Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

wavered. Instantaneously, in his first bigger. Blood was pouring down his perception of the threat beyond, he throat in a steady stream. It would had drawn his service Colt. And even make him sick if he stopped to think as the other's bullet burst through his of it; and his head was growing bigger head, he had sprung erect and fired at - curiously bigger. Presumably, like the gleam of that one visible eye be- other persons shot through the head, yond the door. Now, sliding over to he would presently die. If he died bethe wall on the right, and so gaining fore he handed these men over into a further view into the room, he covered safe keeping, that would be a pity, behis adversary with his revolver. cause they would get away. Further,

The gunman was in the very motion if he could not maintain sufficient grip of firing again, — and the Trooper's on himself to handle prisoner number Colt would have anticipated the shot, two, prisoner number two, beyond any - when suddenly the rifle-barrel wa- doubt, would shortly shoot again. As vered and dropped as its holder sank long, however, as he did keep that grip forward across the threshold.

on himself, just so long prisoner numStill covering him, the sergeant ber two was a 'prisoner under control.' .walked over and looked at the man. And prisoners under control, by the He had fainted — or was feigning it. code of the force, must be protected by The sergeant, kneeling beside him, saw their captors. Obviously then, there that he was bleeding from the head. was just one course for Sergeant Stout That snap revolver shot had gone to pursue: since he must, beyond questrue, striking just above the eye and tion, complete these arrests, and since glancing around to the back of the he must not permit his second captive skull. But the soldier's trained touch to make the move that would justify told him that the wound was slight. disabling him, he must hang on to his Even on the instant the fallen man own life and wavering senses long opened his eyes — began to stir. In enough to march the two men to that another minute he would be all alive trolley car. It had to be done, though again.

his head was growing bigger - bigger The sergeant stood up. In the cool, (surely it must be spreading the skull impersonal way made second nature apart!) - and the thick, choking blood by the training of the force, he rapidly was pouring down his throat. weighed the situation. Here was he, He kicked the rifle away from the Sergeant Stout of the Pennsylvania threshold, out of the left-handed gunState Police, at midnight, alone, in the man's reach. The gunman was moving back room of an obscure dwelling in a now - consciousness fully returned. mean place. He had in his possession The sergeant, motioning with the point two prisoners one handcuffed and of his Colt, brought him up standing. cowed, the other for the moment safe Then, with another gesture of his reby reason of a rapidly passing daze. volver too simple to be misunderstood,

If this were all, the situation would he indicated to the two the door to the be of an extreme simplicity. His sec- street. ond prisoner revived, he would march It must have seemed to them like them both to the waiting trolley and taking orders from a spectre - from take them back to Unionville jail. But one of those awful beings through this was not quite all. He, Sergeant whose charmed substance bullets pass Stout, had been shot through the head. without effect. They looked at him His head seemed to be growing bigger, aslant, fearfully. This Presence had been shot through its brain, — there along the way, when the sound of the

was the mark, — yet it gave no sign of two shots, distinct on the midnight sihuman vulnerability. It was not good lence, had turned his stride to a run.

. not natural! For the last hour they Together they walked to the trolley, had been amusing themselves, this herding the prisoners before them. Towell-met pair, in firing at a mark on the gether they rode to Unionville, with kitchen wall. Their bullets had been the prisoners between them. From striking through, into the house next time to time the two trolley men looked door, arousing a spicy echo of women's at Sergeant Stout, with the bleeding screams. With relish they had awaited hole between his eyes, then looked at some attempt at restraint. But they each other, and said nothing. Very had not expected just this! Scarcely rarely, Trooper Lithgow looked at Ser. daring to meet each other's eyes, they geant Stout, then at the trolley men, filed out of the door, into the yard, into but said nothing. A proud man he was the street. Little they guessed how the that night. But he did not want those trooper's head was sailing.

trolley men to know it. He wanted *I've got to make it!' said the ser- them to see and to understand for all geant to himself, clenching his teeth. time that this thing was a matter of And he would not think how many course that you could n't down an blocks it was to ‘’s far's we go.' officer of the Pennsylvania State Police

'One block at a time 'll do it,' he told on duty. himself. One block at a time, he was They got their two prisoners jailed. steering them rapidly along, when Then they walked over to the hospital upon his unsteady hearing broke the (the last lift of the way up the hospital sound of footsteps, approaching on the hill, Lithgow lent a steadying arm) and ,

, run.

there, in the doctor's presence, Ser“Another thug to their rescue, may- geant Stout gently collapsed. be!' thought the sergeant - and the

'I'm glad you came, Lithgow. But idea pulled him together with a jerk. you see — I could have fetched it!'he

As the footsteps rang close, he held said, with the makings of a grin, just himself braced for an onset. They before he went over. neared the corner ahead, - his Colt There were four days when he might waited ready, — but the flying figure, have died. Then his own nature laid rounding under the street lamp, show- hold on him and lifted him back again ed, heaven be praised! the uniform of into the world of sunshine. 'It's one the Pennsylvania State Police.

of those super-cures effected by pure Trooper Lithgow, returning to the optimism. The man expected to get sub-station from detached duty, and well,' the surgeon said. passing through the town of Republic, But they dared not cut for the bulhad learned from the waiting trolley let: it lay too close to the spinal cord.

' men of his sergeant's presence, with And so First Sergeant Stout, when his some hint of the errand which had head gets stuck fast, has yet to take it brought him there. Thinking that help in his two hands and shift it free again. might not be amiss, he had started out Still, with a head as steady as that, to join his officer, and was hastening what does it matter?

THE SPIRIT OF '17

BY MARY HERRICK SMITH

man, 'Can

EN ROUTE from Fort Ethan Allen, each detail of the room and its furnishVermont, to Detroit, whither my hus- ings, with all the quiet dignity and band was ordered to join his base hos- interest of a well-born American counpital, we were delayed in Ithaca, New try youth. You know a real Yankee York. While waiting in the hotel country boy is n't like any other; there lounge, I chanced to overhear an inter- is a balance, an understanding, that is esting conversation.

natural. It is inborn to be at home I had noticed a fine-looking man in any surrounding, however new and near me, reading the morning paper: strange, so long as it is real.

: he was distinctly the very prosperous

After the Boy had surveyed the room, city business man, his well-kempt ap- he looked over at the man reading. pearance bespoke culture, money, and He sat perfectly still a few minutes, intelligence. While I was occupied then 'Oh, hummed,' and waited again,

, with my speculations about him, a and fidgeted a bit; but nobody spoke. young man, just a boy, in fact, came in. I could see that he was fairly bursting He was a well-set-up chap, with the with news of something. Finally, to fresh healthy skin and clear-eyed the

you

tell me how far it is eagerness of a country lad. He had to Syracuse, sir?' never been far from the up-country 'Well,' — lowering his paper, - 'not farm where they raised the best breeds exactly, but three or four hours, I'd of livestock. He could n't have given say. Going to Syracuse?' a college yell to save his life, and he ‘Yes, I've enlisted. I passed one was innocent of fraternity decorations examination, but I'm going to Syraand secrets. Just the kind of boy I cuse for another and then I'm going would like to have call me 'mother.' to Spartansburg. Senator Wadsworth His clothes were good, but evidently says, and it looks that way to me, that from the general store of the small it is just as much our fight as theirs, town. He carried a good-sized box, and we ought to have been in it three which he put across his knees as he years ago; they are getting tired over seated himself. I knew that it was his there. I'd hate to be drafted. I'd feel luncheon which mother had packed, mean to think I had to be dragged in; and that it included fried chicken and besides I want to do my part. Every cold home-made sausage, cakes, sand- fellow ought to get into it.' wiches, fried cakes, crullers, mince pie What part of the service did you and cheese, apples and winter pears; elect?' and a few relishes besides. Why, I The infantry, sir. I'm going to could smell the luncheon that my Spartansburg to the training-camp.' mother had put up for my brother Silence for some moments; then, showforty years ago.

ing that his bridges were burned, 'I've The Boy gazed all around, took in sold my clothes; sold 'em for four dollars and I'm to send 'em right back The Boy had taken from his pocket soon's I get my uniform. I hope I don't a pair of big, dark-blue, home-knitted have to wait for the soldier clothes. mittens; on the palms was sewn red I think I got a good bargain and so did woolen to reinforce them. He carethe fellow I sold 'em to. I thought I fully drew them on, folded his hands, would n't need 'em while I was in the thumbs up, on his luncheon-box, edged army, and when I got back they'd be to the front of his chair, and sat thinkall out of style; and then - I may ing with eyes fixed on the far-away never come back.” A ripple of serious places of his dream. He was going over ness passed over his boyish face. ‘But it all again; there was no haste, no it was a good chance and I took it. excitement, no foolish sentiment, but Have you a son, sir?'

sure determination and the courage of “Yes, I have a son just eighteen, at youth suddenly turned to manhood. Cornell. He expects to go next year if With a little start he came back to the they need him in the aviation.'

present, and, rising, said, 'I guess I'd 'I'm just nineteen. I thought I'd better be going. You said I could get better enlist. It's just possible they a train in about half an hour?' might draft 'em later, and I just could ‘Before you go, will you tell me, my n't stand it to be drafted. Do you boy, why you chose the infantry?' think I'll be able to go home for Well, when you read of anything Thanksgiving?' he asked eagerly. real hard that has to be done you will

'I would n't think quite so soon. notice that it is always the infantry You'll hardly get there by that time.' that does it. They have to be strong,

"Well, I think I can go home for young fellows they can depend on for Christmas, don't you?' And a shade the real hard things. So I chose the of anxiety crept into his tone. 'I live infantry, sir.' up the road here a way, - Wellsville, There was a silence, which he broke you know, - about forty miles. Don't with the quiet words, 'I think I'll be you think I'll get to Syracuse to-night going. Good-bye, sir.” if I go right on? I'd like to get through Springing from his chair, the man so I could be ready for work to-morrow grasped the boy's hand. 'God bless morning. I don't want to waste any you, son, and good luck!'

, time now that I'm all ready.'

With misty vision we both stood The Boy settled back with a look of and watched him out of sight; then, forced patience, and the man held up with all previous convention of achis paper again; but I could see that he quaintance forgotten as we looked into was not reading, and there was a look each other's eyes, the man said, 'It is of suffused sadness in his face.

the spirit of '17 gone to the colors.'

[ocr errors]

REFITTING DISABLED SOLDIERS

BY L. V. SHAIRP

a

strangely disturbed that, instead of a I

partly disabled man finding it necesTHERE are some tasks which appeal sary to take every opportunity of inso directly and with such force to senti- creasing his earning capacity, he finds ment, that they stand in considerable a temporarily depleted labor market danger of being ill performed for lack and the lure of high wages for very of prudent sense. There are few sights little skill. He does not realize that more pathetic than that of strong men this condition will pass, and he is natuwho have lost their strength, and who rally enough inclined to take the short stand helplessly before us, lacking sight view, to neglect opportunities of trainor lacking limbs, or, perhaps worse ing, and to take employment which will than all, lacking 'nerve,' with all mind very likely cease and leave him strandand will-power in abeyance, dependent ed, at a time when the country has beupon others for every want in life. We gun to believe the debt to its soldiers are filled with feelings of pity, admira- liquidated, and to be unwilling to retion, and gratitude which almost pre- peat the efforts that it now so willingly clude the exercise of judgment. And makes for their satisfactory resettleyet there is nothing more certain than ment in civil life. that, if the best is to be done for dis- Considering that Great Britain was abled soldiers the task of ‘refitting' wholly unprepared for a great war on and otherwise helping them to reënter land, it follows that there was no orcivil life as useful citizens must be ganization for dealing with any large undertaken with the utmost care, cau

numbers of disabled men. Very prompt tion, and forethought.

measures were, however, taken to proThe experience of previous wars vide for general distress occasioned by helps us very little; not only because the war." But there was a strong feelthere has never been a war upon so ing against any suggestion of ‘charity' great a scale, but because for the first understood in its least noble sense time the whole resources of modern - in the relief of men who had fought science have been ruthlessly employed for the country, and in some quarters in the destruction of life, — resulting there was an almost fierce objection in a variety of casualties which has to voluntary bodies, such as the Solnever before been known, and be- diers' and Sailors' Help Society, havcause the ranks of our great armies ing anything to do with the adminishave been filled by men of every degree tration of public money or even of the of education and every variety of occu- National Relief Fund. Illogical as this pation, the great majority of them unseasoned and unfamiliar with the sights organization, beginning with the opening of the

1 A brief sketch of the successive steps in and sounds of war. At the same time National Relief Fund, will be found in the economic conditions have been so Contributors' Column.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »