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THE 3EM1-WEEKLV TRIBUNE, NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA.
WEB OF STEEL I nnd the letter hnd not been discovered anyway. Ho did not even regret tho bold falsehood ho hnd uttered or tho practical subornntlon of perjury of which ho had been guilty in drawing By CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY and CYRUS TOWNSEND BRADY, Jr. Author and Clergyman Civil Engineer This Is a Thrilling Story of American Life as Strong, Courageous Men Live It Copyright by Fleming II. Rcvell Co. BERTRAM MEADE CUTS OFF HIS OLD LIFE ENTIRELY AND GOES FORTH INTO STRANGE COUNTRY TO MAKE A NEW CAREER Bertram Mcado, Sr., plans n great International bridge for tho Mart let Construction company. IIIh son, Bertrnm Meade, Jr., resident engineer at tho bridge site, and Helen Illlngworth, (laughter of Colonel Ullngworth, president of tho Martlet concern, are engaged to marry as soon as the work is finished. The young engineer had questioned his father's judgment on certain calculations nnd was laughed nt for his fear. The bridge collapses and lfiO workmen nro killed. Mcnde, 6onIor, drops dead after giving orders thnt his failure should he mado public. Tho orders nrc not carried out. Young Mcado takes the Maine nnd releases Ilelcn from her engagement. CHAPTER IX Continued. 0 "Shurtllff," said tho young engineer, nfter tho mound hnd been heaped up nnd covered with sods nnd strewn with flowers nnd tho workmen had gone, "I hnvc left everything I possess In your charge. You have a power of attor ney to receive and pny out all moneys; to deposit, Invest, and carry on my fa ther's estate. Tho ofllco Is to bo closed nnd tho house Is to bo sold. My will, In which I leave everything to Miss Il llngworth, Is In your hands. You nro empowered to draw from tho revenue "Oh, my God," said Meade, "this la moro than I can bear." "I don't want to force you to do any thing you don't want to do nnd you nro not in any mood to discuss theso things," sho said in quick compassion. "Some day you will como back to me." lie stretched out his hands toward her over tho grave. "I don't know," ho cried. "I dure not hope." "With lovo like ours," she nnsworcd, "all tilings aro possible." "I can't bind you. You must bo free," ho said slowly, turrJng his head. "You nro breaking my henrt, but I shall llvo and light on for lovo and you." "Cod bless you." "You nro going nwny?" sho asked nt Inst. "I must break with everything. I must glvo you your chanco of freedom." "Very well," snld tho woman. "Now hear inc. You enn't go so far on this earth or hldo yourself nwny so cun ningly but that I can find you nnd inaybo follow you. And I will. Now, I must go. I left my enr down tho road yonder. Will you go with mo?" Tho man shook his head nnd knelt down beforo her suddenly nnd caught her skirt In his grasp. Ills nrms swept around her knees. Sho yielded ono : hand to tho prcssuro of his Hps nnd laid tho other upon his head. "Go now," ho whispered, "for God's sake. If I look nt you I must follow." I Want to Stay Hero a Little Whllo by Myself." Bf tho cstnto your present salary so long as you live, if anything happens to mo you will hnvo tho will probated pnd bo governed accordingly." "Mr. Mcado," snld tho old man, nnd fie somehow found dmsclf transferring CHAPTER X. Tho New Rodman. Thero nro no moro beautiful valleys nnywhero than thoso cut by tho waters of primeval Hoods through tho foothills of tho great Bnow-covered Itocky moun tains. Tho erosions nnd washings of untold centuries hnvo flung out in front of tho grnnlto rnmpnrts of succession of lower elovntlons llko tho bnstlons of. n fortress. At first scarcely to bo dis tinguished from tho main rango In height nnd ruggedness theso ravelins and escarpments grndunlly decrenso in tho affection which ho had thought hnd heeiT hurled liononth itin nnil nn flint long mound beforo him, to tho younger ,tIt,u, nnl B,z until they turn Into man. lie hnd loved and served n 11 Bcr,cs of moro or lcss disconnected, Mendo ull his llfo nnd ho beenn to sco """'J rounueu mils, llko outllung Ihat ho could not stop now, nor could ho lavish what ho hnd to glvo merely ttn a