Newspaper Page Text
MEADE COUNTY NEWS, MEADE, KANSAS.
111 CAESAR'S STEPS Allies Fight Germans on Ground He Made Famous. BOWS 1MB jfatf' T "C V TTZ A rT4T Author of "The Iron Trail,- "The Xy K13 DEALn Spoilers.- "Heart of the Sunset." Etc 'Cevrrlthuty Harper and Brother) MM CHAPTER XVIII Continued. 17 "Exactly. And they saw nothing." "Your pardon, my colonel. They -came back In a cold sweat, and they , spent the night on their knees. The woman was there again. You have seen the salt sea at eight? Well, her face was aglow, like that, so they said. They heard the clanking of chains, too, and the sound of hammers, coming from the very bowels of the earth. It Is all plain enough, when you know the story. But it Is terrifying." . "This is indeed amazing," Cobp ac knowledged, "but of ' course there is some simple explanation. Spirits, if Indeed there are such things, are made of nothing they are like thin air. IIow, then, could they rattle chains? Toft probably saw 'some wretched pa- clficos in search Of food and Imagined the rest" "Indeed I Then what did I hear with these very ears? Whispers, murmurs, groans, and the clinkety-cllnk of old Sebastian's chisel. For his sins that old slave is chained in some cavern of the mountain. Soundless I I'm no baby I I know' when I'm asleep, and I know when I'm awake. That place is accursed, ana I want no more or it." Cobo fell into frowning meditation, allowing his cigarette to smolder down until it burned his thick fingers. He was not a superstitious man and he put po faith in the supernatural, nev ertheless he was convinced that his sergeant was not lying, and reference to Pancho Cueta had set his mind to working along strange channels,- He 'had known Cueto well, and the tatter's stubborn belief in the existence of that Varona treasure had more than once Impressed him. He wondered now if others shared that faith, or If by chance they bad discovered a clue to the whereabouts of the money and were conducting a secret search. It was a fantastic Idea, nevertheless. Cobo told himself that if people were prying about those deserted premises it was with some object, and their ac tions would warrant observation.' The presence of the woman a woman "Good! I Shall Visit the Place." wl(h the glow of phosphorus upon her face was puzzling, but the whole affair was puzzling. He determined to Inves tigate. After a time he murmured, "I should like to see this spirit." The sergeant shrugged. It was plain from bis expression that be could not account for such a desire. "Another night is coming," said he. "Good I I shall visit the place, and if I see anything unusual I well, I shall believe what you have told me. Meanwhile, go see your priest by all means. It will do you no harm." CHAPTER XIX. How Cobo 8tood on His Head. All that day, or during most of It, at least, Rosa and O'Reilly sat band In hand, oblivious of hunger and fatigue, impatient for the coming of night, keyed to the highest tension. Now they would rejoice hysterically, assuring each other of their good fortune, again they would grow sick with the fear of disappointment Time after time they stepped out of the 1ut and stared ap prehensively up the slopes of La Cum- bre to assure themselves that this was not all a part of some fantastic illu sion; over and over, In minutest de tail, Johnnie described what he bad seen at the bottom of the well. He tried more than once during the after noon to sleep, but he could not, for the moment he clor.Td his eyes he found himself back there In that pit upon the ridge's crest, straining at those stub born rocks and slippery timbers. This Inaction was maddening, his fatigue rendered him feverish and Irritable, Jacket, too, felt the strain, and after several fruitless attempts to sleep he rose and went out into the, sunshine, where he fell to whetting his knife. He finished putting a double edge upon the blade, fitted a handle to It, aad then a cord with' which to suspend it round bis neck.. He showed it to O'Reilly, and after receiving a word of praise he crept outdoors again and tried to for get bow sick he was. Black spots were dancing before Jacket's eyes; he ex perienced spells of dizziness and nau sea during which he dared not attempt to walk. He knew this must be the re sult of starvation, and yet, strangely enough, the thought of food was dis tasteful to him. - He devoutly wished it Were not necessary to climb that hill again, for he feared he would not have the strength to descend it Luckily for the sake of the secret, Evangelln'a spent most of the day searching for food, while Asenslo lay babbling upon his bed, too ill to notice the peculiar actions of his companions. It was with a strange, nightmare feeling of unreality that the trio dragged themselves upward to the ruined qulnto when darkness finally came. They no longer talked, for con versation was a drain upon their pow ers, and the reaction from the day's ex citement bad set In. O'Reilly lurched as he walked, his limbs were heavy, and his liveliest sensation was one of dread at the hard worff In store for him. The forcing of that door assumed the proportions of a Herculean task. But once he was at the bottom of the well and beheld the handiwork of Sebastian, the slave. Just as he had left it, his sense of reality returned and