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Farmers' champion. (Elgin, Okla.) 1912-1922, November 21, 1912, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn96087587/1912-11-21/ed-1/seq-2/

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JUL . C. .nr.,1 T M bM
CHAPTER I.
Tl V;Mrj Ptftli.
KxlTS Gr7i. ni c-s tit
9i Bafxrz ?ct Eci trts Gto
tei fttrf Stis.'W'i. fir nt ii-
fros itr ci. TL.U li r
tegJetl Utlrsii rf tlt u;r7; ti.wsi
to sftkt rrtrrthlif rrf dti frets
ft rt Jt iir t bet. to i-irt
tack few ssstfcj, x 'it ittr -
UJk EtJtb QmtGzt xz.1 I in: sie.
Tteo, tu ricnr, irer exci drlTls;
rtr ws ear; &. a. ra.t ilxtr i&rie-
zzxrXizi:, ill glUulzt jolt jeJ-
tiJ I, ft tc-ct ttx-c7lirsr
r, ef isll Jcit' rt7". Bt er
ert to as iei boii. rsc-rsj tier-
trftfe ft tie B&ttsa Pott Rs.i. On
tW ccatrtrj . re tLorvecttlsg
tfcoach ft cftmnr, ro-jgh lice. Uet ,
fcr toL ftll iz& Istfirrsylti ti la-
MrrftU bj ft i trie cf iharp ftsc
trtcbr&cft aLrJe.
I kbaw I thftll nerer forrt tb rso
totftr7 lrspreloa I recitlr-td Oat
" tk goldes trjcllsht. It ceraed ta
fB, there hjl easerjtd K&izxlr
Uhleftu cf Qies Tltft&U os ft wpz
Uroce the fftiretl Qaesa Tltaslz Ira
ClAtloa erer ooared cd I, la raj
ba4 pftatlat; cped vu ftbost to
crub Into the tiuzr fabric of that
4rta crefttloa sod read It with
fcn-Ul, tortaris; onruih of relentleia.
tartf-drlvea alckel atel, I uko co
ralt to rarelf for what I did. Voll
ttea w abeent My bandi acted oa
taptiUe above ftnd berood all tardr
sUI guldanoe. For Juit a fl&ahlng
tafrtaat the t7 note of my car rote
fctfor toe, aj la itrenuoos aiiault It
oasted half -xay to the coping of
CtM roadald) wall. I felt ray seat dart
7 from beneath roe, v.aa conacloua
ay body In awlft, untupporfed
Mttel flight, and then but It la Idle
attempt to let dovrn the conglom-
mti tenaauona of that ismall fraction
mt a rwcond. When 1 regained con-
meat, Queen Tltanla iraa kneel-
In the duat of thn lane beside mo
ry dlatreiacd and anxloua Queen
Tltanla, with 'ride, atartled eyes, and
jWrlQly aympathetlc lips and
about ua ro a half dozen or mute
f the vicinal country folk.
Between that meeting In mid-May
a tbla meeting on tho old Iloaton
Peat Road In mld-Hcptember, thre
ka4 been others, of course; for Queen
Tltanla, whoso every-day name, aa I
have Bald, was Evelyn Grayson, waa
tke nleoe and ward of my nearest
etghbor, Mr. Ilobert Cameron, a Ken
tlauan recently come to reside on
what for a century and rnoro had been
kaown aa the old Townsbury I'state,
tending for quite u mile along the
Connecticut shore of Long Island
Sound In tho neighborhood of Green-
KB.
Tho Intervening four months hnd
ffttaeaaed the gradual growth of as
ear an approach to Intimacy between
CatMfon and myself as was passible
eoaaldeiing (be manner of man that
Oaaeron was. Ily which statement I
faeaa to Imply nauRht to my neigh
fcer! discredit. He was In all respects
admirable a gentleman of education
aaf culture, widely traveled, of exalt
ed Ideals and noble principles to which
be gave rigid adherence. Hut I was
about to qualify this by describing
bin aa reserved and taciturn. I fear,
though, to give a wrong Impression
Ha was Scarcely that, There were
osBenta, however, when ho was unre
poMlve, and ho was never demonstra
tive. He had more polso than any
BIG I know. Ho allowed you to see
Juat so much of him, and no more. At
times he was almost stubbornly reti
cent And yet, In xplta of there qual
ities, which appeared to be cultivated
rather than Inherent, ho gnvo repeated
vlacnce of n nature at once so sim
ple and kindly und sympathetic as to
command both confidence und affec
tion. To the progress of my Intimacy
with Cvelyn there bad been no such
tawperamental Impediment. Hlie v.ns
feerWsly outspoken, with n frankness
fcefS of unspoiled Innocence; barely
1 weeks having Hnpicd between hr
raaaatloa from the tiny French con-
aat of Heinle llnrbe near I'arls and
ear perilous encounter in that con
trectee', treacherous, yet bltared little
Camaaetlrat lana. And the possessed,
I The
aaoie s
Lftrrhs 2
w - w ft
B Hrac Hze!tia
t
rrsa wMafc k aj ifcsi7
be L-Jr? 'iM we atcr.Bod eaefc
?. ETt-'rx aad t. Hi list we ware
k air-ir tcaUafb7 beys tite
ct cct.isttmc ec sere jas?i
It was so Qaees. "nnsJe wbe Mt
eat giiiisg to a eusi tt me oa
!i i?,t. Vr". w3ed sigiway.
sritr . decile raw e ,g 2a- It
J u so r-itaxe eirr.'t Eeee. tbe
&"j.a x Tosti, w.:a creamy
til rt Spa a&d a 13ig -seio-fy ed
i wit 5. r na?: w a. wa
AzjS tis si tsid me tiat ir Cade
2&r: tui Upie4 fcr St. leav-
ri cca: to its: t sr earSfttt leisxre.
"Wiy -, eci cr iir- tit ald-
g ci 7sr- i -zsi. zcr s ear
1 . gzizg tlczA to Sorxs. I br
t ii;r Is ti, tert3 for tit peer
CKtHer f4iJr. i titn b bick is
ti.-s. W (iie ftt half -paat eres. y-
fcsc- Tfrsll eoser"
"Of cc-rve 111 ccj.- I ftssvrrt
itr I OAzi ib rcit lTe tertj
sere ts y Tcic tiai tie rUcj.'
Trcrii, f&r ier lli tfrocji, for lst
ft breath, tii ti coJcr ft! rsiJdaa
belcw ier lcrrl Utiet.
-fi
2c. tfter fJl. I uw -rery Urtte cf
ier tiftt eTeslrjf. It u tre tit ib
At trs rlRtt ftt Ubl. pti-BASllr.
yoGthfBlJy baifal la tie toftlx tint
ed Ugit -rhlca alter! tirouh ti
-.!;. tzi itirer il7e easilt-tiftd,
bt the fttsotpber of the direir vma
Usj--I bj ft Ti4-ae, iuiotJj: coa
Dtralst 3 f roa usi asAztnaj brood-
t. ,; ye: tziM lafl&eue
rhlch
OTerbcag tie three of tie. And whea
ti ccSee asd Ibjaeurs re terred.
apl .lag acrae aleader pretext 'or
her gcdag. the bade ua good-eight, ftnd
left cj. cot to retam.
la Jsstlo to Cameron. I must add
that be appeared least affected by
asd certainly In so wise responsible
for tie perradlBg lnfetlTlt7. Hs had
been, lcd,, rather leaw deraure than
waa often hla wont, chatting with aJ
moat gayety conoernlng Erelyn'a new
role of Lady Bountiful and of ber
Norton beneficiaries). Aa for the sub
ject upon which be desired to consult
me. It bad sot been to much aa men
tioned ; so in looking back. It seems
Impossible that matters of which
neither Evelyn nor I waa at the time
Informed could have exerted an effect,
tare through Cameron's undetected,
subconscious Inducement.