remembrance, "Mr. Meade," ho tald, "where nro you going nnd what no you Intend to do?" "i uont unow whoro I shall go, or what I Bhall undortuko eventually," aid tho ninn. "I'm going to lcavo pvorythlng behind now and try to got n Uttlo rest nt first." "And you will keep mo advised of your whereabouts?" Tcrhnps I don't know. Ono last Injunction: you aro not to tell anyono tho truth." -uou loruiu," earn anurtiiir, "wo avo lied to preserve tho honor nnd tamo of him wo loved who lies here." "Don't render our perjuries of non effect." "I will not, sir. I haven't fqund that paper. I guess It was destroyed," "I presumo s.0. And now, goo.d-by." 1 "Aren't you coming with mo?" "I want to stay liero a Uttlo whllo by Myself." Shurtllff turned aud 'walked away. When ho reached tho road, down which fco must go, ho stopped and faced about again. Mendo was standing where ho bad been. Tho old man took off his bat In reverent farewell. Mcado wns not left alone. Uoyond tho hillside whero his father had been burled roso u clump of trees. Bushes trrew nt their feet. A woman should man, be burled without woman's tears? -had stood concealed there waiting. Helen Illlngworth hnd wept over tho dreariness, tho inournfulnoss of It ull. Sho had hoped thut Mendo might stay lifter the other went and now Uiat ho earthworks, finally merging themselves by gradual slopes Into tho dlstnnt plains overlooked by tho great penks or tho mountains. Tho monotony of theso pine-clad, wind-swept slopes Is broken oven In tho low hllls-by out-thrustlngs of stono, sometimes tho hnrd Igneous rock, tho grnnlto of tho mountains, moro fre quently tho softer red snndstono of n period later, yet Ineffably old. Theso cliffs, buttcs, hills and mesas hnvo been wonthorod Into strango nnd fan- tastlc shapes which diversify tho land- scapo nnd ndd charm to tho country. Tho narrow canons In which tho snow-bed streams tako their rlso grad ually wldeu as tho water follows Its tortuous courso down tho mountains through tho subsiding ranges nnd out njnong tha foothills to tho sandy, arid, windy plnlns beyond. At tho entrnnco of ono of tho loveliest of theso broad nnd verdant valleys, a short dlstanco nbovo Its confluence with n nnrrowcr, moro rugged rnvlno through tho hills, lay tho thriving Uttlo towu of Coro- nado. Somo twenty miles bnck from tho town nt a plnco whero tho vnlloy was nnrrowed to a quarter of n mile, nnd separating It from tho paralleling rn vine, roso n hugo snndstono rock called Spanish Mesa. Its top, somo hundreds of feet higher than tho tree-clad huso of tho hills, was mulnly level. Prom Its high elevation tho country could bo seen for many miles, mountains on ono hand, plnlns on tho other. It stood llko nn Island In n sen of verdure. Lit tle spurs nnd ridges ran from It. To ward tho rango It descended nnd con- plorers, prospectors nnd adventurers, who sought what they craved In tho wild hills. There wore ono or two good hotels for tourists, unusually extensive general stores of the better class, where hunting nnd prospecting parties could be outlined, aud tho hlgh-llvlng, extravagant cnttle ranchers could get what they demnnded. Besides all these thero wcro tho modest homes of the lovers of tho rough but exhilarating and heultli-glvlng life of the Itocky mountains. Of course thero wcro nu merous saloons ami gambling halls, and the town wns tho haunt of cow boys, hunters, miner?, Indians tho old frontier with n few touches of civiliza tion added I What was left of tho river, which had mado tho valley and during the Infrequent periods of rnln too brief to bo known as tho rainy season, it really lived up to tho nnni'j of river flowed merrily through the town, when It flowed nt nil, under tho namo of Picket Wire. When tho railroad camo tho Picket "Wire had been first studied In tho hopo of finding u practicable way over the mountains, but tho ravino on tho other sldo of the mesa had been found to offer a shorter nnd moro prac ticable route. And, by tho way, this ravine, taking Its namo from tho Uttlo brook far down In Its nnrrows, wns known as the "Kicking Horse." So tho railroad rnn up tho rnvlno nnd tho Picket WIro wns left still vir gin to tho assaults of mnn. But tho day camo when it