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Red Wolf the Indian Lover
cow. Ask him if Raven Wing shouldn't have some choice in the matter.'
"There was more mumbling, then White Feather turned to me: 'Running Deer says tell you that you whites have your laws and customs and that) we have ours; that your laws and customs are made for whites, but are no good for Indians. He also says tell you that his woman wants Raven Wing to marry Red Wolf, but that he leans toward you. What do you say about the pony and money proposition?'
"Inwardly I was raging at so monstrous a proposal, but holding my temper in leash, I replied, 'Tell Running Deer that for every pony or dollar Red Wolf offers I will make it two. How does that strike him?'
"'Ugh! heap good,' the crafty Running Deer grunted, not waiting for White Feather to interpret.
"Next morning after breakfast, I detected a new tenseness in the men
tal atmosphere. The Indians were moving about excitedly and barking gutturally. Pretty soon I caught sight of Raven Wing, and she, too, seemed to have caught the infection, judging from the way she flashed and danced about. 'What's up, anyway?' I asked myself.
"Then White Feather and Running Deer came over to me and the former began: 'Running Deer says tell you that he and Chief Queahpama talked it all over last night and decided that there's only one way to decide who shall marry Raven Wing. You have a race horse, and so has Red Wolf; you are to race those horses, with Raven Wing as the stake. What do you say?'
"I was thunderstruck, but realizing that Running Deer held the whip hand, I prepared to meet him on his own grounds. Of the outcome of such a race I had no misgivings, for Jimmy Britt, true to his thoroughbred sire and Arabian dam, had never been beaten, and I felt positive that an Indian cayuse had not the ghost of a show against him.
"'Tell Running Deer that proposition suits me,' I made answer. 'When shall the race take place?'
"White Feather went over and conferred with the Indians, then came back and announced: 'Red Wolf says that now is as good a time as any. Does that suit you?'
"'Yes,' I snapped. 'Tell Red Wolf to trot out his racer;' and I strode off after Jimmy Britt.
"When I got back, Red Wolf was mounted and waiting for me, riding slowly up and down. His mount was a trim buck-skin mare, lean and longbodied, with arched neck and silken mane and the flaring eyes of the nervous racer. I knew at first glance that she could run like a deer and that no common horse could beat her.
"White Feather, standing in the arched gateway with tom-tom in hand, surrounded by that motley throng of jabbering Indians, motioned us to ride up alongside. As we swung around neck and neck, I proudly noted that Jimmy Britt loomed a full hand over the buckskin. Snorting and eager and ready for battle he was, his mighty heart pounding rhythmically and his eyes flashing defiantly.
"'Its a standing start,' explained White Feather, 'and off at the first tap. You are to race through the meadow to where the stream crosses it, then back. The horse first through the corral gate is winner.'
"I could hear the quick breathing of that dark circle about me, broken occasionally by sharp grunts; but above all, the shrill protest-voice of Mrs. Running Deer. I must confess that my heart beat a wee bit faster as I again caught sight of Raven Wing, this time standing on the fence, the center of all eyes. And would you believe it? Nearby stood old Running Deer waging his saddle against another Indian's blankets on the outcome; and from their maneuvers, I felt sure that the crafty old renegade was betting on Red Wolf.
"'Are you both ready?' White Feather called.
"Boom! sounded the tom-tom, and we shot out together like two arrows from the same bow.
"Level as a floor lay the cleancropped meadow, with not a rock or mound in our course. Straight ahead, one-half mile away, the timber began, and just on the edge of it was the stream where we were to make the turn for the home-stretch.
"The first few leaps, the nimbler and quicker buckskin took the lead, and this brought a wild shout from Red Wolf's followers. The Indian was leaning forward in easy fashion, riding with free rein and holding his quirt in reserve.
"Then I spoke to Jimmy Britt. With an eager snort, he gathered himself together and shot forward in great leaps that fairly ate up the space between me and the flying Indian. Half way down the course, and Jimmy Britt's nose was at his rival's flank; then neck and neck we raced, Red Wolf now urging with quirt and spur. But the gallant little buckskin
had shot her bolt, and in a few more leaps I could hear the pounding of her hoofs safely in the rear.
"Then, for the first time, my danger flashed upon me. Could I make the turn? For my horse was running like a thing possessed, senseless of the bit or the sound of my voice, heeding naught but the puffing of his oncoming rival.
"Pulling with all my weight and strength, I spoke to him and attempted to quiet him. But with a leap, he cleared the stream, broke into the timber, and when finally I wheeled him in a wide circle into the course, I caught a glimpse of a yellow streak far in the lead.
"Then I drew my quirt and lashed Jimmy as he never had been lashed before. 'Run!' I called to him. 'Run! run!'
"I have always wished that someone might have been there and held a watch on Jimmy coming down that home-stretch. I feel sure that he came close to a world's record for that halfmile run. For not only did he run, but bounded and flew until his nose was at the buckskin's flank, then a few more leaps and we were safely in the lead. Wildly the Indians were yelling at Red Wolf, but the little mare had been run off her feet and her spirit broken.
"I was pulling Jimmy Britt in for the gate, sure of an easy victory, when a momentous thing happened. Fate stepped out — yes, Fate in the shape of Mrs. Running Deer. As I pulled in for the home-stretch, I caught a glimpse of her standing in front of the gate, madly jumping up and down and waving an enormous red blanket; and before I divined her purpose, she threw that blanket squarely in Jimmy Britt's face.
"With a startled snort, he swerved and ran down alongside the fence. When I finally brought him in check and looked back, it was to see Red Wolf dismounted inside the corral, and Raven Wing at his side, looking up at him with shining eyes, her hand on his shoulder.
'"Red Wolf wins!' White Feather shouted. 'He was first through the gate.'
"Just what happened the next few moments I have no distinct recollection. I can only recall casting one more look at Red Wolf, his head up, his beaded vest glinting in the sunlight, and Raven Wing looking proudly up at him. Then I turned my horse squarely around, and, amid the derisive shouts of the Indians, rode madly down the valley into the timber and on till I had cleared that reservation.
"No sooner was I off that reservation than a wave of revulsion swept over me. Those last few days seemed to have been a hideous dream and only the timely fluttering of Mrs. Run
ning Deer's blanket had prevented it from becoming a reality.
Just then the door opened and in the doorway stood a sweet-faced little woman, a wreath of wildflowers in her hair, and looking much like one herself. She smiled shyly from one to the other of us, then at a nod and a word of introduction from her husband, took my hand.
"Dinner ready, Helen?" the ranger asked, smiling up at her, his voice soft as a love-note; and as we followed the little woman inside, the ranger winked at me over his offshoulder, grinned and whispered, "Remember, that blanket story is my one state secret."
The happy birds are singing, the skies above are fair;
The swallow swiftly winging in merry month of June,
The fading sunset flushes and tints the waving corn;
John Ravenor Bullen.
Jack London's Women
By Grace V. Silver
MHROUGH his writings Jack London has shown us but two kinds of women. He knew life as no other writer of our time ever knew it; he knew science and history and philosophy as well. In the creation of his characters he brought into play all his varied knowledge, and this knowledge and experience taught him that there were but two kinds of women in this world. He had intimate knowledge of both, therefore he knew them too well to attempt to classify either as "good" or "bad." He never created a woman wholly
bad, for none knew better than he the effects of environment on the human character. His "bad" women are infinitely better than the good ones of other and less observing writers.
One might say, almost, that London, had drawn the portraits of but two women; that he has taken two women' whom he himself knew, placed them in all possible situations, analyzed them mercilessly, yet unobtrusively, scientifically examined and recorded their development under different and varied environment, and given us the result of his observations in the most
wonderful series of pen portraits of modern women ever drawn.
He realized that womenkind are divided into two classes. There is the class who live to get all they can out of their menfolk and who give as little as they need, or as much as they are compelled to give in return for the economic support and love which they require. Then there is the other class of women — mate-women, London called them—who go through the battle of life side by side with their men; women who are comrades and friends as well as lovers; women whose love for their menfolk is maternal as well as sexual; women who mother the men they have mated; women whose desire is to give rather than to receive; women who, giving all that woman can give to man, are yet rewarded by all that man can give to woman.
One woman is a parasite and the other a co-worker; one is a housewife, the other a homemaker; one is a courtesan, and the other a comrade; one is only a wife, and the other is greater than a friend; one is a sex-grafter and the other a mate-woman. Some of London's critics say that his women are stilted, women. Some of them are, ^and in their very artificiality they are true to life.
If some of those critics could get far enough away from their own class to get the proper perspective they would realize that their womenfolk are stilted, wooden, and that London has merely held up the mirror to their class. The other type of woman is so foreign to them that quite possibly they cannot understand her at all.
Take, for example, the case of Saxon, the laundry girl whom he made the heroine of the "Valley of the Moon." And, in passing let us remark that no one but Jack London could have written a successful novel with a laundry worker for a heroine and a burly teamster for a hero. Preeminently a mate-woman, all the instincts of the primitive woman who toiled for — and with — her man, are Saxon's. She knows love when it
comes to her, and fearlessly and honestly, without shame or coquetry she welcomes it. There is not lacking the element of parasitism in her makeup. It is the same kind of parasitism that every woman who is kept — or supported, if you wish to be polite—by any man must have. Her husband, after the manner of his kind, cultivates this trait in her. He will support her; he will furnish the home, supply the food, pay for her clothes, place her in a position of absolute economic dependence on himself. When economic necessity compels them to rent a room, his pride is outraged—she must not work.
Saxon, relieved from the grind of the laundry and the necessity of earning a living for herself, devotes her time to making herself pleasing in the sight of her man. From him come all her wants, all her needs; therefore in all her life there is nothing so necessary as the art of making and keeping herself attractive in his eyes. She is a parasite; but such a wise, intelligent parasite! Her mental viewpoint is that of the favorite sultana of a harem, but so wise is she that we scarcely realize her deficiencies. Advised by her friend, Mary, that she is spoiling her husband by waiting on him so much, she says in reply:
"He's the bread-winner. He works harder than I do, and I've got more time than I know what to do with— time to burn. Besides, I want to wait on him because I want to, and because —well, anyway, I want to."
But Saxon does not remain forever a parasite; she has too much intelligence to be satisfied in that role. When Billy, her husband, went out on strike, Saxon stood bravely by till the last bit of food was gone. Then, one night, Billy came home to tell her that he had been offered a foreman's place and one hundred dollars a month to go back to work. Saxon said:
"You can't do that Billy; you can't throw the fellows down."
She was rewarded by Billy's handclasp.
"If all the other fellow's wives were