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THE STARKVILLE NEWS.
VOLUME IV. I The Number©! J S His Regiment r g By FRANCOIS COPPEE THE country was magnificent and the tramp was evil in looks. He was one of the vagrants that appear in swarms at the harvest times, but so ugly and suspicions in appearance that he was driven away from all the farms where he asked for work. The stick of oak upon which he leaned looked less like an innocent walking stick than a murderer’s blud geon and. stamped on the under side of his coarse blouse, there was doubt less the black, ignoble number of the galley or prison. His age? Misfortune knows none. Tall and thin, he walked with the agil ity of a young man, but his yellow mustach was grizzled and years of mil itary discipline showed in his straight shoulders and erect carriage. The man was following a narrow path between two cornfields, whole high stalks reached nearly to his head. He had no idea where the road would lead him. Before him and be side him the golden fields shone in the June sun. Scattered gayly among the waving corn stalks, were brilliant poppies and blue cornflowers where, his note betraying him. the cicada shrilled monotonously. Overhead, the pure blue of the noon sky was unbro ken by a single fleecq cloud. The tramp rubbed his arm across his w’et brow. The day before, in answer to his hoarse, pleading question: “Have you a day’s 'worn, for me..” the farmers, after a quick glance at the rough face, had. one and all. replied defiantly: “No! We need no one. ’ There were just three sous left in the tramp’s pocket. With these he had bought a bit of bread anti eaten it as he went along, drinking from the brook beside him. When night came, a June night, glowing with radiant stars, the out cast jumped a hedge and. his stick for a pillow, slept soundly until daybreak. To-day he had had nothing to eat. but his keenest distress was his lack of tobacco. It was long since he had been able to get any. and the pipe in his blouse pocket was a constant ag gravation. As he plodded through the warm, fields. the tramp thought vaguely of his dark, horrible life. A foundling, brought up by a char ity nurse in the country, he could re call nothing of his ea*ly childhood save his terror of th? old woman "whose hand was always lifted to strike. He had w-orked with her in the forests, gathering dry wood and rooting in t! a soft earth like a pig for the acorns that eked out his scanty fare of black bread and thin soup, and somehow*, in some w r ay, he had scram bled up to boyhood. When he was eight the old crone re luctantly sent him to school, where h: learned to read and write and count. But his comrades, little peasant boys with red cheeks, full of nourishing soup and cruelty, called him the witch’s son and w r ould have nothing to do with him. He returned their hatred warmly and his school Life was the scene of constant fighting, battles in which, happily for him. he was almost always the victor. Jlis wicked old nurse died when he was 14 and the boy would then have starved had he not obtained work r.s stable lad at three francs a month and the privilege of sleeping in the straw. Hated by his companions, mocked by all the girls about him, passing for an idiot because he was sullenly un sociable, he had yet grown to be a srrong. vigorous young man. Then he was seized by the conscript officer and sent to the Seventy-fifth regiment of Infantry. Those first years in the regiment were his only happy memories. There, for the first time, this pariah, this so cial outcast, learned the meaning of the words equality and justice. His uniform might be too thick in summer and too thin in winter, but it was what every other soldier wore; his rations were often impossible to eat, but his were no different from anyone else’s. In his barracks, in the bunk next his, slept a viscount who had en listed after several escapades. Here a surprise! one man was the equal of another; and to rise in rank, one virtue only was necessary—obedi- ence. This much his early training had taught him. More intelligent, less il literate than most of the blockheads in their red trousers, the man had won his corporal’s stripes at the end of his first year; at the end of the second he was a sergeant. Now r , when