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went on, with depleted advertising columns, He came out of the shadow.
“ Remember your victory, if it did not predict it. At Rignold's promise!” suggestion she had found a substitute for Bar- “ What ?" ton, who, released from his mechanical duties, “ Go to bed!” gathered local news for her and looked after “Oh!” She laughed, and her laugh
" the advertising. Barton could not actually re- seemed to Rignold to widen musically into place Rignold, but, in common with many the night in waves of pure joy. “ All right.” Western men, he balanced an incapacity to do She leaned out of the window for a moment in anything very well by an inability to do any- silence. “Why are n't you in bed yourself? thing very badly; and he soon discovered that “ Been fighting you." titully for thinning out one local item into four, Well, that takes time. How 's the Apex'?" and imagining one out of nothing, which is the Blooming. How 's yours ? " bulwark of the rural press. With his help Berna “I've lost a good deal of advertising." guit out a very creditable paper. Removed “ They tell me half the circulation 's gone. from the oflice, and informed only by Barton's Is that true ? " report of the system by which the matter out- “Yes; but my courage is n't-nor my smile her own department was gathered, she was money. I think I like aggression.” often driven to wonder, as she held a fresh is- “ Hope the 'Apex' gives you plenty.” tur in her hand, where all the good things had “Yes; enough. But I don't want to beg come from. Her judgment told her that it was off, Ben." in luct quite as presentable a sheet as in the “ Well ? " Hood days when Rignold was by her side; but “I'm glad we made that arrangement. You Though she would have been glad to believe give me all I want to do sometimes; but you This for the sake of the future, she denied it to do fight fair." herself resolutely, with a sentiment of loyalty I've got a scorcher on you in my next.” to ber old associate; and out of the same feel
“ Have you ?" iny, coupled with a knightly unwillingness to “ Yes." think ill of a rival, she put away from her the “ Then I must go to work. Good night, doubt whether the “ Apex" was, after all, as Ben.” good a paper as her own.
Oh, see here, Berna; don't do that." Rignold had never worked harder than he “ Do you want me to let the ' Apex' have it was now working on the “Apex.” He had all its own way ? ” never reached the "Telepheme" office so early “ No; but you ain't going to do any more us he now reached the office of the “ Apex,” work to-night. Look here - I'll put it off to nor left it so late. He had promised himself the issue after next.” not to see Berna again for a long time to come; “Well! Will it keep?" his news of her came by way of the town. All Keep? An article against you ? Like ice that he knew of her was gathered from obser- at zero! vation of the outside of her home, as he passed “ Then I won't prepare my answer till next il, morning and night, on his way to or from week. Good night.- Oh, Ben!” his canvas-roofed cabin on Ticknor's Moun- “ Well ?” lain. Three months passed without giving him I 'm preparing a surprise for the 'Apex.'” a sight of her, until, passing her house after
“ No?” midnight one night on his way home from the “ Yes. You remember my speaking of that office, he saw a light burning in her bedroom, girl with the strange character who used to go on the upper floor, and knew that she was sit- to school with me at Kansas City before I ting up, writing. The gravel which he threw went East to Miss Drewett's — Dodo McFarsoftly against the pane brought her instantly to lane? She 's just married to Mr. Mutrie, the the window. For a moment she looked bewil- President of the Three C's, and she 's coming deredly about in the unaccustomed darkness, here on her wedding journey. I had her letter straining her eyes first upon the road where to-day, and I 've written to invite them to stay Rignold was standing in the shadow, and here with me.” then over toward the huge black frame of Tick- Rignold allowed an expressive whistle to esnor's swelling up behind the opposite row of cape into the darkness. houses, and darkening against the starless sky. “It is interesting, is n't it?" continued “Well, ó Telepheme'?"
Berna. The figure in the window drew back, startled; “ Interesting? It 's a scare-head sensation but in a moment the answer came softly: news item. I 'll have to get to work myself. Vell, ' Apex'?"
She leaned a little further out of the window. about our whole outfit; he says the 'Apex,' "You won't divulge my secret, of course. I'm as at present conducted, has n't the romp and keeping it to surprise the town.”
the razzle-dazzle to run an engine down a two“Oh, I won't give you away. Go to bed!” hundred-foot grade, let alone pulling the Three
"I will. I'm so glad to have seen you again, C's into Rustler. Now, don't get riled! He Ben."
did n't mean you, of course.” “ That 's right. Good night."
