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As early as last tepee dotted the valley, its smoke-wreath summer the stage coach that crosses the curling lazily upward, its blanketed tenant reservation from Ravalli to the Flathead berding over the camp-fire or resting in Lake, bore strange passengers, each with the shade. And sometimes a half-breed keen, commercial eye measuring the wild cowboy, clad in bright-hued neckerchief grain, taking note of the quality of the and chaparejos, rode with level swiftness soil, of everything, indeed, but the maj- across the prairie and disappeared. esty of nature and the Indians shrinking The home-seekers noticed none of these back in their tepees. It was a motley things. That commercialism which sees company.

A Yale instructor with red only horse-power in Niagara Falls, square vandyke, checked cap and collegiate air, feet of lumber in the Sequoias, and potatosat beside the driver and exhibited his ig- producing possibilities in the fairest valnorance of things Western by naive ques- leys, was already up and abroad in the tions that stirred the aforesaid driver's land. sullen scorn. Moreover, the professor .

Yes! There will be great rejoicing in could not solve the problem of western the autumn. The movement of elbowing gates, no two of which ever seem to be crowds will be seen, the scrutiny of calalike, and he was secretly afraid of the In- culating eyes that reckon profits to dians, weaknesses which brought him con- nicety will be felt, the ploughshare and tinually into disgrace. There were be- the harvester will uproot the old and garsides, two Canadian women, a mother and ner the new, and all will be well! But daughter from the Saskatchewan, who far off, obscure, unheeded, securely

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, calculated mentally, the largeness of pros- silenced by the poor bribe of a patch of pertive crops (always comparing the pos- ground already his own, will be the Insibilities here disparagingly with those dian, metamorphosed into a farmer, ready across the border), and by way of diver- to compete with the incoming world, to be sion looking for desperadoes who might "absorbed” into our great, tolerant and hold up the coach. They, too, were afraid

free civilization. of the Indians, never seeing the humor of We call ourselves a humane nation; the the situation, and how it was the Indians Civil War was fought and won to free who had cause to fear them and their the slave from bondage; the war with predatory kind.

Spain was instigated by sympathy for the The one self-evident fact was this: the Cubans, but what about the Indians? If home-seekers were not oppressed sons of ever God-given charge was imposed upon toil striving for emancipation from pov- the stronger shoulders of a dominant race, erty through the bounty of a few tilled that charge is ours, and it is an obligation acres; they were of the dilettante, specu- neglected, unfulfilled. We have espoused lating sort like the professor, or the hard, the cause of down-trodden aliens while shrewd type of the two Canadians. They we, ourselves, have crushed those who, bewere each and all mastered by a single fore us, were masters of the land. idea that of getting in and gobbling up There is another side to the reservation the best. It was the Indians crowded out question worth pondering upon. And as by these adventurers who were poor. They the conquering hosts of peace march in to peddled trifles made of beads and at the take possession, may it not be well for store upon the lake shore the proprietor them to remember that they tread over told of how even the Nez Perce women broken hearts and despoiled homes, to a were exchanging their prized corn husk doubtful material reward, that timid bags for food.

shadow-shapes watch with the hollow gaze Yet, soaring above such earthly sordid- of soulless despair the desecration of halness, the range of Sin-val-min rose heaven- lowed ground beneath the leveling plow? ward, mingling its silver halo of snow And may it be that for the white man, with the ficating clouds. The virgin val- whose steady hand guides the relentless ler flowed away in waves of green, and blade, there will be besides the crop of far awav the lake shone bright as a pol- oats and corn, a harvest of unrest—the ished sabre in the sun. An occasional melancholy of haunting dreams?

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TOMBSTONE JOHNNY

BY AMOS

AMOS GEORGE

was

E CAME to Verde story, but Lieutenant Jergensen was

Grande with full- clipped by a sharp-shooter up at the reserH dress, gold braid and

vation, and reported at the division hosbrass and cosmetics · pital for repairs. This left the camp enough to stock

the without a commissioned officer, and the post. The flavor of General took pity on Tombstone Johnny commencement

and sent him across the State line with inupon his person and structions in military form, which, being he carried about straw colored hair, a translated, meant that he was to hustle delicate complexion, and the West Point along and take command of the camp. The accent, all of which were acceptable on old man had a suspicion that there might “ladies' nights."

he stuff in the kid somewhere down unThen one day he got his name—and der that complexion, and this would give some other things. With good intentions him another try. The fact that the garenough, the General sent this shave-tail rison consisted of one company whose out with a squad of regulars to clean up captain was on detached service brought a handful of Indian scouts up in the old a grain of comfort to the tormented lieuburying ground where they had been rais- tenant. “Anywhere, out of sight," he ing dust around the out-pickets. The job groaned. was bigger than the old man thought, and At Santa Rosia, he climbed down with for a while it was every man for himself. three suit-cases and watched the train When the horizon was clear of obstructions fade away into the mirage. Then he the men came back to look for their officer, looked at his two trunks lying on the and they found him—flat on his face be- platform and inquired about the stage. hind an old grave mound, white and shak- Nothing doing till to-morrow, but the ing, and that fixed it. It wasn't just a "Red-eyed Rodeo" was just across

the square deal for the child, but they thought street—and why should the spirit of morhe needed a taste of work, and that the tal be sad with a month's pay in pocket? old vets would take care of him, and they When he was able to be out again, the did! When he was about, they laid low, stage was twenty-four hours away, and but everywhere else he was Tombstone Camp McBain was thirty-five miles over Johnny for life.

the range. The one liveryman of Santa Not that he accepted the title with good Rosia looked him over critically and grace—who said he did ? He smarted and stated that he had no horses to hire tohe sweated and he swore, and he began day, but that a freighter had left that to fail to keep on hand a good stock of morning for Verdugo, which was half way, pain killer—it evaporated too fast! Where- and as for the other eighteen miles, the fore his step was not always as steady, nor walking was purty fair, and the baggage his breath as mild, as might have been, could come by stage next week. and he began to look frayed out and seedy, This is how it happened that Second and he forgot the accent. But then what Lieutenant John W. Bates, otherwise could a shave-tail do when he knew that known as Tombstone Johnny, might have he was afraid, and when the non-coms been seen equipped with his orders and grinned and the officers lost their tongues two black bottles, astride the nigh wheeler, every time he came about? The brand- reflecting on the vicissitudes of life and ing iron feels fine-on the other calf. breathing volumes of alkali dust.

Since This might have been the end of the the teamster was likewise parched of

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throat, the black bottles did steady down. Five minutes later the woodpecker business till the driver got happy and stopped drumming on the old stump and Tombstone Johnny held onto the hames of looked curiously down at the underclad his mule with both hands.

figure, from which strange sounds came They made Verdugo late, and in as with the regularity of a monster asleep. much as the Palace Hotel had not yet ar- In three hours a dry throat stuck him rived, the military man slept on the straw with needles till he rolled over and felt pile at the feed yard. They got him out for the black bottle in the place where in the morning, and he blinked stupidly he had last- carried it.

There was over the ham-and-eggs at the grub shack, bottle there ! Worse still, there was no and ere the sun was an hour high, it met pocket.

pocket. He fumbled at the place a long a weary pilgrim, foot sore and red-eyed, time, and then sat up on the sand bank making his painful way along the short- and looked down at the water. “Nish cut trail over the mountain to the reser- coo! water,” he muttered. “Good wet ration. The sight would have thrilled the wasser-awful bad for stomach, though," hearts of his tormentors. His cup of mis- he groaned. After awhile he looked down ery was dripping over the brim, and a at his underclothes and then up on the bitter hatred of all the earth and the full- bank where hung his—but they didn't ness thereof had eaten into his soul. Two hang there. Instead there lay a pile of months away from graduation and com- old khaki on the ground and a trim-clad pliments and congratulations and senior Lieutenant sitting on the log, who functions and button-and-braid and brass garded him with amused curiosity. bands. It all looked like Heaven now, and This was interesting. He chuckled a here he was in Hell, and all because he while in silence, and then his hand came had stubbed his foot and stumbled in slowly to his head, and he stiffly saluted. that old Verde Grande cemetery. How “Morning, Lieutenant,” he said. “Why was a gentleman at West Point to know donsh you returns salute?” he demanded that was Hell, and that Indians with show of petty wrath. “I teash you, could shoot straight at him?

How was

sir." he to know that the life of

army The stranger arose, too, and spoke. officer was not made up of cotillions and “Don't move, sir, you're covered.” Tombreceptions and reviews? Over and over stone Johnny opened his mouth, and for these things turned themselves in his be- astonishment forgot to close it. The unifogged mind till he stopped and swore form was his, the cap was his, the revolver weakly and wearily, and then he stumbled was his; if that were himself, then he on again.

had changed a good deal since he lay down Over the first range the trail winds on the bank of Sand Creek. And if that down to Sand Creek. Sand Creek is not were Lieutenant Bates, how in thunder famed for its beauty, but at one p. m. its did he "Oh, I see," he sputtered in muddy bed looked like Paradise to a man sudden excitement. "Thash Lieutenant with smarting eyes, blistered feet, and Bates, this ish Tombstone Johnny. But burning thirst. For a black bottle who the devil ish these old clothes?” has its peculiarity; it leaves its devotee "Put on those clothes and be mighty with a throat like a volcano's bed, and quick about it," commanded the stranger. no drop of water touches the trail be- Tombstone Johnny looked at the between Verdugo and the creek. But here draggled uniform of the man on the line, was water, and shade, and soft sand, and his blood pounded into his alleged and all nature was saying, “Here's a brain and he rose in wrath. “Give me my place to rest.”

gun," he sputtered. “And you go to the “Seemsh to me ish time to go swim- devil. You got my clothes yourself, you ming,” he said. “Good swim, cool bath, old-_”

" level head, ish great idea. Now I lay The revolver came up. “Not so fast, my me

little man,” the other said slowly and easHe hung his uniform carefully on the ily. "You're my game now, you know. Rewillows, and then he crept to the water. spect for your superiors is the first prinThe sand was comfortable, and he sat ciple of military regulations. If you're

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booze-soaked block's clear enough to listen the man with the gun got tired, and with I will tell you a few things, but I'm not a crack over the head sent the prisoner on wastin' any words on shave-tails till they his way up the trail. And what could a sobers up some sensible.”

poor little shave-tail do when his legs reThe man in underclothes considered. fused to go straight under him, his tongue Evidently somebody had the drop on him. failed to connect with his ideas, and his He looked for something to hide behind, head felt in danger of colliding with the but there was no tombstone present, or trees on both sides of the trail ? anything of like nature except the log on “You skunk, you—you bob-tailed malinwhich the other fellow sat.

gerer you,” he sputtered. “I'll fix you “Time's up,” announced the lieutenant. when we get to camp. It'll be six-sixty "I see you don't understand. Get up and for a starter—why, man alive," he broke put on those clothes, unless you prefer out with sudden comprehension, “you're to march in fatigue uniform. Do it darn a deserter. Don't you know what that quick, too; its eight miles to camp, and

means?” it's not healthy here nights since the “Silence,” commanded the man in the gugus has cut loose again."

rear. "Your memory's bad. I'll fix your “See here, whats this all about any- lesson so you won't forget it.” And two way?” demanded Tombstone Johnny, with seconds later Tombstone Johnny lay on the first gleam of returning intelligence. the ground while his oppressor stood over

"Oh, that's easy, and since you inquire him, revolver by the barrel, repeating : "I special, I'll state the case. I'm Second (tap) am Lieutenant (tap) Bates (tap.) Lieutenant John W. Bates, with orders You (tap) are (tap) deserter (tap) Hutto proceed to the reservation and take chings (tap) under arrest (tap) on road command of the garrison succeeding Lieu- (tap) to Camp McBain (tap.) Savy tenant Jergenses. Got that far? Very now,” (tap, tap.) well. You're Wilbur Hutchings, late pri- If any desire for further protest were vate 1st class, of the 20th, on vacation left, it was drowned in a shower of metewithout leave for reasons sufficient to ors and lost in an inarticulate groan of yourself, but arrested at large as a de- terror. For the quaking heart of a counserter by Lieutenant Bates, and you will terfeit man can be nothing but itself, and accompany me, in front, to Camp Mc- --well, let's not abuse a wretch when he's Bajn--and you'll do it quick."

down. Slowly the unclad man rose, every joint

After awhile the trail grew steeper and protesting, and with gingerly fingers ar- the staggering prisoner bethought him of rayed himself in the shabbiest uniform a last resort. “Where's my bottle? Let's that had ever covered his shrinking figure. have a drink together—my treat, you

The man with the gun watched the per- know," he whined and simpered. formance with ill-concealed amusement. "Shut up! Bottle's safe. Too much “Not up to your grade, eh?” he sallied.

bottle now. March !" “Well, maybe not, but they've done me all They walked into camp just as the flag the good they will ever do, and they won't came down, and the sunset gun bade its hurt you. I'm no raw recruit, and it's sure farewell to the day. Each man looked his suitable that my last appearance is in an part. “Chesty,” muttered the sergeant, official uniform. First time I was ever a as he took in the new commander. "But shave-tail, though, and they never called who the dickens is that dish-rag he's got ?" me Tombstone Johnny, neither."

“Sergeant, place deserter Wilbur HunIn blind fury, the cringing captive chings, 20th regiment, in the guard house, turned and sprang at his tormentor, but double guard. He's been seein' things he only stepped aside. Then leveling the and 's crazy as a lobster. Make him keep revolver at the wretched figure before him his mouth shut." he said: "That'll do,

Forward The lieutenant was master of the situamarch!”

tion. He took possession of headquarters, Once more Tombstone Johnny began to showed his papers to the ranking sergeant, protest. Then he swore, but the protest inspected daily reports for the past week, was sickly, and the profanity weak, and ordered the best supper the camp could

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furnish, asked how the Navajos were be- post, and prize of prizes, à chance for a having, demanded a dozen cigars from the fight. For the first time he thought of commissary sergeant, and generally looked what might have been, and then he sighed and acted the part of ranking officer of the and wondered how he would get away. It post.

was plain sailing now. After the trick “I have the honor to report that the was turned tonight he could disappear prisoner in the guard house refuses to with accoutrements of war and leave the keep quiet, and talks. He claims to be a wretch in the guard house to come to his commissioned officer, and that he was" own. It would be funny to see him try

"Certainly, certainly, sir. He raved it, he thought. like a loon all the way in. I found him Then it happened. Down the trail down at Sand Creek, drunk as a fool, and there was a shot, and then another, and in had the devil of a time to get him up ten seconds the line was formed, and the here. He's been seein' 'em all the way. If lieutenant by the look-out tree watched he doesn't shut up, gag him.”

for the charge, and it came. Up the trail The sergeant hesitated.

swept the mob of painted and be-feath“What is it?" demanded the

ered red-skins, expecting to find all hands mander in best military tones..

asleep. An instant later

there swept “Nothing, lieutenant. But we under- through their ranks a fire deadly and unstood you was to come yesterday, and the expected, and in the half moon-light they scouts has just come in and says that there went down a dozen braves. The yell died, is trouble on tonight. They's scheming to and with dead and wounded on their backs drop down on us after taps. They got

They got they fled. wind of it through a

It was over in a minute, and to have friendly, and I thought you ought to know let them go would have been prudence. it.”

But the new Lieutenant had smelled pow “Thunder," muttered the ranking offi- der, and it went to his brain, and with cer, “but I've got into a -I mean that an unofficial shout, he yelled, "Forward, is important surely," he continued aloud. double-quick! March ! Give 'em hell,

Give "Sergeant, issue sixty rounds of ammuni- bovs," and down the mountain he ran tion, put three guards on first watch, with the men. double pickets, order every man ready for At the big rock, the narrow meadow action at taps.”

became a trap. A dozen men might scale The sergeant saluted and retired. Out- the boulder and stand off a company as it side he met the corporal. “New lieutenant

But the new Lieutenant knew is 0. K., but that was a mighty straight nothing of this, and into the hail of lead story the prisoner told. Doesn't look to me

ran every man in the garrison except nine to be as drunk as reported. Look like he'd —and the prisoner in the guard-house. It been out a week."

was short and sharp, and it was nasty With military precision orders enough on both sides. In five minutes obeved. Pickets were stationed, rations the rock was bare, and the foe had fled, protected, ammunition issued, orders and then there was a sound of strife from passed, taps sounded, and lights blinked

the camp. Shots and shouts rang out in out. The silence of the night settled down, the night air, and without waiting for broken only by the night owl on the hill command, every man that was left tore and the crickets in the pines. The new up the hill to find a hand to hand skirmish lieutenant sat and smoked and considered. that lasted longer than pleasant. This was better than he had dared hope. Over by the guard house it was thick and Whatever the discrepancies of his past, fast, and here and there ran men, striking failure to make good in a scrap had never right and left. It was too dark to shoot been one, which was why he had not been straight and too light to ambush, and the cashiered long ago. When he made the Indians were too thick to pick off, and find at Sand Creek he had no plans for confusion reigned supreme. anything but a get-away, and now fortune Then there rose above the din a voice had tumbled into his lap this basket of of command that rang through the plums. A lieutenancy, command of the

camp. It brought assurance to the hard

caine.

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