Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana on December 27, 1897 · Page 6
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Logansport Pharos-Tribune from Logansport, Indiana · Page 6

Logansport, Indiana
Issue Date:
Monday, December 27, 1897
Page 6
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CHAPTI:K xxix. An Boutoc fell the riflu ho wus about to aim at Captain Brandon dropped from his hand, and ho whoeh-d alxjut ;u if on a pivnr ;ui<l .so faced his jistoiiishcd men. All heard the shut, but they did not know what to make of if. There •was no foe in si;:ht, and they were <>u the point of concluding that, it was an accidental shot t'ruin one of their own rifles when they heard yells coming down from the" cliffs, and looking up they saw Black Hash- motioning wildly at something still lower down. The astounded outlaws forgot for the moment the man they wero about to execute and scattered to get a better view of the source of danger. While they •were watching Black Eagle and his Indians, Houry Kyle, whose unerring riflo had stretched Bouton on the earth, never to rise again, dropped into the valley, •with Kushat beside him, and before the ontlaVTS could realize what had happened they threw themselves before the captain, and, both having pistols, opened flre. Fairplay was the first to recover his presence of mind, and shouting to his companions to follow him he fired at the young hero anjl the Indian girl. In a few seconds a volley was poured at the devouted pair, and they fell across the captain, completely covering him. That was Fairplay's last order. Before the men could retreat the wall of the valley directly in their front seemed to open, and from it a band of men swarmed out, with the Prophet at their head and Howard Blanchard and Louis Kyle close behind. The Prophet shouted: ' 'For God and justice! Charge!'' A cheer was the answer, and the immigrants and herders threw themselves with irresistible force on the outlaws. Utterly demoralized, though they outnumbered their assailants' four to one, they fled precipitously through the canyon by which they had entered the valley. Here Font Rohb succeeded in halting them, when suddenly u, cry went up from the outlaws: "Troops, Robb, troops! Let us retreat or wo shall be lost!" A buglo rang out clear and londabovo the roar of the conflict. Neither friend nor foe was long in doubt. Out from the black rift tho blue clad horsemen swarmed, and as they entered the valley they drew their sabers and formed in line, till the sun flashed on GO uplifted blades. The officer in command hesitated. Though he saw that a fight was going on, he could not tell friend from foe. Seeing Ins perplexity, the Propher ran toward tho young officer, whom ho had not seen before, and shouted: "Yonder are the invaders and outlaws. Charge thorn, in God's name, and smite them hip and thigh till the power of Belial be broken!" Still Captain Duncan deliberated, and it is doubtful if he would have gone into the action had not Black Eagle and his warriors opened fire from tho cliffs, a fact that encouraged the fugitives to make a stand. Riding quietly to the front of the line, the handsome young officer in ccm- mand called out calmly: "Attention!" la an instant the men sat straight in their saddles, grasped the bridle reins IB their left hands, and, with their saber hilts resting against their right hips, they gazed fixedly at an imaginary line 50 feet in front. Even the jaded hoisog pricked up their ears in antieipatior,. of the next order. "Forward, trot!" The line moved forward to the music of jingling spurs and clattering scabbards. The next instant the tlu-illing notes of the "Charge" rang out. From each man's hip a blade flashed high in the air, and from each rider's lips burst the cavalry cheer: "Charge! Charge!" "We surrender! We surrender!" lihouted the outlaws as they threw down the arms they had just nervously discharged. They spoke too late to restrain the oaset, even had the officer commanding ordered it, which he had not time to do JVj/ threw themseUKS be/ore the captain. before the blue wave broke, the sabers fell and half of them rose again crim- •on. In as brief time as it takes to write it the outlaws were dead or prisoners in. the hands of the troops. The few that bud attempted flight were halted by the Ptophet's rifles. "Welcome, thrice welcome!" cried th« Prophet as he advanced to Captain Duncan with extended hands. "And I am glad to be here to help yon, my friend," said the young officer with that deference of manner that •bowed hU high respect for the man ho- fon him. "I think." he added, with a grim roile, "tb»t I came none too "Did my messenger reach Fort Keogh?" "Ho did, out he had been wounded, and was so faint when he came in that he had us much difficulty in telling his story as we had in comprehending it, I told the general