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In conclusion, the writer wishes to thank per- could not have dissociated them from her withsonally all the late editor's fellow-townsmen for out doing violence to the sanctuary in which the generous tribute of sorrow and regret at his he kept his love: her faults were as dear to death manifested by one and all. She accepts it him as her virtues — dearer, perhaps, because not merely as a tribute to a noble man, but to the
more accessible than the lofty qualities for purpose which he had most nearly at heart. The value and importance of that purpose to Rustler which he adored her. He could n't smile afcould not be more clearly shown than by these fectionately upon her virtues; her faults seemed unsolicited tributes. They warm the heart of his warm and near. successor in this editorial chair, and strengthen Nevertheless, he declared to himself, as he us for the work before us. That it may be worthy, stooped beneath the lamp that gathered its rays in however humble a degree, of the man who has under the scorched green shade to throw them gone from us, and of the town of Rustler, is the on Berna's pages, that he was a fool — a charhope of BERNA MINTERMAN DEXTER.
tered, twice-dyed, and double-branded idiot
to allow himself to have any business dealings The“ copy” from which this was to be set with a woman. Looking out through the winup had reached Rignold stained with the tears dow of the Disbrow Block, from which the it had cost the writer. He read it through with “Telepheme” regarded the town whose life it a queer feeling in his throat, then closed and recorded, he wondered how they would take locked the office,- Barton, the foreman, and the it — the people of Rustler, going in and out, boy had gone for the night, and, lighting the and to and fro, below there. The town, enlamp over his case, set it himself. The careful, gaged under an electric noonday in the fevergirlish manuscript, traced among the telltale ish play which, in mining-camps, is so much blurs on little sheets of pink note-paper, im- more active to the outward eye than the day's pressed at the top with a twisted B. M. D. in business, would make up its mind precious gold, was not a sight for other eyes than his. quick; Rignold only wondered which way.
The sense of what was and what was not Would their sympathy for her situation, their good newspaper work had rubbed off on Rig- liking for the grit with which she faced it, their nold in eight years' service as one of the com- reverence for womanhood carry her through? positors, and five years as the foreman, of a Would these excellent sentiments weigh against New York evening paper. The weekly he had more vital considerations when it came to the come west to establish had failed; but that scratch ? Would they finally feel that they was because he had chosen the wrong town. could afford them? The “ Telepheme” was Drifting back eastward by way of Colorado, of course the fighting-organ through which the he had been content to accept Chester's offer, railroad was to be brought to Rustler, if it was and on another man's paper had displayed the to be brought at all. Would they trust the qualities which, if the mines of his Idaho town fight to a woman ? Rignold sighed his heavy had panned out richer, would have made his doubt to the dumb types in their boxes, and own journal successful. Chester and he had be- went on setting Berna's exotic editorial, with come friends, and had remained so, though it its singular mixture of easily-come-by newswas Chester who finally won Berna; and it was paperese and far-brought literosity, and its still not the smallest testimony to the love that stranger mingling ofshrewd reasoning and highdared warm to life again with the tragic death flown inconclusiveness. of his friend, that, denying himself the habit When he had pulled the first copy of that of thought bred by his newspaper experience, week's paper on the old Washington handRignold now set Berna's article without an press which Chester had originally brought attempt to edit it, and without so much as from the East with him, he sent it down to a preliminary mechanical motion toward the Berna, who lived alone with her mother near waste-basket. To know so well what his old the end of the main street of Rustler. The managing editor would have done with the house was an unclapboarded, two-story, frame poor girl's editorial did not make it less pa- structure, painted a reddish brown, not unlike thetic. The thought caused her rather to seem the color of the rocks jutting from the mounmore helpless and more dependent on him, and tain that hung above the roof. If you think gave him reason to notify himself in plain terms of a giant pair of pincers standing upright and that the “Telepheme" was to be made a suc- wide open, you will know how Rustler lay: cess under its new editor, if it cost a leg. As Big Chief sprang into the air on one side, Tickhis sensitive printer's hand, with its five eyes, nor's Mountain on the other; between was a wove back and forth over the case, he smiled narrow notch, and deep down in it cuddled fondly to himself at the little literary graces of the town. The greater part of the inhabitants her writing, as he often did at the little literary lived on Berna's street; but the miners' cabins, frills of her talk. They were so much part of built beside the shafts of a hundred mines, carall his knowledge and thought of her that he ried a steadily rising overflow up the flanks of
the two mountains. The house in which Berna the press, just after she had been graduated," lived was set close to the street, six feet from as she called it, from Miss Drewett's New Engthe board sidewalk that ran in front of her land seminary. The contributors to this magapink palings. Within this narrow space she zine were almost all women, and were, without had tried, before Aleck's death, to make a bed exception, complicated. of pansies grow with the help of water from Her mother came in as she laid down the the irrigating-ditch that raced by the house on paper to ask if she would see Ben. Berna its way to the main ditch, supplying Topaz drew her shawl about her and nodded, brightwith its water; but the flowers had withered ening with pleasure. The room in which she since the accident. As she lay on the sofa in lay was stiffly furnished in a stamped red plush, her parlor, torn alternately by her grief for but a comfortable old sofa, covered with chintz, Aleck and by her own pain, she heard, after had been moved in for her out of the dining. each shift at the mines, the clumping noise of room. On the walls were two cheap paintings miners' boots go by on their way to or from of the Yosemite, Berna's graduating diploma the Elegant Booze, the Honeycomb, and Un- under glass, and a photograph (framed in a cle Dick's - establishments where one got two deep black-walnut molding) of her father in glasses of beer for a quarter, and a good deal the uniform of a lieutenant of volunteers — the of faro for a ten-dollar bill.
artist had picked out the epaulets in gold and The injury which she had sustained in the touched the cheeks with carmine. railroad accident left her good hours, but of- Mrs. Dexter asked if she did n't think it tener put her to the torture; and when her would fret her to see Ben. mother handed her her first issue she was una- “ You know the doctor said" ble to do more for the first hour than to gaze “Yes; I know, mother. But if I am to carry steadfastly at the heading. The sight of the on this work I must n't mind the doctor. Perfamiliar title made the thought of Aleck over- haps it will kill me; but if it does, it must. I whelmingly poignant; tears welled into her eyes shall only give in my report to Aleck a little as she stared at the folded white sheet lying out- sooner.” side the blue Navajo blanket that covered her, The tears, against which she had not yet and at last she turned from the sight in misery. learned to school herself, once more stood in
Nevertheless, she was helpless against the lit- her eyes. . erary pleasure that tingled through her when “Gracious, child! I don't believe Aleck ever finally she took courage to read her editorial, in this world expected you to go on with the though she was ashamed of it. It was not for “Telepheme. How could he think a woman the excitement and interest of writing that she could do such a thing?” had determined to keep the “Telepheme" I don't know, mother. But he trusted me alive, and to shape it into a force which to do it, and I can't be false to him.” should carry on Aleck's work, as a son carries “Well, you 'll kill yourself," she said weakly. on the work of his father. It was as Aleck's “Why can't you let Ben do it? He's willing child that she was to watch over it. She re- and able.” proached herself, but finally forgave herself, “How can you suggest such a thing, mother? with the thought that it was through his own You know he 's a stranger in the town.” pleasure in his work that Aleck had succeeded, “I don't care if he is. He knows printing.” and that she must find a like joy in it if she was “Of course. But he can't feel as we Rustlerto be in any sort worthy to follow in his steps. ites do. You know that. The railroad is nothing She did not need to stimulate a happiness in to him.” wriung; she liked it; until she had become “No; I suppose not,” she owned, downcast. engaged to Aleck it had been her ambition to But in a moment she added, with more spirit, be a " magazinist.” Berna was one of the half-“There 's lots of folks in the town that it 's turned-out women who begin to be common plenty to, though. Some of 'em would be glad in the West. Her mind had been educated; to edit the paper if you 'd let 'em.” but her intelligence, her taste, her perceptions “ They would n't know how.” remained to all intents as undeveloped as a “Well, do you know how ? " Kafir's. She was charming; but if she had been “ No," answered Berna, shaking her hair as cultured as she supposed herself, it would loose from her face, raising her head, and drawhave been impossible to associate with her. ing in a deep inspiration; but I've heard Aleck Her charm lay in her simple-mindedness, in her talk !” unselfishness and kindness and devotedness and Oh, dear!”exclaimed Mrs. Dexter, rising pluck; but what she really liked in herself was with the feebleness of rheumatic limbs, wearied her complicatedness. Some of this she had en- with a life's hard work, “ I suppose we've got deavored to explain through the Iowa maga- to bear it. But I do hope you 'll be careful of zine which printed her earliest contributions to yourself and not overdo. I wish I was n't so
you 'd lose the little money your father gan with more knowledge, and have failed. I left us in the Sons of Honor,'” she added ask no favors that were not accorded to them. pathetically.
I only wish to be judged fundamentally on the “But I sha'n't, mother. I 've explained same basis." that so often. I shall only use Aleck's money. “I don't feel any call to judge you, Berna," He left me enough to keep up the paper with answered Rignold, with a smile, as he took a
a When I've sold the · Lady Berna' mine I shall chair; “ but if I did, I don't see but I'd have have plenty.”
to judge you as a woman. It 's all right to say, “I know you say that, Berna, and you think think of you as a man. But you ain't a man, you mean it. But when once you get started and that's just what I like about you, and what you can't tell what
'll do. Look at Aleck! makes me want to help you, if I can. You are Í 'm sure he would have pawned the coat off a woman, but you've got a man's sand.” his back any minute for the sake of his paper; “Don't say that, Ben. I have n't got and I don't believe you 'll do any less for his Aleck’s.” sake when the time comes."
“See here! Do you think Aleck, or any “Yes, mother,” said Berna, soothingly, lay- other man, for the matter of that, would have ing a hand in her mother's work-rough ed taken up a job like this two weeks after he'd palm. “Show Ben in, won't you, please ?" lost the only thing that made life worth while
Rignold appeared at the door in a moment, to him, and taken it up without turning a hair halting on the threshold with his slouch-hat in and without ruffling a feather to call attention his hand.
to it? If you do, you size men up for a better “Come in, Ben!” Her voice was still feeble. breed than they are." Mrs. Dexter pushed him gently in from behind. A groan burst from her, and she covered “I 'm so glad to see you,” Berna continued, her face quickly with her hands. putting forth her wasted hand from under the “I 'm a fool to talk like that!” he cried. shawl. “Be seated, won't you ? "
“No, no! It does me good. You understand. But Rignold did not immediately seat him. Every one won't, perhaps. They won't think self. He stood looking down into her face with it decent—the ladies particularly. They will a tender studiousness. The high color, which I don't mourn truly for Aleck; as if this in health shone brilliantly against the creamy were n't the best and only mourning for him! pallor and childlike smoothness of skin that As if it were n't just because I care so much often goes with auburn hair and blue eyes, had that I can't justify myself in wasting his time gone in her illness; her usual roundness of fig- in tears! That's the way I feel, Ben— that ure and plumpness of cheek were gone also. husband and wife have a double time in this What remained was the bright vitality of her world; and because both times belong to them deep blue eyes, and the extraordinary beauty and to God while they both live, it's the hapof her abundant hair, which she was wearing piness and the sacred responsibility of the surcoiled in thick, burnished masses of reddish vivor to answer for both times when one time brown or brownish red, as one chose, or as the is—is frustrated.” light served.
Rignold, resolved as he was to keep his wish The man standing above her was tall and to help her disinterested and separate from his spare, with a fine figure, a little stoop-shouldered love for her, could not help wincing at this, from bending at the case. He carried his large, while he smiled at her words. He saw, as if round head well back; his dark hair curled a looking into the future through a rift in the little in receding from a high, clear brow; his curtain, how they would be constantly running brown eyes encountered the observer with a up against this spectral third presence in their singularly honest, straightforward look. He intercourse, and how he should be "stumped” shook hands as if he meant it.
by it, perhaps for always. It was a presence “I did n't feel as if I ought to come, but I that he had loved in life, but the presence of did n't see my way to not coming," he said. the man she had preferred to him while it was
" I see I must tell you one thing right away, still open to her to choose, and the presence Ben. You 're not to think of me as a woman.” of the man who he must believe was to be perA distressed, whimsical smile appeared on his manently dear to her. He wanted to cry out face, which she answered with: “I mean, I 'm against this folly of devotion; he wanted to say an editor like anybody else. There are plenty how crazy it seemed to him -- this duty to the wiser and more adequate, as I said in my edi- dead, this conscience about a ghost. Perhaps torial. I shall be incompetent in a good many he might have said it if he had n't guessed in ways at first, and I'm sure to do foolish things. time that what he took for moral indignation But there are men in the profession who began was probably a good deal more like simple jeal- . with less knowledge than I have now, and who ousy. With his accustomed squareness, he said have succeeded; and there are others who be- to himself that if he had gone the way of Aleck
he should have hungered for just such devotion Berna was made very happy by her success, in his place. Perhaps it would n't last forever, and slept that night the sleep of those widowed and if it did, it was still good to look forward queens who have had to doubt for the first to the prospect of working by her side, helping tremulous hour of sovereignty the allegiance her where he could.
