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Title: The shoemaker: A powerful picture of nature, adapted from Hal Reid’s famous drama of the same name
Author: Harper, Olive
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The shoemaker: A powerful picture of nature, adapted from Hal Reid’s famous drama of the same name" ***


Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_), and text
enclosed by equal signs is in bold (=bold=).

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

Price 25 Cents.

The SHOEMAKER

A STORY BASED ON HAL REID’S PLAY OF THE SAME NAME.

BY OLIVE HARPER.

[Illustration: MORRIS GOLDBERG, THE SHOEMAKER.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: “I’M WILD BILL, THE BULL MAN.”]

       *       *       *       *       *



THE SHOEMAKER.


  A Powerful Picture of Nature, Adapted
  From Hal Reid’s Famous Drama
  Of the Same Name.

  BY
  OLIVE HARPER,

  Author of “The Sociable Ghost,” “Letters From an American
  Countess,” “A Desperate Chance,” “The Show Girl,” “When
  We Were Twenty-One,” “A Daughter of the South,”
  “Bertha, the Sewing Machine Girl,” Etc.

  COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY
  J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY.

  NEW YORK:
  J. S. OGILVIE PUBLISHING COMPANY,
  57 ROSE STREET.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SHOEMAKER



PROLOGUE.


In one of the small side streets that end in the Bowery, on the East
Side, is a row of small and dilapidated buildings, which once, in the
early days of New York, were the dwellings of fashionable people, but
which are now occupied by poor but industrious people. The majority
of these houses have some small business carried on in the basement
cellars.

The people who occupy the houses above the cellar stores or workshops
are mostly of the poor but industrious Hebrews who toil early and late
to build up a little business in this land of freedom, a business which
is really and truly their own, to have and to hold without persecution
or robbery.

The house where Morris Goldberg had found a shelter and a chance
to show of what stuff he was made was, if possible, a little more
disreputable in appearance than the others in that row, but to him, who
had gone through the horrors of the Kishineff massacre, robbed of his
all, save his wife and little daughter, it seemed a peaceful haven of
delight.

The little destitute family had been assisted to start, in this humble
location, by the noble and practical Benevolent Society of the Hebrews
in New York, and, though a cellar whose only light came through grated
windows or the opened cellar-doors, this seemed to him a palace. Was
he not free from persecution? His good wife and little daughter and
he were free, free. One must have been a Jew in Russia to know what
freedom means.

Morris Goldberg was a shoemaker and plied his humble calling with such
patient industry, and such thrift, that after a year of struggle he had
proudly paid back the money loaned him, and then he moved his wife and
daughter to the back room on the floor above, while he pegged and sewed
and smoked and sang at his work.

The daughter grew into a beautiful womanhood, with all the rich
coloring of her race, with snowy teeth, thick waving black hair, and
beautiful large dark eyes.

She was the loveliest girl in all the neighborhood, with a dainty,
graceful figure and a gay, merry soul. Words could not tell how she
loved her father; for, after a few years of peace and joy in this land,
the mother, who had never recovered from the horrors through which she
had passed, died. Her last hours were so sweetly peaceful that the loss
to those left behind was more of a chastened sorrow than a poignant
grief.

Dora was now sixteen, and matured like the maidens of her race.

The father loved Dora with a brooding tenderness almost womanlike in
its intensity, and her little hands held his very heart in their grasp.
Nothing she did seemed wrong to him, and everything she wanted, that
was in his power to give, she had.

Above all, he was proud of her education, for that had been his first
desire. Dora was kept in school when other girls of her age had worked
in factories. She kept house for him in the room above the shop, and
she was a good, sweet, obedient daughter. What more could a man ask? A
business that kept them from want, and something left over every month.
No wonder the honest shoemaker sang as he worked in his little shop as
he listened to the steps of his daughter above.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER I.


This brief preamble brings the reader to the day and hour when the
first movements in this moving human drama began.

Morris Goldberg had left his humble store in charge of Dora and a
little semi-idiotic boy, whom he had rescued from the streets. The
little fellow was thin and white, and dressed in a medley of garments
purchased for him from a second-hand store nearby. The child was trying
to sew a shoe while seated upon the vacant bench. Dora sat beside him,
trying to guide the clumsy fingers, with infinite patience.

“Now, this way, Loney; both ends at the same time. One this way and
one that way. Oh, you will succeed if you keep on. You’ll be as good a
shoemaker as father some day.”

“I’m trying, Dora. I try so hard, but my hands won’t mind me. I’m just
no good at all.”

This the child said with such an expression of utter discouragement
that Dora put her plump arm around the little figure, saying:

“Oh, yes you are, Loney. You do lots of things, and you are splendid
for errands.”

“Anybody can run errands; but I want to be something else than an
errand-boy. I want to know how to do other things--how to be something
in the world, but my head won’t let me. It gets all ‘hurty’ when I try
to think what I want to do.”

“Poor little Loney! Tell me how you got hurt, Loney? You have never
told me that. Can’t you tell me now? Maybe the doctor could cure it if
we knew how it happened. Try to remember.”

The poor, thin little hand went to his head uncertainly, while Loney
knitted his brows trying to remember. Then he said; dreamily:

“Sometimes I can think it out right, and sometimes I can’t. I remember
I had a mother once--pretty, like you--but different. She had light
hair and such nice blue eyes. She was awful pretty. And I had a father,
too; and he was big and handsome. We used to ride in a carriage.
Sometimes I can remember the big Park, and all the people walking
around and in carriages, and then I forget. Then I remember that my
father quarreled a lot with my mother and she cried lots, and one
day he was going to hit her, and I ran between them and he struck me
instead. Then something fell out of my head that they remember with. I
guess it was when the blood ran so. Don’t you think so?”

“Poor boy! Poor little Loney!” said Dora, while great tears ran down
her rosy cheeks and fell on the bright curls of the little waif. He
continued, after a short silence:

“The next I remember, I was in a place where there were lots of
children. I was there a long time. Then I wanted my mother so bad
that I ran away. They searched for me and nearly found me, but I hid
in a box, and one of the men said, ‘Let him go. He hasn’t any sense,
anyway.’”

The little fellow broke down and sobbed pitifully, while Dora said:

“Don’t cry, Loney. Don’t cry. We will take good care of you.”

“And then I sold papers and half-starved. The other boys kicked me
around a lot and made fun of me ’cause I couldn’t remember. And they
named me Loney, and then I came here; and your father lets me run
errands--and--that’s all.”

“Don’t you worry, Loney. You know what my father says, that when
business picks up a little he will take you to the good doctor and see
if you can’t be cured, so you will remember.”

“That’s hard for me to think out, Dora.”

“Why hard? What do you mean?”

“I am nothing to your father. He is poor, and it seems so funny, for he
is--is----”

“A Jew. Say it, Loney. Don’t be afraid. A Jew can be a good man,
an honest one, a good father, and a good citizen. He loves me, his
daughter, and he has a heart--a big one--for all in need. He has pity
for them. You are mistaken if you think differently. I have seen him
divide his last crust with the hungry--yes, and give them the largest
share. Oh, Loney, my father is good.”

“You are right. He has divided with me; and, Dora, some day God will
bless him for it.”

At that moment there were steps heard on the rickety cellar-steps, and
in another moment a young man--scarcely more than a boy--came to the
door. He was a typical “Bowery tough,” made so by his life in this
part of the city, with its most unsavory reputation. He wore a faded
corduroy cap, set at an aggressive angle on his frowsy head, and for
the rest of his costume he wore a blue flannel shirt, open at the
throat, and corduroy pantaloons. His shoes looked as though in urgent
need of the services of the shoemaker. His face was dirty, and one
of his eyes was blackened and swollen. And, over it all, there showed
something so depraved and sinister, such a drawn look of pallor and
decay, in spite of his youth, a stranger would not have known how to
classify this strange output of city life, but the initiated would
have summed it all up in one word--dope. This means the unutterable
depravity of opium-smoking. In fact, he was generally known in his
haunts as Dopey.

As he stood on the floor of the shop, Dopey said, in a hoarse voice:

“Hello, Sis. Where’s de main squeeze?”

“Where is what?”

“Why, his gazootses; de motza crusher--de man wit’ de birt’mark o’
t’ree balls on his skull-front--de boss, if I must say it.”

“Do you mean my father?”

“I guess so. Where is ’e?”

“He went out to deliver a pair of shoes he has finished and to bring
back some to be mended.”

“Why, soy, go find ’im. I got a job fer ’im. Dey’s a couple of swell
guys up de street dat needs his ’sisterence. De he guy say dat he’ll
stake me ter a dollar. De moll kicked de heel off her Louie Fourteent’
an’ wants it nailed on. Dat dollar means de hop-joint if I get it, an’
to de bat-house if I don’t. Why, soy, dere’s nuttin’ to it.”

“I’ll go and find him,” said Loney, in his childish voice. He somewhat
understood this Bowery slang better than Dora.

“Dat’s de trick. Be sure ye does, for if I misses dis I kin see de
brassy cop on dis beat pullin’ de hook fer de ambylants, an’ me
t’rowin’ a fit in de suds-tub at de croak-joint--de horspittle. Hully
gee! mosey, kid. Shake yer skates.”

These last words were accompanied by so suggestive a movement that
Loney sprang lightly up the steps and disappeared in search of Mr.
Goldberg. As the child disappeared, he shouted:

“Hop! Go! Git!” Then, turning to Dora, he said: “Dat’s de racket. Your
old man’ll git more coin for dis job dan he ever seen afore.”

“I’ll be glad,” replied Dora, half-afraid of this strange-looking
creature, “for business has been very poor lately.”

There was a darkening of the cellar-door, and Dora raised her eyes to
see a tall, dark, handsome and well-dressed man assisting a lady down
the steps. She was a handsome and very stylishly dressed woman--large
and with a most unwomanly expression on her features. In short, it was
but too evident that she had been drinking and could scarcely maintain
her equilibrium.

“Be careful, Muriel, or you’ll fall,” said the man, whose name was John
Pierson. “Why the deuce can’t you wear sensible shoes, anyway? You’ll
break your neck with those high heels yet!”

As they reached the middle of the room, Muriel laughed idiotically and
mumbled something about him and accused him of trying to appear so
“su-su-perior, just because I kicked my heel off.”

“So this is the place, eh?” asked Pierson of Dopey, looking about him
curiously at the same time. Dopey took on an air of great importance
and replied, huskily:

“Dis is de j’int. It’s on de bum, all right, all right, but it’s de
nearest shoemaker dere is, but----”

“Oh, that’s all right. Any old port in a storm, you know,” stammered
Muriel, and, as she saw Dora, she said: “Who you, m’ dear?”

“Dora Goldberg, lady.”

“And who is the other girl? Your sister?”

“There is no one else here but me,” replied Dora, surprised at the
question.

“That’s funny. I must be seeing double. Last bottle gone to my head.
Time to quit. All your fault, John Pierson--all your fault, not mine,”
muttered the woman, with a maudlin laugh, staggering at the same time
so that Dora thought she was falling. She hastened to bring a chair,
where the woman tried to seat herself with extreme gravity, while Dora
said:

“Don’t thank me, lady. I’ll go and hurry father. Please have the
kindness to wait. I won’t be long.”

Dora tripped lightly up the steps and to the street, while Muriel
settled herself into the chair and dozed almost at once. In the
meantime Pierson silently watched Dora disappear, and then, turning to
Dopey, said, in a low voice:

“You are right. She is both young and beautiful.”

“Yes, cull, and poor; jes’ as poor as a choich mouse. Show her some
shines--dimints, I mean. Tell her about de glad rags, de nags and de
chariot--and, soy, dere’s nuttin’ to it!”

“Hush! Not so loud,” replied Pierson, looking toward Muriel, which
caused him to speak in a much lower tone as he gave his very
unfavorable opinion of the intoxicated woman, comparing her to a bunch
of wildcats. Suddenly Muriel roused and began to sing, in a drowsy
voice, the words of a drinking-song. Pierson rudely ordered her to
“shut up,” which had no other effect than to make the woman repeat her
song in a louder voice.

“Oh, I say, for heaven’s sake, keep still! Of all the disgusting things
on earth, a drunken woman is the worst,” said Pierson angrily, while he
stamped his foot in rage.

“Ah!” said she, acridly, “and how about a drunken man? Is there such a
wide difference?”

“I never took a drink in my life and you know it, Muriel Hamilton.”

“Well, I don’t count you a man. You are a beast, you are!”

“Thanks, awfully,” replied he, bowing scornfully.

Muriel tried to rise and bow, but fell back in the chair with a silly
laugh. “Oh, you are welcome. Gee! I nearly fell off my perch. Steady,
birdie, steady!”

Pierson strode back and forth in the little place, finally stopping
before the woman, saying:

“You may as well understand this, now, Muriel. I am sick and tired
of the way you are going on. I know I’ve done some things that would
not stand the light of day exactly, but I never drank. I’ve committed
some crimes, but drunkenness has never been one of them, and I hate
liquor. I tell you this, right now: you’ve got to sober up and stop
drinking--or--I’ll quit you cold.”

At this open threat, Muriel sat up straight and looked at the man
half-defiant, half-scared. He maintained his coldly resolute look,
while she scanned his face, and then half-laughed:

“By heaven! I believe you mean it. Just you try it on, Jack Pierson.
Just you try it on, that’s all!”

“I’ll take a stroll. I needs de fresh air. It’s de sidewalk fer mine,”
said Dopey, uneasily. He had seen too many drunken fights to wish to
see another, especially with a powerful woman like Muriel. But Jack
went to him and muttered:

“You stay here. I’ll have it out with her here and now. I want to make
room for the other one.”

“Ah,” said Muriel, as she rose almost steadily and advanced, “any
secrets that I cannot know?”

“No, there is not. I was just telling him that I am sick of your
constant sprees and temper. That’s all, and I mean it.”

“Ah,” said Muriel, advancing and with a dangerous light in her eyes,
“and, I suppose, you meant it when you deserted your honest wife for
me, and when you struck your child, and killed him, for all you know.
Yes, you must have meant both those things; as you never took a drink
in your life, you had not even the excuse of drunkenness. Mine was a
new face then, and now that the liquor that you gave me to gain your
ends has got the best of me, you’ll quit me cold, will you? Then, let
me tell you, when you do it will be cold for you, for you will be dead!”

“’Scuse me, cull, I hear me mudder callin’ me, an’ I has to go,” said
Dopey.

“Go to the devil, if you want to,” replied Pierson angrily.

“Dat’s jes’ where I don’t want to go. Her jigs is up to de boilin’
point, an’ all dem sharp shoe-knives lyin’ dere. See me eye. She put
dis on it last night. One’s enough fer me.”

“Now, Dopey, I’m sorry I hit you, honest I am. Say, Jack, you don’t
know what sent me on this spree, do you?” said Muriel.

“I don’t know and I don’t care,” replied Jack coldly. “There is no
excuse for it.”

“Yes, there is, I saw your forsaken, heart-broken wife slinking along
in the street--a wreck, a ragged, gin-soaked wreck--and I couldn’t
help remembering what she was when we robbed her, you and me. She was
honest and true, and, as I looked at her, the sight sickened me, body
and soul. I drank to forget it.”

“Why do you mention her to me. I have never seen her since, and never
want to.”

“Nor the boy, either? Poor little half-witted fellow. Give me credit
for one thing--I wanted to keep him and care for him, but, no, you
robbed his mother of him and put him in the asylum. These things haunt
me, Jack. Even drink will not blot them out.”

“Rot! That’s nothing but the drink. My ex-wife should have stayed in
the West. She was so pretty and pure and honest that she actually led
me to marry her. I hated her for that from the first.”

“Yours is coming to you, Jack, and you’ll get it good and plenty if
ever her brother sets eyes on you. Those cowboys know how to shoot,”
laughed Muriel meaningly.

“Don’t try to frighten me. William Hunter, or ‘Cactus Bill’ Hunter,
as they called him, is dead. I had a letter telling me that he has
disappeared, so I’m not afraid.”

“Maybe--and maybe not. But, if ever you two do meet, you’d better get
your gun-play in first. So, then,” she continued, in a softer tone,
“you want to quit your old pal? And just after my being up all night
on the Bowery, helping you fleece this ‘come on.’ Not much gratitude!”

“Ah, forget it,” said Pierson roughly, changing his tone and manner
suddenly, as he saw Dora returning with Loney. The young girl hastened
down the steps, flushed and rosy with her hurried search.

“My father is coming. I hope we did not keep you waiting too long.”

Muriel had sat down again in the chair, and her head had fallen forward
drowsily, while John, with a side look at Muriel, said to Dora:

“No, my little dear, I am repaid for the long wait by seeing you again.
Don’t you ever get tired of this musty old cellar? Wouldn’t you like
to live in a fine house, with servants to wait upon you, and have
beautiful diamonds and clothes to wear?”

“Oh no, sir! I would not leave papa and Bennie for all the fine houses
and jewels in the world. And, besides, we don’t _live_ in the cellar.
We only work here. We live upstairs.”

While this little conversation was taking place, Muriel had roused
again, but this time her eyes were fastened upon little Loney, who had
begun to wax some threads for the shoemaker. This was a task that he
delighted in doing. He had been told that it was a great help to the
kind old man. Muriel, after staring at the child, asked what his name
was. The little fellow looked at her in a vague manner as he said:

“Loney, lady. Just Loney. That’s all the name I know.”

As the pretty, though vague, eyes were raised to hers, Muriel gave a
start, saying to herself:

“Those eyes! That look in them. It is he without a doubt.”

The hardened woman gave a deep sob which, with Dora’s calm refusal of
all he offered her, made John angry, and he said, roughly shaking her
at the same time:

“What’s the matter with you, you idiot?”

“Nothing,” replied she, “only my sins are finding me out. That is all.”

Further conversation was checked by the arrival of Morris Goldberg, who
came quietly down the cellar-steps to his shop.

The old man wore his leather apron, and had his sleeves rolled to his
elbows, thus showing a pair of brawny arms and toil-roughened hands.
In one of them he carried a pair of old shoes to be mended. With
unconscious dignity the old man advanced toward his customers, and
when Dora asked, impetuously, what had kept him so long, he told her
quietly that there was more bad news from Russia, from Odessa this
time, where the unfortunate Jews were being butchered and driven like
noxious beasts before the terrible Cossacks.

“And I must stop to say somedings to ’courage Jake Rosenblum. He’s old
fader and moder are in Odessa.”

Then, turning to Jack Pierson, he said:

“Good-morning, sir. Can I do somedings for you?”

“Are you the shoemaker?” asked John.

“Am I a shoemaker? Am _I_ a shoemaker? Vell, I shust say I vos a
shoemaker. And I can make a pair of shoes vile you vait, if you vait
long enough. Say, who are you?”

“It’s none of your business. This lady here has knocked the heel of
her shoe off, and she wants you to put it on. That’s enough for you to
know; so get busy.”

“All right, all right,” said the old man, taking his seat on the bench
and preparing for his work.

Dopey took a stool and sat down facing the old man, putting his own
foot, encased in a very dilapidated shoe, almost in the old man’s
face, at the same time leering at the old man very unpleasantly, who
said:

“Oie, oie! Vot a face. You looks like a pull-dog. Vat you vant. A patch
for de plack eye--eh?”

“Never mind me mug,” said Dopey, insolently, “nor me lamp. What’ll it
cost me to get me skates fixed?--dey’s in a bad way.”

“Vell, you pring me a pair of soles, unt I’ll put some uppers on dem.”

“Muriel,” said John, “stay here as long as you like. I am going out
to get a bite to eat, and, when you are through, come up to Lyons’
restaurant or go home. I don’t care which.”

“All right, darling. I suppose I shall be able to survive your absence.”

“Come on, Dopey. I suppose you want your dollar,” said Pierson, who had
his idea in wishing to get Dopey outside.

“I’m ready. I’se dead hungry for a bullet,” said Dopey, a gleam of
anticipation in his glassy eyes.

Morris Goldberg said to himself, “He must be one of dem suiciders. Vat
for kind of talk is dot apout a bullet?”

John and Dopey left the place, and as soon as they were outside, John
said to Dopey, nodding his head toward Dora:

“She is all you said, and more. Help me to land her, and you’ll never
know what it means to go hungry for opium again.”

They then walked along out of sight of the humble shoemaker’s shop.



CHAPTER II.


Morris Goldberg, by this time, was ready to wait upon Muriel, who
seemed to be slowly overcoming the effects of the drink she had taken.
And, in a few moments, the shoemaker had fixed the price at twenty
cents for the work he was to do.

Morris took the dainty shoe and went to work at it, blind to the
blandishments that come so natural to a woman of her class--so natural
that they are tried upon every man whosoever he may be.

Dora took Loney upstairs, to give him something to eat, and
incidentally to add a few touches to her toilet, for was not Bennie
coming? Bennie, whom Dora loved next to her father, and somewhat more
than Loney; Bennie, the bright, clever and industrious young man whose
heart was fixed upon the pretty Dora.

Muriel suddenly turned in her chair so as to face the shoemaker, who
was busily at work, and said, in a strident voice:

“Say, do you know, I like you?”

The man before her was so surprised by this remark that he let his work
fall and looked at her, but she had turned her head, and asked:

“Say, do you know why I like you?”

The man hastily reflected that it could not be for his money, and a dim
idea dawned upon him that he must be a rather nice-looking man, and--he
simpered a little as he sheepishly replied:

“Sure, I know. I am not so bad-looking yet.”

“No, not that; but it is because you are living here in this
God-forsaken cellar that isn’t fit for rats, living from hand to mouth,
and yet you take in and feed that half-witted boy that you told your
daughter to give some gonsalabus, whatever that is. It must be good,
though, for I saw the little chap’s look of pleasure. That’s why.”

“Vot de poy get? Yust a place to sleep, someding to eat unt run
errants. He don’t cost much, led him stay. I am from a family who will
always help dose who neet it. Our mutter raised us dat vay.”

Muriel looked at the shoemaker with sincere and open admiration while
she said:

“I guess it’s you all right. Those things must be in the heart, or they
wouldn’t come out.”

The shoemaker, with a smothered sigh, picked up the dainty shoe and
started again to fit the high heel into its place, when he thought of a
brilliant remark; and he made it:

“Yes, lady; der same as der measles.”

“I guess that’s right,” replied Muriel.

“Dot is only right dot we shall help oder peoples vot is worser off dan
ve are. Der same Gott is ofer us all, and I can nefer forget dot I haf
ein daughter of mine, und dot if anyt’ing effer happen to her I shall
vant somepody’s fader to do py mein child as I do py deirs. Here is
your shoe, lady; it is fixet.”

“Put it on, please,” said Muriel, holding out her shapely foot.

The shoemaker drew back. He had fitted on many a shoe for the dwellers
of that neighborhood, and it never occurred to him to be afraid nor
ashamed, but this was different. He put powder in the shoe, and all
over the extended foot in his confusion, but at last the shoe was on.
Muriel stamped the foot a couple of times and asked how much it was.
The man stammered:

“Nodings, nodings. I put it down to profit und loss.”

“But I insist. You cannot make a living that way.” And she, quietly
and unobserved, laid some money on the bench as she started toward
the cellar-steps, her head almost clear. But before she could reach
the steps Helen Pierson came to the cellar-door, and as she started
down the first step she staggered and stumbled down the rest, reaching
the room almost falling. At the same moment Loney came in from the
door leading to the upper room. Muriel started as she saw the wretched
creature whose fair heritage of womanhood was thus wrecked and besodden
in gin, and drew aside, turning her back so that the unfortunate
creature could not recognize her. For it was Helen Pierson, John
Pierson’s abandoned and forsaken wife, who stood there staggering and
reeling. The sordid and soiled rags that covered her so scantily told
plainly to what a depth the poor creature, once so neat, had descended.
No wonder Muriel, who had been the cause of this downfall, hurried to
the darkest corner, shuddering and muttering:

“It is she! My God! It is she!”

As Helen tottered forward, almost falling, Loney caught her and helped
her to sit on the bench, aided by Morris.

Then Muriel, seizing the chance while all three were by the bench,
hurriedly stepped to the door and up the steps, muttering:

“Mother and child together, and neither one knows it. This is my work,
mine, mine! And then he wonders that I drink to drown it out.”

“Holt her up, Loney,” said Morris. “I will delephone Dora to pring a
trink of vater. Der poor voman is sick.”

With a childlike innocence Morris picked up a tin-box with a string
attached to it, and by dint of shouting very loudly his request to Dora
to bring a glass of water, he made himself heard and she came with it,
while the father was anxiously muttering:

“Mine Loney, dot voman is in a bad fix. She cannot speak nor see
anydings, not now, but if she goes on like dis she will see more dings
in a minute dan effer she see in her life pefore.”

Dora brought the water, and the dazed creature drank it as Morris held
it to her lips without knowing what it was. The shoemaker had been
half-afraid to give it, for fear of some convulsion, but as Helen drank
it she revived somewhat and looked at Morris, then at Loney. She stared
at the child with an intensity that surprised Dora and Morris, while
she asked Loney, in a husky whisper:

“Who are you?”

“I am Loney.”

“Loney! And where’s your father and mother?”

“Dead, I guess. I can just remember them, and that’s all,” said the
child.

“I had a child once, a boy--he is dead, I guess, and I can just
remember him. A little boy who loved me. A baby whom I had taught to
pray--but now he is gone with all the rest.”

“Mein poor vomans. Vot has brought you to dis?”

“Gin, or the want of it. Send the children away, and I will tell you.”

“Dot’s a good girl, Dora; take de Loney und go py der oder room, der
laty vants to make a secrets.”

“Yes, papa,” said Dora, looking sympathetically at the unfortunate
woman, “call me if you want me.”

The shoemaker looked at Dora, then in her girlish grace and purity, and
then at the poor creature on the bench, and held out his arm to Dora.

“Come here, mein child. Kiss de fader. If anyt’ing shall efer happen to
you, mein daughter--dot vould kill your fader!”

“But nothing--like this--will ever happen to me, father,” said Dora,
kissing him fondly and smiling at him bravely.

“Dot’s de mudder’s eyes looking at me, Dora--de eyes of your mudder,
vot is now dead--there,” he added, with a sob, “run along mit Loney
and play pinochle.”

Dora and Loney ran out of the shop, smiling back at the shoemaker, who
turned to the now weeping woman, saying:

“They have gone now.”

“What I have to say will not take long. I was a wife--an honest wife.
My husband deserted me for another woman, robbed me of my child and
left me to die alone. He had taught me to take an occasional drink,
saying that my health required it. In my trouble I turned to it, and
before I realized it--well--it has brought me to this.”

“Vell, don’t you t’ink it has brought you far enough? If you go much
farder you vill fall ofer. Vy don’t you quit?”

“Look at me,” said Helen, showing her shaking hand. “See my hand
shaking like an aspen. I am all but dead, and the craving for that
awful stuff is eating out my vitals. Quit! Quit! Don’t you see it is
too late, too late!”

“Vy are you talking--it is only half-past eight. Look, mein poor
vomans. Read you dot sign of mein.”

Saying these last words, the poor shoemaker pointed to an illuminated
card hung against the wall, and Helen slowly rose and looked at it,
reading aloud:

  “It is never too late to mend.”

“Dot’s right. It is nefer too late to mend an olt shoe, nor der human
heart--neider von.”

[Illustration: “IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND”]

“Do you think that is true, Mister? Is there any hope for a battered
wreck like me?”

“As true dot ve stant here lifing, dere is always hope, always. Dit not
Gott pring vater for Israel from der dry rock of Horeb? Dit Gott not
sent quail in der vilderness? Is Gott’s great arm come veak? No, it is
yust so strong as effer it vos. Vot you vant is to go far from here
and pegin all ofer again vere no one knows you. Here is death, dere is
safeness, hope, a new life--a petter von.”

“How am I to get there? All I have are these few rags, this shattered
body, and the fragments of a woman’s broken heart.”

As the poor creature sobbed out these words, Loney came quietly into
the room, and as he heard them the child knelt silently behind the
bench and folded his thin hands in prayer unobserved.

Morris stood a moment silent, and then he said, solemnly:

“In the name of my dead vife, and of mein lifing child, I vill help you
to go, if you vill promise me dot you will nefer drink again.”

Helen turned and fixed her humid eyes upon the sign, and again read
aloud, “It is never too late to mend.” Then her eyes fell on the
kneeling child, and she crossed to the side where he was, and, placing
her trembling hand on his head, asked tremulously:

“What are you doing, my boy?”

“I don’t know why, but I am praying for you.”

“And Almighty God has heard you, for I shall never want to drink
again,” said Helen, with a strange sense of freedom from the enslaving
habit, while the child said simply that he knew it would be so.

Helen then turned to the shoemaker, with a new light in her eyes,
saying:

“I am going to the dispensary for something for my nerves, and I will
come back and accept your help. And you, little boy--I know I am
low-down--but--and so unworthy--but will you let me kiss you for the
prayer you said?”

For answer, the child lifted his face to hers and kissed her, all the
while seeming to be trying to see something through a maze.

A great sob tore the bosom beneath the sordid rags, as the sweet
breath of the little boy swept over her face, and Helen sobbed:

“That’s the first pure thing that has touched my lips for so long that
I can’t remember. And I’m going to try to take it with me to the throne
of God. May He bless and protect you, whosesoever child you are, in the
name of a broken-hearted mother who has lost her own little boy.”

The shoemaker dug his big fists into his eyes, muttering something
about the wax getting into his eyes, so that he could not see just
then, while Helen, straighter now, and with a new purpose showing
through her sodden features and ennobling them to womanhood again, said:

“Good-bye, for a while, Mr.--Mr.----”

“Goldberg--Morris Goldberg, madam. I’ll pe reaty for you to-morrow ven
you come. And don’t forget de number, nor dot”--pointing to the card.

“The God of us all will bless you for this day’s work. Good-bye. It is
never too late to mend. Thank God! it is never too late to mend!”

Helen, pale, but now strong in her new resolution and hope, left the
humble shop and went out into the street, while the shoemaker went to
a niche in a corner, and drew aside a curtain which had covered the
sacred Shema, muttering, as he did so:

“Hear ye, O Israel. There is but one God”--and ending with a fervent
prayer for the saving of the soul in peril who had just left there. And
he wist not that his face shone.



CHAPTER III.


As Helen Pierson disappeared from their sight, Loney turned to Morris
Goldberg, saying:

“Mr. Goldberg, how can you help that poor lady when you are so poor
yourself? It takes a lot of money, don’t it, to go West? I heard some
of the boys at the asylum say it takes more ’n fifteen dollars, and
that’s an awful lot. That is more than you have, isn’t it?”

“Vell, Loney, somedimes you make me t’ink you vos got more sense as
meinselluf. You say such schmart t’ings, but dot’s a goot investment,
Loney, alvays. Der good Gott, He pays it back. For efery dollar I gif
avay in charity I gets me two und a halluf back again. I haf vorked
hart und safed, und so I will help her.”

“But I am a burden on you, ain’t I?”

“Burten noding! Vot do you got? A place to sleep, mit somedimes
somedings good to eat, und somedimes nodings but preat und milluk. If
you vos not here I should haf to pay a poy t’ree dollars a veek. Make
you no mistake on dot. I am a peezness man, mit mine eye open for der
matsuma.”

While Loney was trying to ponder over this statement, Dora came dancing
into the room, holding out a tiny blue baby’s shoe, saying, joyfully:

“Oh see, papa. See! I found it. I found it in mama’s old cedar chest.
The first shoe I ever wore. We thought it was lost, but I found it. Oh,
I’m so glad!”

The shoemaker took the tiny thing in his hand and looked at it through
misty eyes, and with a laugh that was half a sob, he said:

“Vell, vot do you t’ink of dot for a shoe? It is a number nodings. You
cannot vear dot now, mein child.”

“Hardly,” laughed Dora, holding out a plump and pretty foot.

“How shall I forget der time I maket dot shoe? Dere you vos in der bed,
mit your mudder, und ven I dit showed it to her she dit laugh und cry
at der same time. Den she vent avay to sleep, mit der little shoe py
her lips, vere she kiss it. Now she sleep dot long sleep dot vill know
no vaking. I vill put dis vere it vill not get lost again, until I can
get Somolus Levinsky to put it in his safe for me.”

More moved than Dora had ever seen her father, she watched him as he
put the precious little shoe in his breast pocket and walked back and
forth, struggling with his emotion. He had loved his wife with a deep
and strong affection, and her death had never found him comforted. Dora
resembled her mother, and all the lonely man’s love centered upon her
now. And the child loved him, and was in one, daughter and companion,
loving, obedient and worthy in every way.

Just as Dora was beginning to feel half-alarmed at her father’s strange
actions, there was a light step on the cellar-steps and a gay and
pleasant voice heard, saying:

“Hello, Mr. Goldberg! Hello, Dora! Hello, Loney! How are you all?”

The shoemaker brightened up at once and turned to greet the newcomer--a
handsome and alert young Jew. Neatly dressed and self-respecting he
was, and full of joy at his reception and the news he had to impart.
Morris held out his hand heartily.

“Ah, de Bennie. I’m glad to see you, Bennie. Vot’s der matter vit’ your
face, Dora? It is red, like de roses.”

“Nothing, papa,” answered Dora, who had modestly and shyly drawn
backward to the darkest corner.

“Good news, Mr. Goldberg! Good news!” cried Bennie, dancing about
lightly, but with his eyes fixed upon the pretty Dora.

“Vell, tell it, Bennie. Dere has been noding in de shop to-day but
troubles, und heartaches, und sorrows.”

“I have been promoted to assistant foreman of the cigar factory, with
my wages doubled.”

This was said with an anxious glance in the direction of Dora, which
was met by a radiant smile.

“Goot! Goot! Vat are you smiling at, like dot, Dora? Vot you got to do
mit Bennie’s goot fortune?”

“Oh, papa,” said Dora, hiding her face, while Bennie manfully took his
stand beside her. The father was suddenly enlightened, and, after a
brief second, he drew himself together and said:

“Vell, I am not plint. I can see dot two is company and four is a
procession. Come, Loney, I vant you to go mit me to de oder rooms und
help me to sweep de Oriental rugs.”

“Mr. Goldberg, can I take Dora--and Loney--up de street for a treat? It
is up to me now.”

“To treat de Dora and de Loney? Sure, treat dem--but treat dem right.”

“And you, too, Mr. Goldberg. Won’t you come?” said Bennie, anxious to
gain Mr. Goldberg’s good graces.

“Not so. I cannot leafe. I must fix a pair of prize-fighting shoes for
de Kid Broad, und if I get dem not done my name will be--vat you call
it, Bennie? Oh, yes, a dead von, Bennie!”

“Yes, Mr. Goldberg.”

“Bring it me von fife-cents stogies und I vill smoke you de goot luck.
Come, Loney, let us go und bolish de piano.”

Saying this, the shoemaker took the child’s hand and started to the
upper room, leaving Bennie and Dora alone. Ben was too clever to allow
such an opportunity for a heart-to-heart talk to pass, so he said:

“Are you glad, Dora, that it has come at last?”

“Yes, Bennie; very glad for your sake.”

“And aren’t you glad just a little for _our_ sakes?”

“Yes, Bennie,” whispered Dora, shyly.

“You know that you promised, when my wages were raised--that--if the
father consents, you would be my wife.”

“Did you ask him, Bennie? But it is not because your pay is raised----”

“I know that, Dora. But, you know, I would not want you until I could
take good care of you. So, if it wasn’t for the wages, why did you
promise, Dora?”

