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THE , ADVOCATE AND NEWS.
1333. w MmB AIM ml 'hT .Wrf , . Mrs. Frazier didn't allow galloping over hor parade in tbo dead of the night without an attempt to detect the perpe trator. That vigilant dame had more than once brought graceless skylarkers to terms and the qnadrnpedante putrem Eonitn of Fuller's mustang represented to her incensed and virtuous ears only the mad lark of some scapegrace subal tern, who perchance had not been as attentive to 'Manda as he should have been, and she was out of dreamland and over at the window before Fuller fairly drew rein. ""What is it, Brooks, me boy?" asked Frazier from his casement, as did gal lant O'Dowd of his loyal Dobbin. "I'll be down in a minute. " By the time he rf ' " could not stay here, sir, and nee my old troop go witliout me." reached the door Fuller bad hurried up his stiff and wearied scouts, and in the presence of a little party of officers the story was told again, and told without break or variation. There was only one opinion. The scattered outlaws had easily got wind of the coming of the paymaster with his unusual amount of treasure, and, quickly assembling, they were heading away to meet him far to the southeast of the big post, very pos sibly planning to ambuscade the party in the winding defiles of the San Saba hills. Not a moment was to be lost. For the first time the full weight of his di vorce from all that was once his profes sion and his pride fell on Ned Law rence, as for an instant the colonel's eyes turned to him as of old the dash ing and successful leader of the best scouts sent from Worth in the last two years. (Then, as though suddenly realiz ing that he had no longer that arm to lean on, old Frazier spoke: "Why, Brooks, you'll have toga I can't trust such a command to Mullane, and it'll take two companies at least." And 20 minutes later, answering the sharp summons of their veteran ser geants, the men of Mullane's and Bar clay's troops were tumbling out of their bunks and into their boots, "hell bent for a rousin ride, " and the old captain of Troop D was saying to the new: "Captain Barclay, may I ask you for a mount? I've been longing for two years past for a whack at this very gang, and now that the chance has come I cannot stay here and let my old troop go." And all men present marked the mo ment of hesitation, the manner of re luctance, before Barclay gravely an swered, "There is nothing at my dis posal to which yon are not most wel come, Colonel Lawrence, and yet do you think you ought to go?" "I could not stay here, sir, and see my old troop go without me, " was the answer. Few were the families at Fort Worth felwjre notup and out on the piazzas or at the windows to see Brooks' de tachment as it marched away in the light of the setting moon just as the stars were paling in the eastern sky, but the merciful angel of sleep spread her hushing wings over the white bed Where two children lav dreaming, and Dover until the troopers wero miles be yond the vision of the keen eyed sen tries did Ada know that the loved fa ther, restored to her but a few hours before, was once more riding the Texan trail, soldier sense of duty leading on and God alone knowing to what end. CHAPTER X. " The day that broke on old Fort Worth thus late in a sunshiny May proved one of deep anxiety. There wai do telegraph wire then to connect it with the distant headquarters of the department. If there had been, it would nave Veen out six times a week. There was no way of waving back the coming convoy or of signaling danger. Crockett Springs lay a long day's ride to the southeast, and the little troop of cav alry there in camp was looking for the coming of no call upon it for duty un til early on the morrow it should sup ply the paymaster and his party with breakfast, the ambulance with fresh mules and driver, and the night riders of the escort with their relief. Forty troopers from Crockett Springs would take the place of those who had come from the San Saba and trot along with the paymaster until somewhere about midway to Worth they should meet the 40 sent out the previous night to bivouac on the prairie and be ready to take up the gait and keep it until the man of money and his safe were well within the limits of the reservation. But the 50 mile stage from Crockett to the southeast was the worst on the long line. The road wound over the di vide to the valley of the San Saba and on the way had to twist and turn through defiles of the range of hills where more than a dozen times Indians and outlaws had defied the little detach ments of cavalry scouting after them. The worst part of the pass lay some 20 miles beyond the 6tage station at Crock ett Springs. Neither Indians