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About The Times-herald. (Burns, Harney County, Or.) 1896-1929 | View Entire Issue (March 29, 1919)
CHAPTER I-K. C. Rlckard. an engi
neer of the Overland Pacific, la called to
the office of President Marshall In Tuc
on. Aria. "Caaey" la an enigma to the
office force; he wears "dude" clothe",
but he had resigned a chair of engineer
ing In the East to go on the road as a
fireman and his promotion had been spec
tacular. While waiting for Marshall Rlck
ard reads a report on the ravages of the
Colorado, despite the effort of Thomas
Hardin of the Desert Reclamation com
pany. This Hardin had been a student
under Rlckard and had married Qerty
Holmes, with whom Rlckard had fancied
he was In love.
CHAPTER H-Marshal! tells Rlckard
the Overland Pacific has got to step In
to save the Imperial Valley and sends
him to the break. Rlckard declines be
cause, he does not want to supplant Har
din, nut Is won over. "Stop the river;
damn the expense," says Marshall.
The Blessing of Aridity.
When Rlckard left the main line at
Imperial Junction the next afternoon
his eyes followed the train he wan
deserting rather than the one that
was to carry htm to his new labors.
He felt again the thrill of detachment
that Invariably preceded his entrance
Into a new country. With the palling
tip of the porter's green-carpeted stool,
the slamming of the train gates, the
curtain fell on the Tucson set scene.
The long line of cars was pushing
ff with Its linen-covered Pullmans
and diners, steaming down grade
toward the Sink, the depression which
had been primeval sea, and then des
ert, aud was now sea again. Old
Beach, rechrlstened Imperial Junction
for railroad convenience, was Itself
lower than the ancient sea line where
once the gulf had reached. Rlckard
knew he could And shells at that des
ert station should he look for them.
He picked up his bag that the porter
had thrown on the ground and faced
the rung-down curtain.
Its painted scene was a yellow ta
tlon house broiling under a desert
Run ; a large water tank beyond, and
In the distance the Inevitable card
hoard mountains, like property scene
shifts, flat and thin In their unreal
hues of burnished pink and purple. A
dusty aeeonunoUation train was back
ing and switching, picking up the
empty refrigerator cars to curry Into
the valley for the early melon growers.
Already the valley had asserted Its
industrial importance; the late ram
page of the Colorado had made It
spectacular. Those who would pay
little attention to the opening of a
new agricultural district In the heart
of a dreaded desert opened their ears
to the vagary of the river which had
sportively made of a part of that des
ert an inland sea. Scientists were
rusiiing their speculations Into print;
would the sea dwindle by evaporation,
as it had done before? Or would the
overflow maintain the paradoxical
Th" flood signs were apparent.
There cracks had split the desert
sand ; here water fissures had men
aced the track; and to tiie south a
fringe of young willows hid the path
of the Colorado's debouch.
The men crowding the platform
wore the motley of tile new country.
In Tucson the uniform of the mule
citizens, with the exception of those
reckless ones who found inevitably
that lotus is a liquid, was the wilted
pretense of a gentle civilization; de
spondent ducks and khakis and limp
collars. Imperial Junction marked the
downfull of the collar. The rest of
the composite costume was irregular,
badly laundered and torn, faded and
sunburned; the clothes of the desert
soldier, Rlckard saw buttonlesa
shirts, faded overalls, shabby hats
the sombrero of .Mexico. The faces
tinder the broad-brimmed bats made a
leaping Impression upon bin of youth
and eagerness, He noted a significant
average of intelligence and alertness.
This was not the Indolent group of
men which make a pretense, of occu
pation whenever a train comes In!
"Going In?" asked u voice at bl
A pair of faded eyes set in u yi
old face, whether early withered or
well preserved he bad nol time, to de
termlne, wu i staring at bltn.
He assured his Interlocutor thai be
In. ii' in l isolated the
phrase; its ilgnlficance vastly differ
lent from "going ou."
"I think not."
"It is a good time to buy." Rlckard
tuspected a real estate agent. "For
land is low rod. bottom prices on
iiccouni of the uneasiness about He
river. People are afraid. They want
see the company redeem some of
KS promises before lltey come in; and
lie- company Isn't in much of a
Rlckard asked whut company be ee-
The young-old face with the faded
yes looked at lilui In surprise. "The
it. company, Desert Kccliimutlon,
rblCb brought us all here."
L '!camjiBjyJhjuwomeris survey
C r stt)
of the long line' of naked mountains
and lean lands that formed the neck
of the valley gave a snub of casunl
ness to the question.
