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Saint Mary's beacon. (Leonard Town, Md.) 1867-1983, March 31, 1921, Image 4

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I of the Pack |
LBy Edison Marshall $
| (Copyright, UK, little. Brown * Oompu;)
>• ______
In th* little town of Gltcheapolla small
Dan Flailing dreams boyish dreams, tinc
tured with melancholy over his supposed
physical weakness. There, years later,
he meets Destiny.
BOOK I— repatriation.
CHAPTER L—Warned by his physician
that he has not more than six months to
live. Falling sits despondently on a park
bench, wondering where he should spend
those six montha A friendly squirrel
practically decides the matter for him.
His blood Is pioneer blood, and he decides
to end his days In the forests of Oregon.
Memories of his grandfather and a deep
love for all things of the wild help him
In reaching a decision.
CHAPTER ll.—ln a large southern Ore
gon city he meets people who had known
and loved his grandfather, a famous fron
tiersman. He makes his home with Silas
Lennox, a typical westerner. The only
other members of the household ore Len
nox’s son, ’’Bill/' and daughter, ’•Snow
bird," Their abode is many miles from
"civilisation,** In the Umpqua divide, and
there Falling plans to live out the short
span of life whleb he has been told Is his.
His extreme weakness In the face of oven
a slight exertion convinces him that the
doctor had mode a correct diagnosis of
his case.
CHAPTER lll.—From the first Poling's
health shows a marked Improvement, and
In the companionship of Lennox and his
son and daughter he fits Into the woods
life as If he had been born to It By
quick thinking and a remarkable display
of "nerve" he saves Lennox's life and his
own when they are attacked by a mad
coyote. Lennox declares he Is a rein
carnation of his grandfather, Dan Fall
ing I, whose fame as a woodsman Is a
household word.
J |' The Debt.
September wan at Its last days on
tho Umpqua divide—that fur wilder
ness of endless, tree-clad ridges where
Dan Palling had gone for his last
days. Everywhere the forest people
were preparing for the winter that
would fall go quickly when these gold
en September days were done. The
Under Plane of the forest —those
smaller peoples that Uve In the dust
and have beautiful, tropical forests In
the ferns —found themselves digging
holes and filling them with stores of
food. Of course they had no Idea on
earth why they were doing It, except
that a quiver at the end of their tails
told them to do so; but the result was
entirely the same. They would have
a shelter for the winter.
But the most noticeable change of
all. In these days of summer, was a
distinct tone of sadness that sound
od throughout the forest. Of course
the wilderness note Is always some
what sad; but now. ns the leaves fell
and the grasses died. It seemed par
ticularly pronounced. All the forest
voices added to It—the wall of the
geese, the sad fluttering of fallen
leaves, and even the whisper of the
north wind. Of course ntl the tones
and voices of the wilderness sound
clearest at night—for that Is the time
that the forest really comes to life—
and Dan Falling, sitting In front of
Dennoi’s house, watching the late
September moon rise over Bald moun
tain, could hear them very plainly.
It was true that In the two months
he had spent In the mountains he had
learned to be very receptive to the
voices of the wilderness. Lennox had
not been mistaken In thinking him n
natural woodsman. He had Imagina
tion and Insight and sympathy; but
roost of all he had a heritage of wood
lore from his frontiersmen ancestors.
Two months before he had been a
resident of cities. Now the wilder
ness had claimed him, body and aoul.
These had been rare days. At first
he had to limit his expeditions to a
few miles each day, and even then he
would come In at night staggering
from weariness. He climbed hills
that seemed to tear his diseased lungs
to shreds. Lennox wouldn’t have been
afraid, In a crisis, to trust his marks
manship now. He had Die natural
cold nerve of a marksman, and one
twilight he brought the body of a lynx
tumbling through the branches of n
pine at a distance of two hundred
yards. He got so he could shatter n
grouse out of the air In the half of a
second or bo In which Its bronze wings
glinted In the shrubbery; and when
a man may do this a fair number of
times out of ten he Is on the straight
road toward greatness.
Then there came a day when Dan
caught his first steelhead In the North
Fork. There Is no more beautiful
thing in the wilderness world than a
steelhead trout In action. He simply
seems to dance on the surface of the
water, leaping again and again, and
racing at an unheard-of speed down
the ripples. He weighs only from
three to fifteen pounds. But now and
again amateur fishermen without souls
have tried to pull him In with main
strength, and are still somewhat
dazed by the result It might be done
with a steel cable, but an ordinary
line or leader breaks like a cobweb.
When his majesty the steelhead takes
the fly and decides to run. It can be
learned after a time that the one
thing that may be done Is to let out all
the line and with prayer and humble
ness try to keep up with him.
Dan no longer wore his glasses
Bvery day his eyes had strengthened.
He could see more clearly now, with
bis unaided eyes, than he had ever
Been before with the help of the lens.
And the moonlight came down through
o rift In the trees and showed that his
face had changed, too. It was no
longer so white. The eyes were more
Intent. The Ups were straighter.
"It’s been two months,” Silas Len
nox told him, "half the four that you
gave yourself after you arrived here.
And you’re twice as good now as when
you came.”
Dan nodded. “Twice I Ten times
as good I I was a wreck when I came.
Today I climbed halfway up BaJdy—
within a hajf mile of Snowbird’s cab
in—without stopping to rest.”
Lennox looked thoughtful. More
than once, Qfjats, Dnnhad flimbed up
toward SniivvhTnTm csblniT It wins 1 rue
that his guest nnd his dnnghter had
become the best of companions In the
two months; hut on second thought.
Lennox was not In the least nfmld of
complications. The love of the moun
tain women does not go out to phys
ical Inferiors. “Whoever gets her,”
he had said, “will have to fame her,”
and his words still held good. The
mountain women rarely mistook a ma
ternal tenderness for an appealing
man for love. It wasn’t that Dan was
weak except from the .ravages of his
disease; bat he was still a long way
from Snowbird's Ideal. Although Dap
had courage and that same rigid self
control that was an old quality In his
breed, he was still a long way from
a physically strong man. It was still
an even break whether he would ever
wholly recover from his malady.
But Dan was not thinking about
this now. All his perceptions had
sharpened down to the finest focal
point, and he was trying to catch the
spirit of the endless forest that
stretched In front of the house. Ills
pipe hod gone out, and for a long time
Lennox hadn’t spoken. He seemed to
be straining too, with Ineffective
senses, trying to recognize and name
the faint sounds that come so tingling
and tremulous out of the darkness. As
always, they heard the stir and rustle
of the gnawing people; the chipmunks
In the shrubbery, the gophers who,
like blind misers, had ventured forth
from their dark burrows; and per
haps even the scaly glide of those
most-dreaded poison people that had
lairs In the rock piles.
Dun felt that at last the wilderness
Itself was speaking to him. He had
waited a long time to hear Its voice.
His thouglit went back to (he wise
men of the ancient world, waiting to
hear the riddle of tho universe from
the lips of the Sphinx, and how he
himself—more In hla unconscious self,
rather than conscious—had sought the
eternal riddle of the wilderness. He
had asked questions—never In the
form of words but only Ineffable
yearnings of hla soul—and at last It
had responded. The strange rising
and falling song was Its own voice, (he
articulation of the very heart and soul
of the wilderness.
“It'a (he wolf pack,” Lennox told
him softly. "The wolves have Just
Joined together for the fall rutting.”
“Then this mm Uic end of the
summer?” Dan asked.
“In away, but yet we don’t count
the summer ended until the rains
break. Heavens, I wish they would
start I I've never seen the hills so
dry, and I’m afraid that either Bert
Cranston or some of his friends will
deride It’s time to make a little mon
ey fighting forest fires, Dan. fm so*-
“Dan, I'm Suspicious of That Gang.”
plclotis of that gang. I believe they’ve
got a regular arson sing, maybe with
unscrupulous stockmen behind them,
ami perhaps Just a penny-winning deal
of their own. I suppose you know
about Landy Hildreth—how he’s prom
ised to tuijl stale’s evidence that will
send about a dozen of these vipers to
the penitentiary?”
“Snowbird told me something about
“He’s got a cabin over toward the
marshes, and It has come to me that
he’s going to start tomorrow, or maybe
has already started today, down Into
the valley to give hla evidence. Of
course, that la deeply confidential be
tween you ami me. If the gang knew
about It, he’d never get through the
thickets alive.”
But Dnn was hardly listening. His
attention was caught by the busked,
Intermittent sounds that are always to
be heard, If one listens keenly enough.
In the wilderness at night. “I wish
the pack would sound again,” he said.
”1 suppose It was hunting.”
“Of course. And there Is no living
thing in these woods that cun stand
against a wolf pack lu Us full
“Except man, of course."
“A strong man, with an accurate
rifle, of course, and except possibly
In the starving times In winter he’d
never have to fight them. All the
beasts of prey are out tonight. You
sec, Dan, when the moon shines, the
deer feed ot night Instead of In the
twilights and the dawn. And of
course the wolves and the cougars
hunt the deer. It may be that they
are running cattle, or even sheep.”
But Dan’s Imagination was afire.
He wasn’t content yet. “They couldn’t
bo—hunting man?” ho asked.
“No. If It was midwinter and the
pack was starving, we’d have to lis
ten hotter. It always looked to me as
If the wild creatures had a law
against killing men, Just ns humans
hqve. They’ve learned It doesn’t pay
—something the wolves and hears of
Europe and Asia haven’t found out.
The naturalists sny that the reason Is
rather simple—that the European
peasant, Ids soul scared out of him by
the government ho lived under, has
always fled from wild beasts. They
were tillers of the soli, and they car
ried hoes Instead of guns. They never
put the fear of God Into the animals
and ns a result there are quite a num
ber of true stories about tigers and
wolves that aren’t pleasant to listen
to. But our own frontiersmen were
not men to stand any nonsense from
wolves or cougars. They had guns,
and they knew how to use them. And
they were preceded by ns brave and
as warlike a race ns ever lived on the
earth—armed with bows and arrows.
Any animal that hunted men was Im
mediately killed, and the rest found
out it didn’t pay. * --
"Just ns human beings have found
out the. s®e_
png to hunt their fellow men. Trie,
laws of life ns well ns the laws of na
tions are orsti”” It.”
But the woi'/H -minded v.qnk and
dim under the weight of the throbbing
darkness; and Pan couldn’t get away
from the Idea that the codes of life by
.which most men lived were forgotten
quickly In the shadows of the pines.
Even as be spoke, man was hunting
man on the distant ridge where Whls
perfoot the cougar had howled.

, Bert Cranston, head of the arson
ring that operated on the Umpqua di
vide, was not only beyond the pale In
regard to the laws of the valleys, but
he could have learned valuable lessons
from the beasts In regard to keeping
the laws of the hills.; The moon looked
down to find him wnlting on n certain
trail that wound down to the settle
ments. his rifle loaded and ready for
another kind of game than doer or
wolf. He was waiting for Landy Hil
dreth; and the greeting he had for
him was to destroy all chances of the
prosecuting attorney In the valley be
low learning certain names that he
particularly wanted to know.
There was no breath of wind. The
great pines, tall and dark past belief,
stood absolutely motionless, like
strange pillars of ebony. Bert Cran
ston knelt In a brush covert. Ids rifle
loaded and ready In his lean, dark
No wolf that ran the ridges, no
cougar that watted on the deer trolls
knew n wilder passion, n more terrible
blood-lust than he. It showed In his
eyes, narrow and never resting from
their watch of the trail: It was In Ids
posture: nnd It revealed Itself unrols
takaldy In the curl of hla Ups. Some
thing like hot steam was In his brain
blurring his sight nnd heating hi
■ The pine needles hung wholly mo
tinnier* nlHive his head; hut yet fh<
dead leaves on which he knelt crinkled
and rustled under him. Only the keen
est ear could have heard the sound:
and possibly In-Ids madness. Cranston
himself was not aware of It. And one
would heye wondered a long lime ns
to what cntised It. it was simply that
hr was shivering all over with hate
and fury.
, A twtg cracked, far on the ridge
above him. Ho leaned forward, peer
Ing, nnd the moonlight showed his
faee In unsparing detail. It revealed
the deep lines, the terrible, drawn
Ups. the ugly hair long over the dork
ear*. Ills strong hands tightened
upon the breech of the rifle. Ills wiry
figure grew tense.
Of course It wouldn’t do to let his
prey come too close. Lsndy Hildreth
was a good shot too, young ns Cran
ston. and of equal strength; nnd no
sporting chance could he taken In this
hunting. Cranston had no Intention
of giving his enemv even the slightest
chance to defend himself. If Hildreth
got down Into the valley, his testi
mony would make short work of the
arson ring. He had the goods; he had
heen a member of the disreputable
crowd himself.
The man’s steps were quite distinct
hy now. Cranston heard him fighting
Ms way through the brush thickets,
and once a fiock of grone. fiightem-d
from their perches hr the approaching
figure, flew down the trail In front.
Cranston pressed buck the hammer of
his rifle. The click sounded load In
the silence. He hn- grown tense nnd
still, and the leaves no Innger rustled
Ills eyes were Intent on a little
clearing, posslMy one hundred yard
op the frail The trail Itself went
straight through It And In an In
slant more, Hildreth pushed through
the himkhrnsh and stood revealed In
the moonlight.
If llu-ie ( one quality that means
success (n Hie mountains It I* con
tinii-nsllig self i-itinrol. Cran
'-ought that he hail It. But per
haps he had walled too long for tfIV
dreth to come; and the strain hud told
on him. Ho had sworn to take no
false step*; that every motion he
made should be cool and sure. He
didn't want to attract Hildreth’s at
tention hy any sudden movement. All
must he cautious and stealthy. But
In spile of all these good resolutions,
Cranston’s gun simply leaped to hU
shoulder in one convulsive' motion at
the first glimpse of his enemy ns ho
emerged Into the moonlight.
The end of the barrel struck a
branch of the shrubbery ns It went
tip. It whs otdy a soft sound; but In
tho utter silence It t ravel od far. The
gun barrel caught the moonlight us It
leaped, nnd Hildreth saw Its glint In
the darkness.
He was looking fur trouble. He had
dreaded this long walk to the settle
ments more than any experience of
his life. He didn’t know why the let
ter ho hud written, asking for an
armed escort dowq to the courts, had
not brought results. But It was
wholly possible that Cranston would
have answered this question for him.
This same tetter had fallen Into a cer
tain soiled, deadly pair of bands
which was the last place In tho world
that Hildreth would have chosen, and
It had been all the evidence that was
needed, at tho meeting of the ring the
night before, to adjudge Hildreth a
merciless and Immediate end. Hil
dreth would have preferred to wait In
the hills nnd possibly to write another
letter, but n chill that kept growing
at his finger tips forbodu tt. And all
these things combined to stretch hla
nerves almost to the breaking point
as he stole along the moonlit trail un
der the pines.
A moment before the rush and whir
of the grouse flock had dried the roof
of his mouth with terror. The tall
trees appalled him, the shadows foil
upon his spirit. And when ho henrd
this final sound, when he saw (he
glint that might so easily have been a
gun-hnrrel, his nerves nnd muscles re
acted at once. Not oven a fraction of
n second Intervened. Hla gun flashed
tip and a little, angry cylinder of
flame darted, ns a snake's head darts,
from the muzzle.
Hildreth didn’t take atm. There
wasn't time. Tho report roared In the
darkness; the bullet sang harmlessly
nnd thudded Into the earth; nnd both
of them wore tho last things In the
world that Cranston had expect
ed,, And they were not a moment too
soon. Even at that Instant, Ids finger
was closing down upon the trigger,
Hildreth standing clear uu(\ revealed
through the sights. The nervous re
sponse that few men In tho world
would be self-disciplined enough to
prevent occurred at the same Instant
that he pressed the trigger. Ills own
fire answered, so near to the other
that both of them sounded as one re
Most hunters esn usually tell, even
If they cannot see their game fall,
whether they have hit or missed. Tills
was one of the few times In Ids life
■that Cranston could not have told. He
know that as his finger pressed he had
held as Accurate a “bead” as at any
time In hla life. He did not know still
another Jn, Ihe
moirriTTght 'Be' TiaS.’ irveresflniafcrl iTTe
distance to the clearing. anil Instcinl
of one hundred yards it wil- scarcely
tlfty. He tiad held rather high. And
be looked up, unknowing whether he
had succeeded or whether he was face
to face with the prospect of a duel
to the death In the darkness.
And all he saw was Hildreth, rock
ing hack and forth In the moonlight—
a strange picture that he was never
He Knew He Had Net Missed.
entirely to forget. It was a motion
that no man could pretend. And he
knew lie had not missed.
fie waited fill he saw the form of
hla’ci cmy rock down, face half-hurled
In the pine needles. It never even oc
curred to him to approach to see If he
had made a clean kill, lie had held
on the breast and he had a world of
confidence In hla great, shocking, big
game rifle. Besides, the rifle fir* might
attract some hunter In the hills; and
there would be time In the morning
to return to the body and make cer
tain little Invest iga I ion* that he had
In mind- And running hack down the
trail, he missed the sight of Hildreth
dragging his wounded body, like an
Injured hare, Into the shelter of the
* s • • • * •
VVhlsperfoof. that great coward,
came out of hla hntsh-covert when the
moon rose. It was not his usual rising
time. Ordinarily he found hla beat
hunting In the eerie light of the twi
light hour; but for certain remains,
his knowledge of which would be ex-
Iremely difficult to explain, he let thla
lime go by In slumber. Wlds|terfoof
had slept almost since dawn. It !• a
significant quality In the felines that
they simply cannot hi>ep In condition
without hours met hours of sleep. In
This matter of Steeping. they are In a
direct contrast to the wolves, who
seemingly never sleep at all, unless It
ia with one eye open, and In stilt
greater contrast to the king of ail
benals, the elephant, who 1* said to
slumber less |>cr night than that great
electrical Irani whom all men know
and praise.
The great cat came out yawning. a
graceful a thing ns treads u|m the
earth, lie wus almost nine fret long
from the tip of his nose to the end of
his tall, and he weighed as much as
many a full-grown man. He stood and
yawned Insolently, for all the forest
world to ere. He rather hoped that
the chipmunk, staring with bendy eyes
from his doorway, did see him. lie
would Jt -i ns soon that Woofs little
son, the 10-nr cob. should see him too.
Hut he wasn't so particular about
Woof himself, or the wolf pack whose
anng hod Just wakened him. And
above all things, he wanted to keep
out of the siglit of men.
for when nil things are said and
done, there were few hlgger cowards
In the whole wilderness world than
Whlapgrfoot. A good many people
think that Oraycnnt the coyote
eonbl take lesson* from him In lids
respect. But others, knowing how a
hunter Is brought In occagbmslly with
almost all human resemblance gone
from him because a cougar charged in
his death ncony, think this Is unfair
to the larger animal. And It la true
that a full-grown cougar will some
times attack homed entile, something
that no American animal cares to do
unless he wants n good tight on his
paws ami of which the very thought
would throw Ornycoat Into a spasm;
and there have heen even stranger
stories. If one could quite believe
them. A certain measure of respect
must be extended to any animal that
will hunt the great boll elk, for to
miss the stroke and get caught be
nealh the churning, lashing, stashing,
rnxor-edged front hoofs ts simply
death, painful and without delay. Hut
the difficulty lies In the fact that these
things arc not done In the ordinary,
rational blood of hunting. What an
animal does In Its death agony, or to
protect Its young, what great game It
follows In the starving times of win
ter, can be put to neither Its debit
nor Its credit. A coyote will charge
when mad, A raccoon will put up a
wicked fight when cornered.' A hen
will peck at the hand that roha her
nest. When hunting was fairly good,
Whtsperfoot avoided the elk and steer
almost a* punctiliously as he avoldist
men. which Is saying very much In
deed; and any kind of terrier could
usually drive film straight up a tree.
Hut he did like to protand to be
very great and terrible among the
smaller forest creatures. And he was
Pear Itself to the deer. A human
hunter who would kill two deer a
week for flfty-two weeks would be
called a much uglier name than iwacb
er; hut yet this had been Whisper
foot’s record, on and off, ever since
his second year. Many a great buck
wore the scar of the full strobe—aft
er which Whlsperfoot had lost Ids
hold. Many a fawn hod crouched
panting with terror In the thickets al
just a tawny light on the gnarled limb
of a pine. Many a doo would grow
great-eyed and terrified nt Just his
strnnge, pungent smell on the wind.
lie yawned again, and his fangs
looked white and abnormally large In
the moonlight. Hl* great, green eyes
were still clouded and languorous
from sleep. Then he began to steal
np the ridge toward his punting
grounds. It was a curious thing that
he walked straight In the face of the
soft wind that came down from the
snow fields, and yet there v.asn’t a
weathercock to be seen anywhere. And
neither had the chipmunk seen him
wet a paw and bold It np, after the
at hflMlng. up a fIn
1 "*" '* ** ■■"—■l I ■
! '“I. ""
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A Fou Spring Buikping :
Cfr The prices on Building Materials hair# pC-
Mbeen steadily going: down for many mdntks ;2ji
and have now reached the point where the ,
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TWe have the most complete stocks of
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and are giving our trade the advantage of re- UC
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O Where quality, price and service count,
we will get the business this Spring. 1 e 1
I- |p i_ *l.
£ W. A. SMOOT & CO., Inc. £ ■
Lumber at Bottom Prices
Prospective Builders will Now Gel what
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When you plan to build that new house, this firm will figure
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We keep everything right hero that is needful in the construc
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Remember prices are down now to Itotlum point.*
In these day* of competition, we meet, and suit, and sell all
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Sixth anti New York Avenue,
Partial Payment Plan
for the purchase of
Liberty Bonds
All In sues.
La rye or Small
f fifths Ha tiding
73 j Fifteenth SI. Washington, D. C
New York Stock Exchange Washington Stock Exchange
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Chevrolet Repairs (in stock)
Case Corn Planters, Farm Implements, Auburn
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Home Needs. • •ws***. •* ■■"'"ft;
■ romMnsd la Has Ibo/inu a -
■ nf tea, •! ounoar ■ ■htoh-Otw I
i 1 be paekaiia with only lOoonassof taa. I
The Edison Electrical Appliance I I
Co. - Hot Point Electrical I JK„*,£ nun
Appliances. ■ ?Si"C“?E E
Automatic" mean, that the “Auto- p
matte Caretaker” automatically start, k
3 re charuin* the etonsa battarta, lona k
■ before they are exhausted to the dan- k
.... ■ nr point and <topa raebarctn* when L
Ld.son Mazda Lamps. . [
automatically ttartiar the aeoeratr.r P
■ which takee ALL tha load until It F
1 la eretwerkad when tha batter!,, I
■ are automatically called hack to help. I
■ ... iw iim Any plant that du.rP
• *;~| laaa than thia lap
And all accessary attachments, > O',® N 9? ful ' automatic,F
■ k end to out of data 0P
such as motors for running |
washers, ironers, pumps, ! i f '"fc
Wj? AaeA/af ’VI" E
= -fcJL JLr^lSiSrf
Wire of All Kinds. niuiiLJtmuim F
Manufacturing Jeweler
725 7th SL, N. W., - • Washington, D. C.
Everybody has some friend whom
they wish to make happy. It may
be Mother or Father, Sister or Bro
ther. It may be a Wife or it may
be a Sweetheart—and often Them
selves. i
Oar stock of Jewelry and Bric-a-
Brae is complete. Each piece has
been carefully selected and we feel
satisfied that a visit from you will
bear us out that we have as fine a
selection as can be fountl anywhere.
Any article that you may select
will be laid aside and delivered when
— ■—
Advertise in
” 'i K*l , . ,
The eacon
•. f ’ V v

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