"The Weldon Estate"

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"The Weldon Estate" - — so men. in- 1'a, Men. a CHAPTER 1. It *.vns...
— so men. in- 1'a, Men. a CHAPTER 1. It *.vns some years after tbo great civil war, thmitfli <liat, it wus not IOHR lifter ciiii bo infc'iTctl from tho fact (liat but DUO railroad had as yot, laid its iron iinisf'l-:'. 1 ? across tho groat, plains from Hie Missouri to tlio niotintains. Tlie,-cat- tlo herds of tlio randiers had not yet, taken (lie place of (lie Hwarming black bulYalo on the tampas. There were no settlements uloiif? tlio fivers where now stately cities rise, and tho only means of conveyance, and transportation wore tlio saddle, and tho prairio schooner, as >lio great canvas topped wagons that conveyed tho immigrants, goods tmd family wore then called. It was iu). evening in early June. The setting mm wus throwing a shadow from tho giant mountains to tho westward over tho clear tributaries of tho Missouri, when a largo train went into camp in a valley that afforded abundant water and pasture for their cattle and horses, while tho slopes of the surrounding foothills wore covered with fuel, only necessary at this timo for cooking purposes. This was known us Dr. Blanchard's train. Dr. Blanchard was a handsome man of middle age, who up to tho timo of his going westward had lived, as had his forefathers for many generations before him, near Wheeling and what is now West Virginia. The civil war, in which tho doctor did not take part— though, unlike most of his family, his sympathies were with the Union—had loft him impoverished, and, what was worse, without friends where lie should most expect them. His wife had just died—it might be said of n broken heart. At the beginning of the war Mrs. Blanchard had two brothers, Frederick and Valentine -Weldon. Frederick Weidon, or Fred, as ho was called, strongly favored eecession, and his brother as strongly opposed it. One night Valentine returned home from Charleston, whither ho had ridden on horseback with his brother. The brother never returned, but some months aftenvurd a body was found down,the river which could not be recognized except by its tattered garments, and from these it was believed to be the corpse of Frederick' Weldou. The skull was fractured, and an impression went abroad that he had been killed by his brother. This impression was strengthened by the fact:"•)'that immediately after the disappearance; of Frederick, Valentine, ;Svith his wife, two little sons and a baby daughter, suddenly disappeared and was "never heard of again in that land. .Valentine had been advertised for. Through the death of his father, who died without knowing that one of his sons was dead, a large estate was loft to the two brothers. .Dr. Blanchard's wifo was a sister of the Weldons, but had been entirely ignored in her father's will, a fact that no doubt added to the unsettled condition of the doctor's mind and forced him to go westward with his children. Theso children "were a sou Howard, at this timo a tall, handsome young man of two and twenty, and two daughters, Alice and Clara, aged respectively 17 and 19. For tho purpose of protection, a number of other wagons had joined Dr. Blauchard's train at Omaha, and before sotting out they had elected the doctor to bo their chief and a man known as Captain Brandon to bo their guide. Captain Brandon was a tall, bronzed man, with a grizzled beard, ouo eye, and a very quiet manner. Though evidently in tho prime of life, his hair was euowy white, which, added to or estab- and Chi;.,; our small could-' new to sent He introduced himself as Henry Kyle. a slight deafness, made him appear much older, ^here was a livid scar run- 3 his chili. pat- scour- model, as to tho pat- tho eye, and left au ineffaceable gash on tho brown cheek. Among the people in the caravan there was a very general impression chat the scar and the lost eye were chargeable to the military "services in which this strange man had won his auk, . Captain Brandon's reserve mounted to positive taciturnity,'which avo him the appearance of coolness and tmigtli that attaches to most silent men. Being adverse to speaking 'about him- elf, there wore plenty of imaginative ind voluble people to speak for him. According to these authorities, Captain Jvandon had lived timo out of mind on ,ho western plains or in the , snowy Houutiiius boyoud, "What ho did not ideal scout presented to us by tlio Svfiter of western 'fiction. His dross was not that of a hunter, but was plain, suitable, to his work iitul well fitting. And then, more remarkable) still, ho spoke with tho accent, and hmgiwgo of a man <jf good education, though there was in his Hpeech a noticctihlc softening-of tho letter "r" which' is peculiar to tho more, cultured class in tho southern states. To this remarkable, man Dr. Blanch- urrl felt, himself drawn from the first; but, while his advances were not rudely repulsed, he, was nict with a well bred coolness that told very plainly that Captain Brandon wished to be to himself. Curiously enough, this silent man was very fond of children. During the long rides across the rolling prairies ho U8U> ally had one before him on his saddle, and during the Sunday halts ho gathered wild flowers for them and bright seashells in the rocks, where they had been left high and dry by the great salt sen that once, swept over that land. Eight prairie schooners carried, the women and children, with the household goods and tho food that would be necessary till they could harvest their own crops. Tho route of this little party lay over the Black Hills and on toward the wondrous country of the Yellowstone. With the delight that thrills the sailor when after long watching the dim. shores of tho prayed for land comes in sight, the people greeted the first glimpses of the blue mountain-to the west, and with thankful hearts they beheld the clear streams and tho verdant valleys that mark the foothills of the great Rockies. .',--.;' Alice and Clara were as beautiful semiblonds as one could meet with, and it was impossible that they could belong to a party in which there were single men without attracting attention. Ten days before reaching tho mountains the train was joined by two young mc n—"hunters," as they called themselves. They were clad in the typical picturesque dress of the dandies of their class, and one of them, apparently the elder, was a strikingly handsome young man of four and twenty. He was of medium height, finely built, and an > admirable liorsemaji. He introdaced himself as Henry 'Kyle and hid burly companion as Font Bobb. _ •, These young men said they were going into northern Idaho to prospect dur-, ing thfe- coming ialliuwSJwriiiterjf! a&tthey asked to be permitted to accompany Dr., Blanchard's" party, the doctor at that time having in mind Washington territory as his destination. •'As'Henry Kyle and'Font Robb were well mounted and good "hunters, who could find game if there was any within reach, they were permitted to remain and at once, with an easy, western famil iarity, proceeded to make themselves at home. -.. •• CHAPTER II. There was a time Avheu the huntors and trappers were the real heroes of the far west. These, even at the . time of which I write, had given place toad- venturous miners and to a class of men who were as bold" in their defiance of law as were Robin Hood and his men iu the middle ages. Henry Kyle and Font Robb were men of this class and were well known to Captain Brandon by reputation; but, for reasons that will bo given hereafter, he permitted them to accompany him, and though he know that they were stealing away in tho dead of night—a most unnecessary proceeding, by the way—did not raise hand to stay them, They rode through the mountains till daylight, yrhen Henry Kyle took his friend's hand and said: "Hero we part for tho present, Font. It is nearly a year since I have seen the old folks, and I am going home." "I hope you'll find'em all right," said Robb, adding, with a smile, "] hope they won't win you away from the boys." Without any comment, Henry Kyle raised his bridle arm and his splendid horse darted away and was soon lost ^ sight among the hills. He rode until the summer sun looked straight into the deepest canyons and rifts of that won drous laud and flashed on a lake tha was walled iu by mountains that row) skyward like an impassable barrier. Between the mountains and the ; there was a belt of valley many hun drcds of acres in extent, with clumps o trees here and there that gave it a pork like effect. There were cattle and shee] in tlie meadows, and the emerald ey pause was seamed with sinuous stream that noshed down from the distant snow afcn's length, while wliiiiratioa his erf.", ho contiWMd: "Why. you grow more and more beautiful every timo I see y*c<Ti. Ah, it's n pity that, so fair a mountain flower should bo shut iu from tlie admiration of tho world!" ' ' , . "Tho world I" she repeated, "This is my world," ' and she lifted her eyes with an expression of adoration from tho valley to the mountains. "Away from (his homo I corJd Hot be happy." "Well, well! Where olio is content a knowledge of better tilings may not tic prudent. But tell me, how is mother?" Before tho girl could answer n gray haired woman, with a calm, patient face and an indescribable look of having seen better days in other scenes, came out and greeted tho young man. with a Warmth and tenderness which only a mother can feel. ~"~ "Put away your horse," sho said. "You have surely come.to Btt»y with us now." "Only a few hoxirs," he answered. Then he added, with ti forced laugh: "I have too often broken the. peace of the valley. I do not think thnt- my father and Louis will care to have me with thorn for even that time." "You know they will. All, Henry, if yoit would only stay with us wo might be very happy I" • They had now entered tho house, and an Indian boy, who acted as a servant, was told by Mrs. Kylo to take charge of tlio horse. " "I should like to make you all happy, but I am afraid I am an Ishmaelite and can never settle down. Have j'ou not often defended mo by telling father it W0£ iu the blood?" —i'No, Henry. It is not in your blood ;o eri" as you have done. Impulse has jeen the curse of the—tho Kyles, but not n one'of them has ever been capable if a deliberate wrong," said Mrs. Kyle, joniiug over and stroking his wavy jrown hair. , "I might be happy in this valley if I could persuade a young beauty whom I recently met to stay here with nie and liaro my fate," said Henry Kyle with he light, careless manner that was pe- ;uliar to him. "And who is this beauty?" asked Mrs. Kyle. "She is with her father, brother and another sister, now en route to Oregon or Washington territory.. The immi- frant train passes within two hours' ide of hero tomorrow." "And where does this family come from?" • '-.