Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 27, 1910, Lethbridge, Alberta
The Daily Herald. By Luke Ttirice for tbt ttKft a- mark out a After With a tearing- tbotuprcg- tfce fcoir cf emft -klid a. the press of the stocjQ eaucfat >Trtnyf "fee around aiwl twuk, to crawl up myself and dually to drat: ay inahi- 'mate -companion after me, sinking exhausted among the grasses. .Only after a. pull from a pocket flask which'I fortunately bad by me was I-able to turn my attention" to what I had. rescued. And ray shrinking" hand touched a wet. cheek yet. warm, jvitii life. I.did.what I rould with tbe remaining contents of ray fiask'wben I knew that she not dead. In the waning light I made UTIC tbat my fellow castaway, so strangely swept into my grasp oat of the welter of the waves, was a slender, fair haired girl. Her face lay white ajwi delicately moulded as in wax upon my arm, a. yet childish face, with broad-brows and "firm lips, whence, as I benr anxiously above her. came a me nwttlyiftto the drink. Spiottertag- and" Istroek ont after my craft, toward Sails Point Hassock, a flt vJc- tim for a tub tempest But PTLTSUIJ: "was aod I chose the store of Old Swale, jlto up -the amd After -in erll sraeliins oose "1 to hrstatiott Hnood for the situation. T'he tide iu. urged by a rislac "wind; the roots tore under my grasp, ay ftefc nothlag nKrre sutatan- tit! rlscoos siime lor a hold. 1 wjUlowed and floimdered to BO purpose, flilidiny further the a firmer tossock. I able to ami: tooth into Its ay my langhing-wUb ri-ltef. .in rhe rehixa-' tloJi I understood fully htyn 1 Ij-i'ij BeyOBd rhe wall rhf rushes the ground suddenly to circle mir aromirt "t Uwuffh I jniesseti wliidiijr 10 the "tber side marsh. ITI this scc-ix-t liollow. snugly lay a .-mal! flai with s :iuy. low roofed built amidships. From two little" ports at thy side grateful beams of light. A sound of staling cftme from within nnd I caugbt ,1 delightful scent as I made- my arov.nd rbe verge -to a fSngfe plank that did service as yangway TO rbe shore. -Ahoy, the I I clacteix-d aboard and laid my hand on rhf door. There was and J nuns entrance stiff en with Opposite me, across tbe narrow space of the cabin under a swinging oil Intnp. crouched a man behind the sr'.itterina: barrel of n mrge revolver that was no more c rimu bis bloodshot eyes aa ho iicld me COT- A. swift backward flash through die Si that I dla not kno'w hira.-.'He-was short and rougn- )y dirty w'bite beard thar ended- baldness above this He bV.u fallen -back against' the. little stove and a'ts'bie To''bis left another (Icjor into the inner compartment "stood open. -There was. a licrht Inside; and-I made out with clean. whire coverings." and a bottle of per- fumery upon a "Weil." 1 remarked, studying' him .n.nd rhe.interior 'quick glances, "hero's a cheerful welcome for a Terror arid Defiance. There was terror in the "man's face if i could, read ir. seerbiQ.ff. aojeci: terror, and a freczy 'of rietian'.'c syr-h as none .would suffer from mere surprise. Ke labored under some strange excitement, with --heaving breast and weakened knees, but the knotted. band about ihe heavy -weapon was1 set and deadly as it 1t5 line. t'hel! do you he demanded wirh one f.ilse start, bi.? thick voice'rising and to command. "EowV you gel I leaned in the low more than a long step "away from the muzzle of his gun. and chuckled with.an ease I was fa'r from feeling. "Good Lord, you're bo-pita'jlG.'' I said, running my bands down my dripping snirf. canoe upset in the outer hay here and I swam for the uc-ftrest shore. Answer wet aud aungry ,ir.d ex- umisted. so I aatunilly -vrant whatever any uae cnn jjire me in ihe way ordinary shelter.' dou't 'seem, to be very kindly ..disposed... But.I assure I adilc- tvitn an "I'm quite harm- less and I haven't any upon you." He watched and listened iniently. every nerve alerr, the Good of fear ebbing slowly -from biui..though he lost none of the suspicion-and hostility his attitude. If one may catch a glimpse of another's miiid at .1 tense moment through the clairvoyance "f crated emorion, ho wtu? 'thiukiug1 tuen how a 'single bullet from ihe .45 would, rip through me at rhe ranee and rid of un unwelcome, visitor. His did nor, rrlax around The trigger. "His next words showed that I had i-ounded. him arigiii. "Any. orhers with you 'f he asked, harshly. f on the with him. Whatever rue source of his mood, rasdness, guilty dread or simple auger, he held my ilfe under a single nerve a ui.iu will look far for aid in.rhe wilderness of the bay marshes. I was conscious that my answer must snap aud J braced for a spring if it should be wrong.' It was a'risk speak of friends and a search on r.hc morrow, or to present myself as i was. to Lis b'nl- snc? between rhe restiits of murder iiiri rnlue of his privacy, r Imuff upbu the choice. "Not nr presenr." T said, carelessly. "But Tin of outiny jturty on a schooner yacht, cruising in tiu-sc Ir, fact, f was trying to make her when ihe firs! sijuail She gc-t under the lee of .the: point, but I'm. quite certain my friends saw me. here. Undoubtedly they'll be after mo iu the niornijijr. there'll be- no trouble for you." It went. instin'jfivHy 1 ffirrxire to speak of the girl. The feintnlne touches in inner rabiu, uiysrery of her condition, some subtler of a connection between her and my tlireat- liosr, set my of proprietorship In ber j'ea-. loudly on edge, and I held to the Issu-fc between ws two. HP gtowered my reply, but strain, eased somewhere. Oearly he was busy with the elements had thns carefully Introduced into ,the situation; clearly, too, they had given ine tinner srroundr His pyes dropped from me an then came back more fiercely. "You didn't one prowlln' see no one. did you''1' he demanded, rapidly. "Why. no. I I answered, with innocent sur- prise. "Is there any one else here "No, there ain't." he snapped, quickly.. For first since my sudden appearance he broke hi9 jbeillsferent posa, then lowered tha "revolYer. iQUr his belt and waved me to eater. he: said.-with An suppose you're ready' to make a bargain if 1 give you-'shelter over night." "Why. of I closed the door, "anything you think is don't want your money.'J 'be answered, turning his bloodshot eyes upon me again with scarcely, tero; pered dislike. "But T don'r want any one'butttn' In here, see? -That's what made me so .quick wjth you." :added. craftily, "t ecrcs here to bo-'alone. Irm ft kind of a hermit, .1 guess you might call me. I ain't no names yet on my visitin' list, and I don't ei- -p'ect tot have you get the "Surely." I answered with promptness. of my friends need even know of your J. shan't say anything if you'd rather T didn't. I shall be so greatly in your.debt that a trifling reruns :like he growled, with n sudden return of bis ft-r- mer manner, "uow'd you find your way here to "Just ou It." 1 laughed, "quite by acci- dent. You-certainly have, chosen au ideal spot for the hermir busiuess. By the -way, isn't tbat bam you're frying there, and isu't it about .He looke.'I at me -for- another moment-of silence, tben turned with a grunt to rbc stove and the primitive cooking there in progress. I sank upon the narrow bench thsf ran along one side of the-cabin with an imvard offering of thanks.. The man had provided one of the'tensest touch and go problems of my ex- periencf-. .ind after the struggle irs the storm it must have proved beyond me if it had lasted much lonirer. if ever a. man had stopped on tbe line of murder it' was my present: hosr. T could "make "little 'enough of him RS I strove for 4 he had his ftmoge me, -which, was ttW I might for a He wilted again for a period of silence. "Sume folks mighto't call it he said ijrimiy. "If matter of rowin' three or I observed. _> "And helpin' me into town with couple of be went on. I uodded; ''takinir crabs to market, I nune." Tbe first trace of a soowtd- in his danger ous eyes. "Crabs? s good, too. Crabs.. ehl You'll find damn bMtry craba." I was hard put to it to repress a narvous start jWbile he spoke tny glance had wandered from hirt TO rest upon the porthole uDove aim. framed in the square opening, vaguely limned background of the night, wag the white, like face of the girl. As I looked she brought oat i rioger to her lips tcith a swift. Imperatrre aad I wrenched my attention back to- old man in to meet his searching gaze. 1 "You said you had made a good I politely. "Are crabs fetching good prices nowt" To my surprise he met the rtmarti >wlth a hoarse rattle of laughter. "Top gurgled, "bop notch Ton aae are a special Isreed. I to get .paid for this mese of i It was no longer necessary to make an affect ta keep iny upon him. Something in the man's 'pricked my curiosity sharply.. He was at hU cow. I returned. "I don't know much abooft crab How much woald you to i this particular lot, He studied me a moment and bis mouth twisted grin at my innocent he 'Til take about for it." j, My bewilderment waa cot altogether sftnuhtted; to enjoy It as ticMinf to vanity. "Ten I gaoped, then JeugHefl. "Oh; I rather getting at Ten. thouwmd dollars for a mess of crabs. so." He still grlnalnf. I they was a special breed, "Well, buf-------I atammered, "my dear His mysterious diatrtttt bad giren to a kind of sneering aud patxoniaing friendlliMMB. excited that frenzy of terror in him at my ftrat ap- pearance had quite disappeared. He no'. longer feared me. "Juat look under the bench he pointtaf with his pipe. "That's the trap I eftughl che crabs In." FoUowlng his I looked like 4 rmalL sqnare brown box beneath me aat. Beach- down a. hand T sncoonterad the hard, surface of rusted iron. He laughed at ay panted ex- pression and crossed to the bench, kneeling and drag- ging''forth tbe object .with an effort that Brought every muscle of his tough frame Into It was no box. out an ancient safe long imniewed .and by salt -water and recently serapad a fftsh forth a musical, chinking as -he patted them loringly< "T-hey weigh-top much for me, and you're going to. help carry them, .to market." he added, grinningv "They're gold., thaf s what they arel" I stuttered. "Gold? I dotft'i did you get "Fisncd for for it .like any crab Jcfit like I He knelt-by. the safe, fondling the bags. taken mejuet'twri Pretty good haul-ain't it. His T3glyfa.ee was glowing. "How do you mean, fished for I asked. I rtekedi quick.look to the porthole. Tae: girl-; was silent, watchful, ethereal against the night Again pressed a warning finger to-her Hps. said the as he treasure. There was'a touch" of eagernesa, of pride of achiftvement, in his "TroUed jnagnete, d'yvs'ee? Made my own'outfit strong nets on lines .fastened to delicate spring I've raked every foot of tbe kcwer and fortK and crisscross, fooled a million; won out ait last." He gurgled in his throat. "Won out at last, d'y' see, mister? There's a mess oi cratos lor yon." I exclaimed. flow did you know there was a safe in, the bay to It was as if I had preased acme hiflifan Kpring thai nred his resentment He slammed down the pnsbed back the safe and spraDg "to hJe fierce and flaming. "What t' heB that to yelled. arc you, anyway, to. come bnttin1 around here with questions. fritf. IB .11 came from the Mary Belle, aehoctMr, wrecked fourteen ago. Does that, aiilt "Perfectly.'' I answered mildly. I had thinif pieced together pretty well now, with murmured pbrasea of the girl for. stitches. man and girl. the treasure of a TesHcTon which bad been wrecked as a child. She had her fathoa in tbat wreck, and the gold, which apparently hadi been his, was now rightfully hera, The man stood breathing hard, band near the revolver iu bis belt. I had touched the canse of fear again. "Not ,tha.t I think you'd try to pnll off he said with 'a nasty sneer, "but youM- better set It 'stuff Is A sigh wafted faint, unearthly surer upon oar further Intercourse. The maaf sound like the gentle wail of 4 pawing spirit. Mr airly oozed suspicion. The explanation of a. bennit host's jaw f-ell slack upon his last word as he turned fair life which he- had offered to account for his readiness with rue rang hollow. His statement that ho lived alone was given the lie by the inner cabin, and again by his hasty denial. Bui who was be? "What was ihe purpose of his. retreat in the marsh? I count myself fairly familiar with tbe "vanious shady methotls of existence, but there was co evidence any one of them in the bouse boat, no trace of a queer uioaey plane or a yacht pirate's outfit. Personally he Impressed me as a capable criminal, though I failed to classify him, and early jn the recent scene I had discarded tbe notion of insanity. Meanwhile, with rbe rbocjrht of rhe heloless. girl out there in lie storm rugging at me, I set tcyself 10 waTob. confirmed 1n the belief that I had been wise Ju concealing: my knowledge of her existence, and re- calling her pitiful appeal to some one who had struck her. It was a silon-c meal that we aie.' seated ou oppo- site sides of the table' sbeif. with tbfi rain booming on 7he roof and tbe wash of waters close at hand, ify host favored me with sour glances from time to'time, 5rjt v.'a.s so good as 10 trouble me no until we hatl cleared rhe pan. Over a pipe, hunched in the one chair, he took-tht; flrst step hi conversation. "Doa'L suppose none of tbern friends of yours will suooplir .11 round berti for you ;._ way they f a shrug: "I had (be only sinall boat "I sruess you won'r. need to go off with them in the be said, .slowly. 7 asked, hunting for tbe significance this shifr. But there was uo iaimedjate danger in the bloodshot eyes, "I've changed my mind. You can pay for your lodgin' by lend in' me a band on a liotle job." "Of course." I said. "J-nythiug in reason." "Who's the judge whether It's In reason or he snarled. "I need you. Shooting Him. To play In character 1 should have shown resentment at being handled BO cavalierly, but I too curious, "All I said, pleasantly, "you're entitled to aarn-e your own consideration. I hope the 3ob will "prove Interesting." My off-hand acceptance of hia provocative manner soothed aim again. It was plainly my line to be con- sistently good natutefl, Trilling and unabaervant. slowly, staring, toward the porthole. There, framud, in tbe little square, was the white, deathlike face ot the girl, vague aad unreal against the night with wide, unseeing eyes aad strands of fair, wet hair clinging to ber cheeks. JA shriek burst from tbe man as he staggered bade against tbe bulkhead with hands outstretched as if to ward off the dreadful apparition. he. mouthed. "No. no. no! I didn't, I swear I You slipped on the bank! The eyes in the face swept inexorably upon him.' He crouched as If his bones had-tamed to water, then leaped suddenly horrible, "You won't stay be screamed; I was upon him in one bound as tore the weapons from his belt and waved it toward tbe port. was a shattering explosion as my hand closed upoot his wrist and I bore him back. like demon, jamming: me heavily across :the bench. I clipped him close about tbe body, every, ounce of power bent upon the wrist. Locked.in a desperate embrace we whirled and hurtled from side to side of tbe narrow cabin in the bitter smoke, with shifting advantage until, catching a back heel, I threw ray, weight full upon him. We tottered.an instant, theu went down in a terrific crash. A spurt of fire singed my hand, another deafening report rang through the place and I felt my adversary go limp beneath When I got to my feet he was dead, shot by his weapon as I snapped his wrist in the fall. i Through the daze of fighting and the wreck of ths cabin I staggered for tbe door, fearing to find I know riot wbat horror outside. Before I reached il. swung back and the girl stood there, pale and bling, but witii a look of utter as 6u< eyes met. was I asked. "My uncle." "And he tried to kill She nodded. fouud the treasure two dxyn ngo and since covered her face with her she cried, with sudden enerfy, "'there Is a skiff alongside and the storm has I want to get away from this terrible place and for- get "So you I said, stooping to the safe, "all bui this." f Aud so it came about I bctlped to carry the mar'm after til.