The Maupin times. (Maupin, Or.) 1914-1930, January 12, 1922, Image 2

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fll I. W' 1L I I ?.,t S.
CHAPTER II Continued.
The thought sobered and halted her.
She glanced once at the dark fuce of
her companion. Pan couldn't under
stand the strange light that suddenly
leaped to her eyes. Perhaps she her
sell couldn't have explained the wave
of tenderness that swept over her
with no cause except the look In Dan's
earnest gray eyes and the lines that
cut so deep. Since the world was new,
It has been the boast of the boldest of
men.thnt they looked their Fate In the
face.' And this Is no mean looking. For
fate Is a sword from the darkness, a
power that reaches out of the mystery,
and cannot be classed with sights of
human origin. It burns out the eyes
of all but the strongest men. Yet Dan
was looking at his fate now, and his
eyes held straight
They walked together down to the
ruined house, and the three of them
sat silent while the fire burned red.
Then Lennox turned to thein with a
"You're wasting time, you two," he
said. "Remember, all our food Is gone.
If you start now, and walk hard, may
be you can make It out."
"There are several things . to do
first," Dan answered simply.
"I don't know what they are. It Isn't
going to be any picnic, Dan. A man
can travel only so far without food to
keep up his strength, particularly over
such ridges as you have to cross. It
will be easy to give up and die. It's
the test, man; It's the test."
"And what about you?" ills daugh
ter asked.
"Oh, I'll be all right. Besides It's
the only thing that can be done. I
can't walk, and you can't carry me on
your backs. What else remains? I'll
stay here and I'll scrape together
enough wood to keep a fire. Then you
can bring help."
He kept his eyes averted when he
talked. He was afraid for Dan to see
them, knowing that he could read the
lie In them.
"How do you expect to find wood
In this snow?" Dan asked him. "It will
take four days to get out; do you
think you could lie here and battle
with a fire for four days, and then four
days niore that it will take to come
back? You'd have two choices: to
burn green wood that I'd cut for you
before I left, or the rain-soaked dead
wood under the snow. You couldn't
keep either one of them burning, and
you'd die In a night. Besides this Is
no time for an unarmed man to be
alone In the hills."
Lennox's voice grew pleading. "Be
sensible, Dan!" he cried. "That
Cranslon's got us, and got us right.
I've only one thing more I cnre about
and that Is that you pny the debt I I
can't hope to get out myself. I say
that I can't even hope to. But If you
bring my daughter through and when
spring comes, pay what we owe to
Cranslon I'll be content. Heavens,
son I've lived my life. The old pack
leader dies wbeu his time comes, and
so does a man."
Ills daughter crept to him and shel
tered his gray head against her
breast. "I'll stay with you, then," she
"Don't be a littlo fool, Snowbird,"
he urged. "My clothes are wet al
ready from the melted snow. It's too
long a way It will be too hard a fight,
and children I'm old and tired out. I
don't want to make the try hunger
and cold; and even If you'd stay here
and grub wood, Snowbird, they'd find
us both dead when they came back in
a week. We cun't live without food,
and work and keep warm and there
Isn't a living creature In the hills."
" "Except the wolves," Dan reminded
hi ni.
"Except the wolves," Lennox
echoed. "Remember, we're unarmed
and they'd find It out. You're young,
Snowbird, and so Is Dan and you
two will be happy. I know how things
are, you two more than you know
yourselves and in the end you'll be
happy. But me I'm too tired to
make the try. I don't care about It
enough. I'm going to wave you good
by, and smile, and lie here and let the
cold come down. You feel warm In a
little while"
, But she stopped his lips with her
hand. And he bent and kissed it,
"If anybody's going to stay with
you," Dan told them In a clear, flrui
voice, "It's going to be me. Hut aren't
any of the cabins occupied?"
"You know they aren't," Lennox an
swered. "Not even the houses beyond
the North Fork, even If we could get
across. The nearest help is over sev
enty miles."
