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Newspaper Page Text
By George A. Baffin.
He crouched in the undergrowth,
cautiously parting the bushes with
one hand to peer out down the moun
tain side. He was a ragged giant of
a man, clean-limbed, yet with a
strange pallor upon bis face. Upon
each wrist, too, were half healed
scars. These had been caused by
the' heroic efforts which he had used
to free himself from his manacles.
But he was free at last. He had es
caped from the state penitentiary
He Was Free at Last.
three weeks before and his pursuers
had never been able to discover his
secret hiding place upon Bear moun
tain. He had heard them seeking for him
eternally; on the very day after his
escape he had come upon one of the
guards dozing under a fir tree. He
had taken his rifle and then, awaken
ing him, scornfully ordered him to
depart. The man had obeyed fear
fully, and the rifle and a box of
matches had enabled the fugitive to
a rabbit or partridge through the val
leys at once informed his pursuers;
ot his whereabouts.
He looked round cautiously. No
one was in sight. High up on the
opposite hill he saw the tiny outlines
of a tiny cabin. It was his sweet
heart's home Mollie Stark's. It was
to avenge an insult to her that he
had shot and crippled Seth Baldwin.
That was two years before, and he
had been sent up for ten. Mollie had
sworn to be true to 'him.
But since his flight he had not
dared go near her home. It was too
desperate a chance to take. But a
visft on his part to the wild glen in
which they had plighted their troth
had resulted in the finding of a pack-
age of food placed there by Mollie. In
it was a little note.
"Dere Ben," it ran. "I hid this and
brout it here thinking you would
come here. Come to the cabbin on
Monday nite at nine. Lovingly, Mol
lie." The full moon gave almost as
much light as the sun. The fugitive
crawled down the slope and ap
proached the opposite height, worm
ing his way up through the ferns and
close-clinging vines. At last he
emerged upon a little rocky eminence
a hundred yards distant from the
cabin. From Millie's window a rag
fluttered. The fugitive understood
that sign. She was alone. Grasping
his rifle he went forward boldly.
He was within ten yards when the
door opened. His heart leaped. Mol
lie stood in the doorway, her arms
outstretched to welcome him. Behind
her was the flickering candle. But as
he drew near, suddenly a sight froze
his blood. The shadow of a man had
passed the candle; another, and an
other. He halted in his- tracks. Be
hind Mollie he saw a rifle barrel.
With an oath he flung back into
the brushwood. He would have fired,
but, treacherous though she was, he
could not bring himself to kill her.
He heard yells behind him, Mollie's
screams, the shouts of his -pursuers,