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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 14, 1903)
ttbe alls tflebraeltan
&Cervy $im and the "Belt SMan
"So Jim Lnndon'B dead!" exclaimed
the old timer, as he laid aside Ms news
paper and gazed vacantly at the faces
"Yes, poor Jim's Rone," he con
tinued In response to their exclama
tions of Inquiry. "Game feller him.
Wouldn't swaller a bluff, no matter
who Berved It up. Never hunted for
trouble, Jim didn't, but when a man
stepped on his toes once no wouldn't
never care to try It again. Yes, Jim
was a game little man who waren t
afraid to hilx It up with the old var
mit hlBBcIf. And he wasn't no taller
than a fourteen-year-old kid, and he
had a waist like a girl's. He used to
be marshal In my town when I lived
over In Iowa ten years ago. Jim kept
the peace pretty well and made the
people respect him a whole sight more
than the law he represented. Yes, we
had a pretty quiet run of things, till
that electric belt guy struck the town.
"That feller drove in one day in a
shack of a rig and anchored hlsself in
the center of the square, and bellowed
away as if someone was drlvln' nallB
Into the top of his head. Well, of
course, the folks all went yawpln' up
like blamed foolB to see what's the dis
turbance. Then he begun the most
thunderln' spiel, and took 'em all In
like a toad swallerln' files.
"It came about In this here fashion.
After he had got the whole -crowd
around him, he opened a trunk and
hauled out an electric belt. He held it
up for a minute, then broke loose with
a rather stunnln' proposition.
" 'Some folks say I'm crazy.' he said,
' 'cause I've got my own peculiar way
of doln' business, but I don't happen to
know of any better way of disposing of
money than by giving It to them who
"Then he stopped for a moment and
looked around to see what the folks
Beemed to think of It. Well, that
crowd was as still as If thoy was at
tendln' a funeral. They Just stood there
as If they was expectln" a benediction.
And the fellor hlsself! I'll admit my
own feelln's were a little mussed up,
as I watched him. There he stood, a
towerln' above the crowd like a cotton
wood In a clump of cedars. And I can
say fer certain that I never yet Been
a man who could match him for size.
He was all of six and a half feet tall
and weighed every bit of 250 pounds.
He stood there as cool as a man In a
steam-heated room, with a cunnln'
slick Bmlle a playln' about the corners
of hla mouth. The whole look of the
man set me agin him at once, and yet
there was Bomethln' fasclnatln' about
him. It was a creepy, sickly sort of
fascination, and though 1 couldn't help
feelln' that his next move would be a
wicked one, I Just stood there and
stared with the rest of 'em. He had
some sort of a queer lookln' search
gllm Btuck In hla neck-tie that glinted
In ugly green flashes and glared In a
sullen sort of way I'll never forget.
My eyes were glued on the cussed
thing, and It seemed that I didn't have
no-power to tear 'em away. I was a
feelln' rather numb In the top story,
when all to a sudden that feller let out
a shriek that could a been heard five
miles out in the country.
"'Come on! Come on!" he roared.
'I haven't no time to waBte. Who
wants a belt? Nudge up and get one.
A dollar apiece!'
"A farmer standln' below him made
the first break. Then a startlln' thing
happened. The cuss gave the old hay
seed a belt; and not only that ho
wrapped a paper dollar around the
sliver one and handed that back along
with the belt. Another guy tried his
luck and got tho same treatment. Sev
eral more tried It and quit a belt and
a dollar ahead. But It was pretty plain
that the cusb had some sort of a scheme
fermentln In his head, for he didn't
look exactly like a saint. It was mys
tlfyin' for certain. Well, he served
'em up to about a dozen. Then ho fired
some quarters Into the crowd, and by
thks time they was all crazy.
"You never saw such a pack of con
sarned fools! Why, they all made a
grand rush to see which could get
pinched the worst. They Jumped up on
the steps and stood on the spokes of
the wheels, so as to attract hiB atten
tion and shell out their dollars. It was
all done In two minutes. They had
fired their dollars like a hired man
shovellln' snow when the boss' around.
But all to a sudden they got a prettv
powerful Jolt. The feller had for some
reason or other run out of wrappln'
paper, but anyhow they was all gettln'
their belts without any extras. There
came a sort of a BUdden stop, and then
the crowd was on to the game and
raised a howl. But It was too late.
The guy raked the dollars Into his
pocket; then he eyed them a moment,
a takln' their measure and makln'
ead to spring his bluff.
"By this time the folks were pretty
well on their ears, and were squealln'
like a pig with hiB head caught In the
fence. They wasn't goln' to stand for
no Biich treatment, and commenced to
cubs In solid fashion, and it looked as
If somethin' would soon be doin'. They
were pretty badly worked up and com
menced to close In on the feller. But
he reckoned that it was about time to
call a halt. And I guess he did it.
Whlppln' out a six-shooter, he laid
down the law to 'em. The crowd didn't
lose no time In tumblin' back and each
man tried to get farthest away. The
feller smiled and lit a cigar. The game
was all his way Then he roasted 'em.
" 'You're a gang of sneakln' coyotes,'
he said, 'a tryln' to run an honest man
into the ground when he's doln' an
honest business. Supposln' I did give
away a few shin-plasters, hasn't a man
got a right to show his good will? 1
gave you your belts, so what more
could you ask, seeln' I didn't agree to
do more. I'm runnln' a straight busi
ness, and If any of you fellers intend
foolin' with me, you'd better get your
"The feller stood there as big as a
lord, and no one cared to tackle him
He'd have got clean away with his
bluff if Jim Landon hadn't happened
along. The feller was a standln' there
with a devilish, exasperatln' grin on
his ugly face, a polntln' that gun of
his around In the crowd, and our nerves
were worked up to a thunderln' high
pitch, when all of a sudden there came
a commotion. Next moment we were
all gapln' at Jim Landon, the little
town marshal, who was cuttin' his way
through to the main attraction.
"The feller seen him comin', but
didn't seem a bit mussed up about it.
He stood there puffin' at his cigar and
waltln' to Bee what Jim had on tap.
Jim didn't keep him waltln' long, but
waded right up and stated his business:
" 'Put up that gun,' he said. Tvp
got a bill against you. Fakirs can't
run skin games In this town without
a license. So fork over ten dollars
and get out of town.
"Well, that was a stunner. We Just
pretty near keeled over with astonish
ment. And the big cuss hlsself he
well nigh tumbled, but plckin' hieself
together again, he simply exploded.
WHEN WILLIE CAME TO SCHOOL.
Number II of a series of seven cartoons on The Adventures of Freshman
Some one lets It out that Willie's Pa Is the owner of a patent churn fac
tory, and he Is Immediately Bought after by the various fraternities.
" 'Do you think I'll be run out by a
kid?' he snarled. 'Do you think I'll
whack up and get out for every
blamed strlplln' that tells me to?'
Then he did Eomc fancy swearln'.
Finally he straightened up and covered
Jim with his gun.
"Jim was ready for him, and yanked
out his '32.' Drawin' a bead on him,
1 e slarted in :o lay down th law.
" 'Blaze away, you sneakln' copper
head, if you dast,' he said. 'I'm none
afraid of you If you don't make a
mighty quick hustle at droppln' that
gun I'll perforate your hide so bad that
is won't be At to sell.'
"It was plain to Bee that Jim meant
It. H1b jaws was set like a bull-dog's
and there was a look In his eye that
showed he was out for busineBS. The
big cuss was up against It for once In
his life and he was the first to realize
It. After all he was the yellowest cow
ard that ever abused the privilege of
livln'. Why, his knees just shook as he
looked at the muzzle of Jim's gun, and
It was plain to see that he had found
more than he was prepared to meet.
Then he smiled sort of sickly like and
started to explain:
" 'Just a little good-natured fun,' he
said. Only my own peculiar way of
doing business. Wouldn't harm no one.'
"But Jim was In no mood for lls
tenln' to explanations. He made the
big cuss climb down, and collarln' him,
he marched him off to jail, to await
trial for reslstln' an officer. And the
crowd went mad with yellln'. Now
that all danger was over they wasn't
so mum. And you bet they didn't spare
their lunga In cheerln' for Jim, either.
That was his triumph, and he deserved
"Yes, the little cubs was nervy, but
he'B met a feller that no one can bluff.
Old Death's a hard 'un to deal with,
and poor Jim has knuckled under at
bfcl." R. O. J
! ! ! .;. t ;. ; .. .;, .; ; .;. .; ,.
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