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The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922, September 28, 1920, Image 2

Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010270504/1920-09-28/ed-1/seq-2/

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When John Rtunrt Webster, mining
engineer and klcker-up-of-dust on dis
tant tmllH. flagged the S. I'.. L. A. A
8. L. Limited ut a Wintered hoard sta
tion In Dcnth valley. California, he
had definitely resolved to do certain
things. To begin, he would Invade the
dining enr at the first call to dinner
nnd order .approximately twenty dol
lars' worth of ham and eggs, which
provender Ih. n all who know will
certify, the pinnacle of epicurean de
light to nn old Hour-dough coming out
of the wilderness with a healthy hank
roll and a healthier appetite.
Following tin; ham and eggs, Mr.
Webster planned to saturate himself
from soul to vermiform appendix with
nicotine, which he purposed obtaining
from tohncco with nicotine In It. It
was a week since he hud smoked any
thing with nn odor even remotely llko
tobacco, for the August temperature In
Death valley Is no respecter of moist
ure In any man or his tohacco. Upon
arrival In Salt Lake City his spree
would reully begin. Webster designed
chartering n tuxleab nnd proceeding
forthwith to a hotel where he would
engage a sunny room with a bath, (111
the bathtub, climb blithely In and sonk
for two hours at least, for It was near
ly eight months since he had had n
regular bat!) and he purposed making
the most of his opiortunlty. Ills long
drawn ablutions nt length over, he
would don a silken dressing gown and
nllppers, order up a barber and pro
ceed to part with enough hair and
whiskers to upholster un automobile,
nnd upon tho completion of his ton
iiorlnl adventures he would encase his
person In n suit of mauve-colored silk
pajamas, climb Into bed and stuy
there for forty eight hours, merely wak
ing long enough to take another bnth,
order up periodical consignments of
tinni ami eggs, nnd Incidentally, make
certain that n friendly side-winder or
chuckwnlla hadn't crawled under the
blanket with him
So much for John Stuart Webster's
plans. Now for the gentleman himself.
No one not even tho Pullman porter,
ehrewd Judge of mankind that he was
could have discerned In the chrysalis
that flagged tho Limited tho butterfly
of fushlon that was to be. As the
eUony (Jeorge raised the vestibule plat
form, opened the enr door und looked
out, he had no confidence In tho lean,
sun baked big man standing by the
train, I'lnlnly tho fellow wns not a
llrnt-class passenger but n wandering
prospector, for ho was dog-dirty, a ruin
of rage and hairy as n tarantula. Tho
only clean thing about him wns a
heavy-cullbercd automatic pistol of the
army type, swinging at his hip.
"Duy conch an' tourist up In front,"
the knight of tho whlskhrootn an
nounced In disapproving tones nnd
started to close down the platform.
"So I perceived," John Stuart Web
ster replied blandly. "I also observed
that you failed to employ tho title
'sir1 when addressing u white man.
1'ut that platform back and hop out
here with your little stool, you snddlo
colontd son of Scnegumbla, or I'll
make you a hnrtl porter to catch."
"Yassoh, yussuhl" the porter sput
tered, and obeyed Instantly. Mr. Web
Rter handod him a disreputable-looking
suitcase and stepped aboard In state,
only to be Informed thut there wasn't
it vacant first-class berth, on the train.
"Yes, I know I'm dirty," tho Into ar
rival announced cheerfully, "but still,
as Bobby Burns ouco remarked, 'a
man's a man for a' that' aud 1'ui not
i "I'm very sorry," the conductor re
plied perfunctorily and endeavored to
pass on, but Webster secured a flrra
crip on his lapel and frustrated the es
"You're not sorry," the ragged wnn
cterer declared, "not one little bit
You're only npprnhcnalvo. However,
you needn't be. There Is no wild life
on me, brother, I assure you."
