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THE ROCK HILL CORRESPONDENT
BY WILLIAM H. HAMBY
HE young editor turned in his chair "But that is n't it,” grinned Beets.
and looked back into the printing- “That is only the prelude.” He turned shop. Instead of the click of type had several pages of penciled items-a new come the sound of a chuckle. The red- barn, Cy Todd's broken-legged calf, a runheaded printer sat on the stool, leaning on away, lightning shocking eavesdroppers on the type-case, reading copy.
the party telephone-line- until he came to It was the Rock Hill correspondence, the last page. “Listen to this: which had just come in on the noon mail. The “Wahoo Sun” circulated over most Lots of young folks think all the chances of the county, and at a number of points are in the city. But they ain't. The city is had regular correspondents who sent in a mighty poor place to live: no pure air, nor weekly letters of local news-items.
plum-blossoms, nor fresh eggs and butter. "What is it, Beets?” asked Simpson, the And there ain't so awful much money in it, editor.
either, when you come to pay your board “Just found out who she is.” The and car-fare. And you don't have no friends, printer chuckled.
—that is, no true friends,-that help when “Who who is ?”
you are sick or broke. And there is lots of "Bashful Bob's girl.” “Bashful Bob"
“Bashful Bob” wickedness in the city, and danger. Better was the name signed to the Rock Hill let. stay on the old farm, boys and girls. ters. He was one of several correspondents that they had never met personally. “That settles it.” Beets was positive. All they knew of him they had learned He had reached the mature age of twentyfrom his news-items and comments. four, and had considerable experience to
"Read it.” The editor and his red- draw conclusions from. “I have known headed foreman got a great deal of amuse- for some time that Bashful Bob was in ment piecing together neighborhood rela- love. When a fellow notices that the dogtions from the personal items in the news- wood is in blossom, and smells the wild letters.
plum, and talks about the light of burning
leaves on the hill, and how pretty the Miss Ida Lane, who took a course in the sheep are in the green pasture, you can bet Quill City Business College last fall, has your last week's laundry-bill that he is in accepted a position as stenographer for the love. But never before have I been able Gross Grain Lumber Co. of Kansas City. to lay my finger on the girl. Miss Ida has a host of friends around Rock “I 've got it all fixed up now.” The Hill who will sadly miss her.
red-headed printer was something of an
orator-especially when, as usual, he was "Nothing suspicious about that,” said in love himself. “As the poet says, I can Simpson. “Similar items every week. see them in my mind's eye as plain as the Bashful Bob always sends them off with a board-bills of yesterday. host of friends who mourn their depar- “Bashful Bob is five feet eleven, weighs ture.”
one sixty-five. He has a smooth face, brown eyes, and a smile that tucks you in open office door, he surreptitiously began and makes you feel like you are going to to write poetry; for he, too, smelled the have a fine drive. About every three hun- wild plum-blossoms and knew when the dred yards he says something real interest- dogwood was in bloom. ing, and the rest of the time makes you feel Every week after that they watched the like you are.
correspondence from Rock Hill with un“He went through the public schools, usual interest. and had one year in the academy, intend- One week Bashful Bob-his real name ing to teach. But his father gave him the was Jerry Coleman-wrote that there was back eighty, and instead of going into the danger of the seventeen-year locusts; that school-room to harvest other people's wild the wheat was threatened by chinch-bugs, oats, he settled down to raise corn and and that nearly all the apples were dropapples.
ping off the trees. "There are forty acres for grain in the Beets shook his head sadly. "Did n't branch bottom, and forty on the hill, hear from. her at all this week.” where he has built a five-room cottage and Again, the Rock Hill correspondent planted a fine orchard.
called attention to the appalling amount “He is twenty-seven, and has been keep- of crime in the city, and declared it was ing company with Ida for two years. Ida the whirlpool that sucked under to eternal is twenty-two, and has notions of inde- ruin thousands of the unsuspecting. pendence, and restless spells. She has blue Beets grinned. “He had a letter this eyes and long, black lashes, and hair so week telling about what a nice time she much prettier than the artificial that you had in the park.” can't believe it is real. She is something of But another week: “The corn is waista tease, and is not sure whether Bob loves high, and the best color I ever saw at the her or not. He has n't ever said anything time of year; and the weather is just right about it; been afraid to. He is mighty for all crops.” slow that way.
"He has just had a letter," interpreted “Now, can't you imagine" – Beets Beets, “recalling what a lovely drive they threw out his hand dramatically—“poor had a year ago when they went to the June Bob, these soft spring evenings, down there picnic on Bear Creek.” in the bottom, where he is going to plant And so it went during the summer. watermelons, sitting under a willow-tree Sometimes Bashful Bob saw the silver linby the spring branch, watching for Ida's ing, but more often only the cloud. face in the water? It is awful lonesome Then one Wednesday early in Septemwith her gone; but that is n't what hurts ber, when Simpson read the Rock Hill most. What wrings the blood out of his correspondence, he found it full of dullheart is the thought that she could be dis- gray cheerfulness. Away down toward the satisfied with Rock Hill while he was bottom of the last page he found an item there. Surely she does not love him, he which he read to the printer: reasons, or she would never have wanted to go away to the city- the beastly city.” Miss Ida Lane, formerly of this place, but “Yes,” said the editor, “I can imagine
now of Kansas City, has been promoted, and it. I can also imagine that the ‘Wahoo her salary nearly doubled. Miss Ida's Sun' will be a day late if there is not some
friends will congratulate her on her good
fortune. type set pretty soon.”