nor out laws, to be sure, had been heard of in that neighborhood for several months, but that proved nothing. It was easy for the latter to sweep from their sup posed fastnesses in the Apache range to the west and, issuing from the Wild Rose pass, to water miles below the springs and then line the rocks in the heart of the San Saba pass without a trooper being the wiser. Forty cavalry men, as Lawrence knew, would be the major's escort from the camp on the Rio San Saba beyond the range. Forty men disciplined and organized ought ordinarily to be able to cope with any band of outlaws to be found in Texas. But when, as was now reasonably cer tain, this far famed Friday gang had received accessions from the troops themselves and had welcomed the de serters and desperadoes so frequently sloughed off from the soldier skin of Unole Sam in the days close following the great war, there was grave reason for precaution and graver still for anx iety. Question as he might, Frazier could not shake an atom of the original statement of Fuller's men. Fifty mounted outlaws, at least count, with a dozen led horses, they had seen through their fieldglass far over the prairie, pushing southeastward from the direction of Wild Rose pass of the Apache range, straight for the lower valley through which ran the little stream that had its source at Crockett Springs. . a them wen. rodeos hearts, at Worth, for, while it was felt that Brooks would lose no moment and was well on his way at 4 o'clock of this bright Sunday morning, he had still some CO miles to traverso before he could get to Crockett, rest and bait his men and horses, pick up Cramer's troop there camped and then push ahead for the San Saba, where he expected to find the outlaw gang disposed in ambuscade, confidently awaiting the coming of their prey. Now, Brooks had men enough to thrash them soundly, but unless ho caught them in the act of spoliation ho lacked authority. Just as sure as he pitched into a force of armed frontiers men they would appeal to the courts, and public sentiment would be dead against him. He could doubtless push ahead through the range, careless of lurking scouts of the would bo robbors, meet Major Pennywise aud his protect ors and esoort them back in safety. That problem presented no great diffi culty, but what Frazier wanted aud Brooks wanted and evorybody presum ably wanted was that the outlaws should bo caught in the act and be pun ished then and there. Tho question was how to catch them in the act without being themselves discovered, and be fore the gang bad had time to inflict much damage on the paymaster's party. There was tne rub. "Why, their first volley, delivered from ambush, might kill half the outfit and the paymaster, too," said Frazier. "No, we dare not risk it, Brooks. Push through and pull him through, that's the best wo can do unless, " and here came the redeem ing clause, "unless on the way you should light on some unforeseen chance. Thou use your discretion." Mounted on the very horse ho nsod to ride as troop commander, and with the old familiar horse equipments, Ned Lawrence loft the post at the major's side. He had slept as only soldiers can, curled up in the stagecoach, during the previous afternoon and was in far better trim for the long rido in saddlo than Captain Mullane, who with bleary eyes and muddled head rodo solus in front of the leading troop, his ono lieu tenant, Mr. Bralligan, being reported by Dr. Collabone's assistant as sick in quartors, which indeed he was, with a lump the size of an apple on the side of his head, and another, apparently the heft and density of a 6 pounder cannon ball, rolling about inside of it D troop, jogging easily along at the roar of column, was led by Barclay and Brayton, both of whom had murked the absence of the subaltern of the leading company, and neither of whom was surprised when ten milos out theru came galloping past them, with a touch of the hand to bis hat brim, the late regi mental commissary. Lieutenant Harry Winn. "That's good!" said Brayton as ho saw his classmate ride up to the major and' report, then fall back and range himself alongside Mullane. But Bar clay was silent "You think he ought not to have come?" asked Brayton, half hesitating ly, as be glanced at his silent louder. "I'm thinking more of others who ehould be hero, ' ' was the answer. " Yet those two have so much to leave. " And Brayton, following the glance of hit captain's eyes, fully understood. Tho morning grew warm as the sur began to climb above the distant lov lying hills to the east The dust soon rose in dense clouds from beneath the crushing hoofs, and, leaving Brayton with the troop, Barclay cut across the chord of a long arc in the trail and reined up