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|il d ILL EVANS became am
; bitious when the station P\ agent finished talking with him. The agent . was deserving of some flij thing better than Will iams’ station, and had tthe general manager heard him (plead, admonish, expostulate and •eloquently lecture' upon the sub ject of fence posts lie would have given Jackson a better position. Jackson was conscious of his own true value and made his conscious ness apparent in loud clothes that rather astonished the natives and now and then called forth a hu morous remark from passing Jrummers. The trainmen even tually became accustomed to his and grew tired of asking him where “he got that hat.” Jackson was shrewd, in spite of his personal appearance, and when the “Range Law” went into effect <}ompelling all lands to be fenced, he saw a chance to make some money and at the same time score a hit at the geneial office of the road which employed him. Fence posts were in great de mand along the line of the T. W. and were very hard to get; the road sent urgent orders to its agents to induce the farmers along the line to clear their timbered lands and bring the posts to the stations. Northward from Will iams there was a large tract of “post oak” timber. Jackson drove out among the holders of this timber and succeeded in getting some of them to work up their “post oaks” and bring the posts to the station. Bill Evans had not cut any tim ber nor delivered any posts at the station as yet. Bill told Jackson jhe could get no help and that -every “nigger” in the neighbor hood had been hired by his neigh bors. Jackson promised to send him any stray “hand” who chanced through Williams, but those who •came through the town heretofore were either going somewhere or just looking for work and trying very hard not to find it. But to day Jackson was elated—he had secured a hand for Bill, and Evans being in town he sent for him and after delivering a lecture on Bill’s «hiftle6sness and the urgent neces sity ,of early deliveries of fence posts introduced Bill to the baud. The hand surprised Bill. He 'was not a nigger, but white, tall, muscular and fairly well dressed. '"He ’s all right, Bill—says he •wants to work,” recommended the agent. “Yes, I’ll do a man’s work,” said the hand. “All right lam going right out home now, thanks Mr. Jackson,” announced Evans. "‘Bring some posts in soon; re member I pay six dollars a hun dred, spot cash for all delivered,” was Jackson’s farewell shot. On the way to Evans’ farm the stranger said little, and as Bill was somewhat awed by the hand’s fine clothes and intelligent face he asked few questions. He intro duced himself as John Barnes and said he was from the north, but he did not tell Evans how he became acquainted with Jackson. How -Jackson had found him asleep in a box car and collected a posse of citizens who took him in charge and after tying his hands behind kina made him a prisoner in the baggage room of the depot—these things fie kept to himself. The town had no lookup and seldom need of one. Jackson, when he found the stranger asleep in the car, was struck with an idea. He had been A CORNER IN FENCE POSTS. so often disappointed by passing foot travelers that he would make this one go to work and use him to help further his own selfish ends. After the posse left the depot the agent gave Barnes the choice of going to work in the timber or a sentence on the county farm. Barnes dreaded the county farm and its brutality and knew that the alternative possessed some promise. At the same time, he resented the idea of being coerced and resolved to get even with Jackson. He knew the agent was not doing the right thing by the farmers in this fenpe post deal. Six dollars a hundred was a ridicu lously small price for fence posts. \He saw them sell for twelve, fifty miles below Williams and knew Jackson was doing the farmers— paying six dollars a hundred and pocketing the other six allowed by the company. Barnes said nothing to Evans that night, but when they .were at work in the timber the next day he told Bill and Bill cussed some and wanted to tell his neighbors and raise a posse and go and take it out of Jackson’s hide. Barnes was too shrewd to introduces plaCn to Evans that had any crooked dealing in it. The old style Texan is honest to a fault and Barnes knew this; but what he did propose was alluring to a poor man like Evans. Now one mile from Evans’ was the Pine river and some twenty miles below it ran past the city of Bremer. Barnes’ plan was to raft the fence posts down the river to Bremer. Three railroads passed through the town, and he reasoned there would be a greater demand and a better price than at the small towns along the neighbor ing railroad. “But, pardner, we can’t get ’nough posts out to pay us, just me and you a working,”* objected Bill. “Bill, we’ve got a chance to make a stake. You know the people around here; ride around to each house and fell them you can get them a better prioe for their posts than Jackson pays; invite them here tomorrow and we’ll talk it over with them,”' replied Barnes. Bill never had been of much prominence in the neighborhood, but the plan ap pealed strongly to his self-esteem, and that day, smiling with im portance he visited each home in the vicinity and secured promises of attendance from nearly every farmer. When they came, Barnes ad dressed them