I 'm all right, Mr. Dibble,” said Rignold, He disappeared up the dark road, and Berna raising his eyebrows. “Go on." closed her window.
“ That 's all. But it occurred to me
-I was When Rignold reached the Bloxham Block wondering -" next morning he found Dibble in the narrow “ Yes. Well ?” stall he had partitioned off from the composing- “He's away off. We know that. But it simroom for his office. His visitor dropped his ply occurred to me that it was a sort of hint. feet from the table to the floor as he entered, Perhaps we could put more — ” and rose, folding up a copy (Berna and Rig- « Work ? " nold of course exchanged) of the last issue of · No, sir. You work. But more roar and the “ Telepheme.” Dibble shook himself down slam-bang, more git up and howl. That's what into his trousers with a frown.
does the business." "Morning," said he.
Rignold surveyed him thoughtfully for a Rignold nodded as he swept a space clear moment, as a silence fell. on his desk, and settled down to work.
“Do you want to buy the paper, Mr. Dib“ Been losing Hymee, the hatter, I see," ble ?" continued his visitor, dusting his hand with “Well, no — no. I can't say as I do.” Bema's paper.
“ Know any one else that wants to buy it?" * Mr. Hymee has seen fit to withdraw his "No." advertisement, if that 's what you mean, Mr. “ All right, then. I 'll run it myself. Good Dibble."
morning." “Yes, I 've been around to see him this Within a week two more small advertisemorning. He says he wants to see our paper ments were withdrawn from the “Apex”; and succeed. He ain't got nothing against it, and the day after the publication of the succeeding he ain't going to support our lady contempo- issue, B. G. Franks, dealer in boots and shoes, rary, anyway. But, See here, now,' he says, who had been one of Rignold's original support* your paper
ers, called at the office to say that he felt forced “My paper, please, Mr. Dibble.”
to withdraw his advertisement temporarily, as "Well, yours, if you like to call it so." an expression of his disapproval of the course of
“ I like to stick to facts, if it 's all the same the “Apex”; but should be happy to restore to you. Has anybody got a dime in the it as soon as Rignold saw his way to making • Apex' besides me?"
a better paper. Rignold perceived Dibble's *Certainly not. But we feel as if we were hand in this, and smiled; it was what Dibble supporting you. I suppose you don't mind our would have called “bringing pressure." No holding up your hands ? "
more advertisements from members of the ** Not if you leave them free," returned Rig- original committee were discontinued; but nold, whirling about in his swivel-seat, tilting subscriptions began to fall off. Even from the it back, and thrusting his hands into his pock- surrounding country orders reached Rignold ets. “What does Hymee say ? "
to stop the paper; and no new subscriptions Dibble did the “Telepheme" up into a news- were recorded. paper-carrier's wad, as if he were meditating A month later, when Mutrie reached Topaz throwing it over a subscriber's fence into the with his young bride, and stopped over a day, front yard, before he answered: “Why, it 's this Rustler gnashed its teeth. Dibble, who had way. Hymee says that woman-mush across the now turned frankly against Rignold, swore outway, that some folks in this town call a news- right. The news was discussed on the corners paper, is knocking the stuffing out of us fellows, of the mountain street by excited groups, like and we don't know what 's happening to us. another Bull Run. It represented, stated in the He's opposed on principle to a lady paper, but soberest terms, nothing less than disaster to he goes in for straight talk, and he says there ain't the town that the President of the Three C's do comparison between the • Apex' and the should stop at Topaz, and not so much as pass * Telepheme,' and that every one says so.” through Rustler. A committee, consisting of
“That's just what we've always supposed, Dibble, McDermott, and Franks, was formed ain't it?"
to go down to Topaz by the afternoon train, ** Not Hymee's way. He tried to prove to and invite the President at least to take a look me that there was n't the hustle of a dead steer at the town. But before they could start, Berna,
who had been holding back her edition of that the ticket !” murmured the crowd.) “Whatweek for a telegram from Mrs. Mutrie, making ever I may have been able to do has merely all sure, got the " Telepheme" upon the streets. been in humble following of his footsteps. If It set forth her news so modestly that at first he had not lived, in all human probability, none no one would believe it. The office of the pa- of us would be here to-night. When you say per was instantly filled with inquirers — Dibble a word in praise of me, I must take it, thereamong the first.
fore, as intended to be two for him; for he is “She 's got a telegram, I tell you,” said not only the source and inspiration of everyBarton.