"And Snowbird, think I Haven't any
supplies bwn left In the ranger sta
tion?" "Not one thing," the girl told him.
"You know Cranston and his crowd
'robbed the place last winter. And the
telephone Hues were disconnected
when the rangers left."
"Then the only way U for m to
stay here. You can take the pistol,
and you'll have a fair chance of get
ting through. I'll grub wood for our
camp meanwhile, and you can bring
"And If the wolves come, or If help
didn't come In time," Lennox whis
pered, passion-drawn for the first
time, "who would pay what we owe to
"But her life counts first of all."
"I know It does but mine doesn't
count at all. Believe me, you two.
I'm speaking from my own desires
when I say I don't want to make the
fight. Snowbird would never make It
through alone. There are the wolves,
and maybe Cranston too the worst
wolf of all. A woman can't mush
across those ridges four days without
food, without some one who loves her
and forces her on I Neither can she
stay here with me and try to make
green branches burn In a fire. She's
got three little pistol balls and we'd
all die for a whim. Oh, please,
please "
But Dan leaped for his hand with
glowing eyes. "Listen, man !" he cried.
"I know another way yet. I know
more than one way; but one, if we've
got the strength, Is almost sure. There
Is an ax in the kitchen, and the blade
will still be good."
"Likely dulled with the fire"
"I'll cut a limb with my Jackknife
for the handle. There will be nails
In the ashes, plenty of them. We'll
make a rude sledge, and we'll get you
out too."
Lennox seemed to be studying his
wasted hands. "It's a chance, but it
Isn't worth it," he said at last. "You'll
have fight enough without tugging nt
a heavy sled. It will take all night
"The Thing Bert Cranston Burned
the House Down to Destroy."
to build It, and It would cut down
your chances of getting out by pretty
near half. Remember the ridges,
"But we'll climb every ridge be
sides, Its a slow, down grade most of
the way. Snowbird toll him he must
do It"
Snowbird told him, overpowering
him with her enthusiasm. And Dan
shook his shoulders with rough hands.
"You're hurting, boy!" Lennox
warned. "I'm a bag of broken bones."
"I'll tote you down there if I have
to tie you In," Dan Falling replied.
"Before, I've bowed to your will; but
this time you have to bow to mine.
I'm not going to let you stay here and
die, no matter if you beg on your
knees 1 It's the test and I'm going
to bring you through."
He mennt what he said. If mortal
strength and sinew could survive such
a test, he would succeed. There was
nothing In these words to suggest the
physical weakling that both of them
had known a few months before. The
eyes were earnest, the dark face ln
tnt, the determined voice did not
waver at nil.
"Dan Falling speaks!" Lennox re
plied with glowing eyes. He was re
calling another Dan Falling of the
dead years, a boyhood hero, and his
remembered voice had never been
more determined, more masterful than
this he had Just heard.
"And Crunston didn't get his pur
pose, after all." To prove his words,
Dan thrust his hand Into his Inner
coat pocket He drew forth a little,
Hat package, half as thick as a pack
of cards. He held It up for them to
see. "The thing Bert Cranston burned
the house down' to destroy," he ex
plained. "I'm learning to know this
mountain breed, Lennox. I kept It in
my pocket where I could fight for it,
at any minute."
Cranston had been mistaken, after
all, in thinking that In fear of himself
Dan would be afraid to keep the
packet on his person, and would crav
enly conceal It in the house. He would
have been even more surprised to
know that Dan had lived in constant
hope of meeting Cranston on the
ridges, showing him what it contained,
and fighting him for it hands to
hands. And even yet perhaps the day
would come when Cranston would
know at last that Snowbird's words,
after the fight of long ago, were true.
The twilight was falling over the
snow, so Snowbird and Dan turned to
the toll of building a sled.
