Rogue River courier. (Grants Pass, Or.) 1886-1927, June 07, 1907, Image 6

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Copyrlfht. 1901. by
(Continued from 1 t wi k)
"We'll do twice tLui presently."
The old couvlct looked relieved. Thej
were running now with a strip of for
est on one side of the track and culti
vated fields on the other, but with each
rod they covered they were edging In
nearer the flames. At Parker's ltuu
the road crossed a little stream wblcb
doubled buck In the direction of Buck
born Junction. There was nothing aft
er that to stay the progress of the fire,
and the rest of their way lay through
the blazing pine woods.
Just before tney reached the ten mile
Oil they came to the strip of burned
timber that bad sent Baker back to
Buckhorn earlier In the day. Here and
there a tree was still blazing, but for
the most part the Ore had spent Its
As they swung past Parker's Run a
little farther on Dan saw the freight,
or, rather, what was left of It, on the
siding. It had been cutting out four
flat cars loaded with ties, and he un
derstood the difficulty at a glance. On
the main track a brick and stone cul
vert spanned Die run, but the siding
crossed It on a flimsy wooden bridge.
This bridge had probably been burning
as the freight bucked in for the flat
cars, and when It attempted to pull out
the weakened structure had collapsed
and the engine had gone through Into
the cut. It rested on its forward end,
jammed between the steep banks, with
Its big drivers In the air. Of the cars
there remained only the trucks and
Ironwork. Near by a tool shed had
formerly stood, but that was gone too.
The wheels aud gearing of a hand car
to the midst of a heap of ashes marked
the spot.
Dan turned to his father. "Are you
all right, daddy T be asked.
"Tee. Dannie."
"Mind your footing. It will be pretty
shaky back there."
They were still In the burned district
where a change In the wind that after
noon had driven the fire back on Itself,
It bsd made a Clean sweep of every
thing Inflammable. Luckily the road
had been freshly ballasted, and the
track was In fair coudltlon to resist the
flames. But an occasional tie' smol
dered, and from these the rushing
train thrashed showers of sparks.
Dsn kept his eyes fastened on the
rails, which showed plainly In the Jerky
glare of the headlight. It was well to
be careful while care was possible. By
aad by be would have to throw aside
all caution and trust to chance. Now
be Increased his speed, and the In
sistent thud of the wheels drowned ev
ery other sound, even the faroff roar
of the flames, At bis; bsck at Intervals
ruddy glow shot upward Into tht
night when Kogor Oakley threw opet
the furnace door to pass in coal, Havi
for this It was still quite dark In tht
cab, where Ian sat with his hand or
the throttle lever and watched the Jrcl
low strrnk that run along the rails It
advance of the engine. Smldcuty tht
wull of light abend brightened Visibly
and Its glare MUM the cub. They wen
ucnrliig the tire.
Iuu Jituiiuctl'the little window at hit
elbow open end put out his bend. A
hut blunt ronivil piiNt him, and the hem
of the lire wits hi IiIm face. He drew
the window ubiit. It was light as dnj
In the cub now.
Ho leaned ncross the boiler's end
and, with n hand to his llpfl, called tt
his father. "Are you nil right?"
The old man drew himself erect and
crept nearer.
"What's that you say. Pantile?" ht
asked. Ills fact) was black with coa.
dust and grime.
"Are you all right? Can you beat
the beat?"
"I iun doing very nicely, but thU
ain't a patch on what It's going to lie."
"Voi, It will be much worse, tlioug!
this Is bud t'liough."
"Hut we can stand It. We unis,
think of those poor -ople at Antlocii."
"We'll Ktlck to the engine as long a
the engine sticks to the rails," sahl
Pan grimly. "Hadn't you belter conn
Into the cab with me? You'll be fright
fully eiwU when we get Into tin
thick of It."
"Not yet. Dannie? I'll give yot:
steam, and you drive her as hard a
you can."
He turned away, shovel In baud
Then, ull lu a second, and they were
hi the burning woods, rushing tieuetitb
trees that were blading to their verj
summits. The track seemed to shako
and tremble In the tierce light aud '
noroer neat. Hurtling leaves and
branches w ere caught up to be whirled
lu fiery eddies buck down the rails as
the train tore along, for Pnn was hit
ting her up.
