Newspaper Page Text
THE CROSSVILLE CHRONICLE
T5he Cross Cut By Courtney Ryley Cooper Illustration by R. B. Van Nlcm Ooprrigkt bj ta. Brawn On. CHAPTER XVII Continued. .-1-1 Again a moan from the man on the bed, and at lust a slight resistance to the sting of the batteries. An hour passed, two; gradually Harry came to himself, to stare aJout him in a won dering, vacant nif.-nner and then to fasten his eyes upon Falrchlld. He seemed to be struggling for speech, for co-ordination of Ic.eas. Finally, after many minutes "That's you, l;o. ?" "Yes, Harry." "But where are we?" "We're in a hospital, and you're knocked out. Don't you know where fou've been?" "I don't know anything since I slid down the wall." "Since you w!iat?" But Harry had lapsed into serai consciousness again. And it was not until late in the night after the rescue. following a few hours of rest forced upon hiro by the Interne, that Fair child once more could converse with Ills stricken partner. "It's something I'll 'ave to show you to explain," said Harry. "I can't tell you about It. You know where that little fissure is- in the 'anging wall, away back in tie stope?" "Yes." "Well, that's It. That's where I got out." "But what happened before that?" "What didn't 'appen?" asked Harry, with a painful grin. "Everything in the world 'an?iied. I but what did the assay show?" Falrchlld reached forth and laid a hand on the brawny one of his part ner. "We're rltfc, Harry," he said, "richer than I ever dreamed we could be. The ore's as good us that of the Silver Queen I" "The bloody Vll it Is !" Then Harry dropped b-ck on his pillow for a long time and almply grinned at the cell ing. Son.ewhnt anxious, Falrchlld leaned forward, bat his partner's eyes were open and smiling. "I'm just let ting it sink in !" ha announced, and Falrchlld was silent, saving his ques tions until "It" had sunk. Then : "You were saying something about that fissure?" "But there is other things first. After you went to the assayers, I fooled around there in the chamber, and I thought I'd just take a flyer and blow up them 'oles that I'd drilled in the 'anging wall at the same time that I shot the other. So I put in the powder and fuses, tamped 'em down and then I thinks, thinks I, that there's somebody moving around in the drift. But I didn't pay any attention to it you know. I was busy and all that, and you of ton 'ear noises that sound funny. So I set 'cm off that Is, I lit the fuses and I started to run. Well, I 'adn't any aiore'n started when bloeyy-y-y, right In front of me, the whole world turned upside down, and I felt myself knocked back Into the chamber. And there was them fuses. All of 'em burning. Well, I managed to pull out the one from the foot wall and stamp it out, but I didn't 'ave time to get at the others. And the only place where there was a chance for me was clear at the end of the cham ber. Already I was bleeding like a stuck hog where a whole 'arf moun tain 'ad 'It me on the 'end, and I didn't know much what I was doing. I just wanted to get he'lnd something that's all I could think of. So I shied for that fissure In the rocks and crawled back in ' there, trying . to squeeze as far along as I could. And 'ere's the funny part of it I kept on going I" "You what?" "Kept on going. I'd always thought K was just a place where the 'anging wall 'ad slipped, and that it stopped a few feet back. But It don't It goes on. I crawled along it as fast as I could I was about woozy, anyway and by and by I 'eard the shots go off be'ind me. But there wasn't any use In goSng back the tunnel was caved In. So I kept on. "After n while, I ran Into a stream of water that came out of the Inside of the 'ill somewhere, and I took a drink. It gave me a bit of strength. And then I kept on some more until all of a sudden, I slipped and fell, just when I was beginning to see dyelight. And that's nil I know. 'Ow long 'ave I been gone?" "Long enough to wake uie gray headed," Falrchlld answered with a little laugh. Then his brow furrowed. "You say you sllpied and fell just as you were beginning to see daylight Y" "Yes. It looked like It was reflected from belnw, somewyes." Falrchlld nodded. "Isn't there quite a spring right by Crazy Laura's house?" "Yes; It keeps going nil year; there's a earrent and It don't' freeze up. It comes out like it was u water fall and there's a roaring noise he 'lnd It." "Then that's the explanation. You followed the fissure until It Joined the natural tunnel that the spring has made through the hills. And when you reached the waterfall well, you fell with It." "But 'ow dl.l I get 'erer Briefly Falrchlld told him, while Harry pawed at his still magnificent mustache. Robert continued: "But the time's not ripe yet, Harry, to spring it. We've got to find out more about Rodaine first and what other tricks he's been up to. And we've got to get other evidence than merely our own word. For Instance, In this case, you can't remember any thing. All the testimony I could give would be unsupported. They'd run me out of town If I even tried to start any such accusation. B'tt one thing's cer tain: We're on the open road at last, we know who we're fighting and the weapons he fights with. And If we're only given enough time, we'll whip him. I'm going home to bed