gaunt man led the way. At
his heels, doggedly, came the
two short ones, fagged, yet
uncomplaining all of them
drenched to the skin by the chill rain
that swirled through the gap, down
Into the night ridden valley below.
Sky never was so black. Days of In
cessant storm had left It Impenetrably
overcast. Three or four miles lay be
tween the sullen travelers and the town
that cradled itself In the lower end of
Night had stolen early upon the dour
spring day. Eight o'clock—no more—
and yet It seemed to these men that
they had plowed forever through the
blackness of this evil night, through a
hundred villainous shadows by un
pointed paths. Few were the words
that had passed between them duriug
all those weary miles. An occasional
oath, muffled but impressive, fell from
the lips of one or the other of those
who followed close behind the silent,
imperturbable leader. The tall man
was as silent as the unspeakable night
It was Impossible to distinguish the
feces of these dogged nightfarers.
The collars of their coats were turned
up, their throats were muffled and the
broad rims of their rain soaked huts
were far down over the eyes. There
was that about them which suggested
the unresented pressure of firearms In
side the dry breast pockets of long
This was an evening In the sp'rlng of
3875, and these men wero forging
their wny along a treacherous moun
tain road In southwestern Virginia.
The washing nway of a bridge ten
miles farther down the vnlley had put
an end to nil thought of progress by
rail, for the night at least. Rigid ne
cessity compelled them to proceed in
the £nce of the direst hardships. Their
mission was one that could not bo
stayed so long as they possessed legs
and stout hearts. Since :s o'clock in
he afternoon they had boon strug
gling along their way, at times by nar
row wagon roads, not infrequently by
trails and footpaths that made for
economy in distance.
The tall man strode onward with
never decreasing strength and con
fidence. His companions, on the con
trary, were faint and sore and scowl
ing. They were not to the mountains
born. They came from the gentle low
lands by the sea, from broad planta
tions and pleasant byways, from the
tidewater country. He was the leader
on this ugly night, and yet they were
the masters. They followed, but he
led at their bidding. They had known
him for less than six hours and did
not know his name nor he theirs for
that matter. They took him on faith
and for what he was worth—$5.
"Are tbose the lights of the town?"
panted one of the masters, a throb of
hope In his breast.
"Yas, "r," was all the tall man said.
"How far?" demanded the other.
'Bout fo'h mile."
"Can we make it by 9. think?"
"We'd better be moving along. It's
half past 7 now."
Once more they set forward, descend
ing the slope into the less hazardous
road that wound its way into the town
of S., then, as now, a thriving place
in the uplands. The ending of a dead
ly war not more than ten years prior
to the opening of this tale had left
this part of fair Virginia gasping for
breath, yet too proud to cry for help.
Virginia, the richest and fairest and
proudest of all the seceding states, was
but now finding her first moments of
real hope and grief.
Intermittent strains of music came
dancing up into the hills from the
heart of S. The wayfarers listened
"It's a band," murmured one of the
"Yas, 'r a circus band," vouchsafed
the guide, a sudden eagerness in his
voice. "Van Slye's Great and Only
"A circus?" interrupted one of the
men gruffly. "Then the whole town is
full of strangers. That's bad for us,
"I don't see why. He's more than
likely to be where the excitement's
highest, ain't he? He's not too old for
that. We'll find him in that circus
tent. Tom. if he's in the town at all."
"First circus they've had in S. in
dawg's age." ventured the guide,
with the irrelevancy of an excited
boy. "Rice's was there once. I can't
remember just when, an' they was
lone talk of Barn urn las' yeah, they
say. but he done pass us by. He's got
a Holy Beheemoth that sweats blood
this yeah, they say. Doggone. I'd like
to see one." The guide had not ven
tured so mncb as this. All told, in the
six hours of tbeir acquaintanceship.
"Let's lie moving on. I'm wet clear
through." shivered Blake.
In the Ring
By GEORGE BARR M'CUTCHEON
Copyright 1910 by Dodd, Mead ®. Co.