The snow was steel-gray in the
moonlight when the little party made
their start down the long trail. Their
preparations, simple and crude as they
were, had taken hours of ceaseless
labor on the part of the three. The
ax. Its edge dulled by the flame and
Its handle burned away, had been
cooled In the snow, and with one
sound arm, Lennox had driven the hot
rails that Snowbird gathered from
the ashes of one of the outbuildings.
The embers of the house Itself still
glowed red In the darkness.
- Dan had cut the green limbs of the
trees and planed them with his ax.
The sled had been completed, handles
attached for pushing It, and a piece of
fence wire fastened with nails as a
rope to pull it. The warm macklnaws
of both of them as well as the one
blanket that Lennox had saved from
the fire were wrapped about the old
frontiersman's wasted body Dan and
Snowbird hoping to keep warm by the
exercise of propelling the sled. Ex
cept for the dull ax and the half
empty pistol, their only equipment
was a single charred pot for melting
snow that Dan had recovered from
the ashes of the kitchen.
The three had worked almost in
silence. Words didn't help now. They
wasted no sorely needed breath. But
they did have one minute to talk when
they got to the top of the little ridge
that had overlooked the house.
"We'll travel mostly at night," Dan
told them. "We can see In the snow,
and by taking our rest In the daytime,
when the sun Is bright and warm, we
can save our strength. We won't have
to keep such big fires then and at
night our exertion will keep us as
warm as we can hope for. Getting up
all night to cut green wood with this
dull ax In the snow would break us to
pieces very soon, for remember that
we haven't any food. I know how to
build a fire even In the snow es
pecially If I can find the dead, dry
heart of a rotten log but it isn't any
fun to keep It going with green wood.
We don't want to have to spend any
more of our strength stripping off wet
bark and hacking at saplings than we
can help; and that means we'd better
do our resting In the heat of the day.
After all, it's a fight against starva
tion more than anything else."
"Just think," the girl told them, re
proaching herself, "If I had shot
straight at that wolf today, we could
have gone back and got his body. It
might have carried us through."
Neither of the others as much as
looked surprised at these amazing re
grets over the lost, unsavory flesh of
a wolf. They were up against reali
ties, and they didn't mince words.
Dan smiled at her gently, and his
great shoulder leaned against the
They moved through a dead world.
The ever-present manifestations of
wild life that had been such a delight
to Dan In the summer and fall were
quite lacking now. The snow was
trackless. Once they thought they
saw a snowshoe rabbit, a strange
shadow on the snow, but he was too
far away for Snowbird to risk a pis
tol shot The pound or two of flesh
would be sorely needed before the
Journey was over, but the pistol car
tridges might be needed still more,
she didn't let her mind rest on certain
possibilities wherein they might be
needed. Such thoughts stole the cour
age from the spirit and courage was
essential beyond all things else to
bring them through.
As the dawn came out they all
stood still and listened to the wolf
pack, singing on the ridge somewhere
behind them.
It was a large pack. They couldn't
make out Individual voices neither
the more shrill cry of the females, the
yapping of the cubs, or the low, clear
G-below-middle-C note of the males.
"If they should cross our tracks "
Lennox suggested.
"No use worrying about that now
not until we come to it," Dan told
The morning broke, the sun rose
bright in a clear sky. But still they
trudged on. In spite of the fact that
the sled was heavy and broke through
the snow crust as they tugged at it
they had made good time since their
departure. But now every step was
a pronounced effort. It was the dread
ful beginning of fatigue that only
food and warmth and rest could
Oldtlme Sleeping Couches.
The ancients slept on skins, bnt
later beds were made of rushes,
heather and straw. The Romans were
the first to use feathers to make their
beds more comfortable, nellogabalus,
218 B. C, Is credited with having em
ployed air cushions, and air beds were
used generally in the Sixteenth cen
tury. Some Very Old Treee
Yew trees grow to a great age.
Those at Torentaln's abbey, Yorkshire,
England, were old in 1132. California
has trees thousands of years old in
the Mariposa grove, and baobab trees
In Africa are over four centurlea old.
flte Voice i the P&ei
CHAPTER II Continued.
