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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 22, 1892)
THE HESPERJ AN
toiling struggling mass of mon- and teams
below. A hundred times the scenes of tho
night had passed before hirn us he stood that
day trimming down tho slope of tho cut with
his pick. Ho had told himself, over and
over, as ho worked, tho awful story of his
crime. His mind dwelt feverishly on every
ghastly particular. Ho shrunk from it all
as ho would have shrunk from a corpse as
ho would have shrunk from that corpse that
ho knew was lying so deep under tho em
bankment of tho Big Fill; and yet ho saw a
dead man's face in evorv stone that ho sent
whirling down tho slope; he noted every
load of rock that was unloaded where he
know ho had laid tho body. He could al
most feel the weight of the embankment on
his own heart. The thought stifled him.
"Oh, my God, I can think of nothing else,
It had been a hot day in tho Big Cut.
All day the yellow sun had glared through
the cloud of yellow dust that hung over tho
weary teamsters as they followed their loads
of broken rock in and out, in and out, from
the Big Cut to the Big Fill. Tho dust
dropped in a yellow stream from the wheels.
It worked its way into the hubs and set
every wheel to creaking. It filled tho un
kept beards of the men and hung from their
eye-brows. Everybody, everything, if
changed to the same monotonous yellow.
The mules moved aimlessly along, unmind
ful of the profanity of their drivers. Tho
driver of tho plow team had sworn himself
hoarse at tho string of fourteen- mules that
he drove. The dust seemed to deaden every
sound, save the monotonous creak of the
wheels, and the persistent dint, dint, of the
drill in the end of the cut. "It will be a
big shot to-night," muttered Olof, turning
to his work.
He cursed himself for his cowardice.
Was not the body safe? Tho dead man had
been almost a stranger to the rest of tho
camp. No one would ever discover tho
murder. No one would ever know of it but
himself. Ay, that was the horror of it.
He had killed men before, but not secretly.
Others had known of it; others had thought
of it. But this! No one knew it. No ono
would ever know it. It was his secret, his
alone. Tho thought was sickening.
And it had all been so easy! As easy as
in a dream. He had expected a fierce strug
gle for life, but the man had fallen lifeless
at the merest touch of the pick handle. Ho
had expected curses, but the man had lain
so still and calm! The peaceful face of the
dead man haunted him. He could see it
wherever he looked. It was in tho sky. It
was in the setting sun. It smiled back at
him from the face of tho cut. He clasped
his hands over his eyes. In vain! The
face was before him clearer than over.
The sun was sinking behind the top of the
Big Cut. The foreman's cheery cry of
"All out," mingled with tho discordant
braying of tho mules comes up to him from
below. He works on. Tho merry chime
from the great triangle in front of the cook's
tent is calling the men to supper, but still he
works on. The cry of "Firo" arouses him.
Ho sees the men that have waited to light
the fuses running for shelter from the rocks
that the explosion will soon send screaming
through the air. He crawls down among
the fuses, that are sending up little spurts of
blue flame. Their light flickers upon his
face as ho kneels among them. It is drawn
and set as if ho wore facing a strong wind.
"That shot," observes the foreman as the
roar dies away in tho distance, "that shot
ought to give us enough material to complete
the Big Fill." D. N. Leiimeu.
The AwKward Squad.
The chief argument in favor of drill, in an edu
cational institution, is, that a few yeais of military
training will give exercise to those who would
otherwise have none, and gracelulness to many
who have exchanged the plough handle for the
cane. This is a good ground upon which to base
an arbitrary rule, requiring drill. If any are in
clined to doubt the truth of this assertion, let
them take a look at the awkward squad, and for
ever after hold their peace. One careful observa
tion of a company of new recruits will settle all
doubts as to their need of exercise and of grace
fulness. There is no amusement more conducive
to good nature, than to watch the future protec-
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