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Newspaper Page Text
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By H. M. Egbert
Copyright by JV. G. Chapman.)
"Feeling better, ain't you, pard?"
Jim Syrett nodded curtly. He was
appreciative of the' boys' kindness in
coming up to his shack to see a sick
man, but sometimes he felt too ill to
show his feelings. At such times he
-always said he was better. Although
the boys tried to make him believe
that he would soon be about again,
Jim cherished no illusions on that
"Bill," he said, turning suddenly to
his friend, "I want you to promise me
something. Come and sit with me
when I'm going to cash in."
"You ain't going to cash in in fifty
years," said Bill, unconvinced of his
own statement, nevertheless.
"When you see the white flag flying
from in front of my door, you'll know
what it means," said Jim.
It "was ten days later when Bill, in
the valley, saw the summons. He
hurried up the mountainside. Jim Sy
rett was lying besides the flag; he had
not had strength to return to his bed.
"I'm all in," he said as Bill carried
"Nonsense," said Bill.
The other was steadily growing
weaker. Toward night he opened his
eyes. "Bill," he said, "there's a girl
back east "
"I'll write her, Jim, just to ease
your mind," said his friend.
Jim shook his head and smiled
faintly. "It's better not to," he said.
"Nellie and I were engaged once. I
guess she's got a better man, though.
I always was a waster. But I never
had a chance. Harvard, parents died
when I was a kid, and a capital of
$2,000,000 you know."
Bill nodded, because he had noth
ing to say.
"She said she'd wait for me. But I
was no good. You know what I was
before this sickness started,"
"Never mind," said BilL "You'll be
"I'll be better off soon," replied the
other. "But I wish I'd had a chance.
I wish I'd been poor and decent. I
wish I'd been brought up with Polly.
I don't so much regret never being
able to marry her. I want a good
woman's sympathy. I'd like to be
oh, God, I'd like to be her son!"
He groaned in anguish and remorse.
Presently his eyes closed. For awhile
Bill thought he was sleeping; pres
ently a strange sound from the bed
aroused him. It had grown dark and1
Pr P f f
Saw That His Friend Lay Dead
Bill was dozing unconsciously. He
lit a lamp hastily and saw that his
friend lay dead.. On his face there
was the smile that a happy child
wears at nightfall.
When Bill dressed his friend for
burial he saw a curious stain, a birth-i
mark, extending from the base of the
neck an inch or two in the direction
of the right shoulder.
Polly Raymond looked up from her
letters at the breakfast table with a
cry of distress.