briefly, going straight to the point. He didn’t abuse Jackson—said he was to be pitied rather than blamed. They liked the plan and as it promised good returns were eager to begin the enterprise. The next week there were more fence posts turned out in that neighborhood than in all the rest of the county. But the stranger didn’t cut any; he went to Bremer to “spy out the land.” He was possessed by an idea, and for two days was very busy. He talked to newspaper men about his scheme and they made quite a story of it, but he never once men tioned the name of Jackson. He visited the railroad offices and looked up the fence post market and contracted to supply one road with posts at twelve dollars and a half a hundred. He hired fifty laborers and sent them by the river wagon road to the scene of action. And did all this on $25 advanced by Evans. Ihe help was distributed among the farmers. Then he established a camp at the ——- j •• t river and teams hauling posts to the camp. All this time Jackson wondered what was the matter; he was go ing to drive out to the timber and see what was wrong. He made ready to go one morning when he saw Barnes ride into town on one of Evans’ horses. He came straight to the depot, got down and walked into the agent’s office. Looking Jackson in the eye Barnes told what he had done and why he had done it, then calmly walked out, mounted the horse and rode out of town. Jackson disappeared that night and was never seen in that part of the country again, but it is said that a man was found wan dering about the Panhandle in a demented condition looking for a hole to drop into and insisting that he was a fence post. The authorities sent him to an asylum where the peculiarity of h'is mania attracted much attention. Barnes and Evans made a good stake out of the fence post deal. Barnes soon left the neighborhood, but the farmers talk about him yet and say he did not go into the fence post business for what mon ey he made out of it. Pendennis. Help Wanted-J. H. D. A few weeks ago in an unguard ed moment I was foolish enough to relate in The Mirror a rather peculiar bona fide dream. I asked the aid of some learned student of the occult for its interpretation. My pursuit of knowledge of the mystic met with ridicule and sar casm. One member of our frater nity intimated that my departed friend was in the saloon business, because he used his slate as a means of communication. I fail to see any humor in this insinua tion, never having met a saloon keeper myself who owned a slate. Another space writer rushed into print to find fault because I had this dream at night. Numerous friends and acquaintances have wanted to know if I was getting “daffy.” Finally to add to my humiliation a gentleman who is not a member of our fraternity, but whose power and advice is held in high esteem, frankly told me I was a vendererof “hot air.” It is a great satisfaction to me,' however, to be able to publish in full a letter I received from a very learned Hindoo who was attracted by my statements and who un doubtedly places great confidence in them—or me—as you can see yourself: New York, N. Y„ Aug 21st, 1902. Mr. J. H. D., Care The Mirror, Stillwater, Minn., My most secluded friend: — Called to my attention was recently your writing in a published paper, The Mirror of Stillwater. Of a visit spiritual manifested by dream. It is easy. To cover expense of time spent in study of constellations and other phe nomena send $5 (Five Dollars}. Surprised you may be when you re ceive the word. Yours most respectfully, New York. Ilovi Hibali. I have no doubt Ilovi Hibali needs the money. I sincerely hope he may read these lines and feel the gratitude I intend to ex press to the one and only being who has been interested and sym pathetic. But I can’t reach myself. What a chance, however, for some of the open-handed, large hearted philanthropists that are so plentiful on this “piety bedizened hysteria of hypocrisy.” Yes. — What a chance to uplift the heath en Hindoo five dollars’ worth, to say nothing of the appreciation such conduct would receive from me. I have his address and am easily approached, especially *on money matters. The Future. him set his heart firmly upon this resolution: “I must bear it inevitably, and I will, by God’s grace, do it nobly.” The antipathy that the average discharged convict is forced to experience; his exaggerated opin ion of the social conditions that he is requested and expected to conform to; the assiduity with which the prejudiced show their brutal contempt for his new lease on life, wounds’ him deeply and brings him to a realization that he is not of this world, and that he must create a world of his own. Too often weakened in body, mind and soul, he begins to grope in the dark. Made desperate by an over stimulated imagination, he re signs himself to fate by throwing the last vestige of hope to the four winds. Romancers, writers of fiction, have depicted to the ex-convict an idealism that even the most vis ionary hours of his prison life could not have conjured. They have held out to him the bright hearthstone of his youth; the eager outstretched hand of a loyal wife and the laughter and rnerry ment of children; the priceless reward of an honest woman; the hearty welcome of former friends; the enter “without money and without price” of philanthropy; the discovery of fabulous gold and jasper mines; the