Newspaper Page Text
oftho SUNSET r$j? REX BEACH. sluthorof1'The Spoilerst "The Iron Trail" "The Silver Horde" Etc. MRS. AUSTIN IS ACCUSED BY HER DRUNKEN HUS- BAND OF BEING TOO FRIENDLY WITH THE STATE RANGER. Mrs. Alaire Austin, a hand some young matron, mistress of Las Palmas ranch, gets lost in the Texas desert and after an all-day struggle wanders into the little camp of David Law, a range officer hunting a Mexi can murderer. Circumstances force her to stay there over night and all the next day. Law catches his man and kills an other, then escorts her home. CHAPTER IV. At Las Palmas. Although the lower counties of southwest Texas are flat and badly watered, they possess a rich soil. They are favored, too, by a kindly climate, suhtropic in its mildness. The Rio Grande, jaundiced, erratic as an in valid, wrings its saffron blood from the clay bluffs and gravel canyons of the hill country, but near its estuary winds quietly through a low coastal plain which the very impurities of that blood have rlchened. Here the river's banks are smothered In thickets of hulsache, ebony, mesquite, oak and alamo. Railroads are so scarce along this division of the border that to travel from Brownsville north along the in ternational line one must, for several hundred miles, avail oneself of horses, mules or motorcars, since rail transpor tation is almost lacking. And on his way the traveler will traverse whole counties where the houses are jacals, where English is a foreign tongue, and where peons plow their fields with crooked sticks as did the ancient Egyptians. That part of the state which lies below the Nueces river was for a time disputed territory, and long after Tex ans had given their lives to drive the eagle of Mexico across the Rio Grande much of it remained a forbidden land. Even today it is alien. It is a part of our Southland, but a South different to any other that we have. Within It there are no blacks, and yet the whites number but one in twenty. The rest are swarthy, black-haired men who speak the Spanish tongue and whose citizenship is mostly a matter of form. The stockmen, pushing ahead of the nesters and the tillers of the soil, were the first to invade the lower Rio Grande, and among these "Old Ed" Austin was a pioneer. Like the other cattle barons, he was hungry for land and took it where or how he could. Those were crude old days the pio ueers who pushed their herds into the far pastures were lawless fellows, ruth less, acquisitive, mastered by the em pire-builder's urge for acres and still more acres. As other ranches grew under the hands of such unregenernte owners, so also under "Old Ed" Austin's manage ment did Las Palmas increase and prosper. It comprised an expanse of rich river-land backed by miles of range where "Box A" cattle lived and bred. In his later years when the old man handed Las Palmas to his son, "Young Ed," as a wedding gift, the ranch was known far and wide for its size and richness. Las Palmas had changed greatly since Austin, senior, painfully scrawled his slanting signa ture to the deed. It was a different ranch now to what the old man had known indeed, it was doubtful if h.* would have recognized it, for even the nouse was new. Alaire had some such thought In mind as she rode up to the gate on (he afternoon following her departure from the water hole, and she felt a thrill of pride at the acres of sprouting -ora, the dense green field of alfalfa BO nicely fitted between their fences. Tliey were like clean, green squares of matting spread for the feet of summer. A Mexican boy came running to care for her horse, a Mexican woman greet ed her as she entered the wide, cool hall and went to her room. Dolores fixed a bath and laid out clean clothes with a running accompaniment of chat ter concerned with household affairs. She was a great gossip, and possessed such a talent for gaining information that through her husband, Eecito, the lange boss, she was able to keep her Mistress in fairly intimate touch with ranch matters. Alaire, as she leisurely dressed her self,' acknowledged that it was good to feel the physical comforts of fcer own house, even though her homecoming gav* her no especial joy. She made It a religious practice to dress for dinner, regardl«ss of Ed's presence, though rftec for weeks at a time she gat In solitary state, presiding over an empty table. Tonight, Ed was at home. It was with a grave preoccupation that she made herself ready to meet him. In the dining room, Ed acknowl edged his wife's entrance with a care less nod, but did not trouble to re move his hands from his pockets. As he seated himself heavily at the table and with unsteady fingers shook the folds from his napkin, he said: "You stayed longer than you intend ed. Um-m—you were gone three days, weren't you?" "Four days," Alaire told him, real izing with a little inward start how very far apart she and Ed had drifted. She looked at him curiously for an in stant, wondering if he really could be her husband, or—if he were not some peculiarly disagreeable stranger. Ed had been a handsome boy, but he was growing fat from drink and soft from idleness his face was too full, his eyes too sluggish there was an unhealthy redness in his cheeks. In contrast to his wife's semi-formal dress, he was unkempt—unshaven and soiled. His preparations for dinner this evening had been characteristically simple he had drunk three dry cock tails and flung his sombrero into a cor ner. 'Tve been busy while you were gone," he announced. "Been down to the pump house every day laying that new intake. It was a nasty job, too. I had Morales barbecue a cabrito for my lunch, and it was good, but I'm hungry again." Austin attacked his meal with an enthusiasm strange In him. He was a heavy and a constant drinker at all times. What little ex ercise he took was upon the back of a horse, and, as no one knew better than his wife, the physical powers he once had were rapidly deteriorating. By and by he inquired, vaguely: "Let's see. Where did you go this time?" "I went up to look over the Ygnaclo tract." "Oh, yes. Think you'll lease it?" "I don't know. I must find some place for those La Feria cattlo." Austin shook his head. "Better leave 'em where they are, until the rebels take that country. I stand mighty well with them." "That's the trouble," Alaire told him. "You stand too well—so well that I want to get my stock out of federal territory as soon as possible." Ed shrugged carelessly. "Suit your self they're your cows." The meal went on with a desultory flow of small talk, during which the husband indulged his thirst freely. Alaire told him about the accident to her horse and the unpleasant ordeal she had suffered in the mesquite. "Lucky you found somebody at the water hole," Ed commented. "Who was this ranger? Never heard of the fellow," he commented on the name. "The rangers are nothing like they used to be." "This fellow would do credit to any organization." As Alaire described how expeditiously Law had made his "Who Was This Ranger?" arrest and handled bis man, her hus band showed interest. "Nicolas Anto, eh?" said he. "Who was his companero?" "Panfllo Sanchez." Ed started. "That's strange! They must have met accidentally." "So they both declared. Why did you let Panfllo go?" "We didn't need him here, and he was too good a man to lose, so—" Ed found his wife's eyes fixed upon him, and dropped his own. "I knew you were short-handed at La Feria." There was an interval of silence, then Ed THE HOPE PIONEER exclaimed, testily, "What are you look ing at?" "I wondered what you'd say." "Eh? Can't I fire a man without a long-winded explanation? Just^ because I've let you run things to suit your self—" "Walt! We had our understanding." Alalre's voice was low and vibrant. "It was my payment for living with you, and you know it. You gave me the reins to Las Palmas so that I'd have something to do, something to live for and think about, Except—your actions. The ranch has doubled In value, every penny is accounted for, and you have more money to spend on yourself than ever before. You have no reason to complain." Austin crushed his napkin into a ball and flung it from him with a scowl he shoved himself back from the table. "It was an idiotic arrangement, just the same. I agreed because I was sick. Dad thought I was all shot to pieces. But I'm all right now and able to run my own business." "Nevertheless, it was a bargain, and it will stand. If your father were alive he'd make you live up to it." "You talk as if I were a child," shouted her husband and his plump face was apoplectic with rage. "The title is in my name. How could he make me do anything?" Nobody could force you," his wife said, quietly. "You are still enough of a man to keep your word, I believe, so long as I observe my part of our bar gain?" Ed, slightly mollified, agreed. "Of course I am I never welched. But I won't be treated as an incompetent, and I'm tired of these eternal wrangles and jangles." "You have welched." "Eh?" Austin frowned belligerently. "You agreed to go away when you felt your appetite coming on, and you promised to live clean, at least around home." "Well?" Alaire went on in a lifeless tone that covered the seething emotions withiu her. "I never inquire Into your actions at San Antonio or other large cities, although of course I have ears and 1 can't help hearing about them but these border towns are home to us, and people know me. I won't be humil iated more than I am public pity is— hard enough to bear. I've about reached the breaking point." "Indeed?" Austin leaned forward, his eyes inflamed. His tone was raised, heedless of possible eavesdroppers. "Then why don't you end it? Why don't you divorce me? I never see anything of you. You have your part of the house and I have mine all we share in common is meal hours, and— and a mail address." Alaire turned upon him eyes dark with misery. "You know why I don't divorce you. No, Ed, we're going to live out our agreement, and these Brownsville episodes are going to cease." Her lips whitened. "So are your visits to the pumping station." "What do you mean by that?" "You transferred Panfllo because he was growing jealous of you and Rosa." Ed burst into sudden laughter. "There's no harm in a little flirtation. Rosa's a pretty girl." His wife uttered a breathless, smothered exclamation her hands, as they lay on the table cloth, were tight ly clenched. "She's your tenant—al most your servant. What kind of a man are you? Haven't you any de cency left?" "Say! Go easy! I guess I'm no dif ferent to most men." Austin's unpleas ant laughter had been succeeded by a still more unpleasant scowl. "I have to do something. It's dead enough around here—" "You must stop gotng there." "Humph! I notice you go where you please. Rosa and I never spent a night together In the chaparral—" "Ed!" Alalre's exclamation was like the snap of a whip. She rose and faced her husband, quivering as If the lash had stung her flesh. "That went home, eh? Well, I'm no fool 1 I've seen something of the world, ftnd I've found that women are about like men. I'd like to have a look at this David Law, this gunman, this Hand some Harry who waits at water holes for ladies In distress." Ed ignored his wife's outf.ung licnd, and continued, mockingly: "I'll bet he's all that's inanly and splendid, everything, that I'm not." "You'd—better stop," gasped the woman. "I can't stand everything." "So? Well, neither can L" "After—this, I think you'd better go—to San Antonio. Maybe I'll forget before you come back." To this "Young Ed" agreed quickly enough. "Good!" said he. "That suits me. I'll at least get a little peace at my club." He glowered after his wife as she left the room. Then, still scowl ing, he lurched out to the gallery where the breeze was blowing, and flung himself into a chair. Ed's marriage to Alaire had been In evitable. They had been playmates, and their parents had considered the union a consummation of their own lifelong friendship. Upon her mother's death Alaire had been sent abroad, and there she remained while "Young Ed" attended an eastern college. For nay child the experience would have been a lonesome one, and through it the motherless Texas girl had grown Into an imaginative, sentimental person, liv ing in a make-believe world, peopled, for the most part, with the best remembered figures of romance and fiction. There were, of course, some few flesh-and-blood heroes among the rest, and of these the finest and the noblest had teen "Young Ed" Austin. When she cane home to marry, Alaire was still very much cf a child, and she still considered Ed her knight As for him, he was captivated by this splendid, handsome girl, whom he re meihbered only as a shy, red-headed little comrade. As Las Palmas had been the elder Austin's wedding gift to his son, so Alalre's dowry from her father had been La Feria, a grant of lands across the Rio Grande beyond the twenty league belt by which Mexico fatuously strives to guard her border. And to Las Palmas had come the bride and groom to live, to love and to rear their children. But rarely has there been a shorter honeymoon, seldom a swifter awaken ing. Within six months "Young Ed" had killed his wife's love and had him self become an alcoholic. Other vices so multiplied that what few virtues the young man had inherited were soon choked. To the bride the truth had come as a stunning tragedy. The wreck of her hopes and glad Imagin ings left her sick, bewildered, In the face of "the thing that couldn't." Nor had the effect of this transfor mation In "Young Ed" been any less painful to bis father. When the truth She Rose ftAUM and Faced Her Husband. was borne in upon liim unmistakably, and the girl-wife remained firm in her refusal to divorce her husband, the un derstanding had been reached by which ho management of Las Palmas was placed absolutely in her hands'. Of course the truth became public, as It always does. "Young Ed" Aus tin's life became a scorn and a hissing among his neighbors. They were not unduly fastidious, these neighbors, and they knew that hot blood requires more than a generation to cool, but every thing Ed did outraged them. In trying to show their sympathy for his wife they succeeded In wounding her more deeply, and Alaire withdrew Into her self. She had changed. The alteration readied to the very bone and marrow of her being. At first the general pity had wounded lier, then It had offended, and finally angered her. That people should notice her affliction, particu larly when she strove so desperately to hide it, seemed the height of Inso lence. The management of Las Palmas was almost her only relief. Having sprung from family of ranchers, the work came easy, and she grew to like it—as well as she could like anything with that ever-present pain In her breast. Las I'almas had prospered to admira tion, and La Feria would have pros pered equally had it not been for the armed unrest of the country across the border. No finer stock than the "Box A" was to be found anywhere. But Alaire had not confined her efforts to cattle she had Improved the breed of "I5ox A" horses, too, and hand in hand with this work she had carried on a series of agricultural experiments. For instance, she had started a grove of paper-shelled pecuns, which was soon due to bear the ranchhouse and Its clump of palms was all but hidden by a forest of strange trees, which were reported to ripen everything from mothballs to bicycle tires. Blaze Jones was perhaps responsible for this re port, for Alaire had shown him sev eral thousand eucalyptus saplings and some ornamental rubber plants. "That Miz Austin is a money-makin' piece of furniture," he once told liio daughter Paloma. "I'm no mechanical adder—I count mostly on my fingers— but her and me calculated the profits cn them eucher what's their name trees?—and it gave me a splittin* head ache. She'll be a drug queen, sure." "Why don't you follow her exam ple?" asked Paloma. "We have plenty of land." Double complications develop for Mrs. Austin in quick order. The next installment describes her encounter with a Mexican officer who becomes wild about her and makes trouble. (TO BD CONTINUED.) Real Appreciation. Ella was arranging her mistress' hair one afternoon when she men tioned that she had heard Miss Allen sing in the parlor the evening before. "How did you like her, Ella?" asked the mistress. "Oh, mum," sighed the maid, "it was grand I She sung just as if she was gargling!" The Way. Bystander—"I suppose you would like to take a ride without worrying about tires and the like?" Motorist (fixing a puncture)—"You bet 1 would." Bystander—"Well, I re's a car ticket."—ChapaiT: (By PROF. P. G. HOLDEN, Former Dean ot Iowa State College.) Manure a piece of ground in the fall and plow or, If this cannot be done, manure the ground in the winter or early spring and disk thoroughly and then plow. 2. Disk or harrow or cultivate the ground every week or ten days during April, May and June to kill the weeds. Keep the ground clean. Don't let the weeds get a start. In addition this will give a firm seedbed, just what alfalfa must have. 8. Apply from three to five tons of ground lime rock per acre any time during the spring when most conve nient. 4. Sow from 10 to 12 pounds of seed per acre the last of June or dur ing July or the first of August, with out any nurse crop. The Important things are: Manure, lime, killing the weeds, a firm seedbed, sowing early so as to have strong PLAN TO GET A €000 STAND OF ALFALFA plants to withstand the winter, and— determination. IJy sowing early, say in July or the last of June, as soon as the weeds are killed, there is time to resow in case of heavy rain which may form a hard crust on the soil and preveut the first sowing from coming up. 5. Inoculation.—Inoculation never hurts and, east of the Missouri river usually helps and often Is essential especially until alfalfa has been SELECTION OF HENS FOR BREEDING PENS Pick Only Active, Vigorous Fowls, Avoiding Use of Thin, Im mature Pullets. Select mature hens, and not pullets, for breeding purposes, advises F. E. Fox, assistant in poultry husbandry In the Kansas State Agricultural col lege. "Constitutional vigor should be the first consideration in the selection of a lien," said Mr. Fox. "The head should be broad, wide und deep the eyes full, round and promiuent the back short and stout and the neck of medium length. "Individuals should be selected that have well proportioned backs, broad at the rear extremity. The birds should have broad, deep breasts with long keels, which should extend well to the rear. The body should have plenty of capacity to allow room for the diges tive and reproductive organs. Anoth er indication of vigor Is the well-worn or blunt toenail. "Select only active, vigorous hens. A good rule for this is the old saying, 'the best hen Is the first off the roost in the morning and the last on In the evening." Avoid the use of Immature pullets. grown on the farm for several years. The Inoculation Is a simple matter and easily done. During the spring or summer distribute from the rear end of a wagon 300 or 400 pounds per acre of sweet clover or alfalfa soli, secured from a sweet clover or from a good alfalfa field. Drainage.—Alfalfa will not do well in sour, wet, soggy ground. If not nat urally drained it should be tile-drained. 1. Cultivate.—Cultivate and culti vate both ways. Don't be afraid of hurting the alfalfa. There is nothing equal to a spring-tooth harrow for cultivating alfalfa. It destroys the weeds and especially blue grass which Is alfalfa's greatest enemy, and forms a mulch, keeping the ground from get ting hard. Cultivate in the fnll cul tivate early in the spring cultivate after each cutting except after the first cutting In the spring when you won't have time. Begin cultivating the sec ond season after sowing. 2. When to Cut Alfalfa.—Cut when ALFALFA A PROFITABLE CROP—FOUR TONS PER ACRE. CHEAP PORTABLE COLONY POULTRY HOUSE & 0 O O O 3 O O O O O O O O O O HENHOUSE MADE FROM OLD PIANO BOXES. Not having enough brooding space last spring and not wanting to put much money Into new houses, I hit upon the following plan: I first secured two piano boxes from a piano denier. Then I bought at the lumber yurd two pieces 2 by C. 9 feet long, and four pieces 2 by 4, 6 feet long, says a writer In National Stockman and Farmer. These six pieces I made into a sled. I set the 2 by 6 pieces on edge parallel and six feet apurt. I then mortised the tour pieces In them, spacing them hardly three feet apart and spiked them down. I set the boxes on the sled one at each end with the backs facing in,' then carefully removed the backs and divided each into two equal parts and put one of these parts on the sled between the boxes for the floor. Another, part bridges the gap In the roof. The third part closes one side and the four'h makes the door. On each side of the door I put in a window. For roofing I' axed prepared roofing and extended the strips to he ground on both ends. I, wered *'»e back with the same material. the little shoots or buds begin to start at the base of the plant. This is important and especially for the first cutting in the spring. When the buds or shoots start that means that all the strength Is going to the new shoots for the next crop. If we delay cutting until these shoots have grown up so that we cut them off,'we will cut two crops of alfulfu and get but one. Keep your eye on the little shoots—never mind the blossom. PLAN TO RID SHEEP OF ALL PARASITES Drench of Copper Sulphate Has Been Found Most Satisfactory at Ohio Station. Sheepmen having flocks Infested with stomach and tapeworms may free the animals of such pests by treatment before turning out to spring pasture. For this purpose a drench of copper sulphate lias been found most satisfac tory In the flocks at the Ohio experi ment station. Two fluid ounces of a solution made by dissolving nn ounce of copper sul phate (blue vitriol) in two quarts of water is sufficient for a yearling, and a two-year-old sheep needs three fluid ounces. A long-necked bottle or a rub ber tube and funnel may be used to give the dose. Most effective results follow when the sheep are fasted for a day both before and after treatment. Water should not be given for a few hours preceding and following the dos ing. Digestive disturbances, poor appe tite, loss of flesh and general weakness indicate the presence of worms. Lambs are most seriously affected. Ridding the sheep of worms In the spring will result In fewer losses in the lamb crop.