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Newspaper Page Text
THE APPOINTED HOUR
By Mildred Caroline Goodridge.
''It's a strange world, isn't it?"
"Yes, and this Is- probably one of
the strangest corners of" it at the pres
"Shouldn't wonder, neighbor. Tak
ing in the sights?"
"Yes," nodded Dale Armstrong, and
strolled on, deeply interested amid a
babel of bustle and noise. f
It was just dusk and the picture
which young Armstrong surveyed
There Floated Up Gracefully in the
Air the Circus Balloon.
was one rarely accorded even for the
world-wide traveler. .It was on the old
border line of Indian Territory, now
known as Oklahoma.
Upon the following day a new res
ervation was to be thrown open to
the public. The pre-empters were
present in a mass. The rope, fully a
mile in length, was supported by
stakes clear across the entrance to
the rich valley. So was the other end
guarded miles away. Inside this vast
enclosure, mounted government
guards kept watch that no daring in
terloper got to the land of promise
ahead of the appointed hour.
That was to be at daybreak: A
flag would drop, the rope would be
lowered and the mad rush for choice
locations would begin, mingled in by
representatives of probably every na
tion under the sun.
Long since the last of this great
mob had left behind them the little
border town of Brocton,, where they
had filled the hotels or lived around
in tents and dug outs for the past
month. There had been a traveling
circus at Brocton and it had reaped
a rich harvest. To this aggregation
Armstrong belonged. He had bee'n a
great rover in his time, had become
interested in aeronautics, and, press
ed hard for money, had engaged with
the circus people for the' season to
make an ascent daily in a small gas
There were not enough people left
in Brocton to fill a row of seats that
afternoon. All the bustle and excite
ment was transferred to the border
land. Nearly every resident in the
town had a one hundred sixty-acre
tract in view. So Armstrong had
come to the scene of confusion and
expectancy impelled by curiosity.
For the most part the majority of
the land-hungry crowd had camped
on the bare ground. Here and there
were tents and horses and wagons.
Dale lingered by the side of a covered
vehicle with two horses attached. Un
der its white canvas roof an old wo
man, a young girl and a little boy
were eating their lunch.
The young lady chanced to glance
at Dale. The look electrified him.
There was a kindly inviting expres
sion in her face. She smiled in a
"If you are looking for something
to eat," she said sweetly, "we have
plenty and to spare. You see, when
the race for the land begins in the