hero of some foolish story; the hero of a myriad of human impossibilities. As a matter of fact, the only “glad hand” the average ex-con vict ever grasps, is the hand of some detective as he puts his feet just outside the prison gate, and the “glad hand” of the turnkey or warden as he re-enters for a new “bit.” And these are cold recep tions at their best. Worse still, at the first opportunity he must face and undergo the worst of humil iation's, that of facing the gibes and criticisms of his associates. They accuse him of deliberately break ing into prison again; they abuse him secretly; they give him no chance to explain; they refuse to believe anything good of him, because he failed to leave the state when he had the opportunity to do so; he is a “repeater” and “runner” for the prison and is forced to live under that stigma. All ex-convicts do not meet this fate to be sure, but many do. To what extent is the ex-convict responsible for the future? That depends largely upon the condi tions he encounters from the start. If he leaves prison with the pre sumption that the world owes him a living, and that the social con ditions are to be altered to suit him, it’s only a matter of time till his old cell will yawn for him again or som6 new one bid him welcome. If he goes out with the resolution that it doesn’t' pay, adjusts himself to new conditions, —tho he be forced to create them himself —it’s only a question of time until he receives his reward. Your value may have depreciated some by being in prison, but I have yet to learn of an honest man or woman who would shrink from meeting another honest man, regardless of his past. There is good reason to believe that honest men and women, not biased by prejudices, would rather go out of their path to meet and welcome one who has known trouble than not. An unsavory record, a notorious character in a small city is a worse stigma than that of being an ex-con vict. I am well aware that the latter does not get the show he is en titled to, and that he must face conditions that are an just if not cruel, bat it is absurd to claim that you cannot blot out the stigma of J. H. D. the prison. _ It oan be done and it has been done by men and women in the past, and you and I can do it by the simplest expedient How? “Remember you must bear it inevitably, do it nobly.” The contempt, prejudice and ignominy that is hurled at you after you leave prison is a boomerang. And you will be surprised to see the change in those the boomerang hits on its rebound. If there is a spark of manhood or womanhood in those who wield it, they will come forward and apologize and turn out to be your best friends, while if they have but a con science, they will keep aloof, but will tell everybody that you are a very nice man, quiet and quite popular, aud never mention you as an ex-convict. The remedy is so simple, its effectiveness so cer tain that it is a pity more ex prisoners fail to appreciate its * true worth. Don’t ask or expect too much; take what’s coming to you, and take it quietly. If you are not too utterly a victim of the visions associated with the name of an ex-convict, then—to express myself in the vernacular—“you have a cinch” on the future. A Family Letter. Dear Brother:—J am well. My mother-in-law is comfortable. She is getting older k each day. lam following your advice and taking good care of my health, for, as you say, it is my duty to keep mind and body in good trim against the time when mother-in law leaves us. When that occurs I will have to look after her mon ey, a thought that makes my bosom palp. In your last letter you said you bave a baby. Well, cheer up,~ brother, accidents proverbially happen in the best regulated fam ilies. What you tell me, however, about its melodious: voice and your nightly pedestrian exeroise in the dark makes me think that your life just now must be about ' as exhilarating as a room full of smoke. I congratulate you. So the wife throws things at you, does she? I hardly know how to advise you. Hold the kid in front of you and let him stop the missiles for a change. It may r serve to entertain him and perhaps stop his singing. The very poor est people have babies, so I take it for granted they are not worth much. You might give your wife some dynamite soup when you leave in tbe morning, and if she flies up during the day you will cease to be annoyed by her. So your writings for the Times are usually returned and are ac cepted by the New York Cyclone! That is curious. Maybe the Cyclone is waiting for you to get fat. These editors subsist almost entirely on young poets and essayists. Ma is going to marry a Mr. Bard because he has lovely whiskers. Your brother, Duke. J. T. D. B Great Sporting news [Journal. The illustrated special sporting section of the Sunday Chicago Record-Herald thoroughly de serves the attention of every one interested in sporting news. It is always beautifully illustrated, and embraces four full pages, covering with the thoroughness that sat isfies to the utmost the whole realm of sports. Baseball news, racing news, bowling news, cycling news, pugilistic news, goif news, yachting news —all the sporting news is given with the greatest degree of fullness and interest. The sporting page of the daily issues is also exceptionally popular fact to those who have noted the general vogue of the Reoord-Herald among sport ing men. Julius.