Newspaper Page Text
THE ARGUS. THURSDAY. DECEMBER 20, 1907.
ow Worn a oil
By ELEAWR GATES.
Author of "The Biography of a Prairie Girl
COPYRIGHT. 1906. BT McCLURE, PHILLIPS Co COMPANY.
CIIAPTEK XXIX. ' 1
ISMARCK Hearing at last.
Since dawn Lounsbury's head
Jl hail Ikhui poked from a win
dow of the forward ear. Now
ho followed It with a wedge of shoul
der aud muttered a fervent "Thank
(JodT' His fnce was Maekoned by the
breath of the engine, his hair was
roughed by the tugging wind, so that
he bore not a trace of the past month's
careful grooming. Outside of t'hieago
he had shed his eastern garb for blue
flannel shirt, dark breeches and tall
boots. Again he was a frontiersman.
A brakeman entered to call out the
final stop. Cramped bulks here and
there slowly unwound their sleepy
lengths and gazed around. A slim re
cruit In a front si-rt who was outward
bound to fight Indians wakened with
a protesting oatlt. Other occupants of
the car grudgingly put away their card
packs, but cheerfully clapped on their
hats. A long, hot journey was done.
Iiut Lounsbury when he drew iu his
head and shoulders delayed his prep
arations to alight. He reached down
to a boot leg and fished out a letter,
one paragraph of which he carefully
"As I say, if you look for that rascal,
you'll find the right mau. He was
here, for Charley saw him. 'Who was
it?' I asked the Indian. What do you
think he did? He crossed his fingers
on his nose!"
Lounsbury took a deep breath. "It's
likely," he said aloud. "It don't take
courage to kill a cripple."
The wheels were yet turning when
Lounsbury swung off. His looped belt
had been buckled on, -and once more
his revolver bung handily upon his
thigh. As he tossed his satchel to the
ticket agent he gave the "Af a swift
look over. Then, with the expression
that the Clark out.'it respected showing
through the grime of the train, ho
started on a tour of saloons.
In a square fronted groggory his
hunt ended. An assortment of adven
turers packed the place mule skinners.
soldiers, gamblers, settlers. Among
them was a sprinkling of women. He
pushed his way through the crowd mi
til he reached the bar. There, olllciat
ing in pink shirt sleeves, vwas the
A moment Lounsbury faced him iu
silence, his cheeks putting and hi.
chest swelling in an effort at telf con
trol. Then, dropping his baud to the
".4.V he gave a jerk of the head.'
"Come out," he ordered.
The "Babe's" squint eyes jnade sep
arate Inspections of the room, lie was
in the act-of pouring from a bottle to
a glass. Xow, as he held them before
him, they tinkled together.
His customer backed away to the
door, where It was cooler. The women
cluttered at the farther bar end. The
other loungers rotated to a position be
hind Lounsbury and waited, ail agrin.
lie came loafing out, the sweat stand
ing in huge beads upon his nose.
Lounsbury advanced to him, playing a
tattoo along the bar with his left hand.
"'Jiabe,'" he said quietly, "the train
goes back Chicago way in the morn
ing." The other Minked and gulped. "W'y,
w'y" he began.
"You take it," continued Lounsbury.
"Your family's getting darned unpopu
The "Babe's" diverging orbs popped
from his face and again played from
side to side.
"Y-e-e-s," drawled Lounsbury. He
ripped jpen the other's vest. Hwo pis
. tols were displayed snuggling head to
head. He plucked them out and kick
ed them across the room. "The morn
ing train." he repeated. "So long."
"Babe" gave a weak nod. Louns
bury walked out. "FlQwdy, lioys; how
dy," he said pleasantly as he went.
The admiring crowd returned his sa
lute and rotated back to the bar.
He wasted no further time, but hur
ried to his store, a saddle roofed build
ing farther along the street. Before
it paced a Fort Lincoln officer! Ixmns
bnry stopped him for news.
"You ought to be chuck full of it,"
returned the officer, pumping the
storekeeper's arm, "just in from New
"Daytime sortie on us yesterday."
'Tretty sas?y. How about Bran
Half a glass
"Nothing since old Lancaster"
"I heard that Fraser wrote
Lounsbury gritted his teeth.
And our poor Custer?" .
Ah. poor Custer! The east's talk
ing about nothing else." .
"Awful! Awful!" The officer turn
ed away to hide the twitchinft of his
"Qorg f I.JnCOlH ROW?" asked
"Not right away." ;
"Then I'm off."
"No: for Brannon."
"Brannon! Alone? Lounsbury? Why,
"I'm going just the same." He hail
ed a neighbor to bargain for a cayuse
of reputed wind and speed, and in an
other half hour he was ready.
He rode as light as possible. Behind
the cantle rolled In a poncho he tied
some hard tack, jerked beef and
brandy. His revolver was re-ouforced
by a Henry, which he carrtlHl in a
holster under his leg. For the ".45"
he took fifty rounds. A second fifty,
designed for the rifle, occupied the
loops of his lelt. Thus armed and pro
visioned he jogged out of town.
Good fortune made the journey al
most uneventful. He saw but one In
dian, who loied into sight from a
wooded bottom and turned tail when
Lounsbury leveled his gun. Twice only
did he come upon signs of savages.
Toward the middle of the first night
he passed a pile of glowing embers,
where food had been cooked aud eaten,
and fifty miles lower doivn, the next
afternoon, as he dismounted at a rivu
let, the cayuse shied from an antelope
kid that had dragged itself to the wa
ter for a last drink. There was an ar
row through its neck," and the little
body was. still limber.
Just before dawn the second morn
ing he turned with the river, -crossed
the coulee and reined upon the yellow
ing bend To his left, a black dot,
stood the shack. Three smaller dots
were near it Simon and the mule
team. South, on the opposite bank,
were the low, whitewashed buildings
of Fort Brannon. He bared his dust
powdered head in thanksgiving. -
The cayuse was warm and dripping.
He rode to Shanty Town, loosened the
cinch and led the animal up and down
before the deserted huts. When it
stopped blowing and reached for grass
he picketed it on a lariat north of the
Trooper's Delight. Then he descended
to the building. The light was grow
ing. Already he had been seen from
the post. Op his hallooing a small
boat shoved off toward him, dancing
its way against the current. Old Mi
chael was not in It. only his citizen
helpers. Fearing their tittle-tattle,
Lounsbury curbed his impatience to
ask about the shack. Landed, he made
for the "bach" quarters on the line,
Fraser was not up. To his "Come
in" Lounsbury entered. They shook
hands without a word, and the store
keeper sat down on the edge of the
After awhile the lieutenant reached
out to put a hand on the other's knee.
"Lounsbury," he said, "I feel like a
criminal, but I never dreamed any
thing would go wrong if I kept track
"Why, we both thought that, Fraser.
You're not to blame any more than I
"Oh, if I'd only"
"But we can't spend any time kick-
lug ourselves. After thts there mustn't
be a loophole. Besides watching Mat
thews, we must"
"Matthews isn't here.7
"Kicked out. We don't know where
he is." Rapidly Fraser related the
story of Simon's gallantry
There was another piece of news of
lesser importance. An Indian girl
named Brown Mink was seriously ill
IJer wigwam had been moved to the
western cure of the stockade, where
the ground was clear, and been
changed-from tepee shape to the form
of a walled wickiup. Mrs. Cm
mings, touched with pity, had sent her
a comfortable bed, while Captain Oli
ver, touched no less and pleased by
the good humor of his prisoners, had
ordered that during the daily search
of the inclosure the tent of the sick
girl be left entirely undisturbed.
The young officer omitted to tell of
his share in the interpreter's departure
and was distracted over an accident
that had befallen him.,- On visiting his
wild pets the previous evening he had
found that a box containing reptiles
had been broken open somehow and
that all. his rattlesnakes were gone!
With the first call for the. trumpet
ers Lounsbury routed the sutler in a
quest for breakfast Then once more
he sought the river. There was no
waiting for men to row him. ' He
found the small boat; beaded for the
beach below Shanty . Town, mounted
the cayuse and climbed the steep road
to the prairie. Before himvon a- green
stretch between river and shack h
saw Dallas. . . - :
She was cutting grass In that same
swale across which a month before
had been tracked the deep' planted, la
bored footprints. As. she mowed she
moved forward slowly, the bent nathe
describing a regular half circle, the
tance behind her, where If floated" Coat
like on some bine stem tops. ' Still far
ther behind was Simon, . cropping in
dustriously and keeping a furtive
watch upon his mistress out of the cor
ner of one fiery brown eye.