of subjects that mourn a king. Aleck's path He spoke the sympathetic words that came lay freely before her; she had only to tread it to him in answer to her declaration; and then worthily. The town where she had first known he said, “ I suppose you 've figured out how Aleck, and where they had made a grave for you're going to work this thing - lying down?" him, the town which he had loved and served,
the town for which he had been ready to shed his blood and for which she was now so willing
to shed hers, the town that he had left to her Berna's first issue was published on the fol- care — the town had accepted her. But in lowing morning, and by afternoon fifteen new the morning she put aside merely agreeable subscribers had handed in their names at the thoughts, and day-dreams of what she would office of the “Telepheme.” One or two enthu- yet do for Rustler, and settled down soberly to siasts even paid up long-overdue subscriptions, her work. It was very well for every one to and ordered the paper sent them for the follow- wish herluck, but Berna had a hard-headed little ing year; and Mrs. Dexter was kept busy in- theory that she must make her own luck, and forming the ladies who called on Berna that as she went about the preparation of a rousing yet she could see nobody. The town was in a railroad editorial in Aleck's old manner. state of emotional sympathy which it would The system on which the paper was to be gladly have expended in taking the horses from conducted had been fixed upon between her Berna's carriage and dragging it through the and Rignold at their conference. Its policy streets, if the plucky young editor had owned was, of course, to be guided wholly by her; she the carriage or the horses.
was to take complete charge; all the leading Rustler still trembled with the memory of editorials were to be hers, and she was to suthe accident; it had scarcely buried its dead, pervise the news columns. Rignold was to and the desolation of the bereaved families look after the “locals," write the minor editoechoed in its one mountain street. With the in- rials, find advertisements, superintend the jobhabitants Chester had enjoyed the repute of a printing, and manage the business department, vigorous personality, offering its strength un- and in general represent her to Rustler. Berna reckoningly to the town's ambition; and Berna, had certainly cut out a large undertaking for who hitherto had been less popular in the town herself; but in her ignorance she had let Rig. on her own account, had, before the publica- nold load upon his willing shoulders a heroic tion of her first issue, gained, through the cir- proportion of the work. He could not tell her cumstances surrounding her lover's death in how glad he would be to double his stint for her presence on the day before their wedding- her sake, but he could go forth to scour the day, an honor beyond anything that Chester town for emotional advertising; and (not to had known. It was only necessary that she let Berna's boom pass without immediate should rise from her bed of pain, and, in the practical result) he did this on the morning midst of her grief, take up Aleck's work, to con- her first number was published. Sensible of stitute her a heroine. Rignold had been sure the vicissitudes to which such enthusiasms as that they would like her “ sand," but he had Rustler's for Berna are liable, he declined to not reckoned sufficiently, he found, with their accept any advertisement, under present conpleasure in piecing a romance out of any event ditions, for a shorter period than one year: if which concerns a woman publicly. Her devo- they wanted a newspaper they must expect to tion to Aleck's memory, which to the women of pay for it, he said; and if they really believed the place seemed (against Berna's expectation) in the town, and had the courage of their con- just splendid," won the profane praise of the victions, they would probably pay for it in admen at the Elegant Booze and on the street- vance. His theory did not meet with universal corners, not merely as showing the right stuff, acceptance, but it met with nearly six columns' but as showing it on behalf of the town. They worth of acceptance, and this, as he explained rolied her name relishingly on their tongues in in the next issue under the heading of “ Our their perception of this final rightness ; like the Boom,” struck him as handsome. He let slip, Greeks, it warmed their loyal pride to know in the course of this brief editorial, enough rethat even their women were patriotic. They strained self-gratulation on behalf of the" Telesaw Berna looking well in a newspaper article pheme," and enough general good feeling and on Rustler; and this created her part of the modest sense that Topaz would never have town's “ material,” part of its capital for boom- toed the mark so squarely in a similar emering purposes.
