Newspaper Page Text
BSupplement to TF' B33ANNER. DE3dcIOEOO.T.
LAKE PROVI1ENCE, LOUISIANA, TIURSI)AY, DECEMBER 25, 1902.
A CHRISTMAS HOLD-UP
CHARLES XOREAT HA. GER
0 0 ~t IAT about getting through
"It's all right, I guess.
Drifting some on the Lit
tle Cimarron, but that won't do muca
"It's 30 miles."
"Well, that ain't much. This team's
good for it. Goin' to start right off,
The anxious traveler returned to the
fire in the uninviting office of the Mid
Continental hotel. She was brown
haired, cheery-faced, and evidently ac
customed to looking out for herself. She
was bound for the Indian school at the
other end of the stage line-a position
"All aboard!" called the driver, and
the passengers hurried into the three
seated carryall that served for a stage.
The woman sat beside John Carlin, the
owner of Circle Bar ranche. He tucked
the robes around her and remarked:
"Mighty poor day for a pleasure ride."
"Slightly," remarked his seat-mate,
smiling, "and you know what day it is?"
"Yes, and we are likely to run over into
Christmas., for the roads may keep us out
until after midnight, ma'am."
"Call me Miss Macon-I'm the new in
"Better be prepared for whatever hap
pens, Miss Macon; this is a tough stretch
of country across the territory."
S"Are the Indians bad?" Her eyes grew
big and wondering.
"Whites are a blamed sight worse than
redskins. We can handle Indians."
"But some good men go west--viry
good men!" The eyes grew softer as she
recalled a memory of the days back east.
"Yes; but, blame 'em, they don't stay
The eyes flashed and she looked out over
the broad prairie, stretching away in
patches of brown and white to the far
horizon. Nor did she renew the conversa
tion, and the handsome ranchman was
The day wore on. They stopped at a
cabin for lunch. They climbed long
slopes and toiled through sandy wastes
where in springtime would be rushing
rivers. They rattled down the declivi
ties of ravines and more than once the
weary horses were stalled in the drifts
f .c ,,s V
, What About Getting Through Tonight ?"
that had been heaped among the dead
suntlowers and ragweeds in the draws. It
was a tiresome, cheerless journey, and the
five passengers kept mostly their own im
presssions of its discomforts.
In the late afternoon Miss Macon broke
the silence, taking up the thread of the
morning's discussion: "An old friend of
mine is in the west-he was a daring
fellow, but a brave one."
"Then be' is fitted for the west. Such
men are its pride-if they have the right
-ays." He added the afterthought and
noticed that she started and studied him
keenly, as if to be certain that he meant
nothing of direct application. "There is
more than one kind of bravery," he went
on, more to keep up the conversation than
because the thought was original.
... rZ· 14 t I t rs.
I~i s--- ~h
She did not answer, and the stage hur
ried on through the gathering darkness.
Once there was a coyote yell in the dis
tance, and Carlin felt a glow of satis
faction as the graceful form beside him
leaned closer to his ulster, as if for pro
Suddenly, as they went rattling down a
elope, the horses on the canter, the dead
• Well, It Ain't Right."
sunflowers standing on either side of the
read like sentinels, there was a shot fired
and a cry of "Halt!" They halted.
Then happened what usually happens
when a masked group assaults the stage,
and in a short time the five phasengers
and the driver were standing in a lone
some row in the struggling moonlight.
"Hands up!" and their arms were ex
tended toward the stars. Miss Macon,
even in her terror, noticed that the con
stellation of Orion was nearly overhead.
And then the chief of the robbers came
to ner side.
"Quick, ma'am, what have you got?"
Something in the tone aroused her and
she looked anxiously into the half-masked
face of the handsome frontiersman who
bent toward her. "In New England men
treat women with more courtesy," she re
"You're from New England? What are
you doing out here?"
"I'm going to the agency-I'm Miss Ma
con, the new-"
The man stepped back as if he had been
struck by a mailed hand. He motioned to
his confederates to join him, but they diid
not see his signal. With a quick action of
impatience he swung his arm across his
face and the mask was for an instant dis
placed. Only for an instant, but it was
time for the bright moonlight to fall on
his clean-shaven features and for the
woman gazing intently at him to realize
that this was for her a time of fate.
She gathered herself together with an
effort that was worthy of a better cause,
and stepping closer to the bandit whis
pered one word. He, startled, trembled
and obeyed her swift instructions to step
behind the wagon, leaving the others to
guard the four remaining passengers.
"Oh, Frqnk, how could you?" she de
manded, ratching up to the strong face
and lifting the mask. It, was one she knew
so well in the old days.
"Well, it ain't right," he admitted,
shame-facedly. "But who cares?"
"I care-everybody cares-your poor old
mother sitting alone in the little farm
house at Danvers, cares. You don't know
low much she cares-and Anna cares!"
The man brushed his arm across his
face as if his eyes hurt him. "Yes, I sup
pose it's so. But things got mighty tough
-- had to do something. It's the first
tune. What can I do now?"
"Go home, Frank," went on the wom
an's low voice. "Go home to your moth
er, and help her run the farm. Be a man
"And Anna-your sister?"
"Frank, she has grieved for you all this
time-she wants you now."
"But," bitterly, "you will tell her abodu
"I will do this, Frank. I will give you
two years to prove yourself. If you are
sincere, the secret will be yours and mine.
If you do not, I will tell them of to-night
She turned toward the group they had
left in the moonlight beyond the wagon.
His eyes followed hers and grew large as
he saw the transformation that had taken
"Lands up!" Carlin's cool voice gave
the order, and his revolver was pointed at
them. The other robbers had fled. The
chief was alone.
The girl, heedless of tne summons, lift
ed the mask to hide the face of the man
beside her and then stepped in front of
him. Carlin lowered his gun. "Get out of
the way," he called. "He'll escape!"
"N', he won't escape," was the calm
reply-"not now. I will speak for him.
Where are the others?"
"Gone. We told them the chief had
skipped and they were scared. They took
all our things with 'em, though."
"You must begin now," said the girl,
turning to the chief. "Understand?"
He bowed his head. "I'll do it," he
whispered, "honor bright."
"Go," she ordered, and, facing the prs
zled ranchman, held both his hands un
til the other had vanished in the sun
flower stalks. Carlin glowed under the
girl's touch, and obeyed.
"Do you belong to this--company?" he
asked, a little bitterly, as she loosed his
arms, now that it was too late.
"No, but you remember what you said
a little while ago, 'there is more than one
kind of bravery?' "
A shrill whistle sounded off to the right
and suddenly stood before them the quar
tette so recently departed. The passen
gers were covered by their revolvers and
they were at the bandits' mercy once
But the masked chief stepped forward,
holding in his hand Carlin's watch and
pocketbook; he gave to the others their
belongings-their watches, jewelry and re
volvers--Carlin was the only one who had
hidden his gun.
It was all done so silently and quickly
that the stageload could scarcely under
stand what was happening.
When the last trinket had been distrib
uted the' masked chief bowed low. His
fine mouth just showing beneath the
fringe of black curled a little-whether in
fun or contempt none could tell.
"Merry Christmas! I am Santa Claus!"
He bowed again, stepped back, bent 4
eyes on Miss Macon-and the strangers
The passengers, looking down at their
watches, read the time-it was past mid
The stage reached the end of its jour*
ney six hours late. Before it arrived Car
lin had asked permission to call on Miss
Macon and discuss the strange events of
the ride. "I am not used to receiving
gifts at that time of night," said he.
Though Carlin called and they talked
over the night's happenings, she did not
explain. There was a newspaper story of
a crazy stage robber who gave back all he
stole (you may have read it) and she did
not correct that-not even when, a year
later, Carlin made her his bride and
claimed that he had received two Christ
mas presents from the chief.
Years afterward they visited New Eng
land, the guests of their brother-in-law,
the mayor of Danvers. "Do you know,"
remarked Carlin, to his wife, "Frank has
a fine mouth-it reminds me of some one
I have seen somewhere."
She did not reply.
A Pleasant Prospect Ahead.
'Tis Christmas eve. Oh. gentle sleep,
O'er Johnnie's parents softly creep.
And wrap them in a slumber deep;
For early in the morn will come
The round of Johnnie's Christmas drum.
Economy of Labor.
"He is one of the most resourceful lazy,
men I ever knew."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because, instead of writing out his
good resolutions, he cut the page for JAn
uary 1, 1902, from his old diary and pasted
it in under 1903."-Chicago Post.
Oh, Christmas-tide, thy discipline quite
moves my soul to weep:
AWe give away such lovely things we mal
yearn to keep.
The Genuine Article.
He-Darling, I love you!
She-And have you never told other
girls the sameY
He-Well--er-yes; but not so neas
j LEAN back in my arm-chair as the snow-flakes soft and white
Clothe the hilltops and the valleys in habiliments of white,
While the cutting winds of winter send their music far and wide,
Disputing with the mellow bells the joys of Christmas-tide;
I seem to catch the echoes of the songs they sing on high,
Beyond the mystic beauty of December's vaulted sky,
And again is told the story cf the Christ-child's humble birth,
As I sit and, eager, listen by the dear old Christmas hearth.
THERE 's music in the steeples, there are chimes deep in the dells,
And the wild winds mingle gladlywith the holy Christmas bells,
And I look beyond the window on the beauty of the snow,
Recalling some sweet Christmases in life's fair " long ago ;"
What scenes come floating back along the winding ways of Time,
Like the fragrance of the flowers of an ever-cherished clime;
Till my chamber fills with faces and I hear the sounds of mirth
That brighten with infectious glee the happy Christmas hearth.
SEE six little stockings hanging in a pretty row,
We hung them round this cherished hearth one twilight long ago,
And we laughed and nestled closer 'neath the old roof-tree of home,
And hardly slept for watching for old Santa Claus to come;
I remember, ah I who does not ? how the sunny Christmas morn
Revealed the wealth of treasure from the doll to drum and horn-
How the house was filled with laughter till it seemed to shake the earth,
While brighter glowed the fire upon the old Christmas hearth.
tO-DAY there seems to come to me across the fleecy snow
The beauty and the glory of that Christmas long ago,
When shepherds watched their gentle flocks upon the hills afar,
In the heaven-tinted splendor of the East's transcendent star;
I see a mother bend above a matchless cherub face,
And a radiance not earthly drives the shadows from the place;
Till Judea wakes to glory and new beauty crowns the earth,
And the choristers of Heaven sing about my Christmas hearth.
OLD Time seems in his dotage and upon his tresses white
Lie the snowflakes of a Christmas that has filled me with delight;
Far and wide the bells are ringing, and their music, glad and free,
Tells the story of His coming on the land and on the sea;
And mingled with their anthems Is that chorus all divine
That filled a mother's heart with joy one night in Palestine;
And I bow my head a moment as the children check their mirth,
And silence comes to sanctify the dear old Christmas hearth.
I BLESS the glorious dawning of this queenly winter day,
It brings t6 all a gladness from a region far away,
And while the bells are ringing over all this beauteous earth
I bless the loves that cluster round the dear old Christmas hearth.
T. C. HARBAUGH.
" ,L AWU,
Comedy of Errors
By ELISA ARMSTRONG BENGOUGH.'
a IT HERE, now, we are all ready
for Christmas," said Mrs.
Slickerby, as she climbed stiff
ly down from the chair on
which she had been standing to deck the
chandelier with holly. "How surprised
Josiah will be when he comes in, cold and
tired, to find the place looking so like
holiday times. I declare, I have a good
mind to make a fire in the stove just to
please him; he kept asking for it so long
though, come to think of it, he hasn't
mentioned it lately, though I always told
him it only made a dirt for me to clean
up and the furnace heated the whole
place anyhow. He said his mother used
to have a nice fire in the stove when they
came in evenings. Of course, she did; his
mother never saw a furnace in her life
"It's Your New Set of Furs!"
and wouldn't have known it from a tele
phone if she had." She paused, with
her hands' on her hips, to admire the re.
sult of her labors. "Yes, 1 guess I will
light a fire in that stove, anynow, it will
serve as a text for more remarks about the
cold and a few more hints as to how I
do need a new set of furs this Christmas.
Josiah is a good man, but he is as close
when it comes to a question of money as
a potato is to its skin."
she *as bustling about as she talked,
making her preparations to light a fire in
the brilliantly polished stove. "There, I
declare," she cried, as she opened the
door, "if Josiah hasn't got this stove all
filled up with papers and trash, after all
my talking; it does seem as if you can't
teach a man to be careful about a house
any more than you can teach a hen to
play checkers! Never mind, I'll just lay
my kindlings pn top of the trash and not
scold-Christmas is not the time for scold
ing, anyhow-though when you've got to
live with a man it's best to take every
opportunity to teach him what's right."
As the fire began to crackle cheerfully,
she left it and went over to the old-fash
ioned cupboard in the corner, reached
carefully to the top shelf and took down
"I'll just take a last peep at Josiah's
present," she said. "I tell you, there was
a lot of work in the knitting of that af
ghan, and if he doesn't give me those furs
he'll feel a good deal ashamed every time
he puts it over his knees in the buggy
this winter-and the furs are not in the
house, I know that, for I've been over
every square inch of it in hopes I'd find
he'd hidden 'em somewhere." She had
unfolded a wonderful combination of col
ors in wool which would have made Jo
seph's coat a somber garment by compari
son, and looked at it with great admira
tion. Then she carefully replaced it. "I
don't know as it's just necessary to keep
it away up there-he wouldn't see it if
it was right under his nose. Dear me, I
certainly smell something burning. I
wonder if it can be my cake ii the oven,
I had almost forgotten it, with all these
other things on my mind."
"There comes Josiah now!" she cried
ten minutes later, as she heard the dobr
of the sitting room open. "I'll stay out
here and see what he does. Well, surely
he must be pleased with the decorations
and the fire in the stove. It sounds as if
he was doing a jig all over the room-and
him a professing Christian, too!"
Five minutes later later she opened the
sitting room door and stood transfixed on
the threshold. "Why, Josiah Slickerby,
what on earth is the matter?" she
shrieked. "You are as black as a sweep
and your beard is all singed, and what is
that awful smell in here, and w-what is
that you have in your hand?"
"It's your new set of furs, that's what
it is," retorted Josiah, grimly, "a good set
of furs that cost a lot of money, too, and
looking like a cat that had been sitting on
a can of firecrackers when they went off!"
"But how on earth could-"
"1 had hid 'em in the stove, that's how!
you said you'd never make another fire in
it now we've got a furnace, and I hid 'em
in it, so's I could surprise you for Christ
-"Well, goodness knows, you have sur
"'Yes, and when I came into this room it
was all full of smoke, and flames were
bursting out of the stove door, it was so
full, and if I hadn't kept my presence of
mind and hunted out that old thing to
smother the flames with, the whole place
might Lave been burned!" And he held
up the afghan, which was scarcely in bet
ter condition than the furs!
A Similar Experience.
Reeder tlooking up from his newspaper)
-Great Scot,! Here is a yarn about a
man who spent a night in a pit with a
Bengal tiger. Just imagine how he must
Hennypeck--I can easily do that-i
know all about it. For two weeks before
i the holidays I was obliged to face the uni
ted demands of my wife and seven grows
daughters for Christmas money.-Judge.
A Whole Dinner
By JESSIS LLEWEr.LYN.
HE holiday rush kept us late, and
although thoroughly tired in mind
and body I felt no relief upon be.
ing free to leave the crowded store
and return to my cheap boarding house.
Slowly I made my way among chattering
clerks, comfortable matrons and fashion
able young women to the rear exit. I was
horribly conscious of my frayed jacket,
and the lean leather chatelaine at my side.
"Christmas!" 1 smiled bitterly.
"Serves you right for not staying mar
ried," I could hear the last harsh words
of my maiden aunt as I left the sleepy,
village to seek independence and self-re
"Other women?" rang the voice, "well,
men will be men; he makes a good living
for you, don't he?"
I heard the key turn in the great store
door, but still I remained on the step,
staring out at the lights tearfully reflect
ed in the wet pavement, when there came,
from somewhere below my waist line, a
"Please, mum, gimme a nickel?"
I looked down and beheld the smallet,
dirtiest, most forsaken little woman I had
ever seen. She could have been no more
than seven, but there was endless weath
er tales in the hollows of her cheeks, and
the over-bright black eyes bespoke knowl
edge of filth and starvation and wretch
"Er a penny," she whined.
I was half interested. A thought be
yond myself-and him-was welcome.
"Please, mum-" she began again.
There were just six cents in my pocket,
for I had deposited my last dollar with
the boarding-housekeeper in case the
laundryman should call in my absence.
Notwithstanding the child's hardened
little face there was an expression about
her wide mouth that attracted me. It
was almost motherly in its maturity.
Laying the nickel and the penny side bg
side in my hand, I said:
"It is all I have. If you take the nickel
I shall have to walk home, but if it is the
penny you choose I may ride, and I am
She shot an impudent, inquisitive glance
"Where d'youse live?" she asked.
Mechanically I repeated my street num.
"Ten blocks!" she scornfully replied.
"Dat's easy!" and swiftly grabbing the
nickel she darted around the corner.
The next day was Christmas, and I did
not go down to breakfast, but lunched of
soda crackers and some stale candy in my
"Christmas! Christmas!" I repeated
the words to haunting memories, and I
am afraid I cried a little.
t Some one tapped at my door.
"Come in," I called in quite a matter
of fact tone. The door opened timidly,
and there on the threshold stood no other
than my little beggar of the night be.
She was much embarrassed, but before I
could welcome her one dirty paw shot out
suddenly like her quick glances, and in the
begrimed little palm lay my nickel.
"I bringed it back," she stammered,
"Because?" I suggested, smiling.
"Jest 'cause I-I piped youse off as
kind o' on youse uppers youse own self,
and I ain't seemed t' sleep sound-"
She got no further-this dirty, sinful,
little waif, for I had gathered her up is
my arms and was holding her very tight.
Some one cared! On that desolate Christ
mas some one actually cared!
"Little woman," I said presently, laps.
ing into the language of him who was
constantly in my thoughts, "there is one
dollar coming to me, all on account of a
derelict laundryman. What would you
rather have than anything else that a dol
lar can buy?"
"Has youse got de dough, sure 'nought"
Instantly she answered me: "Say, what
'ud a whole dinner cost, wid mashed po
tatoes fer both of usens?"
We must have made a comical picture,
my new friend and I, as we entered the
quiet, down-town restaurant. There was
just one other person seated there on this
Christmas day-a man over in the shadow
of the corner.
The child had scrambled into a chair
indicated by the head waiter, and I was
about to take my place opposite, when
the man in the corner suddenly arose.
I cannot, even now, remember how it
all happened. Confusedly I saw the young
ater's eyes grow round with wonder, and
the head waiter stifled an exclamatory
t oath, for I, there in the public restaurant,
I was in that stranger's arms. And this
II remember distinctly-the man's moet
"Forgive me, little woman, for not find'
ing you sooner. I have been scouring tlhe
land for you. Not a word, not a word ofat
it all was truth, and if 1 had that ack.
Shug old maid aunt-"
A voice interrupted him. It was the
"Say. miss, dat guy is on de square
honr.est-I kin tell."
t And bless her little heart, she did tel
All PIorlded For.
o 'Clara (arranging the Christmas pre
e ent,)-Well ,put mamma' a pearl neck.
d lace hlere.
Dora-And Mabel's diamond earring
Cora-And CGorge's gold watch here.
Dora-And Fdith's diamond bracelets-.
what shall we do with them?
I Clara-Lay them on the piano alonp]id
Sof papa's Christmas card.-N. Y. WeekIl
1A Sight for the Gods.
The girl you'd give the world to win
To show you how she holds you dean
Now fondly ties beneath your eatn
, A necktie you can never wear. -4
S--N. Y. Wor -