O N THE very ridge of the divide where the Elkhorn road paused on level ground before plunging into the valley of the Arkansas, a squat cabin stood; I and before the cabin, on a rickety, i three-legged stool, "Rammie" Cot- [tlng see-sawed back and forth, an ex- ipansive grin on his bronzed face. Frequently he studied the western Elope, until finally he heard the dis- jtant ring of a horse's hoofs on the : loose stones of the roadway. Then jthe grin faded, and he drew a lugu- 'brious countenance, at the same time jrubbing his hands and chuckling in this throat. "Lord!" he mumbled, "here he :comes, blue as them slcys up there; [thinks he's a misfortunate devil, cussln' the mountains, an' the coun- jtry, an' the girl, an' me, an' mostly *cussin' himself. Cussin' Elkhorn, an' ithe men of Elkhorn, separate an' in E. bunch. Gettin' ready to tell me he's goin' to throw up the sponge— Boin' to Noo Zealand d'rectly. Thr, darn fool wouldn't take my advice. I told him nobody 'n the stony eurth "d loan us money on a petered-out prospect hole. An' of course nobody 'has, an' he's blue. Blue!" he ejaculated, as a jaded horse came in sight. "'I guess yes!" He stood up and shaded his eyes. "Hello, Laud," he bellowed. "What's Woln'?" The new comer dejectedly shook Us head. "Come in," Cotting said, abruptly .recovering from his convulsions; "grub's waitin'; flap-jacks, as usu- ifcl. What'd you say, an' what'd they say? Wouldn't have any truck with let bum prospector an' his bum mine,*i would they?" "None." Laud returned, gnawing his lip. "Of course, it's funny, so grin and be hanged. If you had heard them laughing at me when I suggested a loan, you'd grin broader, likely.'' "O, I don't now," Cotting said, airily; "I guess maybe I'd lit into them an' been in the calaboose about now. But what's the odds? We ain't down yet, Neddie." "Xo," Laud sneered, "not clown to the center of the earth, but we're down to hardpan, just the same. Confound it! There's gold in that mine— I know it. It'll make a fortune for somebody! and here we have to abandon it just before our vein grows rich enough to ship. O. it's maddening!" "Sure," Cotting acquiesced; "there's big gold there, son; lashin's of it. I wouldn't be surprised none if we struck a rotten-quartz cross-cut vein in about two feet more. I wouldn't. Some vein just loaded with wire gold. It wouldn't flabbergast me for a minute." Laud wheeled upon his partner. "I've been laughed at all day," he said, "and I expected to find at least sympathy here. What the devil has got into you, anyway? This is a time when such blatant cheerfulness is distinctly out of place. Don't make me quarrel with you." "You couldn't do it," Cotting grinned; "I'm as happy as a clam, son, an' I wouldn't quarrel with my mother-in-law—not me, I wouldn't." "0, you're rather tickled at the idea of giving up the work of two years, eh?" Laud sneered. "It seems unny to you that we should be compelled to quit just when we're on the erge of opening up pay ore—and all for the want of a few hundred greasy dollars! You're a prospector, you see, while I am not. I've never been a hill-vagabond: my ideal life isn't to bum through the mountains, year in and year out, like an aborigi? nal digger." Cotting guffawed. "Wow!" he roared, "ain't he sarcastic! Bully boy! Why don't you go on, you lop-eared son-of-ii-gun? You was thinkin' I about her, too, hey? In course, with| cut money, you wouldn't have no | show ag'in that dude who druv you | up here. "Say, Xed," he continued more soberly, "was it his money that cut you out or was it just some quarrel atween you an' her? You ain't never told me much about her, an' I'd like to figure out your chances, supposin' you cud go back in a plug hat. an' silk socks, an' all the rest of them fancy things. Chances 'ud be pretty good yet, wouldn't they?" Laud glared. "You—you—" he spluttered. "If you twit me about her, I'll—I'll—" "Why, I wasn't twitting." Cotting expostulated. "I wanted information. You'll look real cute in one of them corset overcoats." "O, go to the devil!" Laud growled, disgustedly retreating into the cabin. "Here, dish up your confounded slush; and talk about something else. As for me, I'm going to Xew Zealand." Cotting crammed a half-cold pancake into his mouth and choked. "Yes?" he gasped. "Yes, and. twenty times yes. I've had enough of the mines, the mountains, the whole country—I've had enough of America. I'll cut the last tie here and begin again over there. And what's more, I'll start tomorrow for the coast!" ' I "Good walkin'," Cotting; suggested. "I'll tramp and hobo ii," Laud fumed: 'I can do it!" "But if you had thorn silk sock.s—" Laud jumped up with an oath, lint before he could give vent to his wrath :t voice hailod the cabin. Brought to a sudden rolization of their surroundings, the two men heard voices and the tramp of several horses on the road. "There's the Elkhorn stage," Cotting said, welcoming the interruption