with it a certain measure of determina tion. ' Inasmuch as he had made no visible Impression upon the bulkhead by his direct attack, he changed his tactics now and . undertook to loosen one of the Jambs where It was wedged into the 'rock at top and bottdm. After a desperate struggle he succeeded in loosening the entire structure so that he could pry It out far enough to squeeze his body through. "I have it I" he cried to Rosa. Seizing the candle, he thrust it into the open ing. He beheld what he had expected to find, a small cavern or grotto which had evidently been pierced during the digging of the welL He could appreci ate now how simple had been the task of sealing it up so as to baffle discov ery. Rosa, poised above him, scarcely breathed until he straightened himself and turned his face upward once more. He tried to speak, but voiced noth ing more than a hoarse croak; the candle in his hand described erratic fig ures. "What do you see?" the girl cried in an agony of suspense. "I It's here I B-boxes, chests, casks everything I" "God be praised I My father's for tune at last I" . 1 Rose forgot her surroundings; she bent her hands together, calling upon O'Reilly to make haste and determine beyond all question that the missing hoard was Indeed theirs. She drew perilously close to the well and knelt over it like some priestess at her de votions ;"her eyes were brimming with tears and there was a roaring in her ears. It was not strange that she failed to see or to hear the approach of a great blurred figure which material ized out of the night and took station scarcely an arm's length behind her. "He Intended it for his children," she sobbed, "and providence saved it from our wicked- enemies. It was the hand of God that led us here, O'Reilly. Tell me, what do you see now?" Johnnie had wormed his way Into the damp chamber and a slim rectangle of light was projected against the op posite side of the well. Rosa could hear him talking and moving about. Don Esteban Varona's subterranean hiding-place was large enough to store a treasure far greater than his ; It was perhaps ten feet in length, with a roof high enough to accommodate a tall man., At the farther end were ranged several small wooden -chests bound with iron and fitted with hasps and staples, along one side was a row of diminutive casks, the sort used to con tain choice wines -or liquors; over all was a thick covering of slime and mold. The iron was deeply rusted and the place itself smelled abominably stale. O'Reilly surveyed this Aladdin's cave In a daze. He set his candle down, for his fingers were numb and unsteady. Cautiously, as if fearful of breaking some spell, he stooped and tried to move one of the casks, but found that it resisted him as if cemented to the rock.. He noted that its head was bulged upward, as If by the dampness, so he took his Iron bar and aimed a sharp blow at the chine. A hoop gave way ; another blow enabled him to pry out' the head of the cask. He stood blinking at the sight exposed, for the little barrel was full of coins yellow coins, large and small . O'Reilly seized a handful and held them close to the candle flame; among the number he noted a Spanish doubloon, such as young Esteban had found. He tested the weight of the other casks and found them equally heavy. Knowing little about gold, be did not attempt to estimate the value of theli contents, but he Judged they must rep resent a fortune. With throbbing pulses he next, lifted the lid of the nearest chest Within, he discovered several compartments, each stored with neatly wrapped and labeled packages of varying shapes and sizes. The writ ing upon the tags was almost illegible, but the first article which O'Reilly un wrapped proved to be a goblet of most beautiful workmanship. Time had long since blackened It to the appearance of pewter or some base metal, but be saw that 'it was of solid, sliver. Evidently he had uncovered a store of old Span ish plate. ' - In one corner of the chest he saw a metal box of the sort in which valuable papers are kept,' and after some effort be managed to break It open. Turning back the Ud, he found first a bundle of documents bearing imposing scrolls and heavy seals. Despite the damp ness, they were In fairly good condi tion, and there was enough left of the writing to identify them beyond all question as the missing deeds of patent to the . Varona lands those crown grants for which Donna Isabel had searched so fruitlessly. But this was not all that the smaller box contained. Beneath thepapers there were numer ous leather bags. These had rotted; they came apart easily in O'Reilly's fingers, displaying a miscellaneous as sortment of unset gems some of them at first sight looked like drops of blood, others like drops of purest water. They were the -rubies and the diamonds which had brought Isabel to her death. O'Reilly ' waited to see no more. Candle in hand, he crept out Into the well to apprise Rosa of the truth. "We've got HI There's gold by the barrel and the deeds to your land. Yes, and the Jewels, too a quart of them, I guess. I I can't believe my eyes." He showed her a handful of coins. "Look at that 1 Doubloons, eagles I There ap pear to be thousands of them. Why, you're the richest girl In Cuba. Rubles, diamonds yes, and pearls, too, I