Even after hla niece had with
drawn, Cameron continued for a time
to disci 11 with me topics of general
and public, rather than personal. Im
port, lie tpoxe, I remember, of a
r-erle of articles on "The Commercial
Resources of the United States," the
publication of which had Juat begun
in The Veek, of which I am owner
and eJltor; and though I fanclod at
flrat that It might be In this connec
tion ho wished to consult me, I very
soon discerned that be was merely
using a statement contained therein
as a text for certain views of hla own
on the conservation and development
of the country'a Umber aupply.
Meanwhile my curiosity grew keen
er. It waa natural, I auppose, that I
should fancy Evelyn Involved In some
wny. In fact I then attributed the de
pression during dinner to her knowl
edge of what her uncle and guardian
purposed to say to me. Likewise I
found In this conception the reason
for her sudden and unusual dosertlon.
Hitherto when I had dined here Eve
lyn had remained with us while we
cmoked our cigarettes, leading us at
length to the music room, where for
a glad half-hour the rich melody of
her youthful nweet contralto voice
mingled In pleasing harmony with her
own piano accompaniment.
And whllo I vainly made effort to
Imagine wherein I might have laid my
self open to the disapproval of this
most punctilious of guardians for I
expected nothing less than a studious
ly polite reference to some shortcom
ing of which I had been unwittingly
guilty I momentarily lost track of
my hoBt's discourse. Emerging from
my abstraction It was with a measure
of relief that 1 heard him saying:
"I think you toid me once, Clyde,
that you rather prided yourself on
your ability to get a line on one's
character from his handwriting.
That's why I telephoned for you this
afternoon. I have received an anony
mous lottcr."
He was leaning forward, a little
constrainedly, his left hand gripping
the arm of his chair, tho fingers of his
right Imnd toying with tbe stem of
tils gold-rltnmcd llobemlan liqueur
class.
"An anonymous letter!" 1 repeated,
with n deprecatory smile. "Anonymous
letters should be burned and forgot
ten. Surely you're not bothering about
tho writer?"
I wish I could put before you an ex
act reproduction of Cameron's face as
I then saw It; those rugged outlines,
tbe heritage of Scottish ancestry, soft
ened and refined by a brilliant Intel
lectuality; the sturdy cola aad sa,uas
tlea braae. baa!- saw; tbe
w alert, gray eras, aklzizg tiro
txe rccaC lesaasa at bia tytdJkd; tbe
bfT. baa4. aieaevg. vilte brow asd
te ritiiTia barter at dark brows.
fcttr grUateal balr. Tiat, wper
dary. was :e ae. Bt 1 aa store
tbas tiat. u tbe nsftf cf coe sat
sraUy tuare I saw a baKle waged be
i4 a rcaak a batt benrees cosr
age xzi fear; sa4 I sa-r fear wis.
TTtes tie steak becaxe c?7? osce
swtre. asd Caaaroc. glrisg tfte
for aatSe. aa resiyisg.
"TVert are aascyssoss letters aad
y9a letters. Ordinarily year
tOa U tie es 1 sioaid -srrwe. la
deed I stay say tbat wsts. abcs.l a
ssceta or so ao. I reoeiTed a cos
rsIcaJe cf tbat character. I did
alssott reUelT wtat yc sow aa
Ttee. Cerulsly I foCowtd cse-ialf of
yesr sreacr'.Uos I forgot tie letter;
tiosgi. fcr lack of Ire is tie dog
da7s I did act bsra it, b-at tirust it
lato a drawer witi as accasiulatica
cf adTenisisg drcslara."
Jfy ajpreiesaloa leat ETelya ad I
were perscsally affected bad bees by
sow elte iiMifii. It perfectly
;rest to rse tiat Caraeroa alose
waa iSTobed; yet ay asxiety was
serae tie lea eager. Already ray syrs
;tay asd co-ojeratlea were eallated.
I csvld csly iope tiat he had mental
ly exaggerated tie graTity cf the situ
ation, yet ray Judgment of hira was
tiat his lacllaatiOB weald be to err
is tie cpjosJte direetlcs,
-Aad sow somethlrg has happened
to recall It to your mesjory?
"Sometilsg bftppe&ed Tery shortly
after its receipt," he replied. -Something
Tery lJtzliag. But la spite of
that, I was inclined to treat henmattcr
aa a bit of clever chleasery, devised
for tie pnrpoae. probably, of extortion.