he met them, the privates were the first to raise their hands in salute. A single night of drunkenness, of folly, and all that he had gained was lost. He had just been appointed ser geant-major. One day, when he had the company’s pay in his pocket, three glasses of absinthe, taken one after another in a spirit of bravado and a girl with cruel eyes, had made of him a thief, a criminal. From that time on. his life was hor rible once more. Bitterly he remem bered his shamed altitude before the epaulettes and crosses of the council of war. Then came the interminable years of service in the African battalion, crushing afones for the roadways be neath a burning sun, tortured by thirst. Out of this furnace and infamy he came forth at last with a heritage of eternal burning thirst and a spirit gangrened to the very core. There was no further luck for him after that, no chance to redeem him self. No one had throw'll him a sav ing rope, no one had lent a hand to I pull him from the mire. •‘Seeking a day’s work here and there, wherever he could, he had trodden the country roads an outcast shadowed by his past. When his hunger became too keen he committed petty thefts, swip ing his way as in Algiers, The rude hand of justice had more than once fallen heavily upon his shoulder. Two years ago where was he? In prison. And last winter? Prison again. Now' for three days he had walked in the full harvest and not a day’s work could he get. His last sou was gone, ho had eaten his last crust. What was he to do? What was to become of him? Presently the tramp paused at a meeting of the roads. Before him was a cross with an image of the Christ roughly carved. Shrugging his shoulders, the tramp turned to the left. Two hundred yards farther on he saw’ a rich country house separated by a hedge and a lawn of beautiful green grass from the road. As he ap proached a lady, in a cool summer dress, came out on the terrace and called to a little boy playing on the grass with a large Newfoundland dog. The child turned back at her call, and the dog, growm suddenly angry, ran to the hedge and barked furiously at the sinister stranger. The tramp shook his fist at the great villa, and, overcome with bitter de spair, turned sharply to follow a nar row’ footpath across the fields. It was then that he found himself among the cornfields, his legs aching with weari ness, weak from lack of food, alone, lost, desperate. Suddenly a cock crowded loudly be fore him. A house w r as near. The man looked up defiantly. So be it, then. He w r ould go there and beg. If they w r ould give him nothing he would steal. He w r ouid even kill. Running his finger along the edge of his knife, he tightened his belt and. following a curve in the path, found himself in a narrow' farmyard. With frightened cries the hens fled beneath his feet as he strode across to the door of the thatched cabin. “Hello!” cried the tramp, and after a second’s waiting. “Hello!” There was no reply. Doubtless the peasants w r ere all at w*ork in the fields. With a strong thrust the man pushed open the door and entered the cabin. The room, the only one in the house, was low, and in one corner stood the bed. In the center stood a table, on which w*as spread a loaf of bread and a package of tobacco. Oppo- I site the wide fireplace was the heavy oaken caest where every peasant hides his stocking of silver and sometimes gold pieces. For the first time in his life the tramp had been a housebreaker. Well, he would carry the game through to the end. Grasping his knife, he went over to the chest to force it open. But a paper hanging near It attracted his atten tion. Mechanically he lifted his eyes and reed: “Seventy-fifth regiment, infantry.” The man stopped short. It was a certificate of honorable dis charge made out to Jule-Mathleu Du bois, corporal in the Second company. Third battalion. So he was about to steal from a man of his old regiment! Not of his time, no; the date jot the paper was stir recent. But no matter! STARKVILLE, MISS., FRIDAY, MAY 5, 1905. His hand wavered; then fell. “Fool!” he muttered softly. His roving eyes caught sight of the bread and tobacco on the table. That much he might surely have. A man may always borrow from a comrade, may he not? 'He cut the leaf in half, and drawing his pipe from his pocket, filled it. Then he walked quietly out of the house, dow’n the path between the cornfields and passed out upon the high road. As he once more passed the crucified Christ at the meeting of the roads, he looked up and said, with a merry grim ace at the corner of his lip: “It’s a pity yon didn’t serve In the Seventy-fifth, too! If you had you would find some w’ork for me to night!”—From the French in N. Y. Sun. x HOMES~FACiNC dTsASTER. Partial Collapse of Surface Workings of Anaconda. Mont., Mines Endangers Houses, Anaconda, Mont. —There is conster nation among the house owners in the vicinity of Galena street and Warren avenue, and In the territory bounded on the west by Gaylord street and on the east by Shields avenue, extending from Park down to Talbott, a large area of territory is mure or less In a shattered condition, caused by the par tial collapse of surface workings of mines in the vicinity. Some of the tenants are actually in fear of dire results and they look for ward to the time when the frost gets out of the ground with apprehension, for their disturbed ’ minds picture grewsome sights, such as houses fall ing into gaping abysses, tumbling into yawning chasms, children being buried alive in their mothers’ arms and all sorts of fantastic pictures of the vivid imagination. The ground is sinking; of that there is no doubt, for reports of the occurrence have been received by the county commissioners and the city council. Houses have been set at variance with their foundations and d* of.v and windows are set at odds with their casings so that in many instances they have had to he taken out and set over again. Doors in a night have been squeezed so tightly as io refuse to open and had to be taken off tiu'ir hinges and rehung. Blasting is heard directly beneath houses, and in one case the dishes were rattled out of the cupboard and broken ii>to fragments by the violent fall to the floor. One man said that he w*as afraid to go into his cellar as he thought a blast bad broken the ground and connected it with the 1.000-foot level of a mine. The owners of houses are as yet un decided as to w r hat action to take in an effort to secure relief or redress, for it is not known who is responsible or how' many may be held responsible for the shaking up of that part of the city. It is understood that the com plainants will pool their grievances and present them in a solid mass to the authorities and push their suits against the mining companies. Twin Lives. It is w'or.derful how alike some tw’ins are. not only in feature, but in character. It is seldom, however, that the lives of twin sisters or brothers are so nearly alike as those of Mrs. Mary Sissons and Mrs. Ann Dennison. These old ladies recently kept their eighty-fourth birthday at Arnold. Not tinghamshire, near which they have lived all their lives. The twins were married on the same day by the same clergyman. They married brothers. Both lost their husbands as the re sult of accident, and both married a second time. Both enjoy good health, and neither has ever seen the sea.—- London Tit-Bits. Education Above Birth. Japan has a proverb which says. “Thy father and mother are as the sky and earth, thy Lord as the moon, thy teacher as the sun.” This is the na tion that takes lessons wherever they are to be learned, and goes to school at the feet of the western nations in ad miration and respect, but without loss of national character. It is significant that people who worship their ances tors and whose emperor claims direct descent from 26 centuries of emperors should possess the motto, “Education is more than birth.” —Youth’s Com panion. Those Loving Girls. Helen — I want to give my fiance a sur prise on his birthday. Can’t you suggest something? Ethel—Well, you might give him your real age. —Cincinnati Enquirer. SONG OF THE PESSIMIST. Yes, I know th’ season’s perfect fer us farmers—lots o’ wet, An’ th’ Holds is get tin’ peppered till they’re soaked as they kin get; Heavy snowfalls Is perteclin’ an' preservin’ of th’ wheat, An’ th' country is a-prosperln’—y’ never seen th’ beat. But these times is always likely t’ precede a duller spell. It's a sartin sign o’ sickness when y* feel s’ awful well. Lots o’ wheat will bring down prices an’ will make a let o’ toil. An’ sich heavy crops as them is mighty wearln’ on th’ soil! Mills is runnin’, wheels is turnin’ an’ the wages all is good; Times is boomin' like th’ mischief, Teddy’s helped ’em all he could, Can’t see nothin’ to distress us—felt th’ same way onct before. An’ 1 learnt it was a token that disaster laid in store. When yer feelin’ best, git busy with yer most suspicious ' look, Fer th’ straightest streak o’ roadway leads you to th’ sharpest crook. Kittle water gits th' stillest jes' before It starts t’ boil. An’ these awful heavy crops is plum’ ex haustin’ to th' soil! —S. W. Giililan. in Baltimore American, A Sociable Bear BINGO, the best, most accomplished and most human bear that ever lived in Maine, is dead, the victim of a greedy hunter’s rifle, and his thick, glossy pelt hangs high in a Bangor mar ket shop, waiting for a purchaser. The death of Bingo has caused sorrow to many who dwell in the wild region abi*u Seeboomook Falls, and well it might, for to these mourners, he was, both in youth and in middle age, a sociable neighbor and appreciative friend. Melville Doughty, better known as “Lung Mel,” feels especially sad over the loss of his furry friend, for from long experience in forest life and close contact with wild things, he knows that it is 300 to 1 that he will never again meet with such a knowing and sociable sort of bear as the late departed. “Seems if they might a-found some thin’ else to shoot in all this country up here, ’cept that one good, decent ba’r.” mournfully remarked Mel. as he sat on the deacon seat at McLean’s camp and added the smoke of his corn cob pipe to the general fog. “Why, that b ar was as good a neighbor’s I ever had, an’ I’ve b’en livin’ in these parts more’a 30 year. “He was left an orphan when he was just a little cub. an’ 1 found him one day a-suckin’ of his paws at the aidge o’ the tote road to the falls. Brought him home an’ give him some mush an’ molasses, an’ he sot right up like any child an’ in jyed it, too. When he got some size on him he quit stayin’ ’round the camp so reg'lar. an’ used to go out foragin’ on his own hook. Then he went to dennin’, like any b’ar, which was only nat’ral, but he always was neighborly, an’ never seemed to forgit what I’d done for him. “ ’Member the time well when he fit a lucifee that got into the camp an’ would have et up my little girl—fit him an’ licked him to shoestrings, too, by gosh. Pulled the same young one out of the lake when it got in over it’s head, an’ did a lot of other good turns that I’ll never forgit. Did a good many chores, too. around th> place. Do you good to see that b'ar weed my onion patch—jest rasped them weeds outen the ground with his claws, like a patent harrow. All be asked for his trouble was a aish o’ ! mush an’ molasses. B’ars is terrible fond o’ sweet stuff. But Bingo, he was an honist b ar—never stole anythin’, j He’d set all day ’side of a keg o’ molasses ' an’ never put a paw into it. “Summer time, Bingo used to go up , above the falls an’ fill himself with raspberries, an’ our little girl would go ’long with him. When he’d got his ! own fill, he’d turn to an’ fill the little girl’s pail—could do it quicker’n scat. Ever see a b’ar pick berries? Well, sir. when it comes to that kind o‘ business, you an’ I ain’t in it with the slowest b’ar that ever wore fur. NatTal talent with ’em. “Bingo, he hadn’t no faults but one. j He did like likker. Someone down to | McNulty’s camp learnt him that. He ■went down there one Christmus an’ sot a while with the boys, who were havin’ of a great time. A Frenchman had come over the line a few days afore that with j a kag o’ morson —that there white rum | the Canucks have —an’ it was passin’ j ’round pretty free that Christmus day. j One o the fellers. Jack Kolley, f’m Ban gor, hj says, ‘There’s Binjo— what’s the master with givin’ him a ball out o’ that kag?’ So they poured some out in a big tin dipper, an’ give it to Bingo, an’ cuss NUMBER 8. me if lie didn’t swaller It down’s thougli it’d b’en molasses syrup. Pretty warm in the camp, with a big fire a-blazin’, an' fust thing they knew that morson begun to work on Bingo. ’Fore anyone could move, that there b’ar up an’ grabbed tho kag put it to his head an’ gulped down ’bout a quart. Then, mister, things be gun to hum. “There was a Frenchman in the crew named Paul Larsen, who thought ha could rassle some, an’ he’d b’en showia’ off that afternoon while Bingo was in camp, throwin’ everyone he come to. Bingo, he ’membered this, an’ w-hen the morson begun to bile up inside o’ him an’ he got to feelin’ real good an’ kinky, he jest raced over to where Larsen was a changin’ of his pants an’ grabbed him ’round the belly with both paw-s. Lar sen he yelled for the b’ar to let go, but Bingo he jest grinned—he could grin an' laff like anyone human—an’ twisted that Frenchman off’n his feet like he was a child, throwin’ him on the flat o’ his back with a slam that made his teetli rattle. “Then the crowd they yelled an’ laffed fit to raise the roof, an’ Bingo, knowin' that was pluase, he jest danced a jig in the middle o’ the'floor, kicked over all the seats and ripped blankets off a bunks an’ fin’y chased the cook out to the wangan, cause the cook was a man he didn’t like. Hit him over the nose oncet. ’cause he stuck his head In the cook-house winder. “Well, sir, the cook he yelled bloody* murder, an’ shut the door o’ the w-angan camp after him with a bang an’ bolted it inside. Bingo, he jest sot there in the snow-, a-waitin’ for the cook to come out* an’ all the camp crew couldn’t budge him. They might a-done it w ith an ax, o’ course, but they wouldn’t, ’cause they thought a heap more o’ the b’ar than they did o’ the cook, w-ho used to be a barber down to Milo Junction, an’ wore striped shirts and put ile on his hair. Cornin’ on night, an’ the men wantin' supper, they had to send two miles fop me to come over an’ pacerfy Bingo. “When I showed up that there b’ar was ’shamed as a boy caught stealin' apples. He come along home all right, an’ went to sleep in the corner. For two weeks after AhaLlie yjrent ’round kind o’ sheepish. w r hich is raore’n can Se said 6' most men arter a spree. Oncet in a while since then he took a nip, but never none to hurt, an’ he never went near McNulty’s camp agin. t “Bingo, he liked music. When Id get my old fiddle dow-n arter supper an' scratch out the ‘Arkansaw* Traveler.’ the •Drunken Sailor’ an’ the ‘Portland Fan cy’ tunes we used to dance to dow r n to Bangor ’fore the town got so fash’nable it forgot how to dance, Bingo he'd set there front o’ the fire an’ roll his eyes, it made him feel so good, an’ keep time with his paw r s. He liked the ‘Arkansaw Traveler’ best, an’ I learnt him to dance a few steps o’ that. He’d git all worked up over it —all played out so’s he’d have to take a rest arter it. Then I’d give him a nip out o’ my little jug, an’ he’d go to sleep an’ snore like one o’ John Ross’s drivers. But he’s gone now— dead an’ gone, an’ things is kinder lone some up home. I’d a-give the best hun dred dollars I ever see to that feller that shot him if he’d a-took some other b’ar. for the like o’ Bingo ain’t this side o’ Fort Kent.”—N. Y. World. HUNTER’S ODD EXPERIENCE Fox and Hawk Attempt to Purloin Quail His Gun Had Brought Down. Dr. William Rowland, of Pasadena, who was up at Middle Ranch quail shoot ing a few days prior to the close of the season, had a most unique experience, relates an Avalon correspondent of the Los Angeles Times. He ran upon a covey of quail, and, flushing them, dropped one with his left barrel, and then, at considerable of an angle, dropped another with the right barrel. Turning to his first bird, he was just in time to see a fox snatch it up and start to run away with it. Quickly pumping another cartridge into his gun, he let the fox have it. knock ing him stiff. After reconnoitermg a minute, and finding his first bird, he was returning to pick up the second, when something shot down like an arrow from the skies in front of him, the object proving to be an osprey. Tue quail had been wounded, and Us flutetring attracted the attention of the big hawk, which, while sailing through the ether had an eye out for a quail dinner, and, darting upon the wounded bird, was about to cheat the hunter out of his quarry. Dr. Rowland, while amazed at the turn of events, did not propose to stand for such a play, and, training his ready gun oa the bold robber, with a pull of the trig ger put him out of commission, an 4 saved both his birds.