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This romance of Freckles and the Angel of the Limberlost is one of the most novel, entertain ing, wholesome and fascinating stories that have come from the pen of an American author in many years. The characters in this sylvan tale arc: Freckles, a plucky waif who guards the Limberlost timber leases and dreams of angels. The Swamp Angel, in whom Freckles' sweetest dream ma terializes. McLean, a member of a lumber company, who befriends Freckles. Mrs. Duncan, who gives moth er love and a home to Freckles. Duncan, head teamster of Mc Lean's timber gang. The Bird Woman, who is col cting camera studies of birds fdr a book. Le Lord and Lady O'More, who come from It eland in quest of a lost relative. The Man of Affairs, brusque of manner, but big of heart. Wessner, a timber thief who wants rascality made easy. Black 'Jack, a villain to whom thought of repentance comes too late. II. N—lEXTCHAPTER FBECKLES PBOVES HIS METAX. morning the boss showed Freckles around the timber line and engaged him board with his head teamster, Dun can, whom he had brought from Scot land and who lived in a small clear ing he was working out between the swamp and the corduroy. When the gang pulled out for the south camp Freckles was left to guard a fortune in the Limberlost. That he was under guard himself those first weeks he nev knew. Every hour was torture to the boy. The restricted life of a great city or phanage was the other extreme of the world from the Limberlost. He was afraid for his life every minute. He cut a stout hickory cudgel, with a knot on the end as big as his fist, and it never left his hand. What he thought in those first days he himself could not clearly recall afterward. His heart stood still every time he saw the beautiful marsh grass begin a sinuous waving against the play of the wind, as McLean had told him it would. He bolted a half mile with his first boom of the bittern, and his hat lifted with every yelp of the sheitpoke. Once he saw a lean, shadowy form following him and blazed away with his revolver. Then he was frightened worse than ever for fear it might have been Duncan's collie. The first afternoon that he found his wires down, and he was compelled to plunge knee deep into the black swamp muck to restring them, he could scarcely control his shaking hand to do the work. With every step he elt that he would miss secure footing a2& be swallowed up in that clinging sea of blackness. In dumb agony he plunged along, clinging to the posts and trees. He had consumed much time. Night closed in. The Limber lost stirred gently, then shook herself, growled and awoke about him. There seemed to be a great owl hoot ing from every hollow tree and a little one screeching from every knothole. Nighthawks swept past him with their shivering cry, and bats struck his face. A prowling wildcat missed its catch and screamed with rage. A lost fox bayed incessantly for its mate. The hair on the back of Freckles' neck rose like bristles, and his- knees wavered under him. He could not see if the dreaded snakes were on the trail nor in the pandemonium hear the rattle for which McLean had cautioned him to listen. Something big. black and heavy came crashing through the swamp, and with a yell Freckles broke and ran how far he did not know. But at last be gained some sort of mastery over himself and retraced bis steps. When he again came toward the corduroy tbe cudgel fell to test the wire at ev HTT BtPn FRECKLES COPYRIGHT. 1904, BY DOUBLEDAY. PAGE & CO. Sounds that curdled his blood seem ed to close in about him and shapes of terror to draw nearer and nearer. .Tust when he felt that he should fall dead before he ever reached the clear ing came Duncan's rolling call, "Frec kles. Freckles!" A great shuddering sob burst in the boy's dry throat. But he only told Duncan that finding the wire down had made him late. The next morning he started out on •time. Day after day with his heart oounding like a triphammer he ducked, dodged, ran when he could and fought like a wildcat when he was brought to bay. If he ever had an idea of giving up no one knew it. All these things in so far as he guessed them Duncan, who had been set to watch the first weeks of Freckles' work, carried to the boss at the south camp, but the inner most, exquisite torture of the thing the big Scotchman never guessed, and Mc Lean with his finer perceptions came only a little nearer. After a few weeks, when Freckles found that he was still living, that he had a home and the very first money he had ever possessed was safe in his pockets, he began to grow proud. He was gradually developing the fearless ness that men ever acquire of dangers to which they are hourly accustomed. His heart seemed to be in his mouth when his first rattler disputed the trail with him, but be