Aa such, I again put it frcm my
thoughts; but today I received a sec
ond letter, and I admit I aa Interest
ed. The affair has features which
make it. Indeed, uncommonly perplex-
ISg."
I fear my Imagination was sluggish.
Although, In spite of his dissemblance,
I saw that he was strangely moved by
these happenings, I could fancy no
very terrifying concomitants of the
rather commonplace facts he had nar
rated. For anonymous letters I had
ever held scant respect. An ambushed
enemy, I argued, la admittedly a cow
ard. Asd so I was is danger of grow
lng Impatient
"When the second letter came," he
continued, bringing his left hand for
ward to Join his right on the dazzling
white ground of the table's dsmask, "I
searched among the circulars for the
first, aad found It. I want you to see
them both. The writing Is very curi
ous I have never seen anything just
like It and the signature, if I may call
it that. Is still more singular. On the
first letter, I took it for a blot. Out
on the second letter occurs the same
black blur or smudge of identical out
line." Of cr-jrse I thought of the Black
Hand. It was the natural corollary,
seeing that the newspapers had been
giving us a surfeit of Black Hand
threats and Black Hand outrages. But,
somehow, I did not dare to voice it
To have suggested anything so ordi
nary to Cameron in his present mood
would have been to offer him offense.
And when, at the next moment, he
drew from an Inner pocket of his eve
ning coat two thin, wax-like sheets of
paper and passed them to me, I was
glad that I had kept silence. For the
letters were no rough, rude scrawls
of an illiterate Mafia or Camorra. In
phraseology as well as In penman
ship they were impressively unique.
"If you don't mind," Cameron was
saying, "you might read tbem aloud."
He rose and switched on a group of
electric wall lights at my back, and I
marked for the hundredth time his
physique his towering height, his
powerful shoulders, his leanness of
hlp and sturdy stralghtness of limb.
He did not look tbe forty years to
which he confessed.
One of tho long French windows
which gave upon tbe terrace stood
ajar, and before resuming his seat
Cameron paused to close It, dropping
over it the looped curtains of silver
gray velvet that matched tbe walls.
In the succeeding moment the room
was ghostly silent; and then, breaking
ugslnst the Btillness, was the sound of
my voice, reading:
"That which you have wrought shall
In turn be wrought upon you. Take
warning therefore of what shall hap
pen on the seventh day hence. As
suu follows sun, so follows all tbat la
decreed. The ways of our God are
many. On ttic righteous he showers
blessings; on the evil he pours
misery."
That was the first letter. The sec
ond began with the same sentence:
"That which you have wrought shall
In turn be wrought upon you."
Hut there, though the similarity or
tenor continued, tho verbal identity
ceased. It went on:
"Once more, na earnest of wbat is
decreed, there will be shown unto you
a symbol of our power. Precaution
cannot avail. Fine words and a smil
ing countenance make not virtue '
Aad beneath each letter was the
sObovctta wbiab Ca:
bad seatiosed.
It it difficult for a to eoavey tbe
atott meager Idea of tbe emotional Is
Sueace which these two brief com
munications exerted. They seemed to
breathe a grim spirit of Implacable
Nemesis far in excess of anything to
be fouad In the euphemism of the
written words.
Wfces I had finished the reading of
them aloud, Cameron, leaning far back
la his chair, sat silently thoughtful.
his eyes narrowed behind his glasses,
bat fixed apparently upon the lights
behind me. And to, reluctant to Inter
rapt his reverie, I started to read
tbem thriagh again slowly, this time
to myself, fixing each sentence Indel
ibly In mind ai I proceeded. But be
fore I had quite come to tbe end, my
companion was speaking.
"Welir bo said. And the light
cbeerixxat of bis tone was not only In
arked contrast with his grave ab
sorption of a moment before, but In
Jarring discord with my own present
mood. "Well? What do you make of
them?"