"But I tell you, the train Is full up,
You'll have to roost In tho day coach
or the tourist I'm verv sorry-
"Nevertheless, despfte your deep grlof,
something tells me you'ro spooling, so
while I must, of necessity, accept your
suggestion, said acceptunce will bo but
temporary. In nbout two hours, young
fellow, you'ro going to make tho alarm
lng discovery that you have jbuts In
your bolfry." And with n whiskery grin
which, under the clrcumstnnces, was
charming In its absolute freedom from
malice, Mr. Webster departed for tbo
day coach
Two hours later tho conductor found
him In the aforementioned day coach.
engaged In a mild game of poker with
a mule-sklnucr, u Chinaman, nn aged
prospector, and a half-breed Indian,
and waited until Mr. Webster, on a
bob-tailed flush, bluffed the Chinaman
out of n dollar-und-n-hnlf pot.
"Aro you Mr. John S. Webster?"
"Your assumption that I urn that
person Is so eminently correct that It
would bo a waste of tlmo for mo to
dispute It," Webster replied quizzical
' ly.' "However. Just to provo that
you're not the only clairvoyant on this
train, I'm going to tell you something
nbout yourself. In your pocket you
have a telegram; It Is from Chicago,
' .whero your pay-check originates; It Is
h(irt, sweet and comprehensive, con
tniiilnjj an order which you aro going
to obey. It reads somewhat as fol-
Author of "Cappy Riclu," "The Vnllcy of tho
"My friend, John S. Webster, wires
me from Illank thut he boarded train
nt Blank and was refused first-class
accommodation because he looked like
a hobo. Give him the best you hnve In
stock, If you hnve to throw somebody
off tho train to accommodate him.
Signed, 'Sweeney.'
"Do I hit the tnrget?"
The conductor nodded. "You win,
Mr. Webster." he admitted.
'Occasionally I lose, old timer.
"No offense, Mr. Webster, no offense.
I can let you have n stateroom "
"Thitts trading talk. I'll take It"
Tho condurtor gave him his receipt
nnd led him buck to the stnteroom In
tho observation car. At tho door Web
ster handed him a five-dollar bill. "For
you, son." he said gently, "Just to take,
tho sting out of what I'm nbout to tell
you. Mow that I possess your receipt
and know that ten men and a boy can
not take It away from me, I'm going to
tell you who Sweeney Is."
"Who Is he?" the conductor queried.
Alrendy ho suspected ho hud been out
Sweeney," said Mr. Webster, "Is tho
chief clerk In one of Chicago's most
pretentious hotels and a young man
who can find all the tangles of a sit
uation without working It out In loga
rithms. I wired him the details of my
predicament ; he heard the Macedonian
cry and kicked In. Neut, Is It not?"
The conductor grinned. "I hute to
take your money," he declnred.
"Don't. Just nt present I'm very
flush. Yes, sir. I'm as prosperous us a
yearling burro up to his ears In alfalfa
nnd the only use I have ever found for
money Is to make other people happy
with It. thereby getting some enjoy
ment out of It myself. When I'm broke
I'll make some more."
And Mr. Webster retired to his hard-
won snnctunry, whero he removed as
much alknll and perspiration as he
could, carded his loug hulr nnd whisk'
.or9( fnncurC( tlnKer nu wUh a
Jack-knife, changed his shirt, provided
five minutes of Industry for George,
with his whlskbroom and brush, nnd
set himself patiently to await the first
call to dinner.
Presently a plnk-Jowlcd, well
curried, flashily dressed big mnn, of
about Webster's age, passed In the cor
ridor, going toward the head of the
train. An Instnnt Inter u womun's r
voice suld very distinctly:
"I do not know you, sir; I do not
wish to know you, nnd It Is lonthsome
of you to persist In uddresslng me. If
you do not stop your annoying atten
tions, I shall cull the conductor."
"Ah I Benuty In distress," John
8tuart Webster soliloquized. "I look
60 much like an Angora goat I might
as well butt In." He stepped to the
door of his stnteroom. A girl stood In
tho vestibule, confronting the mun who
had Just pussed Webster's door.- Web
ster bowed.
"Mndnme. or mademoiselle, as the
case may be." he said, "unlike this
other male biped, my sole purpose in
presuming to nddress you Ik to suggest
that there Is not the slightest necessity
for taking this matter up with the con
ductor. I am here and verv much at
your service."
The girl turned nnd John Stuart
Webster's heart flopped twice In rapid
succession, like a trout newly grassed.
Sho was as lovely as a roynl flush.
Her starry glance began at his miner's
boots, traveled up his old soiled, whip
cord trousers, over his light blue chain-
bray shirt und found the mnn behind
the whiskers. She favored him with a
quick, curious scrutiny nnd a grave,
sweet smile. "Thank you so much, sir,"
she answered, and passed down tho
corridor Jo tho observation cur.
"Well, old-timer," Webster greeted
the fellow who had been annoying her,
"how about you? What do you think
wo ought to do about this llttla af
fair?" "The senslblo thing would be to do
nothing. You might start something
you couldn't finish."
"Thnt's a dure," Webster declared
brightly, "und wnsn't It tho Inimortnl
Huckleberry Finn who remarked that
anybody thut'd take a dare would suck
eggs und steal sheep?" Ho wus silent
a few seconds, appraising his man. "I
suppose you commenced operations by
moving Into her section and usklug If
sho would like to hnve the window
open and enjoy tho fresh air. She re
buffed you, hut being a persistent
devil, you followed her Into the ob
servntlon car, and In all probability
you ogled her at luncheon und ruined
her appetite. And Just now, when you
met her In this vestibule, you doubt
less Jostled her. begged her pardon
and without wultlug to be Introduced
asked her to hnve dinner with you this
"Well?" the fellow echoed belliger
"It's nil bud form. You shouldn'
try to make a mush on a lady. I don'
know who she Is, of course, hut she's
not common nnd for the sake of tho,
mother that bore me I always respect
and protect a good woman and whnlo
h out of those thnt do not."
no reached Inside his stateroom and
pressed tho bell. Tho porter arrived on
tho run.
"George," raid Mr. Webster. "In
few minutes we're due at Smlthvllle,
If my memory verve me aright, we
GianU," Etc'
Coprrlcht br Pir n. Krn:
stop tlvo mluutus for wuter und or
ders." "Yassnh."
"Remain right here nnd let me off as
soon ns the train comes to u stop."
When tho train slid to a grinding
halt nnd tho porter opened the car
door, Webster pointed. "Out I" he snld.
"ThlB Is no nice plnco to pull off a
"See here, neighbor, I don't want to
bnve nny trouble with you "
"I know It. AH the same, you'ro go
log to have It or come with me to
Unit young lady and beg her pardon."
"All right. I'll apologize," and ho
started forward as If to pass Webster
In the vestibule, on his way to the ob
servation car, whither the subject of
his annoying attention had gone. Two
steps brought hi in within striking dis
tance of his enemy, and before Web
ster could dodge, n sizzling right-
handed blow landed on his Jaw nnd set
him back on his haunches In the ves
It was almost a knockout almost,
but not quite. As Webster's body
struck the floor the big automatic
came out of the holster; swinging In
wenk circle, It covered the other.
"That wns a daisy." Webster mum
bled. "If you move before my head
clears, I'll put four bullets Into you be
fore you reach the corridor."
He waited about a minute, then with
the gun he pointed to tho car door and
tho masher stepped out. Webster hand
ed the porter his gun and followed;
two minutes later he returned, drag
ging his assailant by the collar. Up
the steps he Jerked the big buttered
hulk and tossed It In the corner of the
vestibule. Just as the girl came through
the car, making for the diner up nhead.
Again she favored him with that
calm, grave, yet vitally Interested gaze.
nodded nppreclatlvely, made as If to
pass on, changed her mind, und suld
"You Are Very Courtly Gentleman."
very gravely: "You are a very court
ly gentleman, sir."
He bowed. There wns nothing else
to do. nothing that he could say under
the circumstances. To use his chivalry
us a wedge to open nn acquaintance
never occurred to Win but his whisk
ers did occur to him. Hastily he backed
Into his stateroom and closed tho
door, presently he rose and surveyed
himself crltlcully In tho small mirror
over the wuMistand.
"No, Johnny," he murmured, "we
can't go Into tho diner now. We're too
blamed dlsreputuble. We were bud
enough beforo thnt big swine hung tho
shanty on our right eye, but whutever
our physical and personul feelings, far
be It from u to parndo our Iridescent
orb In public. Beside?, ono look nt that
queen Is enough to do us for tho re
mainder of our natural life, and n sec
ond look, minus a proper Introduction,
would only drive us Into a suicide's
grave." He sighed, rung for the porter
und told him' to send a waiter for his
order, slnco he would fain breuk his
fast In the privacy of his stateroom.
And when the waiter came for the
order, such was Mr. Webster's mental
perturbutlon thut hum nnd eggs were
furthest from his thoughts. Ue or
dered a steuk with French fried po
John Stuart Webster pnssed a rest
less night Sleep came to him In hour
ly Installments, from which ho would
rouso to usk himself whether It wns
worth while to continue to co throuch
tho motions of living, or alight nt the
next station, seek n lonely und unfre
quented spot nnd there surrender
outrageous fortune It wns altogether
dnmnnble. In u cnreloss moment. Fnto
had accorded hlra a glimpse of tho
only woman he had ever met and d
sired to meet ugnln for Webster wi
essentially a man's man, und bis pro
fession nnd environment hud militated
against his opportunities for meeting
extraordinary women; und extraordi
nary women were the only kind thnt
could nope to challenge his serious at-
entlon. Fnte had accorded him a slgnnl
opportunity for knlghty combat In tho
service of this extraordinary woman,
and In the absence of a fonnnl Intro
duction, whnt man could desire n finer
opportunity for getting acquainted I If
only their meeting hud but been de
layed two weeks, ten days, n week I
Once free of his ugly cocoon of rags
and whiskers, the butterfly Webster
would not hnve hesitated one brief In
stnnt to Inform himself of thnt young
lady's nddress, following his summary
disposal of her tormentor.
But In nil thing?) there Is a limit,
and John Stuart Webster's right eye
constituted a deadline beyond which,
as a gentleman, ho dared not venture;
so with n henvy henrt hts bowed to
the Inevltnble. Brilliant and mysteri
ous ns a meteorite she had flashed
once ncross his horizon und wns gone.
In the privacy of his stnteroom Web
ster had ham nnd eggs for breakfast
Ho was lighting his second cigar when
tho porter knocked and entered wltb
an envelope.
"Lndy In the ohservntlon-cor usked
me to deliver this to you, sub," he an
nounced Importantly.
It wns a note, freshly written on tho
train stationery. Webster read:
"The distressed lndy desires to
thank the gentleman In stateroom A
for his chivalry of yesterday. Sho Is
profoundly sorry that In her servlco
the gentleman In stnteroom A was so
unfortunate as to ncqulro a red eye
with blue trimmings." ,
John Stuart Webster swore his
mightiest outh, "By the twelve apos
tles, Simon Peter, Andrew, James,
John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James, .Tude and Simon, nnd
not omitting .Twins Iscurlot, the scaly
scoundrel who betrayed his Lord nnd
Muster!" Ho searched through an old
wallet until he discovered n fairly
cleun professional card, across the bot
tom of which he wrote, "Thank you.
J. S. W." und sent It to the no-longer-distressed
"Tho most slgnnl ndventure of my
life Is now over." he soliloquized and
turned to his clgnr. "For tho sake of
my self-respect. I had to let her know
I'm not a hobo I And now to the tnsk
of framing up a srheme for future
ucqualntnnce. I must lenrn her name
und destination : so ns a preliminary
I'll Interview the train condurtor."
He did and under the nmelloratlng
Influence of a five-dollar bill the con
ductor bent a respectful ear to tho
Websterlnn message.
"In Cnr Seven," he began, "there Is
a young lndy. I do not know what sec
tion she occupies neither do I know
her nnme and destination. I only
know whnt she looks like."
The conductor nodded. "And you
want to usccrtaln her name and des
I do."
"All right f have the unused por
tion of her transportation to return
to her before we' hit Salt Lake; her
name Is on the ticket nnd the ticket
Indicates her destination. I'll make a
mental note of both ns soon ns I've
Identified her ticket."
A few hours Inter the conductor
cumo to Webster s stnteroom nnd
handed him a curd upon which was
"Dolores Ruey. From Los Angeles,
vln Sun Pedro, Los Angeles & Snlt
Lake, to Salt Lake City. Denver fc Rio
Grande to Denver, Burlington to St
Louis, Illinois Central to New Orleans.
Stop-over nt Denver."
John Stunrt Webster studied the
namo after the conductor withdrew.