mustered cour age and let drive at it with his club. After its head had been crushed he cut off its rattles to show Duncan. With the mastery of his first snake his greatest l'ear of them was gone. Then he began to realize that with the abundance of food in the swamp flesh hunters would not come out oti the trail and attack him. and he had his revolver for defense if they did. He soon learned to laugh at the floppy birds that made horrible noises. One day watching from behind a tree he saw a crane solemnly performing a few measures of a belated nuptial song and dance with his mate. Re alizing that it was intended in tender ness, no matter how it appeared, the lonely, starved heart of the boy went out to them in sympathy. When day after day the only thing that relieved his utter loneliness was the companionship of the birds and beasts of the swamp Freckles turned to them for friendship.' He began by instinctively protecting the weak and helpless. He was astonished at the quickness with which they became ac customed to him once they learned that he was not a hunter and that the club he carried was used more fre quently for their benefit than his own. He could scarcely believe what he saw. When black frosts began stripping the Limberlost he watched the depart ing troops of his friends with dismay. He made special efforts toward friend liness with the hope that he could in duce some of them to stay. It was then that he conceived the idea of carrying food to the birds, for he saw that they were leaving for lack of it. But he could not stop them. Day after day flocks gathered and depart ed. By the time the first snow whit ened his trail about the Limberlost there were left only the little black and white juncos. the sapsuckers, yel lowhammers, a few patriarchs among the flaming cardinals, the bluejays. the crows and the quail. Then Freckles began his wizard work. He cleared a space of swale, and twice a day he spread a birds' banquet. By the middle of December the strong winds of winter had beaten most of the seed from the grass and bushes. The snow fell, covering the swamp, and food was very scarce and hard to find. The birds scarcely wait ed until Freckles' back was turned to attack his provisions. In a few weeks they flew toward the clearing to meet him. By the bitter weather of Jan uary they came halfway to the cabin every morning and fluttered about him like doves all the way to the feeding ground. By February they would perch on his head and shoulders, and the saucy jays would try to pry into his pockets. Then Freckles added to. wheat and crumbs every scrap of refuse food he could find about the cabin. One morn ing, coming to his feeding ground un usually early, he found a gorgeous cardinal and a rabbit sociably nibbling a cabbage leaf side by side, and that instantly gave to him tbe idea of cracking nuts from the store he had gathered for Duncan's children, for the squirrels, in the effort to add them to his family. Soon be bad them com ing—red, gray and black—and he be came filled with a vast impatience that he did not know their names nor habits. So the winter passed. Every week McLean rode over to the Limberlost, never on the same day nor at the same hour. The boy's earnings constituted his first money, and when the boss ex plained to him that he could leave them safe at a bank and carry away a scrap of paper that represented the amount be made a deposit on every pay day, keeping out barely what was necessary for his board and clothing. What be wanted to do with his money he did' not know, but it gave to him a sense of freedom and power to feel that It was there—it was his and he could have it when he chose. That winter held the first hours of real happiness in Freckles' life. He was free. He was doing a man's work faithfully through every rigor of rain, snow and blizzard. He was gathering a wonderful strength of body, paying his way and saving money. Mrs. Duncan had a hot drink ready for him when he came in from a freez ing day on the trail, knitted a heavy mitten for his left hand, devised a way to sew up and pad the right sleeve which protected the maimed arm in bitter weather, patched his clothing and saved kitchen scraps for his birds, not because she either knew or cared a rap about them, but because she her self was near enough the swamp to be touched by its utter loneliness. When Duncan laughed at her for this she re torted: "My God, mannie. if Freckles hadna the birds and the beasts he would be always alone. It was never meant for a human being to be sa soli tary.'' The next morning Duncan gave an ear of corn he was shelling to Frec kles and told him to carry It to his wild chickens in the Limberlost. Freckles laughed delightedly. "Me chickens!" he said. "Why didn't 2 ever think of that before? Of course they are! They are just little brightly colored cocks and hens. But what would you say to me 'wild chickens' be ing a good deal tamer than yours here in your yard?" "Hoot, lad!" cried Duncan. "Make yours light on your head and eat out of your hands and pockets.'' challenged Freckles. "Go tell your fairy tales to the wee people! They're juist brash on be lievin' things," said Duncan. "I dare you to come see!" retorted Freckles. "Take ye!" said Duncan. "If ye make juist ane bird licht on your heid or eat frae your hand ye are free to help yoursel' to my corncrib and wheat bin the rest of the winter." After that Freckles always spoke of the birds as his chickens. The next Sabbath Duncan, with his wife and children, followed Freckles to the swamp. Freckles' chickens were awaiting him at the edge of the clearing-. They cut the frosty air about his head into curves and circles of crimson, blue and black. They chased each other from Freckles and swept so closely them selves that they brushed him with their outspread wings. At their feeding ground Freckles set down his old pail of scraps and swept the snow from a small level space with a broom improvised from twigs. As soon as his back was turned the birds clustered over the food, snatching scraps to carry to the nearest bushes. Several of the boldest, a big crow and a couple of jays, settled on the rim and feasted at leisure, while a cardi nal that hesitated to venture fumed and scolded from a twig overhead. Then Freckles scattered his store. At once the ground resembled the spread mantle of Montezuma, except that this mass of gayly colored feathers was on the backs of living birds. While they feasted Duncan gripped his wife's arm and stared in astonishment, for from the bushes and dry grass with gentle cheeping and queer, throaty chatter, as if to encourage each other, came flocks of quail. Before any one saw it arrive a big gray rabbit sat in the midst of the feast, contentedly gnawing a cabbage leaf. "Weel. I be drawed on!" came Mrs. Duncan's tense whisper. "Shu-shu!" cautioned Duncan. Lastly Freckles took off his cap. He began filling it with handfuls of wheat from his pockets. In a swarm the grain eaters rose about him like a flock of tame pigeons. They perched on his arms and the cap, and, in the stress of hunger forgetting all caution, a bril liant cock cardinal and an equally gaudy jay fought for a perching place on his head. "Weel. I'm beat!'' muttered Duncan, forgetting the silence imposed on his wife. "I'll hae to give in. Seein' is belie vin'." A week later Duncan and Freckles rose from breakfast to face the bitter est morning of the winter. When Freckles, warmly capped and gloved, stepped to the corner of the kitchen for his scrap pail he found a pan of steaming boiled wheat on the top of it. He wheeled to Mrs. Duncan with a shining face. "Were you fixing this warm food for me chickens or yours?" he asked. "It's for yours. Freckles," she said. Freckles faced Mrs. Duncan with a trace of every pang of starved mother hunger he had ever suffered written large on his homely, splotched, narrow features. "Oh, how I wish you were my moth er!" he cried. "Lord love the lad!" exclaimed Mrs. Duncan. "Why. Freckles, are ye no bricht enough to learn without being taught by a woman that I am your mither? If a great man like yoursel' dinna ken that, learn it now and ne'er forget it. Ance a woman is the wife of any man she becomes wife to all men for having had the wifely ex perience she kens! Ance a man child has beaten his way to life under the heart of a woman she is mother to all men, for the hearts of mithers are everywhere the same. Bless ye. lad die. I am your mither!" She tucked the coarse scarf she had knit for him closer over his chest and pulled his cap lower about his ears, buc Freckles, whipping it off and hold ing it under his arm. caught her rough, reddened hand and pressed it to his lips in a long kiss. Then he hurried away to hide the happy, embarr^siug tears that were coming straight from his swelling heart. rHE (JOUU1ER-UEMOCKAT THUB8DAY, MABCH 14, 1912. Mrs. Duncan threw herself into Dun can's arms. "Oh, the puir lad!" she wai the puir mither hungry !:ul: hi-ei my beart!" Duncan's arms closed -, :r naively about his wife. Wi brown hand he lovingly rough sorrel hair. "Sarah, you're n-omau!" he said. "You're :i n'" -.mid woman! Ye hae a wav o' out at times that's like the inspire 1 T- .rophets of the Lord." All through the winter Freckles* en tire ser*ry was given to keeping up his lini's rmrt his "chickens" from freezing or «tnrving. When the first breath of spring touched the Limber lost and the snow receded before it when the catkins began to bloom when there came a hint of green to the trees, bushes and swale when the rushes lifted their heads and the pulse of the newly resurrected season beat strong in the beart of nature, something new stirred in the breast of the boy. Nature always levies her tribute. Now she laid a powerful hand on the soul of Freckles, to which the boy's whole being responded, though he had not the least idea what was troubling him. Duncan accepted his wife's theory that it was a touch of spring fever, but Freckles knew better. He had never been so well. CHAPTER III. A KEATIIER FALLS. HE sounds that had at first struck eold fear into Freckles' soul he now knew had left on wing and silent foot at the approach of winter. As flock after flock of the birds returned and he recognized the old echoes reawakening he found to his surprise that he had been lonely for them and was hailing their return with great joy. He was possessed of an overpowering desire to know what they were, to learn where they had been and whether they would make friends with him as the winter birds had done, and if they did would they be as fickle? For with the running sap, creeping worm and wing ing bug most of Freckles' "chickens" had deserted him. entered the swamp and feasted to such a state of plethora on its store that they cared little for his supply, so that in the days of mat ing and nest building the boy was de serted. The yearly resurrection of the Lim berlost is a mighty revival. Freckles stood back and watched with awe and envy the gradual reclothing and re populating of the swamp. Keen eyed and alert through danger and loneli ness. he noted every stage of develop ment from the first piping frog and un sheathing bud to full leafage and the return of the last emigrant. The knowledge of his complete lone liness and utter insignificance was hourly thrust upon him. He brooded and fretted until he was in a fever, and yet he never guessed the cause. He was filled with a vast impatience and a longing that would not much further be denied. It was .Tune by the zodiac, June by the Limberlost, and by every delight of a newly resurrected season it should have been June in the hearts of all men. Yet Freckles scowled darkly as he came down the trail, and the run ning tap, tap which tested the sagging wire and telegraphed word of his com ing to his furred and feathered friends of the swamp this morning carried the story of his discontent a mile ahead of him. Freckles' special pet, a dainty yellow coated, black sleeved cock goldfinch, had for several days past remained on the wire, the bravest of all, and Freckles, absorbed with the cunning and beauty of the tiny fellow, never guessed that he was being duped, for the goldfinch was skipping, flirting and swinging for the express purpose of holding his attention that he would not look up and see a small cradle of thistledown and wool perilously near his head. A peculiar movement under a small walnut tree caught his eye. He stop ped to investigate. It was an un usually large Luna cocoon, and the moth was just bursting the upper end in its struggles to reach light and air. Freckles stood and stared. "There's something in there trying to get out." he muttered. "Wonder if I could help it? Guess I best not be trying. If 1 hadn't happened along there wouldn't have been any one to help it, and maybe I'd only be hurting it. It's—it's—oh, skaggany! It's just being born!" Freckles gasped with surprise. The moth cleared the opening and with great wobblings and contortions climb ed up the tree. He stared, speechless with amazement as the moth crept around a limb and clung to the under side. There was a great pHrsy body almost as large as his thumb and of the very snowiest white that Freckles had ever seen. There was a band of delicate lavender across its forehead, and its feet were of the same color. There were antlers like tiny straw colored ferns on its head and on its shoulders Jittle wet looking flaps no bigger than his thumb nail. Freckles saw' that those queer litt)e wet look ing things were expanding, drooping, taking on color, and small oval mark ings were beginning to show. The minutes went by. Freckles' steady gaze never wavered. Without realizing it he was trembling with eagerness and anxiety. As he saw what was taking place "It's going to have wings" he breathed in hushed wonder. The morning sun fell on the moth and dried its velvet down, and the soft air made It fluffy. The rapid ly growing wings began to appear to be of the most delicate green, with lav ender fore ribs, transparent, eye ehap ed markliiflM edtred with lines of red. tan and black and long, crisp trailers. Freckles was whispering to himself for fear of disturbing the moth. It be gan a systematic exercise of raising and lowering its exquisite wings to dry them and to establish circulation. Freckles realized that it would soon be able to spread them and sail away. His long coming soul sent up its first shivering cry. "I don't know what it is. Oh, I wish I knew! How I wish I knew! It must be something