Silence fell upon them once more.
They swung forward into the lower
road, their sullen eyes set on the lights
ahead. Heavy feet, dragging like hun
dredweights, carried them over the
last weary mile. Into the outskirts of
the little town they slunk. The streets
were deserted, muddy and lighted but
meagerly from widely separated oil
lamps set at the tops of as many un
stable posts. The rollicking quickstep
of a circus baud came dancing over
the night to meet the footsore men.
Slowly they approached the vacant
lots beyond the business section,
known as the show grounds. Now
they began to encounter straggling,
envious atoms of the populace, wan
derers who could not produce the ad
mission fee and who were not permit
ted by the rough canvasmen to ven
ture inside the charmed circle laid
down by the guy ropes. At the cor
ner of the tented common stood the
ticket wagon, the muddy plaza In
front of it torn by the footprints of
many human beings and lighted by a
great gasoline lamp swung from a pole
hard by. Beyond was the main en
trance of the animal tent, presided
over by uniformed ticket takers.
Here and there In the gloomy back
ground stood the canvas and pole wag
ons, shining in their wetness against
the feeble light that oozed through
the opening between the side wall and
the edge of the flapping main top. or
glistening with sudden brightness in
response to the passing lantern or torch
in the hand of a rubber coaled minion
who belonged to the circus, a vast
honor, no matter how lowiy his posi
tion may have been. Costume and
baggage wagons, tiieiv white and gold
glory swallowed up in the maw of the
night, stood backed up against the
dressing tent off to the right. The
horse tent beyond was even now being
lowered by shadowy, mystic figures
who swore and shouted to each other
across spaces vide and spaces small
without regulating the voice to either
effort. Horses with their clanking trace
chains, in twos' and fours, slipped in
and out of the shadows, drawing.great
vehicles which rumbled and jarred
with the noise peculiar to circus wag
ons. Tired, underfed horses that paid
little heed to the curses or the blows
of the men who handled them, so ac
customed were they to the proddings of
And Inside the big tent the band
played as only a circus baud can play,
jangling an accompaniment to the
laughter and the shouts of the de
lighted multitude sitting in the blue
boarded tiers about the single ring
with Its earthern circumference, its
sawdust carpet and Its .dripping lights.
The smell of the thing! Who has
ever forgotten it? The smell of the
sawdust, the smell of the gleaming
lights, the smell of animals and the
smell of the canvas top! The smell of
the damp handbills, the programs and
the bags of roasted peanuts!
Blake and his companion, standing
apart from the lank, wide eyed guide,
were conversing in low tones.
"We'd better make the circuit of the
tents." said Blake, evidently the leader.
"You go to the right and I'll take the
other way round. We'll meet here.
Keep your eye peeled. He may lie
hiding under tlie wagons where it's dry.
Then he turned to the guide.
"We won't need you any longer." lie
said. "This is as far as we go. Here's
"Yas, 'r," said the smiieless guide.
A brief "good night" to his employers
and the lean mountaineer purchased a
ticket and hurried into the tent. We
do not see him again. He has served
His late employers made off on their
circuit of the tents, sharp eyed but
casual, doing nothing that might lead
the circus men to suspect that they
were searching for one among them.
In the good old days of the road circus
there wero thieves as well as giants
if a man was not a thief himself he at
least had a friend who was.- There
was honor among them.
A scant hour before the three men
came to the show grounds their quar
ry arrived there. That Blake and
his companion were man hunters goes
without saying, but that the person for
whom they searched should be a liuu
I gry. wan faced, terrified boy of eigh-'
teen seems hardly in keeping with the
I relentless nature of the chase.
1 The ring performance in the main
tent had been in progress for fifteen
or twenty minutes when the fugitive,
I exhausted, drenched and shivering,
crept into the protected nook which
marks the junction of the circus and
dressing tops. Here it was comparu
tiv-eiy dry: the wind did not send it9
I thin mist into this canvas cranny. Not
I so dark as he may have des-ired, if one
were to judge by the expression in his
feverish eyes as he peered back at the
darkness out of which he had slunk.
but so cramped in shadow that only
the eye of a ferret could hare distin
guished the figure huddled there. Chill
ed to the bone, wet through and
through, ihis white faced lad, with
drooping lip and quickened breath,
crouched there and waited for the
heavy footstep and the brutal com
mand of the canvasman who was to
drive him forth into the darkness once
He had watched his chance^to creep
into this coveted spot. An hour or two
in this friendly corner, close to the
glare of the circus lights, almost in
touch with the joyous, bespangled
world of Ills ambitions, even though he
was a hated and hunted creature, was
better than the sopping roadside or the
llesting In the bushes above the
trail, late in the afternoon, he had seen
Blake and his men. He had learned
that they wero making for 8. Some
thing told him that ho must beat them
DEAD OR ALIVE
The Lad Stared at This Ominous
by many :uiles into the town. Once,
when much younger, lie had gone to
S. with his grandfather to see the
soldiers, lie remembered the railroad.
It was imperative that he should
reach It as far in advance of his pur
suers as legs and a stout heart could
for miles he ran with the fieetness
of a scared thing, guided by the crude
signboards that pointed the way and
told the distance to S.
Half dazed, gasping for breath and
ready to drop in his tracks, he came at
last to the open valley. Far ahead and
below were the lights of a town. Tor
tured by the vast oppressiveness of
the solitude which lay behind him.
peopled by a thousand ghosts whose
persistent footsteps had haunted hini
through every mile of his flight, ho
cried aloud as he stumbled down the
rain washed hill—cried with the ter
ror of one who sees collapse after hu
man valor has been done to death.
lie was never to know how he came,
in the course of an hour, to the out
skirts of the town. He had traversed
fifteen miles of the blackest of forests
and by way of the most tortuous of
roads. A subconscious triumph now
inspired him, born of the certainty
that he had left his enemies far be
hind. The music of a band both at
tracted and bewildered him. It was
some time before he could grasp the
fact that a circus was holding forth in
the lower end of the town. The subtle
cunning that bad become part of his
nature within the past forty-eight
hours forbade an incautious approach
to the grounds,
gave the circus-
loved thing of tenderer days—a wide
berth, finding his way to the railway
station by outlying streets. His first
thought was to board an outbound
train, to secrete himself in one of the
freight cars. The sudden, overpower
ing pangs of hunger drove this plan
from his mind combined with the dis
covery that no train would pass
through the town before midnight.
Disheartened, sick with despair, he
slunk off through the railway yards,
taking a roundabout way to the circus
There was money in his purse, plenty
of it but be was afraid to enter an
eating house, or even approach the
"snack stand" on the edge of the cir
cus lot. For a long time he stood
afar off in the darkness, his legs trem
bling, his mouth twitching, his eyes
bent with pathetic lntentness upon the
single pie and hot sandwich stand
that remained near the side show tent.
A huge placard tacked to the board
fence back of this stand attracted his
attention. Impelled by strange curi
osity he ventured into the circle of
light, knowing full well before be was
near enough to distinguish more than
the bold word "Beward," that this sin
ister bill had to do with him and no
Held by the same mysterious power
that a serpent exercises in charming
its victim, the lad stared at the face
of this ominous thing that proclaimed
him a fugitive for whom $500 would
he paid, dead or alive.
Curses rose to his lips, lips that had
never known au oath before. Prayers
and pleadings were forgotten in that
hitter arraignment of fate.
Then came the sudden revival of
youthful spirits, carrying with them
the reckless bravado that all boys pos
sess to the verge of folly. The band
was playing, the show had begun. A
fierce desire to brave detection and
boldly enter the charmed pavilion took
possession of him. First he would buy
of the pie man's wares, then he would
calmly present himself before the tick
et wagon window, after which— But
he got no further in his dream of au
dacity. The placard on the fence
seemed to smite him In the face. lie
drew farther back into the darkness,
Circling the dressing tent, ho came
upon men at work. They were draw
ing stakes with the old fashioned
chains. For awhile he dully watched
them. They passed on. He crept from
his place of hiding and. attracted by
the lights ^as a moth is drawn by the
candle, made his way to (he shelter
ed 'spot at the joining of the tents.
An overpowering sense of lassitude
fell upon him. His eyes closed in ab
rupt surrender to exhaustion. The
rhythmie beat of the quickstep leaped
off into great distances tlie champing
and snorting of horses in the dressing
tent died away as if by magic the
subdued voices of the men and women
who waited their turn to bound into
the merry ring faded into Indistin
guishable whispers the crack of the
ringmaster's whip and the responsive
yelp of the clown trailed off into si
lence. His head fell back, his body
relaxed and he slipped off into sweet
A man In motley garb, with a face of
scarlet and white, caught sight of an
arm and hand lying limp under the
edge of the canvas. He stared hard
for a moment, and then, attracted by
the slim, unfamiliar member, arose
and advanced to the spot. As ho stood
there a woman and a young girl ap
"Drunk," observed the clown with a
The'woman spoke. "How long and
fine the fingers are. A boy's hand, not
a man's. See who is there. .loey, do."
And so it was that the fugitive was
The clown llfled the side wall and
bent, over the form of the lad. peering
into flic while, mini streaked face.
"He's not drunk," he said quickly.
"lie looks ill, poor fellow. How wet
he is-and so muddy. Is he asleep? It
isn't—it isn't something else?" She
drew back in sudden dread.
"He's alive, right enough. I say,
Mrs. liraddoek, there's something queer
about this. He can't belong in this
ere town, else he wouldn't he xleepin'
'ere in the mud. lie's plain pegged
"ill, ma'am, l.ike enough 'e's some
poor fool as wants to join the circus.
Kun away from 'ome, I dare say.
We've "ad iots of 'em follow us up
laiely. you know. Only this 'un looks
different. Shall I call Peterson? He'll
wake 'irn up right enough and con
wince 'im that the show business is a
good thing to stay out of while he can."
"Dou't call Peterson. He is a brute.
Bouse him yourself, and tell him to
come inside the tent. Poor boy, he's
half drowned. Come, dearie," to the
girl, "go Into the dressing room. You
must not see"—
"He is so white and ill looking,
mother." said the girl, in pitying tones,
her gaze fastened upon the face of the
sleeper. The mother drew the child
"He may be another Artful Dick, my
child,"., ventured the mother. "Your
father says the pickpockets are un
commonly numerous this spring."
"I'm sure lie isn't a thief—I'm sure
of it," said the girl eagerly.
She was a pretty, brown haired crea
ture, whose large, serious eyes seemed
unnaturally dark and brilliant against
the vivid coloring of her cheeks and
forehead. One who understood the
secrets of the "makeup" could have
told at a glance that underneath the
thick layer of powder and paint there
was a soft, white skin. Even the
rough, careless application of harm
less cosmetics could not in any sense
deceive one as to the delicacy of her
features. The mouth, red with the
carmine grease, was gentle, even trem
ulous her nose, though streaked with
a thin, white line, was straight and
pure patrician in its modeling, with
fine, quivering nostrils, now gently dis
tended by sharp exercise in the ring.
Her ears were small, her throat round
and slim. liight proudly her head rode
the firm, white neck. The warm, brown
hair swept down in caresses for tlie
bare shoulders. A long, red Shaker
cloak enveloped the slim, straight body.
The mother still was a young wo
man—a pretty one, despite the care
worn expression in her eyes and the
tired lines in her face. She was dress
ed in the ordinary garments of the
street In no way suggestive of the cir
cus. There was an unmistakable air
of gentle breeding nbout her, patient
under the strain of adverse circum
stances, but strong and resolute in the
power to meet them without flinching.