"We'll rest now," Dan told them at
n o'clock. "The sun Is warm enough
io that we won't need much of a fire.
Uid we'll try to get five hours' sleep."
"Too long, if we're going to make it
rat," Lennox objected.
"That leaves a workday of nineteen
Jours," Dan persisted. "Not any too
lttle. Five hours it will be."
He found where the snow had drift
id against a great, dead log, leaving
lie white covering only a foot in
lepth on the lee side. He began to
icrape the snow away, then hacked at
lie log with his ax until he had pro
:ured a piece of comparatively dry
wod from its center. They all stood
reathless while he lighted the little
pile of kindling and heaped it with
treen wood the only wood procur
ible. But It didn't burn freely. It
imoked fitfully, threatening to die out,
ind emitting very little heat.
But they didn't particularly care.
The sun was warm above, as always
ti the mountain winters of southern
Dregon. Snowbird and Dan cleared
ipaces beside the fire and slept. Len
nox, who had rested on the journey,
lay on his sled and with his uninjured
irm tried to hack enough wood from
the saplings that Dan had cut to keep
the fire burning.
At three they got up, still tired and
idling In their bones from exposure.
Twenty-four hours had passed since
they had tasted food, and their unre
plenlshed systems complained. There
Is no better engine In the wide world
than the human body. It will stand
more neglect and abuse than the finest
iteel motors ever made by the hands
Df craftsmen. A man may fast many
flays If he lies quietly In one place
ind keeps warm. But fasting Is a
deadly proposition while pulling
iledges over the snow.
Dan was less hopeful now. His face
told what his words did not. The
tines cleft deeper about his lips and
eyes; and Snowbird's heart ached
when he tried to encourage her with
t smile. It was a wan, strange smile
that couldn't quite hide the first sick
ness of despair.
The shadows quickly lengthened
limply leaping over the snow from the
fast-falling sun. The twilight deep
ened, the snow turned gray, and then,
In a vague way, the Journey began to
partake of a quality of unreality. It
was not that the cold and the snow
and their hunger were not entirely
real, or that the wilderness was no
longer naked to their eyes. It was just
that their whole effort seemed like
some dreadful, unburdened journey In
a dream a stumbling advance under
difficulties too many and real to be
The first sign was the far-off cry
of the wolf pack. It was very faint,
simply a stir In the enrdrums, yet It
was entirely clear. That clear, cold
mountain air was a perfect telephone
system, conveying a message distinct
ly, no matter how faintly. There
were no tall buildings or cities to dis
turb the ether waves. And all three
of them knew at the same Instant It
was not exactly the cry they had
heard before.
They couldn't have told Just why,
even If they had wished to talk about
It In some dim way. It had lost the
strange quality of despair it had held
before. It was as if the pack were
running with renewed life, that each
wolf was calling to another with a
dreadful sort of exultation. It was an
excited cry, too not the long, sad
song they had learned to listen for. It
sounded immediately behind them.
They couldn't help but listen. , No
human ears could have shut out the
sound. But none of them pretended
that they had heard. And this was the
worst sign of all. Each one of the
three was hoping against hope In his
very heart ; and at the same time, hop
ing that the others did not understand.
For a long time, as the darkness
deepened about them, the forests were
still. Perhaps, Dan thought, he had
been mistaken after all. His shoulders
straightened. Then the chorus blared
The man looked back at the girl,
smiling into her eyes, Lennox lay as
If asleep, the lines of his dark face
curiously pronounced. And the girl,
because she was of the mountains,
body and soul, answered Dan's smile.
Then they knew that all of them knew
the truth. Not even an Inexperienced
ear could have any delusions about
the pack song now. It was that old
est of wilderness songs, the hunting
cry that frenzied song of blood-lust
that the wolf pack utters when It Is
running on the trail of game. It had
found the track of living flesh at last.