grand. It can't be a butterfly. It's away too big. Oh. I wish there was some one to tell me what it is!" He climbed on the locust post and. balancing himself by the wire, held a finger in the line of the moth's advance up the twig. It unhesitatingly climbed on, and he stepped back to the path, holding it up to the light and examin ing it closely. Then he held it in the shade and turned it. gloating over its markings and beautiful coloring. When he held the moth back to the limb it climbed on. still waving those magnifi cent wings. "My. but I'd like to be staying with you!" he said. "But if I was to stay here all day you couldn't get any pret tier than you are right now and wouldn't get smart enough to tell what you are. I suppose there's some one that knows. Of course there is. Mr. McLean said there were people that knew every leaf, bird and flower in the Limberlost. Oh, lord, how I wish you'd be telling me just this one thing!" Tbe goldfinch had ventured back to the wire, for there was his mate only a few inches above the man creature's head. and. indeed, he simply must not be allowed to look up just them, so the brave little fellow rocked 011 tho wire and piped up. just as he had done ev ery day for a week, "See me see me?" "See you! Of course I see you," growled Freckles. "I see you day aft er day, and what good is it doing me? I might see you every morning for a year and then not be able to be tellin any one about it. "Seen a bird—little and yellow as any canary, with black silk wings.' That's as far as I'd get. What yon doing here anyway? Have you a mate? What's your name? 'See you?' I reekon 1 see you. but I might as well he liiind for any good it's doing me!" Freckles impatiently struck the wire. With a s:-r-vch of fear the goldfinch fled precipitately. His mate tore from off the nest with a whirr. Freckles looked up ii- saw it. "O-ho!" he cried. "So that's what you are doing here! You have a wife." Freckles climbed up to examine the rieat, tiny cradle and its contents. The hen darted at him in a frenzy. "Now. where do yon come in?" he demanded when he saw that she was not like the goldflnt h. "You be clearing out of here! This is none of your fry. This is the nest jf me little yellow friend of the wire, and you shan't be touching it. Don't blame you for wanting to see though. My. but it's a fine nest and beauties of eggs. Will you be keeping away or will I fire this stick at you?" Freckles dropped back to the trail. The hen darted to the nest and settled on it with a tender, coddling move ment. He of the yellow coat flew to the edge to make sure that everything was right. "Well, I'll be switched!" muttered Freckles. "If that ain't both their nest! And he's yellow and she's green, or she's yellow and he's green. Of course I don't know, and I haven't any way to find out. but it's plain as the nose on your face that they are both ready to be fighting for that nest, so of course they belong. Don't that beat you? Say. that's what's been sticking me for all of these two weeks on that grass nest in the thorn tree down the line. One day a bluebird is setting, and I think it is hers. The next day a brown bird is on, and I chase it off because the nest is blue's. Next day the brown bird is on again, and I let her be because I think it must be hers. Next day, be golly, blue's on again, and off I sent her be cause it's brown's, and now I bet my hat it's both their nest, and I've only been bothering them and making a big fool of meself." Freckles plodded on down the trail, scowling blackly and viciously spang ing the wire. At the finches' nest he left the line and peered into the thorn tree. There was no bird brooding. He pressed closer to take a peep at the snowy, spotless little eggs he had found so beautiful, and at the slight noise up flared four tiny baby heads with wide open mouths and hunger cries. Freckles stepped back. The brown bird lit on the edge and closed one cavity with a wiggling green worm, and not two minutes later the blue filled another with something white. That settled it. The blue and brown were mates. Once again Freckles repeated his "How I wish I knew!" About the bridge spanning Sleepy Snake creek the swale spread wide, the timber largely dropped away, and willows, rushes, marsh grass and splendid wild flowers grew abundant ly. Lazy big black water snakes, for which the creek was named, sunned on the bushes, wild ducks and grebe chat tered, cranes and herons fished, and muskrats plowed the bank in queer, rolling furrows. It was always a place full of interest to Freckles. Freckles struck slowly into the path leading from the bridge to the line. It was the one spot at which he might relax his vigilance. The greatest tim ber thief the swamp had ever known would not have attempted to enter it by the mouth of the creek on account of the water and because there was no protection from surrounding trees. He was swishing the rank grass with his cudgel and thinking of the shade the denser swamp afforded when be suddenly dodged sldewise. Tbe cud eel whistled sharoly through the air PAGE SEVE-N and Freckl'es sprang back. Out of the clear sky above him, first level with his face, then skimming dipping, tilting, whirling until it lit quill down in the path in front of him, came a glossy, iridescent big black feather. As it struck the ground Freckles snatched it up and with an almost continuous movement faced the sky. There was not a tree of any size in a large open space. From the clear sky it had fallen, and Freckles, gazing eagerly into the arch of June blue with a few lazy clouds floating far up in the sea of ether, had neither mind nor knowledge to dream of a bird hanging as if frozen there. He turned the big quill ques tioningly, and again his awed eyes swept the sky. "A feather dropped from heaven!" he breathed reverently. "Are the holy angels molting? But, no if they were it would be white. Maybe all the an gels are not for being white. What if the angels of God are white and those of the devil are black? But a black one has no business up there. Maybe some poor black angel is so tired of be ing punished it's for slipping up to the gates, beating its wings trying to make the Master hear!" Again and again Freckles searched the sky. but there was no answering gleam of golden gates, no form of sail ing bird. Then he went slowly on his way, turning the feather over and Wondering about it. It was a wing quill eighteen inches in length, with a big, heavy spine, gray at the base, shading to jet black at tbe tip, and it caught the play of the sun's rays in slanting gleams of green and bronze. Again Freckles' "old man of the sea" sat sullen and heavy on his shoulders and weighted him down until his step lagged and his heart ached. "Where did it come from? What is it? Oh, how 1 wish I knew!" he kept repeating. Before him spread a great green pool, filled with rotting logs and ieuves. bordered with delicate ferns and grasses, anioap. which lifted the creamy spikes of the arrowhead, the blue of water hyacinth and the deli cate yellow of the jewel flower. As Freckles leaned, handling the feather and staring first at it and then into the depths of the pool, he once more gave voice to his old query. "I won der what it is?" Straight across from him, couched in the mosses of a soggy old log. a big green bullfrog, with palpitant throat and batting eyes, lifted his head and bellowed in answer, "Fin' dout, tin' dout!" "Wba-what's that?" stammered Freckles, almost too much taken aback to speak. "I—I know you are only a bullfrog but. be jabers. that sound ed mightily like speech. Wouldn't you please to be saying it over?" The bullfrog cuddled contentedly in the ooze. Then suddenly he lifted his voice and, like an imperative drum beat. rolled it again. "Fin' dout. fin' dout. fin' dout!" Freckles had the answer/ Like the lightning's flash, something seemed to snap in his brain. There was a wavering flame before his eyes. Then his mind cleared. His head lift ed in a new poise, his shoulders squar ed. and his spine straightened. The agony was'over. His soul floated free. Freckles came into his birthright. "Before God. 1 will!" He uttered the oath so impressively that the record ing angel never winced as he posted it up in the prayer column. Freckles set his hat over the top of one of the locust posts used between trees to hold up the wire and fastened the feather securely in the band. Then he started down the line, talking to himself as men that have worked long alone always fall into the habit of do ing. "What a fool I have been!" he 1*1 ut tered. "Of course that's what I h: to do. There wouldn't likely anybody be doing it for me. Of course I can: What am I a man for? If I was a four footed thing of the swamp maybe I couldn't but a man can do anything if he's the grit to work hard enough and stick at it. Mr. McLean is always saying, and here's the way I am to do it. He said. too. that there were peo ple that knew everything in the swamp. Of course they have written books. The thing for me to be doing is to quit moping and be buying me some books. Never bought a book in me life or anything else of much ac count. for that matter. Oh, ain't I glad I didn't waste me money! I'll surely be having enough to get a few. Let me see." [to be contintted.] •6 It Familiar With Royalty. "1 suppose you saw King George when you were in England." "Sure! I went with him." "Did he send any message to me?" "He said he wished you would pay that dollar you borrowed the a you were across." So Patient. The grafters, did we hear one say, Keep chaffing at the law's delay? Oh, think not so! We get It straight. These chastened ones can bear t# wait.