ; then he picked up the hcav >
camel bag , and began to nmko his
way round what had been tlie beach ol
the pool , towards the passage through
which they had entered , and which
was now a dry cave , wide below , nar
row at the top , and between six 01
seven feet high. Ho trod carefully
and tried his way , for he feared the
quicksand , but he know that there
was none in the passage , since ho had
walked through the water and kad
felt the way hard under his foot. In
a few moments lie disappeared under
the rock.
Baraka knew what he meant to do ;
lie was going to try to dig through the
dam at the entrance to let the water
in , even If ho could not get out ; bul
she did not move , for in that narrow
place and In the dark she could noi
have helped him. She sat and wailed
By and by ho would como out , drcnchoi'
with sweat and yet parching will
thirst , and he would glare at her horribly
ribly again ; perhaps ho would bo mad
when ! fro came out and would kill her
because she had brought him there.
After some time she hoard a very
faint sound overhead , and when nlie
looked up the vulture was gone from
his pinnacle. She wondered at this ,
and her eyes searched every point
and crevice of the rock as far as tine
could see , for she know that the evil
bird could only liavo been frightened
awny ; and though it fears neither
bird nor beast , but only man , she
could not believe that any human be
ing could find a foothold near to
whore it luia perched.
For some seconds , perhaps for a
whole minute , she saw nothing.though , .
she gazed up steadily , then s'lio saw
that n small patch of snowy white was
moving slowly on the face of the cliff ,
at some distance above the place
where the vulture had been. She bent
her brows In the effort to see moro
by straining her sight , and meanwhile
the patch descended faster than it
seemed possible that a man could
climb down that perilous steep. Yet
it was a man , she knew from the first ,
and soon she saw him plainly , In his
loose shirt and while turban , and with
a long gun slung across his back.
Nearer still , and ho was down to the
jutting pinnacle whore the vulture had
sat , and she saw his black board ; still
nearer by a few feet and nho know
him , and then her glance darted to
thti mouth of the cave , at the other
end of which the man aho loved was
tolling desperately nlono in the dark
to pierce the dam of earth and stones.
It was only a glance , In a second of
time , but when she looked up the
black-beared man had already niado
another stop downwards. Baraka
measured the distance. If ho spoke
loud now she could understand him.
She know him well , and she know why
ho had como , with hi long gun. Ho
was her father's brother's son , to
whom Hho was betrothed ; ho was
Saad , and ho was risking his life to
come down and kill her and the man
whom she had led to the ruby mines
for love's sake.
Ho would come down till ho was
within easy range , and then ho would
wait till ho had a fair chance nt them ,
whi'ii they wore standing still , and she
knew that he was n dead shot. The
traveler's revolver could never carry
as far as the long gun , Baraka was
sure , and Saad could como quite near
with safety , since ho seamed able to
climb down the face of a Hat rock
where there was not foothold for a
cat. Ho was still descending , he was
getting very near ; If the traveler were
nut \\nrncd ho might como out of the
cave unsuspiciously and Saad would
shoot him. Saad would wish to shoot
him first , because of his revolver , and
then ho would kill Hnrakn at his
leisure. If he fired at her first the
traveler would have a chance at him
\\hilo. ho was reloading his old gun.
She understood why ho had not killed
her yet , If Indeed ho wanted to , for It
was barely possible that ho loved her
enough to take her alive.
Alter hesitating for a few moments ,
not from fear but in doubt , she gath
ered herself to spring , and made a
dash like an antelope along the sand
for the mouth of the cave , for she
knew that Saad would not risk wast
ing his shot on her while she was run
ning. She stopped just under the
shelter of the rock and called Inward :
"S/tnd is coming down the rock with
his gun ! " she cried. "Load your
weapon ! "
" \Vhon she had given this warning
she went out again and stood before
the mouth of tlio cave with her back
to It. Saad was on tlio rock , not fill
foot above the ground , at the other
side of the natural wall , but loolved
as if even he could get no farther
down. He- was standing with both his
heels on a ledge so narrow that moro
than half the length of his brown feet
stood over it ; he was loaning back ,
fiat against the sloping cliff , and he
had his gun before him , for lie was
just able to use both his hands with
out falling. Ho pointed the gun at her
and spoke :
"Where is the man ? "
"Heis dead , " Baraka answered
without hesitation.
"Dead ? Already ? "
" 1 killed him in Ills sleep , " she said ,
"and I dragged his body Into the cave
for fear of the vulture , and buried it
In the sand. He not angry , Saad ,
though he was my father's guest.
Como down hither and I will lull all.
Then you shall shoot mo or take mo
home to bo your wife , ns you will , for
I am quite innocent. "
She meant to entice him within
range of the stranger's weapon.
"There is no foothold whereby to
get lower , " he answered , but ho
rested the stock of his gun on tlio nar
row lodge behind him.
"Drag out the man's body , that I
may see it. "
"I tell you I hurled it. I killed him
the night before last ; 1 cannot dig him
up now. "
"Why did you run to the mouth of
the cave when you saw mo , if the man
Is dead ? "
"Because at first I was afraid you
would shoot mo from above , therefore
I took nheltcr. "
"Why did you como out again , if
you wore In fear ? "
"After I had run in I was ashamed ,
for I felt sure that you would not kill
mo without hearing tlio truth. So I
came out to speak with you. Got
down , and I will show you tlio man's
grave. "
"Have I wings ? 1 cannot como
down. It is impossible. "
, , Baraka felt a puff of hot air pass
her , just above her right ankle , and
at the Eiimo Instant she heard a sharp
report , not very loud , and moro like
the snapping of a strong but very dry-
stick than the explosion of firearms.