"There's no use stopping, or trying
to climb a tree," Dan told them sim
ply. "In the first place, Lennox can't
do it In the second, we've got to take
a chance for cold and hunger can get
up a tree where the wolf pack can't"
He spoke wholly without emotion.
Once more be tightened the traces of
the sled.
"I've heard that sometimes the pack
will chase a man for days without at
tacking," Lennox told them. "It all
depends on bow long they've gone
without food. Keep on and try to for
get 'em. Maybe we can keep 'em
But as the hours passed, It became
Increasingly difficult to forget the wolf
pack. It was only a matter of turning
the head and peering for an Instant
Into the shadows to catch a glimpse
of one of the creatures. Their usual
fear of men, always their first emo
tion, had given way wholly to a hunt
ing cunning ; an effort to procure their
game without too great risk of -their
own lives. In the desperation of their
hunger they could not remember such
things as the fear of men. They
spread out farther, and at last Dan
looked up to find one of the gray
beasts waiting, like a shadow himself,
In the shadow of a tree not one hun
dred feet from the sled. Snowbird
whipped out her pistol.
"Don't dare!" Dan's voice cracked
out to her. He didn't speak loudly ; yet
the words came so sharp and com
manding, so like pistol fire Itself, that
they penetrated into her consciousness
and choked back the nervous reflexes
that in an instant might have lost
them one of their three precious shells.
She caught herself with a sob. Dun
shouted at the wolf, aud it melted into
the shadows.
"You won't do it again, Snowbird?"
he asked her very humbly. But his
meaning was clear. He was not as
skilled with a pistol as she ; but If her
nerves were breaking, the gun must
be taken from her hands. The three
shells must be saved to the moment of
utmost need.
"No," she told him, looking straight
Into his eyes. "I won't do It again."
He believed her. He knew that she
spoke the truth. He met her eyes with
a half smile. Then, wholly without
warning, Fate played its last trump.
Again the wilderness reminded them
of its might, and their brave spirits
were almost broken by the utter re
morselessness of the blow. The girl
went on her face with a crack of wood.
"Maybe We Can Keep Them Bluffed."
Her snow shoe had been cracked by
her fall of the day before, when run
ning to the fire, and whether she
struck some 'other obstruction in the
snow, or whether the cracked wood
had simply given way under her
weight, mattered not even enough for
them to Investigate. As In all great
disasters, only the result remained.
The result In this case was that her
snowshoe, without which she could not
walk at all in the snow, was irrepara
bly broken.
"Fate has stacked the cards against
us," Lennox told them, after the first
moment's horror from the broken
But no one answered him. The girl,
white-faced, kept her wide eyes on
Dan. He seemed to be peering Into the
shadows beside the trail, as if he were
watching for the gray forms that now
and then glided from tree to tree. In
reality, he was not looking for wolves.
He was gazing down Into his own soul,
measuring his own spirit for the trial
that lay before him.
The girl, unable to step with the
broken snowshoe, rested her weight on
one foot and hobbled like a bird with
broken wings across to him. No sight
of all this terrible Journey had been
more dreadful In her father's eyes
than tills. It seemed to split open
the strong heart of the man. She
touched her hand to his arm.
"I'm sorry, Dan," she told him. "You
tried so hard "
Just one little sound broke from his
throat a strange, deep gasp that
could not be suppressed. Then he
caught her hand In his and kissed It
again and again. "Do you think I care
about that?" he asked her. "I only
wish I could have done more and
what I have done doesn't count Just
as la my fight with Cranston, nothing
Copyright, 1320, by Little. Brown & Co.
counts because I didn't win. It's Just
fata. Snowbird. It's no one's fault, but
maybe, In this .world, nothing Is ever
anyone's fault" For In the twilight of
those winter woods, in the shadow of
death itself, perhaps he was catching
glimmerings of eternal truths that are
hidden from all but the most far-see-lug
"And this Is the end?" she asked
him. She spoke very bravely.