now; I've got to be up early In the morning and get hold of Farrell. Your case comes up at court." "And I'm up In a 'ospital!" Which fact the court the next morn ing recognized, on the testimony of the Interne, the physician and the day nurses of the hwpital, to the extent of ; a continuance until the January term In the trial of the case. A thing which the court further recognized was tha substitution of five thousand dollars In cash for the deeds of the Blue Pop py mine as security for the bailee. And with this done, the deeds to his mine safe in his pocket, Falrchlld went to the bank, placed the papers behind the great steel gates of the safety de posit vault, and then crossed the street to the telegraph office. A long mes sage was the result, and a money or der to Denver that ran beyond a hun dred dollars. The . Instructions that went with it to the biggest florist In town were for the most elaborate floral design possible to be sent by ex press for Judge Richmond's funeral minus a card denoting the sender. Fol lowing this, Fairchild returned to the hospital, only to find Mother Howard taking his place beside the bed of Harry. One more place called for his attention the mine. Health returned slowly to the big Cornlshman; it would be a matter 'f week3 before he could be the genial, strong giant that he once had repre sented. And In those weeks Fairchild was constantly beside him. Nor that there were no other things which were represented In Rober': desires far from It. Stronger than ever was Anita Richmond In Fair- child's thoughts now, and it was with avidity that he learned every scrap of news regarding her, as brought ttr-hlm by Mother Howard. Dully he heard that Maurice Rodaine had told friends that the passing of the Judge had caused only a slight postponement in their marital plans. Finally, back to his normal strength once more, Harry rose from the arm chair by the window of the boarding house and turned to Fairchild. "We're going to work tonight," he announced calmly. "When?" Fairchild did not believe he understood. Harry grinned. "To night. I've taken a notion. Rodaine 'II expect us to wo;'k in the daytime. We'll fool Mm. We'll leave the guards on In the daytime and work at night. And what's more, we'll keep a guard ! on at the mouth of the shaft while I we're inside, not to let nobody, down. See?" Falrchlld agreed. He ki.ew Squint Rodaine was not through. And ie knew also that the fight against he man with the blue-white scar had only begun. The cross-cut had brought wealth and the promise of riches to Falrchlld and Harry for the rest of their lives. But It had not freed them from the danger of one man a man who was willing to do anything in the world, it seemed, to achieve his pur pose. Harry's suggestion was a good one. Well, then Harry ran, to do much as Falrchlld had done, to chuckle and laugti and toss the heavy bits of ore about, to stare at them In the light of his carbide torch, and fLially to hurry Into the new stope which had been fashioned by the hired miners in Fair child's employ and stare upward at the heavy vein of riches above him. "Wouldn't It knock your eyes out?" he exclaimed, beaming. "That vein's certainly five feet wide." "And two hundred dollars to thq ton," added Fairchild, laughing. "No wonder Rodaine wanted It." "I'.l sye sot" A loDg time of con gratulatory celebration, then Harry led the way to the far end of the g.-af cavern. "'Ere It Is!" he announced, us he nolnted to what seen ed to both of them never to be anything mo.v lliH'i a ti Kure In .lie rock. "U s ihe thli-g tl at uved my life." Kulrclilld stured into (he darkness of the hole In the eurth, a narrow cnick In the rock barely large enough 10 .1! low a human form to i-queeze within. H- ' h-d "You must have made yourself preiij niiiml. ilany." "What? When I went through there? Sye, I could 'ave gone through the eye of a needle. There were six charges of dynamite Just nbout to gJ ofT be'ind me !" Again the men chjckled as they looked at the fissure, a natural, usual thing in a mine, and often leading, as this one did, by subterranean breaks and slips to the underground bed of some tumbling spring. Suddenly, how ever, Falrchlld whirled with a thought. "Harry! I wonder couldn't It have been possible for my father to have escaped from this mine In the same way?" "'E must 'ave." "And that there might not have been any killing connectel with Lar sen at all? Why couldn't Larsen have been kpocked out by a flying stone Just like you vere? And why?" "'E might of, Boy." But Harry's voice was negative. "The only thing about It was the fact that your father ad a bullet ole In 'Is' ead." Harry leaned forward and pointed to his own scar. "It 'It right abou 'ere. and glanced. "But the gun? We didn't find any." "'E 'ad It with Mm. It was SIssle I.arsen's. No, Boy. there must 'ave been a fight but don't think that I mean your father murdered anybody. If Sissle Larsen attacked Mm with a gun, then 'e 'ad a right to kill. But "We're Going to work Trnight," He Announced. as I've told you before there wouldn't 'ave been a chance for 'm to prove Ms story with Squint working against Mm." He ceased and perked his head toward the bottom of the shaft, listen ing Intently. "Didn't you 'ear some thing?" "I thought so. Like a woman's voice." "Listen there It is again I" "Mr. Fairchild I" They ran to the foot of the shaft, and Falrchlld cupped his hands and called: "Who wants me?" "It's me." The voice was plainer now a voice that Falrchlld recog nized Immediately. "I'm I'm under arrest or some thing up here," was added with a laugh. "The guard won't let me come down." "Walt, and I'll raise the bucket for you. All right, guard l" Then, blink ing with surprise, he turned to the staring Harry. "It's Anita Richmond," he whispered. The oucket was t the top now. A signal 'from above, and Falrchlld low ered It, to extend a hand and to aid the girl to the ground, looking at her with wondering, eager eyes. In the light of the carbide torch, she was the same boyish-appearing little person he had met on the Denver road except that snow had taken the place of dust now upon the whipcord riding habit, and the brown hair which caressed the corners of lier eyes was moist with the breath of the blizzard. Some way Falrchlld found his voice, lost for a moment. "Are are you In trouble?" "No." She smiled at him. "But out on a night like this In a blizzard. How did you get up here?" She shrugged her shoulders. "I walked. Oh," she added, with a smile, "It didn't hurt me any. The wind was pretty ctlff but then I'm fairly strong. I rather enjoyed It." "But what's happened what's gone wrong? Can I help you with anything or" Then it was that Harry, with a roll of his blue eyes and a funny waggle of his big shoulders, moved down the drift toward the stope, leaving them alone together. Anita Richmond watched after him with a smile, wait ing until he wm out of hearing dis tance. Then she turned seriously. "Mother Howard told me where you were," came quietly. "It was the only chance I. had to see you. I I maybe I was n little lonely or or something. But. anyway. I wanted to see you and thank you and " "Thark me? For what?" "For everything. For that day on the Denver road, and for the night after the Old Times dance when you came to help me. I I haven't had an easy time. Most of the people I know are afraid and some of them aren't to be trusted. And you well. I knew the Itodalnes were your enemies and I've rather liked you for it." "Thank you. But" and Fairchlld's voice became a Mt frigid "I haven't been able to understand everything. You are engaged to Maurice Rodaine." "I was, you mean." "Then - "My engagement ended with my fa ther's death," came slowly and there was a catch In her voice. "He wanted It It was the one thing that held the Itodalnes off him. And he was dying slowly. It was all I could do to help him, and I promised. But when he went I felt that my my duty was over. I don't consider myself bound to him any longer." "You've told Rodaine so?" "Not yet. He's coming after me at midnight. We're to go away some where." "Rodaine? Impossible!" "They've made all their plans. I I wondered If you If you'd be some where around the house if you'd " "I'll be there. I understand." Fair child had reached out and touched her arm. "I want to thank you for the opportunity. I yes, I'll be there," came with a short laugh. "And Harry, too. There'll be no trouble from the Rodalnes!" She came a little closer to him then and looked up at him with trustful eyes, all the brighter In the splutter ing light of the carbide. "Thank you It eems that I'm al ways thanking ;ou. I was afraid I didn't know where to go to whom to turn. I thought of you. I knew you'd help me women can guess those things." "Cud they?" Fairchild asked It eagerly. "Then you've guessed all along that " But she smiled and cut In. "1 want to thank you i'or those flow ers. They were beautiful." "You knew that too? I didn't send a card." , "They told me at the telegraph of fice that you had wired for them. They meant a great deal to me." "It meant more to me to be able to send them." Then Falrchlld stared with n sudden idea. "Maurice's com ing for you at midnight. Why Is It necessary that you be there?" "Why " the Idea had struck her too "It Isn't. I I hadn't thought of It. I was too badly scared, I guess. Everything's been happening so swift ly since since you made the strike up here." "With then?" "Yes, they've been simply crazy about something. You got my note?" "Yes." "That was the beginning. The m'.n ute Squint Rodaine heard of thestr'.ke I thought he would go out of his head. I was In the office I'm vice president of the firm, you know," she aTJded, with a snrcastlc laugh. "They had to do something to make up for the fact that every cent of father's money was in It." "How much?" Falrchlld asked the question with no thought of being rude and she answered In the same vein. "A quarter of a million. That's why I'm vice president." "And Is that why you arranged things to buy this mine?" Fairchild knew the answer before It was glvan. "I? I arrange I never thought of such a thing." "I felt that fiom the beginning. An effort was made through a lawyer in Denver who hinted you were behind it. Some way I felt differently. I refused. But you said they were going away?" "Yes. They've been holding confer ences father and son one after 'in- other. T y re both excited about something. Last night Maurice came to -ie and told me that It was neces sary for them all to go to Chicag, where the