“I promised because I love you, Bennie,” said Dora, simply and sweetly,
at the same time holding out both her hands, which Bennie took and
held; and then, growing bolder, he put one arm around her and drew her
to him and reverently kissed the upturned brow so confidingly raised.

At that moment the father entered the shop, thinking they had gone, and
stood a second looking at them, with many emotions struggling on his
honest face, but he rallied and said, lightly:

“I might make you marry her for dot, Bennie.”

“Oh do, Mr. Goldberg. Please do. You know I have loved Dora ever
since I came here a little boy and she was a baby. It would be no
punishment--or else it would be a sweet one. Eh, Dora?”

“Den you shall be punished, Bennie. You are a good, hard-working poy,
und some day, in a year or two, ven you are both a little older, you
shall have mein chilt.”

“I thank you, Mr. Goldberg--father--more than I can say.”

“Dank Dora, not me. She chooset you. I could see by de red on her
cheeks. But, my poy, guard her like de eyepalls, for she is all I haf.
She is like de mudder ofer again, und if anyt’ings happen mein Dora
it vill prake mein heart. Yes, I gif my little Dora to you. I vill
announce de betrothal at vonce.”

Loney peeped in the door, uncertain as to his welcome, asking if he
could come in. The shoemaker said, huskily, for this betrothal, while
it assured his daughter a happy home, a good husband, and protection,
still seemed to him to sever the dear tie that had so bound them
together--the chain was broken, to let in another link:

“Yes; come along, Loney; ve vassen’t long gone, but it vos long enough.”

Then the long-deferred “treat” was brought up for discussion, and
Bennie hurried his pretty little Dora--his now--and Loney, and they
went happily up the steps, leaving the father alone in the dim shop,
with a heavy load of--was it joy or sorrow--in his heart? He scarcely
knew himself.



CHAPTER IV.


“Vell,” sighed the shoemaker, taking up the heavily-spiked shoes, and
preparing to mend them, “now, vouldn’t dem shoes pe awful to stamp on
anoder feller’s corns? It’s going to pe awful lonesome, but I pe glat
dot Dora vill haf a goot husband, like de Bennie. I guess ve fix it mit
a pigger place. I’ll vistle or sing till dey comes pack.”

Saying those philosophical words, Morris began to whistle, but the
effort brought tears to his eyes. Then he tried to sing, but the words
became a husky rattle, and, with a rueful face, he said:

“Vell, ve haf vork und dot is petter as medicine for a sick heart.”

Scarcely had he uttered these words when the doorway was darkened by
a form, and a big man, who looked still larger in his full cowboy
costume, came clattering down the steps to the little shop. The
shoemaker looked at him in dumb wonder. The cowboy costume was one he
had never seen before, and he looked at it, from the wide, flapping
sombrero to the spurred boots, not missing the hairy “chaps,” or
leggins, and belt which, to Morris’ excited eyes, seemed stuck full of
pistols and knives, although, really, the only two pistols were carried
in the man’s hands. Plainly, the man was intoxicated and at a dangerous
stage. He fired a shot into one corner and then another in rapid
succession, while he shouted:

“Ee--you--Ee--you! I’m a wild and woolly catamount. Ee--you! I’m a bald
eagle and I’m flying high. Ee--you! Hip! Hip! I’m lookin’ for blood,
and I’m thirsty. Whoop-ee, whoop-ee!”

The frightened shoemaker, if he thought anything, imagined that this
was some new kind of Cossack sent to massacre, as in Russia, and he
fell backward over his bench, nearly fainting, yet managed to say:

“De slaughter-house, dot’s ofer in Jersey, de odder site of de river.”

The man, who would have been handsome had it not been for the marks of
dissipation on his face, came on, saying loudly:

“I’m the hungry wolf of the plains, and this is my night to
howl--ee--you! I’m the rip-snortin’ sure-shot from Dead Man’s Gulch!”

“I gif you my vort, you got in de wrong place. Dere’s a
shootin’-gallery on de corner. Two shoots for a cent.”

“Ee--zip! Ee--zip! You’re a shoemaker, ain’t you?”

“I am if I live. Vat you vant, Mister? Dake de place. I don’t vant it.
De rent is too high, anyvay, und I look for anoder place--you can haf
it.”

“I don’t want your place. I’m lookin’ for the coyote who deserted my
sister.”

“Coyotes? I don’t keep ’em. Go down to Somolus Levinsky’s. He’s got his
life insured.”

“My name is ‘Cactus Bill,’ and I’m all over ‘stickers,’ and I want a
shoemaker to peg ’em in.”

“Dot’s a good fellow,” pleaded Morris; “go on to de next place. I got
de locomotor-attacks me, und I can’t use de hammer.”

“Well, we’ll let it go at that. This Bowery booze is chain-lightning.
I can drink a gallon of our Western booze, but this Bowery fire is
burnin’ me up. I’m a stranger in a strange land. I’m a poor lost
yearlin’ and I haven’t got a brand. I’m a ring-tailed broncho an’ I’m
runnin’ away. Clear the range, pardner, for it’s my time to buck.”

As he said this, the wild-looking cowboy fired another shot, which
was harmless, save for a small piece of plaster knocked from the wall.
The shoemaker began to tremble again, and begged him not to be so free
with his shooting or the police would be down on them. Indeed, it was
strange that the officers had not already made their appearance. So he
begged the stranger not to be so free.

“I’m not free. I’m tough, I am. You’ve got to be tough in the West. If
ever you go there, trim yourself up with a beltful of guns and be as
tough as the next one, or they’ll eat you alive. Whoop-ee! I’m goin’
out to find a graveyard. I’ve got to have a place to bury my dead.”

Then the man turned and staggered toward the steps, firing two shots as
he went. The shoemaker at first thought he would run and hide, but he
ducked down behind his bench.

“Nein, nein,” he muttered, “but I am tired.”

The shoemaker still cowered behind the protecting bench when Dora and
Loney returned, laughing happily. Dora saw her father’s pale face and
asked:

“Hello, papa. Was anyone here?”

“Vas anyone here? You ought to haf seen that crowd. You’d t’ink it vos
an auction sale and dey vant to buy out my place. Vy you ask me such
foolish questions, Dora?”

“Why, I did not know that was a foolish question. Was it foolish?”

“No, mein chilt. It vos idiotics.”

“Why, what is the matter, papa?”

“I got it, vot you call dot tired feelings.”

“Can I do anything for you?”

“Yes, mein chilt. Go by de top of de steps und see if dere is a Vild
Vest parade comin’ down de street.”

“Why, papa, what is wrong? Are you out of your head?”

“Out of mine headt! Come und touch it, dat I shall pe sure I haf von
yet.”

“Papa, papa!” said Dora, really alarmed. “What is the matter? Oh, are
you sick?”

“I t’ink I am deat, put I don’t know.”

“What _is_ the matter? What is wrong?”

“Nodings wrong. He vas all right.”

Here the shoemaker jumped to his feet, shouting in a wavering voice:
“Ee--you! I’m de ring-tailed broncho and it’s my time to buck. Ee--you!”

“Run, Loney,” said the distracted Dora, “run and get the doctor. Papa
has gone crazy.”

“Neffer mind, Loney. I’m all right now. Dere vos a feller here py de
name of ‘Cactus,’ and he haf stickers on, and he vanted me to peg dem
in.”

“Worse and worse! Run, Loney, for the doctor. Run quick!”

“No, no, Dora. It is all right now. I vos nervous, dot’s all. Vere is
de Bennie?”

“Waiting at Lyons’ for you. He insists that you shall come there and
have supper with him.”

“All right, Dora, I vill go. I need a little air, und I vill drink von
or a couple of glasses of beer. Keep de shop. Good-bye. I vill soon
come back. Good-bye, childrens.”

Saying this, the nerve-shaken shoemaker put on his hat, and left his
apron, and went up the steps to the street.

Dora was so happy that it seemed as though she could not contain her
joy. To her simple heart, marriage and motherhood were the sum and
substance of a woman’s earthly joy. No longings after a “career”
troubled her heart. She had her dear father, her little Loney, and,
above all, her Bennie. Was ever a girl so blessed before? Could human
heart ask more? Her cup was full to overflowing. Dora seized Loney and
began to dance about the dark, little shop.

“Oh, Loney! what a happy world this is, after all! This is only an old
cellar, but I am just as happy as if it were a palace of gold.”

“I knew the happy days would come to the cellar,” said Loney, with
a vague, far-away look in his blue eyes, “because I have prayed and
prayed, because you and your father were so good to me.”

While these words were still on the lips of the child, the doorway was
again darkened and the burly form of “Cactus Bill” appeared. He shouted:

“Ee--you! Where is he? I’m loaded for bear. I want a pipeful of his
whiskers.”

Dora slipped her arm around Loney and drew him into the shadow, just as
John Pierson and Dopey Mack came softly down the steps. “Cactus Bill”
was so unsteady on his feet and so overcome by the vile liquor he had
been drinking that he neither heard nor saw the two men. Scarcely had
they reached the level of the floor than Pierson leveled his pistol
at “Bill,” who stood with his back to the door, and fired, the ball
striking the drunken man in the back.

With the instinct of self-defence, “Bill” drew his pistol and tried to
aim at his adversary, but fell nerveless to the floor, where he lay
inert.

Pierson, with his pistol still in his hand, stepped forward, saying:

“It was your life or mine! You have searched the Bowery from end to end
for me to-night, to kill me--and I drew first; that’s all.”

The prostrate giant gave no sign of life, and after a moment Pierson
said:

“He is dead!”

“Yes,” said Dopey, in an ugly whisper, “and dese kids is witness to de
deed.”

Loney tried to slip out unobserved, to find Mr. Goldberg, but Dopey,
saying “Naw, you don’t,” struck the child a heavy blow on the head with
a murderous “billy.” The child gave a gasp and fell into Dopey’s arms.
Dopey dragged him to the inner door and out of sight.

Dora stood white and speechless with terror until John Pierson turned
to her, saying:

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t harm you. You are too young and beautiful to
die just yet.”

Dopey returned alone and whispered to Pierson:

“I didn’t mean to do it, but de crack on de nut croaked de kid!”

“I’m glad of it. His lips are sealed forever.”

Dopey went to Dora and, with an evil look on his opium-defaced visage,
said hoarsely:

“Now den, my pretty bird, it’s your turn. You’ll never live to tell of
dis!”

“Let her alone!” said John, angrily. “I’m not going to harm her. We’ve
got to get away from New York as quick as the devil will let us--and
I’m going to take her with me.”

With a gasp of horror and a futile effort to call her father and
Bennie, Dora fainted and would have fallen, had not John caught her.

“Come on; help me get her away. Some one may come,” whispered Pierson
to Dopey.

While they stood over Dora, Loney came creeping softly from the hallway
where Dopey had left him, supposing him to be dead; and, unnoticed,
he crept to the bench and crouched behind it unobserved, and silently
wiped the blood that flowed from the wound in his head.

Pierson started with Dora toward the cellar-steps, but Dopey checked
him, saying:

“Not that way, cull. De street is full of people. I know dis place like
a book. Go out that door”--pointing to the door leading into the little
stairway and hall. “You’ll find a gratin’ openin’ into an alley-way.
I’ll go ’round and meet you dere wid Red Mike and his cab. Mike’s me
pal, he is. Dere’s only one way to do a t’ing, an’ dat’s de right way.
See?”

“Then, hurry! hurry!”

John then staggered out the way Dopey had indicated, with the
insensible Dora in his arms, while Dopey sneaked cautiously up the
cellar-steps to the street.

A few moments of silence passed in that little shop, then Loney sobbed
once with the pain in his head and the knowledge that Dora had been
carried off by that bad man, and he was powerless to save her. Then his
senses left him and he sank back unconscious.

With a glad and resonant voice the happy shoemaker shouted down the
steps as he made his appearance then:

“Dora, Dora, I have de nice present for you--from de Bennie. Your ring
of betrothal. I tellet him I wouldn’t let you vear it now, and it is
all fixet. Now, you get merrit on your eighteenth birthday, eh? Vot you
say! Vy, vot is dot? De man mit de ‘stickers’! Yust deat drunk! Dot
Bowery booze vos too much for him--efen him. Vake up, Mister; vake up!
You can’t sleep here. Vat’s dot--ploot! Mein Gott! he is hurted!”

While the shoemaker was shaking and talking to “Bill,” the latter
raised on his elbow, saying:

“My friend, I’m hurt to the death. Shot in the back by the Mexican who
wronged my sister. I played fox until he had gone. I’m going over the
range fast--fast, pardner, and the night is coming on. I can hardly
see.”

“Poor man! kan I do anydings for you?”

“Nothin’, pardner; only look in my side-pocket--there’s an old paper
there. Can you find it?”

Morris put his hand into the pocket designated, and drew therefrom a
folded paper, saying:

“Is it here? Is dis it?”

“That’s yours, pardner. If it ever amounts to anything, it proves the
ownership to a claim out West in the gold fields. Keep it. I haven’t a
relative on earth but a sister, maybe, if she isn’t dead. But if she is
living, and you can find her, and the claim pans out, give her half,
will you?”

“I vill--yust de same as if it vos mein own sister.”

“That’s bully, pard! Gimme your hand. So long. The sun has set, and I
can see my mother up there, with a big gold nugget around her head. So
long.”

These last words ended in a rattling gasp, and a sudden straightening
of the limbs, and then a relaxation of the whole, strong body. “Cactus
Bill” was dead “with his boots on.”

The dazed shoemaker stood up and looked wonderingly about him. So many
things had happened in this one day that it is no wonder he was dazed
by it all. Suddenly the weak voice of Loney called:

“Dora! Dora!”

“No, no; don’t call her. I don’t vant her to see dot,” said Morris,
pointing to “Bill.” Loney staggered from behind the bench, sobbing:

“Oh, Mr. Goldberg! Dora’s stolen! She’s gone!”

“Gone! Gone! Mein Dora gone! Vere?”

“Yes; two men shot _him_, and took Dora!”

The bereaved father sank down to the bench, sobbing: “Mein Gott! Mein
Gott!”

“What are you going to do?” asked Loney, after a while. “Mr. Goldberg,
Mr. Goldberg! What are we going to do?”

“I vill search de vorld ofer to find mein chilt.”

Then, as he tried to take his handkerchief from his pocket, the tiny
baby-shoe fell from it. This brought a flood of tears and, as he kissed
the little shoe over and over again, he sobbed:

“Mein little Dora! Mein little Dora!”

Loney crept to the heartbroken man and passed his thin little arm
around the shoemaker’s neck while they mingled their tears.



CHAPTER V.


Six long months had passed since the day when Dora had been stolen from
her home. The father had the murdered man buried at his own expense.
No one thought of accusing him; besides, little Loney had seen the
assassination.

The unfortunate Helen Pierson came back “clothed and in her right
mind,” as she had promised, and although it made a heavy drain upon
the shoemaker’s savings--added to the expenses of the funeral--she was
given money to take her back to the wide West, where she could begin
life over again.

The body of her brother lay in his coffin in the tiny room above, but,
with a delicacy rare to men, Morris Goldberg had wished to spare her
the sight of a dead stranger. They neither knew that the man lying so
calm and peaceful there was her brother who had come from the West to
seek her and to avenge her; so she started Westward and the stranger
was laid at rest.

Morris Goldberg had clung to Loney as the link between him and
despair. The child had loved Dora and he loved her. So there was some
one to whom the unhappy father could pour out his heart without fear of
wearying them.

Search was made everywhere for the man who had shot the stranger, and
for Dopey Mack, but they had disappeared from their old haunts. So,
at last, the shoemaker decided to go West himself, in the faint hope
that this man, who had doubtless come from some place in the West,
had returned there. His rather slow mind had pieced together “Cactus
Bill’s” declaration that he had come from Wyoming in search of the man
who had abandoned his sister, and that Helen Pierson might be that
sister. And, if she was, he owed it to her to look after the interest
in the claim, the title to which he now held. Poor Loney could not be
left behind, so Morris Goldberg sold out his little shop, which had
prospered in his industrious hands, and all his belongings save a few
cherished treasures which he left with his friend who owned a safe. But
he took the tiny shoe with him.

What Bennie had felt at this sudden bereavement, just when he was so
happy, words could not express. He, too, sought everywhere, and grew
old and worn in his anxiety. So, not long after the shoemaker had
gone, Bennie resigned his excellent position and took up his march
toward the wild and woolly West.

At the end of six months from the day of the murder and the stealing
of Dora, there was a little wave of excitement, which did not owe its
origin to a shooting scrape, in a hamlet in Wyoming. This small cluster
of shacks and shanties was known as Hellandgone, and a forsaken spot
it seemed, with scarcely any vegetation beyond the dusty sagebrush and
scrubby bushes sparsely scattered upon the hills beyond.

There was the usual “hotel,” a board house, of two stories. The lower
floor was taken up by the bar-room, which was the general sitting-room,
there being no other; the dining-room, with a lean-to kitchen beyond.

The dining-room had one long table made of planks, with a bench of the
same length on each side. The bar-room had the smaller tables, and
several wooden chairs, besides a few kegs which also served as seats on
occasion. Lumber was scarce, and all furniture had to be carried a long
distance in wagons, which made it not only an expensive luxury, but one
of difficult attainment.

The bar was at one side of the room, with the usual complement of
bottles, glasses and other paraphernalia devoted to such purposes.

The door leading to the street was a wide one and a high one to
accommodate the cowboys from the adjacent ranches and the miners from
up the mountains beyond.

Far up the trail could be seen mountains dark and sinister, more and
more rugged as they ascended. Along, on some of the slopes in the far
distance, could be seen the roofs and tall chimneys of quartz mills. On
the whole, the outlook was dreary and monotonous.