Beets picked up his stick and began to click in the type. Simpson turned back to “That" — Simpson shook his head—“is his desk and took up his pencil. But the the worst one of all." editorial on reciprocity did not
The next week the correspondence from smoothly. His mind was
on Bashful Rock Hill was very dull. It seemed nothBob and Ida-at least on the picture the ing had happened except that Pearly Jones red-headed foreman had conjured up. And had a felon, the district school had opened, recalling bits of the correspondent's news and Mrs. Crow had spent a day with her and comment, he could easily believe the daughter. picture was very near the truth. So, as The following week for the first time in the April breeze strayed in through the many months there was no news at all
THE Young editor turned in printing.
"But that is n't grinned
"That is only the prelude." He several pages of penciled itemsbarn, Cy Todd's broken-legged calf away, lightning shocking eavesdrop the party telephone-line-until he the last page. "Listen to this:
"Bashful Bob's girl." "Bashful Bob" was the name signed to the Rock Hill letters. He was one of several correspondents that they had never met personally. All they knew of him they had learned from his news-items and comments. "Read it." The editor and his redheaded foreman got a great deal of amusement piecing together neighborhood relations from the personal items in the news
It was the Rock Hill correspondence, which had just come in on the noon mail. The "Wahoo Sun" circulated over most of the county, and at a number of points had regular correspondents who sent in weekly letters of local news-items.
Lots of young folks think all th are in the city. But they ain't. T a mighty poor place to live: no pu plum-blossoms, nor fresh eggs a And there ain't so awful much n either, when you come to pay
"What is it, Beets?" asked Simpson, the editor.
"Just found out who she is." The and car-fare. And you don't have printer chuckled.
"Who who is?"
Miss Ida Lane, who took a course in the Quill City Business College last fall, has accepted a position as stenographer for the Gross Grain Lumber Co. of Kansas City. Miss Ida has a host of friends around Rock Hill who will sadly miss her.
"Nothing suspicious about that," said Simpson. "Similar items every week. Bashful Bob always sends them off with a host of friends who mourn their departure."
-that is, no true friends,-that you are sick or broke. And the wickedness in the city, and dan stay on the old farm, boys and g
"That settles it." Beets He had reached the mature a four, and had considerable draw conclusions from. "1 for some time that Bashful love. When a fellow notices wood is in blossom, and sm plum, and talks about the li leaves on the hill, and h sheep are in the green pastu your last week's laundry-bi love. But never before h to lay my finger on the girl
"I've got it all fixed red-headed printer was orator-especially when, in love himself. "As the see them in my mind's e board-bills of
brown eyes, and a smile that tucks you in
"He went through the public schools,
"There are tur acres TO grain in the brand bottom anc
or the nil. where he has buir avea
when "As the
He is twenty-sever an ing company with
much prettier than the a
can't believe it is rea. S
fed with Rock Hi whie pe there Sureh she ones love in
magine the Wan late it there not so
stick and regant Supon turned back t
Drawn by F. R. Gruger
from Rock Hill. Bashful Bob merely Monday the mining expert from Joplin, wrote, “Nothing worth mentioning this who first discovered that lead ore was being week.”
thrown out at every blast in the well, of"It is too bad.” The red-headed fore- fered Jerry Coleman ten thousand dollars man shook his head with a sympathetic for his eighty acres. We understand Mr. sigh. “He is simply worrying himself to Coleman has agreed to sell. No doubt he death over that girl.”
is foolish, for the land will probably be Next Wednesday Simpson was looking worth three or four times that; but he has over the mail. “What in the world !” He been anxious to get away for some time, and exclaimed, picking up a thick letter from thinks a bird in the hand is better than lead Rock Hill. The printer slipped off his in the ground. stool and came to the desk eager and excited.
"He is going to the city," said Beets. "What do you suppose has happened?“He has figured that he can have a better Reckon she has come back?"
show with her if he can move to the city.” The editor glanced rapidly down the Simpson thought of Jerry Coleman's first page. "Struck lead!” he exclaimed. good fortune many times during the day; "Lead on Bashful Bob's farm! Was but the oftener he thought of it, the less digging a well-wild excitement-land sure he felt. A shade of doubt crept in. doubled in value all over the neighborhood And as further details of the discovery in twenty-four hours."
reached the county-seat from the Rock How does he know it is lead?" Beets
Beets Hill vicinity, the doubt in his mind deepwas always skeptical of financial good for- ened, and with it came a vague uneasiness tune.
that Coleman was in some way being de“Here is the proof." Simpson read ceived. from the news-article:
He was pretty sure that Bashful Bob