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THE MILAN EXCHANGE
V. A. WADE, 1'ublisher.
MILAN. . . TENNESSEE
Between the orchard and the mill
The brooklet of Its laughing tiros i
Its waters there frrow deep and still
About tho piers, old and moss-grown,
Beneath the little bridge of stone
Clasped, hore and there, with wild rose
I was a Tain young country maid,
Kuch day at noon sent to the mill,
And used to loiter la tho shade,
And lean above the Jagged pier
Ueyond the wild rose creaping near,
And peer into tho placid rill.
Twas not the water lilies there,
Nor pale green crosses that I sought;
But bi'k to me bright eyes and hair.
Run-tangled, framed in shadowy green,
Uefiectcil, threw their glamorous sheen
And kept mo longer than they ought.
Oiio day I lingered, looking down,
Long past tho sunshine of mid-day.
When close hostile mo, big and brown,
Two eyes, so full of laughter, mot
My own within tho rivulet,
My eyes drooped low and turnod away.
You see. 'twas father's harvester
"Our John," wo always called the ladj
Like to his own my parents were,
And I I can not rightly toll
Uy what strange chance it o'er befel
His coming made mo always glad.
How shallow seemed the brooklet thon
After tho glance of eyes liko his 1
I slowly raised my own ugain,
And found him gazing shyly down
I never knew that.eyes of brown
"Were full of such sweet tnysterlosl
For, looking up, how could I guess
To find my imaged features thcrcf
A mirror full of tenderness
His lim it ryes made; the rivulet,
In all m.v Uilterlngs, never yot
Had made mo seem ono-half so fair
The wiM rose blossoms all aro dead;
And, where the water lilies wcro
Tho brook sleeps in its frozen bed.
Unheeded, let the winter pass;
I have a truer looking-glass
The biown eyes of my harvesterl
A'i'rt li nt, in Detroit Free Fres.
SLACKER'S WILD MAN.
Sensation of Radical City
How It Ended.
Written for this Paper.
HE Indian Summer
sun hung two hours
high above the jack-
ik Iringed ton of
IT! .1 1 HI rt. Tif
'S0W'W Wanting rays fell
kfk-J IIU'HHDH S mini. IT. S
y'Wff .upon mo score ot
&' -. inactivity or Radi-
cai vuy. iiie major
portion of the male inhabitants of tho
'city" were congregated at Perdue's
combined grocery, dry goods, hard
ware, ding and furniture store, post
fcfliec, public hall and real estate office.
Tlio residue of tho males, with but two
exceptions, were lounging in front of
tho Metropolitan Hotel, which con
sisted of a one-story "main part" and
An unreliable looking "lean-to."
These two buildings, which, with the
exception of a blacksmith shop, formed
the entire business portion of Iladical
City, stared at each other with their
expressionless window eyes from oppo
lito sides of the narrow little street.
The two exceptions, the males of
Radical who were not present at the rog-
lar rallying-place, were old man Bit
ley and young Ab. Slacker. The former
was at home, the victim of a griovous
attack of the "yaller janders," as tho
neighbors denominated his ailment
Tho latter was supposed to bo some
where in the Big Timber examining
bis 'coon traps.
Ia the center of tho street an ath
letic game of quoits was going on.
The quoits in uso upon this occasion
were horseshoes ("quates" tho players
called them.) No one had thrown a
ringer" for some timo and tho inter
est in the game was waning.
Phin Dozak turned his eyes up tho
road to where it bent into the lane that
ran into the Big Timber. Ashe looked,
a ligure rounded, tho bend and eamo
down the road at the top of his speed.
ITis feet twinkled up an down with
amazing rapidity, and, at each stroke,
they sent up a puff of dust that looked
almost golden as tho rays of tho de
clining sun shone through it. As he
approached, Phin saw that tho runner
was Ab. Slacker.
"Yerc comes Ab.!" Thin cried.
'Wander what's broke loose now?"