My annoyance found voice In my re
sponse. "Cameron." I begged, "for God's
sake be serious This doesn't seem
to me exactly a matter to be merry
over I don't want to alarm you, but
somehow I feel that these " and I
shook the crackling, wax-like sheets,
"th these cannot be utterly Ignored.
ut they are anonymous," he re
toned, no: unjustly. "Anonymous
letters should be burned and forgot
ten." "There are anonymous letters and
aconyzous letters," I gave him back.
In turn. "These are of an unusually
convincing character. Besides, they
" Aad then 1 paused. I wished to
tell him of that elusive encompacs
ment of slnieter portent which had so
Impressed me; of that malign forebod
ing beyond anything warranted by the
words; but I stumbled In the effort at
expression. "Besides," I started again,
and ended lamely, "I don't like the
look and the feel of them."
And now he was as serious as I
could wish.
"Ah!" he cried, leaning forward
again and reaching for the letters.
"You have experienced It, too! And
you can't explain it, any more tban I?
It Is something that grips you when
you read, like an Icy band, hard as
steel, In a glove of velvet. It's al
ways between the lines, reaching out,
and nothing you can do will stay it.
I thought at first I Imagined it, but
the oftener I have read, the more J
have felt Its clutch. The letters of
themselves are nothing. What do you
suppose I care for veiled threats of
that sort? I'm big enough to take
care of myself, Clyde I've met peril
In about every possible guise. In every
part oi the world, and I've never real
ly knows fear But this this Is dif
ferent. And the worst of It is, I don't
know why. I can't for the life of me
make out what It Is I'm afraid of."
He had gone very pale, and his
strong, capable bands, which toyed
with the two letters, quivered and
twitched In excess of nervous tension.
Then, with a finger pointing to the
Ink-stain at the bottom of one of the
sheets, he asked:
"What does that look like to you?"
I took the letter from him, and
scrutinizing the rude figure with con
centrated attention for a moment, ven
tured the suggestion that It Bomewhat
resembled a boat.
"A one-masted vessel, square
rigged," he added, In elucidation.
"Exactly."
"Now turn It upside down."
I did so.
"Now what do you see?"
"The head of a man wearing a hel
met." The resemblance was very
marked.
"A straw helmet, oiiparently," he
amplified, "such aa Ih worn In the
Orient. And yet the profile Is not tbat
of nn Oriental. Now, look at your ves
sel again." And once more I reversed
tbe sheet of paper.
"Can It be a Chinese Junk?" I asked.
"It might be a sailing proa or ban
cs," he returned, "such as they use In
tbe South Pacific. Hut whatever It is,
I can't understand what It has to do
with mo or I with It."
I was still studying the black daub,
when he said:
"But you haven't told me about the
handwriting. What can you read of
the character of the writer?"
"Nothing." 1 answered, promptly.
"It Is curious penmanship, an you say
heavy nnd regular and upright, with
some strangely forced letters; es
pecially tho f's nno tho p's; but It
tells me nothing."
"But I thought" he began.
"That 1 boasted? So I did. When
one writes as one habitually writes It
Is very easy. These letters, however,
are not In the writer's ordinary hand.
Tho writing Is jib artificial as though
you, tor example, bad printed n note
In Homan characters. Were they ad
dressed In the same hand?"
"Precisely."
"What wob tho post-mark?"
"They bore no post-maik. That Is
another strange circumstance Vet
they were with my mall How they
cume there 1 have been unable to as
certain. The people at the post oiflce
naturally aeny tbat they dallTansl
saythlac unsUmrxd. n V"- T""
aad Barrie, tbe lad who fcwhei t
letters, has no recollection of tfces
Nor has Checkabeedy, wbo sorts lbe
msll here at the bouse. But eacb el
them Uy beside ray plate at '
fast the first oa tbe fourteaatb af
August; the icond, tbls morning, tba
fourteenth of September."
"And they were aot dellvefw I
messenger?"
"So far aa I eta learn, no."
"It Is very odd." I coameBtaa', wltb
feeble banality.
I took the letters from bla
once more, and held tbem 1b turn fca
tween my vision aad the caadle-llgbt,
hoping, perchance, to discover a wa
termark In tbe paper. But I waa aat
rewarded.
"You examined the aavelopea care
fully, I presume?" was my query aa I
returned tbe sheeta to tho table.