with evident relief. "That's Moy bcllcrin'. Come out an' talk while he rests his horses: Likely there'll be some drummers frcr: the city, an' you can chew the li.g with 'em. Maybe they'll know something about, her. hey?" He hurried out, and Laud more slowly followed, a dark scrowl still on his forehead. "Howde, boys?" the driver called. "How're you comin'? N'otliin' new in the mine, I guess? Gents an' lady," he continued, "lot me intorduce two friends of mine. They're old prospectors, an' they've got a mine down behind that dike there." "0, prospectors!" exclaimed a femine voice from within the coach. "And a real cabin where they live! You have to rest your horses here, don't you. Mr. Driver? If we get out. perhaps the gentlemen will show us about. I'm dying with curiosity to see how they live." A young man, evidently from the city, stepped out first, and half turned to hand Iji.s companion to the ground. Laud uttered a smothered exclamation and the young man whirled upon him. "Good heavens!" he cried. "Xed! as I live. It's Xed Laud!" He plunged forward with outstretched hand.! "How are you?" he heartily cried. "\\lioM ever have dreamed of finding you iii> here?" Laud mumbled some inarticulate response, and rhon. recovering himself hy an obv!r,:is effort: "Glad to see you. Keucr'll," he said, not heartily. Cutting whittled softly. "Kciifrill," he whispered to himself; "an' a girl!" "I have a surpn.-e for you." Ken- gill resumed, bubbling mysteriously, "dad, man. you're the very person we honcii to meet. I'm on my wedding- trip. Come along." He caught Laud's arm and dragged him forward. "You can't guess who she is!'' Laud's face went white, and his lips tightened. "I—" he faintly said. "Excuse me, I—" A delighted cry interrupted him, and a mass of dainty laces flew from the coach. "Xed!" a voice cried. Land looked up with a start, while Kcngill burst, into delighted laughter. "Your cousin!" he cried. "Congratulate me, old chap! I've entered the Laud family." Laud blinked, and then a look of intense relief illuminated his face, while Cotting, hertofore a silent spectator, burst into a whoop of delight. "His cousin!" Col king cried: "an' the Dalzcll girl':; down in the city waittn', hain't she?" The bride looked over her cousin's shoulder and brightly nodded. Cotting emitted an ear-splitting whoop. "0. I can't hold in!" he roared. "I'll bust! An' we're rich— we're rich; That's the secret, kid. While you was gone. 1 used the last shot an' opened up a cross-cut vein YES, OF COURSE. IT'S NED LAUD AND "THAT DALZELL CTRL." of quartz, just rotten with free gold. Whoop!" Laud gasped. "Wow!" CottiiiR roared again, quite beside himself. "You're it! I'm it! We're it!" Laud suddenly comprehended, and sprang forward. In an instant the two prospectors were dancing a.s if at a cake wall;, down the road, while the coach passengers cheered. Luck had descended upon the stony places. * * * 'Tis tv.-o year later. Cotting's strike proved even greater than he had thought, and the mine had been sold for sufficient to make both he and Laud extremely wealthy. Sammy remained in the west, settled clown and is "living like a white man." Far away in the east in a quiet nook in the park of the Dalzell estate n stalwart young fellow and a beautiful woman have paused in their walk, each smiling- upon the other. "Then we shall surely be married in May?" he asks. "Yes." she replies, quickly and simply. Why. yes. of r-oures. It's Xed Laud and "that Dalzell girl." T ABOR let himself out of the door, glad that a spring lock " on the inside saved him, on his exit, the labor of climbing through the transom. Three days before he had landed inJJenver on his way home from Japan. The night before he had climbed through the transom of a vacant apartment above a store that he might gain a little sleep. Now he •was leaving before even the porter •was astir in the store beneath lest he be discovered and taken to the station house. The trip to Japan had been arranged to escape the consequences of a wild night in Xew York. On his return he had been met at the steamer by his father's agent who pressed Into his hand tickets, a state room ro Chicago, and a letter. Tabor had read the letter as the train was pulling out. It. was a terse, business-like communication, review- Ing his escapades and ending: "I am tired of the disgrace you are bringing on your name. If you have come home of a more serious mind you •will find that the sensation you creat- W here has died out. It lies with you .•whether you will live a temperate and proper life or whether you wish .to continue the course you have pur- JBued since you left college. In the flatter event it will be useless to come ihome for I am determined to cast you jout at your first transgression. If [you are impenitent it would be better ifor us all that you remain in the west, jwhere you are comparatively unknown." 