Lounsbury spurred his horse to a
run. She saw him coming, but, not
knowing him, kept her scythe on the
swing. When he had covered the great
, er part of the way, however, she stop
I ped work, retreated to her hat and put
it on.: Then from beside it she picked
up the Sharps."
He saw that, and his jaw squared.
The blood darkened hls face, too, as
If the sight shamed him. He spurred
faster, reined so sharply that the horse
slid upon its fetlocks and swung off.
"Dallas!" he cried. It was not a
greeting, but a plea.
The moment was one long dreamed
of," yearned for. A woman less genu
ine might have met It without a show
of feeling. She, outspoken and simple,
coulO not. Her eyes swam. Dropping
the gun, she clasped bis hand greedily.
- "I knew you'd get back quick as yon
could," she said, choking.
For a long moment they stood thus,
hand in hand, looking at each other.
She saw -that he was changed. The
glint of merriment was gone from his
eyes. His forehead bore new lines. His
mouth had lost its boyishness. With
ner the past four weeks had also leftv
their mark. The old look of high pnr-
pose was on her face. But she was
older and graver and-wore the new ex
pression that Oliver-had seen.
She spoke first. "Your mother?" she
faltered inquiringly and withdrew a
"My mother Is gone," he said slow
ly; then, after a pause: "I came right
after that; didu't stop to settle things,
I can go back to the states. later. But
if I'd been here sooner it mightn't 'a'
She checked him gently. "Now, you
got enough to worry you without us.
We wouldn't go to the fort or Bis
marck, and that was the whole trou
ble." To excuse her father and to take
the blame herself, she" told him of the
refusal cf David Bond's money and of
Mrs. Cnmmings' slight.
You see," she explained earnestly,
by way of putting' the best possible
color to the latter episode "you see.
they think over there that we're trash.
So they're lound to let us alone. It
ain't that they haven't good man
It was Lounsbury's turn to inter
rupt He was tramping about. "Man
ners!" he said violently. "Manilers!
What's manners to do with it? There's,
a lot that's good manners and cursed
She took up the scythe, brought a
whetstone from the depths of a pocket
and ran it down the blade thought
"I'm going to look into this whole
business from first to last," he went
on more quietly. "I'll spend the next
few days Investigating. You got my
"We went to Clark's for you and got
it there." She added that she had
feared Brnden and spoke of his slack
Oh. well," he said, partly in apol
ogy for the real estate agent, "If a man
out here don't take off his hat to a
girl that means nothing."
"It wasn't the hat," she answered.
and described Braden's further con
Lounsbury blazed up again. "I'll
see alout that, too," he declared. "He
must be another sample of imported
They heard the cheery grinding of a
coffee mill. . As if struck by a thought.
she looked toward the shack.
"It's about time for me to go In,'
she said, a little flurried. Then:
"W on t you come, too, and take a
snack with .us? Marylyn 'd like to
"Marylyn!" He had read her mean
ing. "Why, Dallas, you don't mean to
say that you that she still"
"Yes," very low.
"Well" Lounsbury was determined
now "there'B got to be some kind of
an understanding. I told you "how I
felt, and you ran away from me. You
shan't do it this time. I'll go to the
house, and 111 tell Marylyn just how
things are. I will."
"Oh, mj' baby sister!" she murmured.
Instantly he was all gentleness. "No,
no; I wont tell her," he said. "But
I'm sick and tired of being tied this
way, hand and foot. It was your fa
ther first, and now this again Dal-
Kraser, in spite of his promise," had
made a confidant of - the storekeeper
and that the latter had seen the hope
lessness of his affection for her.
I'm glad," 'she' Bail herself.
t'Now I won't have to tell him."