"No. Fools I" The answer was as
swift as n bullet. "Though some
people think them worse than that. 1
don't go so far; I'm willing to say
they've tried. I'll sny that much. But
they haven't the know-how."
The window seats, Rlckard could
see, were filled before the cars halted,
by the experienced ones who had not
waited for the train to be made up.
In the scramble he spied a vacant
window on the sunny side and made
for It. A stranger dropped Into the
scat beside him.
Rvery window In the car was open.
Each red velveted, dusty seat was
filled. A strong desert wind waa blow
ing sand Into their faces, discoloring
the seats and covering the floor.
The engineer turned to bis compan
ion, wbo was coughing.
"Do you mind this window being
I'd mind if It were not It's always
bad at the Junction. When we get
Into the cultivated country you will
see what the valley will be like when
He Was "Going In."
It is all planted. The wind Is not
bud when it blows over grain or al
falfa. It Is the desert dust that nngs
one." He coughed again. "Going In?" I
Rlckard said he was going In.
"Are you going to settle in the val
ley?" The inquisitor wus a man of
about fifty, Rlckard decided, with a
desert tan of apparent health. His
face was clear cut and Intelligent.
"I don't know."
".lust looking the country over?"
"You might call It that."
"Jo slow," adtnoutabed hi compan
ion. "Don't let yourself bo carried
away. It Is a wonderful country. Rut
go Slow. It's the ones who expect to
make millions the Oral year tliut be
come the worst knockers. Oo slow,
I always tell them. Co flow."
"It's not n good time to buy, then?"
"Nol so good us It was ten years
ago! Rut land is cheaper than It was
a year back. In some district! you .
can buy a good farm for a ticket buck
home, the farmers are so discouraged.
Cold feet." The slang sounded oddly
Somehow'. '''"' man's voice had Un
cultivated precision of the purist,
"(old feet. The river's chilled tin in.
The valley's losing faith in the com
pany." "What company?" Inquired Rlckard
"There's hut one company to the
valley, (be one Hint brouifnt them
lore, .the I). It. The." doVt.eaJl the
railroad the company. They won't rec-
e thai probll m ! Il's had h nil
luck from the flnu the i. i:. Al the
very start the wrong man gol liold ,,i
it. Sathcr, the lii'M proinoter( wi i
-a pretty thorough fnker, The
my i '( ' anlzed, i,m it's been in
bad odor vvtth the public ever si ."
Richard's eyes left the deep cute In
the laed mode by the ravening waters
ignd looked ai his companion.
"I thought Estrada was the original
promoter?" be Inquired,
"Estrada's a recent corner- oh, you
mean the general. He started the bull
rolling; thai was all. had health, fol
lowing the Riiss complication, tied bis
Tie man la the seal ahead was lis
tening. Hli head was leonine, his
bod; -hrivelcd. Itiekard could see on
the neck the ancient burns tlait hud
spared the magnificent bead. The reel
of the niau bad been shriveled and
twisted into terrible deformity. Itiek
ard found hloi ii if puz.iing over the
Incident with lis accomptinylng mir
acle. There was not n Bear on tho
"KMradu's business methods were
then Yiol different Trvm runner nun
Hardin's !" It was a deep, rich organ.
"Oh, you can't class Hardin with
Hat her," protested HleUard's compan
ion. "8aihT used Hardin. Hardin's
honesty cornot be (liiosnonod. It's not
money's he's after. Ills whole heart
Is In this reclamation scheme.''
"Hardin's a false alarm," growled
the owner of the massive head. "He
makes promises. He never keeps
The older man's smile was tolerant.
"Rnrton," lie Indlcntcd, "Is the presi
dent of the water companies. And If
you want to hear about a rogue and a
scoundrel ask tho water companies
their opinion of Hardin."
"Well, what sort of a bole hos he
got us Into?" demanded the other with
"Hurdin's In a hole himself.
"No one seems to remember that he
crucified himself to save the valley.
I've a great respect for Thomas tlur
dln.'l Tes?" retimed Rlckard. whose lik
ing had been captured ty tin- speaker,
The Impression of distinction sharp-
ened. The stranger wore a laundered
pongee silk shirt, open at the neck hut
restricted by a brown silk tie; und It
was trimly belted. There were hut
two neckties in the entire car, and
they occupied. Rlckard observed, the
"The beginning of the canal sys
tem." Rlckard looked out upon n :1nt, one
toned country, marked oft m rec
tangles tiy plows und scrapers. Far
ther south these rectangles were edged
by young willows. He fancied lv
could see, even at that distance, the
gleam of water.
It was the passing of tho desert. A
few miles back he had seen the desert
In Its primitive nakedness, which net
even cactus relieved. He was passing
over the land which man and horses
were preparing for water. And he
could see the land where water was.