1 Tabor tore the letter Into shreds. ;He had been heartil.y ashamed of him- ;6elf when he had left New York. He 'had contributed materially to the igayety of a certain set of one of the lyounger clubs, and while he was not jvicious in his amusements he generally managed to be blamed for jmore than his share of the proceed- jings. It was now three days later, and the was without money, and for the (last twenty-four hours without food. Half a block down the street a lit- [tle group of horsemen attracted his (attention. He had not spent much jtime in the west, and he was still In- iterested in the sights and scenes. He (vent over to the other side of the Street and approached the little knot ;of men with an assumption of indif- iference. "What is this,',' he asked easily, "a hanging bee or a posse?" "It's a ranch outfit," was the grinning response of the man who appeared to be the'leader. "Want to join us?" "Sure," was the ready answer. "Want a man?" "Yes, we want a man. Are you one?" "I may not look like the real article," said Tabor, "but I guess I can average up pretty fairly well." The foreman looked him over. He had made the suggestion in a jest, thinking he had to deal with one of the broken-down easterners who had sought an El Dorado and had found only a place where a man has to work for a living. "I do want another man," he said in an altered tone. "Can you ride?" "Some," sa!d Tabor, with a recollection of the cups and plate that testified to his ability as a steeplchase rider. "I used to ride a bit back east, but not these horses nor in this sort of saddle." "The saddle's easy," was the assurance," and you'll get used to the horses in time. Want to come? We were to get a man, but he didn't show up." It had been some time since he had ridden much, and the long forenoon in the saddle, so different from the flat English seats he was accustomed to, was a torment. He was hungry and thirsty, but he rode on without complaint. They stopped at noon at a small hotel. Tabor ate greedily and presently the others noticed his attacks upon his plate and began to comment. Shorty Ike, the foreman, leaned across the table. "I hope this ain't your regular pace," he said politely. "Because if it is I sure can't figure how we are going to pack enough grub around the country to feed you." They all rose from the table and while one of the men stood over him Tabor got his first lesson in saddling a horse western fashion. That was the commencement of his training. For three months it was continued. Tabor was game, and no horse was too wild, no risk too great. He took chances on everything that turned up, and in the end he was accepted as a full-fledged member of the outfit. Once he had learned the horse as ie is found on the plains, there was a certain brilliancy to his riding that won the respect of all and gained for him the intimacy of the foreman. Shorty, who was almost six feet tall and as thin as a lath, was rather proud of his find, and when Tabor won two or three races from other ranches he lost his identity and thereafter was known as Jock. There was no chance -for dissipation on the Wildcat. It was a succession of rides, with now and then a trick at the home ranch, where he looked after the beef cattle and the not the slightest temptation to indulge in dissipation. Tabor had been on the home ranch trick for a week when Shorty rode in from the range with another of the boys. That evening, after supper, the two men sat on the bench outside the bunk house and watched the sun sink Into the west. "Just to think." commented Shorty as he took his pipe from his mouth, "that off that way there's places with "Like to know why we can't," de- flared the foreman. "There's a show tomorrow night, over to Grceley City. Let's ride over and have a look at it. 'The .Mikado.' Ever see it?" "Lots of times." laughed Tabor, "but if you want to have a look you have none the best of me. I'd ride clear to Denver." Out over the moonlit plain they rode straight westward. It was fully fifty miles, but Tabor now could sit. in the saddle all day an/1 half the OUT OVER THE MOONLIT PLAIN THEY RODE. ranch house while the others rode the range. A year of this life hardened his muscles and burned from his body the traces of dissipation. He could take a drink now without wanting another, and on those few occasions when he went into town there was streets and people and all that. Just think of seeing a pretty girl walking along in a white dress—I'll bet they are wearing white dresses just now. Say, how would you like—" "I'd like to punch your head," laughed Tabor. "What's the good of crying for what you can't have?" night without feeling discomfort. It was his first trip to town in several months, and as the pair drew near the clustered houses that once represented Horace Greeely's ideas of a model city. Tabor drew a long breah of delight. Over on a siding lay a special car too elaborate to be the traveling home of an opera company. A little knot of interested loungers were gathered about ft, and Shorty strolled over to Join the group. At one end stood a white-jacketed porter, and as Tabor followed his companion across the tracks the ne- gro let out a yell and darted toward him. But Shorty was quicker, and the mail turned a shy white as he brought up against a .