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The Water Valley Progress
s. 15. BROWN! I»u5'!ishcr.. WATER VALLEY. : MISSISSIPPI.* fc THE KID’S fc HOME-COMING. > BY MARGUERITE STABLER. WHEN the usual quantity of bacon and beans had been consumed and the leavings cleared up by Yank, the men lit their pipes and proceeded to review the details of the recent mur der at Rattlesnake Bar. This subject stimulated thought and loosened tongues as nothing else could possibly have done. “You can see the whole business was a tenderfoot job,’’ opined Pike, the cook, sousing his kettle into the creek, “or he’d never ’a’ left them pigeon toed tracks.” And thereupon arose a spirited dis cussion as to what the object of the shooting might have been—theft or revenge. Each man urged his own ar gument, until the discussion waxed hot, handled in the hard, brutalized manner that comes from the mind in ured to such occurrences in a communi ty jvhere might makes right and the crack of a revolver is undisputed law. With a deeper disgust than ever for everything about this camp life,..the Kid pushed back from the circle and slipped away. Into the ravine he struck, then straight up the mountain where tier upon tier the tall pines girded the hillside till the sharp, black outlines of the topmost row stabbed the burning sky. Jamison was called the “Kid” by his companions only from custom. Ijlis weather-beaten, haggard countenance bore no suggestion now of immature youth. Yet this same gaunt, hairy fellow was the fair-skinned, ruddy tenderfoot who had cast his lot with them a few years before, and been ever since the butt of every practical joke and low, cunning trick their idleness might, devise. For the Kid could not cook “sock-eye,” or wield a crow-bar, cv drive a pack-train, or carouse, or even swear, worth speaking of; and the things he could do, and do well, were not the accomplishments needed in prospecting and panning. Still pulling himself up by the stubby chaparral, the Kid climbed, leaving the camp and its associations as far behind as possible. At last the world was lost below him, the distant cry of a moun tain lion and the thick, flat track where a rattler had slid through the red dust were the only reminders of a fellow inhabitant. When safe from the intru sion of bacon and tobacco fumes, and the suggestions of camp life that came with them, he drew from the bosom of bis flannel shirt a bulky little packet, and the next blissful moment was thousands of miles from the sordid life about him. He closed his eyes to see a stately colonnade of tall white hol lyhocks leading up to a vine-clad porch, the air grew heavy with the breath of honeysuckles, and on the steps, under the clustering yellow roses—— A sharp, fierce yap from Yank smote his ear and broke the spell. With a bound he was on his feet and off again, in search of a still rarer atmosphere, for he was reading in a precise little schoolma’am hand: I have read your letter over and over till I know it all by heart, and all day long I tell myself you will be home next month, and all night long I dream of our meeting, but even then It seems too good to be true. And so on to the middle ot the fif teenth page, confessing the pain of the long weary waiting she had never spoken of until the end was in sight. A great wave of pity rose in his heart for the fellows down at the camp. There had never been any sym pathy between them, for he had felt their inimical attitude, and had let them alone as much as he could. But his luck had greatened his heart, and the poor devils at the camp seemed for the first time a good-natured, hard working lot. Many of them, he knew, had left their homes with the same hopes and promises that had hallowed his life, and been less fortunate than he. He'had seen them, whose every hope was staked on some claim, work ing early and late in a frenzied de termination to wrench a fortune out of the earth, grow bent and old in dis appointment and despair. He had seen men who were “making it,” and whose prospect of going home with a goodly pile was growing surer every day, through the might of John Barley corn lose fortune, hope, manhood. He had seen men, single-minded as him self in making a stake and returning to make a home for some waiting one, die of exposure and overwork in their zeal to accomplish their end. While he, although his stake was too modest to be called a strike, was now able to go home and claim his reward. Again the breath of honeysuckles seemed f> blow strong upon him as he read, at ti» end of the twenty -seventh page: And I shall meet you where we parted, at the turn of the lane, where you shall give your whistle as you did when we were children, and I will answer back. We will go home together, you and I, under the willows along the stream, and if It should be twilight when you come, it will not matter if for once we loiter a little oiv the way. The yap of