wns despoiled of Its hitherto long stnndlng, unravlshcd In nocence. Shouts of men, crncklng of whips, trampling of horses, groaning of wheels, wordless but vocal protests of beasts of burden mingled with tho ringing of nxes, tho detonations of dy namlte. Tho whlstlo of engines nnd tho ronr of stenm filled tho vnlloy. Un der tho direction of engineers, n hugo mound of earth arose across its nar rowest part, nearest n shoulder, or spur, of tho mesa reaching westward. No moro should tho silver Picket WIro flow unvcxed on Us way to tho sea. It was to bo dammed. All that tho huge, hot inferno of baked plain, whero sago brush nnd buffalo grass alono grow, needed to mako It burgeon with wheat and corn wns water. Tho Uttlo Picket Wire, which had meandered nnd sparkled and chattered on at Its own sweet will was now to ho held until It filled a great lakcllko reservoir In tho hills back of tho now earth dam. Then through skillfully located Irrigation ditches tho water was to bo given to tho millions of hungry Uttlo wheatlets nnd cornlcts, which would clamor for a drink. Tho flcrco sun was no longer to work Its unthwdrtcd will In burnlug up tho prairie. With tho promise of water on tho plain beyond, Coronado sprang Into nower nnd moro vigorous life. In tho langungo of tho West It "boomed." Tho railroad had been a forlorn branch running up Into tho mountnlns nnd ending nowhere. Its first builders had been daunted by difficulties and lack of money, but ns soon us tho great dam wns projected, which would open sov- cral hundred thousand acres for culti vation nnd servo ns nn inspiration In Its prnctlcal results to other similar nttompts, pcoplo camo swurmlng Into tho country buying up tho land, tho prlco for ncrcngo steadily mounting, Tho railroad accordingly found It worth whllo to tako up tho long-aban doncd construction work of mounting tho rango and crossing it Men sud denly observed that It was tho short- gorge past tho other sldo of tho Span ish Mesa another higher trestle hnd al ready been rcplnced by a splendid steel arch. A siding had been built neur tho ravine, n path made to tho foot of tho mesa, and arrangements wcro being made to run n local train up from tho town when all was com pleted to give the people nn oppor tunity to ride up tho gorge nnd see tho great pile of rock, on which cnterprlso was already planning tho desecration of n summer hotel, tho blasphemy of an amusement park 1 Up tho valley of tho Picket Wire ono morning In early fall came a young man roughly dressed like tho avcrago cow-punehor from the ranches further north. He rode well, yet with n cer tain attention to detail and n nlceness that betrayed him to tho real rough rider of tho range, just ns tho clothes he wore, although they 'were tho or dinary cattleman's outfit, were worn in a little different way thnt again be trayed him. Ono look Into tho fnco of the man, albeit his mustache aud beard 1 was nlono sho camo to him. Sho laid tracted Into a narrow saddlo, vulgarly her hand upon bis arm. IIo turned nnd known ns a "hog-back," whero 'tho looked nt her. granlto of tho mountains was hidden "I knew thnt you would bo hero," ho undor a deep covering of grass-grown earth, which formed tho only division between tho vnlloy and tho gorge or ravino, beforo tho land, widening, roso Into tho noxt hill. The pcoplo camo from miles away to seo that Interesting and curious mesa, much moro striking In Its np penranco than Baldwin's knob, tho lust km. told her bo nnd sho has riven him ! foothill below It Transcontinental aid. "Did you seo mc?" "I felt your presence" "Listen," snld tho woman. "You aro wrecking your llfo for your father's fame. A mnn has a right perhaps to do with his own llfo what ho will, but, I when he loves u woman and when ho fcer henrt, did It ever occur to you thnt when ho wrecks his llfo ho wrecks hers, and has ho n right to wreck bcr kUo lot anyone else?" travelers oven broko jouruoy to visit It Tho town prospered accordingly, A Young Man Roughly Dressed. est dlstanco between two cardinal points, nnd ono of tho great trnnscon tlnentnl railways bought it and began Improving It to rcplnco its original rather unsatisfactory line. Tho long wooden trestle