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broke the oppressive gloom, as he banged his red, hairy fist on the counter and openly wiped his eyes.

"I tell you, boys, it was Hell, but it had to be done. Let's quit worrying about that. Now it's Christmas and Devil's Gully sixty miles from nowhere. Jean is going fast; the Doc. says so; there's no hope. What we've got to do is to get a committee into civilization and dust back again to this tail end of creation just as quick as God Almighty and horseflesh will let 'em. We're going to give Jeanie his last Christmas if it takes the life of every man in camp."

Bill Carson was given a rising vote of thanks for his interpretation of the sense of the meeting, and Bill Carson was appointed a committee of one, admonished to get to Ten Spot and back with the entire Christmas loot that Ten Spot could produce in just as quick time as God. Almighty and horseflesh would let him. It was snowing then, and the wind whistled down over the summit with the forewarning breath of the blizzard. Somewhere deep down within the knotted and bulging muscles that covered Bill Carson's great chest there was a strange, vague joy that diffused over his body an ineffable warmth, and when the cold benumbed him he seemed to see the shining, happy, glorious faces of Jamie and little little Jean enhaloed among the angel choruses, singing down upon him of peace on earth and good will unto men. He roused himself roughly, and sternly goaded the rowels into the stiffening bronco. They still tell of Bill Carson's ride, and how he wandered on foot into Ten Spot, half deurious, while the blizzard was howling the fiercest, frost bitten, frozen, his face worn raw and bleeding from the driving snow and sleet. And when his message was known, still is the story told of how the hardiest men of Ten Spot winked back their tears, swung high their hats, and faced in

to the night and the blizzard for Devil's Gully, with all the Christmas loot that Ten Spot could produce.

Manfully Jamie fought back the bitter tears that would persist in coming, for he always had a smiling face for little Jean, and little Jean covertly wiping his eyes under the blanket, smiled up at Jamie, and they talked bravely of Christmas things they could not have, and each hopefully, to cheer the other, told of the times they would have next year when Jeanie was all well and strong again, and when they were down in the valleys where Santa Claus could find them. It was the morning before Christmas then, and Jamie went out alone to cry for the first time. Then slowly the determination grew in his stout little heart that Jeanie should have a Christmas. He knew a little Christmas tree that would please him. But what could he put on it that would surprise Jeanie? Long he pondered over the question, and then he stole out to the shed and saddled the pony that Bill Carson had lent him to ride for his errands on, and then he set his face manfully for Ten Spot.

Little Jamie set his face for Ten Spot, sixty miles away, four hours before Bill Carson, and when Bill Carson fell off, and the Ten Spot men dismounted stifflly before the Devil's Gully bar little Jamie had not returned. They had not worried until night, and then they had hoped against hope that Bill Carson, returning, would bring him.

They had to hold Bill Carson by main force when the searching party set over the back trail for Ten Spot. He only calmed when they told him that little Jean was calling for him, and, exhausted and worn out, they half carried him to the little shack next to his own that he had given to the lads. Little Jean's eyes were strangely bright. He ciasped the huge, red, frost-bitten fist trustingly, and was quieter.

"Jamie will come back all right,

won't he, Uncle Jimmy?" he pleaded. And Uncle Jimmy, only because he was still frozen stiff and numb, could only sob inwardly as he knelt down. with a hopeless heart, and said yes. And supreme in his faith in Uncle Jimmy, little Jean, weary and worn, slept.

Only because Jamie's horse had fallen into a ravine and Jamie had wandered from the trail, did the men of Ten Spot, with Bill Carson at their head, miss him when they set their faces into the blizzard, for hardly had Ten Spot retired again to its fires from seeing the party off, that a little, frozen mite stumbled. into the general store and fell in a faint. When at last they brought him around he was delirious.

"It's gone!" he he moaned. "It's gone! I lost my dust! And I can't get nothing for Jeanie's tree! The tree is hid in the shed, Uncle Jimmy. I guess we want some nice little Christmas apples, don't we? Maybe I can get some at Ten Spot. We can imagine the trimmings and things. I guess it will please Jeanie all right, won't it, Uncle Jimmy? I lost it, i lost my dust! and Jeanie can't have no tree!" he moaned again.


So he raved, while the burly men of Ten Spot, who loved ttle Jamie and little Jean hardly less than their foster-fathers at Devil's Gully, stood helplessly around and cursed cover their sobs. Bill Langley detached himself stealthily from the group and stole away. In an hour he returned. In his hand he held two objects, small and shriveled. He held them up soberly for all to


"I gave Jamie some apples last time he was over," he said. "Some I'd kept from summer. That's what he came after. Wanted 'em for his Christmas tree for little Jeanie. Only two left, though. Boys, these go with little Jamie to Devil's Gully!" It needed the vent of wild shouts and cheers to cover the sobs that would come when the second expedi

tion, with little Jamie wrapped warm and snug, set forth into the blizzard for Devil's Gully; for they had known little Jean was dying; they must bring Jamie home to him.

They met the searching party half way, and Christmas day was drawing to its short close when the weary riders had come again to the bar at Devil's Gully. The Devil's Gully men were there, with upraised fingers, hushing them, and they knew that it was low with Jeanie. Jamie had fallen into a lethargy, and he was only aroused when Bill Carson tenderly laid him on his little bunk and then his eyes opened. "Uncle Jimmy!" he breathed and sighed happily. "You'll take care of Jeanie, won't you, Uncle Jimmy? I guess I'm dying, all right. I can kind of feel it coming. But don't you care, Uncle Jimmy. I'm not afraid. But don't tell Jeanie, though. I've got the tree in the shed. You go get it, Uncle Jimmy, and I've got the two nice Christmas apples. That is what I went for. I knew they would please Jeanie. We didn't think Santa Claus could find his way up here for two poor little orphan boys like us. We can imagine the trimmings and things. You know it was awful cold-and then Bessie stumbled-down the-gulch and hurt-my-side." He drowsed into lethargy again.

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"He passed the long days in solitude, save when a brawny prospector would steal away and try to amuse him."

point, and the calico gowned doll, resplendent with ropy hair, was proudly hung in sight. Strangest of all, from some mysterious source, a worn, thumbed Bible had sprung into existence upon the tree. On the very top, surrounded by four candles, whittled down, they reverently hung the two little apples that Jamie had given his life for. By a vague premonition of the coming Presence and the awfulness of the coming moments, every head was bare. In his own heart each man was doggedly cherishing the hope that He would spare Jamie to them until Black Dick, racing a seventy mile race through the snow and sleet for the doctor, could return; Black Dick, with six men's lives to answer for, riding himself to death if need be for a little mangled waif. They knew there was no hope for Jeanie.

It was long after midnight when Jeanie's eyes opened and he called for Jamie. Something in the deathly color of the shadowy little ghost of a voice brought every man to the room.

Bill Carson was kneeling by his cot, smoothing back the little curls from the dry, throbbing temples. The brightness in the eyes had increased, and he moved his head restlessly, but with never a fretful word. He called Jamie again, and Jamie awoke and bravely essayed to call to him cheerily, but his voice was already pitifully small and lifeless. Jeanie, fast gliding into the shadow of the brooding wings, did not note it. Suddenly Jamie turned and beheld the tree and the silent row of uncovered, solemn men, and for a moment he closed his eyes and tried to fight away the delusion. Stealthily he looked again. No, it was true, for there was Uncle Jimmy, and if Uncle Jimmy was there it must be true. Thrillingly,

weak, hardly audible voice vibrating with childish glee and joy and awe, he called: "Jeanie! Look! Look! Jeanie!" And the shadow

lifted to allow Jeanie to look, and in the glow of his wonder and awe, held back its blackness for a space, reluctant to claim that pitiable little cripple from the one moment in his life of supremest bliss.

Uncle Jimmy gently moved him so that he could view the tree. The bright little eyes opened wide with aelight; he breathed deep with rapture, and looked around covertly to see if it were all true. Yes, it must be. There was Jamie and Uncle Jimmy, and all his big men friends from Ten Spot and Devil's Gully. Gloating, he feasted his eyes, and then turning to Jamie, his voice struck through with the very intoxication of joy, and filled with unnatural strength, he cried: “Oh, Jamie! Santa Claus did get up here after all!" and the wings closed slowly and mercifully down, and his eyes glazed and darkened; a smile of peace that was more than earthly traced itself about the delicate lips. "Jamie!" he gasped, "kiss me!" And they held Jamie to him and he kissed him. And so little Jeanie, locked in Jamie's arms, was forever freed of the wracking pains of his little body.

Above the heart-broken, gasping wails of Jamie blended the heavy, hoarse sobs of the men. Then above all the wild notes of grief the voice of one arose, who held in his hands the little Bible. It was Dalby, the gambler. He was reading in a sonorous, trembling voice, the words of hope and of faith and of cheer:

"I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

Uncle Jimmy sunk his head into the blankets, and threw one brawny arm about the frail little bodies as though his strength could even still protect them, for only Uncle Jimmy, over whom the mantle of old age had suddenly fallen, knew then that Dalby was reading a double service over the waifs of Devil's Gully.




HIN yez waants ter till ther would sumthin', jist wroite it. Thot's phat Oi heerd ther egiter till ther mussus wan doay, an' now, begorra, Oi Mary Ann have got sumthin' ter soay, an' iv ther poleece doun't pull ther long nose aff uv that yillerhedded doonce uv a princybul oop at ther school pheer aur little gal wint, phin Oi gits troo, schure Oi'll niver spake agin.

"Och, muther, phin Oi think uv ther doay thot pour choild cum home wid big tears sthandin' in her eyes, an' siz she wuzn't permoted jist cos she wuz took sick ther lasht wake uv school, an' ther princybul t'ought she wuz tu shmall ter go troo. 'An' Mary,' siz she, 'Oi wuz thryin' so harrd ter gradjucate, so Oi cud hilp aunty wid her writin'. Oh, dear, an' it's ther fust toime in me loife Oi've bin lift.'

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a sin and a shame, thinks Oi ter mesilf, Mary Ann. Phy kint yer go oop theer an' till thim thot little gal iz a orfan, an' thot she ain't ther only wan ather; thot ther be too uv thim phat a pour dilicate little woman iz thryin' tur raiz loike ther loidies they wuz bourn, an' how they wuz schwindled out uv all their own munny. So, siz Oi tur Bessie, siz Oi, 'Phat iv Oi goes an' sees ther princybul an' tills him how schmart yez wuz phin yez wuz a baby an' yez ain't lost nun uv it since, an' we wount bother yer aunt till after?'

"Oh, will yer, Mary?' siz she, her face all a-spharklin'. 'Only,' siz she, 'mebby they wount understhan,' siz she.

"Indade, thot they will,' siz Oi. I'll make thim understhan,' siz Oi, 'if Oi have ter take ther poker,' siz Oi.

"So ther nixt doay Oi put me noo bonnit Oi wuz after buyin' a year ago cum Asther, on wrong soide befour, cos, thoinks Oi, it luks moor sthylish wid ther fither hangin' doun ther back, aven iv it do be sthandin' oop sthrait instid u v droopin' loike ther foine ladies, an' wid me noo shoes, altho they hurted orful, Oi filt rale ladyloike. Shure, Oi waanted ter luk swill, cos Bessie tould me ther princybul wuz a man. Och, glory be ter God! A man! Chure, iv Oi'd a-knowed thin phat Oi dun after, Oi'd a-gone in me ould kitchin aprin wid me slaves rouled 507, and begorra, Oi'd a-taken a flat iron along wid me.

"Will, Bessie interjuced me ter a round chouldered, yeller bearded.

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