Page images
PDF
EPUB

profane hope that he might show it to moment, Dan was splashing across the Jim before it should dry up and close. ford while two more inaccurate shots

"Darn him!” he whispered for the followed and missed him. second time that night, but with a differ- “That's another one, Jimmy," he ent inflection.

panted hoarsely, half aloud. “Lord, yer Just over the bank of the creek above gold is gettin' expensive.”. him he could see a streak of lighter sky It was at a slower pace that he climbed and he understood, as he looked, that the opposite bank, for he was getting moonrise was not far away. Luckily it winded with his violent run. For the was dark enough now to prevent his be- moment he was free to get a breath and ing seen sufficiently well to make a good he seized the opportunity. At the top of mark. If he could make the ford he the bank he paused again and stood with would cross and break for the woods on his back to the black trees, breathing the farther side of the gulch. After that deeply and looking down into the gully. he could cut for the settlement, for that Of course they would follow him. would surely be the wise thing for him That went without saying, for, even if to do now. He ran again as fast as the cupidity had been dampened by the redarkness and the rough trail would sults of the early encounter, Chinny Mike permit.

would be mad with thirst for the blood The ford was perhaps five hundred of the man who had struck him. Yes, feet from the point where he had dropped they would follow him—and kill him, into the gulch. He could see it pres- probably. There was about one chance ently. But it seemed much lighter than in a thousand that they couldn't catch he had expected down there where the him, for they would know where he must sandy banks widened out, and he hesi- head for. tated as the place came into view, for a "I don't know what I'm goin' to do man was standing in plain sight just at with this thing,” he grumbled again over the waterside. At the same moment the bag of dust. “The longer I carry it, there was another yell and shot above the more it'll be worth, prob’ly." him and the ugly buzz close by of the The thought reminded him of the second bullet to seek him made him duck empty chambers in his revolver and he and run on.

threw open the breach in the darkness The voice on the bank above shouted for the purpose of reloading. with warning cry to the man at the ford. “Guess Mike's found out I ain't so "Hi, there! He's coming! Look out! slow," he went on, a moment later, Give it to 'im!”

calmly fitting fresh shells into his pistol. "I'm caught,” whispered Carter com- "I don't mind havin' handed him that one plainingly to himself, stopping short. with the lamp—but them other ducks,” Then suddenly he laughed and started He stopped short in his retrospect. He to run again. The man below had turned had turned to look back up the gulch in to look up the bank.

the direction from which he had come, "There he is—there—comin' down the and the thing he saw away in the distant bank !" yelled Dan himself, emerging into darkness put other thoughts out of his the lighter space and pointing up the mind. A rosy glow was spreading up slope. “Shoot the sun of a gun!”

into the night from a point on the bank The man at the waterside was at a near where the cabin ought to be, and disadvantage. He could not see well and Dan needed no footnotes to tell him that he had no means of knowing who were it was fire-fire in the little shack that the men shouting at him. He stood star- he and Jim called home, that contained ing at the black bank above, with his gun all the earthly possessions that belonged raised, but seeing no mark at which to to him and to Jim-except the bag of fire. Dan was running as if to pass him, gold. and still pointing wildly, but as he H e stood perfectly still, with the halfreached striking distance, he swerved and loaded pistol still in his hand, not a sound smashed his clubbed revolver against the passing his lips, as if he were spellbound, other's unsuspecting head. The man while slowly there rose within him a feeldropped without a sound and, in another ing unlike what he had felt before.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

“Mike!” he breathed at last. "It's curses and hissing, inarticulate sounds him. He's set the little place off.” carried on its broken currents:

What the change was that came upon “Ah, Mike Dolley, where are ye?" he him he could not have told. Certainly, questioned. “Where are ye? Have you there in the blackness of the woods and run away from me? Did you know I the night, he did not pause to analyze it. was comin' back? Can you see me or It was not that the little cabin over on can't ye?" the brow of the gulch was so valuable, He reached the cabin. At the door he or that anything in it was precious or not stood one instant and looked at the burnto be replaced, but the wrath that rose ing interior, already a furnace; then the within him at Chinny Mike's act of spite fury within him burst out from his was mightier than any passion he had throat. He turned back to the will felt through all the swift fight just past. woods and mountains and threw up his It was like a sudden bursting upon him arms to them and to the sky and howled of a sense of wrong received from the out his wrath and his challenge. marauders, of which he had been un- “Blast yer eyes, Mike Dolley !” he conscious till now.

shrieked to the echoing gulch. “Where He turned slowly in his tracks and are ye? Come back and fight !” stared, half awake to the idea at first,

A man stepped from behind the corner then in a single flash of thought his whole of the little outbuilding just bevond the purpose changed. Deliberately he turned

cabin, and stood still in the moonlight.

cabin. and stood still back upon his trail and began to retrace Dan saw him-saw him raise hi his steps. .

deliberately and fire-and at the same in"This is a bit too much, Jimmie,” he

stant he felt the bullet crash into his side. whispered to himself, though he was not