thing that I may do, but even in death he “Shoot your telegram! Let 's see it." watches over us — the guide, the counselor, the
Barton left them clamoring, and went to ask captain of our town!” Berna's permission. As he came back up the She paused, and the crowd burst into wild street, holding the fluttering bit of paper aloft cheers. in his hand, the group outside of the office gave “The captain! Hip! Hip! Hurrah! Huran uncertain cheer; then, as Dibble snatched rah! Hurrah! Tiger!” it and read it aloud, they howled with glee. Berna smiled upon them from her doorway, Some were for going straightway to Berna's beautified. house, and offering her the cheers at closer quarters; but every one was in favor of a drink, and for the moment it resolved itself into that. An hour later, against all protests from her It was about eleven o'clock that night when mother, she left her home for the first time in a little torchlight procession made its way to many months. Strength came to her with her Berna's house, and relieved in complimentary need; that one sweet little moment of success, song its enthusiasm, its happiness, its renewed which compensated for all that she had borne good will to Berna, and perhaps a little shame for the town, and for all she had suffered at its faced repentance and regret.
hands, seemed to give a lost physical soundShe was obliged at last to appear in her door- ness and courage back to her. She felt strong way; but, apparently overcome by emotion, enough for anything; and with that wine of could say nothing until, as she stood swaying happiness coursing through her veins, she ceron the threshold, she caught sight of Rignold's tainly felt strong enough to drive to Barton's. white face in the midst of the flickering lights, The depression of the past months, since the on the fringe of the crowd. Then, plucking up launching of the “ Apex,” had made her ner. courage, she began tremblingly:
vous and doubtful about prosperity; she dared " FELLOW-TOWNSMEN: I am grateful to you not trust any one to take it by the hand but herfor this unexpected honor. Believe me, it self. To be ready for the demand on the mortouches me deeply. But I must not, even for row, she meant to get Barton to go to the office a moment, take it to myself. It belongs, you and to print at once, before morning, on Aleck's and I both know, wholly to another. lay it old hand-press, five hundred copies of the new proudly at the feet of Alexander Chester.” issue of the “ Telepheme"; and to make quite
Rignold's face suddenly disappeared, and a sure, she meant to drive to the office with him, Volvetrom the crowd shouted, “No, no!” As to see the fresh edition started. The paper nte lost sight of the sustaining eye on the out. had not been obliged to print twice since Aleck's most circle of her audience, something seemed time. She must watch her boom. Her heart In give way within her; the denial roused her, beat high. How riri
At Barton's there was no one but his wife. "Hut I way, “Yes.' Let no one, thinking to She said her husband was already at the office. henne me, refuse to Alexander Chester the “Seems to me," she lamented," he 's always
Hanner and the reward that are so utterly his at that office. I suppose his new work 's a good When which belong to him, and him alone. thing; but it takes him away a sight of time. Hillow townsmen, it was he who first fought I don't believe he 's been a night at home since tontte for the railroad; it was he who first he began it." ito dicam of the possibility of bringing Berna wondered, but drove on, drawing her ilin There's to Rustler; it was he whose ring- wraps tightly around her against the unaccusin Well going forth from week to week in tomed air. Except for the lights at the Eurothe volume of his paper, have made the com- pean Hotel and at the Elegant Booze, the ing of the road practicable and realizable and Honeycomb, and Uncle Dick's, the town was wat and he il was, too, whose labors for the dark. Straggling groups from the serenading town, om ooperation with the strong and willing party still paraded the streets, singing, and brands of those I see before me tonight, have lurching noisily in one another's arms. Berna brought Rustler to a position where she deserves gazed meditatively at the dusky roofs of the the railroad!" ("Good! Deserves! That 's town to which she had given a year's loving
service, and which she had not seen since the “Let me move those," he said, rising, and warm, sunny morning when she had driven with coming to her quickly; and she saw that she Aleck to the station to take the train. The town had seated herself on a chair heaped with knew her now; but what difference if it did pile of old exchanges. He moved them to annot? He knew!
other chair, avoiding her eyes, which followed As she toiled up the dark staircase leading him everywhere. As he took his seat again unto the “Telepheme" office, supporting herselfder the lamp, which threw down a strong writby her stick, a crack of light shone into her ing light upon the table, she saw how worn he eyes from under the door; and she heard the looked. There were purple rings under his eyes, old press jammed down sharply within. Barton and his face was drawn. His disordered hair, had plainly guessed her thought and gone si- which he had probably tumbled as he wrote, lently to work. How good every one was to gave him a wild look. It was three months her!
