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THE SEMI-WEEKLY TRIBUNE, NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA.
MMHaWIII , l-JMIIl-l-JllMMMIimilJlllll CoprrlfM. H97. by CHAPTER XVI. 9 Gordon 8pendo a Busy Evening. Pagot smoked placidly, but tho licnrt within Mm was troubled. It looked as If Htifridgo had nindo up his mind to frame Gordon for a prison sentence. Tfc worst of It wns that lie need not Intent any evidence or tako any cnanccs. If Mncdonnld ennio through on tho stnnd with nn identification of Allot ns ono of his nssnllnnts, tho young mnn would go down tho river t servo time. Thcro was enough cor roborative testimony to convict St. Jfetor himself. 'Tin Just telling you whnt ho sold," Piano explained. "And It worried mo. His finillo wns cynical. I couldn't help thinking that If ho wants to get even with Gordon" Mrs. Paget stopped. Tho mnld hnd Just brought Into tho room n visitor. DInne moved forward and shook hands with him. "How do 5011 do, Mr. Strong? Tako this big chair." Ilanford Strong accepted tho chair and a cigar. IIo enmo promptly to tho object of his call. "I don't know whether this is where I should havo como or not. Aro you folks for young Elliot or uro you for Bclfrldgo?" ho demanded. "If yu put It that way, wo'ro for El Uot," tallied Peter. "All right. Let mo put it another way. You work for Mnc. Aro you on his side or on Elliot's in this matter of tho coal claims?" Diane looked nt Peter. Ho took his ttmo to answer. "Wo hope tho coal claimants will win, 'but wo'vo got senso enough to boo that Gordon is In hero to report tho facts. That's what ho Is paid for. Ho'll tell tho truth as ho sees It. If t&B superior ofllcers decide on thoso facts against Macdonnld, I don't sco that Elliot Is to blame." "That's how It looks to mo," agreed trong. "I'm for n wide-open Alaska, but that don't mnko it right to put this tfoung fellow through for a crlmo ho flldn't do. Fact is, I llko him. Ho's wjunro. So I'vo como to toll you some thing." IIo smoked for a mlnuto silently be fero ho continued. "I'vo got no evidence in his favor, but I bumped Into something a little whllo ago that didn't look good to me. Ton know I room next him nt tho ho tel. I heard u nolso In his room, nnd X thought that was funny, seeing as ho was locked up in Jail. So I kinder listened nnd heard whispers nnd tho pnvmd of somo ono moving about. Thcre'fl a door between his room and wlno that Is kept locked. I looked through tho keyhole, nnd In Elliot's room there was Wally Sclfrldgo nnd another man. They were looking through papers at tho desk. Wally put a stack of them in his pocket and they went out, locking tho door behind thorn." "They had no business doing that," burst out Diane. "Wnlly Sclfrldgo isn't an officer of tho law." Strong nodded dryly to her. "Just hnt I thought. So I followed them, They went to Mncdonnld's olllccs. Af ter a whllo Wally came out nnd loft tho other man there. Then presently tho lights went out. Tho man is camped thcro for tho night. Will you tell mo why?" "Why?" repeated Dlano with her sharp oyes on tho miner. -liocauso waiiy iins somo papers thcro ho don't want to got nway from Mm." "Homo of Gordon's papers, of curso." "You've said it." "All his notes nnd ovldcnco in the easo of tho coal claims, probably," con tributed Peter. "Maybe. Wally has stolen them, hut bo hnsn't nenro enough to burn them till ho gets orders from Mnc. So ho's Holding them safe nt tho olllcot" guessed Strata;. . "It'B an outrage." "Surest thing you know. Wally has axed it to framo him for prison und to play safe about his evldcnco on tho coal claims." "What aro you going to do about HV Diane asked her husband sharply. Potcr rose. "First I'm going to seo Gordon and hear whnt ho has to suy. Como on, Strong. Wo may bo gono liulto a whilo, Dlano. Don't wait up for mo If you got through your stint W nursing." Gopher Jones let them Into tho ram- hacklo building that served as n jail, and after three dollars had jingled in the palm of his hand ho stepped out side and left tho men alono with his prisoner. Tho three put their heads togothcr and whispered. "I'll meet you outside tho houso of Bclfrldgo In half an hour, Strong," was tho last thing thut Gordon enld beforo Jones came back to order out tho vis itors. As soon as tho paca was dark again, Oordon set to work on tho flimsy frunowork of IiIh cell window. Ho 'ciji'w already it was so decrepit that h oi:hl CMi'upj' any time he desired, William MacLeod IUIne. hut until now there had been no rea son why ho should. Within n quarter of an hour he lifted tho iron-grilled sash bodily from tho framo and crawled through the window. He found Paget nnd Strong wultlng for him In the shadows of u plno out Bide tho yard of Sclfrldgo. 