"Thot was the way Riverside looked
when I first saw It," con. incited the
other man who wore a tie. "Come out
on the rear platform. We can sec bet
ter." Rlckard followed to the back of the
dust-swept, stilling car. The glare on
the platform was intense. He stood
watching the newly made checkerboard
of a country slip past him. Receding
were the two lines of gleaming steel
rails which connected and separated
him from the world outside, lie was
"going In." Not In Mexico even hnd
he such a feeling of ultimate remote
nets. The mountains, converging pit
spectlvely toward the throat of the
valley, looked elusive and unreal In
their gauze draperies of rose and vio
let. The tender hour of day was couth
Ing them with mystery, softening their
sharp outlines. Tney curtained the
world beyond. Rlckard felt the sus
pense of the next-act.
It was a torpid Imagination, he
thought, which would not quicken over
this conquest of the desert. Knst of
the tract men nnd teams were prepar
ing the newdy furrowed ground for the
seed. The curved hind knives were
breaking up the rich mold Into ridges
of soft soil as uncoheslve and feathery
as pulverized chocolate. It was the
durk color of the choeolute of com
merce, this silt which hud been pil
fered from the states through which
the vagrant river wandered. The smell
of the upturned earth, sweetly damp,
struck against his nostrils. ItlcJ.aid
indulged a minute of whimsical fancy;
this was California territory over
which his train was passing, but the
soil, that dark eartli those blades were
crumbling, wus It not the tribute of
other states, of despoiling Wyoming,
of ravishing Colorado and Arizona?
To the west new squares were being
leveled and outlined. Shrubby r
tangles wen being cleared of their re
os.iie hush and tough ateaqulte. Com
pared with oilier countries, the prepa
ration for planting was the simplest
Horses were dragging over the ground
a railroad rail bent Into a V angle,
which palled the bushes tiy the root!
and dragged then out of the way. Be
yond, further west, could be seen the
untouched desert. The surface for
many miles wus cracked by water
lines, broken and baked Into Irregular
sand cakes; the mark of sand which
has been Imprisoned by water und
branded by swift heat.
Close by men were putting in with
cure the seed Unit was to qulek,en the
river silt. I'liey were passing M square
where the green tips of the grain
were piercing Hie ground. Now they
woe abreast of a Held of matured nl
falfu OVOr which the wind raced grute
( fully. Desert and grain field ; death
and life!. The panorama embraced Hie
Tiny went back to their seal;. After
a few uiiii i the other leaned over
(ids shoulder, hi hand waving toward
the passing mountains, "Those era the
Superstition mountains you can see
over yonder, An unuaunjly apt name,"
"Why is It good, you mean? That
pile of dark rock stands ai a moua
men) to an effete superstition, n is
the gruvesbjrae for n gigantic mlstuki
Why, It was only I In- grosses! Iguo-
I ranee thai gave to the desert the label
of 'bud lands.' The desert Is u COO
dltlon, not a fact Here you see the
! passing of Hie condition, the burial ot
the i uperstltloa. Are you interested in
Rlckard was not given to explain
the degree of Interest his profi
Involved, for the stranger drew a p.iin-
ini breath, ami went on,
"'" yon are, if yon me g
Western man. Von are, i think?"
The I .' ii. er sgld be wn-:, by choice.
"Irrigation is the creed of the Wesi
(.'old brought people to ibis country
water, scientifically applied, will keep
them here. Look at Riverside, And
WO ore at the primer stage only. We
me way behind the ancients In Inior
inatlon on that subject. 1 learned at
school, so did you, Unit some of the
most glorious civilisations nourished
In spite of tho desert which surround
ed them. That was only half a tr'iih.
They were great been use of It I Why
did the Incos choose the desert when
their strength gnvo them the choice of
the continent of South America? Why
j did the Astecs settle In tho desert
when they might easily hnvo pre
empted I lie watered regions? Then
there are the Carthaginians, the I'oi
: tecs, the Moors. And one never for
gets Egypt I"
"For protection," Rlckard gave the
slighted question an Interested recog
nition. "Was that not what we were
taught at school? The forest Held
foes, animal and human. Those na
tions grew to their strength nnd
power in the desert by virtue of Its
"Superstition 1" retorted the man
with the tie. "We are babes at the
breast measured oy the wisdom ol 1 lu
men who settled Damascus, or cm
pared wdth tho Toltecs, or those an
cient tribes who settled In northern
India. They recognized the value of
aridity. They knew its threefold
"An Inherent valuer" demanded the
college-bred man, turning from the
"An Inherent value," declared the
exponent of aridity.
