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East Mississippi times. (Starkville, Miss.) 19??-1926, September 17, 1909, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065609/1909-09-17/ed-1/seq-3/

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/WHISPERING • SMITHS
by Fbank H. Spearman x\
° J LLUcSJRATION6 ° V
BY ANDRET BOWL ETA €/
COPY RIGHT,,9OO BY CHAJ U
SYNOPSIS.
Murray Sinclair and his gang of wreck
ers were called out to clear the railroad
'tracks at Smoky Creek. McCloud, a
young road superintendent, caught Sin
clair and his men in the act of looting
the wrecked train. Sinclair pleaded In
nocence, declaring It only amounted to a
(mall sum—a treat for the men. McCloud
discharged the whole outfit and ordered
the wreckage burned. McCloud became
acquainted with Dlcksle Dunning, a girl
of the west, who came to look at the
wreck Whispering" Gordon Smith told
President Bucks of the railroad, of Mc-
Cloud s brave fight against a gang of
crazed miners and that was the reason
for superintendent’s appointment to
his office. McCloud arranged board at
the boarding house of Mrs. Sinclair, the
ex-foreman’s deserted wife. Dlcksle Dun
nlng was the daughter of the late Rich
ard Dunning, who had died of a broken
heart shoi w after his wife’s demise,
which occurred after one year of mar
ried life. Smoky Creek bridge was mys
terlously burned. President Bucks notl
lled Smith that he had work ahead. A
stock train was wrecked by an open
switch. Later a passenger train was hold
up and the express car robbed. Two men
* po ”o Pursuing the bandits were
k lied Whispering Smith" approached
Sinclair. He tried to buy him off. but
failed He warned McCloud that his life
was In danger. McCloud was carded
forcibly Into Lance Dunning’s presence,
Dunning refused the railroad a rlght-of
h° had already signed for. Dlcksle
interfered to prevent a shooting affray.
Dlcksle met McCloud on a lonely trail to
warn him his life was in danger. On his
way home a shot passed through his hat.
A sudden rise of the Crawling Stone riv
er created consternation. Dlcksle and Ma
rlon appealed to McCloud for help, Whls
perlng Smith Joined the group. McCloud
took his men to fight the river. Lance
Dunning welcomed them cordially. Mc-
Cloud succeeded In halting the flood.
Dlcksle and Marlon visited Sinclair at his
ra .* ch ’ De tried to persuade his deserted
wife to return to him. She refused. He
accused Whispering Smith of having
Stolen her love from him. A train was
e, u up and robbed, the bandits escap
ing. Smith and McCloud started In pur
suit. At Baggs ranch Du Sang killed old
Baggs, Whispering Smith befriended his
ten-year-old son. They came to Williams
Cache. Smith was certain the bandits
were there. He Importuned Rebstock,
"king of the cache," to give up Du Sang.
Rehstock refused. Smith declared he
Would clean out the whole gang, Inclu
ding Rebstock. Smith came upon the
bandits, Du Sang among them. Marion
prayed that he should come back alive,
Bmlth learned that Sinclair. Rebstock and
an escaped bandit had joined forces. He
started after them with Wlckwlre. Smith
Invaded the Williams Cache rendezvous.
He dexterously pulled himself out of a
tight hole. He arrested a horse-thief.
Sinclair had gone, presumably to kill
McCloud. Sinclair visited Dunning and
■was given sympathy. Dlcksle knew of
Bis presence. Sinclair started for Medi
cine Bend. Dlcksle reproved her cousin
for not arresting Sinclair. She set out
In the storm for Medicine Bend. She
passed Sinclair on the way and was
thrown bruised and bleeding against Ma
rlon’s door. Dlcksle told her story. The
doctor who attended her refused Sinclair
admission.
CHAPTER XXXVlll.—Continued.
No man In Medicine Bend knew Sin
clair more thoroughly or feared him
leas than Bamhardt. No man could
better meet him or speak to him with
less of hesitation. Sinclair, as he
faced Barnhardt. was not easy in spite
of bis dogged self-control: and he was
standing, much to his annoyance, In
the glare of an arc-light that swung
across the street In front of the shop.