Lounsbury pursued a feverish in
vestigation that day and found no one
who cared to quibble with him. From
the captain, never jealous of his dig
nity, to the roily poly sutler there was
a very outrush of facts. As they came
fce received them with pitchfork sharp
ness, examined them aud tossed them
aside, .which led a wag to remark that
the storekeeper was kin to Simon. Yet
when retreat sounded he admitted
himself hedged In by indisputable testi
mony.' Lancaster's death was beyond
easy solving. If Matthews were guilty
he was not the principal, only -sin ac
cessory, to the crime. Nevertheless
could the stoivkeeper have come face
to face with the interpreter that day
scores would have been settled. '
To Dallas, laying the blue stem of
the swale, the hours of the morning
went slowly. Yet how warm and gold
en they seemed! How tuneful the .
birds! How cottony white the clouds !
that flecked the sky! How pleasant !
the long, hushing sound of the scythe! '
And all the while she thrilled with es- j
nectancy, and the minutes huug upon
pach other as if loath to pats.
The very keenness of her joy brought
a swift revulsion. At dinner, with Ma
rylyn sitting across from her. she le
gan to see more clearly. She realised
she had been dreaming: that for her
there was only self denial. She ate
nothing, but drank her dipper thirstily,
as if. to wash away a parch iu her
throat. Back iu the swale again, the
scythe was swung less steadily, but
with more strength, so that its sharp
tip often hacked tip the ground. She
pulled her hat over her eyes, forbore
glancing toward the fort and fought.
A thousand times she vowed; she
would not meet Lounsbury that night.
To give herself a liettcr whip hand she
called up pictures of Marylyn Mary
lyn, the baby, all dimples r.ml lirping
demands for Da!s;"' Marylyn,- the
child, slender, yellow haired, pale; Ma
rylyn. entering womanhood, still de
pendent, and in her frailty, her peu
siveness, more dear'than ever N-fore.
Then, with the sun beating upon her.
with her temples streaming and throb
blag under the heat and the. strain,
Dallas' spirit began" to flag. Had she
not always borne a hard load, suffered
discomforts? There were the women
of the post. They knew little toil or
privation. The brunt of her mother's
loss, her fatheVs taking, had fallen
upon her. Was she always to have
only sorrow? Now. wlteu happiness
came her way a happiness that an
other might not have must she be de
nied it? Disheartened, dizzy, she left
the swale for the shade of the nearest
trees. - .
It was the hottest part of the day,
and the life of the prairie seemed at a
standstill. No breeze stirred the h'gh
cottonwoods;' the corn blades were
quiet; the birds, fiongless; the frogs hid.
Resting on the fading green, looking
out upon the silent reaches, she grew
calm. Then she remembered her sis
ter's confession. Again, in fancy, she
was leaning down In the light oC a
winter fire, looking into a tear stained
face. She felt humiliation for her own
weakness and -for thoughts disloyal to
When I see him again I'll make him
promise to come and visit her." she
said. "Oh, he must! He must!" At
last, renewed in spirit, she returned
bravely to her work.
But the afternoon was not without
Its tormenting thoughts. And 6he, who
feared no physical danger, quailed be
fore a temptation that was overwhelming.
When the shack pointed a stubby
finger toward the east and the mules,
with Simon in tag, came trailing home
from thlr grazing Marylyn called her.
Near the door there wafted out the
good smell of corn pone and roasting
fowl. She drew up the well bucket
hand over hand and washed In its gen
Within the night wind was changing
and sweetening the air. As the youn
ger girl bustled about the elder put on
a fresher dress and smoothed aud
plaited her hair. Again, that strange
elation! She Was almost glad.
"Supper!" sang out Marylyn.
Dallas started consciously. She was
standing at a window holding before
her the broken .bit of looking glass.-
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passionate protests, perhaps tears, and
she tried to find It in her heart , to
blame Lounsbury for not accompany
. Tint Murrlvn welcomed her With m.
question or two, exclaimed sorrowfully Toere la nothing better - offered the
at the news of Lounsbury's mother, .puuuc touay ior swmacn iroumes, ays
and when the elder girl explained that '.Pepsia, indigestion, etc., ; than Kodol.
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Emile. ' - " . , .
. "The brave baby!". thought Dallas.
Rut MArvlvn was onzzllnar over KodoL is guaranteed, to give relief, n
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