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The St. Charles herald. [volume] (Hahnville, La.) 1873-1993, June 09, 1917, Image 3

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W. IT.
: By :
Author and Clergyman Civil Engineer
Copyright by'Fleming H. Revel] Co.
The Testimony of the Dead.
Just us Helen Illingworth and Win
ters reached tin* lower level at the foot
of the mesa, they were joined by Rod
"What has happened?" cried the en
Winters answered as the three hur
ried along without stopping:
"Meade blew up the hogback."
"Was that he?"
"I thought there was something fa
miliar about him, hut I did not dare—"
"I recognized him instantly," said
Helen Illingworth.
"That atones for the International,"
continued Rodney.
"What does?" asked his friend.
"The dam is safe; the water has
stopped rising. I believe it's beginning
to fall a little. I saw someone jump
up on the palisade and wave his hand,
and then I saw them all gather around,
evidently cheering."
"I should think the water would be
lowered," said Winters; "it's pouring
but of a hole in the hogback as big
as a church."
"It was a fine thing in Meade. Let's
hurry and tell him so," answered Rod
"I'm afraid it's too late," said Win
"Oh, don't say that," cried the girl.
"Why, what's happened?"
"The second blast was slow in going
off," said Winters ; "he went back to
look at it, and got knocked over. It
looked pretty bad from the top of the
Rodney would not have been human
If he had not felt a leap in his breast
|at the possibility, but he was too loyal
a friend and too genuinely fond of
Meade for more thun a passing eino
tion, for which he was more than a
little ashamed.
•it _ ___'__ „ ,_______.
' '
lD .^ feW „ m i )me ° t8 ] he ^A t0 ?^.. y
the three men. Meade was still un
conscious. The big Irishman sat on
the grass with the engineer's head on
Ills knee. The deft-fingered little Ital
ian was trying to wash the blood away
from the unconscious man's forehead
■with a sodden, ragged piece of cloth.
Meade was unconscious, he was breuth
ing heavily. There was a catch in his
respiration. His breuth came at irreg
ular intervals and was labored as if
A huge rock had struck him in the
breast. The two men had torn open
his shirt and undershirt. The engi
neer's chest was bruised and bloody.
Evidently bones had been broken, and
probably serious internal injuries had
resulted. Every breath was an appar
ient agony, and that the exquisite pain
Idid not arouse him to consciousness
■was evidence of the terrible nature of
|the Injury. A smaller, sharper rock
Ihad cut him across the forehead and j
cheek, just missing his right eye, and j
they found out afterward that he had
been struck by several other pieces
dislodged by the explosion, and that
his body was covered with bruises.
But there was nothing, not even in
the cut on the forehead, to cause any
great alarm had it not been for the
A Huge Rock Had Struck Him in the
crushed chest. Winters and Rodney
were both men of action, accustomed
to quick thinking and prompt decision
In emergencies; while Helen Illing
worth could only stand with clenched
bands staring In mental anguish that
paralleled the physical suffering of
the man she loved, the engineer and
the rancher immediately made prep
arations to get the wounded man to the
Murphy wore in his belt a short
woodman's ax. With It they cut down
two young saplings, trimmed them and
thrusting them through the sleeves of
their raincoats they made a fairly prac
ticable litter. Using the utmost care,
they laid the unconscious man upon it
and AVlnters and Murphy, the two big- !
gest men. took the handles at either !
end. Helen Illingworth, praying as
she had never prayed before, sought te»
support the unconscious man's head,
The Italian gathered up the tools and
went ahead to open up the path. Rod
ney followed after.
Their progress was slow of neces
sity. They had to handle Meade with
great care. Winters and Rodney, after
the brief inspection they had made,
could not see a chance on earth for
him. Neither could Helen Illingworth, I
They went along without conversation, j
naturally, except for an outburst of ad- j
miration from Winters. !
"I tell you," he said, "it was a mag- j
nificent thing for him to do. He risked !
his life a hundred times in that mad I
rush with the dynamite in his hands t
and the detonators in his pocket. Yet
if he had only stayed back be would
have been safe."
