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The advocate. (Topeka, Kan.) 1894-1897, April 25, 1894, Image 2

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THE ADVOCATE.
COPYRIGHT.
T
lie Dead Line.
B7 GIDEON LAINE, D. D.
CHAPTER XXVI.
AN OLD SOLDIER'S REWARD.
Law is a bottomless pit; It Is a cormorant, a
harpy that devours everything.
Abbdthnot.
Man's Inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn.
Burns.
Sam Cotterell's life hung by a fragile
thread. At first Dr. Carlington be
lieved the old man's spirit had left its
weary mortal tenement forever; but he
liked Kate, and knowing how she loved
her father and how the news of his
death would smite her, the Doctor, who
pitied, also, the moaning wife, put
forth with unusual vigor and persever
ance every means his science knew for
restoring suspended animation; and ob
serving at last some faint but unmis
takable signs of vitality, he spoke for
the first time since he had begun his
examination, and spoke hopefully:
"1 think likely that snow-drift saved
him; but it was a close call."
At these words, Mrs. Cotterell sprang
instantly to the Doctor's side; for she
understood that they meant her hus
band was not dead. She now aided the
Doctor's efforts, and they soon had the
satisfaction of hearing Cotterell's voice,
though feeble as yet:
"Mother, you ain't been a-worryin'
of Kate and John about it, have you?"
"No, Sam," replied Mrs. Cotterell
tenderly. "I knowed you wouldn't
want me to, and they don't know
nothin' at all about it. I"
"You must not talk now, Mr. Cot
terell," said the Doctor kindly, "nor
allow anything to worry you. Every
thing will be looked alter by kind
friends."
"If 1 only knew the critters"
"Your stock will be all right; it will
be looked after as well as if you were
around, so don't worry. Everything
depends on your keeping perfectly
quiet now."
"You want nie to keep my flapper
shut a spell? Well, I'll try to do it.
Doctor. My oil' leg's givin' me hail
Columby, but I'll nave to grin and
bear it, 1 reckon."
This latter remark led the Doctor to
make another careful examination of
Cotterell's frozen limbs, which, at first,
he had feared might have to be ampu
tated. Cotterell having, in answer to
questions, described in his own char
acteristic way the nature of his sensa
tions, the doctor deemed the indica
tions favorable to complete recovery.
When he started away at last, Mrs.
Cotterell followed the medical man out
into the front yard to inquire:
"What do you think of him, Doctor?
Is he goin' to get well?"
"Yes, I hope he will, Mrs. Cotterell,"
said the Doctor, who was no longer the
man of easy selfishness we met in our
first chapter; that mortgage on his
opera house had changed liim for the
better, and he could work from sympa
thy now is hard as he once did for
money alone. "But we must be very
careful of him for several days per
haps for two or three weeks. No one
must be allowed to mention to him the
experience he has been through, nor
must he be permitted to talk about it.
He must keep very quiet, and must not
be allowed to worry. Persuade him
that everything is being looked after
all right. Unless complications which
1 do not now foresee should arise, I hope
to see him up again soon. But he will
require good care; he is getting old,
ou snow. 1 snail return to-morrow,
ood-dav."
For some days Cotterell was "out of
his head" and "flighty," as Mrs. Cot
terell remarked to an inquiring neigh
bor; and although she greatly wished
to learn how he came to be in the
snow-drift, Mrs. Cotterell did not ac
quire that coveted.information until it
reached her through some neighbors
who were making free with the barn
one day. Cotterell's team had not
come home, and this strange conduct
on the part of those well-known quad-
uped3 was a great neighborhood mys
tery, till one of the old man's friends,
being in town for all day, put up his
team at the feed stable and recognized
Cotterell's horses there. Inquiry of the
stable-keeper developed the whole
affair; and Cotterell's sub-Alliance and
some People's party men made up a
purse, paid off the chattel mortgage,
and brought the team out in triumph,
and put it in Cotterell's barn, much to
the delight of the old dog who barked
himself hoarse on that occasion. The
horses seemed happy to get back, also;
for animals get homesick as do the rest
of us. Mrs. Cotterell went to the barn
to see what was going on, and was told
what had been done. She was "morti
fied to death" that their poverty had
thus become known; but it was a God
send, for now the farmers and farmers'
families in the neighborhood were as
siduous in their endeavors to help the
stricken household in its dire emer
gency. One good, benevolent old
mother came to talk with Mrs. Cotter
ell in order to "keep her from feelin'
hurt about bein' helped;" for Mrs. Cot
terell's "pride" was well known.
