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MEADE COUNTY NES, MEADE, KANSAS.
The Quarterhreed mnumammmTTixD An Indian Reservation Tale by ROBERT AMES BENNET CHAPTER XXII Continued. -I 12 "Be so kind as to explain. I under stand that you were ordered to Alas ka." "Were yon not told of my return as far as the butte?" "Then your orders to leave were countermanded," Marie evaded the Question. His eyes darkened, and his face con tracted as if from a twinge of pain. But he replied with quiet steadiness: "That Is of no consequence. May I ask If you consider my word good?" "Yes." The answer was given with out an instant's hesitation. He smiled gravely. "You cannot think I came back to win the mine for myself. You have my word that I will assign It to you as soon as I have the legal right." "Tome? But why?" The dilating eyes of the girl showed her utter surprise end astonishment. "Why? There, thot last night at the agency, you showed that you despised me." "Never that," he disclaimed. "I was bitter harsh. But the suddenness of the discovery that you and he Let us not talk of that. It Is past. I would not have come back to trouble you, only " Again he stopped. "I had to come back and do tills thing. It was necessary that you should be come owner of the mine sole owner. It Is to be yours, not his. Promise me that you will never give him any share In It That la all I ask." "I will not promise unless you tell me your renson for asking it, and unless you tell me your reason for doing what you have done." Hardy whitened. "Very well, then. It is simply this : If you own the mine, he will wish to marry "you." "If I But he already wishes tor-" .The girl hesitated, and fell silent, her black eyebrows bent in thought J "I do not seek to persuade you to the contrary," said Hardy. "All I ask is that you give me your promise to allow him no share In the mine." Marie looked down. After a silence ,'she answered in a low tone: "I prom ise." VThnt is all," he said. "I must now be going." "Walt," she urged. "You have not "You Shall Notl" , .tV. told me why why you have done this." . "Is It necessary ?" he replied. "Please do ijot fancy it Is because I nm.nt all unselfish. You have promised your self to him. Knowing that J np linger had even a lighting chance, I have merely sought to make sure that he thnfr vnn Klinlilfl hnvn at Imicf fl ffllp fin. portunlty to bo happy. That Is all." : ' He lingered n moment for a last look at her beautiful face, upon which had fallen the Inscrutable stolidity of the Indian In her nature. No other ex pression could have so completely con firmed him in his belief that he hud lost his fighting chance to win her. He faced about to return up the mountain the way he had come. Marie stood as he left her, silent and immobile, following his brisk ascent up the pnth to the mine shaft . with a wide-eyed gaze that perceived the objective image, yet at the sumo time seemed to be looking inward. A purpling that shaded the blue-black-uess of her eyes to violet-black alone betrayed the intensity of her emotion. The receding figure had "passed along the spur to the foot of the steep ascent up the mountain before the girl became aware that Vandorvyn was close beside her. He started to pass behind, to where Hardy had dropped the rifle 'and revolver. In a flash of swift movement she sprang ahead of him .and set her foot upon the rifle barrel. -xou snail not." ,,, -. . Her voice was low . and seemingly : tranquil hr fnee as, stolid. as before, but the look In ner eyes made lilm hesitate. He glanced about at Dupont ' The trader had turned his back on Hardy, and was staring fixedly into the valley at a party of Indians that had come down the far side and were pitching their camp 1b the meadow. It was evident thot he did not propose to be a witness to anything Vander vyn might do. "Mon pere," quletjy called Marie. He shot a startled glance at her, hesitated, and came over to them. Vandervyn's eyes were upturned to the figure on the mountainside in a look of hate that was not pleasant to see. Dupont followed the menacing stare, and then glanced away as if caught In the guilty act. Fdst as Hardy was scaling the ascent, he was still within easy rifle shot and would continue to be for several minutes. Vandervyn moistened his dry lips, and muttered hoarsely : "Take her into the cabin. She won't let me do it." Dupont coughea, and spoke in a husky voice. "Come into the cabin, Marie." "No," she