This woman, you could see at a glance,
was not born to the circus and its
hardships. She came of another world.
Tall and slender and proud she was,
endowed with the poise of a thorough
gentlewoman. Hers was a fine, bril
liant face, crowned by dark hair that
grew low and waved about her tem
ples. Deep, tender brown eyes me!
yours steadily and with unwavering
candor. There were strength and loy
alty and purity in their depths. Xo
hardness, no callousness, no guile, no
rancor there, only the clear, sweet eyes
of a woman whose soul is white. There
was an infinite pity in them now.
[To be continued.}
Sanderson started from his seat.
What Donovan was telling him might
"Sure. He tells it to our Jockey, and
Bud, the stable boy, gets wise to it and
gives it away to the lady," Donovan
"What lady?" asked Sanderson.
"Bud told Mrs. Barrlngton that Gar
rison was mixed up in a crooked rac
ing deal today?" Sanderson wanted to
be certain of every fact.
"Yep!" The reply was as certain as
it was brief.
"And of course it wasn't true"—
"I should say not!" Donovan almost
shouted his answer. "Garrison's as
square as they make 'em."
"Does Mrs. Barrlngton still think
Garrison was in on that crooked deal?"
"I dunno! I ain't told her no differ
"She was friendly with him this
morning"— This was said more to
himself than to Donovan.
"I guess so," Donovan surmised.
"And now"— Then the truth dawned
upon Sanderson, it almost staggered
him. "That's it! And it was a lie!
Good God!" he muttered.
Copyright by George H. Broadhurst
O did a lot more people, but
I'm giviug It to you straight.
He not only had no connec
tion with the stable, but he
tried to get next to Wildfire's jockey
today and have him throw the race."
"Sure he did. And to show you what
kind of a low down crook he is just
because he had a quarrel with a fellow
ho tips it off that he was in on the
"Tried to Implicate an honest man?"
Sanderson was getting a glimpse at
the workings of the track which was
new to him
"Yes that friend of Mrs. Barring
ton's—Mr. Garrison!" cried Donovan.
The entrance of Mrs. Barrlngton car
rying a package in her hand prevented
any comment from Donovan on the
strange actions and words of Sander
son. Going straight to her former
trainer she said as she held out the
keepsake, "Here is what 1 have for
you." Donovan opened it and gazed
with mixed awe and delight at a beau
tiful gold, diamond studded watch.
"Gee, ain't' it a beaut! Just what 1
"I'm glad of that," replied Mrs. Bar
"Oh, you knew I wanted it?"
Very sincerely she spoke.
"I shall always remember your
"Same here, and if anybody should
ever leave j'ou another stable, Mrs.
Barrlngton"— Donovan looked tap
with a knowing smile.
"Don't suggest it!" She frowned
and held up her hands In horror.
Donovan laughed and moved toward
the door. "You never can tell," he
chuckled, "but if they should or if
you should need me in any way, Just
drop me a picture postcard and in
the morning you will find me on the
doorstep pulling the bell down."
Mrs. Harrington watched him leave
the room with the feeling that this
was the severance of all ties with
Wildfire and her stable. It distressed
her to think that she was no longer an
"owner." Hereafter in the racing game
she should be merely a spectator. She
loved the sport, but in the future all
zest would be gone.
"Bough, but with a heart of gold—
that's Donovan," she soliloquized.
"And if"— Mrs. Harrington thought of
Garrison and his stable. Shrugging
her shoulders she turned to Sanderson.
"Why—what's the matter?" she
He stood before her glumly. A grim
smile lightened his face as he an
"There must be or you wouldn't look
at me like that!" A shade of annoy
ance appeared in her tones.
"There's nothing wrong. I want to
have a little talk about"—
"About what?" asked Mrs. Barrlng
His answer was very solemn. "You
—and me—and Garrison."
"Mr. Garrison?" She started at the
name. He had been in her thoughts
at the moment.
"Suppose—suppose you had misjudg
ed Garrison. Would it make any dif
ference between you and me?" he ask
"Would it make— No, certainly
not!" She spoke with an air of assur
ance which she did not f6el.
"You are sure?"
"Quite. Mr. Garrison Is nothing to
"Since when?" His Insistency an
"I have told you that"—
But Sanderson was not to be put
aside. He proposed to carry his
search to the bitterest end. Draw
ing In his breath as does a man who Is
about to take a cold plunge, he said:
"Xo, I'll tell you. Mr. Garrison has
been nothing to you, or you think he
has not, since 3 o'clock this after
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that I said that I would
win this race honestly or not at all."
"Haven't you won It honestly?"
"Xo. Garrison was disqualified un
fairly.* I refuse the decision. We
must run it again."
"You mean"— Her voice trembled.
"Duffy lied when he Incriminated
"How do you know?" she uked
"I have just learned It from Dono
van. Duffy lied. There can be no
shadow of a doubt about that Garri
son is absolutely Innocent Get that
firmly and Immovably In your mind,
for what follows depends upon It
Garrison Is an honest man." He look
ed at her appealingly.
"Innocent! And I—I"— Un. Bar
rlngton faltered In her speech, closing'
her eyes to conceal the dlstreaa which
they must reveal.
"The happiness of three llvee to
trembling In the balance. Everything1
depends on your answer to one qnet
tlon. Do you love John Garrison?"
"Why should you ask such a qui
tlon? I have promised to marry yon.'
"And if you don't love him I'll take
you at your word. But If you do—eay
so! You must! Imagine what It would
mean to me If afterward I learned
that your love was really his. Imagine
what it means to him to lose through
no fault of his own the woman he
adores! Imagine what it would mean
to you to marry one man while an
other's image is In your heart I Be
just to him, to me and to yourself. Do'
you love him?"
She did not answer. He continued:
"Look at me. Do you?"
"I—I"— she began. Mrs. Barrlng-i
ton tried to look him in the eyes, bufcl
her heart failed her. She could not llel
to him. Her love for John Garrlaoni
was too strong to be concealed. Bhet
dropped her gaze.
Sanderson sighed deeply.
"That's epough. He wins! Tell him
He left the room without a backward'
"I'm set sorry!"
Mrs. Barrlngton, greatly distressed,!
watched him go.
She looked at the telephone. She'
was warring with herself whether toi
use it or not. Picking up the directory, j.
"No, you needn't runj I'll wait."
she found a number, then closed the
book with a sigh. Reconsidering herj
determination, she picked up the re-j
ceiver and to Central said:
"Give me Hempstead 78.
"Is that Hempstead 78?
"Is Mr. Garrison there?
"Yes Mr. Garrison.
"Ask him to step to the phone,,
Is that yon, Ur. Gar-
She paused before
"Can't you guess who It Is?
"That's right. It is"—
Garrison interrupted her with a quea-*
tlon, which she repeated:
"What do 1 want? Why, I—I have I
a message for you from Mr. Bander
son. He said I was to deliver It to yon
as soon as possible.
"What is it? I—I thought you might
want to—to come over to the house
and get it in person.
"Yes, that's what I said—come to the'
"You will? Goodl
"Xo, you needn't run I'll wait."
Mrs. Barrlngton laughed to herself..
She was very happy. Garrison seem-i
ed to be as eager to Bee her as she waa
to meet him. He had not heard heri
reply distinctly, so she repeated It:
"I said 'I'll wait.'
"What's that? You've a message fori
me? You have? What is It?
"Oh, go on! Do tell me!
"You've bought the John Duffy eta-!
ble? Splendid! Wildfire will stay In
the family, after all."
Realizing her blunder, ahe clapped)
ber hand over her mouth, her eyes
sparkling with merriment
"What do I mean? Come over and'
I'll explain everything.
"Of course I want you. Come qulck*J
She hung up the receiver and, with
a happy sigh, murmured:
"He is coming! He Is coming!"
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