hend offices would be est Hshed, and that I must go with him. I didn't have the strength to fight hlin then there wasn't anybody nearby who could help me. So I I told him I'd go. Then I lay awake all night, trying to think out a plan and I thought of you." "I'm glad." Falrchlld touched her small gloved hand then, and she did not draw It away. His flri5rs moveJ slowly under hers. There was no re sistance. At last his hand closed with a tender pressure only to releas3 t.er again. For tlure had come a lauA shy, embarrassed, almost fearful and the plea: "Can we go back where Harry Is? Can I see the strike again?" Obediently Falrchlld led the way, beyond the big cr.vern, through 1'ie cross-cut and Into the new stope, where Harry was picking at out with i gad, striving to find a soft spot In which to sink a drill. He looked over his shoulder as they entered and grinned broadly. "Oh," he exclaimed, "a new miner" "I wish I were." she answered. "I wish I could help you." But Harry had turned and was star lng upward. His eyes had bmiHj wide, his head had shot forward. Ms whole being had become one of straltod attention. Once he cocked his head, then, wltii a sudden exclamation, he leaped backward. "Look out!" he exclaimed. "'Urry, look out I" "But what Is It?" "It's coming down! I 'eard It I" Ex-' citedly he pointed above, toward the black vein of lead and silver. "'Urry for that 'ole In the wall 'urry, I tell you !" He ran past them toward the fissure, yelling at Falrchlld. "Pick 'er up and come on ! I tell you I 'eard the wall moving It's coming down, and it It does. It'll bust In the 'ole tunnel I" CHAPTER XVIII Hardly realizing what he was doing, or why he was doing It. Falrchlld seized Anita In his arms and, raising I "r to his breast as though she wert i. child, rushed out through the cross cut and along the cavern to the fis sure, there to find Harry awaiting them. "Put 'er In first!" said the Cornish man anxiously. "The farther the safer. Did you 'ear anything more?" Fairchild obeyed, shaking his head In a negative to Harry's question, then squeezed Into the fissure, edging along beside Anltn. while Harry followed. "What's doing, Harry?" "Nothing. That's the funny part of It !" The big Cornlshman had crept to the edge of the fissure and had stared for a moment toward the cross-c.it leading to the stope. "If It was com ing, It ought to 'ave showed up br now. I'm going back. You stay 'ere. A long moment and he was back, almost creeping, and whispering, as he reached the end of the fissure. "Come 'ere both of you! Corns ere!" "What Is It?" - "Sh-h-h-h-h-h. Don't talk too loud. We've been blessed with luck already. Come 'ere." He led the way, the man and wom an following him. In the stope the Cor.ilshman crawled carefully to the staging and, standing on tiptoes, pressed his ear against the vein above him. Then he withdrew and nodded sagely. "That's what it Is!" came his an nouncement at last. "You can 'ear it I' "But what?" "Get up there and lay your ear against that vein. See If you 'ear any thing. And be quiet ubout It. Put scared to make a move, for fear . somebody Ml 'ear me." Falrchlld obeyed. From far away, carried by the telegraphy of the earth and there are few conductors that are better was .he steady pound, pound, pound of shock after shock as it traveled along the hanging wall. Falrchlld turned, wondering, . then reached for Anita. "You listen," he ordered, as he lift ed her to where she could hear. "Do you get anything?" The girl's eyes shone. "I know what that Is," she said quickly. "I've heard that same sort of thing before when you're on an other level and somebody's working above. Isn't that It, Mr. Harking?" Harry nodded. "That's It," came tersely. Then bending, he reached for a pick and. muffling the sound as best he could be tween his knees, knocked the head from the handle. Following this, he lifted the piece of hickory thoughtful ly and turned to Fairchild. "Get your self one," he ordered. "Miss Richmond, I guess you'll ave to stny 'ere. I don't see 'ow we can do much else with you." "But can't I go along wherever you're going?" "There's going to be a fight," said Harry quietly. "And I'm going to knock somebody's block off!" "But I'd rather be there than here. I 1 don't have to get In It. And Td be scared to death here. I wouldn't it I was along with you two, because I know" and she said It with almost childish conviction "that ycu can whip "em." Harry chuckled. "Come along, then. I've got a 'unch, and I can't sye it now. But It'll come out in the wash. Come along." They started up the mountain side, skirting the big gullies and edging about the highest drifts, taking ad vantage of the cover of the pines, and bending against the ."orce of the blb zard, which seemed to threaten to blow them back, step for step. No one spoke; instinctively Falrchlld and Anita had gueusjd Harry's conclu sions. The nearest mine to the Blue Poppy was the Silver Queen, situated' several hundred feet above It In alti tude and less than a .furlong away. And the metal of the Silver Queen and the Blue Poppy, now that the strike had been made, had assayed al most identically the same. It was easy to make conclusions. (TO BE CONTINUED.) Always the fishing in every place was better "summer before last.