Tongues of tire struck across at the
two men.' Smoke and fine white ashes
tilled their mouths and mwtrlls. Their
bodies see hum 1 to bake They had boon
streaming wot with inspiration a mo
ment In-fore.
Oft In the forest It w -is possible to
see fcr miles. Kwry tree aud bush
stiHl forth distinct a:ill separate.
Koirer Oakley put down his shovel
for uu lu-t.uit to 11 1 a bucket with wu
tcr from the tank on the tender. 1 It
pVjncc.l L;t be:-. I and anus In It and
si'laslusl the ret oor Ills eluihe. H;mi
Harper Brathert
turned to him for the last time.
MIt Isn't far now," he panted. "Just
around the next curve and we'll see
the town If It's still there off In the val
ley." The old convict did not catch more
than the half of what be said, but he
smiled and nodded his bead.
As they swung around the curve a
dead sycamore which the fire had gir
dled at the base crashed across the
track. The engine plunged Into lbs top,
rolled It over once and tossed It aside.
There waa the smashing of glass and
the ripping of leather as the syca
more's limbs rsked the cab, and Roger
Oakley uttered a hoarse cry a cry
Dan did not bear, but he turned, spit
ting duet and cinders from his Hps,
and saw the old convict still standing,
shovel In hand. In the narrow gangway
that separated the engine and tender.
He had set the whistle shrieking, and
It cut high above the roar of the flames.
for off In the distance under a canopy
of smoke he saw the lights of Antloeb
shining among the trees.
Two minutes later and they were
running smoothly through the yards,
with the brakes on and the hiss of es-
Dan turned, tpittlny dust nnd cimleri
from hi dps,
enplug steam. As they slowed up be
side the depot Iton sank down on the
rat In the cab limp and exhausted,
tie was vaguely conscious that the
platform was crowded with people and
that they were yelling at him excitedly
and wavlug their bats, but he heard
their cries only Indifferently well. His
ears were dead to everytblug except
the noise of his engine, which still
echiMHl In bis tired bruin.
He staggered to his feet aud was
about to descend from the cab when
he saw that bis father was lying face
down on the Iron shelf between the en
glue ami tender. He stooped and rals
e.I hint gently In his arms.
The old convict opened his eyes ntnl
looked up Into his face, his Hps parted
as If lie were about to spouk, but nr.
sound came from them.
XNONSTAXtK KX!Oltf aud het
I mother, waiting quietly II
a their home, heard the cheer
when the noise from Dau't
shrieking engine reached the crowd ol
desperate men on the square. The!
presently they heard the rattle iun'.
clash of the tltv engines as they wen
dragged through the slrvot and wei
invaro that the relief train had arrive.!
but it was not until the doctor came li
some time long after midnight that
they knew who had been the savior ol
the town.
"li s all over, dear. The tire is tmdoi
control," he said cheerfully, add res
lug his wife. "1 guess we eau go to
bed now and feel pretty sure we won't
W burned out Ix'fore uioming."
t'onstunce put dowu the book she bad
Ihvh trying to read aud rose tlredly
mid stltlly from her chair beside the
"Then the train did come, after nil?"
she said.
"Yes, but not a moment too soon. 1
teU you we can't be grateful enough.
I've been with Oakley and bis father.
That's what kept me," he explained.
"Oakley"' t'onstunce cried lu amaie
meut. "Yon dou't mean"
"Yes, Didn't you know that It was
Oakley and his father who brought the
relief train? The old man ft dead. Ho
was killed on the way. Ifg a miracle
that either of them got through uHve.
Hadn't you heard?"
Constance pat out her hands Mindly,
fora sudden nilst had come before her
eyes. r
"Father, you don't mean that Mr.
Oakley has aoturuod to Autloch-that
he is here now '"
"Yes, It seems no oa else would
come. Oakley was In Chicago when he
first heard of the fire and started Im
mediately for Buckhorn, where he
found the relief train. Oddly enough,
be found bis father there too."
"Then there was something to the
old man after all," said Mrs. Emory,
whose sympathies were as generous as
they were easily aroused.
"A good deal, I should say. He most
have know that he was coming back
to arrest and almost certain convic
tion." Constance's glance searched her fa
ther's face. She wanted to hear more
of Oakley. Her heart was hungering
for news of this man who had risked
his life to nave them. All ber lingering
tenderness, the unwilling growth of
many days, was sweeping away the
barriers of her pride. "Mr. Oakley was
not hurt?" she questioned breathlessly,
pale to the Hps.