"Will you tell me Just what you
"Not In one session I Look yonder.
Thst's Rrswtey. When I came through
here ten years ago I could have had
my pick of this land at 25 cents an
acre. They were working at this
scheme then on paper. I was not
alive to the possibilities then; I had
not yet lived In Utah!"
The train waa slowing op by a brand
new yellow-painted station. There
were several dusty automobiles wait
ing by the track, a few faded surreys
and the Inevitable country hotel bus.
The platform waa swarming with
alert vigorous faces, distinctly of the
The man In the seat beelde htm
asked Rlckard If be observed the gen
eral average of Intelligence hi the
faces of the crowd below. Rlckard ae-!
knowledged that be had been struck
by that, not only here but at Imperial
Junction, where be had waited for the
"There la a chib In the valley, lately
started, a university club which admits
as members those who have bad at
least two yesrs of college training.
The list numbers three hundred al
ready. The first meeting was held lost
week In on empty new store In Impe
rial. If It had not been for the set
ting we might have been at Ann Arbor
or Palo Alto. The costumes were a
little motley, but the talk sounded like
The dust blowing In through the car
doors brought on another fit of stran
gling. Rlckard turned again to the
window, to the active scene which 0e
nled the presence of desert beyond.
"The doctors say It will have to be
the desert alwuya for me." The stran
ger tupped his chest significantly.
"Rut It Is exile no longer not in an
Irrigated country. For the reason of
Irrigation! It Is the progressive man.
the man wdth ideus, or the man who Is
wilting to take them, who comes Into
this desert country. If he hus not hail
education It Is forced upon him. I saw
It worked out in Utah. I was there
several years. Irrigation moans co
operation. That Is, to me, the dilef
value of aridity."
The wind, though still blowing
through the car and ruflllng the train
dust, was carrying less of grit and
sand. To the nostrils of Rlckard and
his new acquaintance It brought the
pleasing suggestion of grassy mead
ows, of wlllow-liued strniniH and fra
"It is the accepted Idea that this
valley Is attracting a superior class
Of men because of Us temperance
stand. It Is the other way round. The
valley stood for temperance because
of the sort of men who had settled
here, the men of the Irrigation type."
The engineer's ear criticized "Irriga
tion type." He begun to suspect that
lie had picked up a crank.
"The desert offers a man special ad
vantages, soeluj, Industrial and agricul
tural. It Is no incident that you find
a certain sort of man here."
"i suppose you mean thai
snuggle necessary to develop such a
country, under such stern conditions,
develops of necessity strong men?"
evolved Rlckard. "Oh, yes, I believe
"h, more than thai. Il Is not so
much the struggle as the necessity tot
co-operation, The mutual dependence
l one of the blessings oT aridity."
"One of the blessings of aridity!"
echoed all listener, "You are a philos
opher." He had not yei I In (e
other's thought at the spring.
"You might as well call me a social
ist because I praise Irrigation in that
II stands for the small fiiiui null,"
retorted the valley man. "That Is one
of Us Data) the email unit it la the
small farm thai pay.-. Tim! fuel brings
many advantages. What is the Charm
of Riverside? it conns In me always
like the unreal dream ot the socialist
come true, it is a city oi famii . ol
small farms, where a man may make
ma living off his ten acres ol Dl
or lemons; and with all the cm,
ami conveniences of a olty within
reach, his neighbors not ten mile
a farmer In Riverside or In guj irri
gated community does nm iMl , , lu
postpone living for himself or his fam
ily mull he can sell the farm I lie
can go to church, can walk there; the
trolley cur which passes hl.s door
takes him to u public library or Ho
opers houso. His children ride to
school. Ills wife does mil need to be
I drudgi. The bread wagon and the
steam laundry wagon stop at lor
Itiekard observed that perhaps he
did not know anything about Irrigation
after all I lie had not thought ol It
before In Its sociological relation but
merely ns It touched nls profession.
"Not going Into soil values, for that
Is a long story," began the older man,
"Irrigation is the answer which sci
ence given to the agriculturist who is
Impatient Ot haphazard methods, irri
gation is not a compromise, as so many
believe who know nothing about It. It
Is a distinct advantage over the old
"t am ono of those who always
thought It i compromise,' admitted
"Iletier call rain n compromise," re
torted the Irrlgutlotiist. "The mon
who Irrigates gives water to the tree
which needs It; rain nourishes one
iree and drowns out another. Irriga
lion Is an insurance policy against
drought, u guarantee against Hoods.
The farmer who lias once operated an
Irrigated farm would bo as Impatient
were he again subjected to the caprice
of rain as n housewife would bo were
she compelled to wait for rain to fill
tier washtiib. There Is no Irregularity
or caprice about Irrlgotlon."
"Wonder how the old fellow picked
It all up?" mused Rlckard with dis
respect. Aloud he said, "You were
speaking of the value of the soli?"
"Look at the earth those plows are
turning over. Bee how rich and friable
It Is, how It crumbles? You can dig
for hundreds of feet end still find that
sort of soil, eight hundred feet down I
It Is disintegrated rock and leaf mold
brought In here In the meklng of a
delta. Heavy rainfalls are rare here,
though we have had them, in spite of
popular opinion. Were we to have
frequent rains the chemical properties
which rsin farmers must buy to enrich
their worn-out eolle would lie leached
out, drained from the eoll. I can't
make this comprehensive, but I've a
monograph on desert soil. If yoa are
Interested I'll send It to you."
"I should like It Immensely," as
sented the engineer, still amused.
"It explains the choice of the Astecs,
of the Incas, of Carthaginians, the
Moors," observed the stranger. "They
chose the desert, not In spite of the
soil hot because of It I doubt If they
were swake to the social advantages
of the system, but It waa thel' co-
'Brandon's My Name."
oneriitlve brotherhood that helneit
them to their gh.ry. We are centuries
behind Ihetn. I'm getting out here
I2ii rfiPSflrMuW Day
... SAGEBRUSH LANDS
with water figls for sale on
Blitzen River in tracts of 80
Acres or more. Reasonable
prices one-fifth cash balance
easy terms, six per cent in
terest. Eastern Oregon Live Stock
crane Company oregon
fmnerlal. If you coine uu fo Imp,
look me up. BrundOfl'l my name, ij
no card Ihese days I"
"There ore BOvunl things I went
hear from you," answered Rlckn
following brown necktie and poln
beard io the platform. "I'll be m
to look you up. Mine's Rlckard."
The breeze which was now enter
the car windows hnd blown over fl
clover leafed fields. lis tnessnge W
aweet and fresh. Rlckard could I
the canals leading off like sllv
threads to the homes and farms of II
future; "the socialists' dream con
true I" Willows of two or three yeui
growth outlined the banks. Here at
there a tent or a ruroada set up
hVave defiance against the hard cm
.nitons of the hind It was liivedlni
Itiekard leaned out of the window an
looked back up the valley which wn
dominated bv the range now wrsppln
around Itself gauy, iridescent dni
"The monument to an effete super
stltlon!" he repeated. "That wa-n'
a bad Idea."
(To be continued next week.;
A MISSIONARY ENTKRPIUHK.
Every year the United States shir
tons and tons of chewing gum td
China and Slam and the Malay
The question arises what coui
possibly have created the demand for
such a commodity In Hong-Kong and
Bangkok and Singapore?
It began with the missionaries
good resourceful people. Therl
found that the natives, whom they!
had come to Christianise and civil
ise, had a dreadful habit of chewing!
betel nut. Betel nut la a concoction!
which contains small quantities oil
an Injurious drug. Also Its contin
ued use turns the teeth Jet black.
In order to counteract the effect
of this deleterious habit the ingen
ious missionaries, having caught
their natives, proceeded to cultivate
In them a taste for Wrlgley's Spear
mint and a corresponding disinclina
tion for betel nut. The natives cams,
they chewed, they were conquered,
and much of America's chewing gum
finds its final destiny In the mouths
of Blans and Borneo.
We would auggest to these excel
lent missionaries that having worked
this reformation in heathen lands,
they would find more worlda to con
quer in America. The field la a
different one, but It exists.
Who has not been drIVen almost
wild by the facial contortions of the
reckless gum-chewer? Wbo has not
been repelled when the band plays
"The Star-spangled Banner" by a
throng of patriotic Jaws chewing in
time to the music? What business
man has not found wads ot gum
plastered upon desk or typewriter
by thrifty and prudent employes?
Wo submit that the comfort and
spirituality of the people of this
country would be much enhanced if
the missionaries would labor here
to curb the zeal and dexterity of the
guni-chnwtira. As they havo met one
problem effectively In Asia, they can
doubtless meet another at home and
will thus merit our undying grat
itude. Any one reudlng the income tax
reports would form the opinion thai
I ,noro Is tl some money in the
For This Day Only
$1.21 IIHOOMH Hill I.OO
Different cnmhlnui'is of Queens-
wuro and K lichen Furniture ranging
In price from $1.25 to $2.00 for
$I.(mi on Dollar Day.
I.I NAIIl IWJ, DAIION . O0
"Kvcrj thing for Kverybntly"