"It was his anxiety for the dam and
the people that brought him down,"
said Helen Illingworth. "He can't die,"
she murmured. "God surely will not
let him die. I love him so. And yet if
he does and I have lost him, innocent
or guilty, he has redeemed his fame."
"He saved others," quoted Rodney
under his breath, "himself he could
not save."
It was a work of great difficulty to
hut they finally managed It By the !
woman's direction they laid him on her
bed in her own private stateroom.
"One of us must go for a doctor at
once," said Rodney, "and that will be 1
telegraph we could tap a wire."
None of them could.
''^ t s aI1 down-grade and there's a
K° od roadbed and I was some sprinter
* n college days," said Rodney,
And there was never greater need
haste than now," said Winters. "I
wish I had a horse here."
"Don't give up. Miss Illingworth."
continued Rodney, ns he started to
ward the door. "He's alive yet."
Just then, opportunely enough.
get the wounded engineer Into the car, !
my job."
"It's twenty miles to the town,"
said the conductor, who had helped to
receive them. "If one of you could
ger galloping down. The telephone
wires are down. I ran the car up here
as the quickest way to get over to the
rounding the last curve before the arch
bridge, they saw the end of the other ,
car rapidly approaching them. Had '
they not been so excited they could !
have heard the furious puffing of the
engine as it drove the car at great I
speed up the heavy grade.
"Wait," said the conductor, "we can
send the engine down for the doctor. ,
That'll he the colonel's car."
In a few minutes the ear stopped on
the siding. Out of it carne Colonel j
Illingworth, Doctor Reverence, Curtiss,
and some of the officials of the Bridge 1
company in town. They were all great
ly excited. The colonel did not stop to !
put on his hat. He ran to the other
car and climbed aboard. j
"The dam's going," he shouted. "The
bridge and the town will be flooded.
We got word an hour ago by a inessen
reservoir and the dam. Some of you
who know the way come with me."
By this time the observation room
of the car was filled with men.
"You need not worry about the dam,"
said Rodney,
"What do you mean?"
"A man blew up the hog-back, made
a spill-way, the water rushed out
through it into the ravine, you can
see it below there, relieving the pres
sure on the dam at once. Since it has
held up till now it will hold for good."
"Thank God !" cried the colonel, sink
ing down into a chair and wiping the
sweat off his brow. "The bridge will
be safe then. By George," he gasped,
"the Martlet company could hardly
have stood another loss like that.
Who's the man who blew it up?"
"His name is Meade," said Rodney
There was a long pause. Every
man there knew of the failure of the
International and in what estimation
the old colonel held the name of Meade
because of that.
"Well, it was a fine thing," said the
colonel ; "It makes up for his blunder
ing work on the bridge,"
"Beg pardon, sir," said ShurtltfT, who
had stood wide-eyed and white and suf
fering in silence ever since the engi
neer had been brought to the car, "it
was not his blunder."
"Why, you said so yourself," cried
the colonel.
I lied," admitted the secretary.
Quick as a flash Rodney had his
notebook out. Here was the proof at
"To save the reputation of the man
"And how do I know you are not
lying for this man now?" asked the
colonel harshly.
"These will prove it," said Shurtliff.
extending some papers he drew out of
his pocket, where he had placed them
that morning half intending to tell
Helen Illingworth the truth at last.
"What are these?" the colonel asked, j
staring at Shurtliff, who stood erect be- ;
fere them, sustained more by his will
than anything else, for his knees were
' shaking and his body quivering; yet he
1 was glad after all. more happy than lie
had thought he could be, in making the
revelation, in vindicating the innocent,
! in giving that satisfaction to Helen
j Illingworth, tardy, even too late, though
it might*be.
