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The Cody enterprise and the Park County enterprise. (Cody, Wyo.) 1921-1923, November 15, 1922, Image 6

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PAGE SIX
Strength of the Pines
By EDISON MARSHALL oAuthor of—
- 1 ’ ' 2 - Voice of the Pack”
CHAPTER XXX—Continued.
—-1 3
Eui it cnme about that there was
other business for Bruce than the re
covery of his blankets that he had
supposed would be tied to the saddle
The snow was thick between, and he.
was within twenty feet of the animal’s
body before he glimpsed it clearly
again. And he felt the first wave of
wonder, the first promptings of the
thought that the horse he had shot
down was not his, but one that he had
never seen before.
But there was no time for the
thought to go fully home. Some one
cried out —a strange, half-snarl of hat
red and triumph that was almost lack
ing In all human quality—and a man’s
body leaped toward him from the
thicket before which the horse had
fallen. It was Simon, and Bruce had
mistaken his horse for the one he had
ridden.
Even in that Instant crisis he did
not forget that he had as yet neg
lected to expel the empty cartridge
from the barrel of his rifle and to
throw in the other from the maga
zine. He tried to get the gun to his
shoulder, working the lever at the
same time. But Simon’s leap was too
fast for him. Ills strong hand seized
the barrel of the gun and snatched it
from his hands. Then the assailant
threw it back, over his shoulder, and
it fell softly in the snow.
The two men stood face to face
nt last. AH things else were forgot
ten. The world they had known be
fore —a world of sorrow and pleas
ures, of mountains and woods and
homes —faded out and left no reali
ties except each other’s presence.
All about them were the snow flur
ries that their eyes could not pene
trate, and It was as if they were two
lone contestants on an otherwise un
inhabited sphere who had come to
grips at last. The falling snow gave
the whole picture a curious tone of
unreality and dimness.
Bruce straightened, and his face
was of iron. “Well, Simon,” he said.
“You’ve come.”
The man’s eyes burned red through
the snow. “Os course I would. Did
you think you could escape me?”
“It didn’t much matter whether I
escaped you or not,” Bruce answered
****•■*•
The Two Men Stood Face to Face at
Last.
rather quietly. “Neither one of us
is going to escape the storm and the
cold. I suppose you know chat.”
“I know that one of us is. Be
cause one of us is going out —a more
direct way—first. Which one that is
doesn’t matter.” His great
hands ciasped. “Bruce, when I
snatched your gun right now I could
have done more. I could have sprung
a few feet farther and had you around
the waist —taken by surprise. The
fight would have been already over.
I think I could have done more than
that, even—with my own rifle as you
came up. It’s laying there, just beside
the horse.”
But Bruce didn’t turn his eyes to
look at it. He was waiting for the
attack.
I “I could have snatched your life just
as well, but I wanted to wait,” Simon
w’ent on. “I wanted to say a few
words first, and wanted to master you
—not by surprise—but by superior
strength alone.”
It came Into Bruce’s mind he could
tell Simon of the wound near his shoul
der, how because of it no fight between
them would be a fair test of superi
ority, yet the words didn’t come to
his lips. He could not ask mercy of
this man, either directly or Indirectly,
any more than the pines asked mercy
of the snows that covered them.
“You were right when you said
there Is no escaping from this storm,”
Bimon went on. “But It doesn’t much
matter. It’s the end of a long war,
and what happens to the victor is
here nor there. It seems all
_he more fitting that we should meet
fcjt v.e have —at the very brink of
Copyright by Little, Brown, and Co.
death —and Death should be waiting
at tie end for the one of us who sur
vives. It’s so like this d —d, terrible
wilderness In which we live.”
Bruce gazed in amawment. The
dark and dreadful poetry of this man’s
nature was coming tc< the fore. The
wind made a strange echo to his
words —a long, wild shriek as it swept
over the heads of the pines.
“Then why are you waiting?” Bruce
asked.
“So you can understand everything.
But I guess that time is here. There
is to be no mercy at the end of this
fight, Bruce; I ask none and will give
none. You have waged a w*ar against
me, you have escaped me many times,
you have won the love of the woman
I love —and this is to be my answer.”
His voice dropped a note, and he
spoke more quietly. “I’m going to kill
you. Bruce.”
“Then try It,” Bruce answered stead
ily. ‘l’m in a hurry to go back to
Linda.”
Simon’s smoldering wrath blazed up
at the words. Both men seemed to
spring at the same time. Their arms
flailed, then Interlocked; and they
rocked a long time —back and forth
in the snow.
For tlie first time Bruce had full
realization of Simon’s mighty strength.
With all the power of his body he
tried to w’rench him off his feet, but
it was like trying to tear a tree from
the ground.
But surprise at the other’s power
was not confined to Bruce alone.
Simon knew that he had an opponent
worthy of the iron of his own muscles,
and he put all his terrible might into
the battle. He tried to reach Bruce’s
throat, but the man’s strong shoulder
l«ld the arm against his side. Si
mon’s great hand reached to pin
Bruce’s arm, and for the first time he
discovered the location of his weak
ness.
He saw the color sweep from
Bruce’s face and water drops that
were not melted snow come upon it.
It was all the advantage needed be
tween such evenly matched contest
ants. And Simon forgot his spoken
word that he wished this fight to be
a test of superiority alone. His fury
swept over him like a flood and ef
faced all things else; and he cen
tered his whole attack upon Bruce’s
wound.
In a moment he had him down, and
he struck once into Bruce’s white
face with his terrible knuckles. The
blow sent a strange sickness through
the younger man’s frame; and he tried
vainly to struggle to his feet. “Fight I
Fight on I” was the message his mind
dispatched along his nerves to his
tortured muscles, but for an Instant
they wholly refused to respond. They
had endured too much. Total un
consciousness hovered above him,
ready to descend.
Strangely, he seemed to know that
Simon had crept from his body and
was even now reaching some dread
ful weapon that lay beside the dead
form of the horse. In an instant he
had it, and Bruce’s eyes opened In
time to see him swinging it aloft. It
was his rifle, and Simon was aiming
a murderous blow at him with Its
stock.
There was no chance to ward it off.
No human skull could withstand Its
shattering Impact.
But that war of life and death In
the far reaches of Trail’s End was
not to end so soon. At that instant
there was an amazing Intervention.
A great gray form came lunging
out of the snow flurries. Their vision
was limited to a few feet, and so
fast the creature came, with such In
credible, smashing pov/er, that he was
upon them In a breath. It was the
Killer in the full glory of the charge;
and he had caught up with them at
last.
Bruce saw only his great figure
looming just over him. Simon, with
amazing agility, leaped to one side
just in time, then battered down the
rifle stock with ail his strength. But
the blow was not meant for Bruce.
It struck where aimed —the great gray
shoulder of the grizzly.
Then, dimmed and half -obscured
by the snow- flurries, there began as
strange a battle as the great pines
above them had ever beheld. The
Killer’s rage was upon him, and the
blow at the shoulder had arrested his
charge for a moment only. Then he
wheeled, a snarling, fighting monster,
with death for any living creature In
the blow of bis forearm, and lunged
toward Simon again.
It was the Killer at his grandest.
Simon had no chance to shoot his
rifle. In the Instant that he would
raise it those great claws and fangs
would be upon him. He swung it as
a club, striking again and again,
dodging the sledge-hammer blows and
springing aside in the second of the
Killer’s lunges. He was fighting for
his life, and no eye could bemean that
effort.
Simon himself seemed exalted, and
for once it appeared that the grizzly
had found an opponent worthy of his
might. They were of one kind, and
they seemed to understand each other.
The lust and. passion and fury of bat
tle were upon them both.
The scene harked back to the young
days of the world, when man and
beast battled for dominance. Nothing
had changed. The forest stood grave
and silent, just the same. The ele
ments warred against them from the
clouds —that ancient persecution of
which the wolf pack sings on the
ridge nt night, that endless strife that
has made of existence a travail and a
scourge. Man and beast and storm—
those three great foes were arrayed
the same as ever. Time sw r ung back
ward a thousand-thousand years.
The snow seemed to come from all
directions in great clouds and flurries
ggJL
He Swung It as a Club, Striking Again
and Again, Dodging the Sledge-
Hammer Blows and Swinging Aside
In the Second of the Killer’s Lunges.
and streamers, and time after time
it wholly bid the contestants from
Bruce’s eyes. At such times he could
tell how the fight w-as going by sound
alone —the snarls of the Killer, the
w’Hd oaths of Simon, the impact of
the descending rifle butt. Bruce gave
no thought of taking part. Both were
enemies; his own strength seemed
gone. The cold deepened; Bruce
could feel it creeping into his blood,
halting its flow, threatening the spark
of life within him. The full light
of day had come out upon the land.
Bruce knew- the wilderness now. All
Its primitive passions were in play, all
its mighty forces at grips. The storm
seemed to be trying to extinguish
these mortal lives; jealous of their in
trusion, longing for the world it knew
before living things came to dwell
upon it, when its winds swept end
lessly over an uninhabited earth, and
its winter snow-s lay trackless and Its
rule was supreme. And beneath it,
blind to the knowledge that in union
alone lay strength to oppose Its might
—to oppose all those cruel forces that
make a battleground of life—man and
beast fought their battle to the death.
Linda came stealing out of the snow
—following the grizzly’s trail—and
crept beside Bruce. She crouched be
side him, and his arm went about her
as if to shield her. She had heard
the sounds of the battle from afar
she had thought that Bruce was the
contestant, and her terror had left a
deep pallor upon her face; yet now
she gazed upon that frightful conflict
with a strange and enduring calm.
Both she and Bruce knew that there
was but one sure conqueror, and that
was Death. If the Killer survived the
fight and through the mercy of the
forest gods spared their lives, there
remained the blizzard. They could
conceive of no circumstances whereby
further effort would be of the least
avail.
The scene grew In fury. The -last
burst of strength was upon Simon;
In another moment he would be ex
hausted. The bear had suffered ter
rible punishment from the blows of
the rifle stock. He recoiled once more,
then lunged with unbelievable speed.
His huge paw. with all his might be
hind it, struck the weapon from Si
mon's hand.
It shot through the air seemingly
almost as fast ns the bullets It had
often propelled from its muzzle, and
struck the trunk of a tree. SO hard
It came that the lock w-as shattered;
they heard the ring of metal. The
bear rocked forward once more and
struck again. And then all the sound
that was left w-as the eerie complaint
of the wind.
Simon lay still. The brave fight
was over. His trail had ended fitting
ly —Ju the grip of such powers as were
typical of himself. But the bear did
not leap upon him to tear his flesh.
For an instant he stood like a statue
in gray stone, bend lowered, as If In
a strange attitude of thought Then
the great grizzly uttered one deep
note and half-turned about. Hls eyes
rested upon the twan, but he did not
seem to see them.
Then he turned again and headed off
slowly, deliberately, directly into the
face of the storm.
CHAPTER XXXi
The flurries almost ifmnedlately ob
scured the Killer’s form, and Bruce
turned his attention back to Linda.
•'lt’s the end,” he said quietly. “Why
uot here as well as anywhere else?"
The horse on which was tied their
scanty blankets was miies away by
now; Its tracks were obscured in the
snow, and they could not find their
way to any shelter that might be con
cealed among the ridges.
But before the question was finished,
a strange note had come Into his voice.
It was as if his attention had been
called from h’.s words by something
much more momentous. The truth
was that It had been caught and held
by a curious expression on the girl’s
face. All at once she sprang to her
feet
“Bruce!” she cried. “Perhaps
there’s away yet. A long, long
chance, but maybe away yet. Get
your rifle —Simon’s is broken —and
come with me.”