'To begin with, you walk straight home and go to bed, Peter," tho young man announced. "You're not In this. You're not Invited to our pnrty. I don't have to tell yon why, do I?" The engineer understood tho reason. lie was an employee of Mncdonnld, a mnn thoroughly trusted by him. Even though Gordon Intended only to right wrong, it wns better that Paget should not bo n party to It. Reluctant ly Peter went home. Gordon turned to Strong. "I owe you n lot already. There's no need for you to run a risk of getting into trou ble for me. If things brenk right, I can do whnt I havo to do without help." "And If they don't?" Strong waved nn Impatient hnnd. "Cut It out, Elliot. I'vo taken a fancy to go through with this. I never did llko Sclfrldgo any how, hnd I nln't got n wife and I don't work for Mac. Why shouldn't I havo somo fun?" Gordon shrugged his shoulders. "All right. Might as well pluy ball and get things moving, then." Tho llttlo miner knocked at tho door. Wnlly himself opened. Elliot, from tho shelter of tho pine, saw tho two men In talk. Sclfrldgo shut tho door and enmo to tho edge of tho porch. Ho gnvo n gasp and his hnnds went trem bling into tho air. Tho six-gun of tho miner had been pressed hard against Ills fat paunch. Under curt orders ho moved down the steps and out of tho yard to tho tree. At eight of Gordon tho eyes of Wally stood out in amazement. Llttlo sweat beads burst out on his forehead, for ho remembered how busy ho had been collecting ovldenco against this man. "W-w-what do you want?" ho asked. "Got your keys with you?" "Y-yes." "Como with us." Wnlly. breathed moro freely. For a moment ho had thought this man had como to tako vengennco on him. They led him by alleys and back streets to tho ofllco of tho Mncdonnld Yukon Trading company. Under or ders ho knocked on the door nnd cnllcd out who ho wns. Gordon crouched closo to tho log wall, Strong behind him. "Let mo in, Olson," ordered Scl frldgo. Tho door opened, nnd n man stood on tho threshold. Elliot was on top of him llko n panther. Tho man went Was on Top of Him Like a Panther. down ns though his knees wcro oiled hinges. Before ho could gather his slow wits, tho barrel of n revolver was shoved against his teeth. "Tuko It easy, Olson," advised Gor don. "Get up slowly. Now, step back into tho ofllco. Keep your hnnds up." Strong closed and locked tho door behind them. "I wunt my papers, Sclfrldgo. Dig up your keys ond got them for mo,' Elliot commanded. Wally did not need any keys. IIo know tho combination of tho safe and opened It. From an inner drawer ho drew n bunch of papers. Gordon looked them over carefully. Strong sat on tablo and toyed with a revolver which he Jnmmed playfully into tho stomuch of his fat prisoner. "All here," announced tho field agent. Tho sure-robbers locked their prison era in tho ofllco and disappeared into tho night. They stopped nt tho houso of tho collector of customs, a genial ! young follow vlth whom Elliot hnd played tennis n good deal, nnd loft tho papers in his hands for snfc-kccplng. After which they returned to the hotel and reached tho second floor by way of tho hack stulrs used by tho serv ants. Hero they pnrtcd, each going to his own room. Gordon slept llko n school boy nnd woko only when tho sun poured through tho window upon his bed In n broad ribbon of warm gold. He got up, bathed, dressed, and went down Into tho hotel dining room. Tho waiters looked at him In amaze ment. Gordon nte as If nothing were tho matter, apparently unaware of tho excitement ho was causing. IIo pnld not the least attention to tho nudging nnd the whispering. After he hnd fin ished breakfast, he lit a cigar, leaned back In his chair, and smoked plncldly. Presently an eruption of men poured Into the room. At tho head of them was Gopher Jones. Near tho rear Wal ly Selfrldgo lingered modestly. IIo was not looking for haznrdous adven ture. "Whnd you doing here?" demanded Gopher, bristling up to Elliot. The young mnn wntched n smoko wreath llont celllngwnrd beforo he turned his mild guzo on the chief of police. "I'm smoking." "Don't you know wo Just got in from hunting you two posses of us been out nil night?" Gopher glnrcd savage ly nt tho smoker. Gordon looked distressed. "That's too bad. There's n telephone in my room, too. Why didn't you call up? ve been there nil night." "The deuco you have," exploded Jones. "And us combing tho hills for ou. Young mnn, you're mighty smnrt. Hut I wnnt to tell you that you'll pay for this." "Did you want mo for anything In particular or Just to get up n poker game?" asked Elliot suavely. Tho leader of tho posse gave him self to n Job of scientific profanity. He wns spurred on to outdo himself be cause ho had heard n titter or two be hind him. When ho hnd finished, ho formed n procession. He, with Elliot iinndcuffed besido him. was nt tho hend of It. It marched to tho jail. CHAPTER XVII. 8heba Does Not Think So. Tho fingers of Sheba were busy with tho embroidery upon which she worked, but tier thoughts wcro full of tho man who lay asleep on tho lpunge. His strong body Iny nt ease, relaxed. Already health was flowing back Into his veins. Beneath tho tnn of tho thin, muscular cheeks a warmer color as beginning to creep. Soon ho would bo about again, vigorous and forceful, striding over obstacles to tho goal ho had set himself. Sheba had sent him a check for tho amount ho had paid her and had re fused to sco him or anybody else. Shamed and humiliated, sho had kept to her room. Tho check hod como back to her by mall. Across tho face of it ho had written in his strong handwriting: "I don't welsh on my bets. You can't give to mo what is not mine. "Do not think for nn Instant that I shall not marry you." She moved to adjust a window blind and when sho returned found that his steady eyes wero fixed upon her. You're getting better fast," sho said. "Yes." Tho girl had a favor to ask of him and lest her courngo fall sho plunged into it. "Mr. Macdonnld, If you say tho word Mr. Elliot will bo released on ball. I am thinking you will bo bo good ns to say it." His narrowed eyes held a cold glit ter. "Why?" "You must know ho Is innocent. You must " "I know only whnt tho evidence shows," he cut In, wnrlly on his guard. "Ho may or may not havo been ono of my nttackers. From tho first blow I was dazed. But everything points to it that ho hired" "Oh, no 1" Interrupted tho Irish girl. her dark eyes shining softly. "Tho way or it is that ho saved your life, that he fought for you, nnd that ho is in prison because of it." "If that Is true, why doesn't ho bring some proof of It?" "Proof I" sho cried scornfully. "Be tween friends " "Ho's no friend of mine. Tho mnn is a meddler. I desplso him." Tho scarlet flooded her cheeks. "And I am liking htm very, very much," 8iio liung back stanchly. Macdonnld looked up nt tho vivid flushed fuco and found It wholly cnarmlng. Ho liked her none tho less because her lino eyes wero hot and deflant In behalf of his rival. "Very well," he smiled. "I'll get him out if you'll do mo n good turn." "Thank you. It's a bargain." "Then sing to me." "What shall I sing?" "Sing 'Divided.' " The long lashes veiled her soft oyes wnne sue considered. In n wny he had tricked her into singing for him a love-song sho did not wnnt to sing, nut sho mndo no protest. Swiftly sho turneu and Rlld nlong the bench. Her Angers touched tho keys nnd sho be gan. Shebn pnld her nledgo In full. After tho flrst two stanzas wero finished sho sang tho Inst ones ns well : An' what about the wather when 1 have ould Paddy's bont. Is It me that would be afcard to grip the oars an' bo anoat? Oh, I could Hnd him by tho light of sun or moon or Mar; Ilut thero's caulder things than salt waves Between us, so tlioy are. Och aneel Sure well I know he'll never havo the neart to come to me, An' lovo la wild as any wavo that wan ders on tho sea, "lis the enmo If ho Is near me, 'Us tho sstne If ho Is far: Ills thoughts aro hard an' over hard bo twecn us, so thoy arc. Och ancol Ilcr hnnds dropped from tho keys nnd sho turned slowly on tho end of tho scat The dark lashes fell to her "I'm Going to Marry You, Sheba." hot checks. He did not speak, but she felt the steady insistence of Ills gaze. In self-defense she looked nt him. The pnllor of his face lent accent to the lire that smoldered In his eyes. "I'm going to mnrry you, Sheba. Make up your mind to that, girl," ho said harshly. There was infinite pity In tho look she gnve him. " 'There's caulder things thnn salt waves between us, so they are.'" she quoted. 'Not If I love you nnd you lovo me. By the Lord, I trample down every thing that comes between us." She knew tho tremendous driving power of tho mnn and sho was afraid In her heart that he would sweep her from the moorings to which she clung. "There Is something else I haven't told you." The embarrassed lashes lifted brnvcly from tho flushed cheeks to meet steadily his look. "I don't think that I care for you. TIs I that nm shamed nt my fickleness. But I don't not with tho full of mv heart." Ills bold, possessive eyes yielded no fraction of all they claimed. "Time enough for that, Sheba. Truth is that you're afraid to let yourself lovo me. You're worried becauso you can't measure mo by tho llttlo two-by-four root-rulo you brought from Ireland with you." Sheba nodded her dusky llttlo head in naivo candor. "I think there will bo somo truth in that, Mr. Macdonald. You're lawless, you know." Tm n law to myself, if that's what you mean. It Is my business to help hammer out an empire In this North land. No need for me to brag. Whnt I havo done spenks for mo ns a guide post to what I mean to do." "I know," the girl admitted with tho Impetuous generosity of her race. 'I henr It from everybody. You have built towns nnd railroads nnd devel oped mines nnd cnrrled the twentieth century Into new outposts. You hnvo given work to thousands. But you go so fast I can't keep step with you. am ono of tho llttlo folks for whom laws wero made." "Then I'll make a now code for you," he snld, smiling. "Just do ns I say and everything will como out right." Fnlntly her smile met his. "My grandmother might havo agreed to that. But wo live In n new world for women. They hnvo to mnko their own decisions. I supposo that Is a part of tho penalty wo pay for freedom." Dlano camo Into tho room and Mac donald turned to her. "I hnvo just been telling Shebn that I am going to marry her thnt thcro is no escape for her. She hnd better got used to the Idea that I intend to make her happy." Tho older cousin glanced nt Sheba nnd laughed with a touch of embar rassment. "Whether sho wants to be happy or not, O Cave Man?" "I'm going to make her want to." Shebn fled, but from tho door she flung back her challenge. "I don't think so." Mncdonnld kept his word to Sheba. no used his Influence to get Elliot re leased, nnd with n touch of cynicism quite chnrncterlstlc went on tho bond of his rival. An Information was filed against tho field ngent of tho land de partment for hlghwny robbery ond at tempted murder, but Gordon went about his business just ns If he were not under n cloud. None the less, ho wnlked the streets n marked man. Women nnd children looked nt him curiously and whis pered ns ho passed. Tho sullen, hos tllo eyes of miners measured him si lently. In tho states tho fight between the coal claimants nnd their foes wns growing moro bitter. Tho muckrnkcrs wero busy, and tho sentiment outsldo had settled so definitely against grant ing tho patents that tho nntlonnl ad ministration might at any tlmo jettison Mncdonnld nnd his backers as u sop to public opinion. It wns not hard for Gordon to guess how unpopular he was, but ho did not let this interfere with his activities. lie moved to nnd fro among the mining camps with absolute disregard of the crowing hatred against htm. I'acet cnmo to nlm nt lu8t wlta u warning. "What s tnat i uear about you being almost killed np on Bonanza?" Peter wanted to know. "Down in tho None Such mine, you mean? It did seem to bo raining hammers ns I went down tho shaft," admitted his friend. "Wore the hammers dropped on pur pose?" Gordon looked at him with n grim smile. "Your guess Is Just as good ns mine, Potcr. What do you think?" Peter answered seriously. "I think it Isn't sufo for you to take tho chances you do, Gordon. I find n wrong Im pression about you prevalent nmong tho men. They aro blaming you for stirring up nil this trouble on tho out side, nnd