He was well aware that no such light
had ever swung within a block of the
shop before and in it he saw the hand
®f Whispering Smith. The light was
unexpected, Barnhardt was a surprise,
and even the falling snow, which pro
tected him from being seen 20 feet
away, angered him. He asked curtly
who was ill, and without awaiting an
answer asked for his wife.
The surgeon eyed him coldly. "Sin
clair, what are you doing in Medicine
Bend? Have you come to surrender
yourself?”
“Surrender myself? Yes, I’m ready
any time to surrender myself. Take
me along yourself, Barnhardt, it you
think I’ve done worse than any man
would that has been bounded as I’ve
been hounded. I want to see my wife.”
"Sinclair, you can’t see your wife.”
“What’s the matter —is she sick?"
“No, but you can’t see her."
"Who says I can’t see her?”
"I say so.”
Sinclair swept the ice furiously
from his beard and his right hand toll
to his hip as he stepped back. "You’ve
turned against me too, have you, you
gray-haired wolf? Can’t see her! Get
out of that door.”
The surgeon pointed his finger at
the murderer. “No, I won’t get out of
this door. Shoot, you coward! Shoot
an unarmed man. You will not live
to get 100 feet away. This place la
■watched for you; you could not have
got within 100 yards of it to-night ex
cept for this snow.” Barnhardt pointed
through the storm. “Sinclair, you will
hang In the courthouse square, and 1
will take the last beat of your pulse
with these fingers, and when I pro
bouuce you dead they will cut you
down. You want to see your wife.
You want to kill her. Don’t He; you
want to kill her. T6U were heard to
wy as much to-night at the Dunning
ranch. You were watched and tracked,
and you are expected and looked for
here. Your best friends have gone
back on you. Ay, curse again and over
•gain, but that will not put Ed Banks
u hjs feet.”
Sinclair stamped with frenzied
oathsj. “You’re too hard on me," he
cried, .clenching bis hands. “I say
you’ra too hard. You’ve heard one
•ide jbf It. Is that the way you put
Judgi lent on a man that’s got no
Mem is left because they start anew
He oi him every day? Who is it that’s
wntcl ilng me? Let them stand out
like [men In the open. If they want
hie, iW them come like men and take
’ ♦hU (ton® gives you ■
chance to get away; take it. Bad as
you are, there are men in Medicine
Bend who knew you when you were a
man. Don’t stay here for some of
them to sit on the jury that hangs you.
If you can get away, get away. It I
were your friend—and God knows
whom you can call friend in Medicine
Bend to-night—l couldn’t say more..
Get away before it is too late."
He was never again seen alive in
Medicine Bend. They tracked him
next day over every foot of ground
he had covered. They found where
he had left his spent horse and where
afterward he had got the fresh one.
They learned how he had eluded all
the picketing planned for precisely
such a contingency, got into the
Wickiup, got upstairs and burst open
the very door of McCloud’s room. But
Dlcksle had on her side that night
One greater than her invincible will
or her faithful horse. McCloud was
200 miles away.
Barnhardt lost no time in telephon
ing the Wickiup that Sinclair was in
town, but within an hour, while the
two women were still under the sur
geon’s protection, a knock at the cot
tage door gave them a second fright.
Barnhardt answered the summons. He
opened the door and, as the man out
side paused to shake the snow oft his
hat. the surgeon caught him by the
shoulder and dragged into the house
Whispering Smith.
Picking the icicles from his hair.
Smith listened to all that Barnhardt
said, his eyes roving meantime over
everything within the room and men
tally over many things outside it. He
congratulated Barnhardt, and when
Marion came into the room he apolo
gized for the snow he had brought in.
Dicksle heard his voice and cried out
from the bedroom. They could not
keep her away, and she ran out to
catch his hands and plead with him
not to go away. He tried to assure
her that the danger was over; that
guards were now outside everywhere,
and would be until morning. But Dlck
sie clung to him and would take no
refusal.
Whispering Smith looked nt her in
amazement and in admiration. "You
are captain to-night, Miss Dlcksle, by
heaven. If you say the word I’ll lie
here on a rug till morning. But that
man will not be back to-night. You
ere a queen. If I had a mountain
girl that would do as much as that
for me I would—"
"What would you do?” asked Marlon.
"Say good-by to this accursed coun
try forever.”
CHAPTER XXXIX.
Closing In.
In the morning the sun rose with •
mountain smile. The storm had swept
the air till the ranges shone blue and
the plain sparkled under a cloudless
sky. Bob Scott and Wlckwlre, riding
st daybreak, picked up a trail on the
Fence river road. A consultation was
held at the bridge, and within half
an lour Whispering Smith, with un
shaken patience, was in the saddle
and following it.
With him were Kennedy and Bob
Scott. Sinclair had ridden into the
lines, and Whispering Smith, with his
best two men. meant to put it up to
him to ride out. They meant now to
get him, with a trail or without, and
were putting horseflesh against horse
flesh and craft against craft.
At the forks of the Fence they picked
up Wlckwlre, Kennedy taking him on
the up road, while Scott with Whisper
ing Smith crossed to the Crawling
Stone. When Smith and Scott reached
the Frenchman they parted to cover in
turn each of the trails by which it is
possible to get out of the river country
toward the Park and Williams Cache.
By four o'clock in the afternoon
they had all covered the ground so
well that the four were able to make
their rendezvous on the big Fence
divide, south of Crawling Stone val
ley. They then found, to their disap
pointment, that, widely separated as
they had been, both parties were fol
lowing trails they believed to be good.
They shot a steer, tagged It, ate din
ner and supper in one, and separated
under Whispering Smith’s counsel
that both the trails be followed Into
the next morning—in the belief that
ono of them would run out or that
the two would run together. At noon
the next day Scott rode through the
hills from the Fence, and Kennedy
with Wlckwlre came through Two
Feather pass from the Frenchman
with the report that the game bad left
their valleys
Without rest they pushed on. At
the foot of the Mission mountains
they picked up the tracks of a party
of three horsemen. Twice within ten
miles afterward the men they were
following crossed the river. Each
time their trail, with some little diffi
culty. was found again. At a little
ranch In the Mission foothills, Ken
nedy and Scott, leaving Wlckwlre with
Whispering Smith, took fresh horses
and pushed ahead as far as they could
ride before dark, but they brought
back news. The trail bad split again,
with one man riding alone to the left,
while two had taken the hills to the
right, heading for Mission pass and
the Cache. With Gene Johnson and
s=" -
' f*/
"Who Says I Can't See Her?”
Bob at the mouth of the Cache there
was little fear for that outlet. The
turn to the left was the unexpected.
Over the little fire in the ranch kitch
en where they ate supper, the four
men were in conference 20 minutes.
It was decided that Scott and Kennedy
should head for the Mission pass,
while Whispering Smith, with Wlck
wlre to (rail with him, should under
take to cut oft, somewhere between
Fence river and the railroad, the man
who had gone south, the man believed
to be Sinclair. It was a late moon,
and when Scott and Kennedy saddled
their horses Whispering Smith and
Wlckwlre were asleep.
With the cowboy, Whispering Smith
started at daybreak. No one saw
them again for two days. During
those two days and nights they were
In the saddle almost continuously.
For every mile the man ahead of them
rode they were forced to ride two
miles and often three. Late in the
second night they crossed the railroad,
and the first word from them came in
long dispatches sent by Whlsperlag
Smith to Medicine Bend and instruc
tions to Kennedy and Scott in the
north, which were carried by hard
riders straight to Deep creek.
On the morning of the third day
Dicksie Dunning, who had gone home
from Medicine Bend and who had beeu
telephoning Marlon and George Mc-
Cloud two days for news, wa* tiding
to get Medicine Bend again on the
telephone when Puss came in to say
that a man at the kitchen door wanted
to see her.
“Who is it, Puss?”
“I d’no, Miss Dlcksle; 'deed, I never
seen him b’fore.”
Dlcksle walked around on the porch
to the kitchen. A dust-covered man
sitting on a limp horse threw back the
brim of his hat as he touched It, lifted
himself stiffly out of the saddle, and
dropped to the ground. He laughed at
Dlcksie’s startled expression. "Don’t
you know me?” he asked, putting out
his hand. It was Whispering Smith.
He was a fearful sight. Stained
from head to foot with alkali, saddle
cramped and bent, his face scratched
and stained, he stood with a smiling
appeal in bis bloodshot eyes.
Dicksie gave a little uncertain cty,
clasped her hands, and, with a scream,
threw her arms impulsively around his
neck. “Oh. I did not know you! What
has happened? I am so glad to see
you! Tell me what has happened.
Are you hurt?”
He stammered like a schoolboy.
"Nothing has happened. I didn’t real
ize what a tramp I look or I shouldn’t
have come. But I was only a mile
away and I had heard nothing for four
days from Medicine Bend. And how
are you? Did your ride make you HI?
No? By heaven, you are a game girl.
That was a ride! How are they all?
Where’s your cousin? In town, is he?
I thought I might get some news it I
rode up, and, oh, Miss Dlcksle—jlm-
Iny! some coffee. But I’ve got only
two minutes for it all, only two min
utes; do you think Puss has any oil
the stove?”
Dicksie with coaxing and pulling g
him Into the kitchen, and Puss tum
bled over herself to sot out coffee and
rolls. He showed himself ravenously
hungry, and ate with a simple directs
ness that speedily accounted for every
thing in sight. "You have saved my
life. Now 1 am going, and thank you
a thousand times. There, by heaven.
I've forgotten Wlckwlre! He I* with
me—waiting down In the cottonwandt
at the fork. Could Puss put up a
lunch I could take to him? He hasn't
had a scrap for 24 hours. But, Dick
sie, your tramp la a hummer! I've
tried to ride him down and wear him
out and lose him, and, by heaven, he
turns up every time and has been of
more use to me than two men.”
She put her hand on Whispering
Smith’s arm. "I told him if he would
stop drinking he could be foreman
here next season." Puss was putting
up the lunch. “Why need you hurry
away?” persisted Dlcksio. "I've got a
thousand things to say.”
He looked at her amiably. “This Is
really a case of must.”
“Then, tell me, what favor may I
do for you?” She looked appealingly
into his tired eyes. “I want to do
something for you. I must! don't deny
me. Only, what shall it be?”
"Something for me? What can I
say? You’ll be kind to Marlon —I
shouldn’t have to ask that. What can
I ask? Stop! there is one thing. I've
got a poor little devil of an orphan up
in the Deep Creek country. Du Sang
murdered his father. You are rich
and generous, Dlcksle; do something
for him, will you? Kennedy or Bob
Scott will know all about him. Bring
him down here, will you, and see he
doesn’t go to tho dogs? You’re a good
girl. What's this, crying? Now you
are frightened. Things are not so
bad as that. You want to know every
thing—l see it in your eyes. Very
well, let’s trade. You tell me every
thing and I’ll tell you everything. Now
then: Are you engaged?”
They were standing under the low
porch with the sunshine breaking
through the trees. She turned away
her face and threw all of her happi
ness into a laugh. “I won’t tell.”
“Oh, that’s enough. You have told!”
declared Whispering Smith. “I knew
—why, of course I knew—but I wanted
to make you own up. Well, here’s the
way things are. Sinclair has run us
all over God’s creation for two days to
give his pals a chance to break fnto
Williams Cache to get the Tower W
money they left with Rebstock. For
a fact, we have ridden completely
around Sleepy Cat and been down in
the Spanish Sinks since I saw you.
He doesn’t want to leave without the
money, and doesn’t know It Is in Ken
nedy’s hands, and can’t get Into the
Cache to find out. Now the three—
whoever the other two are—and Sin
clair—are trying to Join forces some
where up this valley, and Kennedy,
Scott, Wlckwlre and I are after them;
and every outlet is watched, and it
must all be over, my dear, before sun
set to-night. Isn’t that fine? 1 mean
to have the thing wound up somehow.
Don't look worried.”
“Do not—do not let him kill you,”
she cried, with a sob.
"He will not kill me; don't be
afraid.”
"I am afraid. Remember what your
life is to all of us!”
"Then, of course. I’ve got to think
of what It is to myself—being the only
one I've got. Sometimes I don’t think
much of It; but when I get a welcome
like this it sets me up. If I can once
get out of the accursed man-slaughter
ing business, Dicksie— How old are
you? Nineteen? Well, you’ve got the
finest chap In all these mountains, and
George McCloud has the finest —”
With a bubbling laugh she shook
her finger at him. "Now you are
caught. Say the finest woman In these
mountains If you dare! Say the finest
woman!”
"The finest woman of 19 In all crea
tion!” He swung with a laugh Into
the saddle and waved his hat. She
watched him ride down the road and
around the hill. When he reappeared
she was still looking and ho was gal
loping along the lower road. A man
rode out at the fork to meet him and
trotted with him over the bridge. Rid
ing leisurely across the creek, their
broad hats bobbing unevenly In the
sunshine, they spurred swiftly past
the grove of quaking asps, and in a
moment were lost beyond the trees.
CHAPTER XL.
Crawling Stone Wash.
When Whispering Smith and his
companions were fairly started on the
last day of their ride, It was toward a
rift In the Mission range that the trail
led them. Sinclair, with consummate
cleverness, had rejoined his compan
ions; but the attempt to get into the
Cache, and his reckless ride into Medi
cine Bend, had reduced their chances
of escape to a single outlet, and that
they must find up Crawling Stone val
ley. The necessity of it was spelled
In every move the pursued men had
made for 24 hours. They were riding
the pick of mountain horseflesh and
covering their tracks by every device
known to the high country. Behind
them, made prudent by unusual dan
ger, rode the best men the mountain
division could muster for the Anal ef
fort to bring them to account. The
fast riding of the early week hud
given way to the pace of caution. No
trail sign was overlooked, no point of
concealment directly approached, no
hiding-place left unsearched.
The tension of a long day of this
work was drawing to a close when the
sun set and left the big wash in the
shadow of the mountains. On the
higher ground to the right, Kennedy
and Scott were riding where they
could command the gullies of the pre
cipitous left bank of the river. High
on the left bank itself, worming his
way like a snake from point to point
of concealment through the scanty
brush of the mountain-side, crawled
Wlckwlre, commanding the pookets in
the right bank. Closer to the river
on the right and following the trail
Itself over shale and rock and be
tween scattered bowlders, Whispering
Smith, low on his horse’s neck, rode
slowly.
It was almost too dark to catch the
slight discolorations where pebbles
had been disturbed on a flat surface
or the calk of a horseshoe had slipped
on the uneven face of a ledge, and he
had halted under an uplift to wait
for Wlckwlre on the distant left to ad
vance, when, half a mile below him,
a horseman crossing the river rode
slowly past a gap In the rocks and dis
appeared below the next bend. He
was followed In a moment by a sec
ond rider and a third. Whispering
Smith know he had not been seen. Ho
had flushed the game, and, wheeling
his horse rode straight up the river
bank to high ground, where he could
circle around widely below them. They
had slipped between his line and
Wickwire’s, and were doubling back,
following the dry bed of the stream.
It was impossible to recall Kennedy
and Scott without giving an alarm, but
by a quick detour he could at least
hold the quarry back for 20 minutes
with his rifle, and In that time Ken
nedy and Scott could como up.
Less than half an hour of daylight
remained. If the outlaws could slip
down the wash and out into the Crawl
ing Stone valley they had every chance
of getting away in the night; and if
the third man should be Barney Keb
stock, Whispering Smith knew that
Sinclair thought only of escape. Smith
alone, of their pursuers, could now
Intercept them, but a second hope re
mained: On the left, Wlckwlre was
high enough to command every turn
in the bed of the river. He might see
them and could force them to cover
with his rifle even at long range. Cast
ing up the chances, Whispering Smith,
riding faster over the uneven ground
Valuable as Honey Finder
Bee Cuckoo of Africa of Great Service
to the Natives and Protected
by Them.
One of the most sagacious of bird*
Is certainly tbe bee cuckoo, or moroc,
a little bird very like tbe English
sparrow.
it is found In various parts of Afri
ca where wild bees abound, and, being
unable to help itself to the honey,
which is its favorite food, it resorts
to human aid.
Having discovered a swarm of bees,
it files to tho nearest, habitation, and
attracts by Its cries of “Cherr, cherr,
cherr,” the attention of some of the
natives. It then files off la tbe direc
tion of the nest, uttering its cry and
waiting for its followers to overtake
than anything but sheer recklessness
would have prompted, hastened across
the waste. His rllle lay In his hand,
and he had pushed his horse to a run.
A single tearful Instinct crowded now
upon the long strain of the week, A
savage fascination burned like a fever
In his veins, and he meant that they
should not get away. Taking chances
that would have shamed him In cooler
momenta, he forced his horse at tho
end of the long ride to within 100
paces of the river, threw his lines,
slipped like a lizard from the saddle,
and. darting with Incredible swiftness
from rock to rock, gained the water's
edge.
From up the long shadows of the
wash there came the wall of an owl.
From It ho know that Wlckwlre had
seen them and was warning him, but
he had anticipated tho warning and
stood below where the hunted men
must ride. Ho strained his eyes over
the waste of rock above. For one half
hour of daylight ho would have sold.
In that moment, ten years of his life.
What could he do It they should bo
able to secrete themselves until dark
between him and Wlckwlre? Gliding
under cover of huge rocks up tho dry
watercourse, ho reached a spot where
the floods had scooped a long, hollow
curve out of a soft ledge In tho bank,
leaving a stretch of smooth sand on
the bod of the stream. At the upper
point great bowlders pushed out of
the river. He could not inspect the
curve from the spot he had gained
without reckless exposure, but ho
must force the little daylight left to
him. Climbing completely over tho
lower point, ho advanced cautiously,
and. from behind a sheltering spur
stepped out upon an overhanging table
of rock and looked across the river
bottom. Three men had halted on tho
sand within the curve. Two lay on
their rifles tinder the upper point, 120
paces from Whispering Smith. Tho
third man, Seagrtte, less than 00 yards
away, had got off his horse and was
laying down his rifle, when the hoot
owl screeched again and he looked un
easily back. They had chosen for
their halt a spot easily defended, and
needed only darkness to make them
safe, when Smith, stepping out Into
plain sight, threw forward his hand.
They heard his sharp call to pitch up,
and the men under the point jumped.
Seagnte had not yet taken his hand
from his rifle. He threw It to his
shoulder. As closely together as two
fingers of the right hand can be struck
twice In the palm of the left, two rifle
shots cracked across tho wash. Two
bullets passed so close In flight they
might have struck. One cut the
dusty hair from Smith’s temple and
slit the brim of bis hat above hla ear;
the other struck Seagnte under the
left eye, plowed through the roof of
his mouth, and, coming out below hts
ear, splintered the rock at his back.
The shock alone would have stag
gered a bullock, but Seagrue, laughing,
came forward pumping bis gun. Sin
clair. at 120 yards, cut Instantly Into
the fight, and tho ball from hlg rifle
creased the alkali that crusted Whis
pering Smith’s unshaven cheek. As
he fired he sprang to cover.
For Seagrue and Smith there was
no cover; for one or both It was death
In the open and Seagrue, with his rifle
at his cheek, walked straight Into It.
Taking for a moment the Are of the
three guns, Whispering Smith stood,
a perfect target, outlined against tho
sky. They whipped the dust from his
coat, tore the sleeve from his wrist
and ripped the blouse collar from his
neck; but he felt no bullet shock. He
saw before him only the buckle of
Seagrue’s belt 40 paces away, and sent
bullet after bullet at tho gleam of
brass between the sights. Both men
were using high-pressure guns, and
the deadly shocks of the slugs made
Seagrue twitch and stagger. The man
was dying as he walked. Smith’s
hand was racing with the lever, and
had a cartridge jammed, the steel
would have snapped like a match.
(TO BE CONCLUDED.)
It. Should they be tardy It returns
to meet them, and seems as If trying
to urge them on to greater speed, the
natives answering It with a low whis
tle.
Arrived at its destination, It Is sh
lent, waiting patiently on the bough
of a neighboring tree while Its hu
man friends dig out the nest, a good
share of the honey on the comb con
taining the bee maggots, being loft by
them for their feathered guide.
The natives never Injure this bird,
and always prevent travelers from
shooting It.
Wrong Diagnosis.
Many a girl thinks she has broken
her heart when she has only sprained
her Imagination.—Life.

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