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brought upon him. Every spare moment compassing darkness of the wall, Hearne he tussled heroically with the few knotty made his stealthy way to within a few problems on which he had determined to yards of the unsuspecting private. At the stake his all. The fighting blood of his first turn of his broad back the cadet, a soldier ancestry was stirred at last, and swift streak of gray and white, sped leaped gallantly to the call of a hopeless through the forbidden gates and stood charge. He had worked hard the eve- panting without, the first dangerous stage ning before the examination, to the cruel of his journey past. accompaniment of the far-away music of In the hostile moonlight it was hard the hop room, and when_“Army Blue" work making from one to another of the sounded the approach of “Taps," he closed bulwarks of shadowed tree and hedge. victoriously the pages on waste-weirs, Sometimes the fatal uniform of blue would master at least of that darling of Granny Alash into sight, and Hearne would crouch Ellery's heart. When “Tubs” Richards low, his heart pounding betrayal to his after the dance looked in to deliver a note All the time he was thinking of to him, Hearne had already blanketed his Faith "in trouble." Could she be ill? transom, placed his candle beneath the Every moment conjured distressing reabed, and was lying fat under it himself, sons for her urgent summons. Her cousin prepared for a final night's vigil with en- lived far up the road past Grant Hall, and gineering. He crawled back to read his when at length Hearne reached the house small missive whose dear familiar hand he was shaking with an exhaustion miles writing had already set his blood dancing of swift running could not have caused. A moment later he emerged with a white, At the sight of him the little figure in determined face and began to throw on white upon the steps flew down to meet his dress-jacket. The Worm gazed at him, and Gordon caught her in his arms him incredulously.
in a passionate relief. Faith herself was “Good Heavens, His'n, you can't mean clinging to him with a happy abandonyou 're going to 'run it out'— three days ment she had never shown before. before graduation and with your record! “You poor darling,” she cried at the You 'll be fired double quick if they ‘hive' sight of his pale face. “Did you worry
about me? I 'm so sorry, but I could n't His'n did not stop for answer. He was write you the truth, and I had to say that buckling his belt as he made for the door. I was in trouble so you would be sure to The Worm caught him by the shoulder. come. It 's good news I have for you,
“His'n, listen to me- I won't let you dear- just look at this." do so mad a thing. Throw away every
She thrust a roll of papers into his hand chance of graduation for a girl!-shows excitedly. Hearne stared down at them what kind she is to ask such a thing when stupidly. The moonlight had illumined she knows what it may mean to you,” the last page, and the question of the bungled the poor Worm.
waste-weirs which lately had been his His'n wrenched himself loose. "You will companion day and night, was clearly replease remember that you are speaking of vealed. He wondered for a moment the girl I 'm to marry, Hastings,” he said, whether he was losing his reason and the dropping for the first time in their ac- thing had become an obsession to him. quaintance the old affectionate, bantering His dazed senses tried to grasp what Faith nickname. “She is in trouble and needs was saying. me. I've got to go!"
“Did you ever know such luck?" she A moment later he was outside in the was asking triumphantly. "I was in Cousin darkness, his shoes in his hand, peering Edward's study this afternoon when he cautiously toward the broad shaft of moon- was putting these papers away, and he said, light staining the stairs. No spying tacti- 'Those questions decide the fate of more cal officer with his hated bull's-eye lantern than one poor fellow in the graduating seemed in sight, however, so he shot down class.' And right away it Aashed into my them lightly, skirted the shadows of the mind what I could do. I watched where he hall below, and found himself out in the put the key to his desk, and then I rushed area with the sentry pacing measuredly right home from the hop- they 're at an across his exit. Clinging close to the en- officers' bridge party and won't be home
for an hour yet-and got them out for at length he stood in the section-room beyou. Here 's a pencil and paper, so you fore the formidable tribunal, the instruccan copy them.”
tor impressive in full-dress uniform and She looked up at him happily, her face sword, the distinguished Board of Visitors aglow with her triumph. Something in on the platform, and the curious faces of Hearne's eyes made her falter.