"No I" His hand tightened on hers.
"No, so long as an ounce of strength
remains. To fight never to give up
may God give me spirit for it till I
And this was no Idle prayer. His
eyes raised to the starry sky as he
"But, son," Lennox asked him rath
er quietly, "what can you do? The
wolves aren't going to wait a great
deal longer, and we can't go on."
"There's one thing more one more
trial to make," Dan answered. "I
thought about it at first, but It was too
long a chance to try If there was any
other way. And I suppose you thought
of It too."
"Overtaking Cranston?"
"Of course. And It sounds like a
crazy dream. But ljsten, both of you.
If we have got to die, up here In the
snow and It looks like we had what
Is the thing you want done worst be
fore we go?"
Lennox's hands clasped, and he
leaned forward on the sled. "Pay
Cranston !" he said.
"Yes I" Dan's voice rang. "Crans
ton's never going to be paid unless we
do it. There will be no signs of in
cendiarism at the house, and no
proofs. They'll find our bodies in the
snow, and we'll just be a mystery,
with no one made to pay. The evi
dence in my pocket will be taken by
Cranston, some time this winter. If 1
don't make him pay, he never will pay.
And Hint's one reason why I'm going
to try to carry out this plan I've got.
"The second reason Is that It's the
one hope we have left. I take it that
none of us are deceived on that point.
And no man can die tamely If he Is
a man while there's a chance. I mean
a young man, like me not one who Is
old and tired. It sounds perfectly silly
to talk about finding Cranston's win
ter quarters, and then, with my bare
hands, conquering him, taking his food
and his blankets and his snowshoes
and his rifle, to- fight away these
wolves, and bringing 'era back here."
"You wouldn't be barehanded," the
girl reminded him. "You could have
the pistol."
He didn't even seem to hear her.
"I've been thinking about It. It's a
long, long chance much worse than
the chrmee we had of getting out by
straight walking. I think we could
have made It, If the wolves had kept
off and the snowshoe hadn't broken.
It would have nearly killed us, but I
believe we could have got out. That's
why I didn't try this other way first.
A man with his bare hands hasn't
much of a chance against another with
a rifle, and I don't want you to be too
hopeful. And of course, the hardest
problem Is finding his camp.
"But I do feel sure of one thing:
that he is back to his old trapping line
on the North Fork somewhere south
of here and his camp Is somewhere
on the river. I think he would have
gone there so that he could cut off any
attempt I might make to get through
with those letters. My plan Is to start
back at an angle that will carry me
between the North Fork and our old
house. Somewhere In there I'll find
his tracks, the tracks he made when
he first came over to burn up the
house. I suppose he was careful to
mix 'em up after once he arrived
here, but the first part of the way he
likely walked straight toward the
house from his camp. Somewhere, If I
go that way, I'll cross his trail with
in 10 miles at least. Then I'll back
track him to his camp."
"And never come back!" the girl
"Maybe not But at least every
thing that can be done will be done.
Nothing will be left No regrets. We
will have made the last trial. I'm not
going to waste any time, Snowbird,
The sooner we get your fire built th
Make Love and Live Long.
The act of love-making has a direct
Influence on the heart and blood, says
a medical correspondent It stimu
lates the working capacity of the for
mer organ, and keeps It up to concert
pitch. As a result, the blood circu
lates with greater strength, and every
part of the body Is accordingly
strengthened. Love-making, moreover,
has a very decided Influence In stimu
lating the working of the liver. Pat
ent medicines would have to go out of
business to a considerable extent if the
world were more generally given to
the art of making love with genuine
feeling. Perhaps the most striking
proof of the Immunity of lovers from
one form of 111, viz., colds and chills.
Is kffnrded by the fact that a pair of
Cupid's devotees will sit on a damp
bench for hours and take no harm.
It la Just as wise to watch yonr
windings as it is to wind jour watch.