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Newspaper Page Text
was buttercups, then violets, then
May apples. The morning dew held
their freshness and she guessed the
donor, who had rambled the woods
in the early dawn to procure these
Tim did not impose upon their
kindness by calling again, but they
heard that he had been ordered away
from the isolated timber town and
He left behind him a vivid memory,
however. In that hour when he had
been the guest of little Nellie he had
filled the child's mind with new
thoughts of nature. Tramp, derelict
as he was, poor Tim would have been
a poet had not strong drink wrecked
his life. His ardent listener had in
spired him to dilate on the symbolism
and romantic beauties of the wild
wood. For weeks Nellie talked of him, her
head full of flower fairies, dew dia
monds, starshine pyxies, all the
quaint conceits on which Tim had
dreamed in his long rambles in the
woods. The wild flowers had helped
the illusions until they ceased to'
It was three months later, and
falling leaf and faded flower had suc
ceeded to the opulent bloom of the
rich forest land. The little isolated
settlement among the pineries was
dozing daily in the haze of the smoke
film borne down upon them lightly
but warningly from the usual wood
fires to the north.
Life went on in its .usual monoto
nous routine at Woodville. There
was constant discussion of the big
forest fires, but they had been hither
to evaded or diverted. Mr. Burton
came into the house late one after
noon with a rather serious face.
"There won't be much sleep around
here tonight," he observed. "Noticed
the stray cinders in the air?"
"All day long." replied his wife "U
is the change of wind," I suppose "
"With the big Badger torest in
front of it, blazing our way and com
ing fast," declared Burton alarmingly.
"Why, that is near," began Mrs.
"So near that we'll have to fight it
out or get it out when it strikes us
tonight," was the ominous reply.
"She went off to the south woods
after flowers," replied Mrs. Burton.
"She ought to be home,'1 said the
husband, and when it began to get on
toward dusk he started out to hunt
There was a double alarm for the
solicitous parents as darkness came
down. No trace could be discovered
of the missing child. Over this the
Burtons were frantic. The forest
two miles to the north were all ablaze
and the sky red as blood, the air
heavy with smoke and cinders.
Mounted runners sent out to the
north returned with the intelligence
that the flames would be upon the
town within two hours. There was
but one course of action open to flee
the town and take to the lake a mile
to the east.
Friendly neighbors had joined in
the search for little Nellie. The woods
to which she had gone were in the
direct path of the fire. They had to
return to the settlement after a vain
quest to arrange for their own safety
in flight. Burton intrusted his wife
to their care. He renewed his search
for little Nellie alone. The next morn
ing, after a desperate retreat mile
by mile from the fire, he crawled out
from a quagmire where he had been
forced to take refuge, and over which
the flames had jumped to seize upon
more combustible material beyond.
The Burtons, husband and wife,
took up life's burdens anew, bereaved
and depressed. They had found no
trace of their lost darling in the burnt
over area. Their home had been only
partly burned down, as with some
other buildings in the settlement.
Submissively, but with heavy hearts
they set to work to make a new
The village cemetery had suffered
no great devastation. At the- en'd" of