' AT THE FORGE FIRE
I By H. M. Egbert.
j (Copyright By W. G. Chapman.)
The hunted man" who had
' emerged from the mangrove
' thickets that fringed the road
, stopped, straightened himself
r and passed the sleeve of his
i ragged coat over his eyes to wipe
r away the sweat that blinded him.
, Was Days Since He Had Heard
a Human Voice.
c Not fifty yards ahead he. saw the
red blaze of a smithy fire, its
' bright tongues darting among
the cloud of whirling sparks that
r 'spun like midges in the darkness.
Beside it the black silhouette of a
huge old man bent over the an
vil, the flail-like arms threshing
upon a red-hot shoe.
The hunted man crept forward.
The fine white dust of the roads
had powdered him, ooze from the
lagoons had plastered him, -so
that the pattern of his suit was
indistinguishable. It would have
been hard, too, to tell whether he
was old or young, negro or white.
Though the warm February
night gave pronu'se of a Florida
spring, though he dripped sweat,
the man stretched out his hands
toward the blaze as though to
warm them. What he desired,"
however, unconsciously symbol
ized by the action-, was rather the
warmness of human intercourse.
It was days since he had heard a
At that moment there sounded,
very musical and very far away,
the bay of a hound. The man's
straining ears caught the sound.
He hesitated no longer, but,
gripping his knife, filed from a
soft, iron bar too short for any
other offensive use, he slouched
toward the smithy and peered in
at the door.
"Can you give a' stranger a
shake-down, mister?" he called to
"Come in, friend' answered
the smith, not looking up. "Sit
down before the fire and rest ydu
The man obeyed, taking his
seat in the shadows and pulling
the ragged hat well over his eyes.
"You be from Tampa," friend?"
inquired the smith, pausing in his
Work and looking up for the first
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