"More than carefully," he aasweret.
"But you shall see them. If you llto.
I found no trace of any identlfylaf
mark."
Thus far be had made no further
menUon of the "pusillng happeBlasr"
which followed the receipt of tbe trst
letter, and In the Interest provoke fcf
tbe letters themselves 1 had foreborae
to question him; but now as the worse
"seventh day hence" fell aijaln under
my eye, standing out, as II were, from
the rest of the script which lay a-
turaed on the table before me, I waa
conscious of a stimulated concern, aad
so made inquiry.
"I wish you would tall me, tret,
whether anything really did occur ea
the seventh day."
"I was coming to that,' he replied;
but It seemed to me that prompt
thfugh his response was, .there waa a
shade of reluctance In his manner.
Then he rose, abruptly, and saylBf :
"Suppose we go Into my study, Clyde,"
ted the way from the dining room,
across the great, Imposing, gralaea
and fretted ball to tbat comparatively
small mahogany and green symphoay
wherein be was wont to spend most
of his Indoor hours. It waa always a
rather gloomy room at night, wltb lta
high dark celling, lta heavy aad vol
uminous olive tapestry hangings,
wholly out of keeping, It seemed to
me, with tbe eeason and Its shaded
lights confined to the vicinity of tbe
massive polished, and gllt-oreame&tec
M-rltlng table of the period of the Flrat
Empire. And It Impressed me sew,
in conjunction with Cameron's prem
ised revelation, as more than ever
grim and awesoxe.
I remember helping myself to a
cigar from tbe humidor which steed
on the antique cabinet In the coraer
near the door. I waa la tbe act of
lighting It when Cameron spoke.
"I want you to sit In this chair." be
said, Indicating one of sumptuous
holstery which stood beside tbe writ
ing table, facing the low, loss book
cases lining the opposite wall.
I did aa he bade me, whllo be re
mained standing.
"Do you, by any chance," be asked,
"remember a portrait which hung
above the book-shelves?"
I remembered it very well. It was a
painting of himself, done some years
back. But now my gase sought It la
vain.
"Certainly," I answered. "It kuag
there," pointing.
"Quite right. Now 1 want you to ob
serve tbe shelf-top. You aee bow
crowded it Is."
It waa Indeed crowded. Broase
busts and statuettes; yachting aad
golf trophies In silver; framed photo
graphs; a score of odds and enda, sou
venirs gathered the world over. There
waa scarcely an Inch of space unoc
cupied. I had frequently observed tbla
plethora of ornament and resented It,
It gave to that part of the room tbe
semblance of a curiosity abop. Wbea
I had nodded my assent, he went oa:
"On the afternoon of Friday, August
twenty-first, seven, daya after tbe re
ceipt of that flrat letter, I was slttlag
whore you are sitting now, I waa
reading, and deeply Interested. I had
put the letter, aa I told you, entirely
out or my mind. I had forgotten It,
absolutely. That seventh-day business
1 had regarded If I regarded It at all
as Idle vaporing. Thst this was tba
afternoon of the seventh day did aot
occur to me until afterwards. I recall
thai I paused In reading to ponder a
paragraph that waa not quite clear to
me, and that while In cotitemplatloa I
fixed my eyes upon that portrait. I re
member that, because It struck me,
then, that the flesh ttnta of the faoe
had grown muddy and that the thing
would be better for a cleaning. I re
call, too, that at that moment, the lit
tle clock, yonder, atruck three. I re
sumed my reading; but preaently, aa
other stntement demanding cogitation
I lowered my book, and once more my
eyes rested on the portrait. But aot
on tho muddy flesh tints, because "
be paused and leaned forward, towards
tne, speaking with impressive empha
sis. "Because," he repeated, "there
were no flesh tints there. Because
there was no head nor face there I"
I sat up suddenly, open-mouthed,
speechless. Only my wide eyes made
question
"Cut from the canvas," be went oa,
In lowered voice, "clean and sharp
from crown to collar. And the aaads
of the clock pointed tn twelve salt
utcs past three."
(TO BE COMT1NUBD.)
as

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