Newspaper Page Text
chief. His eyes met those of Miss
Tappan. Half-sobered, as" he sat up
he scowled at his grave-faced nurse.
''Let me out!" growled Jud gruffly,
"Just one" word first," spoke Miss
Tappan. !TJo you know; what I have
been thinking of as I watched your1
face in all its shame and misery?"
Jud did not reply. He lurched in
trying to. steady himself. He "hung
his head, trying to down 'the better
self aroused at the contact of
womanly purity and grace.
"I was thinking of your mother,"
almost whispered the lady. "I was
wondering if she was longing to see
her wandering boy tonight."
Jud broke past her as if she had
applied a stinging whiplash. Mother
home the past! As if pursued, he
made for the tavern. Glum," quarrel
some, dangerous, he stood at the
bar until He went dawn in a dead
stupor, and some of his friends car
ried him home;;
It was a question of varied discus
sion, the weeks after that, what had
come over Jud Ransom. For one
thing his fall seemed to, have had
something to do with a.change.in his
usual daring, roystering disposition.
He lay in a weak, dumpish daze.
When he got about he evaded hfs old
comrades, did no work and wandered
about in solitary places. He got-, so
he could not sleep. .(One- evening he
bought a big jug bf liquor and set
about drowning out his tormenting
thoughts. It was of ,no avail. The
more he drank the more wretched,
he got. His disarranged nerves-refused
leader of 'the, camp. &e felt himself
becoming aJweakling. Bravado and
recklessness were . gone. . Young,
powerful framed as he was, nature
was exacting her fee. A friend told
him it was what was called "a
nervous breakdown," and one dark
night Jud left the Gap a broken
He 'got as far as Higbee, but
change, did not down the mental
arousing caused ,by the- haunting,
words of Miss -Tappan. His mother,
had been dead for two years, ut air,
ways her sad, reproachful presence,
was. with him. Once he went to- a.
lonely, ravine and drew out his re
volver to end it all. A gentle, unseen,
hand seemed to move it aside. Be
sides, he felt a coward.
He had to keep going, nerve lost
ornot, he told .himself . A prospect-,
ing company offered him a grubstake
to try and locate new claims. Jud
had been educated as a mining en
gineer., That had drifted him west.
He took up. the work offered. He
turned in one or two fair prospects.
One day he came back from the bills
alive with suppressed excitement,
tidied up the best'he knew how, and
went to the Tappan home.
He had tried to evade Miss Tappan .
since he, Bad been located at 'Higbee;
it stirred himup- to meet her. She
greetedShim; always with a friendly
"smile. The last time she had stopped
to shake hands with him and asked
pleasantly as to how he was getting
on. One night Jud bad stolen into a
back seat at, a temperance meeting.
Hehbped she" had not seen him and
left,, swiftly and quietly.
It was she who met him, at the door
as he asked for Judge Tappan. She
looked interested as she took him to
"I'm a square man, Judge," said
Judjtrtuntly. "You know I've been
locating prospects for those eastern
people. Yesterday I ran across a rich
tone and I thought I had good news
for my crowd, when I found this,"
and he produced a- piece of ore. 1
"It's.-ricb all right," observed the
Judge. " Where did.it come from ? ' '
"The ravine end. of your claim," re
plied Jud promptly. "I reckon, I've'
found the lost vein of" your Lfttle
Jeyfel mine." N . ,
He had, and proved it next day, and
became tie partner of the Judge in.
-working it. Hope, hard work and
sobriety did .wonders du the next;