replied. "But listen, girl," he urged. "No one won't never know, and we won't be looking. We can lay it on the same Duck Indian what has tried to git him twice a'ready. There's a lot of 'em Just come into the valley Dnp.'t look at me that way. The dirty sneak has took our mine away from us he done it by a trick, cutting 'cross afoot. Mr. Van can't afford to marry you if me and him don't git the mine." "What If I should get it?" asked the girl, with no shade of change in her Inscrutable colin. Vandervyn whirled ' upon her, his face convulsed with Jealous fury. "So that's it I You've sold yourself to hlra I You " He stopped, silenced by her look. After a pnuse she quietly remarked : "He gives me the mine. lie is going away, I do not know where. Instead of you, I am to be the owner of the mine. Do you wish to marry me?" ' CHAPTER XXIII. A Wedding Postponed. Vandervyn's face darkened with sus picion. , . "If you're not playing me then he has lied to you, in order to get away from us." Marie's lips curved in a half-smile. "He gave me his word of honor. Do you doubt it?" The young man's Jnw dropped slack. He could not even pretend to doubt her statement or Hardy's word. He looked down, his brows knotted and eyes contracted with Intense thought. Dupont took the news in a far dif ferent manner. "By Gar!" he exulted. "Ho's going to give you the mine? You're dead sure of it? By Gar I I call that mighty square of Cap. It's white I And me a-thlnklng he done it all to git back at us. It sure Is white of Cnp. Why, it's nearly the same like ho had give it to me !" "He named only one condition," re marked Marie. Vandervyn started, and looked up at her; ' She met hlra with a level glance thnt told nothing of what she was thinking. r. "One condition," slid repeated. ..'.'It was my p'roirrtse not to give you any sharo In the mine." ,! "Me?" queried Dupont. "No."" . "I see," threatened Vandervyn. "no thinks ,to force you from having any thing to. do with me." "On the contrary rc seemed to think It':wdirtU not prevent our .marrying." Vandervyn stared bewilderment. Uardy's action ' seemed inn-'i!;!.!. Then he thought he perceived i In plntuition,"'ahd rallied from his per plexity. His frown .gave place to a cynical smile. "O-ho, my ludy ! I see. You worked WiliVHh the soft pedal the sapheadl Tho easy mark I He's Just the kind of dulTer to fall for the wall of a pretty girl with a tear In her eye arid n quu yer In her throat. Good for you, sweet heart ! You bent him at his own game, Ho tried a bluff, thinking you'd be silly enough to throw me over for him. You called him, and ho hud to make good. The fool to think you'd be soft enough to turn from me to him, Just because he made a play to the galleries with his offer 1 Oh, what un easymark I" "Is that exactly the right term?" calmly inquired tho girl. "None better!" exulted Vandervyn. "He made you promise not to give mo a share in the mine. Mining property is real estate. An agreement in regard to real estate Is not binding unless in writing." Marie's tranquil face took on an ex pression of artless concern. "Oh, rally? Then his promise to give me the mine is not binding." "Don't worry," reassured Vandervyn. "He will keep his word. You are sure of the mine." "But of course, if I take back my promise, it will be no more than-fair. r to give him the chance to take back his," she Innocently remarked. I; "Not at all,)ewtheart,";he rcpld. "You can ' do W you please. ";' A wom an's promises are not considered bind ingin business matters; Legally, in most of the states, she is rated as a minor." ,.' S "Wlmmen ain't minors no longer in our state." Interjected Dupont "Thank you for reminding me, Pere," said his daughter. She looked at Vandervyn with naive seriousness. "So you see I must keep my promise." "Oh, I say now, don't be a" He detected something behind her look of childlike nrtlessness, and hastened to concede the point. "But of course if you feel that way about It I You will not have to break your promise after The law will then make your property mine. So that is settled, sweetheart. Now comes the main question. When shall we be married?" The girl quivered at the word. He stepped close, and looked into her eyes, his own glowing golden with ar dor. She dropped her gaze, and drew back from him' as If confused by the suddenness of his proposal. "I must think," she murmured. "Would It not be best to wait until he has given me the mine?" "Not when you have his word that he will do it. Anyway, there's no harm in naming the day. Come, make it an early one I" The girl's rich color deepened with a blush. "Not now!" she replied, struggling to recover her composure. "You must wait. Perhaps tomorrow but now I " She glanced around ns If looking for a way of escape. There was no promise of succor in her father's com placent grin. Her gaze darted down into the valley; it rested upon the en camping Indians. "Look," she mur mured. "That is Thunderbolt's tepee. I am going down to see him. He should be told that he may be prosecuted If he hunts here now. It is no longer tribal land." ' "There's no need, sweetheart," said Vandervyn. "I will see to it that no one interferes with the chief and his band." "I shall go down and tell him," she Insisted. ."No, do not come with me!." He frowned at her willfulness, shrugged, and turned to Dupont: "Come into the cabin, Jake, and give me a drop of, something," -he urged. "I'm dry as a bone. . . That ride wasn't any Joke I" Marie was already hastening down the mountain slope into the valley. When he came' to the camp, she was received with pleasant greetings. The keen eyes of the Indians had long ago perceived and recognized the white people on the terrace. The venerable figure of Tl-owa-konza appeared In the entrance of the biggest tepee, ne disappeared. A moment later three women came out of the tepee, and one of them told the girl that the chief wished her to go in. She stooped and passed through the low opening. The chief was seated at the far side of the tepee near an outstretched blan keted form. There, was no one else present. lie beckoned Marie to come across to hlin. As she approached, she saw that the hair of the still figure before hlmiwaS braided after the fash Ion of the maidens of the, tribe. ..She bent over hnd lojfti'cJcr luoo- ife'ee that was so thin, .and, PaIc tfyut at first she did not rccognlze'lt The large, sunken eyes opened, and looked up at her With ii ' startled gaze. ' i;;"OInnn!" she. exclaimed,, and she Knelt down beside' the girl. "You are 111." "NoA-'s 3ovwny, please," begged the wretched girl. A slow flush reddened her wan face. 1 She' .sought to turn from the visitor. ( "I -want to be aloiie. I "urn .siiiipeu. 'Wfly, please." ( Murle Itiokcd up at Tl-'owa-konzn; lie! saw the pity, In her; eye, and Spoke sOft'ly' in Eakotah: ' "Rose who art white yet red. in the, flower of., the golden-lily a worm Is gnawing. The golden lily withers.. Pluck out the worm, else she will fade and go from me." He stood up and wrapped his blan ket about him and went out. An hour passed. Through the can vos wall of the tent thoso outside heard n low murmuring and at times the sound of sobbing. At lost Marie raised the edge of tho tepee and spoke to a group of women. Ono of them hastened to fetch from the fire a bowl of hot broth. She went into the tepee, and at once came out again without the bowl. There followed another long wait But no more crying iould be heard, and gradually the sound of the low voices within the tepee died away to silence. Tl-owa-konza came back to the entrance, listened awhile, and noiselessly slipped iiislde. Oinna lay with her head on Marie's breast. Her eyes were closed. She lmd fallen into the peaceful, healing slumber of childhood. A smile hov ered on her hnlf -parted Hps. The bowl beside her was empty. Very gently Marie laid the sleeping girl's head upon a blanket roll, and rose to come across to the silent grand father. They talked for several minutes- tn?Lakotnhr Whwr oh -stepped-pns hliii an lert'fhe'-fepee; hie face" was still set in the stoical calm of the Indian warrior" of his' generation, but his proud old eyes were glistening with gratitude-ahd stern' Joy. ' The sun had set and the twilight was already fading. By the time Ma rie's slow step brought her up to the terrace, the valley and mountain slope were dusky with the shadow of ap proaching nightfall. Within the cabin Dupont had lit one of the mine candles. The candlestick was an empty whisky bottle. Another bottle, not yet empty, stood on the rough deal table between the two men. ' ' Hello, girlie I" sang out Vnndervyn, as Marie paused in the open doorway. He sprang up to come around the table to her. "I've been languishing for you all afternoon. Would've chased down the hill, only your dad said you'd get on your oar If I did." "Yes," quietly replied the girl. She had raised her band to shield her fnce from the candle, as If the