She Instinctively sprang to the loft ,
keeping her eyes on Saad.
For a moment he did not move. But
ho svas already dead as ho slowly bent
forward from the rock , making a
deep obeisance with both arms gaug
ing down before him , so that his body
shot down perpendicularly to the
Look Well to the Kitchen i
V/rlter In Houston Post Comes For
ward with Variations on Old
Theme of "Feeding the Brute. "
There Is a great deal In the old sayIng -
Ing that the way to a man's heart is
through his stomach. If ho isn't well
fed ho Is going to glvo trouble. Feed
the old brute well and lot him smoke
In the hoiiKO and ho will bo as tame
as the family horse , hut bo careless
about his food and ho is apt to swear
and cut up Ilko a balky tsuo. There
fore , it is wlso for overr eirl to look
well to her kitchen education. It Is
true that man is hooked In the par
lor , but it is the kitchen that enables
you to hold him.
A kitchen is to.tho homo what the
engine-room Is to a power plant or a
sand , where It struck head first , rolled
over and lay motionless In a heap.
The traveler's was n Mauser pistol
that would have killed as surely at
500 yards as GO ; and the bullet had
gone through the Tartar's brain.
Baraka sprang up the sandy slope
and ran along the narrow beach to tlio
body. In an Instant she had detached
the largo brown water-gourd from the
thong by which ho It had hung over
Saad's shoulder , and she felt that It
was full. Without a thought for her
self she hastened back to the mouth
of the cave where the traveler was
now standing. His face was dripping
with porspiratlon that ran down Into
his matted golden beard , his eyes
were wild , his hands were bleeding.
"Drink ! " cried Baraka joyfully , and
she gave him the gourd.
Ho gripped it as a greedy dog snnpa
at a bit of meat , and pulling out the
wooden plug ho sot the gourd to his
lips , with an expression of beatitude.
But ho was an old traveler and only
drank a little , knowing that his llfo
might depend on making the muall
supply last. A gourd of water was
worth moro than many rubles just
"Aro you very thirsty yet ? " ho
asked In a harsh voice.
"No , " answered Baraka bravely ;
"keep it for yourself. "
Ills hand closed round the nock ot
the gourd and ho looked up towards
the rocks above. Tlio vulture had
como back and was circling , slowly
"You had hotter bury the body ,
while I go on working , " said the trav
eler , turning back into tlio cave and
taking tlio gourd with him.
Baraka had marked the place where
ho had tried to dig fo water and had
almost disappeared In the quicksand.
She took from tlio body the wallet , in
which were dates and some half-dry
bread , and then dragged and pushed
and rolled the dead man from the
place whore he had fallen. The vul
ture sat on the lowest leilgo where
his clawn could find a hold , and
though ho watched her with horrible
red eyes while she robbed him of his
prey , ho did not dare go nearer.
The body sank Into the moving ,
sand , and Baraka had to roll herself
back to firmer ground in haste to 'es
cape being swallowed up with the
dead man. Tlio last she raw of him
was ono brown foot sticking up. It
sank slowly out of sight , and then she
wont to the hollow where tlio ruby
mlno was and took up a piece of tlio
broken crust , full of precious stones ,
and throw it at the vulture as hard an
she could. It did not hit him , hut heat
at once tumbled off the ledge into the
air , opened his queer , bedraggled
wings and struck upwards.
Then Barakn sat down in the slmdo
and slowly brushed away the dry sand
that had got into the folds of her lin
en garment , and looked steadily at the
mouth of tlio cave and tried not to
realize that her throat was parched
and her lips almost cracking with
thirst , and that the traveler had a-
gourd almost full of water with him.
For she loved him , and was willing to
die that he might live a little longer ;
besides , if ho succeeded in digging bin
way out , there would bo plenty to
drink , and when he was free she was
sure that ho would love her because
she had made him so rich.
Tlio sun rose higher and at last
shone down to the bottom of the
chasm , and she sat in the narrow strip
of shade , where she had passed most
of the previous day. She was very
thirsty and feverish , and felt tired ,
and wished she could sleep , but could
not. Still the traveler toiled in the
darkness , and from time to time she
heard sounds from far away as oC
stones and loose earth falling. Ho wan
still working hard , for ho was very
strong and ho was desperate.
Baraka thought that if he was able
to dig through the dam the water
would run In again , and she watched
the sand for hours , but it was drier
than over. Tlio shadow broadened
again , and crept up the rock quickly
as the afternoon passed.
locomotive to a train. If things go
wrong in the engine-room , there's the
dovll to pay. If the locomotive is out
of fix , the train must bo switched to
the siding. If the kitchen is not coin-
potently and efficiently conducted the
old man will fiy off at a tangent and
possibly swear where the children can
near him. Moreover , ho IB apt to find
excuses to cat down town where pret
ty girls with white , Huffy-fringed
aprons , dimples , ribbons and things
do the ha&h-sllnslng. Houston Post
Would Cut a Splurge.
"If. " says the Alfalfa Siigo , "I over
become wealthy the first thine I will
do will be to purchase the biggest
touring car in town , and the second
thing will be to purchase two more. "