friends and strangers looking down from "My God, Faith," he said in a voice the gallery above, he still felt nothing but she had never heard before.
a quiet determination to do his best. Even mean to say you stole those papers?" In- a glint of golden hair beneath a pinkvoluntarily he recoiled a step.
trimmed leghorn in the corner failed to She cried out at that in a rush of indig- move him from his curious passivity. nation and wounded love. “How can you The first question came within the say such a thing? I took them for you, range of his limited accomplishment. Of Gordon. There is n't anything I would the second he had only a hazy idea, but he n't do for you,” she added piteously, and found himself to his own amazement with took a little trembling propitiatory step a preternatural mental keenness working toward him.
it to a triumphant finish. The third and But he made no move to meet her. He fourth he could not answer, but the fifth stood staring at her in a helpless horror the Worm had gone over with him only against which she hid her eyes.
the day before. His fate hung trembling “You thought I would cheat to pass ?" on the outcome of the sixth. he demanded, still in a strained, unnatural With the first words of Captain Ellery, voice, and then choking suddenly, he his mind, trained to that attack, marshaled wheeled and went blindly down the road. in perfect array its disciplined facts on the
It must have been a merciful Providence waste-weirs. He began with a quiet aswhich directed his steps home, for he him- surance, “I am required to discuss” — and self looked neither to the right nor to the then stopped short. left-indeed did not even remember hav- A sudden hush of anxiety fell over the ing reached there. He only knew he spent section-room. The visitors leaned over an endless night looking into darkness, and the railing in silent encouragement, and rose to a dawn which found his world in even the Members of the Board cast huruins.
man glances toward the gallant young The Worm, cursing silently and deeply figure whose shoulder-straps were hangthe ways of women in general, watched ing in the balance. him miserably as he sat during the morn- "Yes, Mr. Hearne," — the instructor ing in a stupor of suffering. As the fatal prompted helpfully. hour drew near, it was the Worm again But Hearne did not hear him. He was who got him into his dress uniform; he standing in a moon-lit garden with the himself would not have even made a move girl he loved in his arms, and between to go. He did not rouse from his lethargy them famed the fateful question whose until his room-mate pulled him back at the answer trembled on his lips. He had not last moment.
realized before what that meant. He had "His'n, I know something has hit you known the answer already, to be sure; he pretty hard," hesaid, sympathetically. “But had not looked since within his book. But you can't give up the fight this way, old there had been treachery and fraud; even fellow. There 's your father, you know if innocently he had looked upon that paand me. Graduation can't mean anything per; and by the stern ethics of the corps it to me without you-you know that.” was for him to pay the price of that dis
The words started Hearne into sudden honor. alertness; nothing could matter any more He drew a long breath and laid his to him: his life was over and done with; pointer down. “I can't answer that quesbut a man could n't think of just himself. tion, sir," he said clearly, and the examiAnd he put before him the lined, careworn nation was over. face of his father and the Worm's dear He had gotten through at last the final ugliness as he waited for the examination. good-bys of the men with whom he had He felt no trace of nervousness, no faint- marched and studied and played for four est qualm of either hope or dread. When years, and had borne up steadfastly under
their clumsy sympathy and real regret. ring he had given her lay in his pocket. That torpor which had enchained him for It read: the last twenty hours had mercilessly left him, and each insignificant little act pos
I am sending you your ring. You have sessed an undreamed of power to stab his shown plainly enough how little you care for heart. It hurt with an almost physical suf
I could not have believed you would fering as he looked his last upon the wide
hurt me so cruelly. There is nothing else to
say. grassy plain, sentineled by the white and
Faith Ellery. gray of its splendid buildings, and its faithful outer guard of emerald hills and stately He knew instinctively that he could kiss river. He had hated it fiercely enough in away her anger and hurt pride, but while his plebe year; he had thought he felt all his heart was crying out for her lovelimerely a tolerance in the three which fol- ness, he knew too that she had killed somelowed; now it seemed wrenching his verything she could never make live again. He heartstrings as he swung sharply away leaned over and dropped the ring into the from it down the hill.