alongside the major. The command at the moment was moving at a sharp trot through a long, low de pression in the prairielike surface. Brooks returned tho captain's punctil ious salute with a cheery nod and cor dial word of greeting. "With your permission, sir, I will fall back 100 yards or so, divide the troop into sections and so avoid the dust." Brooks glanced back over his shoul der. "Why, certainly, captain," said he. "I ought to have known the dust would be rising by this time. It's S o'clock," ho continued, glancing at his watch. Barclay turned in saddlo and signaled with his gauntlet, whereat Brayton slackened speed to the walk, and a gap began to grow between the warmest horses of Mullane's troop and the head of D's already dusty column. "Ride with us a moment, won't you, Barclay?" called tho major significant ly as his subordinate seemed on the point of roining aside to wait for his mon. "I want you two to know each other." And the new and the old cap tain of D troop, who had courteous ly shaken hands with each other when presented in the dim light of tho declin ing moon at 4 o'clock, now trotted side by side, Lawrence eying his successor with keen yet pleasant Interest. He had been hearing all manner of good of him during tho wakeful watohes of the night, and was manfully fighting against the faint yet irrepressible fool ing of jealous dislike with which broad er and better men than he have had to struggle on being supplanted. Do what ho might to battle against it, Lawronoo had been conscious of it hour after hour, and felt that he winced time and again when 6ome of tho callers spoke even guardedly of the changes Barclay was making in the old troop, changes all men except the ultra conservative rank er element (as the ranker was so often -constituted at that peculiar time, be it understood) could seo were for the bet ter. "You and Barclay lead on, will you, Ned?" said the maior. in his sonial way. "I wish to speak with Mullane a moment." Whereat ho reined out to tho right and waited for the big Irish man to come lunging up. Mullane was already spurring close at his heels, gloomily eying the combination in front "There are Oirish andOirish," as one of their most appreciative and broad minded exponents, Private Ter ence Mulvauey, has told us, and it gall ed the veteran dragoon to see his junior in rank bidden to ride oven for the mo ment at the head of the swiftly moving column. So, reckless of the fact that bis individual spurt would call for a certain forcing of the pace along his en tire troop, now moving in long column of twos, Mullauo had spurred his horso to close the 12 yard gap between him self and the major's orderly, determined that there should be no conference of the powers in which he was not repre sented. "Captain Mullane, " said Brooks, "I see it is getting dusty. You might di vide into sections, as D troop has done aud keep 60 varda apart, so that the dust can blow aside and not choke your mon." "This Is L troop, sorr, an my men are not babes in arrums," was Mul lane's magnificent reply. At any other time ho might havo felt the pertinence of the suggestion, but hero was a case where a doughboy captain, budad, had instigated tho measure for tho comfort of his men. That was enough to damn it in tho eyes of tho old dragoon. The answer was shouted, too, with double intent. Mullane desired Barclay to hear what he thought of such oversolici tude, but Barclay, riding onward stur dily if not quite so easily as was Law rence, gave no sign. He was listening with head inclined to tho words of the keen campaigner on his right. Brooks was quick to noto tho inten tion of tho Irish officer, and equally quick to noto the flushed and inflamed condition of his face, the thickness of his tongue. "So ho, my Celtic friend." said he, as he saw that two canteens were swung on tho off side of Mullane's saddle, ono at the cantle under the rolled blanket, the other half shaded by the bulging folds of the overcoat at the pommel. "I thought there was more whisky than wit in your eager ness at the start. Now I know it" But even to Mullane the major would not speak discourteously. "We all know L troop is ready for anything, captain, " he smilingly answered, "but I have to call for unusual exertion to day, and the fresher they are tonight the better. Let them open out, as I say, "he continued, and Mullane saw it was useless to put on further airs. "Ye 'tind to it, sergeant," he grunt ed over hia shoulder to his loyal hench man, and then, uninvited, ranged up alongside the leader. (To be continued.) The daughter of an editor was she; And when he kissed her (through Love's impish pranks), Quite absent-mindedly she said to him: "Your contribution Is returned with thanksP Puck.