1 "Letters, sir. You will find there a
! blueprint of the design of the compres
sion members," answered Shurtliff
j monotonously as If he had forced his
I mind to a certain action and it was
j working automatically. "With it is a
j letter from Bertram Meade to his fa
! ther suggesting that the lacings were
j too light and calling attention to the
! empiric formula of Schmidt-Chemnitz
I in proof of his argument. On the
t hack of that letter Mr. Bertram Mend
Sr., made an indorsement—you know
his handwriting and can identify it—
'Hold until bridge is finished and then
give back to the boy. We'll show him
that even Schmidt-Chemnitz doesn't
know everything.' c
Colonel Illingworth turned the paper
over. There was the Indorsement.
"Well, by heaven!" he began.
"There's another paper in an envel
ope addressed to the editor of the New
York Gazette. Will you read it aloud,
! velope the brief note. He read it :
j a]one am responslble for the error
in the design of the International bridge,
which has resulted in this terrible disas
1 ter - 1 know that my son, in an effort to
Almost" ns If* ho had hpon hv^nnoti/pd
Almost as tr ne nun oetn njpnotizea
! Colonel Illingworth took from the en
shield me, will assume the responsibility.
As a matter of fact, he had previously
pointed out what he believed to be struc
tural weakness, but I refused to heed his
representations arid overbore his objec
tions. The fault is entirely chargeable to
me. There is no possible expiation fur my
blunder. The least I can do is to assume all
the responsibility. The blame is mine.
He laid it down with the other pa
"The demonstration is complete and
absolute," he began spontaneously,
amid a breathless silence. "The proofs
are adequate. They would establish
young Meade's innocence in any court
in the land. Where is he? I have done
him an injustice. I am ready to make
, amends," continued the colonel,
' "And while you are talking" said
! Helen Illingworth, who had been stand
ing in the doorway too absorbed by the
I dramatic recital to Interrupt it, "lie's
"Dying! Where?"
, "He was battered to pieces by the
last dynamite explosion. We brought
him here."
j "Were you there?"
"We saw it from the top of the mesa,
Oh. don't talk any longer."
"Severenee." said Illingworth, with
prompt decision, "you haven't forgot
ten all your old medical skill. This is
your job. One of you jump on the en
gine and bring a physician up and—"
"I'm going," said Rodney. "Who's
the best doctor in town?"
"Doctor Fraser. He's a young man,
hut very skillful," answered one of the
local bridge men.
"Bring our own Doctor Bailey up
î* 6 « 6 iÜ!?™ OU f kospltnl with him, and
tell that engine driver to get down
to the town and back just as quickly
as he can go. Cheer up, Helen," said
the colonel. "I know that a man is
not going to rehabilitate himself by
such an action and have the evidence
of his innocence brought out at such
a moment just to die."
"Will you give me those papers, colo
nel?" said Rodney. "You'll want this
written up and—"
"Take them," said the colonel.
"Will you come along with me, Mr.
Shurtliff? After I see the doctors I'll
want your atlidavit."
"Yes, sir, anything," said Shurtliff.
"It was fine of you," said Winters,
"to try to shield your employer and
the man you loved, but thank God, you
spoke out before it was too late. I'm
sorry I pulled that gun on you ; you're
a man, all right, even If you don't look
it," he added to himself as Shurtliff
bowed and followed Rodney.
Winters stood at the door of the pas
sageway leading to the stateroom while
Helen Illingworth and Severenee, who
had been educated as a physician, and
the old colonel, who knew a great deul
about wounds and accidents from his
war experience, entered the stateroom.
A new spirit had come into th© rela
tions between father and daughter and
both were glad. There was no ques
tion now about the future. There
should be no opposition from Colonel
Illingworth. Within an hour the pa
pers would have the story of how cne
man had saved a great dam, the vla
duct, the town, and Its people, and
they would have at the same time the
story of who was responsible for the (
fall of the International bridge. They ;
would have the story of the attempted '
self-sacrifice of the son to save the
father. They would have the story of
the old man's splendid nnd magnanim
ous avowal of responsibility before he
died. The United States, the world,
would ring with the dramatic tale.
It was as much to tell that story in
his own way as to summon, medical
aid that Rodney had gone for the doe
tor. And so the father held the duugli
J side while both bent
ter clasped to his side
over the still uncousc
unconscious man, whom
Doctor Reverence quickly and careful- f
a ,
a j
ly and with wonderful skill, consider
ing his long withdrawal from practice,
I "What is it?" asked the colonel as
the vice president looked up presently.