river. The Worm went with him to the edge With that manhood which had sprung of cadet limits. Their parting was un- to life in a night he strove to face resoemotional and offhand in the extreme. lutely his bitter thoughts, the sweetheart
"Try not to spend all your time with he had lost and the father he had yet to the 'fems,'” His'n had urged quite jaun- face, the past he had ruined and the future tily, looking fixedly at a clump of wild not yet born. But when the sunset gun flowers in the road. “Don't trifle with thundered among the hills, his brave comall their young affections."
He straightened uncon“I 'll do my best not to," the Worm sciously and gave the old familiar salute had answered gaily, with a lump in his to the Aag-the flag he had proved unthroat. "Good-by, old chap, and take care worthy to serve. There was no one to of yourself.”
see him as he put his head down upon his Then somehow Hearne had found him- arms on the side of the boat. self alone upon the ferry, and the Hudson He did not know that he had passed creeping between himself and his Alma with flying colors his real examination in Mater. A note from Faith and the class the honor of the corps.
MOTHERING ON PERILOUS
(KENTUCKY MOUNTAIN SKETCHES)
VII. NUCKY MARRS, HERO
BY LUCY FURMAN
Author of “ Stories of a Sanctified Town"
JUCKY, otherwise Enoch, Marrs remaining days of that. week passed off
was one of the ten boys who ran smoothly, confirming theory that the away from the Settlement School on Peril- wild and martial traits are likely to be ous the first week in August, on account atrophied in an atmosphere of love and of homesickness. Two days after Miss gentleness. Loring came over to the small boys' cot- True, there were a few straws, espetage to live, he was returned by his father; cially in Nucky's case, to show which way but before the latter was out of sight, he the wind might blow if it listed. On calmly announced that he did n't aim to Thursday at breakfast, when Geordie stay, and that neither his paw nor anybody Yonts undertook to instruct the new boys else was able to make him. Miss Loring in table manners, and informed Nucky believed this,-one glance at his vivid face that it was not proper to eat with his and combative eyes convinced her. “Very knife, he was silenced by a jab of the knife well,” she said, "if
you find you
cannot be in his direction, and a threat to cut out his satisfied, of course you must go. But it liver ; at dinner the same day, when Philip will hurt my feelings a good deal; how- Floyd snatched a sweet-potato from ever, don't think of them."
Nucky's plate, he received a spoonful of “What difference is it to you?” he de- sop (gravy) full in the face; the next manded, with a piercing look.
morning when Miss Loring had the boys "Only this, I have come over here to back in the barn shelling corn for mill, the cottage to be happy with you boys, and Taulbee Bolling made a disparaging I am lonely and need you—and if you remark about Trigger Branch and “Bloody can't like me well enough to stay, life will Boyne,” the pitchfork sailed over his head, seem a failure.”
grazing it slightly but painfully. SaturNucky, pondered a long time, with large day being combined wash- and cleaninggray eyes fixed on Miss Loring's face. “I day at the school, and a breathless time don't know as I 'll go right off,” he said, for everybody (Hen Salyer had to be punafter a while.