dare say" He choked and began to laugh weakly, hysterically. "I've heard about those pearls," Rosa cried, shrilly. "Pearls from the Cnrib bean, as large as plums. Isabel used to babble about them in her sleep." "I found those deeds the first thing. The plantations are yours now, beyond any question." Rosa drew back from her precarious position, for she had grown limp from weakness and her head was whirling. As she rose to her feet she brushed something, somebody, some flesh-and-blood form which was standing almost over her. Involuntarily she recoiled, toppling upon the very brink of the pit, whereupon a heavy hand reached forth and seized her. She found herself staring upward into a face she had grown to know in her nightmares, a face the mere memory of which was enough to freeze her blood, -It was a hideous visage, thick-lipped, flat-featured, black; it was disfigured by a scar from lip to temple and out of It gleamed a pair of eyes distended and ringed with-white, like the eyes of a man insane. For an instant Rosa made no sound and no effort to escape. The appari tion robbed her of breath, It paralyzed her In both mind and body. Her first thought was that she had gone stark mad, but she had felt Cobo's hands upon her once before and after her first frozen moment of amazement she realized that she was In her fullest senses. A shriek sprang to her lips, she tried to fight the man off, but her weak struggle was like the fluttering of a bird. Cobo crushed her down, strangling the half-uttered cry. Terror may be so Intense, so appal ling as to be unendurable In Rosa's case a merciful oblivion overtook her. She felt the world grow black, fall away; felt herself swing dizzily through space. O'Reilly looked upward. Inquiring, sharply, "What's the matter?" He heard a scuffling of feet above him, but received no answer. "Rosa I What frightened you? Rosa!" There was a moment of sickening suspense, then he put his shoulder to the timber he had displaced and, with a violent shove, succeeded In swinging them back into place. Laying hold of the rope, be be gan to hoist himself upward. He bad gone but a little way, however, when, without warning, his support gave way and he fell backward ; the rope came pouring down upon him. "Rosa!" he called again In a voice thick from fright Followed an Instant of silence ; then he flattened himself against the side of the well and the breath stuck in his throat Into the dim circle of radiance above a head was thrust a head, a pair of wide shoulders, and then two arms. The figure bent closer, and O'Reilly recognized the swarthy features of that man he had seen at the Matanzas rail road station. There could be no doubt of it It was Cobo. . The men stared at each other silent ly, and of the two Cobo appeared to be the more Intensely agitated. After a moment his gaze fixed Itself upon the opening Into the treasure chamber and remained there. As if to mate entirety sure of what he bad overheard, be stretched his body farther, supporting it by his outflung arms, then moved his bead from side to side -Tor a bet ter view. He seemed to rock over the mouth of the well like a huge, fat, black spider. He was the first to speak. "Am I dreaming? Or have you really discovered . that treasure?" he queried. O'Reilly's upturned face was ghast ly. He wet his lips. He managed to whisper Rosa's name. ' - "The riches of the Varonas 1 What a find 1" Cobo's teeth shone white In the grin of avarice. . "Yes, I see now a cavern in the rock. Well, well I And you are the spirit of Sebastian, chained in the bowels of La Cumbre. Hal These are the ghosts " He began to chuckle, but the sound of his' malevo lent merriment was like the hiccough ing of a drunken man. "Rosa I What have you done " " Cobo ran on unheeding : "It must be a great treasure, Indeed, from all ac counts the ransom of a dozen kings. That's what Cueto said, The ransom of a dozen kings I' Those were bis very words' The fellow continued to sway him self back and forth, peering as If his eyes were about to leave his head. For a long moment or two he utterly disre garded O'Reilly, but finally as he gained more self-control his gaze shift ed and his expression . altered. He changed his weight to his left arm and with his right hand he drew bis re volver. "What are you doing?" O'Reilly cried, hoarsely. The colonel seemed vaguely sur prised at this question. "Fool I Do you expect me to share It with you?" he In quired. ( "Walt I There's enough for all of us," O'Reilly feebly protested ; then, as he heard the click of the cocked weapon: "Let me out. I'll pay you It Was Cobo. well make you rich." In desperation he raised his shaking hand to dash out the candle, but even as he did so the colonel spoke, at the same time care fully lowering the revolver hammer. "You are right. What am I thinking about? There must be no noise. Carambal A pretty business that would be. wouldn't it? With my men running up here to see what It was all about No, no I No gunshots, no disturbance of any kind. You under stand what I mean, eh?" ' ' His face twisted Into a grin as be tossed the revolver aside, then under took to detach a stone from the crum bling curb. "No noise I" he chuckled. "No noise whatever." O'Reilly, stupefied by the sudden ap pearance of this monstrous