"Lida Cotterell, said the old mother,
"you ain't got no business tryin' to be
a worryin' along here all by your own
self when your old man's a'most took
from you. Don't talk no nonsense
now. What would you do, I'd like to
know, if you knowed any of the rest of
us was situated this way ? And what
fools you'd say we be if we was to re
fuse to let you do all you could ? What's
the use, Lida? Who 'spectsany farmer
to be so forehanded these hard times,
with wheat a sellin' for just nothin' at
all and corn for less, that his family
won't want for nothin' if he's laid up
for a spell like Cotterell here? The
Good Book says we're to do as we'd be
done by, and you ain't doin' right
you're actin' sinful, Lida if you don't
do by us as you'd want us to do by you if
we was in trouble and you'd come and
wanted to do somethin' for us. You've
f;ot enough to stand without havin' to
00k after everything, and there's
plenty of likely girls amongst us that
ain't got nothin" but a little milkin' to
do and they'd be glad to come and take
turns helpin' 'round the house. The
'Llance is goin' to look after things out
doors whether you'll let 'em or not.
What's the use of havin' neighbors and
'Liances if you ain't goin' to let 'em do
nothin' when they're needed. Charity?
Who's savin' anything about charity?
Nobody ain't goin' to give you nothin'.
They'll get sugar'n coffee and sich
like things for you or Cotterell to pay
for when he get's 'round again. We
all have to go in debt to the store
keepers, and I reckon farmer folks
ain't no worse to get in debt to than
other folks."
Though with much hesitation, Mrs.
Cotterell was persuaded at last to per
mit her neighbors to be her friends,
and the way having been thus opened,
supplies poured in. Coal was brought
in one wagon, and groceries came in
another; the "idle" girls came to take
turns doing housework; and by some
odd coincidence, it came each young
man's turn to do outdoor work while
the "idle" girl he liked best was acting,
in her turn, as housekeeper pro tern.
The two months grace allowed him
in which to leave his old homestead
had about expired when Cotterell be
came convalescent after an attack of
pneumonia which had succeeded at
once his almost miraculous restoration
to life and sanity, and one day the
sheriff came to inquire how soon the
ruined and broken farmer proposed to
move. Mrs. Cotterell was with her
husband at the time and heard the
blunt inquiry which manifested the
delicacy of feeling of the official repre
sentative of that noble institution
which, as I have previously tried to im
press upon my readers, exists for the
philanthropic purpose of protecting the
weak against the strong. In dazed
astonishment she inquired what the
representative of the benevolent insti
tution aforesaid, meant; whereupon, he
ave sim runner evidence 01 nis great
elicacy of feeling by blurtin out
"You don't expect to live here ever
lastingly, do you, when you have been
sold out?"
'"Soldoutt"
"Yes, sold out. I suppose you don't
remember I sold your place at the court
house door two months ago! Is your
memory failing? The sale was con
firmed and the deed made long ago,
but the court gave Cotterell here two
months time to get out, and the time is
about up, and you will have to get
ready and go."
"(Jot Oh, Sam, have we lost the
place?"
But Sam Cotterell's gray head was
buried in his hands, his elbows resting
upon the patches on his poor, old
trembling knees. The old man was
silent. Mrs. Cotterell burst into tears
and left the room.
"Well, what have you got to say, old
man? 1 have got to go. Come when
are you going to get out? You don't
want me to have to throw you out do
you?"
Still the old man did not speak. Soon
there was a sudden, convulsive move
ment of his whole body, and the weak,
convalescent old farmer fell to the floor
and lay as if dead. It was toward sun
down. Dr. Carlington, receiving no
response to his knock, opened the front
door and entered, just as Mrs. Cotter
ell rushed furiously in at the back door
with an uplifted axe in her frenzied
hands. The terrified sheriff flying from
Mrs. Cotterell's axe almost upset the
Doctor in mad haste to get out of the
house. But at sight of her prostrate
husband, she dropped the axe and
sought to raise him; the Doctor hast
ened to her assistance, and together
they lifted to the bed the wreck ot what
had been Sam Cotterell. Their efforts
revived him at last, but his eyes wore a
vacant look and for the time at least,
the old man's reason had abdicated its
throne. The sheriff returned to town
with the determination to evict his old
soldier comrade as soon as the court's
order would permit such recreation.
Yes, veteran soldiers, his comrade.
The sheriff wore conspicuously upon
his coat lapel the badge of the Grand
Army of the Kepublic. He had
served in the same corps with his vic
tim. "What say you, men? Would
you have done to a comrade the inhu
man deed that sheriff was content to
do ? or would you rather have resigned
your office? Look at your ruihed com
rade as he lies there a physical and
mental wreck; see his patched gar
mentsthe best he has see poverty
conspicuous upon him and all about
him; old now, and no longer able to
cope with adversity even should he re
cover; just snatched back from the
brink of the grave look, and answer
it what, had you been sheriff, would
you have done? The government he
fought for has decreed that he and his
old, worn-out wife shall take each other
by the hand and go out into homeless
poverty, leaving behind them forever
the prairie eden which they had made
by long, weary years of toil. An at
mosphere of tenderest associations sur
rounds the old homestead. There three
children had been born; there one had
died; there Mrs. Cotthrell had waited
her young husband's return from the
war; there she had run to meet him at
last that glad day when she saw him
coming; out in the yard are the trees
and bushes Kate had planted while yet
at home; every holy association that
can bind the human heart to a spot of
earth clustered about that homestead
whence the government, to whose de
fense Cotterell had given four years of
his young manhood, had decreed he in
his old age should be driven. And a
man wearing the badge of the Grand
Army was to execute that unholy de
creewas to wreck thus a comrade's
home, and life, and hopes! Would you
have done it ? Take heed how you an
swer. Be sure you have not done are
not doing worse than that. Let us
look further before you answer.