"He is pretty badly shaken up, and
no wonder, bnt he will be all right In
the morning."
"Where Is be now?" she asked.
ITer father turned to ber.
"Oakley You look tired out, Con
Stance'. Do go to bed. I'll tell you all
about It In the morning."
"Where Is be now, papa?" she ques
tioned, going to his side and clasping
her bands about his arm.
"Down at the Bhop. They carried hi
father there from the train."
"Why didn't you have them bring
him here?" said Mrs. Emory quickly.
"After this I won't listen to a word
I against either of them. I would like to
j show the town Just how we feel In the
I mutter."
"I suggested It, but Oakley wouldn't
hear to It. But don't worry about the
town. It's gone wild. You should have
1 seen the crowd on the platform when
It saw Oakley In the euglne cab. It
went stark mad."
Again Constance's eyes swam with
tears. The strike, the murder of Ry
der, the fire, had each seemed In turn
a part of the tragedy of her life at An
tloeb, but Oakley's return was wholly
Her father added, "I shall see Onk
ley In the morning and learn if we can
be of any service to him."
A little later, when Constance went
to her own room, she drew forward a
chair aud seated herself by the win
dow. Across the town, on the edge of
the "flats," she saw dimly the long,
dark outline of the railroad shop, with
Its single tall chimney. 8he thought
of Oakley as alone there keeping watch
at the side of the grim old murderer
who had so splendidly redeemed him
self by this last sacrifice. -
Great clouds of black smoke were
still rolling over the town, and the
woods were still blazing fiercely In the
distance. - - Beyond her window she
heard the call of frightened birds as
they fluttered to and fro In the dull
red light, and farther off. In the north
end, the muffled throbbing of the Ore
engines. .,
If she had bad any doubts as to her
feeling for Oakley these doubts were
now a thing of the past She knew
that she loved him. She bad been pet
ty and vain. She bad put the small
things of life against the great, and
this was her punishment She tried to
comfort borself with the thought that
she should see him In the morning.
Then she could tell him all. But what
could she tell him ? The time had gone
by when she could tell him anything.
If was almost morning when she un
dressed aud threw herself down on her
bed. She was disconsolate and miser
able, and the future seemed quite bar
ren of hope or happiness. Love had
come to her, and she hud not known
Its presence. Yes, she would tell Oak
ley that she had leeu little and uurrow
j and utterly unworthy. Ho hnd cared
( for her, and perhaps he would under
stand. She fell asleep thinking tills
' and did not waken until her mother
! culled her for breakfast.
"I am waiting for your father. Ho
has gone down to see Mr. Oakley,"
Mrs. Emory said when she entered ilia
; dining room. Constance glanced at the
! table.
i "Is he going to bring Mr. Oakley
1 back with him?" she asked nervously.
"He expected to. I declare, Con
stance, you look worn out. Didn't you
sleep well?"
1 "So, not very. I wonder If thiy are
; coming?"
! "You might go look," said her moth
er. And Constance hurried Into the nitr
lor. She wus Just lu time to see bet
father enter the gate. He was alone )
Constance flew to the front door und
threw It oveu.
"He wouldn't come?" she cried!
1 breathlessly.
"lie's gone." I
"tione?" !
"Yes, a train was made up earlj
, this morning, and he has returned to
Buckhorn Why, what's the matter.
Constance ?"
For Constance, with a little gasp of
dismay, hud slipped dowu Into a chair.
with ber bauds before her face. '
"What is It, dear?" he questioned!
anxiously. But she gave hliu no au-!
swer. She was crying softly, unre
struluodly. it was ull over. Oukley !
was gom. und with him went ber only
hoie of happiness. Yet more keen
than her souse of pain and personal i
loss was her regret that he would nev.
er understand that she respected and
admired him as be deserved.
"1 atu sorry, Constance, but I didn't
know that you especially wanted to see
hlni." said the doctor awkwardly, but
with a dawning comprehension of
what It all meant She made no an
swer, j
"What Is It dear?" he rotated.
"Oh, nothing. I wanted to tell him '
about something, that is all. It doesn't
matter now." She glanced up into his
face with a sudden doubt. "You didu't
see him; you are quite sure he went '
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