Yank was now too far below to reach him, but Yank was do ing his .best to make himself "heard, and the smoking and talking in the camp had taken on a new energy. An excited posse had ridden over from Rattlesnake Bar and stopped in front of the Round Tent saloon. “The tracks were the freshest along the creek,” the spokesman of the posse was saying as he dismounted, “and if he didn’t come through this camp he’d ’a’ had to go all the way ’round by Jimtown,” eyeing the group of idlers as if they might'all have a charge of which to clear themselves. “And it was a turrible bungling job, anyways,” chipped in Pike, thereby exonerating himself from suspicion, for he had a reputation for adeptness in that line. “Unless he done it that way a pur pose to throw ’em off.” suggested a bystander with more meaning in his tone than was wholesome for Pike. The spokesman of the posse noticed this insinuation, and Pike, under his beard, went white about the gills. “If it’s a tenderfoot you’re lookin’ for this camp aint a likely place to find one,” Pike said, pridefully. “We’ve only got the Kid, but I wouldn't say a word agin him.” “We tracked the man a good way from the cabin,” the speaker contin ued; “we know the size of his boot and that he toes in,” keeping an eye on Pike, “and it’s a pretty safe guess he came from this direction.” Pike’s mention of the Kid had seemed so preposterous no one had taken it up, but when toeing in had been suggested, several of the miners exchanged glances, for the Kid’s pigeon-toed gait had been one of their oldest gibes. “Where’s this here kid?” demanded one of the Rattlesnake men. “H# lit out when he heard you corn in’ and struck into the woods,” Pike hastened to say. And nobody remem bered he had gone half an hour before the posse arrived. “Oh, now don’t you go to sayin’ the Kid would do a thing like that,” Pike continued, generously. “You see he has just struck a little pocket, least ways, he says he’s struck a pocket,” with a grin, “and he's hustlin’ lickety split to get the next steamer. Lord, I wouldn’t never suspect the Kid of such a thing,” added Pike, nice, kind Mr. Pike, driving the first nail secure ly into the Kid’s coffin. “Who is this fellow?” the Rattle snake men then asked. And the infor mation was pieced together that no body knew much about him; that he kept a good deal to himself, and had been seen to strike out into the woods on the day of the murder; that he worked his own claim, and didn’t have a “pardner;” that lately he had seemed to have more money than usual; that he had told several of the boys he was about to pull up stakes. Yes, on the whole, now you come to look at it that way, a rather suspicious character! And Jamison, the while, saw noth ing but the tall white hollyhocks, the moonlight filtering through the rose thatch on the soft hair of the girl whose clear deep eyes answered his steadily, thought for thought. A mer ciful purple mist arose in the ravine below, wrapping the colony of tents in a temporary oblivion, and shutting him in with his lost paradise. A baby grosbeak fluted a drowsy call above his head, and from under the log on which he sat a sly little woodrat sal lied forth for a nocturnal raid. The crimson glow in the west was spent, and a stealthy twilight gleamed over the tree-tops. Jamison strained his eyes to read the last few lines on the thirtieth page: This is the last letter I will have to write you, and the gladness of our meet ing makes these long years of waiting almost worth while, for every thought has been with you, every hope has been for you, and every day has seemed an eternity until I shall see you. But now that the suspense is almost over, I can be patient, and our meeting, when It does come, will be the sweeter for its long postponement. Soever before bad she made such a full confession to him. Her staid New England tongue had never known how to frame impassioned words. He closed his eyes to shut away the in trusive objects about him, and tried to close his ears to the intrusive sounds of hoofs on the trail below. Knowing he was safely out of sight, he waited impatiently, but, as he listened, instead of dying away the sounds came nearer, straight up the hillside, for those were the days when El Dorado county was young and trails were scarce, and any pony that couldn’t cling like a fly to a rocky embankment and jump oyer fallen trees was not worth a load of buckshot. Jealous of his solitude and impatient of this interruption, the Kid rose again and started for the other side of the mountain, but the pine needles made such a thick carpet he had mis calculated the distance of the horse men. Before he had taken a dozen steps a volley of shots struck the trees around him, and "HoM!” the ring leader of the posse shouted. This in trusion seemed almost a desecration to the presence of his precious letter, and before turning to face the crowd he thrust it hastily into his shirt. “Throw up your arms!” the voice again commanded. "Then walk ten paces!” The original Rattlesnake posse, aug mented by as many more excitement seekers from the camp in the ravine, lined up in a double column, leaving a space for the Kid to walk between them. “Gentlemen,” the spokesman an nounced, solemnly, “you kin all see he is pigeon-toed.” Jamison, looking at the familiar faces in the crowd, wondered if this were some clumsy joke, and admitted cheerfully enough the Incontestable fact that he did toe in. “Now don’t make up your minds too quick about this, boys,” Pike spoke up; “I reckon them papers he hid in his shirt when we come up will prove hjs innocence.” Pike's ferret-like eyes had been the only ones to detect that move. His precious letter in the hands of thjs gang of ruffians! Never! “No, boys,” the Kid said, positively, “what ever you may want with me can have nothing to do with these papers.” This stand on the Kid’s part seemed to make the chain of. circumstantial evidence complete in the minds of his pursuers. “Ff them papers ye sneaked out o sight when we caught ye is straight, I guess ye won’t mind handin’ ’em over,” Pike taunted. “I tell you, you are not going to see these papers,” the Kid repeated, fiercely. “We won’t, hey?” said Pike, and be fore Jamison had a chance to duck, Pike’s brawny right had landed him a soothing blow. ‘‘Here now, boys, be peaceable,” in terposed the ringleader from Rattle snake, “all we want is to see justice prevail in these parts and we want to be peaceable about it.” It wras growing late; the pursuing party had had a long ride, and they were in a hurry. Lawlessness had been running riot long enough, they were all agreed, and summary justice wreaked on the head of the first avail able miscreant would be a wholesome example for a long time to come. “Wall, now, whoever would ’a’ thought that of the Kid?” exclaimed Pike, in well-feigned surprise, draw ing an incriminating bank-note from somewhere, and displaying it to the crowd. And the boys from the camp, who had known him best, looked sor rowfully at this proof of the Kid’s guilt. Jamison rode back to camp at the head of the party, while the ringlead ers dropped back, and weighed his case. From the testimony gotten from the men around the Round Tent he was recognized as a suspicious charac ter. “Yes, a tumble dangerous feller,’* Pike ventured, seeing the scales turn ing against him. He had certainly been caught running away; the papers hidden in his shirt were, of course, one of the missing rolls of bank-notes known to have been in the murdered man’s cabin; fie was pigeon-toed, as were also the tracks leading from the cabin. There was no guard-house at the camp, nor secure tent even, so as a matter of expediency the men lined up into a hollow square. A gnarled old oak stretched its gaunt arms across the creek that babbled down the hill side, and under this the party stopped. The grinning moon hung low over thei ghastly scene, and a few faint stars peeped out and shivered with the hpr ror of it all. Time was pressing. The Rattle snakers had a night’s ride ahead of them, so no time was lost on prelim inaries. ***** When the rigid body of the Kid was cut down next night. Pike, honest, justice-loving Mr. Pike, still fearless lest the murder might be traced up to him, managed to secure the dead man’s much-treasured papers which still were concealed in his shirt. Later, when he stealthily consigned the letter to the camp-fire, he glanced hurriedly at the thirtieth page, still bearing the imprint of Jamison’s hand, and chuckled as he read: “Our meet ing, when it does come, will be all the sweeter for its long postponement.”— San Francisco Argonaut In the Same Boat. Feeling that it was his duty to re monstrate with one of his clergy for attending a fox hunt, the bishop had an interview with him. “Well, your lordship,” the offender replied, “I really do not see that there is any more harm in hunting than in going to a ball.” “I presume,” answered his lordship, “that you refer to my name having; been down among those who were present at Mrs. De Vaux’s ball, but 1 assure you I was never once in the! same room as the dancers throughout! the whole evening.” “That, my lord, is exactly my posi tion. During the hunt I was never ia the same field as the hounds.” The bishop collapsed and sllenca reigned.—Stray Stories. / V There is a quality added to the cake and biscuit by the Royal Baking Powder which promotes digestion. This peculiarity of “ Royal*’ has been noted by physicians, and they accord ingly endorse and recommend it. Royal Baking Powder is used in baking by the best people everywhere, ROYAL BAKING POWDER CO., NEW YORK. JUDICIAL DIGNITY. Was Maintained In This Instance At Cost to the Court of the Prisoner. A certain squire of the city, who betrays his patriotism by presiding in a small of fice painted red, white and blue, had a case before him the other day which at tracted an unusual crowd to the temple of justice. A young fellow was up before him, relates the Pittsburg Dispatch, on a charge of stealing brass, and his friends were out in full force to see that he got a fair show. Before the case opened the noise and confusion became so great that his honor declared that the next man to indulge in any unusual outbreak would be ejected from the room. He had hardly ceased speaking when a young man shouted, at the same time waving his hat above his head: “Hooray fur Squire Hooligan!” “Put him out,” roared the court, and in another instant the young man found him self being rushed to the door. Order hav ing been restored once more, his honor or dered that the prisoner be brought before the bar for trial. The court officer hur riedly glanced about through the crowd and then a great light suddenly fell upon him. “Can’t do it your honor,” he replied. “The young fellow you just put out was the prisoner/*_^ THE “400” AND THE ZOO. An Alliance Which Some Peraona Were Conaummateljr Ignorant About. “Some people, said the Philadelphia woman, according to a New York ex change, “have a queer idea of wh^t the ‘400’ does, and it does queer things, good ness knows, without having things it doesn’t do laid to it. “I was going through the zoo the other day with a friend,” she went on, “and while we were standing before a cage in the lion house my companion turned to me and asked: “ ‘I wonder who keeps all this up?’ “Before I had a chance to reply, we were both astonished to hear a deep Irish voice reply: “ ’Sure, madam, it’s the society.' “We turrad and beheld as healthy • looking specimen of the working woman as ever I laid eyes on. “ ‘The society?’ questioned my compan ion, in a half amused way. ‘What soci ety?’ “The washerwoman looked us all over with contempt; then she blurted out: “ ‘The society—the society! What nin nies ye are! Sure, an’ haven’t ye ever heard of the “400’*—the society of Noo York? That’s the society that keeps this here place up!’ “And with that she turned on her heel and left we two ignoramuses staring in blank amazement after her retreating bulk.” __ Dish Washing In Winter. Housekeepers naturally dread dish wash ing in winter, owing to the fact that ft chaps the hands and renders them hard and rough. Much of the injury, however, results from the use of impure soap. If Ivory soap is used in washing dishes and the hands are carefully rinsed and dried, ,hey win Iff Anor k. pArker. Young Salt—“How’s the fish bitin’ to day, uncle?” Old Salt—“With their mouths, as usual, youngster.”—Harvard Lampcon. _ Stop* the Congh, and works off the cold. Laxative Bromo Quinine Tablets. Price 25 cents Reward of Economy. Kwoter—What’s that old saying? “Take care of the pennies and—” Newitt—And the dollars will take care of your heirs.—Philadelphia Press. Piso’s Cure for Consumption is an infalli ble medicine for coughs- and colds.-—N. W. Samuel, Ocean Grove, N. J., Feb. 17,1900. The richest purse often has the poorest contents.—Town Topics. June Tint Butter Color makes top of the market butter. Virtue and happiness are twin sisters.— Chicago Daily News. Significant. Margaret's father and'mother, whose home w as in New York city, had arranged to take a long talked of trip to Chicago. The night before they were to start on their western expedition Margaret’s mamma told the lit tle girl that she must go to bed early, as she would have to be up hy daylight the next morning. Margaret very obediently consented to prepare for bed. When her dress had been taken off and her nightie put on, she knelt to say her prayers. She closed her petition as follows: •‘Goodrby. God! Good-by, angels! Good by! Good-by! I’tn going to Chicago to morrow!”—Woman’s Home Comj>anion. ^ Glad Caller. Mistress--Did anyone call while I was out, Jane? Jane—Yis, mum. Wan gintlemin wus afther callin’, mum. “What was his name?” “Moik O’Rafferty, mum, an’ he wus as glad to foind yez out as he wus to foind me in, Oi’m thinkin’, mum.”—Chicago Daily News. QUICK RESULTS. W. J. Hill, of Concord, N. C., Justice of the re ace, says: “ Doan’s Kidney Pills proved a very efficient remedy in my case... I used them for disor dered kidneys and backache, from which I had experienced a great deal of trouble and pain. The kid --- ney secretions were very irregular, dark colored and full of sediment. The Pills cleared it all up and I have not had an ache in my back since taking the last dose. My health generally is improved a great deal.” FOSTER-MILBURN CO., Buffalo, N. Y. For sale by all dealers, price 50 cents per box. absolute SECURITY. Genuine Carter’s Little Liver Pills* Must Boar Signature of 8m F*c-8tmlW Wrapper T*ry null ud m to take as sugar. FOR HEADACHE, FOR DIZZINESS* FOR BILIOUSNESS. FOR TORPID LIVER. FOR CONSTIPATION. FOR SALLOW SKIN. FOR THE COMPLEXION . OMnltUIB MUM WAV. HQMATM.., tTf!1— 1 Purely s CURE 8ICK HEADACHE.