which crossed Uio brand, sandy depression in frout of tho town, tho bod of Uio nn dent river, through which tho Picket Wire nnd further down Its ntlluent, tho Kicking Horse, flowed humbly and - - - - a - iu UUU esneclnllv ns It wns ndmlrnblv situated modestly, was bclnt? ronlnnmi Uv ns n placo of departuro for hunters, ex-1 great vluduct of steel. Far up tho dd tho revealing outlines of mouth mil chin, sufficed to show that here was no ordinnry cow-puncher. Ho rodo boldly enough among tho rocks of tho trail and along tho rough road, which had been mado by tho wheels of tho wagons nnd hoofs of tho horses. Thero was about him somo of the quiet con fidence begot of achievement, somo of tho power which knowledge brings and which success emphasizes, yet there were uncertainty nnd hesitation, too, ns If all had not been plain sailing ou his course. To bo tho resident engineer chnrged with tho construction of n great earth dam like that across tho Picket Wire, requires knowledgo of a great many things beside tho technicalities of tho profession, chief nmong them being a knowledgo of men. As the newcomer threw his leg over tho saddle-horn, stepped lightly to tho ground, drop ping the reins of his pony to the soli nt tho same time, Vnndcventer, tho en gineer In question, looked nt him with approval. Somo subtle recognition of tho mnn's quality camo Into his mind. Hero was ono who seemed distinctly worth while, ono who stood out nbovo tho ordinnry applicant for jobs who enmo In contact with Vnndcventer, ns the big mesa roso above, tho foothill. However, tho chief kept theso things to himself ns he stood looking nnd wnltlng for tho other man to begin : "Aro you tho resident engineer?" asked tho newcomer quietly, yet thero was a certain nervous noto in his voice, which tho alert and observant engineer found himself wondering at, such a strain ns might como when a man Is nbout to enter upon a courso of action, to tnko a strango or perilous step, such a Uttlo shiver in his speech as n naked man might feel in his body beforo ho plunged Into tho Icy waters of tho wintry sen. "I nm." "I'd llko n Job." "Wo have no use for cow-punchers on this dam." "I'm not exactly a cow-puncher, sir." "Whnt aro you?" "Look here," said tho man, smiling n little, "I've been out In this country long enough to lenrn that all that It is necessary to know about a man is 'Will ho mnko good?' Let us say that I am nothing nnd let It go at that." "Out of nothing, nothing comes," laughed tho engineer, genuinely amused. Somo men would have been augry, but Vandcvcnter rather enjoyed this. "I didn't say I was good for noth ing," nuswercd tho other man, smiling In turn, though ho was evidently seri ous enough In his application. "Well, what can you do? Aro you an engineer?" "Wo'll pass over tho last question, too, If you please. I think I could carry a rod If I had a chnnco and thero wns n vacancy." "Umph," said Vandoventer, "you think you could?" "Yes, sir. Glvo mo a trial." "All right, tako that rod over thero and go out on tho edgo of tho dam whero thnt stuko shows, and I'll tnko a sight on It" Now thero aro two ways a hundred porhaps of holding a rod; ono right wny and nil tho others wrong. A new comer lnvnrlably grasps it tightly In bis fist and Jams it down, conceiving Uiat tho only way to get it plumb nnd hold It steady. Tho experienced mnn strives to bainnco It erect on its own bnso and holds it with tho tips of his fingers ou either sldo in nn upright po sition, swaying It very allghtly back- ward and forward, no does It uncon sciously, too. Vandoventer had been standing by n level already set up when tho new comer arrived and tho rod wns lying on tho ground besldo It Tho latter picked It up without a word, walked rapidly to the stuko, loosened tho tar get nnd balanced tho rod upon tho stake. As soon as Vandoventer ob served that his now Becker after work held tho rod In tho right way, ho did not troublo to tako tho sight no threw his head backward and raised his bond, bcckonlngly. "It so happens," bo began, "that I can glvo you a Job. The rodman next in lino of promotion has been given tho level. One of the men wont East last night You can have tho job, which is" "I don't enre anything nbout tho do talls," said the mnn quickly nnd gladly. "It's tho work I want." "Well, you'll get what tho rest do," said Vandoventer. "Now, ns you Just ly remnrked, I have found thnt It Is not pollto out here to Inquire too close ly Into n man's nntcccdcnts nnd I have learned to respect local customs, but wo must have somo nnmo by which to identify you, mako out your pay check, and" "Do you pny in checks?" "No, hut you have to sign a check." "Well, call me Smith." Vandeventcr threw bnck his bend nnd laughed. The other man turned a little red. The chief engineer observed the glint in ids new friend's eye. "I'm not exactly laughing nt you," he explained, "but nt tho singular lack of Inventiveness of the Amerlcnn. We have nt least thirty Smiths out of two hundred men on our pny roll, nnd It Is a bit confusing. Would you mind so lcctlng some other name?" "If It's all the same to you," nn nounced the newcomer amusedly the chief's laughter was Infectious "I'm ngrccnblo to Jones, or Brown, or " "Wo havo numbers of all of those, too." "Really," said the man hesitatingly, "i naven't given tne subject any thought" "What about somo of your family names?" "That gives me an idea," snld the newcomer, who decided to use his mother's name, "you can call mc Rob erts." "And I supposo John for the prefix?" "John will do ns well as any, I am sure." "Wo hnvo about fifty Johns. Every Smith appears to hnvo been born John." "How did you nrrnngo It?" nsked the other with daring freedom, for a rod man does not enter conversation on terms of equnllty with tho chief glncer. "I got a Uttlo pocket dictionary down nt tho town with n list of names nnd I went through that list with tho Smiths, dealing them out In order. Well, that will do for your name," he said, mak ing a memorandum In the little book ho pulled out of his finnnel shirt pocket Ho turned to n mnn who had come up to tho level. "Smith," ho said "by the way this Is Mr. Claude Smith, Mr. Rob erts here's your new rodmnn. You know your Job, Roberts. Get to work." And thnt Is how Bertram Meade, a few months nfter the failure of the great bridge, once again entered the ranks of engineers, beginning, ns was nccessnry and inevitable, very low down In tho scale. out and ncceptlng nnd cmphnslzlng Shurtllff's testimony. Thero hnd been no Inquest over his father's death. The autopsy had showed clearly heart failure. He hnd not been compelled to go on the witness stand nnd under oath ns to that. Al though, If that had been demanded, he must needs hnvo gone through with It Indeed so prompt nnd public hnd been his avowals of responsibility thnt he had not been seriously questioned thereon. Ho hnd left nothing uncer tain. There wns nothing concenled. no hnd Inherited n competence from his futlier. It wns Indeed much more than ho or nnyono had expected. He had realized enough ready money from tho sale of certain securities for his present needs. Tho remainder ha placed In Shurtllff's care and a few dnys after the funeral, having settled everything possible, ho took n trnln for tho West The whole world wns beforo him, nnd he was mensurably famlllnr with ninny portions of it He could have burled himself In out-of-the-wny con en- CHAPTER XI. Tho Valley of Decision. Much water had run under tho bridges of tho world nnd incldentnlly over tho wreck of the International, since that bitter farewell between Bertrnm Mcado and Helen Illlngworth over tho gravo of the old engineer. Life had Bcemcd to hold absolutely noth lng for Meade as ho knelt by thnt low mound nnd watched tho woman walk slowly away with many a backward glance, with many n pause, obviously reluctant He realized that tho lifting of a hand would havo called her back, now hard It was for him to remain quiet; and, finnlly, beforo sho disap peared and beforo sho took her Inst look nt him, to turn bis bnck resolutely ns If to mark the termination of tho situation. Father, fame, reputation, love, taken nwny nt ono nnd the same moment I A wenker mnn might havo sent llfo to fol low. In the troubled days after tho fall of tho bridge, bis father's death, tho inquests, his testimony nnd cvl denco freely given, nnd thnt parting, something like dcspnlr had filled tho young engineer's heart. Llfo hold noth ing. Ho debated with himself whether It would not bo better to end It than to live It. Ho envied bis father his broken henrt Singularly enough, tho thing that made llfo nt least value was tho thing Uiat kept him from throwing It away tho woman. Striving to analyze the complex emotions thnt centered nbout his losses ho was forced to admit, nlthough It seemed n sign of weakness, thnt love of woman wns grsoter thnn lovo of fame, thnt in the ulnnco ono girl out weighed bridge md father. That tho romance wns ended was what mado llfo Insupportable. Yet the fnlnt, vnguo possibility that It might bo resumed If ho could find some way to show his worthiness was what mado him cling to It Of courso ho -ould hnvo Bhowcd without much difficulty and beyond perndventuro at tho inquest over Ab bott and the investigation into the cause of Uio falluro of tho bridge un fortunnto but too obvious that tho frightful and fatal error In tho design Was not bis and thnt ho had protested against tho accepted plan. If ouly ho had found tho letter nddressed to his father. But that bo would never do He Debated With Himself Whether It Would Not De Better to End It Than to Live. ners of far countries, In strange cont! ivents. These possibilities did not at tract him. He wanted to get nwaj from, out of touch with, tho life he had led. Ho wished to go to some plac whero ho could bo practically alone, whero he could havo time to recovei his poise, to think things out, to plao his future, to try to devise n means foi rehabilitation, If It were possible. Hi could do that just as well, perhaps beb ter, In America than In any plnco else. And Uicre wns nnother reason thai held him to his nntivo land. He would still tread tho same soil, breathe tin same air, with tho woman. Ho did nol desire to put seas between them. He swore to himself thnt tho free dom ho had offered her, that ho had lib deed forced upon her unwilling nnd re jecting It, should be no empty thing j fnr ns ho wns concerned. Ho would leave her absolutely untrnmmeled. H would not write to her or communl cate with her in any way. Ho would not even seek her to bear about hei and of courso as she would not know whither ho had gone or where ho wai sho could not communicnto with him Tho silence that had fallen between them should not bo broken even fop ever unless nnd until Ah, yes, b could not seo nny way to completo thai "unless nnd until" nt first but pcrhapi after a while he might. Ho knew exactly where ho would go, Dick Winters, nnother clnssmato and devoted friend nt Cambridge, bad gont out West shortly nfter graduation. H had a big cattle ranch miles from a railroad In a young southwestern state. Winters, like the other member of th youthful triumvirate, Rodney, wns a bachelor. Ho could bo absolutely de pended upon. He had often begged Meade to visit him. Tho cnglneei would do It now. Ho knew Winters would respect his moods, that ho would let him severely alone, Uiat ho could get on n horso nnd ride into tho hllla nnd do what ho pleased, think out big Uioughts undisturbed. To Winters, therefore, he hnd gone. Ho had an idea Uiat bis future would bo outsldo of engineering. Indeed he had put all thought of his chosen pro fession out of his mind nnd heart, at least so ho fancied. Yet, spending an idlo forenoon In Chicago waiting for tho departuro of tho western train, he found himself 4rres!sUbly drawn to Uie great stcol-framed structures, tho sky scrapers rising gaunt nnd rigid above tho other buildings of Uio city. A man of Meade's ability will soon find a place for himself In any environment, and so It Is with the young engineer. His new start In life Is described in the next Installment (TO BB CONTINUED.) 8weet, Young Thing. In n local theater, ono evening re cently, n powerful spotlight revealed t houso fly crawling over tho powdcrctk surface of a pretty girl's back. "Oh, lookle," whispered a Uttlo girl, In toues that could bo beard all about hr, "looklo at tho ilyl" "nush, dear," thn child's mother cautloaed. There was n moment's silence, then tho Uttlo girl ngain whispered hoarsely: "I spec tha I'y thinks he la on a mnrshmallow." -Exchange. 9 4