What had Sam Cotterell done? For
what was his government punishing
him thus? Had he been idle? He had
worked, he and his household, as few
slaves do. Had he been extravagant?
Alas! he was not even decently clad,
nor is his wife, and his children were
away from home stinting themselves to
help support their parents instead of
being supported by them. What had
the old soldier done, then? Nothing!
The financial legislation of his govern
ment had so depressed agriculture that
he was forced to put a mortgage on his
homestead, which perseverance in that
legislative policy made it impossible
for him to pay when it was due. He
had been guilty of no wilful default; he
was the helpless victim of general con
ditions deliberately brought about by
wholesale corruption of congress and
the legislature ot his state. Heartless,
pitiless, greedy wealth had deliber
ately plotted his ruin. He could not
pay his mortgage; his government had
made payment impossible. Yet his home
is to be torn from him! The law treats
him as harshly as if he were a criminal
whose heinous deeds had shown him
unfit to live among men. What hand
had you, my old veteran, in wreaking
the ruin you see? Listen! Some men
whose hearts have been touched by such
scenes, whose indignation has been
aroused at (such atrocities perpetrated
in the name of justice, have urged that
the law should be so changed that no
man could be thus driven from his
home while general conditions made
payment of debts impossible. They
have contended that it would be but
just that the consequences of a public
calamity should be shared by mort
gagees, and not be borne alone by un
fortunate mortgagors. They have said,
"Let the mortgages on the homes of
Sam Cotterells remain in force; let no
man lose a dollar of these mortgage
debts; but stay for a while the rapac
ious hand that would drive out the un
happy households stay it till those
responsible for this general distress
shall have caused that distress to cease.
Men with warm hearts many of them .
old soldiers have proposed this hu
mane policy; and would it not be a just
policy, too? How have you greeted
these men this proposal? Scheming
wretches, through their suborned ora
tors and newspapers, have cried, "Ke
pudiation! These calamity howlers are
ruining the credit of the state! Stand
up for Kansas!" To retain the good
opinion of Eastern Shylocks you were
asked to ruin the homes and blight the
lives of the Kansas Cotterells; and oh,
the shame of it! thousands of old sol
diers have said by their votes, "We
consent! Throw the Cotterells out! Let
us win the applause of the beneficent
usurers, no matter for the fate of our
comrades." Within two years I have
seen a mob assemble at the capitol of
Kansas and threaten with death these
humane men whose only crime was
that they sought control of the state
government in order to protect Kansas
homes; and among the members of
that mob were men who wore the
badge of the Grand Army of the lie
public! Their feeling of comradeship
for the veterans living in mortgaged
homes should have made the soldiers
of Kansas rally long ago to protect
these victims of usury, instead of mob
bing others who were seeking to do this
patriotic deed. Cast no stones at that
sheriff, my old veteran. Down on your
knees, rather, and pray heaven's for
giveness of your yet greater sin. Bet
ter still, bring forth fruits meet for
repentance by henceforth joining the
"calamity howlers" you have hitherto
ignorantly denounced while 20,000
homes have been desolate. Say what
you will of the People's party, is it not
to-day the only hope of the poor ? Or
ganized greed has seized the name and
the machinery of the once noble repub
lican party, and having expelled its
soul,. now deceives the people with
Satan in an angel's guise. WTith its in
terest, profits and dividends it robs you
of the just value of your labor, and
then, to keep you still, gives back a
tithe in the form of a pension! What a
trick! But let us return to Sam Cot
terell's affairs.
When Dr. Carlington returned to
Cobden that night, he learned that the
sheriff had made arrangements to go
with his deputies and-evict Cotterell
the day after the morrow. The next
day the Doctor employed an attorney
in Cotterell's name, and, having sworn
to a petition stating that to disturb the
old man in his then condition would al
most certainly kill him, went with the
attorney to the probate judge and ap
plied for an injunction to prevent tem
porarily the sheriff's proposed inhuman
proceeding. But the probate judge re
marked: "The district court ordered this man
to get out two months ago, and he
could have moved before, this. The
credit of the state has been injured
enough in the East without my inter-

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