light dazzled her. As she spoke, she stepped in and along the side of the table oppo site him, apparently not seeing hlin. "Yes, I would not have cared to see you. I was nursing one of the girls down in the camp." Vandervyn stopped short. "It wajsn't anything infectious, I hope." "No. I shall not suffer from the same trouble. But I am very tired. I sis "I Want to Be Alone. I Am Shamed." see you and Pere have eaten. You might finish the bottle outside." "How about a kiss to sweeten the toddy?" he suggested. She burst into a tantalizing little laugh. "I fear; you must take yours straight for a while, Reggie. .You are' still ' engaged ' to your cousin, I be lieve Good'nlght, Pere." ' Dupont, heavy with food and liquor, mumbled a response, and stumbled out into the dusk, reluctantly followed by Vandervyn. Marie flung their blan kets out after them and barred the door. In the morning Vandervyn was re lieved to find that the night's rest had lightened her mood. She cooked a delicious little breakfast, and was pleased to be very gracious to him. The anxiety with which he had met her at the cabin door soon vanished. He fell Into the gallantry of an ac cepted suitor who is very much in love and a bit uncertain of his con quest He waited until Dupont went to fetch the horses before he ventured to reopen the question of questions: "Sweetheart, you've had time to think It over and decide. Tell me, when is to be' the happy day?" "Yes," she murmured, "I .have thoughtlt over." - . "You wJU name an early date !" he exdalhietl, assured by the coy sweet ness of her- lofk. ' Her; smile faded, ntfd fehe dropped forward in nn attitude' of hftminty 'that he had never before seen,, her pride ii. '.ovt. rj-CjJ-.t- .' -.1 (lei'iuii. -oh reimeu iu u uiue& voice j "Oh, no, no ! .-I must Wo what is Just by you. Think what it would be like for you to tnke back with you ns your wife a quarterhreed girl straight off an Indian reservation." ': :' Vitndervyn, wincedi rallied, nnd re Joined 'with ardor: "Let. them. i.thlnkf Avhnt flley please,' so long as you are. ntv wlfol". ' '. ''. . "That. Is mr)fit gallant 'and bravo of you I"' she murmured. ,."But there "Is also Pere."' , , ," t Vandervyn' bit his Hp... "Need ' he come along?" Marie looked up, her eyes fullof ten der reproach. , , .. , , "I did not think that of you, Reggie. How can I leave him here alone? You have never seemed to realize that I came back from Ottawa because I wished to be with him. Even before I went to convent I saw tlie traits in him that you see, but also I saw some thing more tho man that he might huve been." "Don't imagine I'm asking you to give hlra up," Vandervyn hastened to disclaim. "All I suggest is that we take our honeymoon trip alone." "And leavo Pere with no one to cook for him leave him here I Can't you guess what would happen? Within a week a fortnight nt the utmost he would marry the youngest and best cook within reach, a breed girl by pref erencemost likely Charlie's sister." Vnndervyn winced as If cut across the face with n whiplash. '' "No not . her 1" he stammered. '"That It would be impossible 1 She would be I tell you, I will not stand for lt-rl cannot 1" 4 "Of 'course that could not be per mitted' sweetly agreed Marie. "I would not care to come back and find I had acquired a stepmother; as young or younger than myself no, not even if -she-were os clean and as good a girl is-fo' Olnna; Bedbeaf". ' ' N "Then you think -r-" hesitated Vandervyn.' ''" , , ., "Listen. I have thought and thought and now I have it all planned out I must do. what Is Just by you, yet as you see. I cannot leave Pere here. You may remember that I told you a little about the English people I knew In Ottawa. When I saw thnt you thought Iwas romancing, I said no more except In hints. I really was more Intimate with Lady Verlalne than you will find it easy to believe. Her son and daughters were already married. She took a fancy to me. When 1 wns to come home, she Invited me to visjt her in Englnnd. I had told her nil about myself and Pere. We correspond regularly. She has re newed her invitation more than onte. The last time she Insisted that I should come without further delay, and bring Pere with me." "She did?" exclaimed Vnndervyn. "Then why not all three of us go to gether?" Marie drooped again In her attitude of meek humility. v "You are so generous, Reggie, to be willing to travel with Pere! But I cannot allow you to make such a sac rifice. No; there Is a better way. I shall go alone with Pere to Englnnd, and then perhaps for a little visit to Tarls with the sister of the mother superior of my convent. Pere has never forgotten his French-Canadian dialect, nnd I have been tinkering It Into fairly good French. A month or two in Paris may correct his accent. It may also smooth down our rough nesses enough for us to venture over to Washington without putting you too greatly to shame before your friends." "Two months! all that time?" com plained Vandervyn. "Indeed, no. It will be much longer," answered the girl. "I cannot permit you to marry a mere agency girl. Be sides, if Pere does not wish to sell out his entile business, I may have to wait, for returns from the mine.. It takes quantities of money to buy pol ish, nnd lots of time to put it on. We shall not reach Washington before No vember or December." "Five or six months !" "Yes. Aren't you willing to wait for me?" asked the girl, bridling. The sudden change from meekness won a hasty assurance from Vnuder vyn: "Of course I am. It will be a fearfuUy long time to be without you, If you insist upon But I could run over and see you in England ior France." ' ' "No," she refused. . "I wish you to stay and work for the good of my people. Pere and I still are members of :the tribe, you know, and I nnv deep Iy'';intersted in the irrigation project l$J(j out by Cnptaln Hardy." , Vandervyn smiled In his most boyish manner. ; "I am' neither an engineer nor an army officer. Someone else must dig the ditches. I snull at' once go on to Washington and prepare for the pas sage of the appropriation. It's going to slide through as soon as congress meets." "And then I shall come over frqm Paris. You will break off your engage ment with your cousin nnd we No, no, sirl not a single kiss not one until you are free, and I set the day. I am an heiress now, and must act accord ingly. Besides, here is Pere with the horses. We must be starting." CHAPTER XXIV. Tilting at Windmills! The early winter rains that followed an Ideal Indian summer at the national capita) were chill and sleety. But con gress was now in session, and Wash ington was bright nnd gny.with the: activities of officialdom and official so ciety. ' One of the first events of the season hikl been a ball In honor of tlje, super)) French beauty. ;and helrfess, Miss Pii ppftt She hnd arrived with a ma'troii fly ,l'ench lady well known. Id Parisian society; a tall,' olive-tinted 'maid,' who wiAt said to be Of Spanish or Hindu oi'Ma; nnd a male reluve', Monsieur Jacques Dupont, who spoke French ifi French-Canadian idiom's qnd Ehg tUiot'wlth a quaint sprinkllhg of 'west .erttnimeriennistns. By those who saw liim before they, hnd the -pleasure' and privilege of meeting Miss Dupont, he wnsTsald to.be quelle "impossible."' But at'or: mectlngr"her, they usually agreed wifhjjthe general verdict that he was dedidedly amusing nnd "picturesque." . Letters to the wives, of .tJirqe or fotir ambassadors opened to the heiress the doors, of tho most exclusive official society, and her wonderful beauty and charm carried all before her by storm. Men raved over her eyes ; women over her French gowns. She soon had a suite of devoted admirers nnd suitors, among whom, despite his engagement to the daughter of his eminent uncle, Mr. Reginald Vandervyn was one of the most ardent. All this had come to Hardy through society reports in the newspapers, and from the chance remarks of acquaint ances. The remarks very seldom were made by persons fortunate enough to have attended functions graced by the presence of Miss Dupont. Hardy's neatly kept clothes were somewhat ont of style, and his lodgings, in an old warren down on M street were cheap nnd shabby. ' 1 There were still better reasons for the worldly wise to shun the company of the officer so lately distinguished for his services in the Philippines. It was whispered that the interests for which he had been diligently lobbying since midsummer were opposed to the interests of the pro-administration group of which the eminent Senator Clemmer was the leader. More openly the 'fact was bruited about that he was to be subjected to trial by court martial on crave 'cpargesV . , .. S For he' was Btfll to th sewioe. Upon his return from the hard-won race for' the mine, he had filed his claim with the commissioners, and Journeyed, on as soon as possible to the railroad. There he had sold his mare at a low price, but with the op tion of buying her back within a year. He bad then started east, too intent upon his purpose to delay even for a telegram from Vancouver barracks, and never doubting that his command ing officer had granted him the cus tomary leave of absence pending the acceptance of his unconditional and Immediate resignation. Great hrid been his qonsternntlon ' when, the day of his arrival in Wash ington, tie had reported imself at the war department' Not only hnd leav' of absence been denied him pnd all action on his resignation been suspend ed; he hud been posted for desertion. However, his record on the one hand, and the indecent haste of the attack on the other, had brought about suffi cient intervention by members of the general staff to cause several months' delay in the plan of his enemies to crush hinu. Action on the charges filed against hlin by the Indian commission ers and by his commanding officer had been postponed from mouth to month. Meantime he had been placed under the nominal arrest of confinement to the limits of tho District of Columbia, which left him free to pursue the ends for which he had come east. To his surprise, no contest hnd been filed against his mineral claim. On the con trary, be had soon found himself le gally entitled to assign the mine to. Marie. His carefully drawn nnd duly witnessed conveyance hud started west In the next mail. Marie's note of ac knowledgment stated the esteem and gratitude of the writer In the most correct nnd conventional of terms. His progress toward the accomplish ment of his second purpose had beea far less smooth. In fact, after months of persistent endeavor, he could not bo sure that he had made any prog ress whatever. He had not been bar red from nn inspection of tho docu ments relating to the new treaty withi the tribe, and among them he had found Vandervyn's alleged contract. It purported to appoint the young man attorney and tribal representative and to fix hls'coinpensation at twenty .per, cent of any moneys appropriated . to th(j tribe in payment for the ' ceded ininerul lands. ; . Hardy had nt first considered the signatures forged. , ' But ' examination with a microscope had shpivn him. that the 1 thumb' prints were Identical with those on the meraqrandum-vf the pro ceedings of the tihal . council; : Ha haa been . quick to i perceive that hl only chance of defeating, the outrage ous contract was to bring about either an executive or. a congressional irives tlgdtion. There had been no difficulty in divining the manner In which Van dervyn hnd obtained the signatures at the tribal council. Yet so far his every move had been blocked. He had interested one man of official position1 or influence after another, only to be met later with eva sion or procrastination or even out right rebuffs. One door after another had been shut In his face. ,At last he had found himself regurded as a crnnk, than which, in Washington, no more opprobrious term can be appliedl to a man. , With the opening of congress the in fluences opposed to, him had at last, been able to overcome the opposition, that had delayed a trial of the chargesi ' against him. The afternoon that be came back-to his shabby lodgings after a final .attempt to obtain nn interview with the chief of the Indian bureau,, he was officially notified to appear th fojl'owlpg morning .for trial by court-", martial. .."'"'' ) . He already knew the charges against' him. They Inqludod desertion, failure ; to rcpttrt nt Vanftiuve' barracks and( under ;.the.. hfad- of' conduct 'unbecom- Ing.,nn. officer and getitleimin, his con cealment of the developed mine. ; The (nearness bl the trlnl brought: frtfi.(rers to & desperate pass with hlm He must net quickly. It was; the nignf.pf the first b'nll at the' White House. As usual, there vits a great crush. Hardv, in conventional The Fact Was Bruited About That H Was to Be Court-Martialed. evening dress not in official costume,, ns the regulations required managed, in some mysterious inan.,er to obtain. entrance." The secret-service men had; no instructions with regard to him, and considerable time passed before anyone Inimical to him heeded his un obtrusive presence. " (tO BE CONTINUED.) Remarkable strength of. Fly. .. By han'essin'a''fly ta a tiny'wagon nn T7nffHaK eilnntlat fminrt It nmilri idraw- ifO times its .wn- weight. 6vwr'? smooth Surfaces. , Dally Thought There is a best way to do every thing, even if it be but to boll as egg. Emerson. ..... ' ' ; '' .