"Thnt's a Spanish nnme," he solilo
quized, "but for all thnt, she's not a
parakeet All things considered, I
guess I'll take a chance and Investi
Webster's dreams of bliss had, with
very slight variations, come true ns
per schedule. In Salt Lake City ho
abandoned the beefstenk on his dam
aged eye for two huslnessllke leeches,
which quickly reduced the nocturno
effect around his orb, enabling him,
tho third day, to saunter forth among
hts fellowmen. By the end of the
week he wns n being reincarnated, and
so he packed a huge new wardrobe
trunk with his latest purchases and
Journeyed on to Denver. Coincident
with his arrival there, we again take
up the thread of our story.
One hour nfter his trunk arrived the
gentleman from Deuth Valley might
have been observed standing before
a cheval glass looking long nnd
earnestly at tho reflection of his mid-die-aged
person, the while he marked
tho lit of his new raiment John
Stunrt Webster was all dressed up for
the first time In three long, labor-ridden
yenrs, nnd wns tremendously glad
of It He lighted u clgur and stepped
forth into Seventeenth street along
which he strolled until ho came to a
certain building Into the elevator of
which he entered nnd wns whisked to
the twelfth floor, where he alighted
and found himself before a wide portal
which boro In gold letters the words:
"Engineers' Club."
The Engineers' club was the closest
approach to a home that John Stunrt
Webster hud known for twenty yenrs,
nnd save for the slight Job of kal
somlntng which Fnther Time had dono
on the edges of the close-cropped Web
sterlnn mustache, tbo returned prodl
gat might have stepped out of the club
but yesterday. Ho would not have
taken the short end of a modest bet
that even a fresh log had been plnced
on tho Are or that tho domlno-plnyers
over against the wall had won or lost
a drink or two and then resumed play
Ing although perchance there were n
fow more gray hairs In tho thickly
thatched head of old Neddy Jerome,
sitting In his favorite seat by the
window nnd turning the cards In hi
eternal game of solitaire. In hllwfnl
Ignorance that John Stuart Webster
stood within the portals of home and
awnltcd the fatted calf.
Webster struck tbo upholstery of nn
adjacent chair. a terrific blow wfth his
stick the effect of which was to causo
everybody In the room to stnrt nnd
to conceal Mr. Webster momentarily
In n cloud of dust, tho whllo In a bel
lowing bnrltono he snng:
"His father wa a hard-rock miner;
He comei from my home town"
"Jack Webster I Tho devil's own
kin I" shouted Neddy Jerome. .He
swept the cards Into n heap and wud
dled ncross tho room to meet this
latest nssnllant of the peace and dig
nity of tbo Engineers' club. "You old,
worthless, ornery, no-good son of a
lizard I I've never been so glad to see
u man that didn't owe mo money. I've
been combing the whole civilized
world for you, for a month, at leust
Where the devil hnve you been?"
John Stunrt Webster beamed hap
pily upon his friend. "Well, Neddy,
you old stocking-knitter," he replied
quizzically, "since that Is the case, I'm
not surprised nt your failure to find
me. You've known tne long enough
to hnve remembered to confine your
search to the uncivilized reaches."
"Well, you're here, at nny rate and
I'm happy. Now you settle down."
"Hardly, Neddy. "I'm young yet,
you know only forty. Still n real llvo
man nnd not quite ready to degenernto
Into a cuKl-pluylng. eat-drlnk-nnd-be-merry,
dle-oMnunltlon, slnk-to-obllvlon
nnd go-to-h flreplnco spirit I" And
he prodded Jerome In the short ribs
with n tentative thumb that caused
the old mnn to wince. He permitted
his friend to drag him downstnlrs to
the deserted lounge, where Jerome
paused In the middle of the room und
renewed Ms query:
"Where hnve you been, I ask?"
"Out In Deuth vnlley, Cnlifornlu, try
ing to pry loose a fortune."
"Did you pry It?"
John Stuurt Webster arched his eye
brows In mock reproach. "And you
can sec my now suit, Neddy, my six-teen-dollar,
mnde-to-order shoos nnd
my horny hoofs encased In silken hoso
nnd ask that question? Freshly
shnved nnd Ironed and nlmost afraid
to sit down and get wrinkles In ray
trousers I Smell that!" He blew a
cloud of clgnr smoke Into Jerome's
smiling fnce. The latter sniffed. "It
smells expensive," ho replied.