since she had seen him closely by daylight. She turned the knob and went in. A gush She reproached herself bitterly. of light greeted her. The place was all illu- “You 're too good to breathe!” she murmined. Barton was at the press; the boy was mured, in continuance of her indictment, as hurrying about. From the inner room a voice she fastened her eyes on him. · How dared she knew cried out:
you? Why did n't you tell me?" “We shall have to put that silver editorial “See here, Berna, why did n't you stay at over to the issue after next, Barton. Our next home? Then you would n't have known.” issue will have to be a kind of Jubilee Mutrie “Well, I 'm glad enough I came,” she said, number-editorials, locals, everything. I 'll still breathless. do the squibs this week and an account of the “Well, then, I ain't.” President's visit, if you 'll look after my regular “So it 's you, Ben Rignold, who have been locals."
making my paper better than the “Apex'!” " All right,” responded Barton from his she went on, unheeding. “It's been you from press. After a moment he looked up and saw the beginning.” She stopped suddenly, starBerna standing there.
tled. “Then it must be you, too, who have " Why, Miss Dexter!” he exclaimed, me- made the · Apex' so bad !” she added. chanically stopping the press. He came toward Rignold smiled. “Did you think it was her, wiping his hand, which, however, he finally bad ?' wrapped in a corner of his printer's apron and “ Never till now. I never let myself. But offered to her that way.
I know now that it 's been the worst paper in “ You ought to have sent for me,” he said, the State!” abstractedly.
“Did you expect me to make it the best, She looked at him for a moment.
with your paper across the way ? " * Who 's in there?”
“I did n't expect you to make mine the best ! “What?" asked Barton, offering her a chair, O Ben!” with a doubtful glance over his shoulder. “Pshaw! that was easy,” he said, laughShe pointed.
ing. “The trouble's been to make the 'Apex' "Oh, there. Nobody, I guess."
poor enough without giving the scheme away. “Will you do me a favor, Mr. Barton." I 've always been afraid that you 'd tumble, if “ Yes, of course. I don't know.”
the town did n't. Come, Berna! You did n't “ Take this chair.” Barton seated himself, suppose I was working at that rate to succeed, and stared after her as she pushed quickly into did you ?” the room where Rignold sat writing busily at “ I thought-” began Berna, tremulously. his old desk, which was littered with proofs and “ Then take it back, please! The man who manuscript.
could n't succeed, with that paper and that “ Berna!” he exclaimed, looking up as she backing, by smoking cigars in his rear office, entered.
ought to give up the business. To make such “ Ben Rignold, what are you doing here?” a paper fail takes work!”
“ Getting up a little copy. I often come on Ben,” she exclaimed, “you've ruined here of an evening to do my work, from old yourself!” habit. You don't mind, I hope? ”
Oh, no, I have n't. But I've ruined the * You mean my work!”
• Apex. The sheriff is to pay me a visit to* I did n't say so."
morrow. Nobody knows it yet; but I may as " You don't need to. I heard you just now well tell you, because it 'll be all out in the give your order to Barton. Ben! Ben! —You're morning. I had hoped to fail last week. But just wicked!”
I could n't get enough advertisements and subTears filled her eyes. She sat down sud- scriptions dropped.” denly.
She looked thoughtfully at him for a moment. “Ben, I believe you 're the best man “Well ? ” she answered, looking down with in the world," she said solemnly.
a deep blush. “I guess not,” laughed Rignold, uneasily. He came and stood over her, and laid a hand “You are," she repeated. “And, Ben— upon her chair. “Berna, do you mean it ? ” “ Yes?"
She looked up with tears streaming down her “ You must n't fail !”
face. “But I've got it all fixed. After to-morrow “I guess so." there won't be but one paper in Rustler." “ And Aleck ?"
“ That 's what I mean," she said huskily. She smiled happily through her tears as she "Let's make it one — the Telepheme-Apex'! laid a hand in his. Let 's — consolidate!”
“Ben, dear, we will keep up the fight ! ” “ Berna!”
BECAUSE the sky is blue; because blithe May
Masks in the wren's song and the lilac's hue;
Because —in fine, because the sky is blue
And the sad season cypress wears, and rue;
Then, when the wind is moaning in the flue,
This sensuous sphere of color and perfume !
Whose bridal bed was builded in a tomb.