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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 5, 1904)
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5, ooo Reward.
The railroad company will pay five
thousand dollars for any Information
which will lead to the arrest of tho
person or persons, who held up the east
bound midnight express, threo miles
west of , Iowa, on the night of
tho first of Juno, 1878."
This notice appeared In all tho lead
ing Journals of tho country shortly af
ter tho hold-up occurred.
Tho hoat of a July day had becomo
oppressive, and about the mlddlo of
tho aftornoon, after making a hurried
inspection of the hoist to see that
everything was In running ordej, I loft
the hot, close building with Its smell
of oil, and clank of machinery, and
taking a narrow foot path which led
around the baso of a stoop hill, soon
lost myself In tho deep, cool shadow
of tho tall pines. I chose a secluded
Bpot at tho foot of a great tree, and
lay down on tho now, sweet scented
plno needles which strewed the ground,
and gazed up into tho clear blue sky,
feeling at peace with all tho world.
Light fleecy clouds floated across the
face of tho sun, casting strange, fleet
ing shadows on tho hill-side. Between
the trunks of tho groat pines, I could
catch a glimpse of tho hill which rode
directly opposite mo In all the light
and shadow of its gay summer attire.
Tho light groon of tho over-quaking
aspen, which faded Into tho darker
color of tho wlld-chorry, and hazel
and which In turn was absorbed by
tho dark, heavy green of the pines.
The warning bell in tho hoist clanged
sharply and after a moment's pause.,
tho sharp, clear cut puff of tho ex
haust could bo heard thorugh the still
aftornoon air. I heard tho sound of
footsteps and of some ono whistling
softly a popular air on tho path be
hind mo. and I turned about to see
a woll- (Tressed man who had paused
and was looking at me with a quizzical
studying air as though ho would read
mo through and through at first glance.
Ho was a tall man, wearing a
smooth face. His features were clear
and good, from tho top of his stylish
derby to tho sole of his well-fitting
nvfordH. ho was well dressed, and my
mind immediately pondered on the
question of hlB being In this small, out
of tho way corner of tho world, possibly
In search of health from tho pure ox
hlllaratlng air. Surely his appearance
was not averso to tho solution, but in
tho meanwhile, horo ho was. So I
broke tho Bllonco with a cheerful salu
tation. Ho answered mo with alacrity
and camo forward.
"Beautiful littlo spot," he remarked,
as he seated himself upon tho ground
at my Invitation.
"Yes, rather," I responded, "but one
grows weary of It; too monotonous."
"Monotonous," he exclaimed. "Why
it seems to mo to bo constantly chang
ing. First the delicate suggestion of
-the spring, then tho lull blown beauty
of the summer, followed by tho Bcarlet
and yellow and brown extremes, and
lastly tho cold, still, whiteness of win
ter. Ono hardly dees onought of each
season to bo tlresom. Beautiful,," he
continued to himself, gazing around.
I gazed at him In somo astonishment.
What was this that had so mysterious
ly como upon me to teach mo tho beau
ty of myTilready well appreciated sur
"Been hero long?" I asked, after, a
He gave mo a quick, shafp look.
"No," ho answered, with some re
serve, "I arrived yesterday."
Again a long pause, during which the
warning boll In' tho hoist clanged
Bharply.' Ho turned his head and lis
tened a moment to the -"puff," "puff,"
of tho exhaust.
"Must ho a mine near here," he said.
"Yes," I answered, "tho ,,Holy Ter
ror, just around the brow of the hill."
"You connected with It?"
I acknowledged that I was foreman
of tho mill, and watched with wonder
a look of strange relief pasB over his
Tho hot aftornoon had gradually
worn away as we sat there, the sup
had climbed higher and higher up tho
opposite . hill and a cool breeze came
down tho narrow valley.
"You Btaylng In town?" I askod,
nodding in the direction of a clustor
of small houses which bore the awo
Inspiring namo, of "Witch Hollow."
"Why, yes," ho answered. "Tho
namo rather attracted me and I thought
I might find a rostlng place horo."
"Sure a jjood placo to rest," I re
plied lightly, "If that Is what you
I aroao'and began brushing the pine
needles from my clothes as the hoist
whlstlo Bcreamod out tho hour of six.
I turned to my companion and held out
my hand. "If wo are to walk to town
together we might as well know each
other's names. 'Mine is Williams,
His reply rather staggorod me.
"You look llko ono who tended his
own business and let other people
tond theirs. Mine is Wats, John Wats."
Wo shook hands In silenco, thereby
binding a friendship. The end and out
come of which wo either of us little
Summer had given placo to bright,
many colored autumn, which was be
ginning to lose its brilliancy and the
first advances of rude winter" were be
ginning to bo noticeable, but still Wats
remained in Witch Hollow.
Speculations as to IiIb past and pres
ent life, his object In coming to such
an out of the way mining camp had
long Binco boon abandoned as fruIt-4
leBs, for as ono of tho men about the
mine had said:
"You might as well try to mine gold
In a pine tree as to get any Informa
tion out of Wats."
Despite his great reserve and mys
terious past, for ho certainly had one,
thlB strange man and myself had be
como fast friends. I found him to bo
tho possessor of no mean education
He had traveled far and seen and
learned many things of the varied ways
and habits of that most interesting ani
mal, man. Upon his travels he talked
with perfect freedom, and very enter
tainingly, but any attempt of mine
to draw from him any history of his
past life were repulsed with a kind
firmness which showed them to be fu
tile. The one day In the week which
I had off duty we alwayB spent to
gether, sometimes wandering over tho
hills, sometimes reading together in a
quiet spot, like children, laying on our
backs in the soft plno needles, build
ing great castlos in tho white cloudB
that floated over our heads.
Wo were returning one Sunday after
noon from ono of these walks, when an
Incident occurred which though It may
Eeem trifling, has boon strongly im
pressed upon my memory, because in
It I now serf tho beginning of a most
mysterious ending. Tho track of the
railroad which ran through tho town
made an abrupt turn around the brow
of a hill, Just boforo entering the Witch
Hollow, leaving only a small stretch
of track vlBiblo from the station to the
turn. Wats and I descended the hill
Just below tho. curve and walked to
wards tho track. I was a littlo In tho
lead, and had just placed a foot be
tweon the rails, when Wats seized me
and jerked me back violently.
"Are you stone deaf?" ho said, some
what angrily, as I recovered myself.
"Not that, I know of," I retorted.
"Well you must be, If you didn't hear
that train," ho Bald smilingly.
By this time the train had had plen
ty of time to round the curve, but no
"You must have been dreaming?" I
said, laughing. "There wnajnc-. train,
and besides, It's not train time lor two
I glanced at Wats. Ho had grown
pale and his oyes were riveted on tho
"Como old man," I Bald, lightly.
"Wako up, Wake up!"
He' turned quickly, and tried to
smile. "I must have been mistaken,"
he said In a low voice. "But I cer
tainly heard that train. I certainly
The following day the hoisting en
gine at tho mino broke down, and 1
was kept very busy for the best part ot
the week, during which time I saw
nothing of Wats. On Friday night he
sent' for mo. I found him In his room,
confined tp his bed with an attack of
Now I had seen, mountain fever be-r
fore and knew what It meant, espe
cially to a man like Wats, unused to
tho country, so, as things wore run
ning smoothly at ,tho hoist, I deter
mined to lay off for a few weeks, and
nurse this case myself. Tho physician
employed by tho company for which
I worked was a good one, and I hoped
(Continued on page 6.)
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