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cation to saddle lhs horse and ride
down into the valley. He and the
boy became fast friends. But Leila
was as Indifferent to him as to the
Perhaps Jim would never have
found the opportunity he craved of
becoming her friend," but for an acci
dent. The bqy was straying on the
railroad embankment in search of
birds' eggs. His mother was with
him, but seated a little distance be
hind the rise. Jim, watching them
impatiently from the other side,
knew that the afternoon train was
Becoming uneasy, he hurried
across the valley. He was just on
the opposite ridge when he heard the
train in the distance. The sound,
which burst forth suddenly as the
train came out of the tunnel, startled
the boy, perched on a ledge. He lost
his footing and fell 20 feet, to lie un
conscious across the metals. At the
same time the mother rose, discov
ered him and screamed.
Jim plunged down the steep- em
bankment, seized the boy,- snatched
him from the metals and cowered
with him against the cliff, while .the
train went sweeping by, so near that
the draft almost blew him from
where he had planted himself. After
ward the boy opened his eyes.
The distracted mother kneeled be
fore Jim with her hands clasped.
"How can I thank you?" she cried.
"He is everything I have, everything
in the world to me."
"Be my friend," said' Jim holding
out his hand.
That was Jim's chance. Friend
ship ripened. One day he asked her
to become his wife. Then the strange
look of fear that he knew so well
came into her eyes.
"No, you must not ask me that,"
she said. "I shall never marry again."
And, seeing Jim's distress, she added:
"I will tell you the truth. I am a
runaway wife. I cannot speak ill of
my husband now. I could have borne
'with his infidelities, with his abuse, 1
but I did not want my boy to grow
up to be like him."
It was weeks afterward that she
told him all. Her husband was a
wealthy man in Omaha. When she
found that she could no longer en
dure life with him she had run away,
penniless, save for her railroad
ticket He had one redeeming qual
ity he loved his son. On this ac
count she knew he would leave no
stone unturned to find them.
Jim went away, sorrowing. He
knew now that she could never be
his. For she shrank instinctively, he
felt without asking, from the public
ity of djvorce. Besides, to seek di
vorce would be to put' her husband
on her trail. She wanted to let the
years roll between them, creating an
ever widening barrier, until she felt
that the past could never stretch out
its grisly hand upon her.
So the months changed into years.
It was nearly three years since
Leila's coming when something hap
pened yhlch Jim had always known
to be" inevitable.
It was morning and he was on the
high pastures with his cattle when
he saw her running toward him, with
the boy, scrambling up the steep hill-v
side. She reached him; her face was
white with fear.
"He has found me!" she gasped.
"Oh, save me! Help me!"
Up the road came tie toot 6f an
auto horn. Jim saw the car climb
the grade like a heavy locomotive.
And in the ensuing interval of silence
he made his resolution.
The car stopped. A man leaped
out, a man in the prime of life, ab
surdly strong, absurdly healthy, with
the bluster and yet the sense of pow
er that sometimes accompany the
successful man. '
He leaped to the ground and ad
vanced upon the woman, smiling.
Jim barred his path.
"My wife," he said.
"I know," answered trim.
"See he 3, young man. You don't
perhaps understand. I am here to