"Runs vi ht peart!" some one re
marked. Then, the attention of all
was turned to tho gamo. A well-directed
vjuato" had made a "ringer"
on tho western peg and the players at
that cud waited breathlessly to see if
the fortunate player could score a sec
Ab. Sha ker, panting and breathless,
was almost upon tho watchers at the
Western end when tho released horse
shoe left the hand of the player at tho
eastern end. A puCf of wind whirled
dut into his eyes. Half blinded ho
stubbed his toe on the peg and fell
headlong. The "quate," thrown
"short," descended squarely upon
Ab.'s hay-colored pate, scoring a
"ringer" and drawinga lusty yell from
A'. Gap!'ig fnd almost unable to
n'ter an tin r sound, he rolled over and
lay iaiitiu ' iu ti. dust
Tho bystanders aided him to
riso while tho players engaged in an
argument as to tho legitimacy of a
"ringer made on a boy s head. Ab.
caught bis breath and mado an attempt
"I ae so seen him!" he gasped.
"A wi wi wild man!"
That "whur" expressed volumes of
interrogation and was so emphatic that
tho ringer discussion was dropped.
"In tho Big Timber," Ab. answered,
recovering his breath somewhat
"Tell us all about it!" cried several.
Ab. seemed to swell with bis own im
portance as ho began oratorically:
"I was sorter creepin' long w'en I
ycared a mighty funny noise. I crop'
up, an' peekin' through tho haw bushes,
I silW "
"Tho wild mau?" interrupted an
"Naw!" snorted Ab! "'Twas tho big
gest coon ever I seen. Mast a weigh
"Blame tho coon! Tell us about the
wild man!" broko in several voices.
Thus admonished, Ab. proceeded:
"Jest as I was loosenin' up tho trap
spring, I yeared sumpin' behind me.
Hooked round, an' good gov'uer!"
"Tho wild man stood there within
four feet of me! I jest stood there
with my mouth open. Couldn't a said
a word if I'd a-bo'n killed for it My
foot was on tho trap spring an' tho
coon wiggled out an' started to limp
away. Tho wild man flow at him liko
a wolf, an' killed him with two licks of
his big club. As soon as ho went for
the coon, I sorter camo to myself, an'
broko out through tho timber liko tho
dickens before daylight! I looked back
onct, an' the wild man was goin' the
other way, draggin' the coon. Biggest
coon I ever seen. Bet he "
But eager questions interrupted Ab.
again, and tho description of tho coon
remained unfinished. From Ab.'s ex
cited description, it was learned that,
although no taller than an average
boy, tho wild man was hideously de
formed, being tho possessor of a body
distorted nearly out of all like
ness to a human form.
If Ab.'s testimony was to bo
believed, tho wild man's appearance
was enough to frighten a timid person
into tits. He had claws, Ab. affirmed,
and teeth as sharp as thoso of a wolf.
Tho crowning horror mdo tho listen
ers hold their breath in astonishment,
only to burst out a moment later with a
great "wal!" of amazement
"He hadn't but ono eye," Ab. said,
proudly, "an' that was square in the
middle of I. is forehead, an' was red an'
glowin' liko a coal of fire!" So elated
was Ab. at his sudden popularity that
ho hardly realized where fact ended
and fancy began. Ho paused and a
chorus of excited voices arose.
"Thar!" said Thin Dozak, "that
thars jest w'at's bc'n stealin' our
shoats an' chickens. No longer ago
tl n yistiddy, I told old man Bower
tuat I bet that"
"Shucks!" sneered Perdue, tho mer
chant. "Wal!" retorted Phin, "you kin
shucks all you want to, but hit's a fact.
Didn't I tell you, Bower"
But old man Bower was already a
rod down the road and the littlo crowd
was melting rapidly away, all intent
upon being the first to retail the news
at home. Phin joined the rush and no
ono knows what he really had said to
old man Bower.
Every trace cf apathy had disappear
ed from Radical City e'er the sun went
A meeting was held at Perdue's store
that night After several more or less
eloquent speeches it was decided that
the wild man must be gotten rid of.
"Who knows," cried nno self-appointed
orator, "but w'at the monster
nas stoin away our lecue cmiu en an
eaten 'cm alive?"
This was received with groans of
horror. No children, large or small,
wire missing, but that fact was not
taken into conside -ation.
"No doubt that thar was tho fate
that overtook Jake Elder!" the orator
The truth was that Jake had disap-
I . yj F til. !. 1 A
nppcared from Radical City, leaving
behind him a small mountain of debt.
The stage driver reported having seen
him at Baconvillo next day, but in spite
of this tho theory that the wild man had
eaten him was generally accepted.
All the women and children of tho
"city" were present for the reason that
they were afraid to remain at homo.
As before, the only two persons who
were absent were old man Bitley
and Ab. Slacker. These two were en
cased in earnest conversation in the
"front room" of tho little houso where
the farmer "batched" alone.
- "Ab.," old man Bitley was saying,
with a nod of his white-wrapped head,
by way of emphasis, "thar's right
smart uv money in hit for us if we work
Bitley presented a rather peculiar ap
pearanco just then. That part of his
face that was not concealed by the
huge bandage that enveloped tho m--
jor portion of his head was of a dc
cided saffron hue. -
"How air wo coin1 to malco it?"
"Jest this way. Them fools" with
a jerk of his thumb toward tho crowd
at Perdue's "them fools want to kill
the wild man. 'Stead uv that, it's our
game to ketch him alive."
"What for?" queried Ab.
Old man Bitley began to unfold his
plan to the open mouthed Ab. The
wild man was to bo captured, taken to
some largo city, to be exhibited at
museums or sold to some showman for
a goodly sum.
"Why!" broko out tho elder schemer,
"thar's a bar'l uv money in hit for us!
Jest think what a cur'osty he'd be!
Tho woolly boss or two-headed girl
hain't no whur! A eye in tho middle
uv his forehead' Hit'.ll set tho country
"Wal," hesitated Ab., "I won't bo so
sure 'bout that oyc; I was excited right
smart, you know.
Next morning, tho expedition, con
sisting of nearly tho entire population
of Radical City, did not start on the
wild-man hunt ns early as had been
planned, owing to tho heavy storm that
had occurred during the night. After
the breeze had shaken tho drops from
tho branches, tho expedition was de
layed for somo time waiting for Ab.
Slacker, whoso services as a guide were
in demand. No Ab. was to bo found,
and finally they started off without
Shortly after they disappeared in the
woods, a smaller expedition, consisting
of old man Bitley and young Ab.
Slacker, might have been seen making
a short cut to tho timber. Tho old
man's head was still wrapped in a great
bandage, from which his saffron-hued
face peered anxiously forward. The
"yaller janders," which had before
kept him confined to tho houso was of
only secondary importance when there
was a wild man in tho prospective.
Each boro a gun and also a rope
with which to bind the wild man.
"Wo'll slip up," explained old man
Bitley, "an' watch our chances to iling
these yero ropes over his arms an'
legs. Then we've got him! Ono uv us
stays to watch him an' tho other dou
ble quicks to town to fetch a wagon
"I'll go!" broko in Ab. "I kin run
"Yes, I reckon that's tho best way,"
the old man replied.
And, thus, before they had even dis
covered a trace of tho wild man, ho
was disposal of to the entire satisfac
tion of both.
"An1," added Ab., "wo won't give
none of the money to nobody"
"Certain," replied the other "Hit's
ourn nn' we're a-goin to keep hit."
"Yore's the trap!" announced Ab., at
CAUTIOUSLY THE TWO ADVANCED
They found the spot where tho wild
man had slaughtered the coon. Tlie
storm of the previous night had en-
1 1 rely obliterated the trail, so the best
the two could do was to proceed in the
direction in which Ab. had seen tho
wild man going. As they proceeded,
the ravages of the storm became more
marked. Here it had been a tornado.
Limbs had been torn from trees, and
hero and there a sapling was unrooted
or a decayed trunk blown down. Far
ther on. the damage wa- greater.
Fresently, they camo upon a little
clearing, at ono side of which stood a
littio "shack," or cabin. Just before
the hut, and, with one of its branches
thrust through tho roof of tho frail
structure lay a great hackberry tree,
uprooted by tho power of tho tempest.
Cautiously, tho two advanced to mo
half-open door of the cabin. From
within camo low moans, as if ol a per
son in pain.
They examined tho ropes, ana uicn
old man Bitley pushed tho door softly
"Halt, thar!" a weak voice said, as
Bitley stood on tho threshold.
Ab. shook with fear and Bitley's
vellow face crew yellowor, ns they
found themselves facing a cocked and
leveled frun. The weapon, with its
breech resting on tho poor bed, was
upheld by a sick woman, so thin and
feeble in appearance that it seemed as
if life was held in tier wasted body only
by tho slightest bond. Her eyes
gleamed unnaturally bright with ex
citement and fear, and there was a
miming, hectic uusu on ner suukch
i 1 l.
On a thin, worn quilt, on tho floor,
lay the distorted form of Ab. Slacker's
wild man. His eyes were closed, and
ho was breathing fitfully and moaning
as if in pain, although unconscious.
His l ing hair was clotted with the blood
that had oozed from a great wound in
his forehead. The ray of light that
strayed in through the hole in tho roo
lit up his face, in repose not vicious,
only weak and vacant.
His body was distorted almost out of
likeness to !. human form. Tho rain of
tho previous night's storm had fallen
upon him, and his bed quilt was still
wet, while, in a depression of the floor,
was a little pool of water. A rude ta
ble, overturned and broken, lay near,
and on tho floor were tho remnants of
a few pieces of crockery. Th. limb of
the hackberry tree, that had broken its
way through tho roof, reached almost
to the floor.
It was evident that when the fall of
the great treo had driven the limb
through tho roof, it had struck down
the deformed young man who now lay
manning on the old quilt.
"You shan't take him!" quavered the
woman's thin voice. "You shan't take
him till I've fired one shot for my poor,
afflicted boy's freedom! We've bc'n
hunted from place to place an' now it's
come to an end. Hev mercy! Hev "
OKI man Bitley grasped tho situation.
He interrupted the pitiful pleadings of
"Yer barkin' up the wrong tree," ho
said, and his voico was as soothing as
if the denial had been uttered in tho
most polished paraphrase instead of in
the homely slang of the border.
"We hain't a-huntiu' nobody's boy!"
"What air them ropes for?" qua
vered tho woman.
"To tie, tho shoats with," old man
Bitley answered, promptly. "Storm
last night blowed down the fenco uv
my hog lot an' let twenty head uv
Berkshire scatter all over seven States.
Half the town's bo'n a-belpin' me, an'
we've ketched all but a couplo uv
shoats. Them two kin no more bo driv
than they kiirlly, so wo brttiig theso
ropes lowin to tio em an haul
Tho hectic flush faded frot
man's faeo. The "run begat.
and old man Bitley spi
and laid it on tho 11
strength I m par ted
had lied, tho w
Old man Bi
eonvillo an' f
let no grass
have to go right smart before they find
It was almost night and tho last mel
low rays of tlje declining sun rested on
the faeo of the deformed boy as the re
leased soul left the distorted body and
leath captured Ab. Slacker's wild man.
Never more would lie bo bunted.
Tho sick woman lay half unconscious
for severa" days. By tho timo she re
turned to her right mind and began to
gain strength, tho simple burial service-
at which Preacher Hobbs, from Bacon
villo, presided, had been solemnized,
and tho poor, nnshapen form had loen
laidinagravo in tho shadow of tho
red-buds. Tho story tho sick woman
told was ono of pain and suffering.
Shortly after leaving Indiana, her
husband had died, leaving littlo but a
mortgaged "claim" and tho deformed
and idiotic son. Misfortunes did not
coino singly. As tho boy grew older,
he developed an uncontrolablc desire to
steal any thing that wassteaiablo
Iu vain the widow did all in her pow
er to prevent his depredations. In spite
of her efforts, ho continued to appro
priate whatever struck his fancy.
There were murmuriiigs of disap
proval among tho neighbors and hints
of necessary restraint for tho unfor
tunate boy, toward whom they were
only lenient out of pity for his afflic
tions. Then the mortgage on tho claim
was foreclosed, and the widow and or
phan were homeless.
The poor woman removed her scanty
belongings to another town, from
Avhenco sho was speedily forced to
journey by tho thievish ways of tho
idiot. From place to place she wan
dered, upheld by tho mother-love and
desire to protect the innocent sinner.
At last he committed what, in tho
West, is tho equal in depravity to any
crime on the calendar horse-stealing.
The entire neighborhood was deter
mined that the idiot should bo sum
marily punished, cither by tho peni
tentiary or maa-l:?" T. ilm"
widow fled in tho night, taking wi':11
her the unfortunate son, now a man in
years but a child in intellect Pursuit
was organized, but sho eluded it. At
last, after prolonged wandering, they
sought rcfugo in tho depths of tho Pig
Hero sho found tho deserted cabin,
left by somo turkey hunters of two
years before. Several times they wcro
almost discovered, but each time they
escaped detection. They subsisted as
uesi; iney count upon tne prodas ol a
little "truck patch" that the twXfcd
cleared, and upon the game cap
by the idiot, who, in spite of hij
fortune, was an expert trapper.
I hen the widow had been si
down bv the enervating fo
for many days growin;V
forcing to risk death rati
their hiding place.
When sho had
there were tears
old ma n Hi tie;.