Without waiting for him to rise she
struck off into the storm, following
the huge footprints of the bear. The
man struggled with himself, sum
moned all that was left of his reserve
supply of strength, and leaped up. He
snatched his rifle from the ground
where Simon had thrown It, and in an
instant was beside her. Her cheeks
were blazing.
“Maybe it Just means further tor
ture,” she confessed to him, “but don’t
you want to make every effort we can
to save ourselves? Don’t you want to
fight till the last breath?”
She glanced up and saw her answer
in the growing strength of his face.
Then his words spoke too. “As long
as the slightest chance remains,” he
replied.
“And you’ll forgive me If it comes
to nothing?”
He smiled dimly. She took fresh
heart when she saw he still had
strength enough to smile. ‘’You don’t
have to ask me that.”
“A moment ago an Idea came to
me—it came so straight and sure it
was as If a voice told me," she ex
plained hurriedly. She didn’t look at
him again. She kept her eyes intent
upon the great footprints In the snow.
To miss them for a second meant, In
that world of whirling snow, to lose
them forever. “It was after the. bear
had killed Simon and had gone away.
He acted exactly as if he thought of_
something and went out to do it—ex
actly as if he had a destination In
view. Didn’t you see—his anger
seemed to die in him and he started
off in the face of the storm. I’ve
watched the ways of animals too long
not to know that he bad someth A’ in
view. It wasn’t food; he would have
attacked the body of the horse, or
even Simon’s body. If he had Just
been running away or wandering, he
wonld have gone with the wind, not
against it. He was weakened from the
fight—perhaps dying—and I think—”
He finished the sentence for her,
breathlessly. “That he’s going toward
shelter.”
“Yes. You know, Bruce—the bears
hibernate every year. That’s my one
hope now—that the Killer has gone
to some cave he knows about to hiber
nate until this storm Is over. I think
from the way he started off, so sore
and so straight, that It’s near. It
would be dry and out of the storm,
and if we could take it away from
him we could make a fire that the
snow wouldn’t put out. It would
mean life —and we could go on when
the storm is over.”
“You remember—we have only one
cartridge.”
“Yes, I know’—l heard you Are. And
It’s only a thirty-thirty at that. It’s a
risk —as terrible a risk as we’ve yet
run. But it’s a chance.”
They soon became aware that they
were mounting a low ridge. They
left the underbrush and emerged Into
the open timber. And all at once
Bruce, who now walked in front,
paused with lifted hand, and pointed.
Dim through the flurries they made
out the outline of the bear. And Lin
da’s inspiration had come true.
There was a ledge of rocks Just in
front —a place such as the rattle
snakes had loved in the blasting sun of
summer—and a black hole yawned in
its side. The aperture had been almost
covered with the snow, and they saw
that the great creature was scooping
away the remainder of the white drift
with his paw. As they waited, the
opening grew’ steadily wider, revealing
the mouth of a little cavern In the
face of the rock.
“Shoot!” Linda
gets Inside we won’t be able to get
him out.”
But Bruce shook his head, then stole
nearer. She understood; he had only
one cartridge, and he must not take
the risk of wounding the animal. The
fire had to be centered on a vital
place.
He walked steadily nearer until It
seemed to Linda he would advance
straight Into reach of the terrible
claws. The Killer turned his head
and saw Bruce. Rage flamed again
In his eyes. He half-turned about;
then poised to charge.
The gun moved swiftly, easily, to
the man’s shoulder, his chin dropped
down, his straight eyes gazed along
the barrel. In spite of his wound never
had human arms held more steady
than hla did then. And he marked the
little space of gray squarely between
the two reddening eyes.
The finger pressed back steadily
against the trigger. The rifle cracked
In the silence. And then there was a
curious effect of tableau, a long sec
ond In which all three figures seemed
to stand deathly still.
The bear leaped forward, and It
seemed wholly Impossible to Linda
that Bruce could swerve aside in time
to avoid the blow. She cried out In
horror as the great paws whipped
down in the place where Bruce had
stood. But the man had been pre
pared for this very recoil, and he had
sprung aside Just as the claws raked
past.
And the Killer would hunt no more
In Trail’s End. At the end of that
leap he fell, his great body quivering
strangely In the snow. The lead had
gone straight home where it had been
aimed, and the charge Itself had been
mostly xuuscular reflex. He lay still
at last, a gray, mammoth figure that
was majestic even in death.
No more would the deer shudder
with terror at the sound, of.his heavy
step in the thicket. No more would
the herds fly into stampede at the
sight of his great shadow on the
moonlit grass. The ost of the Oregon
grizzlies had gone lae way of all his
breed.
*••••••
To Bruce and Linda, standing
breathless and awed in the snow
flurries, his death imaged the passing
of an old order —the last stand that
the forces of the wild had made
against conquering man. But there
vas pathos in it, too. There was the
symbol of mighty breeds humbled and
destroyed.
But the pines were left. Those eter
nal symbols of the w’llderness —and
of powers beyond the wilderness —
still stood straight and grand and Im
passive above them. While these two
lived, at least, they would still keep
their watch over the wilderness, they
would still stand erect and brave to
the buffeting of the storm and snow,
and In their shade dwelt strength and
peace.
The cavern that was revealed to
them had a rock floor and had been
hollowed out by running water In ages
past. Bruce built a Are at Its mouth
of some of the long tree roots that ex
tended down Into It, and the life-giv
ing warmth was a benediction. Al
ready the drifting snow had begun to
cover the aperture.
“We ran wait here until the blizzard
Is done,” Bruce told Linda, as she sat
beside him in the soft glow of the
fire. “We have a little food, and we
can cut more from the body of the
grizzly when we need It. There’s dead
wood under the snow. And when the
storm Is over, we can get our bearings
and walk out.”
She sat a long time without answer
ing. “And after that?” she asked.
He smiled. “No one know’s. It’s ten
days before the thirtieth—the bliz
zards up here never last over three or
four days. We’ve got plenty of time
to get the document down to the
courts. The law will deal with the
rest of the Turners. We’ve won,
Linda.”
His hands groped for hers, and he
laid It against his lips. With her
other hand she stroked his snow-wet
hair. Her eyes were lustrous in the
firelight.
“And after that —after all that Is
settled? You will come back to the
mountains?”
"Could I over leave them 1” he ex
claimed. “Os course, Linda. But I
don’t know what I can do up here—
except maybe to establish my claim to
my father’s old farm. There’s a hun
dred or so acres. I believe Td like to
feel the handles of a plow in my
palms.”
"It was what you were made for,
Bruce,” she told him. “It’s born In
you. There* a hundred acres there —
and three thousand —somewhere el«c.
You’ve got new strength, Bruce. You
could take hold and make them yield
up their hay—and their crops—nnd
fill all these hills with the herds.”
She stretched out her arms. Then all
nt once she dropped them almost as If
In supplication. But her voice ha‘d
'Mm Wfikd
He Marked the Little Space of Gray
Squarely Between the Two Redden-
Ing Eye..
regained the old merry tune he had
learned to love when she spoke again.
“Bruce, have I got to do all the ask
ing?"
His answer was to stretch hla great
arms and draw her into them. His
laugh rang In the cavern.
"Ob, my dearest!” he cried. The
eyes lighted In his bronzed face. “I
nsk for everything—everything—bold
that I am I And what I want worst —
this minute—"
“Yes?"
“ —ls just—a kiss."
She gave It to him with all the ten
derness of her soft Ups. The snow
sifted down outside. Again the pines
spoke to one another, but the sadness
seemed mostly gone from their soft
voices.
[THE END.]
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1922.
Tsfie
AMERICAN
ellOie
(Copy for Thia Department Supplied by
the American Leylon News Service.)
AMERICANISM WEEK, DEC. 3-9
Government, Legion and National Edu
cation Association Co-Operating to
Make Program Success.
John J. Tlgert, United States com
missioner of education, declares a
conviction that a
great stride to
ward the goal of
Americanism set
by the American
Legion as one of
its greatest pro
grams of service
will be made in
the week of De
cember 3 to 9, in
’ elusive, which has
been proclaimed
American Educa
tion week. Com
missioner Tlgert
Lit
John J. Tlgert.
and the National Education associa
tion are co-operating with the Amer
icanism commission of the American
Legion In making the week a success.
Announcement proclaiming the Amer
ican Education week followed a con
ference in Washington between Presi
dent Harding, Commissioner Tlgert
and Garland W. Powell, assistant na
tional director of the Americanism com
mission. President Harding announced
he would issue an oflicial proclamation,
followed by similar ones from gover
nors of the states.
Commissioner Tlgert, through the
United States bureau of education, will
request state and county superintend
ents of schools, to devote the week to
the American Legion program, which
will start Sunday, December 3. Minis
ters of all denominations will be asked
to preach sermons morning and eve
ning that day on the benefits of educa
tion. Mass meetings will be held
throughout the United States, at which
speakers will be supplied by the Amer
ican Legion.
Monday will have Its special slogan
—“Americans All by 1927”—with Its
drive throughout the country to assist
immigrants and aliens to become good
Americans, by starting their education
In the duties of citizenship. Tuesday
will be devoted to patriotism, with such
suM ‘cts as “Universal Use of the Eng
lish Language,” “Music As a Nation
Builder,” “The Flag, Emblem of Free
dom,” and “The Citizen’s Duty to
Vote,” emphasized. Wednesday, bet
ter pay for teachers and better scbool
iioi'sec will be featured. Thursday will
lie devoted particularly to the cure of
Illiteracy. Thursday will be a mighty
war on Bolshevism, the strengthening
of the fight to eradicate radicalism.
Friday will be devoted to "An Equal
Opportunity for All In Education,” and
Saturday, December 9, will be given
over to the subject of physical educa
tion, the need of more and better play
grounds, the nation's need to develop
our forests, the conservation of our
soil and places of play in every com
munity.
AUXILIARY MAY ADOPT THIS
Headdress Fronted With Blue or Gold
Star May Bo Approved by the
Women's Organization.
When pretty Thelma Sines of Lo
gansport, Ind., donned the beadpiece
wv*
/■ --J
Miss Thelma Sines.
that she’s wear
ing in ths accom
panying picture,
and naively asked
if It wasn’t a per
fectly wonderful
creation for mem
bers of the Amer
ican Legion Aux
iliary to wear at
conventions, con
ferences, etc., It
hasn’t been re
corded what the
Indiana women’s
reply was, but It
is known that all the American Legion
fellows who-saw the picture Immedi
ately voted aye and urged its unani
mous adoption.
Miss Sines’ Auxiliary unit. No. 8
of Logansport, submitted the head
dress as the official one to be worn,
but frankly confessed that the Idea
was really born at Columbus, Neb.,
where that city’s American Legion
Auxiliary unit presented it, nnd then
Columbus replied that It really was
the idea of some of the women of
Louisiana. At any rate, it seemed to
be a popular idea—made more so, per
haps, by the wearer herewith shown.
Miss Sines says she likes it, that It’s
cool acd comfortable, and affords n
distinctive headdress for the organiza
tion.
It will be noted that the headdress
Is fronted with a star. A gold star
can be substituted for the ordained
blue by those who lost loved ones In
the service.
Details, Please.
Old Man Matthews' daughter was
reputed to be the slowest wltted nnd
laziest girl in the state. One day her
father came In to And her sprawled
in a chair with her feet In dangerous
proximity to the blazing flreplace.
“Git up. gal.’' he yelled. “You’re
practically standln’ on a red-hot coal.”
"Which foot, paw?” drawled Sal,
opening one eye.—-American Legion
Weekly.

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