"Yes, and you enn bet It tastes ex
pensive, too," Webster answered,
banding his clgnr-cuse to his friend.
Jerome bit the end of his clgur and
spat derisively. "How much have you
made?" he demanded bluntly.
"It's none of your business-, but I'll
tell you becnuse I lovo you, Neddy. I've
mude one hundred thousund dollars."
"Chicken-feed," Jerome retorted.
"Johnny, I've been combing the min
eral belt of North nnd South America
for you for a month."
"Why this sudden belated interest
In me?"
"I have a fine Job for you, John "
"King's X," Webster Interrupted,
and showed both hands with the fin
gers crossed. "No plotting ngulnst my
pence nnd comfort Neddy. Huven't I
told you I'm nil dressed up for the
first time In three yenrs. that I hnvo
money In my pocket nnd more In
bnnk? Man, I'm going to tread tho
primrose path for n year heforo I get
hack Into the harness again."
Jerome wnved a deprecatory hand,
figuratively brushing aside such feeblo
and inconsequential nrgument "Are
you foot-loose?" he demnndecl.
"I'm not I'm bound In golden
"Married, eh? Great Scott, I might
have guessed It So you'ro on your
honeymoon, ehT"1
"No such luck, you vlchy-drinklng
Iconoclast. If you had ever gotten far
enough from this club during tho past
fifteen years to get a breath of real
fresh air, you'd understand why I
want to enjoy civilization for a week
or two before I go Ijack to a mine su
perintendent's cabin on some bleak hill.
No, slr-ee. Old Jeremiah Q. Work and
I have had a falling out Dnd burn
your picture, Neddy, I want some
class 1 I've- been listening to a dngo
shift-boss playing the nccordeon for
three yenrs and he could only piny
three tunes. Now I want Sousn's
band. I've been bathing In tepid, dirty
water In a redwood sluice-box, and
now I desire a steam room and a nee
dle shower and nn osteopath. I've been
bossing Greasers npd ltnllans and was
forced to learn their Inngunge to get
results, and now I want to speak my
mother tongue to my old friends. By
thunder I'm going to hnvo a new deal
all around."
"Very well. Jnck. Don't exclbo your
self. I'll give you exnetly thirty days
to sicken of It nil nnd then I shall
come and claim my property."
"Noddy, I'll not work for you. Pm
mad. I won't play."
"You're It I Just tagged you."
"I require o rest but unfold your
proposition, Neddy. I wns born a
poor, wenk vessel consumed with a
curiosity thnt was ever my undoing.
I can only protest thnt this Is no way
to treat a friend."
"Nonsense I My own brother wnnts
this Job. and I have refused to give It
to him. Business Is business nnd I've
saved It for you."
Jerome leaned forward nnd laid his
finger confidentially on Webster's
knee; whereat the light-hearted wan
derer carefully lifted the finger,
brushed nn Imaginary speck of dirt
from It, and set It down ngnln. "Bo
serious, you Ingrate." Jeromo pro
tested. "Listen I I'vo been working
for two years on a consolidation up
near Tellurldo, and I've Just put It
ncross. Jack, It's the biggest thing In
the country. Colorado Consolidated
Mines Company. Limited. English
capital, Jnck. Pay 'em 0 per cent
and they'll call yon blessed. There's
twenty-five thousand a year In It with
a houso and a good cook and nn an
tomoblle nnd a chauffeur, and you can
come to town whenever you please
provided you don't neglect the com
pany's Interests nnd I know you're
not that kind of on engineer."
"Do I have to put aouio money Into
It Neddy?"
"Not necessarily, nlthough I slioulrt
advise It I can let you In on the
ground floor for that hundred thou
snnd of yours, guarantee you a hand
some profit and In all probability u bis
"I feel myself slipping, Neddy. Nev
ertheless, the tall goes with the hide
I'm not In the habit of usklng tnr
friends to guarantee my Investments,
nnd If you sny It's right. I'll spread
what I have left of the hundred thou
sand when I report for duty."
"It's been u tremendous Job get
ting Uils consolidation over, Jack.
"lu pity's name I Spnro mc. Tvo
heard nil I want 'to henr nbout your
conifounded consolldutlon. News I
News! Glvo me news I I have to
beg for n drink Mose, you black;
sinner, how dnre you appear beforo
me without bringing a drink?"
Mose. the nged colored porter of
tiie Engineers' club, flnshed a row of
Ivories and respectfully returned the
democratic greeting. "
"Letter for you, sub. Tho secre
tary told me to give It to you, Mlstnh
"Thunk you, Mose. Speak up, Ned
dy, nnd tell me something. Ever hear
anything of Billy Genry?"
He was tearing the edgo of the en
velope the whllo he gnzed at Jerome,
who wns rubbing his fnt hands to
gether after the fashion of elderly meu
who are well pleased with themselves.
"You have n chnnce to become one
of the greatest and richest mining en
gineers In the world. Jnck," he an
swered, "now thnt you've cut looso
from thnt young crook Genry. I don't
know whnt's become of him, nnd
neither does nnybody else. For that
nintter, nobody cores."
"I do nnd you can tnko the brief
end of that bet for your Inst white
chip. Don't let me hoar you or any
body else sny anything against Billy
Geary. That hoy goes for my money,
every turn In the box. Don't make
any mistakes nbout thnt oldtlmer."
Webster's fnce suddenly wns seri
ous; the bantering Intonation In his
voice wns gone, and n new, slightly
strident note had crept Into It But
Jerome waved his hand soothingly.
"All right old Johnny Pepper-box,
hnve It your own wuy. Nevertheless,
I'm n little mystified. The last I
know of you two. you had testified
against him In the high-grader trials
nt Cripple Creek, and he had pulled
out under a cloud, even niter his ac
quittal." "Give a dog n bad name, nnd It will
stick to him." Webster retorted. "Of
course I testified ngnlnst him. As en
gineer for tho Mine Owners' nssocln
tlon, I hnd to. The high-grade oro
was found In his assay olllce, and tho
circumstantial evidence was complete,
nnd I admit Billy was acquitted
merely because I and others could not
swear positively that the ore came
from any certain mine. It wns tho
same old story, Neddy. You con be
morally certain that high-grade ore
has been stolen from your mine, but
unless you cutch the ore thief In the
act how enn you prove It? I suppose)
you rend the newspaper reports ond
believed them, Just as everybody else
"Well, forget It, Jack. It's all over
long ngo. nnd forgotten."
"It wnsn't all over so long ngo as
you seem to think. I suppose yoa
knew the Holmnn gang was after
ward sent to the penltentlnry for
those same high-grade operations?
Billy Geary's acquittal didn't end ray
Interest In tho case not by a Jugful I
I fought the case against tle friends
of the Holman crew nmong the mine
owners themselves ; nnd It cost me my
good Job, my prestige as a mining en
gineer, nnd thirty thousand dollars of
money thnt I'd slaved to get together.
Of course you never knew this, Neddy,
and for thut matter, neither does
Geary. I wish he did. We were good
friends once. I certainly was mighty
fond of thnt boy."
Ho drew the letter from the en
velope and slowly opened It
"And you never heard what became
of Geary?"
"Not a word. I was too busy won
dering whnt was to become of me. I
couldn't get a Job nnywhere In Colo
rado, nnd I moved to Nevada. Made
a million In Goldfleld. dropped It In
the panic of 11)07, and had to start
again "
(To bo continued)
Some university professors aro talk
Ing nbout getting out a new arithmetic.
However, our guess Is thnt It will
bother tho boys Just as much to dis
cover how long It will take one man
to build a wnll 18 feet long nnd six
feet high and 12 Inches thick. If eight
men can build a wall three times that
size In four days. Arithmetic has al
ways been the castor oil of school
life; they rany fool with It ns much
as they will but they'll never find a
way to mnko It pleasant to take.
First Mirror Was Water.
Rrushcs wore probably Invented
much luter than the comb, but tho
mirror, the one toilet article wlthmit
which woman could not exist, must
dnto from a very early period. Per
haps a clear pool allowed curious wom
an n first view of her face, though wo
must say that she Is not the only ulii
crenture to exist, for a certain genllo
man nnmed Narcissus gnzed ut his re
flection In the still wntor. and gussln-j
fell so in love with his beauty thut he
pined away and died.

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