"My daughter is engaged to be married
! to him"—and he was rewarded by the
thrill and quiver that shot through his
daughter's being which he felt as he
pressed her to his side—"we can't let
him die now."
"He's in God's hands," answered
Reverence gravely. "He's been terribly
pounded everywhere, ilis breastbone
is shattered, some of Ills ribs are brok
en. I don't know."
j "That awful cut on his forehead?"
"That's nothing."
"And the other bruises?"
"They count but little», but the blow
on the chest"—he shook his gray head
sadly, ominously.
"Do you think anything has pene
trated his lungs?" asked Helen Illing
worth, as she pointed to her lover's
lips, to a little bloody froth that came
The old man nooded.
"Perhaps," he said.
"Oh, he can't die, he can't, he can't !"
down on her
i wailed the woman, sinkin
i knees by the bed.
; "Not if any power on earth can keep
, him from it, my dear child," saiü the
■ colonel tenderly, bending over her.
"Send me the porter of the car,"
said Severance, "and take Miss Illing
worth away. I want to get him un
dressed anil—"
"You will call me back the minute
I can come?"
"Certainly, my dear girl," said the
vice president, who had known the
young woman from childhood.
At Last to the Stars.
All the men except Curtiss and Win
I , , , ... , ,
rors had discrpotlv withdrawn xroni
^_____ , v 5 "_____^ __ „„„
the car and had gone over to the mesa
to look at the lake and the outlet. In
deed the water was roaring down be
neath the steel arch bridge, filling for
the first time in generations the chan
nel of the Kicking Horse. Fortunate
ly it could flow that way without «lun
ger to the town or the viaduct below.
The colonel led his daughter to a
chair and then turned to Winters.
"You were there?" he began. "Tell
me about It."
Graphically the big cattle rancher '
told the story of Meade's mad rush
over the rocks with his two compan
Said the
"Certainly, My Dear Girl,"
Vice President.
j 0 ns, of the desperate assault on the
hog-back, of the success that had met
their efforts to open the improvised
spillway, and then the final disaster.
The recital lost nothing in his graphic
relation. .
"It was fine it was magnificent »
said the colonel, patting his daughter s
shoulder. "Where are the two who
went with him?"
"They're outside there," said Win
The old colonel went to the door of
I the car and called the two men into the
: car.
! "In the hank down in Coronado
j there's a thousand dollars of mine for
j each of you," he said promptly.
"We didn't do it for money, sor,"
said the big Irishman, "although 'twill j
be welcome enough, but how is Mr.
"You mean that man who blew up
the hog-back?"
"Si, signore, a greata man he ees,"
said the little Italian.
"I wish I could say he was all right,
but there's a doctor with him and we
have sent for the best physician in
town. He's horribly hurt."
"But plaise God, he may pull through,
sor. The Holy Virgin nn' the Saints
presarve him," said the Irishman, mak
ing the sign of the cross.
And in his own language little Fun
aro breathed a similar prayer and with
his grimy, toil-stained hand he made
the same gesture.
"Murphy," shouted a voice from the
pines on the side of the hill between
the car and the mesa.
"That'll be Mr. Vandeventer, the
resident engineer," said Murphy,
Colonel Illingworth turned to the
door again.
"Where's Roberts?" cried Vandeven
ter, stumbling down the hill. He was
haggard and worn and weary to the |
point of exhaustion, but as soon as he ]
imd been assured of the safety of the 1
dam—and before he left the water was \
visibly receding—he had started out to
seek the engineer whom lie had. in his
mind in the excitement of the moment, did
accused of desertion.
"He's here in my ear, sir," said Colo
uel Illingworth.
f "And who are you. may I ask?" said
Vandeventer, crossing the track and
[ swinging himself upon the platform of
the car.
"I am Colonel Illingworth, president
of the Martlet Bridge company."
"But Roberts?"
"His name is not Roberts. It's
"What? The International man?"
"I knew he was an engineer. Well,
lie's made up for his failure there."
"He dill not fail there any more than
he failed here." said the colonel.
"When» is he?"
"It's a long story."
"It can wait," said Yandeventer
brusquely. "1 want to thank him for
saving the data and the lives of the
men on it, and the town, and the rail
road, and the bridge."
"I don't know whether you can thank
him or not," said the colonel.
"You don't mean—"
"He was terribly hurt
plosion anil they 1 rough
"Can I see him?"
For answer Colone
pointed lo the door.
"This is my daughter.
Yandeventer, is it not?
the engineer who is building the dam.
He lots come to ask after his man."
"I've done everything I can for him,"
said Reverence, coming out of the
stateroom, followed by the porter, as
Yandeventer shook hands with the girl.
"He's still unconscious, but seems to
breathe a little easier."
Into the little room the woman and
the four men crowded. Yandeventer,
accompanied by Murphy and Funaro,
followed the colonel. Neither of the
workmen would be left out. There lay
the engineer, his face as white as the
linen of the pillow or the bandage
which had been deftly tied around his
head. One hand, still grimy and mud
I ! 1 i :
Your name is
Helen, this is
stained, lay on the sheet. Helen II
, . .
lingworth knelt down and kissed it and
aid her head on the bed.
"He Is to be my husband if he lives,"
she said simply.
"A man and an engineer he is," whis
pered Yandeventer.
"I misjudged you, Meade," said the
colonel softly, speaking as If the un
conscious man could hear. "I con
demned you. I wish to heaven you
could hear me make amends now."
"Begob," whispered Murphy, "you'd
ought to seen him run wid the dinna
The voice of the Italian murmured
words which they knew were prayers
and though they came from humble '
lips they brought relief to all. They j
entered deeply into Helen Illingworth's ;
heart and mingled with her own peti
tions, frantic, fervent, imperative, al
though she offered them to Almighty
God as from a woman broken. Pres
ently they all filed out of the room,
leaving Helen Illingworth alone with
what was left of life in the crushed
body of the man she had never loved j
so much before.
In the observation room Yandeventer
fold them of the fight for the dam and
how they had reached their maximum
power of resistance and more, and that
the relief carne in the very nick of
time. Meanwhile the engine driver
had burned up the track going and corn
ing and in less than an hour he was
back with two surgeons and a trained
nurse. Was it their skill and care andJ
watchfulness that finally brought;
Meade back to consciousness, or was it i
, . I
the passionate, consuming intensity of
w.ll and purpose of the woman who
loved him, who could scarcely he driv- |
en from his side? Well, whatever the
reason, after many days he passed
from death into life and carne back
He was conscious of Helen's pres
ence and lay quietly enveloped in her
love before he could talk coherently or
question. Indeed, with Rodney and
Winters, and old Shurtliff, who swore
C()]om q. an(1 Vu ndovenU
to himself that he would never forgive i
himself if Meade did not recover, and !
and all
the men of the force, who used to stroll
over after hours and just sit on the
side of the track and stare at the car
where the man who had saved them
was fighting for his life as desperately
as they had fought to save the dam,
Meade was surrounded by such an at
mosphere of admiration and devotion
as might have stayed the hand of death
itself. There came a day when the
physician .said he could talk a little.
"I saw you," Helen whispered. "I
was standing on the high hill watch
ing, looking down upon you just be
"But I shall look up to you all the '
rest of my life," said the man, as the ;
woman knelt, as was her wont, by the
side of the bed. She kissed his hand, ;
thin, wasted, but white and clean now. j
"No, I to you," she murmured, as , "
she pressed her lips to his fingers. !
"Look up a little higher, then," whis
pered Meade with some of the old hu
"You mean?"
The voiceless movement of his lips
told her the story. She raised herself
and kissed them lightly.
"I haven't dared to ask that before,"
said the man, closing his eyes. "I
wasn't strong enough to stund that."
"But you're going to get strong; you
must. I'd like to kiss you forever,"
said the woman with pitying tender
ness nnd great Joy.
"It's heavenly now, hut I shall have to
away agnin when I am able and—"
"We are never going to be parted
again. '
"I cannot let you marry a discredited
man. a failure.
"Don't you know," said the woman,
rising, "that the whole United States
rings with your exploit, that the splen
did saving of the dam has caiielc th*»
fancy of the people as it deserv.-s and
a hero everywhere and to ev
:»rybody ?"
t H !
a v.
"But the International bridge and It«
failure ?"
Unbeknown u
had Storni in tile
"We know til,
said I he old mini •••■:
"It wie yoiu father'
It was finirai •: ■
V. 11 i t
V. :
111 ' 111
1 II
1 s..
"I Saw You,
Helen Whispered.
recovery. Colonel Illingworth turned
away and summoned the secretary,
Rodney and Winters came, too.
"Shurtliff," said Meade faintly but
firmly, "teil them again who is re
sponsible for the failure of the Inter
'Forgive me, Mr. Meade," said Shurt
liff, "but it was your brave old father's
"You see," said the colonel.
"We knew it all the time," said Rod
"But Mr. Shurtliff bravely gave U 3
the final proof," said Winters.
"Those papers?" said Meade.
Shurtliff nodded.
"And your father's own letter that
he wrote the papers before his heart
broke." said Rodney; 'I'll read It to
you presently."
"Why did you do it, Shurtliff?"
"To right a great wrong, sir. I saw
that we were mistaken to try to spare
the dead at the expense of the living,
to wreck your life and the future, and
the happiness of Miss Illingworth. God
bless her for her kindness to a lonely
old man. And so when you were
brought here dead I told them the
truth and gave them the papers."
"Gentlemen," said Meade, making a
] a st try, "it is useless to deny it now,
but for the sake of my father's fain©
you won't let anyone know?"
"Old man," said Rodney, "it was on
the wires an hour afterward and the
whole United States knows it now.
Your father made the mistake; his
letter admitted it bravely. The world
honors him. it honors you."
"Rodney." said Meade, "I wish you
hadn't done it."
"It was for Miss Illingworth's happi
ness and yours that I did i' " said Kod
ney. "And how much tluu cost me, '
he . ul(ll>d the ( , mf( , ssion , M . ing wrung
from « no 01M . can ever know
He turned und left the room. Winters
followed him full of sympathy and
"Let me go ont alone, old .nan,"
said Rodney. "I'll he back presently.
This is the last fight I've got to make."
Winters watched him from the steps
of the car as he disappeared in the
pine trees on route to the mesa to tight
ir ,mt under the open sky alone. The
others left the room also, last of all
"You forgive me, Meade. I've been
through hell itself," said the old man,
'in these last six months."
"Freely," said Meade.
And Shurtliff went away with a
ligiiter heart than he had borne for
many a long day.
The two lovers were alone again.
"You see." said Helen, "there's noth
ing can keep us apart now."
"Nothing, thank God," whispered the
"But I am sorry that it all came out
this way. I'm sorry not only because
of your suffering, but for other reasons
'- Ko ' lne >' fur one ' He-it's too bad!
14 was „ n °! "«^'ssary for you to get
almost killed to win me. I
mean - for wherever and whenever I
found > ou * was reived to marry you,
" 111 >' nlll >»
And ls 14 true that P oor old Rod
had grown to cure?" he asked, putting
by the academic discussion.
The woman nodded.
"I'm very sorry. I can't help it. AV©
were always together, talking about
you," she said.
"And he couldn't help It, either," said
Meade. "Somehow I believe he was
the better man for you to have taken."
But he looked at her wistfully and
anxiously as he spoke.
"I won't argue with you," said the
girl, bending close to him. "I'll only
say that I know I have the best man
in all the world, but if he were the
worst, I would rejoice to have him Just
the same."
"How's your boy Josh getting on at
T ilunno." r< j>!i*-«I Farmer ('orntossel.
"But if In* is
(•niivi rsation s
th..<e pi rfi
with him."
really us smart as his
Hinds, h'»'s makin' some
•sors hustle to keep up

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