-• "From West Virginia," replied Hen- "West Virginia?" "Yes, mother. Why, the name seems to startle you," said Henry, turning and watching the white cloud of trou- )le that swept over his mother's face* "Oh, no! Why should the name of a place affect me?" She stroked her* fore- lead nervously and then asked with an evident effort at composure, "And what s the name of the people?" '' 'Blanchard,'' replied Henry, ' 'The old gentleman is called Dr. Blanchard." know about hunting and Indians not worth, knowing, and there was a very gei»cral belief iimoug them, that J|0 bluulfoldecTi from tho AtlftntiP to the Pasift 0 withp^l ojjoe beaks and poured their cool trout flllo currents into the lake. From one of tjtp groves a pillar of smoke arose, morkim the site of a human habitation. -,Wh^ Kenry Kylo saw this, he left the tra ho )»ad been following and galloped f<r tho grove. The cattle and sheep raisiit their heads and looked after him ^ wonder. ""•-"•A largo double log house occupied, clear space iu the grove, rtiid back < this was a barn. The surrounding dens showed thrift, and Jtuo vines flowers indicated more refinement tho occupants of tlieplftoo t-l'an is ly seen iu that wild land. As Bon? Kyle was hitching his- horse to a before tlio house-a beautiful girl of oat IB ran out, and, with » cry of brother! Uy brother^' i^be tlwew about hun- No ,effort, even had one been made, oould'hide the emotion that Mrs. Kyle now ,felt. All the color fled from her lace, and her hands trembled so that she lad to interlock her fingers to keep them steady. "Did you ever hear of the name be- core?" asked Henry. . "I—I think I have." Nora was about to speak, but was interrupted by the joyous barking of a dog outside, and the sound of voices near by gave her an excuse to cry put: Father and Louis! They will be glad to sec you. "./'•,' The girl went to the door, where-' her father and . brother greeted her fondly, and she then led them into tho room where was her truant brother. Louis Kylo was a f«w years younger than' his brother and equally handsome, but his face had a stronger and more serious expression. He welcomed Henry cordially, but the look on the father's face was not one of pleasure. Mr. Kyle was a tall, well made man of 50, with iron gray hair and shoulders slightly stooped. The stoiy of a great grief was plainly -written on his face. "Are we to have you .with us long?" asked Mr. Kyle, addressing Henry. "No, sir. I was near here and come to see how you all were." "I suppose we should be thankful," said Mr, Kyle with a sneer. "It must have caused you an effort to leave your companions." Let us not blame him," broke in Mrs. -Kyle. "There is but little to occupy a young man of spirit here." "There is duty," interrupted the younger brother. ' 'Any man who wants a higher incentive would be incapable of appreciating it" 1'Ah, Louis," laughed Henry, "we are differently constituted J The blood of the Scotch-Irish Covenanters freezes in your veins; the red current of the French burns through mine. I love you better for being what you are. If we were alike, these mountains would be too small to hold us." s "It you were like me, this valley," said Louis, "would bo a kingdom large enough." Leaving the brothers to talk, Mrs. Kyle beckoned to her husband.to follow her. , She led him into another apartment, the floor of which was carpeted with the softest furs, then cautiously, closing the door, said: "Dr, Blanchard, his son and two daughters juo near by on theu/Svay to Oregon." "My God!" sobbed the won. "My sister Maiy's husband! My Bister Mary's children I" "But they will wot oonie. near us," she sftid soothingly. Mr, Kyjo tookn, turn across the roomj then owning back he cried out! «Mjr heart goes ojit to them. All fee past vises jn judgment before u^o, w&8 kftti yesterday that' I fled. " tb,e 6t(W ft»d baiictti and ci-ifd as if" hiS hp-art brefthiiJg. Tho wife and IrasbaJiel were still talking when n, bright Indian girl, known us K-ushatj came into the rood and told them thab dinner Avos ready. During the meal this girl followed Homy Kyle with her black eyes, and there %vas that in tire gazo that told of a more thaii ordinary interest in the handsome,, young man. "" After dinner Henry Kyle saddled his horse, bade his family goodby and was soon flying into the mountains from which ho had come, CHAPTER III. Henry Kyle's splendid horse flojv over the mountain trail that dark night with all the ease and certainty of a great bird clearing the air. After three hours of ceaseless galloping the young man saw, far to the front awl far down jroni the hill along which his hcrso coursed, a campfire, and the ruddy light revealed a group of men, their rifles flashing on tho trees like queer igneous fruit, while in tho background the outline of a group of grazing horses could be made out, Suddenly a figure in hunter's dress appeared on tho trail, and Henry Kyle, reining in his horse, with his left linnd while his right dropped back to the stock of his pistol, called out: "Is that you, Bouton?" 1 'Yes. We're' waiting for you,'' replied the tall figure in a gruff voice. Henry Kyle dismounted, and as tho two drew nearer to tho fire tho light glowed on the fierce brown face of Bouton, a lawless half breed but too well known to the settlers in these mountains. "The boys are in a hurry," continued the half breed. "What's up?" "They are afraid the immigrant train may escape us, and that mustn't be,' for it is the richest outfit that has been seen in these hills for many a day." "Are tho Blisses in camp?" "Yes, Hank." "I _cau't see why two-Virginia law- yerif should come oat to this country and join a gang that IB notoriously lawless," said Henry Kyle meditatively. ' 'They keep their own secrets, Hank,'' chuckled Bouton. "So they do, but I can't see why they should be BO eager to get this Dr. Blanchard and; his son out of the way." "In order that they may many the daughters, I suppose. But are the girls so beautiful?" "Beautiful as pictures, Bouton—too beautiful to be thought of in connection with sucli a brace of ugly curs os-theso two brothers." said Henry Kyle, the words coming as if from between his set teeth. '..,-• By this time the two men had. reached the campflre, and a score of men, bearded and bronzed, greeted Henry Kyle with a cheer that indicated his popularity, if, indeed, it did not imply his leadership. Henry Kyle unsaddled and staked his horse—the first care of a true hunter—and then went to the fire, on which meat was broiling and savory messes steaming in iron pots. . . "You, met',up .with them.>, Mr. Pont Robb says you met up with them," said aman.'laying his hand on Henry's arm. "Oh, you—Mr. Tom Bliss! How are you? Yes, I met them. I told you I would if they were on the plains." "So you did, so you did, and I believed you implicitly." And as Tom Bliss spoke he drew Homy Kyle out of hearing of. the others. Just here it may be necessary to ex- ! | I <$* 4* J j£ t' ^ *§* SI >ATENT «|* SENT 4? 4*f fr* 4? 412 choice. In cases eour ules." compounded largely one ficts sweetens ules" you buy Besides ules," doctor The are C. COMMERCIAL ^ ' ' — per plain tho appearance of Jonas Bliss' two sons in these wilds. Dr. Blauchard had not been gone from his old home a week when tho collateral heirs—the kinsmen of old John Weldon, tho patriarch—began to make inquiries about the immense estate that had been xinclaimed for so many years in tho old lawyer's, hands that he very naturally began to look upon it as his own. Lawyer Bliss refused to give them any satisfaction, and the consequence was that tho reniainiug Weldons appealed to the courts and demanded an investigation. The courts granted the order, and the old lawyer found the calm current of his prosperity vexed by opposing rocks. He said one day to his sous: "I am left sole executor of John Weidon's estate. It was left to his grandsons, Valentine and Frederick. The latter is dead, and if the former is not we can safely count on never seeing him again. He is a murderer and will not risk his life to gain any wealth. The will can still be set aside, but only by Dr. Blanchard's children. They are the rightful heirs." _,_! "But they have left it all behind them and fled," said Tom Bliss, who was very much like his father. "That is no bar, The courts will hunt them up, though the courts con- not force them to press .their claims." "It wouldn't be a bad thing for us," interposed Sim Bliss, who was thought to be very shrewd because he spoke but little, "if the whole party was gobbled up by the Indiana" There was so much more in this than the mere words would ordinarily convey that the old lawyer and his.sou.Tom fairly gasped for breath, It was Tom who first recovered and said; "They could be stopped." "They could be so fixed as never to be heard of again,'' joined iu Sim. "The girls shox;ld be watched over and cared for. Ah, if you boys had only succeeded in winning them," sighed tho old lawyer, "the whole estate would be in our hands ajjd we might snap.our fingers at the whole Weldon clan!" "It is not too late yet," said Tom, and thereupon he whispered a plan that mot the approval of his father and Published foremost States. Subscription New Sunday be news interest phase of the every per The MORNING together months, A> The : glf fV THE CalcutH CTO BB CONTJNP«O.| „„..„.. Mounting*Solid U made In Silesia TUC inC Pillar—Is Cross red and TUC lilt twenty-five Un« Double We fly rod, the fly the real low more—with nks-vs ,s»ive The Best Salvo In the world for Cuts, Sores, UjQers, S»lt Tetter, Cha and,, or

Clipped from
  1. Shenango Valley News,
  2. 05 Jun 1896, Fri,
  3. Page 2

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