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.» HE ORL/ « EDWARD OSTROM, Jr. perhaps because they were both strangers and lonesome. When on the late watch Skinny had acquired the habit of talking over with Hector the things he knew would interest him. Hector standing solemnly in Iris narrow stall would hang his big head over the barrier and ( thrust his soft nose in quiringly into Skinny's hand. at LING! cling I" said the fire-bell with her silver voice. Cling 1 cling I cling 1 There's a fire not far away I—and . the roof of the building is falling ini—and the smoke is pouring out of the win dows!—and it'll be all up with the women and chil dren if you don't hurry up ! c l h f p ) /u ■ Copyright, 1906. by Thomas H. MeKoo. Hector strode out of his stall with a loud snort; a towering giant of a black horse, with fire in his eyes, and fire in his nostrils, and fire under his hoofs as he stepped. Tossing his head contemptuously, he took his place of honor between the poles of the engine, the other horses falling quickly in on either side of him, looking like ponies in comparison with their big leader. All were harnessed ready to go, before a label could have been burnt off a gasolene can. No. to was hissing spitefully, and Skinny, the driver, was settling himself comfortably upon the box. Hector, however, had been pawing the ground. "Get up, Hec," said Skinny; "do you think this is a funeral?" Hector tossed his giant head again, and pulled the engine and the other horses playfully out upon the •treet , "AU together now," said Skinny persuasively, as he shook out the long reins. And with that they were off and away, with a wild clatter and ringing, np the long, crowded, startled thoroughfare. Back of Skinny the men who a few momenta before had been peacefully pulling at their corn-cob pipes and swapping stories with their friends, the boys of the neighborhood, were clinging with desperation to the poles of the roaring engine and hose-cart as they rushed Jown the crowded street, rocking around sharp corners and winding an intricate path to the scene of their duty. «I wonder what's the matter with Skinny to-day," said big Bill Hoffman as he jammed his helmet tighter ùn his head. "He's driving wide everywhere—acta as , .hough he was scared of something." teil abwut Skinny," replied his "Oh, you never can "He's the craziest kid on the works. Some , companion. days he drives as if there was a baby under the wheels Then again he's clippin' them Elevated ill the time, uillars by fractions of an inch." Weaving in and out through the congestion of the city's traffic Skinny was nevertheless driving his horses beautifully, now jamming down his brakes hard to avoid ■n over-impertinent trolley car that had run past its stopping point; and again giving Hector and his mates their heads as they dashed madly down an inviting stretch of asphalt. ( Feet braced against the foot-board, sinewy hands Straining with all their power against the excited horses, head bare to the rushing wind, eyes set to the front, never wavering, face stern with the responsibility that the man who is guiding a brazen comet rests upon through city streets crowded with eager spectators— this was Skinny. "Looks like a soldier charging the enemy," said one man half to himself. "You're right, sir, he it a soldier ; hut with those fel lows death is all in the day's work," and his neighbor turned again as the battalion chief whirled clanging by in his buggy in the wake of the flying engine. But with Skinny on the driver's seat it was different to-day. To the outsider Skinny was the same intrepid, keen-eyed driver who loves to show his daring and »kill tnd devotion to duty. Even his comrades at the fire house had noticed no marked difference, for he had al ways been an erratic lad and made few intimate friends. Hector was the only one to whom he had given all his heart and all his confidences. "Yer safe if ye tell yer secrets to a horse," he often said, and then he had half laughed. But the men knew that Hector was more to Skinny than a child would be to some men, and they respected him for it even if they joked with him about it And to-day with Skinny was different A sense of calamity had been with him since morning, intangible, [indefinable. "Somethin's going to happen, old boy," he had mur mured to Hector when he went to the big horse's stall in the morning. Hector had miffed at the back of Skinny's head vhile ! e poured out the oats, bût had vouchsafed no an ile was hungry for the oats and pawed impa 1 icntly at the floor. I, "Somethin's sure goin to happen," he said later and • lector had turned and whinnied to him while he pol I ibhed the buckles and joints of his horse's harness. I "I feel just the way Johnny Burns did the day before f hat piano factory fell on him. Gee, 1 hope I ain't goin' I o lose my nerve—or ray horse," thought Skinny. I The alarm had come as a welcome relief from this L*wcr. -toomy foreboding. Once on the seat Skinny was himself again—almost. he threaded his way down the long street he onnd himself going over in memory the dayi since he and Hector had gone into the department. Away down to n they had met first—down in the ikyscraper section of the city—he a recruit, with lots to earn, and Hector a fine, big, upstanding five-year-old. Thcy had taken to each other from the very start, Next Week. " The Brotherhood ot Six by Charles K. Moser. 99 * NÜ After the sugar ha8 been eaten he would bow his head to show his gratitude. ft all came back \o Skinny as on occasions a life time's memories, 'will be packed into one brief moment Skinny was driving to a fire, but subconsciously he living again his fireman's career with Hector. When Hector had been transferred to the uptown section and had sniffed his good-bye into Skinny's tearful was •.qs^sß'- ' ■ * jUl t> mm id \ ■ mm e !pr SSu E fA mßM : - K Ü8i6f fSiS&n mi ■ v . mm ■ i; ■ ; - ■4 J « » h w:. . rL. . C ». . ' wm : S«R ■* ■ EM . $ . 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And reunited they were at last in a west side house, Then had come the other incidents of their life to gether—the big apartment house fire when, with all the ***£<*»*»!?**««♦♦»««**£*»*»♦*»*#«<?*# * ' The Complete Story of ' S "Hector," by Edward Ostrom, Jr., is notable both ^ # for its strength and its tenderness. The noble 9 *f tire horse and his rough, rugged driver arc * brought before the reader in such manner as to S win dear, understanding sympathy. The story is W one that will appeal to the human side of every p heart that has throbbed with quickened pulse as ^ the clanging engines dashed by with their gallop- * ing horses and blue-shined fire-lighters, seem ingly stirred alike with eagerness to baltlc for the safety of imperilled lives. 1 he forceful pencil of L. Methfesscl has illus- 8 iratcd ' Hector*' and has presented a worthy pic- S ture of the noble animal whose life-story is here J related. It is a picture combining tjic fidelity of 5 a flashlight photograph with the cfleet that could S be produced only by the pencil of an artist whose 2 soul is attuned to sympathy with the brute hero 8 he portrays. * ► » ? ■* t f _ _ * *#***««»*«******«***4*V**«**» ¥ *«**«V Skinny wa« made driver of the engine after that—the windows spitting fire and smoke, Skinny had crawled slowly up the front of the building with his scaling lad der and brought lown the old woman and her two little granddaughters. The next day the papers flamed with accounts of his heroism. promotion he had always secretly longed for. How he and Hector could work together! No one else could manage the fiery horse so well and skilfully. There was the bond of friendship—of love between them. They understpod each other. Hector it was after the long run to the car-barn fire last winter when tlie snow was deep in the side streets and the water frozen in glaciers over the pavements and walls, that seemed to know instinctively the peril of the tottering wall and communicated iua fears to Skinny. The pulsating, throbbing engine had been dragged away only a moment before the street was Idled with a ruin of fallen and smoking brick. Hector again responding to the firm but delicate guid of his friend, had by his enormous strength alone auce swerved the engine from its course and barely clear of a big sight-seeing automobile filled with white-faced, friglitcned tourists. Skinny had grinned at them as he passed, but he knew only too well that it was Hector alone that had saved a half dozen lives, including prob ably his own. Do you wonder that he loved his fine big horse I Through all the best part of hit life they had gone to gether—friends, sharing dangers, comforts and pleas ures. Out of his dream came Skinny with a shock. Round the last corner at the foot of the hill they dashed at reckless speed. The blue-coated policeman sprang out from the curb and shouted down the avenue to clear the way. The whole street shrank out of the way, except one little baby girl with dared eyes. Skinny stood up to the reins like a madman, his foot jammed on the brake. "Whoa, Hector, you devil 1 whoa I" he cried hoarsely. The great horse gaped with the pain of the bit; and tried to hold back on h's haunches. Plunger staggered on his left, but he held him up for several yards', then Boiler stumbled and fell with a crash. Hector was brought to his knees. Plunger went under the merciless wheels, and the engine came to a stop. was all over as quick as a kiss—Plunger lay quivering with a broken back: Boiler was stone dead, his skull eruahari it an appld by Hector's terrible hoof; Hector himself pan « mg and sweating, stood bravely quiet with bis knei s shaved to the bone. And the tiny girl who a moœei t before had been smiling and happy, was—sale on the sidewalk, her small lace bidden m her frock, sobbing she scarce knew why. then Hector took the engine up the bill alone. His veins stood out so painfully beneath the attain, how ever—the sweat poured over his muscular hanks so thickly, and die panting of bis huge sides was to terrib'e to bear—that it seemed to poor Skinny as it hit iavorlt , too, must kill himself before they reached the top. Bi ( the smell of the tire came to Hector, and be weary feet into a earner, with a familiar quivering on every band and the fire men were running ahead of trim with their bright axt> He ' unppmg from hit nostrils "1 want to take my horte home, sir," said Skinny to the chief, touching bis hat. "Why?" Skinny explained his misfortune in short sentence*. "1 might better killed the kid than that horse," he added sadly. IS hi The botes toon Mratdu.1 Kfl there m the thick of it at last—the rad blooi I "Take him home, lad," said the Chief, wiping tie smoko from his eyes. "I ll send someone up with your engine." Skinny took Hector by the bridle, and led him gently all Uie long way down the hill, sympathising with him tenderly, and patting his soft nose as titty "cut 1'uor Hector could scarcely drag one hoof b< linid the other.'■ At the toot of the tan the little girl, with screams of laughter, was tearing me yellow wings irom a butterfly. 'Oh, poor hossicl" she cried, as Hector limped pa t with bleeding knees, Bin "skinny turned away Ins tau aim swore. tpou reaching Ironie, Hector gave u snort that was halt a groan, and walking unsteadily miu Ins own stall, leaned tip against the side; and the nourris cried beneath his weight, and the stanchions slimed the.r feet nnwillingly. bc:m oals were m the manger, w c and fragrant, lliuugh Hcctot ear eu not wen to >.nff at them, Inn let Ins huge head, a nuuiuaili 1.1 itaieii. droop lower and lower down. "Poor old C...SS," whispered Si- it:.; nose furtively. 1 he man came slowly out of the stall; and the biq horse lay heavily down and e'ised his eyes. ''Hector's busted," said Sktmty,■'trying to explain tl c sorry situation in a business-like voice m the green hand who hail been left on wotcli. 1 he latter tip toed over to Hector's stall, ami peer< 1 in mutely. Hector paid no attention to him. Skim. y threw two blankets over the prostrate horse, and si r] u>t I »it'.g lire horse s T hope to God yvf am t Misled I" another rolled up for a pillow under Ins head. Tl a flics were buzzing lazily over the fragrant oats. Skinny, who seized every chance to swear at the grci.t hand, phoned for a veterinary, and then tumped about like a baited hull, cursing the long dclav. When tl a surgeon at last arrived with his little satchel, and looked at poor Hector with his cold, unsympathetic eyes, le pursed up his lips hopelessly, and shook his old ba d head. "He's pretty bad, ain't he?" blurted Skinny, yes. 1 knew it—I felt sure from the first there wasi t no hope—oh, yes, 1 give him up clean from the start- '* Skinny's shoestring came untied as he spoke, and la was a long time fixing it. The veterinary, meanwhil e explained with obvious satisfaction that Hector had had a serious Irrmarrhngc, and might even then be bleeding slowly to death inside. ■'Kr?p him quiet," he said warningly. But Hector showed no disposition to move, lying wearily with closed eyes and heavy breathing, oblivious to all that went on around him. Even toward evening «lien No. to, grimy and unkempt, in tow of two strange horses came rumbling np to the door, he did not offer to raise his head. He did not lift his heavy eyelids when ihe cliimay neweomers staggered and stamped on the slippery concrete, in their violent straining to ac complish jointly what he could have done alone, did not prick up his ears when the wondering men drew near, and staring at trim in open pity, called "Hector!" softly with their well-known voices; and even «hen his good friend Scraggs, the spaghetti-covered deg mascot, blundered crab-iashion into the stall and sniffed noisily with' tick Icy whiskers at the ice bandages, 1 e gave no sign of life. Nothing seemed to affect him. So the men on tiptoe went soberly about tlqcir wort of cleaning up; the flics continued to buzz undisturbed in Hector's manger; and Skinny, with blind eyes, mace a fnournftil pretence at furbishing up the harness. Suddenly, however, a strange thing happened, was not that the alarm began to ring with its clear, glass-like note of wanting—for that was a common, a: most liouifly occurrence—but there came a noise of a terrible effort from Hector's stall. Awakened at la t by the familiar bell, the great horse seemed to t i struggling to answer khc summons. The straw fle / furiously in all directions. The partition wall of tl, stall kicked loose by the mighty iron shoes, scaled over the concrete floor like a square of pasteboard. Hccto., arising with a mighty groan, ■■amt forth. "Whoa, boyl whoa, llcc, old man I" cried Skinn;, running to his head. But Hector staggered against Skinny, who rebounde I backward against the tiled wall ; then the horse blundcri M o I, lie It can: ; forward, »caitcring lire with an mislead.' tread. Disregarding tire blindness of hia eyes and th: weakness of his knees, gi.r ' Hector took Ins tbmrd place of honor between the poles of the engine. But no one came to fatten his harness; though h: stretched out his neck for the collar, no collar lowered upon it; and though he opened his mouth fer the bit, no bit was placed between his teeth. Tottering then from side to side, the red blood pouring from l.is nostrils, he reared up ready to fight it out, an! pawed the air with his terrible hoofs, falling at las , baffled but not conquered, upon the oaken pole of tbr engine, which snapped beneath his weight with a dcat ening crack. The glittering dragon leaped back out of danger; but it was a useless precaution, for Hector la/ on the floor like a stone. The men stepped forward and stared in silent wonder at the great quiet body, which nearly reached from thj brass pole on their right to the brass pole on thei. left. The strange horses, in the dim light of their stalls, stood spectrally gazing out with outstretched necks and pricked up ears; Scraggs crouched in a shivering heap in the desolate stall, where the flies were buzzing, buzz ing their mournful tune. At last Skinny came limping forward, and knelt stiffly by the silent head. "Hector's gone," he said presently, in a smothered accu; wa j voice.