gency, to have filled one side of the paper, di
luted as an inferior man would have diluted his belief that the best was none too good for it. Rignold wrote carefully, with the feeling Rustler, she endeavored to give the “Teleconstantly upon him that he was working for pheme" the catholic tone of the weekly edition larger issues than the success of Rustler or the of a New York daily. Refusing Rignold's ear“ Telepheme.” He found Berna in the point nest suggestion that they rely upon a patent of his pencil when he would muse on his next outside, or at worst upon plate-matter, for the sentence, and the white paper was covered better part of their miscellany, she spent the with her name before he wrote a line upon it. long hours on her sofa, scissors in hand, cull
He had not needed to inquire his fate in ing interesting items of news, and what she had the time before Berna's engagement to Aleck; learned from Rignold to call “good stories,” and he withheld himself now with a sensitive from her exchanges — guided in her selection, scrupulousness from even the semblance of it is to be feared, by the taste of Miss Drewett's love-making. He felt in the weeks that fol- rather than by a vision of what Rustler would lowed that he must not allow himself to think probably like to read. Scandals, hangings, directly of her yet; but the habit of thinking prize-fights, murders, and all other items of a of her indirectly lapsed at times into the most too vivid interest she excluded; and the “ Telestraightway regard of her. At these seasons, pheme" became that ensample of purity and however, her own attitude corrected his uncon- social health for which we all pretend we are sciously; for the profound preoccupation of longing. One whose reading was confined to her whole being with Aleck's memory must Berna's paper might conveniently have imahave baffled the warmest lover. Rignold's love gined himself resident in a good and harmless for her, in fact, made him feel almost foolish in world, in which was no evil save that engenher presence, as if he were trying to catch the dered by Topaz. She tried to atone for this, attention of an oblivious animal or child. Her which Rignold taught her to regard, from the detachment from the ordinary affairs of the counting-house standpoint, as the deadly sin, world sometimes frightened him; she was eat- by engaging a weekly telegraphic letter from ing her heart out for her lost lover, and the Denver. It was sent on the morning the paonly sign of it that she allowed any one to see per went to press, and contained all the latest was her joy in events which would have given news. him joy. It was, of course, chiefly in connec- About this they had many discussions, wheretion with the “Telepheme” that Rignold wit- in she met Rignold's objections with arguments nessed the daily expressions of her simple in which Aleck's slangy wisdom often mingled faithfulness to his dead friend; and it was in curiously with her graduating essay view of work for the “Telepheme”— that is, in work for life, and her knotted pink-ribbon manner of her— that he tried to forget her devotion to expression. His suggestion that the Denver the spirit of another man, or tried to wish that letter constituted an expense not justifiable by she might never lose it. He could like it, as a circulation three times their own, and, as it he liked everything about her, though it made did n't bring them a subscriber, that it involved him miserable and impatient.
a loss rather larger than the other loss it was It was perhaps his good fortune, though designed to set right, she met with something Berna made it difficult for him to manage him- like impatience. self, that this soon became, on the whole, rather “Do you mean to advise me," she asked, simpler than to manage her paper. His young “to do the little thing rather than the great editor's word was “development,” and it was one ? Do you really wish me to run a paper pathetic to him to see how she pursued this on anything but large ideas? Do you expect idea of Aleck's, as she did other ideas derived me to give our readers only what they already from the same source, without the strength or want and have learned to expect? The man the balancing sense and shrewdness which had ho attempts to be merely up to the day in enabled Aleck to give such words actuality. the West is going to get left; he must be up She became, as the months went by, and as to to-morrow!” she gained a measure of wisdom from her mis- As the town looked on at these developtakes and successes, by no means a hope- ments in the “ Telepheme" its first sentiment lessly bad newspaper man, as she liked to call of enthusiasm began to take a very faint chill herself. She had enterprise and assiduity, and of bewilderment. The catholic tone by which the wish to print the news; and her still stronger Berna set such store was indifferent to its citiwish to make her“ diction elegant" she did not zens, and they could have got along with less allow to interfere seriously with these good qual- diction if they could have been furnished with ities. Her real trouble, from a financial point more sensation. They fortunately continued, of view, was that she wished to print more however, to admire and rejoice in her railroad news than the paper could afford, or than Rus- editorials. Heaven knows how she wrote them! tler could pay for. Having imbibed from Aleck Her own theory was that she did n't; she rev