-15, the muzzle of which pressed his stomach uncomfortably. Shorty turned to see If his companion was making good his escape. His jaw dropped as he saw Tabor coming toward them with a smile ou his face. "I didn't rightly know," he apologized. "I ain't so familiar with your history as to comprehnd which way you wanted to run. If you were bound for home I just thought I'd make it a handicap." "He used to be the porter on my father's car," explained Tabor. "What are you doing here, Madison?" "This is your pa's car." explained the negro, as he wrung the hand extended to him. "He's out r.ere with some folks. He'll be shore glad to see you." "Is he in the car?" asked Tabor in surprise. "The gentlemen went out to look at. a ranch," he explained. "There's just Miss Evanell." Tabor's heart gave a bound. In the old days there had been rosy dreams in which Edith Evanell had figured. He thought he had forgotten all the old foolishness, but it came back to him with a rush. Madison moved toward the car, but. Tabor restrained him. "I don't think I'll bother Miss Evanell." he said, trying to hold his voice quiet. "I fancy the old crowd has forgotten me." " 'Deed no," assured Madison. "She done ask about you every clay. She said she knew she would meet you on this trip." Tabor turned away, but at that moment a girl came out on the platform and called to him. His face lighted up as he sprang toward the steps, and the next moment he was holding her hand and looking down into eyes tttat smiled up brightly at him. "You bad boy," she scolded, "not to let us know where you were." "I didn't think anyone cared," he said with a touch of bitterness. "We all cared," she defended. "Of course we knew that you were out here somewhere ami doing well, but we wanted to hear from you. Your father has spent thousands advertising for you." "Did dad really care?" he asked, his face brightening. "From his letter I fancied that he wished I'd drink myself to doath." "I thought that was it." she cried. "But I knew you wouldn't. That's why we advertised." "We?" he asked. Edith Mushed. "It. is given one to be interested in an old friend," she explained in pretty confusion. "When I found how broken down your father was getting over your silence I helped him plan his advertising crusade." "Wildcat Creek is not. a great patron of the press." he explained. "We have little time for reading out there." "Well, we've found you." she laughed. "We're not going to let you go now." "But I must." he declared. "Round tip's coming next week and Shorty needs all the boys." "But after the round up?" she persisted. "Surely then—" " 'I will arise and go to my father,' " he quoted, "though I guess I've been raising my own fatted calves." "The folks will be back by lunch time," she said. "We won't, have veal, but you know how Madison can cook." "Many's the time I've wished he had charge of our chuck wagon," he laughed. "If Shorty can come I'll stay." He turned and in pantomime invited the foreman to come into the car. Shorty scramble:! awkwardly; up the steps. "I take it," he said in response to the introduction, "that you must be the star of this here company. I've read that they sometimes have a car all to themselves." "I'm the girl Mr. Tabor is going to marry." she said hlushingly. "We have been engaged for a very long time." Shorty stared at Tabor. "An" I thought you'd killed a man," he said, "you kept so darned quiet about yourself." "Xo," laughed Tabor. ."I was making a man—myself—and I think the job's finished now. I'll be going after the round up, Shorty." W OLAE^!) junior, seated in his high chair on the back porch, stretched out two fluttering little hands at sight of his father and the whimper on his lips changed to a cry of delight. "Hello, Muggins! What's the matter?" Holabird exclaimed, taking the baby. "Is it Xora's day out, my 'dear?" he asked his wife, as he en- itered the kitchen and found Mrs. Hol- 'ebird Intent upon preparing dinner, i "Nora's left," Mrs. Holabird an- i Ewered, crossly. "I wish I could leave, '• too." i "I hope you don't mean that," Hol' abird said, gently, bending to kiss Ihis wife. i Mrs. Holabird jerked her head '. away. "I do. I don't see why girls lever'get married. I'm tired out^with fhousekeping and tending baby." ! "It's a warm night to get a hot fttlnner ready; suppose you drop ev- ferything and we'll go out somewhere (for a meal," Holabird suggested. > "And have to dress myself and | baby? No, thank you." The color I deepened In Mrs. Holablrd's pretty, ! round cheeks. ' The next moment she loked up, a jumlle struggling for mastery In her usually sweet eyes. "I'm as cross as two sticks, Jack," she confessed. "So would you be if you'd gone through all I have today." "It's too bad, little woman," Holabird said. After dinner, when Holabird had undressed the baby and put him to bed and helped with the dishes, his wife and he went out on the back porch together. Presently Mrs. Holabird said: "I should think you'd be glad to get rid of me and my bad temper. Jack. But, really, I've had cauSe. Baby was fretful. Nora left in a rage. And Bess and Margaret called as I was beginning to get dinner. They both looked so cool and rested and they urged me to go to the lake with them for two weeks. As if my being married and having baby made no difference!" "Well, it needn't," Holabird said, after he had taken two puffs at his pipe. "I'll look after myself and mother will be glad of the chance to take care of Muggins." "That shows how much a man understands," Mrs. Holabird replied, Indignantly. "Nothing would induce me to leave my baby." The next day, when Holabird came home to dinner, his wife greeted him excitedly. "Bess has just been here, dear, she said, "and, what do you think? Kitty and the Ross girls are going to the lake, too—all the old club. And your mother called and baby was so good with her, and she urged my leaving him and going with the girls. But, of course, I couldn't possibly do it." "See here, little girl," Holabird began, "you've stuck at the helm steadily since we were married and since trie baby came you haven't had any easy time. Xow, you're going to take a vacation. Next year Muggins will be old enough to miss you and make a row if you leave him. Xow he won't know the difference." "I suppose that is true," Mrs. Holabird reluctantly agreed. "You've got to go. I'll telephone Margaret and Bess now that you're going," Holabird said, decisively. During the time of preparation Mrs. Holabird made and unmade her mind a hundred times, the baby being the immediate cause of her indecision. Early on the morning of the day she was to depart Holabird awakened to find the place beside him empty. A sobbing over by the baby's crib told him where his wife was. "Suppose baby should die while I'm away?" Mrs. Holabird moaned. "I JUST BABY. simply can't leave him, Jack." "Then take him with you," Hola- bird suggested. However, when the moment of departure came, Mrs. Holabird finally allowed herself to be persuaded into going without the baby. Holabird drew a long breath when the train at last bore his wife's face out of his sight. The next morning HoUibinl. having breakfast, at his mother's, returned tn his home, where he had passed the nighi, for some papers he had forgotten. He was unlocking the door when a cab drove up and stopped. The next, moment Mrs. Holabird jumped out. "Is baby all right, Jack?" she cried, rushing up the steps. "Of course he is. What, on earth brought M>u back, Polly?" Holabird exclaimed in amazement. "The train, I got up at 3 o'clock this morning to catch it. The girls won't know I've left till they come down to breakfast. I couldn't stay away from baby and you another hour, Jack. TJiink of staying two weeks! If I have to take a vacation, we'll take it together." "That's just what, we'll do, and right away, too," Holabird declared. "You do understand, after all, Jack," Mrs. Holabird cried, beaming upon him. "The girls couldn't and never will till they are married. Let's go get baby now." The General Obeyed. An amusing incident, which occurred on board an Indian liner, is being related against Lord Kitchenn:-. He was dozing in a deck chair; a small girl who was playing on the deck presently let her ball get behind the general's chair. The general woke up. "Pick up my ball!" she said, imperatively. Lord Kitchener frowned. "Pick up my ball!" Insisted the maiden. "Where's your nurse?" growled Kitchener. "Pick up my ball!" "Where's your mother?" "Pick—up—my—ball!" The rising tone dismayed his lordship. He picked it up, and fled. Ambiguous. Visitor—You'll be sure to tell Miss Smythe that I called while she was cut? Maid—Oh, yes! She'll be delighted to hear it. Pure Eeason. Bride—Are you sure you love ma as much as ever? Bridegroom—Perfectly. "And you will never, never love any one else?" ' "Never." "And there isn't anything you wouldn't do to make me happy?" "Xothing. That is, of course, \jith- in the bounds of reason." "Humph: I thought so. I can see that you are getting tired of me. You've begun to reason." . » . The New Servant Girl. Lady (not liking the look of her new servant.)—Did you have any words with your last mistress as you were leaving your last place? , The Domestic (encouragingly)—> Xot in the least, mum. I locked her in the bathroom, and took all my things and slipped out as quiet as you please! Polite Shopwalker—Good afterr nooh, madam. I hope you will call again. Mrs. Flatterbick—That's kind of yer. So I will, and ye must come to see us. in a.
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