they nre worried for fenr the mines may close and they will lose their Jobs. I tell you thnt they nre in a dnngerous mood." "Sorry, but I can't help that." "You enn stay around town nnd not go out nlone nights." "I dare say I can, but I'm not going to." "I think you had better use a little sense, Gordon. I dnre say I nm cxng gerntlng the danger. But when you go nround with that Jaunty devll-mny-cr.re wny of yours, the men think you nre looking for trouble nnd you're likely to get it." "Am I?" "I know whnt I'm talking about. Nine out of ten of the men think you tried to murder Macdonnld after you had robbed him and thnt your nerve wenkened on tho Job. This seems to somo of the most lawless to give them n moral right to put you out of tho way. Anyhow, It Is n kind of Justifica tion, according to their point of view. I'm not defending It, of course. I'm telling you so that you can appreciate your danger." "You havo done your duty, then, Peter." But you don't Intend to take my ad vice?" Til tell you what I told you last time when you warned me. I'm going through with the job I've been hired to do, Just ns you would stick It out In my phice. I don't think I'm In much danger. Men in general are lnw-nbld-ing. They growl, but they don't go as far as murder." Peter gave him up. The next issue of the Kuslak Sun contained n bitter editorial attack upon Elliot. The occasion for it was n press dlspntch from Washington to the effect that the pressure of public opin ion had become so strong thnt Win- ton, commissioner of the general land ofllco, might bo forced to resign his place. This was a blow to the coal claimants,' and tho Sun charged In vitriolic language that the reports of Elliot were to blame. He was, the newspaper claimed, an enemy to all thoso who had come to Alaska to earn nn honest living there. He was a snnke In the grass, and as such every decent man ought to hold him In scorn. Elliot rend this Just as he was leav ing for the Willow Creek camp. He thrust tho paper Impatiently into his coat pocket and swung to the saddle. Why did they persecute him? He had told nothing but the truth, nothing not required of him by the simplest, ele mental honesty. Yet he was treated as nn outcast and n criminal. The In justice of It was beginning to rankle, no was temperamentnlly an opti mist, but depression rode with him to the gold camp and did not lift from his spirits till he started back next dny for Kuslak. The news had been flashed by wire all over the United States that he was a crook. His friends and relatives could give no adequate answer to tho fact that an indictment hung over his hend. In Aloska he was already con vlcted by public opinion. In the late afternoon, while Gordon was still fifteen miles from Kuslak, his horse fell In me. no led it limping to the cabin of some miners. There were three of them, and they hnd been drinking henvlly from n Jug of whisky left earlier In tho day by tho stnge-drlver. Gordon wns In two minds whether to accept their surly permission to stay for the night, but ' the lameness of his horse decided him. Not caring to Invite their hostility, ho gave his name as Gordon lnstend of Elliot. He was to learn within tho hour that this was mistake number two. From n pocket of the coat he had thrown on n bed protruded tho news pnpor Gordon had brought from Ku slak. One 'of the men, a big red-head ed fellow, pulled It out and began sulk ily to read. While ho read the other two bick ered and drank and snarled nt each other. All three of tho men were In thnt stage of drunkenness when n quarrel is likely to flare up at a mo ment's notice. "Listen here," demanded tho mnn with tho newspaper. "Tell you what, boys, I'm going to wring the neck of that pussyfooting spy Elliot If I ever get n chnnct." no read aloud the editorial In tho Sun. After he had finished, the oth ers Joined him in a chorus of curses. "I always did hate a spy and this one's a murderer too. Why don't some one fill his hide with lead?" one of the men wnnted to know. Bedhead was sitting at the table, ne thumped a heavy fist so hard that the tin cups Jumped. "Gimme n crack nt him nnd I'll show you 1" A shadow fell across tho room. In the doorway stood n newcomer. Gor don had a sensation ns If n lump of lco hnd been drawn down his spine. For the mnn who had Just come In was Big Bill Macy, and he was looking at tho Held agent with eyes In which amaze ment, anger and triumph blazed. "I'm glnd to death to meet up with you again, Mr. Elliot," no jeered. "Seems llko old times on Wlld-Goose." "Whnt you say his namo Is?" cut in the mnn with tho newspaper. "Hnsn't he Introduced himself, boys?" Macy answered with a cruel grin. "Now, nln't that modest of htm7 You lads are entertaining that well known detcckntlvo and spy, Gordon Elliot, that renowned king of hold up's " Tho red-headed man interrupted with n howl of rngu 'If you'ro telling it straight, Bill Macy, I'll learn him to spy on me." Elliot wns sitting on ono of the beds. He hnd not moved nn Inch since Macy had appeared, but the brain behind hla live eyes was taking stock of tho Bltn- atlon. Big Bill blocked the doorway. Tho tablo was In front of the window. Unless he could fight his wny out, there wus no escape for him. Ho waa trapped. Quietly Gordon looked from ono to another. "I'm not spying on you. My horso Is lame. You can seo that for your self. All I asked was a night's lodg ing" "Under another name than your own, you cussed sneak." The field agent did not understand tho fury of tho man, becauso ho did not know that these miners wcro work lng the claim under a defectlvo tltla nnd thnt they had Jumped to tho con clusion that he had come to get evi dence against them. Bit he knew that never in his life had he been In a tight or hole. In another minute they would nttnek him. Whether It would run to murder ho could not tell. At tho best he would be hammered helpless. But no evidence of this knowledgo appeared In his manner. "I didn't give my last name becauso there is n prejudice against me in this country," he explained In an even voice. He wondered as he spoke If he had better try to fling himself through tho window sash. There might bo a re mote chance that he could make It. The miner at the tablo killed this possibility by rising and standing squarely in the road. "Look out I He's got n gat," warned Macy. Gordon fervently wished he hnd. But he was unarmed. While his eyes quested for a weapon ho played for time. "You can't get away with this, you know. The United States government Is back of me. It's known I left tho Willow Creek camp. I'll bo traced here." Through Gordon's mind there flashed n word of advice once given him by a professional prizefighter: "If you get in a rough house, don't wait for the other fellow to hit flrst." They wero crouching for the nttnek. In nnother moment they would be upon him. Almost with ono motion ho stooped, snatched up by the leg a heavy stool, ond sprang to tho bed upon which he had been sitting. The four men closed with him In a rush. They came at him low, their heads protected by uplifted arms. Hla memory brought to him n picture o the whitewashed fcrldlron of a football field, and In it ho saw a vision of safety. The stool crashed down upon Big BUI Macy's head. Gordon hurdled tho crumpling figure, plunged between Plunged Between Hands Outstretched to Seize Him. hands outstretched to seize him, and over tho tablo went through the win dow, taking the flimsy sash with him. (TO BE CONTINUED.) Building a Trench. Trenches on the western front ap pear to the civilian eye which Is fixed upon photographs to be just a ditch backed by dugouts. In reality, details a trench correspondent, nn enormous amount of work und scientific study is required for the establishment of a complete winter trench. For every mile a trench over 0,000, 000 sand bags are needed. One man can fill a bag with earth and lift It to place 25 times In a night, when all tho work of repairing trenches Is dona. It would tnke n battalion eight months to do this work. A mile of trench nnd Its concomi tant protection demands 12,000 six-foot stakes, 12,000 small pickets, 0,150,000 sandbags, weighing 1,000 tons h all; 30,000 feet of corrugated iron, 1,E5,OQO feet of timber, etc. Smokeless Powder. Tlv advantages of smokeless pow der, besides Its virtue of high explo-slvecei-s, arc two-fold. It does not crcato a smoko cloud that betrays tho location of the gun or gunners. und nt the snmo tlmo the man behind tho gun Is not confused for a second by a pail of smoko that obscures tho range of vision In tho direction of tho enemy.