But something else he saw also. The thinking of the words. “The bag's cost- man's head was bound up with a cloth in' too darn much.”

and the face beneath was the face of Across the gulch he went, treading

Chinny Mike. almost the same path he had followed at

Carter's leap forward was like a cat's such a mad speed five minutes before, and the shot he fired struck Mike Dolley and now it was as if each step he took

squarely between the eyes. And then, roused further a waking demon that had

as they fell to the ground together, he stirred in him. He hurried. He broke

struck and clawed and bit and tore at into a half run, splashing back through

his enemy in brute desire to destroy him the ford regardless now of the danger of

utterly, not even imagining that his one shots from above. He scrambled up the

bullet had gone true. And when the bank and turned to run again, with the

blackness of unconsciousness settled blood rushing through his veins like some

down upon him, the fingers of his hands heated fluid that was driving him into were on Mike's hairy lifeless throat, and fever.

clutching impotently at it. Just for an iŋstant he paused at the

It seemed hours afterward that he edge of the trees to drop the leathern

came back to consciousness. When he bag into a little hollow there and then he

opened his eyes, too, it was as if he had clutched his gun and ran on. Panting,

dreamed, for over him, unmistakably in stumbling, he climbed the high side of

the flesh and clearly enough no helpless the gully, and with utter carelessness en

cripple, knelt Jim, and he was calling tered a space that was now just touched

and talking and mourning like a child by the light of the rising moon. But

while he worked away at some painful the cabin was before him, just a little way further on, and the yellow core of

spot in Dan's own prostrate body. light within its walls, which he could

"Danny, Danny, you consarned fool, already see, eelipsed the moon's feeble

what have ye been doin'?" he was moanshimmer. Toward it he aimed his course ing over and over in husky iteration, as if to rush upon the fire with the hope while his hands were never for an inof stamping out its blaze under his feet, stant quiet over the wound of his friend. and on he plunged.

"Shut up!" whispered Dan. “What's His breath came in hard gasps now, the matter with ye?" Then suddenly,

me.”

[ocr errors]

“How'd you ever git here? Bud said you “Satchel, Dan? Bud?" broke a leg in the gulch.”

“Yes,” said Dan slowly. ""Oh, I saved Jim paused and stared. “Bud !” he re- the darn thing. Don't worry. It's down peated. “Bud lied. He ran away from in the trees by the creek, and it'll be all

right there fer a minute." “An' he told Chinny Mike about the Jim Bell bent close to his chum. "Bud gold in the leather satchel," whispered told you that, did he, Danny? An' you Dan. "Chinny come after it-an' we been fightin' like this fer me? Did ye fit.”

think I would 'a' had gold dust long an' Jim's hands were suddenly still. They not tell you? I told Bud that—yes—but dropped to his knees and he turned so I was kiddin' the thievin' little cuss. That white that even Dan could see it in the satchel? It don't hold nothin' but ca'tmoonlight.

ridges !”

The Shaded Stream

The elm trees shade the winding stream

Where in long reaches, calm and cool,

It widens out, a placid pool,
Silent and slow with scarce a gleam ;
Here scented herbs o'erhang the brink,
And shy birds come to bathe and drink.

And here, contented, half-asleep,

When comes the noontide's hour of ease,

Within the shadow of the trees,
The lazy cattle stand knee-deep,
While up and down the dragon fly
With gleaming wings goes flashing by.

And when the sun sinks to the hills,

When cool, soft breezes stir the leaves,

And far away a lone dove grieves,
The piping frogs begin their trills ;
Then all the still stream seems to call
With flute-like notes that rise and fall.

-E. E. Miller, in Farmer's Voice.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

of thee, indeed

he hills of dug

HE enormous quantity of the raw material for our smelters and

iron ore which is being furnaces.
scooped from the ranges Here, indeed, is a condition which is
about Lake Superior, dug of the utmost gravity if there is any
out of the hills of Ala- truth in these predictions. Iron á rare

bama and Tennessee and metal ? One feels like laughing at the hoisted from the deep pits of Pennsyl- assertion. It seems so ridiculous when vania, has caused the geologist and min- a cent will buy a pound bar of high grade eralogist to make startling predictions. metal, and a nickel will purchase a pound Some of them have gone so far as to which has been sliced and pressed into say that we are approaching an era when nails. Everywhere about us, used for iron may rank among the rarer nietals purposes without number, it seems as because of its scarcity. Even James J. common, as necessary as the very food Hill, the railroad magnate and developer we eat. Yet fifty years ago iron was a of the Northwest, who was one of the comparatively scarce metal. If the sayfirst to realize the vast deposits of ore ings of its prophets come true, then the in the Superior ranges, has made the Iron Age will indeed have been short, prophecy that perhaps within a half cen- lasting only about a century. tury most of the richer ore beds will be When the experts speak of the supply exhausted and that we may be obliged of iron ore, however, they only refer to to go outside of America for much of the kinds which are usually reduced in

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »