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at the lumber mill. Perhaps I ought the brook. A young mare emerged not to tell you, but I've already told from the thicket and came trotting tomost of it, anyway. I think it's such ward them. She was jet black from a fine chance for you, and just what head to heel, and the perfect proporyou've been wanting. You know you tions of her lithe young body, with used to tell me last winter how you'd her arching neck and flowing mane like to be manager of the lumber mill, and tail, made a picture well worth and all the things you could do to seeing. make money for the company if you "Oh, isn't she a beauty!” exclaimed were. Well, it seems that Mr. Orms- Lily, as the mare halted a few feet by has bought a controlling interest in away, "I only wish I had some sugar. the mill. He's got some Government That's what she wants, you know. contracts, and he's going to run it the We've made a regular pet of her. year 'round right along. Now it Come here, Susie.” seems that he's taken notice of you Susie advanced slowly, snuffing working there in the mill the last eagerly for the coveted sugar, and althree winters, and he's been making lowed her neck to be encircled by the up his mind you're the man he wants arm of her young mistress. for manager. He says the place will "She's just the darlingest horse,” pay a good salary, and the use of that went on Lily, "just the prettiest in brick cottage near the big mill goes town! But Oh, Tom! I've got to send with it. He said he was going to send her back to you." for you to come and see him last "Send her back? What for?". night."
"Why you know, Tom, — the way Tom drew a long breath — “May- things are—it isn't right for me to acbe he did. We were all away at the cept valuable presents. And Father War Issues Meeting at Morton. So says she's worth two hundred dolthat's what he had in mind when he lars." was talking with me at the Town Hall "Well, if she is, she wasn't worth last week. Well, I'm very much half that when I gave her to you a obliged to Mr. Ormsby for consider year ago, and then you had a perfect ing me for that place, and to your right to accept her. She was only a father for recommending me. If yearling colt then, but now you've things were different, it would be ex- kept her for a year, and your father's actly what I'd want, but, as it is, I had her broken this spring." can't take it. I'm going away."
“Yes," said Lily with a sigh, "Oh Tom! Aren't you foolish to do "Father said I could drive her myself that? Think what a good chance this after a little while. She's such a is for you to get ahead. You won't find dear! She never would hurt anything. another like it right away.”
But just the same, Tom, I don't beLily was now seated on the rock lieve it's the right thing for me to beside her once favored lover, and keep her. Do you, now? looking earnestly at his bronzed and “Sure, I do," returned Tom sturdily. manly countenance. The thought "Giving's keepings in my family—alflashed through her mind that he cer- ways has been.” ta ingly was growing better looking. “Well, I'll talk to Mother about it,"
“I know I won't,” said Tom. "If said Lily. “But I know well enough things were different, I'd take it in a she'll say I ought to send her back. minute. It's just the thing that I've She hinted something about it the been thinking I might get some time, other day." -maybe ten years from now. As it "I'll tell you what!” exclaimed is, "
Tom, struck by a bright thought, But Tom's further explanation was "We'll leave it that she's mine. But I interrupted by a loud whinny which haven't any use for her and couldn't came from a clump of birches near take care of her now. You just keep
said something Washine don't
her and treat her as yours until I send she hasn't any better right to have her for her."
. sons kept at home than the others “Oh, I know what you're planning, have." Tom Stirling!” cried Lily, “I see just. During the next minute or two Tom what you mean to do. You'll never could distinctly hear the ticking of the call for her at all. That's just your watch in his pocket. His lips were scheme for getting your own way straightly set, and he gazed steadily about it. You old stubborn, generous at a maple tree in the hollow before thing!”
him. Here Susie, finding herself no When Lily began speaking it was longer the center of attention, gave up with a little catch in her voice that to her hopes of sugar and turned and a more subtle observer might have trotted away. The young people re- told volumes: sumed their seat on the rock. Old "Chet Thayer says he doesn't beDapple and her milking time were lieve that there's any need of people forgotten.
getting excited and rushing into the "Well,” said Tom, "it's perfectly army—that the war will be over betrue that I wouldn't know what to do fore any American troops can get into with her. I'm going away, and prob- it.” ably for quite a while. That was all “Maybe he's right, but they don't the news I had. I just wanted to tell seem to think so in Washington.” you good-bye."
“Say," said Lily softly, "When “Oh, Tom! Are you really? Where Chet came over Friday night be are you going?"
brought oh-a beauty of a diamond "To France, I hope. I'm going to ring. I'll bet it cost a hundred dolMorton and enlist.”.
lars. And he wanted me to wear it.” "Oh, what for? There's no need of The hammers were pounding in it, is there,-so soon?".
Tom's temples again. "The President seems to think so." "Yes,” he answered in a half
“Yes, but think of all the others choked voice, “and what did you tell who might just as well go.”
him?" "Perhaps they're thinking of me in “I told him ‘Not yet.” the same way."
After half a minute Lily whispered: "Tom Stirling, you give up this “Tom, are you going away to the idea. You're needed at home, and war?" you've got good chances right here at “Yes, Lily, you know I've got to." home.”
More minutes passed in silence. "So have lots of the others. It would Then suddenly occurred the most be a poor army that was made up of amazing thing in all of Tom's twentyfellows who were no good at home." four years of experience. Lily's arms
Minutes passed, and they sat in were flung about his neck, and her silence. Twice Lily drew a long tear-wet cheek was pressed against breath and opened her lips to speak, his own. He held her close in a wild but conflicting impulse choked back embrace. The grass and streams of the words. At last she said in a the pasture shimmered in a flood of smothered voice
purple and gold. "I — never thought of your doing "Oh, Tom! Oh, Tom!” she sobbed, anything like that, Tom. What does “If you go to Morton, I'm going with your mother think?".
you. I've—I've used you terribly, but “The same as a million other moth- now you'll see. I'll marry you tomor
row, and then — when you're in the “Oh. Tom! That sounds as though war you'll know you've got to come you didn't care."
back to me.” “I do though, but the fact is this Though Tom's response was poor war has got to be fought through, and in words its meaning was wholly be
yond mistake, for to some situations lengthened on the greensward, and it the language of gesture is beautifully was already night under the pine appropriate. The last rays of the set- trees. On the two young faces seemed ting sun gleamed on the pale green of to glow the light of an unimagined the new leaves; the shadows fast happiness.
Jumping a Claim
By Frank M. Vancil
Bold, adventurous men were they, it, for be it known that those fronPioneers of a hidden land;
tiersmen were a fearless lot, and were Seeking in a devious way
not out there to do missionary work. A valiant, fearless band.
While sojourning in this land of
luxuriant zephyrs and periodical blizIN the early settlement of the zards, an aggravated case of claim
Great Plains of Kansas and Ne- jumping came under my observation.
braska there were often exciting A horny-handed yeoman from the contests over lands homesteaded by East had taken up a homestead on a the immigrant. Attractive situations, beautiful stream in western Nebraska; containing timber and water, were built himself a sod house and stable, limited, and were often the object of and with his wife, three children, two strife and litigation.
ponies, a cow and three dogs, solemnThere was a kind of Freemasonry ly wagered Uncle Sam the sum of sixamong the primeval inhabitants—a teen dollars that he could stay a citisort of brotherly love and interest, zen there for five years, hot winds, and a disposition to assist each other blizzards and coyotes to the contrary in toil and privation. Alike poor in notwithstanding. worldly goods, the greatest hospital Game was plentiful, and subsisting ity prevailed, and nowhere is the trite chiefly on a meat diet, the summer saying more in evidence that "a fellow was passed in health and free abanfeeling makes one wondrous kind" don. But the winters in that treeless than on the wild frontier.
country are long and severe, and lucraHence, it was but natural that any tive employment a negligible quantand all efforts of a new comer to ap ity. So, to escape its incident hardpropriate the labor and home of a ships and to accumulate a little capital previous settler, however humble, by which to improve his ranch, this were viewed by the neighbors with tenant by sufference, along "wher great disfavor. Owing to the poverty the frost in on the punkin," locked up of most homesteaders, and the failure the door of his shack, loaded in most to secure employment near, many of his earthly belongings, and, folwere forced to leave their claims for lowed by old Brindle, Blanch, Tray a few months, a privilege which the and Sweetheart, hied himself and law allowed.
family back to his wife's relations It often happened that during this beyond the Big Muddy, fully intendenforced absence some avaricious ing to return with the bluets in the “tenderfoot,” spying the inviting loca- spring and to pitch a crop. tion, would summarily take posses- Along in the early winter, when old sion of the sod house or “dug out," the Boreas was holding high carnival with few etceteras within, and proceed to the struggling willows and cottonmake himself at home, upon what he woods, an adventurous prospector termed an abandoned claim. Of spied the inviting situation and very course, upon the return of the original unceremoniously took possession. He occupant there was trouble and lots of was kindly informed of a previous occupancy, and urged not to infringe combustible material, hence to burn upon the rights of another but it was him out was impossible. To storm the of no avail. He stoutly affirmed that inclosure would doubtless reguit in fathe claim was forfeited by removal, talities, therefore it was resolved to and that, knowing a good thing when smoke him out. he saw it, he was there to stay.
The sod structure had but two small Being alone, the trespasser sup windows, one on each side, so the ported himself by trapping and hunt building could be safely approached ing during the winter; and, being of from the gable unseen. The stovepipe a suspicious looking character, his ac- extended above the roof near the cenquaintance in the neighborhood was ter of the comb of the building. An limited. He had all the earmarks of old cook stove below was used in prebeing a bad man, a fugitive from jus- paring meals and in warming the tice, and to dispossess him was calcu- room, which was only some 20 by 30 lated to prove a deal of trouble if not feet in dimension. Around this stove, tragedy. The absent settler was a the claim-jumper sat with his rifle at veteran soldier and had smelt powder his elbow, scarcely attempting to peep upon more than one occasion, and outward, for fear of being met by a was not to be intimidated.
volley of lead. About April 1st, when the balmy On a dark and stormy night, a short breath of spring was beginning to time after the return of the homeclothe the valley in freshened verdure, steader, a full dozen of strenuous and and daisies had begun to dot the hill- determined men surrounded the rustic sides, the absent settler drove back abode, armed with a goodly supply of only to find within his home an incor- weapons, powder and sulphur. To rigible occupant. The condition was creep cautiously up to the gable end a serious one. Here was a man, in- of the building and to mount the low trenched and defiant, clearly in the roof, guarded by a platoon of pointed wrong, but having the nine points of rifles, was not a heroic task, and law in his favor, that of possession was accomplished without difficulty. desperate and unscrupulous by nature, Neither was it difficult to crawl along on the one side, and a battle-scarred the comb of the roof to the stove-pipe soldier at the head of a family on the and to pour down therein a pound of other, each unyielding in demands. sulphur upon the smouldering coals
A parley at the threshold ensued, This clandestine act producted a and strong language and bitter threats commotion within-a hurrying to and were exchanged. The surly dweller fro and a gasping for fresh air; but asserted that he "was not born in a which was not a circumstance to the thicket to be scared by a cricket," and scene following—the dropping of a the old veteran retorted that he had pound of powder down the same avefaced many a musket, and proposed nue. There was a flash-a terrible to regain possession of his home, explosion, amid a scattering of dirt peacefully if he could, forcibly if he and ironware. A breathless, coatless, must.
blackened specimen of humanity was Universal sympathy was with the met near the door and the ultimatum ousted settler, and it was but a short prepounded to him in vigorous monotime until a company of a score or syllables. He was at first disposed to more of bronzed homesteaders had al- argue the question of exit, until seelied themselves with the dispossessed, ing a lengthy lariat in the hands of and expressed a willingness to assist one of the party, he quickly agreed to in ridding the neighborhood of such a abdicate the realm instanter, and he doubtful character. To avoid a trag- did. He was assisted out beyond the edy, it was decided to use strategy if limits of the neighborhood, and advispossible. The shack, in which the ed to hit only the high places in his trespasser was fortified, was not of a journey west, and he kept on going.