creature, stunned by the certainty of ji catas trophe to Rosa, awoke to the fact that this man Intended to brain him where he stood. In a panic he cast his eyes about him, thinking to take shelter In the treasure-cave, but that retreat was closed to him, for he had wedged the wooden timbers together at the first alarm. He was like a rat In a pit ut terly at the mercy of this maniac. And Cobo was a maniac at the moment ; he had so far lost control of himself as to allow the stone to slip out of his grasp. It fell with a thud at O'Reilly's feet causing the assassin to laugh once more. "Ho, ho I" he hiccoughed. "My fin gers are clumsy, eh? But there is no need for baste." He stretched out his arm again, laid hold of another missile, and strained to loosen it from its bed. "Jewels I Pearls the size of plums I And I a poor man I I can't believe It yet." He could not detach the stone, so he fumbled farther along the curb ing. "Pearls, indeed I -1 would send a dozen men to hell for one- O'Reilly had been standing petrified, his body forced tightly against the rough surface behind him, following with strained fascination the deliberate movements of the man above him ; now he saw Cobo, without the least appar ent reason, twist and shudder, saw him stiffen rigidly as if seized with a sud den cramp, saw his eyes dilate and heard him heave a deep, whistling sigh. O'Reilly could not imagine what ailed the fellow. For an eternity, so It seemed, Cobo remained leaning . upon his outspread arms, fixed in that same attitude of paralysis It looked almost as If he had been startled by some sound close by. But manifestly that was not the cause of his hesitation, for bis face became convulsed and an ex pression of blank and . utter astonish ment was stamped upon It. The men stared fixedly at each other, O'Reilly with his head thrown back, Cobo with his body propped rigidly upon wooden arms and that peculiar shocked Inquiry In his glaring eyes. But slowly this expression changed; the colonel bent as if beneath a great weight, his head rose and turned bock upon his neck, he filled his lungs with another wheezing sigh. His teeth ground together, his head began to wag upon his shoulders ; It dropped lower and lower ; one hand slipped from its hold and he lurched forward. An Instant be hung suspend ed from the waist ; then he appeared id let go limply as all resistance went out of his big body. There come a warning rattle of dirt and mortar and pebbles ; the next instant he slipped Into the well and plunged headlong down upon O'Reilly, an avalanche of lifeless flesh. Johnnie shielded himself With his up flung arms, but he was driven to his knees, and when be scrambled to his feet half stunned, it was to find him self In utter darkness. There was a heavy weight against his legs. With a strength born of horror and revulsion he freed : himself; then hearing no sound and feeling no movement, he fumbled for the candle and with clumsy fingers managed to relight it Even after the flame had leaped out and he saw what shared the pit with him he could barely credit bis senses. The na ture of his deliverance was uncanny, supernatural it left him dazed. He had beheld death stamped upon Cobo's writhing face even while the fellow braced himself to keep from falling, but what force bad effected the phe nomenon, what unseen hand had strick en him, Johnnie was at a loss to com prehend. It seemed a miracle, indeed, until he looked closer. Then he un derstood. Cobo lay In a formless, bone less heap; he seemed to be all arms and legs; his face was hidden, but be tween his shoulders there protruded the crude wooden handle of a home made knife to which a loop of cord was tied. O'Reilly stared stupidly at the weapon ; then be raised his eyes. Peer ing down at him out of the night was another face, an Impertinent, beardless, youthful face. He uttered Jacket's name, and the boy answered with a smile. "Bring my knife with you when you come," the latter directed. . , "You I" The American's voice was weak and shaky. "I thought" He set the candle down and covered his eyes momentarily. "That's a good knife, all right, and sharp, too. The fellow died in a hurry, eh? Who does he happen to be?" "Don't you know? It It's Cobo." "Cobo I Cobo, the baby-killer 1" Jacket breathed en oath. "Oh, that blessed knife 1" The boy craned his small body forward until he was la danger of following bis victim. "Now, this is good luck Indeed I And to think that he died Just like any other man." "Rosa I Where Is she?" O'Reilly in quired In a new agony of apprehension. "Oh, she Is here," Jacket assured him, carelessly. "I think she has fainted." "Help me. out quick Here, catch this rope." Johnnie managed to fling the coll within reach of bis little friend and a moment later he had hoisted himself from that pit of tragedy. v (TO BBS CONTINUED.) One-Man Pontoons. Building bridges under fire, - th greatest ordeal that the army engi neers of other campaigns were sub Jected to, bids fair to go out of fash ion. In future a regiment going across a stream will, If a recent Invention meets with approval, merely wade Into the stream and drift across, meantime utilizing both bands to manipulate bU rifle. The new Invention Is a sort of glori fied "water wings" arrangement and Is adapted to the fording of deep streams - without the necessity ol bridge building. The encircling buoj Is blown up by the soldier. It holds him upright In the water with his shoulders and arms clear of the sur face. In experiments recently con ducted a man ' made " several bull's eyes on a target 300 yards away while floating across the stream. Not Always. "The young fellow who's calling 00 your daughter, Smith, bss a lot oi go' In him." "Not any to notice whan b' C3l)bq on my daughter," Campaigns Today Have Many 8trlk Ing Polnta of Similarity to Those Fought by the Great Roman Conqueror. Over the same ground where Caesar fought nearly 2,000 years ago, and with many Implements of war remark ably like those used by his army, the allies are fighting the Germans today, says a writer In Pittsburgh Dis patch. The foe Is the same In cruelty and' in overbearing nature, as any school boy or girl who has read, the commentaries of the great Roman gen eral can tell you. How history repeats Itself arid how important as well as Interesting is the study of the Latin language become since the war Is Illustrated in telling fashion by a classical exhibit in the University ' of Pittsburgh. In the exhibit, which was arranged under the direction of B, L. TJllman of the State Classical association, is a model of a bridge built over the Rhine by Caesar. It was made from the de scription given by Caesar. The bridge is almost exactly like the temporary bridge the soldiers at Plattsburg are now being taught to make and on which they expect to cross the Rhine as they go Into the do main of the kaiser. The Roman bnlllstn. used to throw stones at the enemy, Is made exactly on the same principle as the machine URed today to throw trench bombs. Modern springs now take the place of the twisted rawhide with which mo mentum was obtained by the Roman machine. A model of the Roman bal Usta Is in the exhibit On the same principle is the cata pult, used by the Romans to shoot ar rows. Several of the weapons used by the Roman soldiers, Including sword and spear, forerunners of the bayonet, are much like those used In the pres ent War. Models of all these are In this exhibit There are also models of the Roman soldier and of the sol dier of today, both wearing headpieces of metal much alike. The boy who Is reading Caesar can tell you that Reims, whose wonderful cathedral has been destroyed by the Germans, was named from the Rami tribe mentioned by Caesar and that Solssons takes Its name from the Sues slones tribe, conquered by Caesar. The Commentaries are full of names made familiar by the war going on today and the schoolboy reads with added Interest how Caesar defeated Arlovls tus, king of the Germans, and won other triumphs on the same battle front as that of the allies today. The wolf holes he describes are much like the traps used to ensnare and bewilder the enemy now. Other articles In the exhibit made by students show whn.t a wealth of Ro man tradition has been' handed down to us. The Roman fasces, shown on the new United States dime, Is the original of the mace, the symbol of power, used by the speaker of the house of representatives. The fasces, In turn, had Its origin in the sticks used by the Romans to flog offenders and the ax used by them to cut off the heads of the worst of them. The Halt, the Blind and the Maimed. The large number of men, women, girls, and boys In Great Britain who are receiving wages they never dreamt of before the war, are not always un mindful of the wants of others. In fact, many of the "world's sad dere licts" are benefiting substantially by the good times of their more fortunate brethren. Instances of It are very no ticeable in the Black country. On pay day, in the particular region, may be seen wandering to a convenient "pitch" the malm, the halt, and the blind. Some have musical Instruments which they perform upon. Others sing, some ere blind, and others are minus a limb. They all have caps or other receptacles for coppers. When the works gates are open, and the workers come forth with pockets full of money, there Is a variation In the music which can be' described as weird. But Is Is a great time for the musicians. There Is a continual "clink, clink," Into the caps of the poor folk until the last worker has passed their line. 'Put Both on Their Feet It was In the bar parlor of the Spot ted Dog. The subject was the rise In the price of beer, and the man who had his glass of cider said It was the very best tax he had ever known. "Since the rise In the price of beer I have not drunk any at all, and the money I have' saved has put me on my feet yes, fairly put me on my feet" replied the gargler of apple Juice. "Well," sold the landlord, "come to think o that It's put me on my feet too for since this 'ere bloomln' tax 'as come Into operation, I've 'ad to sell my 'orse an' trap 1" British Farm and Home. To Do Away With "Ruth Hour." In order to prevent the rush of workers the British board of trade tramways committee suggests that in dustrial concerns should "stagger" their times of opening and closing. By taking on and discharging work peo ple at intervals of ten minutes or so the cars could be worked more eco nomically and there would be a con tinuous stream of passengers, instead , Of the present rush at certain hours.