that I knew you and that your messenger could be trusted, so bo sent me, and, though we had a rough ride of it, I am glad we are here. But before we can explain further let us see about tho wounded.'' Captain Duncan rode off to give orders to his men, and the Prophet vrenc to where his own friends were gathering across the valley near where Captain Brandon had been set up as a target. On the outskirts of tho crowd he saw one of the immigrant women bending over a wounded man and giving him water. He approached and discovered Bouton, with the death damp on his yellow forehead and his lifeblood welling from his yellow breast, "This is the end I have foreseen for thee and all who travel thy ways," said the Prophet, dropping on his knee beside the dying outlaw. "Have you power to shrive and confess me?" said the outlaw. "I claim no such power, but while life lasts mercy and forgivenes extend thqir arms," said the Prophet solemnly. The outlaw struggled as if he would say more, but fell back, with his purple lips drawn back from his white teeth, and over his eyes fell the glazed death veil, the scarcely percepitble yet impenetrable film that divides time from eternity. The Prophet heaved a sigh and mattered a prayer, then went to the throng that surrot uided objects of greater int&r- est. As he forced his way through low sobs, as from breaking hearts, fell upon his ears. He raised his bowed head arid saw the tall form of Captain Brandon. There, was blood on his face and breast, blood that covered the scar on his cheek, but it was not. his own. It was the lifeblood of Henry Kyle. For a moment the two friend's were in each other's arms. "I thank thre, thou Great Jehovah," cried the Prophet, "that thou hast saved my friend!" "Come this way. Let us withdraw," whispered Captain Brandon. The Prophet looked into the center of the group and saw Dr Blanchard placing Henry Kyle and Kushat on two stretchers that had been hastily constructed of rifles and blankets. "Are they dead?" asked the Prophet. "Not yet. Come, let us talk apart. We can follow them to the grave.'' They walked under the towering rocks and watched the sad procession forming and moving across the valley. All the Kyles and the Blauchards were there, but the wailing of the women told that the journey of one of them would not end, but rather begin when his bearers had set him down again. "The rifles were raised to destroy me, and I looked into the black muzzles with a feeling that they were the last things on which my earthly eyes would rest, but, like a. guardian angel, he dropped down from the sky and saved me,'' sobbed the captain. The Prophet laid his hand on the captain's broad shoulder and looked into his blood stained face with an expression of unutterable questioning and tenderness. "Let us wait. It maybe better to say no more—better that the dead past should bury its dead.'' "No, no. Captain Brandon; this must not be. Break the seals which the angels of charity and silence have so long placed on ymr lips—break them, or I will," said ihe Prophet with great earnestness. "If the silence is to be broken I will do it. But we must now consider the course that would bring the greatest happiness. Am I not right?" The two friends walked across the yalley, and on the way they passed the bodies of a number of dead outlaws with their ghastly faces upturned to the sun. Among them was Fairplay, hia bronzed hands still clutching his rifle. As they were nearing the cave Captain Duncan met them and greeted Captain Brandon with a warmth that showed they were valued friends. There is a man over here, a prisoner, who wants to speak to one of you gentlemen,'' said Captain Duncan. "Who is he?" asked the Prophet "I believes he calls himself Font Robb, but. I recognize in him a criminal who is wanted by the governors of half a dozen states and territories,'' replied Captain Duncan. They went over to where the prisoners were seated on the ground, guarded by a number of cavalrymen. "See har, gents,"said Font. Robb, rising and touching his cap, "I've got a favor to ask, and I'll say it's the one I'd do for either of you if you was in the same Si I am." "What is that?" asked the Prophet, who was now in a mood to grant any reasonable favor, even to an outlaw and an enemy. "Don't let the sojers carry me off." said Font Robb. "Carry yon off?" "Yes, tote me away from har." "What would you have me do?" 'Why, I'd have yon gents take the law in your own rmrirU You're the parties as I've gone for last, and you oughtn't to let the military interfere, Tom'd oocht to. m>ke it ron'ral afla prepare the corpse accordta ! to taste." ' " I must say I do not understand yon," , said the Prophet • 'Waal, I ain't much on the chinnin, that's a fact. But har's the pint: Why can't you and Captain Brandon take me right out and shoot me? If you don't want to take a whack at me, mebbc Louis Kyle would. The fact is I don't want to be took off and tried %vhere I'm pretty sure of bein strung up. This is the favor, gents, and I'd be forever obliged if you was to grant it," said Font Robb again, touching his cap. "We have not the power to grant your request." said the Prophet, "and we would not if we could. Life to us is sacred. Live while you can and prepare to meet the God whom you have offended. " CHAPTER XXX. Old Lawyer Bliss in West Virginia got die dispatch of his sou Tom from Dcadwood. It was a fall and therefore an expensive telegram. It told him that he was wanted in the far west with all the money he could raise, and it further informed him that Valentine Kyle was living, and that he should come prepared with all the papers and power necessary for arrest So far Lawyer Bliss had successfully combated the efforts of the collateral hours to possess themselves of the vast estate of old John Weldon, "the patriarch.'' The sole executor of the estate defeated them at every point with the one argument that the claimants had no proof that Valentine Weldon or hia children were not then living. If there were ever sons who deserved to be called "chips of the old block," Sim and Tom Bliss were the men. Father and sons were as much alike as two of last year's peas in company with one of the year before. From a man who had deserted from Bouton's party and was making his way to the settlements Lawyer Bliss learned the whereabouts of the Kyle and Blanchard families. Though not sure of it, he felt confident that the former were the missing Wei- dons. The lawyer brought a guide with him, and this guide led him. to the canyon, at the entrance to which they left the vehicle in charge of the driver and continued down through the pass on horseback. Lawyer Bliss had 10 men with him, and his son and self made 12. They were all armed, but the shrewd old man placed more reliance in the legal processes which he carried in his pockets than in the aggressive or resisting power of his party. They entered the valley after tine fight was over and Captain Brandon and the Prophet had gone to the cave. The flickering light from the altar fell on Henry Kyle's face and revealed death's unmistakable pallor. From the brave breast the red current was oozing. He clung to the hand of the dying girl beside him, and her glazing eyes were turned to him with their old fond expression. Dr. Blanchard had examined the wounds of Henry and Kushat, and when he rose and shook his head sorrowfully Mrs. Kyle threw herself on the floor beside the sou who had so bravely redeemed his errors, and she cried with chat heartbroken agony that only a mother can feel: "Oh, my son, my son! Would to God that I could die with you or for you!" "Brave, dear mother," he gasped. "Kiss me and say you forgive me. " "Forgive you, my son! Oh, you never sinned against my love! To me you were never false! I knew you would come back to me and back to yourself! It was your head that erred and not your heart that harbored evil! We were to blame, for we took you away from the active life for which you were designed. But you will live—my brave boy must live! My kisses will warm your cold brow! Oh, Henry, do not leave me now that you are back, pure and white souled as when your first cry—the first cry of my first child—told me I was a mother!" Poor mother! The bullets that passed through your brave boy found a lodging place in your heart. "Where is father?" Henry managed to ask, and with unexpected strength he turned his head and looked up at the anxious faces clustering around. "I am here, my boy!" cried Valentine Kyle, and he was beside him, kneeling with the same expression he wore when he knelt beside Louis and told him the crime that weighed so heavily on his soul. At that moment; the poor youth recalled the story of the Prodigal Son, which his father had often read to him, »nd he sighed: "My father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and I am no more worthy to be called thy son. " ' 'Bravely have you compensated for the sinning,'' and Valentine Kyle kissed his son and wept "Can Kushat be saved?" asked Henry feebly. "I am beside you, " she said in a low, sweet voice that in no way told of the agony she must be suffering. "I am beside you, Henry, as I said I would be when the hour for parting with all etb- ers came. To me yon were never a bad man. Yon were to other men as the summer sun to the stars.'' "He giveth his beloved sleep," broke in the Prophet solemnly. ' 'But from that sleep there shall be a glorious awakening." He went to the altar, put fresh fuel on the perpetual fire and added oil to the lamps burning on the corners. "Nora—Louis?" said Henry, with a guestioning expression. "We are here,, dear brother—here beside you.'' "Kiss me, Nora. Take my hand, Louis." They did so, and a sweet smile passed over his face, and he looked to be enjoying pleasant dreams in a calm deep, "Henry," whispered Mrs. Kyle, "yonr uncle Blanclaard is here and yocr eousin. Would you speak to them?'' "Alice Blanchard?" he asked, with tudden energy. "Is she here? Would she speak to me and forgive me?" Mra. Kyle looked pleadingly at Alice, and Alice, her cheeks tear stained, came vid knelt over him. "I '-ITTJ here. Cousin Henry, praying heaven to spare you. And by this kiss I press on your forehead"—she kissed him, and her tears fell on his face—"I assure yon of my affection and forgiveness." "Can she help but forgive, when from the first his heart has gone oat to her?" said Kushat. "And Brandon—brave Captain Brandon—is he safe? Does he know that I received in my own heart the volley that he might live?" "Know it. Henry Kyle!" cried the captain. "I know that you are dying for me! Would to God that our positions could bo changed!" He knelt beside Alice. He tried to be calm. The broad breast heaved, the muscles of his face moved convulsively, and ho burst into a wail that told of the agony in his heart. ' 'I hear the herders singing on the hills," sighed Henry. "And the bells of the folded sheep. Cling to my hand, Henry. It is growing dark," whispered Kushat. He did cling to her hand, and so they passed over the river—children of an alien race—to the arms of a common Father. "Here, " said the Prophet, "I propose to tell you many things which you will marvel to hear." The people sat down by the fountain or on stone benches ranged near the walls, and the Prophet was about to continue when the clanging of sabers and the stamping of heavy feet, accompanied by loud voices, were beard. "I did not intend that the soldiers should come here, "said the Prophet, "but as the world must know what I have to say perhaps it is as well" While he was speaking Captain Duncan came into the apartment, and after him came Lawyer Bliss, followed by his two sons and the sheriff and escort. ' 'You will pardon me for intruding," gaid the captain, removing his hat, "but this gentleman (pointing to Lawyer Bliss) has come on here with a requisition from the governor of Montana to arrest some parties. I, of course, know nothing about it, but it seems I am instructed to aid in forcing the writ" The young captain looked as if he •were not at all pleased with the business en hand, but was simply doing his duty as a soldier. "We are ready to hear and obey," said the Prophet. '' We are a law abiding people, and we fay to follow God's law as well as man's. " The little, dried up old lawyer coughed behind his shriveled hand, and "The charge against Valentine Kyle is that of -murder!'' removed his hat in imitation of the captain, thus showing he was very bald. Putting his hat under his arm he drew a package, bearing red seals and tied with red tape, from his pocket and looked over the assembly till his eye fell on Valentine Kyle. Valentine Kyle did not avoid his gaze. The worst had come, and whatever awaited him could be no worse than he had already endured. "This,"said Lawyer Bliss, "is the most unpleasant duty of my life. Is Valentine Weldou here?'' Mr. Kyle rose slowly to his feet and said: "That was once my name." "Ah! Sorry to meet you under such circumstances. Could I talk -with you aside, Mr. Weldon?" "I do not wish to go aside. I shall not resist your writ" "But you had better come to one side," said the lawyer in wheedling tones. "Do, do, Mr. Wei—Mr. Kyle. It will be to your advantage,'' said Tom Bliss, who, being with his father of late, knew exactly what he was driving at, which was that Valentine Kyle should give up to the old lawyer his claim upon tbb West Virginia estate in consideration of hia freedom. "What is the offense with which Mr. Kyle is charged?" asked the Prophet, walking to the front with an expression on his face such as it wore the morning when he charged the outlaws. "Ah! I do not know, sir, that you have any right to ask that question,'' saiid the lawyer, with a bow intended to be very polire. "If I hadnot the right to ask, I would no; do so. Ivow, sir, I shall resist yon process, for I, too, have been a lawyer— to :my shame be it said—and I know our rights," said the Prophet sternly. ' 'Oh, if you will insist on placing a, gentleman in an unpleasant position before his friends, of course I can't object The charge against Valentine Kyle is that of murder!" said Lawyer Bliss. '•'Murder!" gasped the people, with a ghudder. 11 'Yes, for the murder, nearly 19 years ago, of his brother, Frederick Weldon. Therefore I arrest you, Valentine Wel- doia." The lawyer advanced to lay his hand on the heartbroken man's shoulder, when a thundering "Hold!" stopped bin. "Who asked me to hold?" asked the lawyer, looking anxiously about him. "It is I who ask you to hold!" Captain Brandon had washed the blood from his face; the scar down hi& cheek was paler than it had been since the day it was first made, and the remaining eye burned with * light that »w«.tq afl .who wfe it "Do vou. not know mef- "Xbf" "I am Frederick Weldon!" "Frederick Weldon!" came like an audible throb from the hearts of the people. "Frederick, who was dead, but who still lives," said the Prophet. The intense silence that followed was at length broken by the sobs of the I women and unchecked tears flowed from the eyes of strong men unused to weeping. Valentine Weldon rallied by an effort of will and looked into tho face of the man who had clasped him in his arms, and he saw the scar, from brow to chin, saw it as he did that night in the long ago, when by the lightning's flash he stood over his prostrate brother. He could not realize that Frederick lived, even though his voice, the eyes and the perfect prolle assured him. "Has the grave given up its dead?" he managed to ask. "No, Valentine, but the time has come when the clouds should roll away from our lives. That this has not been done before is not my fault, as you shall see.'' "Oh! If you are Frederick Weldon, I should be delighted," said Lawyer Bliss, putting the bundle of papers under his arm and dry washing his lean hands. ' 'Do not interrupt me, I am now speaking for the information of my kinsmen and friends here assembled." Captain Brandon, or Frederick Weldon, conducted his brother to a scat facing the people and continued: "My position can only be understood by telling you in as brief a way as possible my story since the sad night when last I saw my brother.'' The captain hesitated, while a coughing and a shuffling of feet told of the profound interest of the people. He went on: "When I returned to consciousness after the blow I found myself in a hospital where Union troops were being cared for, and my nurse told me the place was Cincinnati. From this man I learned that a scouting party of the Twenty-third Ohio had come upon a man robbing the body of another whom b.6 was supposed to have murdered. By the glare of the lightning they recognized this man as a noted bushwhacker and fired at him. He plunged into the river, and his was the body found afterward, but of which I knew nothing until recently. "The officer in command, believing rightly that I was a Union man, after ascertaining that I still lived, had me placed in an ambulance and sent to a hospital Some of his men kindly gave me a change of clothing, and, as they were soldier's clothes, the physicians, though having no record of my case, sent me on with the wounded troops. "I had been unconscious, it seems, nearly six weeks. My brain was affected, but, thanks to skill and care, I recovered. For several months my organs of speech were affected, and when asked my name it seems they understood me to say 'Brandon,' when I meant Weldon. Every one about the hospital called me Brandon, andforniy brother's sake I determined to'adopt the name. ' 'At first I thought to return home, but the war spirit ran high, and I reasoned that my presence would bring trouble to my brother, and that if I became as one dead he could inherit the property for his children. So I gave up home and fortune. I entered the Union army when I became strong enough and came out a captain at the close of the war. "Then. I wanted to go home, for I yearned to tell my brother, who belonged to the beaten side, that I had forgiven him and that all my old love went out to him. But I thought I am looked on as one who is dead. Why should I go back? The people think that I fled at the time of my disappearance, for I never dreamed that my brother was suspected. My every thought was to shield him." ' 'God bless you, Frederick. God bless you, my brother!" sobbed Valentine. "So," continued the captain, "I decided to go to a land where I would meet none whom I knew, and there live as a hunter and prospector. Fourteen years ago I came to the west, and in these mountains I met the Prophet I told him my story and made him swear perpetual silence before the altar. If it had not been for this, he could have saved us all this trouble. New scenes and associations gradually banished old memories, and as 'Captain Brandon' I was quite willing to spend the remainder of my days in the wilderness." "In God's land, captain! In God's hind!" interrupted the Prophet "It has truly been God's hand to me. Last spring I went to Omaha for supplies, and there fell in with a party of immigrants bound for the far west and anxious to secure a guide. They were told to come to me, and they did so. At first I hesitated to lead them, but wh«n I learned that Dr. Blancbard and bis family might be of the party I hesitated no longer. Of course I knew Dr. Blanchard, but the seal I had placed on the Prophet's lips was on my own, and I was resolved to keep my identity to myself. 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