ished that night for calling it a — of a "Oh, thank you," she replied, gratefully. day), there was little chance to get into
Nucky was eleven, and his home was trouble. on Trigger Branch of Powderhorn, eigh- Sunday morning, however, there was in teen miles distant from the school, in the cottage air a noticeable restlessness, Boyne County. Mr. Marrs had said be
Mr. Marrs had said be- which worked itself off to some extent in fore leaving that Nucky was a master excitement over new Sunday clothes, and scholar when he could leave off fighting in a good deal of squirming and shuffling long enough to learn his books. This, and in church. The Heads had requested that like remarks dropped by other parents, led the boys be kept as quiet as possible all Miss Loring to anticipate a strenuous life day; and Miss Loring, realizing that the at the cottage. But, to her surprise, the afternoon, with its large leisure, might prove difficult, planned to thrill her flock the broom from Iry's hands, and rushed and speed the flight of time by reading with it, straw-end foremost, into the thick Robinson Crusoe, never having heard of a of the fight. She was hit on the head by boy who was not fascinated by it. She a shovel, on the shoulder by a table-leg, began in the thick of the story, where Cru- on the elbow by something, but her broom soe is actually in sight of his island, and received the worst of the blows. It is not read with judicious skippings. What was safe to say what might have been the outher chagrin to see one pair after another come had not Granville opportunely arof bright, roving eyes dull and close, one rived, snatched the broom from Miss Lorhead after another roll over on the grass ing and turned the handle-end on the boys, (they were out in the cottage yard), beating and whacking them mercilessly Nucky holding out longest, and murmur- until they finally surrendered their weaping wearily, as his head settled back against ons, and retired, bloody but happy, from a tree, “Did n't he never get into no the encounter. fights, or kill nobody?"
That night Miss Loring lay long awake, Miss Loring sat for a long time in deep nursing bruises and reconstructing theodiscouragement, gazing at the twelve ries. She sadly admitted that love and sleepers, and wondering what would be gentleness needed to be backed up by good the proper literary milk for her babes. muscle, and that, to be a success in her When they awoke, she gave them permis- undertaking as cottage mother, she resion to play mumble-peg, very, very quired, not the weak bodily presence quietly; and they made a tremendous ef- which, like Paul, she actually possessed, fort, but it was the last straw. After sup- but the strength of an Amazon. Next per, when they were gathered around the morning, while she was making a visit to sitting-room table, for ten minutes of Sun- the loom-house, inspiration came. She day-school lesson, the storm broke. Nucky 'asked and received from the Heads perkicked Keats on the shin; Keats called him mission for Cleo Royce, the head-weavinga smotch-eyed polecat; the two grappled. girl, a splendid, large, handsome young Hen few to his big brother's assistance, woman, to come over and live with her and Iry and Joab Atkins to Nucky's; at the cottage.
. Philip rushed in on the Salyer side, fol- Of course the boys were punished for lowed by Taulbee; Geordie and Absalom that fight, losing several days' playtime. joined the Marrs faction, Killis and Hosea Miss Loring also talked to them most the Salyer; while little Jason Wyatt, earnestly on the subject. “Why, it 's just eight, and just arrived that day, flew joy- an accident
did n't kill one another or ously into the fray, impartially attacking me," she said, "and then how would you both sides. It all happened in a flash, and have felt?" before Miss Loring could catch her breath, “I d hate right smart to have kilt a the table was overturned, chairs were fly- woman,” replied Nucky, “but gee, I ing, and Bedlam had broken loose. In would n't mind layin' out a few boys! I vain she implored, commanded, threat- got to begin somewheres-a man hain't noened, -- she might as well have called to body till he 's kilt a few—and I can tell the raging sea.
them boys right now they aim to die when Dreadful moments followed, during they name me names, or make me mad. which she could only dodge chairs, and Same as Blant and Ezry, -all Trigger wring her hands wildly. Worse was to
knows it can't fool with them." come, however, for in another instant- she The following Sunday afternoon, as saw Keats grab the tongs, Killis the shovel, soon as dinner was over, Miss Loring Geordie the poker, Nucky a hatchet, while promptly started with her boys for the Philip calmly wrested off a table-leg, and open, taking them several miles up Perilthe others either smashed chairs to pieces ous, to a beautiful, retired glen where for weapons, or seized remaining table- they could shout, play, fight (without legs. Then indeed she felt that death was weapons), and make all the noise they imminent for all concerned, and running pleased; a safety-valve that then and afterto the door, shrieked loudly for Granville ward proved of much value. Dudley and the other big boys who roomed That second Sunday night, also, she over the workshop. Returning, she plucked happened upon acceptable literary food.