Over the bar was a mirror and below that the usual hint about the
unwisdom of trust, and another, in form of a placard, hung to the bar,
saying:

  “Please don’t shoot the barkeeper!
   He’s doing the best he can.”

There was the usual crowd of roughly-dressed men lounging about and
drinking, to kill the time until the stage should arrive. This was an
event every day, for by it came letters, papers and news from the outer
world.

Four of the men stood against the bar, singing. Their voices were
good and resonant, developed by singing to their herds in the long
night-watches, and after each verse of a song they took a sip of their
drink, and followed up that by giving the cowboy yell of “Ee--you! Zip!
Zip!” etc., until the very bottles trembled.

One of the men, whom the others called Shoshone Pete, said, airily:

“Set ’em up again, Snakes. I’ve been out on the range and this is the
first chance I’ve had in six weeks to oil up my machinery.”

“Zip! Zip! Hurry up, you spavined old cayuse! Kick up your heels and
come to life,” suggested Dead Shot Mike, threateningly, while he
hastily swallowed what was left in the bottom of his glass and wiped
his lips on his sleeve, ready for another drink.

“Ee--you! Zip! Zip! I’m my mother’s baby and I want my milk, I do,”
whimpered Shoshone Pete, while Snakes, the bartender, was struggling
with a refractory cork. He sneered:

“Ah! gimme a minute till I get this cork out. You’re like a pack o’
howlin’ coyotes hungry for meat.”

The cork popped out of the bottle just then and Snakes handed it to the
waiting men, who set up another song with its shrill chorus of “zips
and ee--yous.” By the time the song was ended another glass was called
for, and Shoshone Pete began his noisy harangue of:

“Ee--you! Zip! Zip! I’m the warbler of the range. I’m the wild
mocking-bird of the chaparral. I’m the silver-voiced son of a gun from
Cheyenne, Wy-o. I’m the game cock of Deadwood, and it’s my time to
crow!” then imitating a rooster. All the others laughed, and Snakes
said, benignly:

“This is one on me, boys. Come up to the trough.” Again handing out the
bottle.

“Watch him, boys, watch him! Whenever he treats, it’s ‘coffin
varnish,’” said Shoshone Pete, while the others attended strictly to
business.

“Is that so?” said Snakes, angrily. “Let me tell you, this stuff is
four years old and came from Denver.”

“Well,” said Mike, “it is the strongest four-year-old I ever saw.
Here’s how.”

“Four-year-old! Don’t believe him, boys,” said Dan. “I seen him out
in the gulch last night makin’ this. Half a bar’l of rain water, two
gallons of alcohol, a plug o’ tobacco and a section o’ barbed wire.”

This raised a noisy laugh at Snake’s expense, which he took
good-naturedly. Shoshone Pete turned and asked:

“Where’s the Angel?”

“Yes; where is she?” asked Dan.

“The Angel of Hellandgone. Where is she?” inquired Mike.

“She’s sure all right, eh?”

“She went down the gulch and over the range to Silver Bill’s shack. His
wife’s got a new baby, and the Angel went down to help her out,” said
Snakes, with conviction.

“She can have all mine--dust, sombrero, cayuse, saddle, bridle, lariat,
and all!” said Shoshone Pete, earnestly. “The Angel is IT. She is
certainly IT, and I can lick the first son of a gun that denies it!”

“No chance for a mix-up there, Shoshone. There is not a man from
Cheyenne to the Gulch who would not fight for the Angel,” returned Mike.

“She is IT, I say. She sure is IT. She is white and gold. That is what
she is. White outside and gold within. Set ’em up to the Angel, Snakes.”

“My treat,” declared Snakes.

“Naw, it’s mine,” declared Dan.

“In your mind it is. It’s mine,” said Mike, aggressively, as though he
was seeking for an opportunity to fight for the Angel’s honor.

“Here, here!” cried Shoshone. “Who spoke first. Are you a set of
highway robbers trying to hold me up? Set ’em up, Snakey, and here’s
your dust. Hats off, boys.”

“To the Angel,” said Mike.

“God bless her!” said Shoshone.

“It is a long trail to Silver Bill’s. Did she go alone?” asked
Shoshone, when the ceremony of toasting the absent Angel had been
performed.

“Yep,” replied Snakes, gathering the glasses and dipping them into some
mysterious liquid in a tub beneath the bar, and which was supposed to
be clean water.

“There’s mountain lions out that way,” said Dan, mournfully, “but she
had her rifle.”

“Then there’s nuttin’ to worry over. She can outshoot any galoot in the
county. Got a testament, Snakes?”

“Sure I have,” said Snakes, producing a sealed pack of cards.

“Who is going to sit in?” asked Shoshone Pete, when the four other men
instantly signified their willingness to join in a game of poker, and
all four gathered around one of the tables, while Shoshone shuffled the
cards, saying:

“Say, this table here makes me think of when I was telegraph
operator----”

“I never knowed that,” said Dan.

“Well, I used to click the keys at Cody’s Crossin’ and--er--one night,
in a blizzard, I tried to run one freight train through another on the
same track, killin’ about three hundred yearlin’s. Then I sent in my
resign. Let her flicker, pardner.”

Before a card was dealt, there was the sound of feet on the floor, and
all looked up to see John Pierson and Dopey Mack before them. Both
had grown full beards and were dressed in garments better adapted for
“roughing it” in the mountains than for social reunions. The players
turned diligently to their game, as etiquette on the range does not
allow of too much interest in one’s neighbor’s affairs. Pierson said to
Dopey, in a low voice:

“If my recollection serves me well, Dopey, I think this is the place
and about as nearly out of the world as a place ever gets to.”

“Well, dere’s one t’ing, Mister. I’m dead glad to find anyt’ing wid a
roof on it, for I’m dat sick and sore climbing over rocks dat I feels
like I been up ag’inst Bob Fitz in de twentieth round, and dat’s no
dream. It’s here in every bone, an’ it’s here, all right.”

“Better than to be hitting the pipe in New York and have the life
burned out of you. We were lucky to have gotten away as we did with the
girl, and out here we’re as safe as if we were locked up in a tomb.”

[Illustration: WESTERN PASTIME - “HITTING THE PIPE”]

“Lucky she went off her base!”

“Yes, that made it easy to tell that she is my poor, demented daughter,
out here by my physician’s orders.”

“An’ did you ever see anybody take such a likin’ to anyone as de
Empress has to de gal? I never did.”

“You mean Muriel? No; devil take the luck that she should have met us
that night. Curse her interference! Had it not been for her, I’d have
killed the other one long ago, but it will be different out here. I’ll
get rid of her, all right. She is no use to me now, since she went
daffy when she saw me kill that brute. Let me see if I am right. If I
am, I will bring Muriel and her here.”

Saying these words, Pierson went to the bar and asked Snake if he could
obtain accommodations for his wife and demented daughter, himself and a
friend.

After some conversation, to which all four players lent a listening
ear, all the keener because they had not heard the earlier talk between
the two men, Snakes offered two rooms on the floor above, one of them
over the bar-room and the other over the dining-room. Snakes made the
remark that the ladies might find the place noisy, especially for the
one who was demented, but John reassured him by saying that so long as
she saw no one she would be all right.

Then Pierson asked Snakes if he did not remember him, saying that he
was sure that he had known Duffy several years ago in Cheyenne. Duffy
had almost forgotten his own name, so long had he been called Snakes,
and so was not to blame if he did not recognize the name of Blakely.
“Yes,” continued Pierson, “it is a sad business that brings me here.
I was married then, but my wife was in the East, and I have this
daughter, my only child. She became insane from overstudy. The doctors
thought that the high altitude and mountain air would restore her. The
poor child needs a rest.”

At this, Shoshone Pete came over to where Pierson was standing and,
with the hearty good-fellowship of the men in that locality, said,
sympathetically:

“Too bad, pardner. Kin I do anything for you? You’ve only got to say
it.”

“Nothing, thank you. All we need is rest and quiet. As I was just
telling Duffy, we need nothing but quiet, as the sight of strangers
always excites my daughter.”

“Well, there’ll be no shooting-matches here that I can stop as long as
you stay. Say, Snakes, you just give the boys a tip, and tell ’em that
I’ll plug the first galoot that lets his gun go off by mistake.”

Pierson well knew the loyalty to womankind and the rough, but honest,
chivalry that made every miner and cowboy the knight errant of every
good woman in the wild country, and began to wish that he had remained
in New York, or some other big city, where it is so easy to hide. He
could have put both Muriel and Dora out of the way in a crowded city,
and before the police had even learned of the crime.

Snakes hurried the arrangement of the two rooms, so that they should
be fit to receive the ladies, and this consisted mostly in wiping the
accumulation of dust from the furniture, and putting the table cover
askew, as men always seem to do. A broom was brought into requisition
and all the dust was swept under the rickety bureau, just where a
woman’s eye would see it first, but where the men fondly believed it
hidden from view.

While this rapid-fire housecleaning was progressing, Pierson had
stepped outside and waved his handkerchief to the two women who were
stationed some distance away.

Snakes turned to Shoshone Pete, saying that that man, Blakely, claimed
to have known him in Cheyenne, but, to save his life, he could not
place the man’s face, though there was something familiar in his voice.
Then it was suggested by one of the men who had remained seated at the
table that they should continue their game.

“Whose play is it?” asked Snakes.

“Whose play nothin’. It’s your ante. Don’t try to sneak out of duty,
like that,” said Dan, with one eye on the door and one on the table.
The arrival of women was a rare occurrence in this place, and the
interest quite overshadowed the merits of the game.

John and Dopey walked along a little outside the hotel, so as to be out
of earshot, and Dopey asked anxiously if it was all right.

“Dead easy. I spun them a yarn about my poor, crazy daughter who needed
silence and quiet and plenty of it. They’re such idiots about women
out here that they will do any and every thing they can to make her
comfortable.”

“Youse’ll be a fool if you harms de young one. She’s been de trick dat
carries us thro’, see?”

“Yes, but she may recover her reason at any time and give us away. The
first time that I can get that cat Muriel off guard, I’ll put her out
of the way for good. Our very lives depend upon it!”

Dopey seemed to reflect. He had grown stronger, more active, and his
youth was making a brave fight against the enslavement of the deadly
drug, in this healthier life and away from the poisoned air of the
city, but nothing could ever make him look other than the vicious
output of low life on the Bowery. His brow was low, his eyes small and
shifty, his teeth yellow and irregular, and his mouth ugly and coarse.
Much of the face was now hidden in a thick beard.

It seemed a curious thing that a man like Pierson, so neat and careful
of his personal appearance, and so much above Dopey in intelligence,
should choose a creature like Dopey for a companion, but he looked upon
the degenerate as a tool in the commission of his crimes and, besides,
even criminals appear to have a need of some confidential agent to
whom to confide their plans. Dopey looked upon Pierson as a wonderful
being, since he was capable of any crime, and always seemed to look the
gentleman--even now, with the bushy beard that half hid his face. Dopey
would follow Pierson’s lead to any length, but he was not capable of
originating the plans that made Pierson seem so great to him.

Pierson stood restlessly awaiting the arrival of Muriel and Dora, with
his eyes fairly blazing with hatred of the woman who had given up
everything, that women hold dear, for him. She was an impediment now,
and a constant menace. He must get rid of her somehow.

Muriel looked pale and tired, and her costume showed the effects of
the long, dusty ride. But her every sense was alert to watch over and
protect Dora, whom she was leading tenderly. Dora had lost some of her
fresh young beauty, but there was something inexpressibly touching in
her vacant stare and timid manner.

As they neared the hotel, Dora began to sing as she fondled a delicate
wildflower in her hand.

  “Tell me that you love me,
   For that’s the sweetest story ever told”

sang the girl, and then she reverted to the song, after glancing
curiously about her:

  “Tell me that you love me,
   Tell me softly, sweetly, as of old,
   Tell me that you love me,
   For that’s the sweetest story ever told.”

As the two women approached the place where Dopey and John stood, Dora
handed the flower to Dopey, who looked at it curiously and then, with a
sneering scowl, drew back, while the poor girl said:

“Don’t you want the flower? I found it growing all alone out of a
crevice in the rocks. See how good is the dear God. He sends us flowers
even here.” Then she began to sing again the same refrain, then stopped
suddenly, saying, with a strident laugh:

“Here, here! There comes Bennie!” Then she began to call for Bennie
until even her poor, dazed mind comprehended that there was no answer.
Then, turning to Muriel, she said:

“What’s wrong, lady? I call and call, and no answer comes from Bennie.
He never comes.” Then she wept.

Muriel turned to John, who stood there with hatred gleaming in his
half-shut eyes, and whispered:

“Look! look at your work, with the eyes of a hungry wolf, but you shall
not harm her, for I will kill you myself first!”

“I know who will come. He never did fail when I called. Papa, papa!
No, he doesn’t come, either. Poor papa! he is all tired out and is
sleeping. Hush! don’t make a noise, or you’ll wake him up.”

“Take her into the house and give her a dose of that sleeping-potion,”
said Pierson to Muriel.

“I’ll take the poor child in, for she needs rest and food, but she has
had the last dose of that slow poison she shall ever take!”

“See here!” said John, brutally, “you are going too far, my lady. I
have just about tired of your interference in this matter!”

“Then,” replied Muriel, firmly, “you might as well sit down and take
a good long rest, for I’ve only just begun. Don’t you know that I
am perfectly well aware of the reason that caused you to take this
child, whose beauty and purity were so great that even God Almighty
interfered, to save her from you? I’m no saint, but let me tell you
here and now, that I’m going to stand by this child as if she were my
own, and that neither you nor anyone else shall harm one hair of her
head!”

“Well, then, come on,” said John, in a tone so quiet that anyone who
did not know him might have thought he was completely cowed; “and don’t
stand there brawling like a fishwife.”

Saying this, John led the way to the saloon door, the only entrance to
the hotel for guests. Dora looked up at the house and turned to Muriel,
asking:

“Is that home, lady? Shall we find papa and Bennie in there?”

“You shall see papa and Bennie soon, dearie. Come on, come on.”

“All right. I’ll go, for I’m so tired and hungry, too.”

John took the arm of Dora, while Muriel stood beside her, with Dopey in
the rear, and they entered the saloon.



CHAPTER VI.


As the party entered, every one of the men who had been playing cards
stood up, and it did not require a whispered command from Shoshone Pete
to make them remove their hats.

They all stood in line with their hats in their hands and bowing low
and respectfully as Snakes directed them to the stairway, following
them himself obsequiously, for Muriel’s commanding presence, and Dora’s
touching beauty, completely overpowered him. As they neared the stairs,
Dora turned to the three men standing in a line, asking:

“Have you seen Bennie? He’s been gone away so long. Have any of you
seen him?”

John drew Dora along unresistingly, as she was gentle and obedient, and
they went up the rickety stairs with Duffy.

“Poor little gal!” said Shoshone Pete, with a suspicious moisture
in his eyes. “She is away off. Let’s keep quiet, boys; for even the
Indians hold such as she sacred.”

This was a tense moment for the three men. They silently gathered
up the cards, and were about to leave the place, when there was a
well-known shout, outside, of: “Who-hoo! Hallo!”

“It’s the Angel!” cried Shoshone, while the three began to dust their
boots rapidly with their wide sombreros, and then they all awaited her
arrival.

Helen Pierson it was, who now made her appearance with a lithe and
active bound down from the rocks beyond. She wore a short corduroy
skirt, leather leggings, a wide sombrero, and had around her waist a
cartridge-belt with a pistol, and in her hand she carried a small, but
deadly, repeating-rifle.

How different she was from the poor, besotted wretch whom Morris
Goldberg had taught that it is never too late to mend, and had
sent West to begin life over again. Now her eyes were bright, her
cheeks red, and health spoke in every motion. All the boys stood at
“attention,” smiling broadly, and waiting for her to speak. This she
did, saying, blithely:

“Well; here I am, safe and sound as a dollar. Hello, Shoshone! Howdy,
Dan! Hello, Mike! My! that was a long trip in a short time.”

“Here, here! No fair, Angel, no fair!” cried Snakes Duffy, who had
returned just then.

“Why, what’s wrong, Snakes?” asked Helen.

“You never said ‘Hello’ to me.”

“Oh, excuse me. How are you, Mr. Snakes Duffy?” said Helen, with an
elaborate bow, while all the rest laughed.

“I’m tip-top, Angel. How’s Silver Bill’s folks?”

“All right. Getting along fine,” replied she, waiting a little
maliciously for one of them to ask the question she knew they were
aching to have answered.

“Boys,” said Shoshone, gathering the three all in one group, and
whispering something to them, whereat Dan shook his head, while Snakes
and Mike turned their backs, and Mike said:

“It’s up to you, Shoshone.”

This gentleman then put his sombrero on his head, simply to call
attention by a wide flourish of his arm to the fact that he took it off
to the Angel, and then opened his mouth, to find that words would not
come. Helen smiled at his embarrassment and asked, innocently:

“Well, what is it, Shoshone?”

With a hoarse croak, meant to be a persuasive accent, Shoshone asked,
stammering sheepishly:

“Boy or gal, ma’am?”

“Both!” replied Helen, gravely, while Shoshone slapped his leg with the
hat, shouting:

“By the howlin’ coyote, boys, it’s twins! Now ain’t that Silver Bill
the luckiest cuss! A wife like a mountain-pink, and now twins! Just
think!”

Helen turned to Snakes, saying:

“Snakes, may I have a bite to eat before I go to my shack? I’m too
tired to do anything but go to sleep.”

“_May_ she have a bite to eat, boys? _May_ she? Listen to that!”

“She may. She may have all that’s in the house if she likes, eh, boys?”
said Shoshone, fervently.

“That’s what!” said Dan, emphatically.

“Sure thing!” said Mike, with a clear determination written on every
line of his rugged face, to frighten anyone or anything that might
hinder Helen from having any and everything she wanted.

“I’m going to be waiter,” said Shoshone, starting toward the
dining-room.

“You are going to play hob, you are,” said Mike, laughingly pushing
Shoshone back, while Mike and Snakes engaged in mimic battle for the
privilege of waiting upon “the Angel,” and finally dodged out the
bar-room door to reach the dining-room first. Helen stood for a moment
looking up to the great mountains beyond, with misty eyes, as she
thought, as she did every hour of her life:

“How I thank God that He let me live to find out it is never too late
to mend.”

Then she turned and went into the dining-room, where the four men
pressed her to eat until she declared she should never be hungry again
as long as she lived.

While they were in the dining-room, and Pierson and his party were
upstairs, there came toiling up the street a curious procession,
consisting of a bony horse covered with impedimenta, among which was
seated a slender, pale-faced boy. The horse was partly led, partly
dragged, by Morris Goldberg, himself dusty and unkempt.

His search had been long and wearisome, and it had exhausted nearly all
his funds, but he found a trace of the lost girl, and had followed it
as best he could, bringing with him the little boy, Loney.

Sometimes, when his money was completely gone, he would stop a few days
in a town and go to work mending such shoes as he could get to do, and
in that way they had managed to exist. Now, they had reached this spot,
and here Morris intended to remain while he sought for the mine, the
deed to which was in his possession.

There had been next to no vegetation on the last lap of this lonely
road, and the poor beast was ready to drop.

Morris Goldberg was out of his element in the mines, or, indeed,
anywhere but in a city. He was too credulous and too ignorant of the
way of life, and accepted all that was told him as truth. The cowboys
and miners living so far from refined amusements found a sort of
vicarious solace in “joshing greenhorns,” as they called it, and this
meant that every newcomer was the butt of their rough jokes and rougher
horse-play.

The way to this lonely hamlet was long, and bordered by ranges and
mines, and the men along the route had made him believe that unless
he wished to be killed as a tenderfoot he must dress and act like a
cowboy. At their last stopping-place the boys on a ranch joined in
the fun, and fitted the poor shoemaker out with a pair of long-haired
“chaps,” or leggings, and these they made him put on the wrong way.
This made locomotion difficult and awkward. He was prevailed upon to
wear a wide belt with four pistols. These the boys took good care to
see were loaded with blank cartridges.

Then the unsuspecting man was filled with stories of the dangerous
location toward which he was traveling, and had impressed upon him that
he must be always ready with his gun, and always try to shoot first, if
any trouble arose.

Shrewd and clever as the shoemaker was in a city, dealing with his
customers, here he was nearly as helpless as little Loney. Yet he
had managed to reach thus far. He had seen and heard enough of the
high-sounding talk of the cowboys and miners, as they came into towns,
and promptly began imbibing the fiery liquor handed them, not to have
learned something of it, and he decided to call himself Wild Bill, the
Bull-man. He would not demean himself to call himself a cowboy. Not he.
He hoped to strike terror into the hearts of any vicious characters
with whom he might come in contact.

As the man, boy and horse reached the rail and post set aside for the
convenience of riders to tie their horses, Morris lifted the boy out
from among the pots, pans, tent, and shoemaker’s kit, and stood the
weary little fellow down on his wavering legs. As the horse began to
nose about, looking for some sign of grass or other food, one could see
a sign attached to his tail, the only available place left after all
other things were packed on, to notify everybody that this outfit was
that of “Morris Goldberg, shoemaker.”

There was no one in sight, all the men being in the dining-room with
Helen, and Pierson’s party upstairs. Loney looked about, and read:

  “Dead Man’s Gulch Saloon.”

“Vell, it is a goot place to come, Loney. It is Dead Man’s Gulch, and
dot’s me. I am so nearly deat dot I can hartly hear mine own voice.”

“I’m glad we’ve come to some place. I’m awful hungry, and I guess Jake
is hungry, too.”

“Ve vill get somedings soon, Loney. Und dot horse! Vot kint of a horse
are you, anyway? You vant to eat all de time. Don’t I feed you und
now you are not carrying me, und I pull you up de hills. You are vort
nodings. If I vos to sell you, I vould git nodings but de price of de
shoes--for olt iron. But nefer mind, Jake, I vill not see you starf.
Now, here is de last bag of oats. Eat ’em und be happy. You’re a pretty
goot fellow, after all, und if you die I vill make your hide into de
shoes you haf maket me vore out pulling you along. Come away, Loney;
meppe he vill fall ofer on you.”

“Oh, he is only tired, and I guess horses need more oats and grass
than we think. But why do you wear so many pistols, Mr. Goldberg?”

“Hush! Vot dit I told you about calling me dot name? I am Vilt Bill, de
Bull-man, now. Hafen’t I told you dot ve are now in de Vest, among de
bad mens und I must be a bad mans, too? Now, Jake, don’t you eat any
more dust. If you do, und drink vater on top of it, your name vill be
mud.”

“Aren’t you sorry you brought me along to look for Dora, Mr. Gold----,
I mean Wild Bill, the Bull-man? I’m a lot of trouble, ain’t I?”

“Drouble nodings! You are a fool. You are vorking for me, und you don’t
know it. Do you t’ink I vould let you stay dere alone in New York to
starf? No, sir! I vould not let Somolus Levinsky get from me mine
errant-boy. Not since I dit loset mein Dora. I must haf some chilt
arount me, or I shall go grazy. Dere! dere! dake de hoss out dere und
find him some grass or someding. You must vork und earn your vages.”

“All right, Mr. Wild Bill,” said Loney, smiling, for he knew well that
the shoemaker would not starve or overwork man or beast.

While the child was leading the weary horse toward a trough which
received its water from far up the mountains, a tall Indian, in full
chief’s dress--feathers and all--stood on the edge of the path to the
run. The boy, being on the farther side of the horse, did not see the
Indian, who stood with folded arms looking at the child, then at the
poor horse and lastly at the surprising “get-up” of the shoemaker.

The latter looked at his leggings and belt with pardonable pride, then
felt of his four pistols, one by one, and, wishing to keep up the
delusion of his own greatness, he strutted about a little, at the same
time saying:

“I shall see if I can remember de vay to shout. Ee--you! I am de Vilt
Bill, de Bull-man. I am de pest shoemaker--na--na--dot is not it. I am
de rink-tail squealer of de cook-stofe--no, I mean range. I am de----”

Here the “bad man” happened to get a view of Red Eagle, the Indian,
which at first paralyzed him. Then he rallied and drew one of his
pistols and, with the bravery of a “well-heeled” man, he took a step
forward, saying, with growing courage:

“Dot is Hiawatha. Gif me a pack of cigarroots.”

As he said this, Morris held out his hand, whereat the Indian held out
his own hand, saying, in a guttural voice:

“Ugh!”

“Vot’s dot?” asked the bad man.

“Ugh!” repeated the Indian.

“Is dot a man or a cow? Vot for a kind of talk is dot?”

“Ugh, ugh, ugh!” was the Indian’s reply.

“Vere is your pain, mein friend?”

“Got no pain--want firewater,” said the Indian, stolidly.

“Vell, vot do you t’ink of dot?” said Morris aloud, “vanting fire und
vater hot, togedder.”

The noble redman then pointed to the formidable array of pistols and
said, solemnly:

“Ugh! pale-face heap big chief. Give Injun tobac.”

“I vill gif you nodings. Go to your own cigar-store und get it.”

The big Indian must have had a fine sense of humor, as he said,
pointing to the bony horse that was drinking as if he would never stop,
with a majestic wave of his hand:

“Big chief got fast horse.”

“Fast! I dink so. He didn’t eat nodings put dust for two veeks--only a
little oatses, und stickses, vot dey calls crass out here.”

“Chief better tie horse. He run away.”

“Don’t pe afrait. You vant to puy him?”

“Injun no buy horse. Injun got fast ponies. No can beat.”

“Mein horse is fast, too--ven he is tied to de ground.”

“Injun race ponies ’gainst horse for firewater and tobac.”

“No, sir!” said Morris, grandly. “I don’t vant to rob you. Mein horse
is faster as a railroad train--on a siding.”

“Injun race ponies ’gainst horse,” replied the Indian, stolidly.

“Vot kind of a bet you make?” said Morris.

“Bet firewater and tobac.”

“I’ll do it. I bet on your ponies und you bet on mein horse.”

“Injun no bet so. Chief got many pistols. Chief good shot?”

“Am I a goot shoots? I should say I vos a goot shoots. I am de pest
shooter on de stofe--I mean range. Mit dis son of a gun I”--but “Wild
Bill” did not finish that sentence, as the pistol which he held loosely
in his left hand went off unexpectedly, which so startled him that he
jumped backward trembling.

At this stage of the proceedings, the four men with Helen returned to
the bar-room and, seeing the latter part of this affair from the door,
gave Helen a chance to throw a bird that she had shot on her way over
the range, so that it fell at his feet, and then she drew back out of
sight. The shoemaker saw the bird fall at his feet and, picking it up,
said proudly:

“Am I a shootser? Vell, look out for your selluf. Dot tells de story.”
And then he began to strut about grandly.

The men looked out, tiptoeing to the door, Shoshone saying:

“Wait, boys; take a peek first. It may be Rattlesnake Sam shootin’
things up. He’s been on the rampage lately, and he’s ugly when he gets
started, and we don’t want a noise.”

The Indian still stood in the same place, but bowed ironically several
times, saying:

“Big chief, dead shot. Big chief, dead shot.”

As the four men reached the porch, Shoshone saw that they had gotten
hold of another tenderfoot, and promptly they forgot that there was to
be no noise there that day, for Shoshone said:

“Get ready, boys; now, all at once! He’s mine, for I saw him first.”

All the boys, in chorus, gave their ear-splitting salute of “Ee--you!
Zip,” etc., while the frightened shoemaker held up his shaking left
hand, trying feebly to emit a ferocious cowboy yell, at which Shoshone
Pete broke out laughing and said:

“Why, hello, tenderfoot! What do you want to do? Sell me
that?”--pointing at the shaking pistol.

The shoemaker thought, “How can I shoot him now, when he begins to
talk business?” Then to his tormentor he said: “Who told you dot I haf
tender feet? Dot is right, for I haf got plisters on der heels.”

At this naive confession, all present began to laugh and shout. Dan
came forward, saying, as well as his laughter would let him:

“I say, pardner, what might your name be?”

“It’s--I mean, I am de Vilt Bill, de Bull-man. I am de rink-tailed
squealer from Hoboken, New Jersey. I am de rip-snorting vilt man from
de bad lands, und dis is de time to maket de racket. Quack! quack!
quack!”

The poor man was trying to repeat the lesson given him by the “boys” in
the last town where he had stayed a few days. The boys from Hellandgone
simply hugged each other, to keep from falling, in their paroxysms
of laughter, at the preternatural gravity with which the above
announcement of his pretensions came from the scared shoemaker’s lips.
That he was scared is not a sufficiently strong word for his mental
state.

As he ceased his “cowboy” oration, Shoshone Pete recovered breath
enough to say:

“Rope him, Dan! Rope him! He might get away before he is initiated.”

“Oh, I am a Mason, all right, all right. Und a memper of der Sangerfest
Bunt, und I haf no vish to join any more--no--I haf enough.”

Dan threw the lariat so deftly that it settled down over the poor
shoemaker so that when it was drawn taut his arms were tightly pinioned
to his body.

Just then Loney came back to where this scene was taking place, and he
was frightened so that he could scarcely speak. But he threw himself
upon his knees before the men, imploring with his thin little hands
uplifted, saying:

“Don’t hurt him, please. Don’t hurt him--he is all the friend I’ve got.
And he is so good to me.”

“Hello!” said Shoshone, turning, “who are you?”

“Don’t pe afrait, Loney. Dey are yust having deir leedle fun.
Gentlemen, dot is little Sure-de-shot, de calf-boy.”

This caused another shout of wild laughter, and they dragged Morris
into the saloon, and up to the bar; Loney and Red Eagle, the Indian,
followed--the Indian in the hope of firewater, and the child to try and
protect his benefactor.

“Now,” said Shoshone, loudly, “set ’em up, Snakesy. We’re going to
baptize the baby. Make it whiskey straight, and make it strong.”

“Mein frients, I don’t vant to drink viskey. It goes to mein head und
makes me grazy!”

“Whiskey straight, I said, and whiskey straight it will be! What do you
want for a chaser?”

“Do me de favor und chase me,” groaned the unhappy man.

Snakes placed the glasses before the men. Shoshone pulled his pistol
and, placing it at Morris’ temple, said gruffly:

“Down she goes, or off she blows!”

“All right, down she goes!” said Morris. “Do you t’ink I’m a tam fool?
I needet mein head to talk mit.”

This brought a laugh from all, but Shoshone noticed the child standing
there, pale with fright and perhaps hunger, he thought; so he stopped
what they called “the initiation ceremonies,” to send Loney out to
the dining-room for a dinner at his own expense, at the same time
whispering to Loney that he need not be afraid. They would not hurt his
friend. So Loney half-unwillingly went to the table, where such a meal
as he had not had lately was set before him, and to which he did such
justice as only a hungry boy can.

“Set ’em up again, Snakes; the baby likes his milk. Give Red Eagle a
quart, Snakes.”

Red Eagle took the quart-bottle handed him by Snakes and went to one
corner of the room and sat down with his bottle, from which he took
ecstatic sips.

Then it was Mike’s turn to treat, and he, too, gave Morris the
alternative of drinking or dying. The poor shoemaker drank, but
protested:

“I’m afrait I’ll die if I don’t, und I’m afrait I’ll die if I do--so
here she goes!”

Then he clapped his hands to his breast, saying:

“Oh, I know I vill die. Und I’m not insured. Vot vill Loney do?”

“The drinks are on me, gentlemen,” said Snakes, who knew how to make
himself popular by a great display of generosity.

Morris tried to beg off this time, but to no avail. In their idea of
having fun with a tenderfoot they had no mercy, and the same cold
arguments were placed at his head, while Red Eagle looked at the man
who had to be forced to drink.

The unaccustomed liquor began to overcome the poor shoemaker, taken, as
it had been, upon a very empty stomach. He grew reckless and, drawing
two of his pistols, said, somewhat unsteadily:

“Dot’s not so bad, after all. Maype you fellows take von off me, ain’t
it?”

Then he tried, unsteadily, to point the pistols at the heads of the two
nearest him, while all the men laughed noisily.

“Bully boy!” said Shoshone. “He is beginning to wake up. Set ’em up
again.”

“Yes; set ’em up, Snakes,” said Morris, thickly. “I don’t vant snakes
now, but I’ll get ’em soon enough.”

Dan and Mike had now wearied of the nonsense, and went to the table
farthest from the bar and sat down. Shoshone looked at Morris a moment
and said:

“Say, pardner, you can’t fool me. I know you. Don’t come around here
trying to play the innocent on us. You are Alkali Ike from the Bad
Lands.”

“Alcohol Ike--I don’t----”

“Yes, I remember when you killed those six men, shot a Mexican and
stole their horses and cattle!”

“Oh, yes; oh, yes--oh, vot a liar!”

“Yes, you did--you did--you know you did!”

“Oh, yes,” said Morris, seeing that he was expected to agree to
everything the man said; “but don’t say it so loud. Dem oders might
pelief it.”

“And you know you stole that ranchman’s wife and took her to Cheyenne.”

“I--I--stole a man’s vife. Vich von?”

“Great snakes! Do you mean to say there was another--maybe more. Oh,
my--oh, my!”

“Dit I take her on de cars or on a ship?”

“I don’t know that, but you got there, all right, all right. Say,
pardner, I’ve got a little job on. There’s a geezer upstairs just
loaded with gold, so much that it tires him all over to carry it. I’ve
got a hunch that we could get it all without the least trouble. What
say?”

“Do you mean to rob him?”

“That’s about the size of it!”

“Vell, you can count me out.”

“Ah, bah! you are poor, I can see that; and it’s dead easy----”

“It’s deader easier to be honest, and don’t you forget it. Come, you
are a decent feller, dough you don’t treat strangers too goot. I dell
you vot I do: I teach you de telegraphers’ peezness. It don’t make so
much money as teifs do, but it is honest.”

“Telegraphy? You an operator?”

“Sure. I learnt dot, but ven I got marrit I gif it up. But vonce you
know it, you always know it----”

“What’s this?” said Shoshone, tapping upon the edge of the bar with
his glass. Morris immediately answered him in the same code. Shoshone
turned and slapped Morris on the back with such force that it brought
tears to his eyes, while Shoshone called to the others: “Hey, boys, I
lose. He is an operator--and an honest one.”

In the meantime Dan and Mike had been having “fun” with the Indian.
One of them poured alcohol over his moccasined foot and the other
touched a match to it. The Indian jumped when he saw the blaze, but
Snakes turned a seltzer-bottle in that direction, which quenched the
flame. The Indian gave one hair-lifting whoop and, grasping his bottle,
disappeared.

In the meantime Morris was beginning to feel the influence of the vile
liquor he had been forced to take and, all of a sudden, he began with a
rousing “Ee--you! Ee--you! Let it go at dat. I’m de bad shoemaker from
de Bowery, New York, und I’m going to raise der tuyfel. You vill see if
I can shoot de shootses!”

At this, the bewildered man took two of the pistols and began shooting
right and left, bringing down bottles, lamps, deer-heads, and mirror
in fell confusion, yelling like a wild man at the same time.

Every man in the room took to the door and ran up the run, disappearing
behind the rocks. Morris never stopped until he had emptied the
whole of the four pistols. The cartridges, with their load of tiny
quail-shot, would have hurt no one, unless he had happened to hit
someone’s eye, but they sufficed to splinter the glasses and make a
great noise.

As the last cartridge exploded, Morris staggered over to a chair and
sank down upon it, moaning:

“Oh, Dora--Dora! Oh, mein poor head! mein head!”

Loney, hearing his voice, crept into the room, peering through the
smoke, and then he called:

“Oh, Mr. Goldberg--I mean----”

“Nefer mind de Vilt Bill--I’m done mit him. I’m yust meinselluf now,
but oh, mein head!”

“Can I do anything for you?”

“Yes; hellup me outsite, vere de tent vos, und ve see if ve can get it
up, und you take dis dollar und get some dinner.”

“We’ll get the tent up. I had a fine dinner. Did you kill many men?”

“I hope not, Loney, but I feel awful sick, und I must get in bet.”

But it was Shoshone and Dan who set the tent where Morris was laid to
sleep the night of his initiation.



CHAPTER VII.


While the events in the preceding chapter were taking place, upstairs
in the room given to Muriel and Dora a very different state of affairs
existed. Dora, young as she was, was literally worn out from the
unaccustomed fatigue, lack of her regular meals, and made dull and
languid by the sleeping-potion which Pierson had forced Muriel to give
her. So the poor girl fell heavily on the bed and slept almost at once.

Muriel was glad of this, for it kept her mind continually on the alert
trying to answer Dora’s questions as to where Bennie and her father
were. The young girl, with Bennie’s name upon her lips, constantly kept
Muriel in a nervous tremor. Muriel knew well that Pierson intended to
kill Dora as soon as he could do so with safety, and she was also well
aware of what he intended to do with herself, for she understood his
vicious nature as his own mother never had.

So Muriel kept always on the alert to watch for John’s murderous
intentions, scarcely ate and was afraid to sleep, lest he should come,
with his fell determination, and kill them both while asleep.

So weary was Dora that she knew nothing of the noise in the bar-room
just beneath her. Muriel heard the shots plainly, but, hearing the
noisy bursts of laughter, she judged the matter rightly. She knew
something of the habits of the rough but good-hearted men in this
region. She was much more afraid of John Pierson and his villainous
ally, Dopey, than of all the wildest cowboys or miners in the State.

Toward dusk Dora opened her eyes, to find Muriel beside her, watching
lest she should awaken and try to run away. Dora clung to Muriel as her
only friend, and the more helpless she grew, the more Muriel loved her.

The conscience that had so long lain dormant or stifled now made its
presence known, and the great mystery of an awakening soul was taking
place in Muriel. She went over each lawless act of her life in her
mind, and with each fresh remembrance she quailed in horror at herself.
Now she was like a mother being robbed of her child. John Pierson could
not harm Dora without first killing her--on that she was determined.
She had given Dora the potion more for the child’s own sake than at
John’s orders, for without it Dora might have become violent, and so it
would have brought matters to a climax, and one full of danger.

Muriel had tried twice to send a telegram to Dora’s father, but had
been thwarted, so now all she could do was to watch over her.

As a last resort, Muriel resolved, in case of immediate danger, to
appeal to the genuine chivalry of the men about. True, John would
probably kill her, but what was her wrecked life worth? At least she
could save the girl!

Dora’s love for Bennie was so innocent and trustful that it touched
Muriel immeasurably, and it was still another reason why she must save
the child, for so Dora was to this world-weary woman.

As Dora awoke, she sat up, saying:

“Oh, where did father and Bennie go? They were here just now. Oh, why
didn’t you stop them? Oh, I want my father, my good father!”

At that moment Dora’s father was being covered comfortably by Shoshone
and Loney not one hundred yards from where she was wailing for him.

“There, dearie. Don’t worry. We will soon find them. Don’t you want
something to eat? You can have a nice, warm supper now in a little
while. Come, let me fix your hair and bathe your face and hands.”

“Do you think they will get here soon? I don’t see why they stay so.
They must know that I am frightened. Father never left me alone so
long.”

For the time being, Dora seemed to have forgotten Loney.

Muriel combed and dressed Dora’s thick, dark hair, comforting and
consoling her with tender words all the while, until, bathed and
refreshed, she waited with Muriel for supper. Indeed they needed it, as
Pierson had kept them on the road for many hours on foot, making them
climb ridges, and walk over arid stretches, until they were exhausted.

He did not wish to travel in the usual manner, as it would have been
too public, and some one might recognize him, Muriel or Dora. Of Dopey
he had no fear, for the lives of such as Dopey are like those of the
rats--mostly underground and out of sight.

And it was part of his plan to half-starve both Muriel and Dora, but,
being in the “hotel,” he dared not give rise to suspicion by neglecting
to order food for them.

“Mr. Duffy,” said John, “my wife and daughter are so worn out with the
trip that I would beg you to send their supper to their room, if it
can be done.”

“Certainly it can be done, if it takes the whole outfit. I hope the
young lady is better.”

“I fear she never will be better. Her last chance is the solitude of
the mountains, and the air.”

“Did you come over in the stage?”

“No, we had a rig from--from--I don’t know what the name of the place
is, but my daughter is so tender-hearted--and so difficult to manage
sometimes--that she could not bear to see the horses pulling so, and
insisted on walking. The driver told us the place was just over the
rise, so--we walked, and it _was_ a walk!”

“I should think so. You will have your supper down here, I suppose?”

“Oh, yes; my man and I. This does seem to be a lively place, if I could
judge by some certain sounds during the afternoon.”

“That was nothing, only the boys having some fun with a tenderfoot. You
never saw such an outfit. A Jew with a horse--well, every boy on the
range has given it a feed since it came, and it is eating yet!”

“Where is the tenderfoot, as you call him, now?”

“Oh, asleep in his little bed. Maybe he won’t have a headache in the
morning! Oh, no; I guess not! And it was his first drink, too. Will you
have one, sir, on me?”

“No, thank you. I never drink, but I’ll take a box of Henry Clays, if
you have them.”

“I just have! You see, I keep them for the fellows from the mines. When
they come down flush, nothing else is good enough for them. Then, by
the time they have been here an hour they couldn’t tell what they’re
smoking, so I have to give them cheaper ones. But this box has never
been opened.”

“I am glad to get it. I expect we’ll go up in the mountains as soon as
I can locate a place and get a shack. Then I’ll send to Cheyenne for
our traps and settle down for a while. Any doctors about here?”

“No, not within thirty miles. But there is a woman here--no, an
angel--and it’s Angel we call her, and when there is sickness or
trouble she is right there. If you like, I’ll interjuce her to your
ladies the next time she comes in. She was here to-day to dinner. She
is as fine a woman as ever walked the earth, the Angel is.”

“Thank you, but just at present I want my daughter to be kept strictly
secluded. The sight of strangers always makes her worse. I am sure that
we shall be glad to know this lady--the Angel, as you call her--later.
My wife will, I know.”

Then Pierson took out a handful of cigars, paid for the box, and asked
Snakes to keep the box handy, as he was going to have supper and a
smoke. He signaled to Dopey and they went to the dining-room, where
Dopey astonished himself, as well as the waiters, by the quantity of
food he consumed. He could not have eaten as much in the city in a week.

“Say, boss,” said he, in a raucous whisper, “dey’s no limit to de feed
here, is dere? An’ see what a pile I’m layin’ away. I t’ink de air
agrees wid me here.”

“It is not the air so much as the absence from the dope-chair, so try
to get that through your head, and never touch it again.”

“I don’t care, now, if I never do, but if I gits back on de Bowery--I
couldn’t say. Say, is de ladies eatin’?”

“They are, I expect. Mum’s the word. Eat your supper and never talk
when there is anyone about.”

This last was said in a tone so low that none could hear it.

There was some speculation among the men who were regular boarders and
the miners and cowboys who generally rode in in the evening whenever
they were at liberty, and the peremptory order from Snakes to refrain
from shooting, on account of the young lady upstairs, had the effect
of a damper upon their noisy gaiety. They were filled with sympathetic
pity for the poor young girl who was so beautiful.

In the meantime Pierson, followed by Dopey, went on up the run to smoke
and be able to concoct their plans for getting rid of Muriel and Dora.

They passed not ten feet from the tiny tent where the bereaved father
was lying unconscious from the fumes of the abominable stuff he had
been forced to drink to amuse the men. The poor shoemaker and the
little boy lay there together, safe in the hands of the men about and
sheltered by the great mountains beyond, but they would never have
awakened to the glory of the morning had Pierson known who slept under
the tent.



CHAPTER VIII.


The night passed and the morning dawned bright and beautiful, and it
seemed that all nature was astir to welcome the light. There was first
a cold blue light far in the East, which swiftly changed to a purplish
pink, and this again to a rosy yellow, and then the sun rose in all its
bright beauty.

The tops of the somber mountains took on a mellow tinge of golden
brown, and birds began to sing in every direction. Here and there along
the rugged mountains a thin line of smoke ascended, showing that there
were inhabitants along the range. The distant sound of the lowing of
cattle came faintly to the ears in the peaceful stillness of the early
morning.

Then some one began to chop wood out back of the hotel, and this
strange sound aroused the sleeping shoemaker, and it awoke him to all
the miseries of what is vulgarly called “the morning after.”

One bird, with a louder, more insistent song than the others, perched
on a twig near the tent, and it seemed to poor Morris Goldberg, who had
never felt anything like the agony he was now enduring, that its voice
was louder and shriller than a steam calliope.

The suffering man crawled feebly from the tent, leaving the child
sleeping peacefully there. Slowly, and painfully holding his hand to
his splitting head, Morris crept along to the watering-trough and to
the little stream that trickled cool and clear from far up in the
mountains.

Letting the cold water run over his aching head, and drinking a
quantity of the blessed water from the hollow of his hands, Morris sat
down on an upturned bucket and gave vent to his feelings in these words:

“I vish dot pirt vould shut up. I nefer t’ougt a pirt in der vorld haf
such a voice--so lout. I nefer haf such a headache like dis. I vonder
if dere is any ice in Vyoming. Oh, my! oh, my! I vonder”--here he
laid his burning head against the moist rock down which the water was
trickling, and found it cool. He continued his lament: “Dank Gott! de
rocks are colt. Ah, go avay, birtie; you annoy me! Go to de Sout’--to
de pottom of it. I feel so sick, und de ice on de mountains is a
million miles avay.”

Loney had been awakened by the birds, and now came from the tent with
an empty, black whiskey-bottle in his hands, and this he extended
toward Morris, saying:

“Look, Mr. Goldberg, what I found in the tent.”

“Vat is it? Money?”

“No; it is this bottle. I know we never had one like this before.”

“Dake it avay, Loney, und proke it against de rocks. It makes me sick
as I nefer vos yust to look at it!”

“Yes, sir, I will. Can I do anything for you, Mr. Goldberg?”

“No. Yes, go und look after de Jakey. Gif him some vater--oh, yes, some
vater!”

Loney, with an uneasy fear tugging at his heart lest Mr. Goldberg
should die, went after the horse, which he found, after a long search,
in the rough stable back of the place, with his nose against a bundle
of hay which he was not even trying to eat. He looked so round and
comfortable that Loney, little as he knew of horses, was glad, for no
one can travel in the lonely places of earth with a horse as companion
without learning to love him.

Loney led the horse to the water and let him drink; then, with a
sorrowful look at Mr. Goldberg, whose aching brow was still pressed
against the cool rock, he returned him to the stable and tied him in
front of the hay.

Poor little Loney did not know that Shoshone Pete had seen to the
actual wants of the worn-out horse, but supposed it was what was
customary at hotels. And it was Shoshone himself who had rubbed the
tired horse down, given him a bedding of straw, which the half-starved
animal had half-eaten before morning.

Shoshone it was, now, who went to the suffering man and gave him a
resounding slap on the shoulder, saying loudly:

“Good-morning, pardner--I mean Mr. Wild Bill, the Bull-man.”

“Der teuyfel!”

“Why, what is the matter?”

“Oh, it is de vorst sickness vot efer vos. I pe goin’ grazy! Den vot
vill pecome of little Loney? Mr. Shoshone, vot is de most tangerous
sickness of all?”

“I don’t know.”

“Neider do I, but I got it all right, und dot pirt is setting me mad!”

“Oh, I’ll soon fix that,” said Shoshone, drawing his pistol, which
action brought a cry from Morris.

“Don’t shoot! don’t shoot! For Gott’s sake don’t make dot noise!”

“Oh, I see; you don’t feel well this morning. Why don’t you try some of
the hair of the dog that bit you?”

With a gesture of distaste that spoke plainer than words, Morris
refused, at which Shoshone laughed. Then Morris said innocently, but
convincingly:

“Mister, I gif you mein vort, dot dog didn’t pite me--he eat me all up!”

“Well, what are you standing there suffering for? Come on into the
saloon and get a snifter.”

“For Gott’s sake don’t mention it! Dot vos mein first und it shall pe
mein last. I vill die first--if I live. I vos come out here to find
mein daughter, Dora, vot vos stolen from me--her olt fader--und I haf
dot poor little Loney, und vill you dot I pecome a drinker like dot?”

“Well, come on in and get some breakfast. You ate no dinner----”

“Und I t’ink nefer again vill I eat.”

As he mournfully spoke these words, the poor man took from his pocket
a stump of a pencil and a piece of paper and began to write. Shoshone
watched him a moment and then asked what he was doing.

“I am writing my vill.”

At the same time Morris kept brushing his hand before his eyes, as
though tormented by flies, and at last he said:

“Nefer dit I see cockroaches dot coult fly like dot. Dey comes right in
your face!”

“Oh, ah--there are no--that is just the effect of your headache. That
will pass off in a little while. A cup of strong coffee----”

“Nefer, nefer shall I eat again. I shall die here--und my poor Dora----”

Here the unhappy man broke down utterly and wept scalding tears of such
unfeigned sorrow that Shoshone was greatly touched.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked of the sorrowing man.

“Yes. Will you take care of Loney, yes? He is a poor chilt, not quite
right in his head, but good. He haf neider fader nor mudder, and I gif
you Jake, mein horse. Dot Loney, he is goot und he vill vork for you
ven he get a leetle fatter.”

“All right, pardner. That goes.”

“So does de horse, but not very goot. Dot horse, he neets more t’ings
to eat, but ve been very poor lately, und de mens at de next place
behint say dot dere vos lots of grass und t’ings here, und dot dey puts
cream on de horse’s oats efery morning, mit hot piskits und peefsteak
und parsley at noon. I don’t t’ink so, do you?”

Shoshone was trying hard to keep a straight face. He now began to feel
ashamed of the part he had taken in tormenting this poor man, and,
above all, one who was “one of the craft” of operators. He determined
that from now on he would act as his friend.

Just as Shoshone turned, there was a sudden cloud of dust, and a horse
came galloping up the road, and, as it approached, they saw a young
man on its back, with his elbows and knees flying up and down, and in
another minute the whole outfit resolved itself into Bennie--red and
dusty, but undoubtedly Bennie:

“Here I am, Papa Goldberg! Here I am!” shouted Bennie, as he tumbled
off the horse and rushed to greet his friend.

“Oh, de Bennie! I peen glat to see you! Haf you got any headache
powders?”

“Yes; here they are. I got your telegram and I followed. Have you any
news of Dora?”

“No, Bennie; none, but somehow I keep on dis vay und I t’ink I vill
find her yet.” Then, turning to Shoshone: “If I die, Mister, please put
on de stone, ‘Vilt Bill, he lif two hours; den he die!’”

“All right, pardner.”

“Oh, I must haf a glass of vater, to take de powters. Vere can I get de
glass?”

“Go to the saloon----”

“Is dere no oder veres?”

“You can go around the back of the house and get one at the kitchen.”

“Den dot is vere I shall go. Come, Bennie, I vould not alone go. Oh,
Mister, Mister! please don’t do vit’ de Bennie like vot you do mit me.
He is de betrothed of mein Dora vot vas stolen und I vish him to lif to
hunt for her. Please gif me your vord.”

“I promise you,” said Shoshone, waiting for an introduction, in due
form, to Bennie.

He liked the frank young face of the “betrothed” of the lost Dora. But
the shoemaker had not learned the etiquette of the range yet, and,
with several groans, he took Bennie’s arm and they went around to the
kitchen door for the glass of water.

Shoshone had had his breakfast and so sat down upon an upturned bucket
and lighted his companionable old pipe, and ruminated as he smoked. As
he sat there, Loney came back, supposing he would find Mr. Goldberg,
but as he was not at the watering-place the boy went to the tent and
looked in, and then turned, frightened, as he saw it was empty.

“Hallo, youngster!” said Shoshone kindly.

“How do you do, Mister?” said Loney. “Did you see Mr. Goldberg--I mean
Mr. Wild Bill? Which way did he go?”

“Oh, he’ll be back in a minute. He’s all right. Say, kid, who is your
friend, anyway, and what brought him here. Come, now, tell me the
truth.”

“I always tell the truth, sir. His name is Mr. Morris Goldberg, and he
is a shoemaker from New York. A man came there--Mr. ‘Cactus Bill’--and
another man shot him in the back. I saw him, and the bad man took
Dora away. The bad man had another bad man along and that man hit me
here--see--and they carried Dora away; and Bennie--that’s Dora’s steady
company--don’t know where we are.”

“‘Cactus Bill,’ you say? What became of him?”

“Mr. Goldberg had a funeral for him, ’cause he had no friends. ‘Cactus
Bill’ gave Mr. Goldberg a paper that he said was about a gold mine
out here and it was for him, and when all of Mr. Goldberg’s money was
spent, looking for Dora, we came here to find the mine so, maybe, we
could get some more money. Say, what ails Mr. Goldberg this morning?”

“What shall never ail you, little man, if I can help it,” said Shoshone
contritely. “Ahem! Have you had your breakfast yet?”

“No, sir; not yet.”

“Well, come along and we’ll have our breakfast together, and you shall
tell me all about this Dora, and all, while we eat.”

“I thought I saw you at the table when I took Jake back. Say, he looks
fine this morning. You ought to see him.”

Shoshone slapped his leg with his hat in great enjoyment of something,
but all he said was:

“Folks have to eat a lot out here.”

“I believe you,” said Loney, “for I’ve been hungry ever since we hit
the trail. And so is Mr. Goldberg, only he pretends he isn’t. Business
isn’t very good in his line out here,” added the child reflectively.

Then they went, hand in hand, to the dining-room, Shoshone feeling a
distinct thrill of pleasure at the confiding clasp of those little
fingers. Loney felt a great confidence in this big man who had such
kind eyes. Neither of them would have felt so happy had they seen
the two evil faces peering at them from between two great rocks
half-covered by creeping vines.

As Shoshone and the child disappeared into the house, the two men came
down to the ground, and John, with a face white with anger, hissed:

“You liar! You see the boy is not dead! That Jew is here, seeking his
daughter, and the fool she was to marry! All in the same house with us!
A fine fix you have got us in!”

“I t’ought I’d croaked him! He fell like a lump o’ lead, and when I
dragged him he never moved. What’s to be done? Say it, and I’ll do it.”

“Our lives are not worth a wisp of straw! If these rough Westerners had
but an inkling of this, we’d adorn that lone tree over there in a short
time. They have such absurd notions about women here.”

“Say, don’t talk like dat. It gives me a sore t’roat. Say, what’s the
matter of turning the gal loose. She’s daffy, anyhow, and if dey find
her it’ll be all right, and, if dey don’t, de mountain lions will find
her for sure.”

“Oh, come on. I must figure it out some way. No one must see us here.
Our very lives depend upon it. I have it. We can get out the same way
_we_ did--out the back window, upstairs and on to the rocks. It is our
only chance. Let us get safely away from here, and out on the range,
then let him follow. Or, rather, we will follow, to ‘Cactus Bill’s’
claim. I knew he had one, but, drunk or sober, he never gave his secret
away.”

“We’re in a hole, cull,” said Dopey gloomily, while John said grimly:

“You are right. So long as Dora and that boy, Loney, live. Once out
of this, and their lives shall never stand to threaten me with the
electric chair. Come on; we must not be seen.”

They dodged back again behind the rocks and crept along up the run, out
of sight.

Shoshone left the boy for a few moments while he came into the
bar-room, intending to head off any possible trouble for Bennie, in
case any threatened, and he said:

“Hello, Snakesy! you trying to play the millionaire. Where’s the rest
of the boys?”

“Gone down to the spring-house to lift a spring-rafter. Have something?”

“Not now. Where’s Wild Bill, the Bull-man?”

“Setting on a rock out there, pouring water over his head with a
tin-cup and taking powders, I think. There’s a young chap with him, a
stranger----”

“Yes, and he is to be let alone. You hear me! let alone, that young
chap. Say, I’m going to tell you something, and that is----”

And here Shoshone told Snakes all he had learned about Morris Goldberg,
his quest, and the fact that he was caring for this homeless, orphaned
boy, and how he had buried “Cactus Bill,” whom they had all known well.
They all knew that Bill had a claim somewhere in the mountains, but
no one knew where, and, in spite of Bill’s reputation for a quick and
sure shot, he was generally liked. It was much to these men to know
that the poor, inoffensive man outside had given him a decent burial,
and, with quick remorse for their unfeeling joke of the previous day,
they planned to wipe out the memory of it by kindness. So Bennie was to
be spared, and the “house” was to supply Goldberg, Loney and the horse
with all they needed until they moved on. They never do anything by
halves out West.



CHAPTER IX.


There was the sound of a familiar “whoo-hoo” outside, and Helen
Pierson, whom the dwellers in this part of the country knew as the
Angel, came bounding into the room.

“Hello, boys! Whoo-hoo!”

“It’s the Angel!” said Shoshone, springing forward to meet her.

“Good-morning, Shoshone,” said she, cordially.

“Morning, Angel. What you doin’ down so early?”

“On my way to Silver Bill’s. I told them I’d come back to-day. He’s out
of tobacco, too, and I want some to take him.”

“Won’t it--won’t it be bad for the kids?” asked Shoshone, with an
anxious look.

“Oh, no; he can smoke out-of-doors. As for the boy, he’ll smoke some
day himself, and as to the girl, she’ll have to get used to it some
day, anyhow.”

“With our compliments and best wishes, Angel. We’ve got a case of
preserves here from the East. If it was not asking too much of you, now
would you give Mrs. Silver Bill a dozen jars?”

“I’ll carry one over. That’s all I can manage to-day.”

“I’ll send a man over with the rest in the morning, and some sardines,
some canned salmon and Boston beans--just the things for an invalid,
aren’t they?”

“Well, they will be next week. She will be on toast and gruel all this
one.”

“Oh--ah--yes, of course. Well, I am proud that she--ah--well--give her
my best respects. I’ll get the jelly.”

“Mine, too,” said Shoshone. Then, as he saw that they were alone,
Shoshone took a step or two nearer her, saying:

“You are the best woman God ever made, Angel. That’s what you are!”

“What makes you say that, Shoshone?”

“You won’t get mad if I tell you?”

“Why, no. What is it?”

“I know I’m kinder low-down and rough, Angel, but I hain’t never
stole nobody’s hosses nor branded cattle that wan’t mine, and, as for
drinking, I’m willing to stop that at once. I never cared for it,
anyway, but what else is there to do, out here? Will you, Angel?”

“Will I what, Shoshone?”

“Now you won’t get mad at me?”

“Mr. Shoshone, speak out! What do you want me to do?”

“My heart is all empty a-longin’ for you, and I want you to crawl in
forevermore. I want you to be my wife.”

“Dear God! what is he saying? Oh, I can’t, Shoshone, I can’t!”

“Yes, you can; if you only will.”

“But I can’t, Shoshone, my good friend, and I will tell you why. I was
married once, and my husband deserted me for another woman, and stole
my child, my little boy. So I am not free, you see.”

“Yes, I see,” said Shoshone, swallowing hard. “Don’t say nothin’ more,
Angel. I’m sorry I said a word. Try and forget it, will you, Angel?
But if ever you need someone to fight or die for you, jes’ call on
Shoshone, and I’ll do it, so help me--I will!”

Keeping his back to her, so that she could not see the bitter
disappointment in his face, Shoshone started away, when Helen called
him.

“Are you going away, Shoshone?”

“Yest, jes’ for a little while; jes’ out there in the rocks and
lonesomeness. I wouldn’t want a woman to see me cry--and I’m d----d
near it!” he added under his breath as he hastily escaped, while she
held out her hands, saying sadly:

“You may never know it, Shoshone, but if I were free I would be your
wife--faithful and loving.”

Then, hearing footsteps, Helen started out to meet Snakes who was
returning with a jar of startlingly large proportions.

It was Goldberg and Bennie whose steps Helen had heard, and they came
into the saloon from the dining-room, where Bennie had persuaded Mr.
Goldberg to drink a cup of coffee. His own appetite needed no urging.
The elder man wanted some tobacco, and, as they came in, he said:

“Und, take my atvice, Bennie, nefer touch it. Let it alone, strictly.
It is no goot. Viskey is de bummest stuff, A1, double Xs.”

“No fear, Mr. Goldberg. I never use it. But, tell me----”

And then the same old question of the disappearance of Dora came
uppermost again.

“De only news I effer hat vos dot dey tooket her to Cheyenne, und den
I vatch und look und hunt, und von day I heard dot a party of four
dot looket like dem haf come dis vay. So I come, too. Ah, Bennie!
vot ve haf sufferet--Loney und I! Ah, Gott! und if I shall lif to pe
twice as olt as Methusela I shall nefer forget dis place vot dey call
Hellandgone. Poor Dora! if dey haf pring her here ve nefer vill find
her!”

And Dora was not ten feet away from her father and lover, lying in a
stupor from the potion which Muriel had found it necessary to give her
to calm her nerves, for some subtle instinct seemed to warn the poor
girl that her loved ones were near.

While Morris and Bennie were waiting for Snakesy Duffy to return, Helen
came back for the tobacco she had wished to take with her. She started,
on seeing the shoemaker, whose strong features were not of a mould to
be easily forgotten. After one sharp look she advanced to him, saying:

“It is! It is my preserver! Praise Heaven! I see you again!”

“You are mistakenet, matam. I gannot efen preserve meinselluf. I am de
wrong man. I don’t know you.”

“Why, you are Morris Goldberg, of New York, are you not?”

“I am if I am lifing, but how you know me I cannot see.”

“I can tell you. Because you took a poor, forsaken, heart-broken wreck
and taught her that it was never too late to mend. You helped me to
come out here and reform, and Heaven will bless you for it. I haven’t
touched a drop since that day.”

“Dot’s right. Don’t efer touch it again, and I von’t, eider. Vell,
vell! vot for a change. I vouldn’t effer haf known you.”

“I am out here, alone, with the mountains, the sky, the birds and
flowers, and the wild creatures. I live close--oh, very close--to
Nature, in a little shack. I never come down, except when there is
sickness or accident--some one that needs care and devotion. Those are
all the riches I have, but I find them enough. You see me well and
strong, quite a different being from the miserable creature you saved.
My brain is clear, my health perfect, and I owe it all to you. But what
are you doing here?”

“Mein chilt, my daughter, Dora, vos stolen! Und I am out here looking
for her. I t’ink she cannot be much farder avay. I haf a feelings in
mein heart dot she vill pe fount, but it is a long time.”

Just then Shoshone came into the room. There was a strange gleam in
his eyes, and a new manner quite unknown to Helen. He walked quietly,
but there was a suppressed excitement in his walk and look, but he kept
quiet. Helen was saying:

“Your daughter stolen! How I wish to Heaven that I could help you! Have
you any idea who took her away?”

“From what de Loney say, it vos Dopey Mack und de tall smooth-faced man
vot vos in mein shop de first day you comet.”

“What did your daughter look like, pardner?” asked Shoshone quietly.

“Like von of de angels dot de goot Gott lofes de pest. She is small,
und dark und peautiful, mit big black eyes und such a muchness of dark
hair--yah, she is peautiful, ain’t she, Bennie? Und she sing--yust like
de pirts on de trees, don’t it, Bennie?”

“By the living Lord, I’m right!” said Shoshone earnestly, “for
yesterday she asked us, ‘Has any of you seen Bennie? He is gone away so
long.’ That’s what she said.”

“Vot do you mean, Mister?” asked Morris pitifully, clasping his hands.

“There were some strangers came here yesterday--two men, two women. The
big one was said to be mother of the little young one, but they didn’t
look alike and, by the jumping jeeswax! they’re in the house right now.
The small one looks like what you say, and they say she’s crazy. She
sings something about ‘Tell me that you love me,’ or something like
that.”

“It’s Dora! It is Dora!” said Bennie, the tears gushing from his eyes.
“It is her song that she always sings.”

“Are you sure, Mister? For if I get disappointed now, it vill kill me,”
said the father, imploringly.

“Yes, I tell you, they are here now. Right upstairs there. They ’roused
my suspicions from the first. The women keep in the room all the time.
I know I’m right.”

“In dere, are dey? Vell, ve vill haf dem out!” said Morris, with grim
determination, starting for the staircase.

“Be careful, pardner, of that kind of cattle. They’ll shoot you on
sight!”

“Den let dem shoot! I can die to safe mein chilt!”

The father started toward the stairs, but Shoshone took him grimly but
gently, saying:

“Wait a minute, pardner. When you want to trap a fox, you must stop
up all the holes. Angel, guard this door; you, young man, take this
pistol. Go out through the back and watch there. I’ll go behind the
house. There is a window there that opens out upon the rocks. You, her
father, go on upstairs and open the front door. If you can’t open it,
break it in! Meantime I’ll have them covered from the window. Now go,
and be careful!”

At the word of command, Bennie and the Angel took their positions,
while Morris went up the stairs, his heart beating to suffocation.

When he reached the landing he saw that the door to the back room was
open, but that of the front was closed. A hasty glance showed that the
back room was empty. He knocked at the door, crying:

“Dora! Dora! it is de fader! Dora! Dora! I am coming!”

There was no reply, and those downstairs heard a mighty crash, as
though the door had been burst open by one blow! Then an anguished cry:

“Dora! she is gone! De room is empty! Mein Gott! dey haf gone!”

When the others reached the room, the bereft father was kneeling,
sobbing by the little table where lay a bit of blue ribbon.

“Dora! Dora!” he sobbed.



CHAPTER X.


As the reader knows, John Pierson and Dopey had hidden from the hotel,
among the rocks, and sneaked around until they reached the point from
which anyone could enter or leave the hotel by the window which was
built for that express purpose. It served as a convenient fire-escape,
as when one of the wooden buildings takes fire in that dry season, no
one could save himself by the stairway. And, perhaps on account of
possible fights between rival cowboys, it was a handy means of exit.

Pierson had dashed into Muriel’s room and said:

“Quick! gather your traps and come! We are tracked!”

Giving her no time to think, he seized the food that was spread on
the table and thrust it into his pockets. Then he lifted Dora in his
powerful arms and sprang out to the open window, and from there stepped
easily to the rock, turning only to see if Dopey was following.

Muriel had taken her hat and wrap and that of Dora in her arms, and
followed Pierson quickly, as she did not believe him, and thought this
but a subterfuge to get Dora out into the wild gorges of the forbidding
black mountains.

Dopey had the gripsack, and they easily made their escape.

All day they traveled up and down slopes, hills and rugged mountains
until even John was tired and willing to sit down. He divided the food
evenly between them, and they were glad of even that scanty fare.

Dopey was manifestly dissatisfied. He muttered to himself that it
wasn’t right to take a fellow away from his dope, which was meat and
drink both, and bring him here where the mountain air made him hungry
all the time, and then choke off his regular meals.

Just as it was growing dark, they came upon an abandoned shack and went
in boldly. John, who had lived several years in these places, knew that
even if the owner should come he would bid them welcome to all there
was there, and soon he had built a fire on the open hearth, and looked
about to see what there was to eat.

There was a bunk in one end of the shack, with plenty of clean leaves,
and in a box hung to a rafter in the middle of the cabin he found a
can of coffee, another of sugar, a bag of prepared flour and a side of
bacon. Their immediate necessity was thus provided for.

Dora scarcely knew that they had changed their location and continued
singing as before, but at last the song jarred upon the nerves of her
captor, and he said:

“Stop that! Stop that singing! I won’t have it. You’ll have the whole
outfit down upon us like a hungry pack. Stop, I say, or I’ll gag you!”

“Let her alone! Let her alone, I say!” said Muriel, springing forward
between them. “Poor thing! she does not know what she is doing. She’ll
go to sleep soon.”

“Was it wrong to sing to Bennie? He loves that song. I used to sing it
to him before he died. Did you know Bennie is dead? He is, because he
would come when I call if he was not dead. Let me show you: ‘Bennie!
Bennie!’ You see, he does not answer, and I’ve called and called papa
too, but he doesn’t come, either. Do you think he is dead, too? It
would be too bad!”

“And you--you human vulture! You would harm this poor, helpless girl!”
said Muriel to John.

Dora heard this conversation clearly, but her benumbed faculties could
not seem to understand the import of it, for she turned and, laying
her dark head on Muriel’s bosom, said:

“Let me tell you a secret, lady. I saw two men, and they came down the
steps to my father’s shop, and they killed a man! They shot him, and I
saw him die!”

“Now are you satisfied, you interfering cat?” hissed John, with angry
vehemence. “I told you she had flashes of returning reason. I have
watched her closely and know that we have everything to fear, and
I hope you are convinced now that it is unsafe to keep her longer.
Every minute she is liable to remember me as the man. Here you stand
protecting her as though she were your own, and we all in danger of
our lives! There is but one thing to be said and that is, her life or
ours! We are in danger every minute we keep her! She must be silenced
forever! And now!”

“She shall die in God’s own good time, John Pierson, for so long as
I live you shall never lay a finger on her to do her harm! Is it not
enough that you have dragged her away from those she held dear, and
have thereby destroyed her reason? Listen well to my words, for I will
see that she is protected against any further danger. The poor girl!”

“What is your objection? Are you jealous? If that is the case, I can
tell you that you have no cause now for all I seek now is to get rid of
her. I don’t care how, only so she never crosses my path again. So what
is your object in protecting her, if I may be so bold?”

“I will tell you. My life has been all that is bad and wicked, and when
it comes to an end I want this one good deed to be marked to my credit
there where she will go. Can you understand that?”

“Say, cull, she ort to jine the Salvation Army,” said Dopey, in a husky
whisper.

“I wish to Heaven I had before I ever met you two, for since that time
it has been nothing but drink and rob and steal, and now it is murder!
And, God help me! I am accessory after the fact, a branded criminal
with an awful charge staring me in the face! Oh, if I could only live
my life over again, to be pure and good--like this poor child.”

“Say, Muriel, I have just one piece of advice to give you, and that is
to let up on this racket or it’ll be a sort of deathbed repentance,
and you’d better be warned! And as to the Salvation Army business, we
can have that right here.” And here the wretch clasped his hands as in
prayer and said, in a sing-song voice; “Brother Dopey, will you lead
us in prayer? Halleluia!”

“I wouldn’t know where to begin, Brudder Pierson,” said Dopey, grinning
with delight as he saw Muriel wince at the coarse vulgarity.

“Scoff and rail, you two, but the day is not far distant when you both
will look death in the face! Then your ribald lips will stiffen in
fear, your eyes start out in horror, and you will cry aloud in vain for
pardon to the God you despised in life! I seem to see you now, both
strung up by the neck to the dead branch of a tree that has borne such
carrion before and both go swinging around in the wind! That will be
your end, and it will come soon, I feel it and know it. John Pierson,
if there is one single spark of manhood left in you, spare this poor
girl, and let me take her back to the hotel and leave her there. I will
go alone with her, and you and Dopey can go where you like. No one
shall pursue or harm you.”

“A very pretty fairy-story. It does you credit. But, in the language of
the Philistines about here, not much! She has cost me too much to give
her up so easily. So save your breath to cool your coffee.”

“Say, cull, what will de gal do when she has to eat bacon?”

“Oh, she’ll eat it all right--if she must--and she doesn’t know what
she is eating, anyhow. Don’t bother me with trifles.”

“Please, lady, please,” began Dora, and Muriel asked her what she
wanted.

“Can’t I go to bed? I am so tired. So very tired. I never used to be
tired at home--I cooked and kept it all so nice and clean.”

“There! You see what I told you,” said John to Muriel, “she is
beginning to remember!”

“No wonder, poor child! that you are tired after this last week of
travel and hardships. Yes, dear, we will rest awhile. Here is a nice,
soft bed. Lie down and I will cover you. John, you and Dopey can sleep
outside, as you have been doing all last week. There is not room enough
in here. Come, dear, lie down.”

With a bad grace, John and Dopey left the shack and laid themselves
down beneath the stars to sleep, but both against the door, so neither
of the prisoners could escape.

John had sent the Parthian shot after Muriel as he called through the
door to advise her to “go to the devil, for all he cared.”

“When I leave you, John Pierson, I shall be going away from him as fast
as I can. Understand that.”

“Say, boss, there’ll be something doing and dat pretty quick. Dat
woman’s on her ear, and when wimmen gets on deir ears dey’s allus
something doing. You’d better be on de lookout for her. She looks
like dem she-tigers I seen in de circus once. De he-ones took t’ings
easy-like, but de she-ones was allus on de lookout for a chance. An’
she is looking for her chance.”

“I know her like a book, Dopey, and she will get no mercy from me if
she tries any monkey business. Yes, you are right. I don’t know why I
have been such a tender-hearted idiot. I’ve had a couple of chances
to kill them both, and wasted them. Self-defence is the first law of
nature and our only safe way is to finish them both now, and be done
with it!”

“Den youse is smokin’ the proper kind of dope, and de only kind dat
will win out for us and keep us out of the fireworks settee. It is de
only t’ing to do, and de sooner de quicker.”

John smoked in silence for awhile, stretched out full length on the
ground, while Dopey lay wishing for his almost forgotten luxury.
Finally John whispered to Dopey:

“I have it. I will let them think we have gone on up the mountain to
reconnoitre and then Muriel may try to escape. If they come out of
the door I will fire, and that way no one will ever know who did it,
even should some spy see them fall. And if they don’t come out we will
wait till they are asleep and set fire to the shack. It will burn like
tinder. In that way we shall be free. What do you think?”

“Won’t de blaze be seen?” asked Dopey.

“I don’t care if it is. It is so far away that no one could get here in
time to put it out and if they do find them it will be too late to do
them any good. Well, I’ll tell Muriel.”

John knocked at the flimsy door and as Muriel asked what was wanted
John said that they were going up the ravine, to reconnoitre their
route for the next day, and that she should keep the door shut, as they
might be gone until near daylight. Muriel answered that she would do
so. Then the two men drew away from the shack, but kept in view of the
door with drawn pistols, but Muriel had grown so suspicious of John
that she never for one moment thought of taking her helpless charge
from the shelter of the shack, poor as it was. So she sat down by the
bunk and held the little hand in hers until Dora, after some more words
of her home and Bennie, fell asleep.

How long Muriel sat there she had no means of telling, but, as she
scented treachery, she never felt more fully awake. Hours passed,
and she still watched. The men outside began to think she had fallen
asleep. Suddenly the watchers listened and, after a moment of suspense,
they became sure they heard voices, and coming in their direction! This
put a new phase on the matter. It was doubtless a searching-party and
they had been tracked to this place. There was now but one thing to do,
and that was to get the two women out at once and start again on their
wandering. The voices approached and then receded, and finally died
away in the distance.

It would be too dangerous now to set fire to the shack, and equally
so to fire off a pistol, so for the time Muriel and Dora were left in
peace. Muriel slept sitting by the side of the bunk with her weary head
against the rough wall, after she had seen day was breaking.

In the morning she felt refreshed, and it was she who cooked the meagre
allowance of bacon and bread, and made the coffee.

Four days they remained there, keeping as still as humans can, with
John or Dopey all the time on the lookout. The fifth day John saw a
thin spiral of smoke not more than a mile from where they were, and
as he watched it he noticed that someone, an Indian probably, was
making signals with it. It would rise in straight lines for a time,
then suddenly cease, only to rise again in increased volume. This he
knew was a signal among the Indians, but he did not know their code,
although he knew enough to be sure that it was time to leave there. He
determined to go South with his party, and at the first opportunity he
would rid himself of Muriel first and then Dora, whom he had begun to
hate on account of the trouble she made him and the fact that she had
seen the murder and was now beginning to remember.

So he roughly told Muriel to prepare to start.



CHAPTER XI.


The very day that had witnessed the departure of John and Muriel with
their helpless burden and Dopey, who was grumbling constantly at the
unwonted hardships he was undergoing, a new party came to the shack.
The ashes were scarcely cold on the rude hearth when Bennie and Loney
came climbing painfully to the door. Loney was nearly dead from the
fatigue and half-sobbed, as he said:

“Oh, Bennie! let us rest a little. That was an awful climb coming that
way! It would have been easier to come right over the biggest mountain
all at once. Can you see the rest?”

“No,” said Bennie, cheerfully, “how could I see them when they must be
back of the bend in the trail? They are coming, all right.”

“Do you think they could get lost on the way?” asked the child,
fearfully.

“No; now don’t you worry over them. That lady, the Angel, as they call
her here, knows every inch of the ground in this place. She told us
how to come, and if she is behind it is because she is helping Mr.
Goldberg with his tent and things.”

Bennie here lifted his own burden again, to see if he could not have
carried a few pounds’ weight, to relieve the older man.

“It is too bad we had to sell Jake to Shoshone. He was such a help,”
sighed the boy, regretfully.

“Yes, it was too bad, as you say, but we could not feed him, and a
horse dies if he is not fed regularly.”

“Isn’t she a nice lady to come with us, Bennie?”

“She is that,” said Bennie, with convincing emphasis. “She told Mr.
Goldberg that she knew every foot of the way and all the mountains,
like you know the streets in the city. She can show him just where his
claim is located, because he showed her the paper that the dead man
had given him in New York. It is like magic to me. However anyone ever
knows how to cross the road in this place, I don’t see. Ah, if we could
only get a trace of Dora!”

Here Bennie again grew so melancholy that Loney crept to his side and
slipped his bony little hand into that of the man, who closed his own
over it, and somehow felt comforted for the unspoken sympathy.

“But, Bennie, if we have to stop to dig for gold, how can we be looking
for Dora, too?”

“You don’t seem to understand, Loney. We have no more money, any of us.
We cannot continue our search without money. Mr. Goldberg hopes that he
will find gold in the claim and in that way have money enough to search
for Dora. It needs money to telegraph to every town on the map of
Wyoming, to see if such a party has reached there, and where they went,
and to follow them if they have gone, and to bring them to justice if
they are caught. Oh, I hope he will find gold there, and then have
enough to travel the wide world over, if need be, to find Dora!”

“Does it cost money to go on a train? And do we have to pay when we eat
in a hotel?”

“You bet!” said Bennie, wishing that he was at any kind of a hotel
where he could get a good meal.

“Then what am I going to do? I had dinner and breakfast at the hotel,
and did not know it had to be paid for. Mr. Goldberg gives every one a
dinner, and just ask him if ever he is paid for it. He gives it, but I
don’t know what to do.”

“How did you happen to go into the dining-room alone?”

“I didn’t. Shoshone--I mean Mr. Shoshone--took me in both times.”

“Oh, then, you are all right, and he is responsible for both meals,
and I guess he is responsible, all right. He seems to be a man of some
consequence out here, and I think he is a good fellow. He seems to like
you, too.”

Just then the two, who were sitting down to rest, saw the bent form of
Morris Goldberg coming around the bend in the trail, and Bennie sprang
forward to help him, forgetting that he had carried the heaviest pack
all along. Morris was heard complaining:

“Are ve nefer going to reach der place, laty? It’s a vonder dey don’t
put in elevators in a place like dis. It is now von mont’ dot ve haf
tramped like dis und nefer seem to get nearer, und I am nearly voret
out. I vish ve hat not sold Jake, but den--ve haf to eat. But he vos a
goot horse, und he vos petter as nodings to carry t’ings.”

“Have courage. We have now only about four miles further to go, and
then we can camp upon your claim and settle down to work while others
look for your daughter. All the boys will do that. I know that Shoshone
intends to telegraph all over, to head them off.”

“Ah, he is a goot fellow, dot Shoshone is. No vonder golt is so dear,
ven you haf to climb to vere it is. How long you t’ink it vill take to
fint it, laty?”

“No one can tell as to that. Sometimes it takes weeks and months, and
sometimes it is found right on the surface. I knew one man and he
worked at his claim four years, finding just barely enough to live on
in the poorest way, and everyone thought he had lost his reason, being
alone so long and being always disappointed. Then, one day, when he had
about given up hope, he stepped on a loose stone, and as he fell he
found his mine. And it is one of the richest in the State. Others seem
to stumble into good luck at once, and in a week will be rich. So be of
good cheer. These mountains, dark and forbidding as they look, are full
of gold that will be found some day. We will get there in time.”

“May de goot Gott put dis one on de top, for den I can haf de money to
hunt for mein poor Dora! Laty, I vonder if you know vot it is to lose
your chilt? Oxcuse me, I know you do. I forgot, but dis is eating my
heart out all de time. I cannot bear it much more!”

“Ah, here is little Loney”--and as he caressed the curly hair, Helen
continued: “Only Heaven knows what I would give to see my child again!
But it has been more than ten times as long as that since your child
was stolen. I fear he is dead! my poor little boy, my baby.”

“Well, you know I promised you that I would be your little boy now;
anyhow, till you find your own little boy. Then--I suppose--you won’t
want me any more?”

“Ah, yes I would; yes I would, for you are a comfort to me in my
sorrow.”

The child nestled close to Helen, who passed her arm around him and
drew him close to her yearning heart. Nothing told this mother, bereft
of her only one, that she held him to her heart, nor did the numbed
intellect of the boy tell him that this was his mother. And yet they
were mother and son, and destiny was planning to again divide their
ways.

Morris sat down weakly, in almost the same place where John had
watched the previous night, but his unused eyes failed to show him the
cigar-butt that lay almost at his feet. He said, gloomily:

“How shall ve do apout somedings to eat, laty? Dere is not much left.
Oh, de Bennie! nefer mindt, nefer mindt, I can get along mit very
little--yust so dot ve fint dot mine.”

“Hooray!” shouted Bennie, who had been exploring in the shack. “I have
found bacon, coffee, flour and sugar. Now, what do you think of that?”

“I dink dot ve haf no right to touch vot belongs to oders.”

“But you don’t know the rules, Mr. Goldberg. Whatever is in this shack
is for the benefit of the person who comes here for shelter. We have a
perfect right to use what is here. I will cook some, and then we will
go on. We will have plenty, for the mountains are full of game. I have
tramped for weeks and found all I wanted, and there must be as much
now. We can get some flour and coffee occasionally and live off the
game for the rest.”

“Dot’s all right, so long vot you are mit us, but ven you be gone ve
shall go hungry, for I could not shoot a pirt if mein life tependet
upon it. Yah, you are right. Ve vill be petter to eat somedings.”

As Helen went to cut the bacon, to fry, she was astonished to see that
it showed that a piece had been cut from it, and that the hearth showed
evidence of a recent fire. But she said nothing, and proceeded to
prepare a thick cake of the flour, to bake in the pan, after which she
would fry the bacon. The coffee would cook at the same time. She went
outside, to gather some dry wood, and as she stooped down to pick up
one piece she found the stump of the cigar; and, in some inscrutable
way, she associated this fragment with her recreant husband. It was
just this way that the ends were always chewed, and smoked just so far.
And it was fresh. It had not lain long in this place, for it showed
neither dust nor was it dry. John Pierson had passed by this place,
Helen felt sure, but why?

With the habit of silence induced by the solitary life in the
mountains, Helen kept her discovery to herself, and in a short time
they were all eating their repast thus miraculously provided. And
neither Morris nor Bennie thought about the forbidden flesh until it
was all eaten, so sharp had been their hunger and so many had been
the events crowded into their lives recently. When they did realize
it, they were contrite, but they recognized the virtue of necessity.
In this place, as in all mines, bacon is the mainstay, without which
nothing could be done.

After the meagre but satisfying dinner was finished, Helen put the
remains of the bacon and flour back into the hanging-box and they
prepared to continue their journey. Even Bennie was silent and somber,
and Loney was so tired that his legs trembled, even when Helen held her
sustaining arm around him. She began to wonder how this strange trio
could manage to live the life of hardship before them, and said as
much to Morris, who replied:

“Ah, I must do it; and, since I do it for Dora, it is not going to pe
too hart for me. I vill vork so hart as nefer vos to fint de golt, und
mit dot I can soon fint her. Come, childrens, ve must go on along. De
sooner ve start, de sooner ve get dere. Und den ve rest to-night und
get busy to-morrow. I vish ve hat Jake vonce more.”

“Do you think you will surely be able to stand the work, Mr.
Goldberg--alone?”

“Hafen’t I got Bennie and Loney? Vot more do I vant, oxcept a
putcher-shop und a crocery close py. De question of vere de meals is to
come from is vot bodders me in my mind.”

“I wanted to say that I will stay up here a short time until you learn
how to manage. I am a good hunter and think we can keep enough food on
hand to keep us from starvation.”

Bennie plodded on gloomily ahead, saying nothing, but bending his
strong young back under the burden of impedimenta, among them a
complete shoemaker’s outfit--all save the bench.

“Able to stant it,” mused the father; “yes, I vill stant it, and vork
mein fingers to de pone, to find de golt, so I can find mein Dora!”



CHAPTER XII.


Two weeks passed by after the little party of Morris, Helen, Bennie
and Loney had gone to the mine designated on the paper which had been
given to Morris. These two weeks would outweigh a year in any other
place or time. Every morning found Morris at work, digging with pick
and shovel, but he made no progress, for either he had not reached the
proper place or there was not the gold that “Cactus Bill” had thought
there was, something that happens with the most experienced miners
sometimes. There being no money to purchase food with, and no handy
market, it fared badly with the novices in mining. Helen went out early
every morning and returned late at night with her gun, but it would
seem as if all the game in the mountains had left for another State,
for she found next to nothing, and the little camp was rapidly becoming
the abode of hunger--gaunt and grim. The shoemaker sat down by the
side of the place where he had been digging and wiped the drops of
perspiration from his brow as he said to Loney, who was always by his
side:

“It’s no use, Loney, ve haf vorked two weeks, and fount nodings at all.
It is entless, and all ve get is tired. I vork so hart vot I can, und
mit efery blow I pray to de good Gott to show me de golt. But I fint
it not. Und ven I fint it not, I nefer fint mein Dora! Here I am mit
you und Bennie in dis strange landt, mitout moneys, mitout home, and
hungry. All ve haf left is von small piece of dry bread.”

“And I am so hungry, Mr. Goldberg; so very, very hungry! Is it almost
time to eat?”

“Yes, Loney, it is time. Vait a minute und I vill go by the ice-chest
und get de dinner. Don’t worry, Loney, de Bennie and de Helen dey both
haf gone to hunt for de game mit deir guns, und sure dey get someding
dis time.”

“They went yesterday, too, and didn’t bring anything back. Why don’t
you send to the store for something?”

“Oh, mein boy, dere is not a store mithin a hundred miles avay, und if
dere pe von I haf no money. I must fint de golt--I must fint it. If
dere vos efen a telegraph-line--but how could I telegraph for somedings
to eat? Vell, vait, Loney, till I bring de breat.”

This argument, so convincing to the old man, was not at all so to the
child. But his docile mind made him rely upon the words of Mr. Goldberg
like on the rising of the sun--a certainty.

The shoemaker went to the shack and soon returned with a quarter of a
loaf of stale bread. He looked at it sadly, saying the while:

“Oh, my! oh, my! The bakers must be on a strike; eh, Loney? There
isn’t much, und ve must divide it up into four parts, for dere must pe
somedings for de Bennie und de Helen, if dey come back mitout anyding
again.”

“I’m awful glad it is time to eat, for I am so hungry. This is the
first bite we’ve had since yesterday.”

The little fellow’s eyes sparkled as he saw the bread, which most of us
would have thrown aside as valueless, and waited with impatience for it
to be divided. The shoemaker cut it into four pieces, picking up and
eating the crumbs that broke off from the loaf as he cut it. He handed
Loney his portion. As the child ate it ravenously, he shook his head
sadly, saying:

“Yes, this is the last crumb before starvation!”

Loney had broken his bread into pieces, and as he left some of them on
the rock by his side Morris broke his bread also into pieces, and put
one piece to his lips, then took it away resolutely, and, pointing to a
tree, said:

“Is dot a pirt on dat tree ofer dere?”

The child looked in the direction of the tree, while Morris slipped the
piece of bread down beside the others on the rock.

“I don’t see any bird, Mr. Goldberg. Why don’t you eat your bread? I
thought you were hungry, too.”

Saying this, the child took the bread from the rock all unsuspecting
that it had been placed there by the shoemaker. To aid in the
deception, the old man began to chew, saying:

“Vot you vant me to do? Dere, now, see how I choke meinselluf!”

Saying this, the kind man pretended to cough, and again said:

“Look, look! I am sure it is a pirt on de tree. Oh, if de Bennie und de
Helen vere only here now!”

As the child looked again, earnestly, at the tree, Morris placed the
rest of the bread on the rock, unperceived. The boy looked in vain
for the bird, and mechanically put his hand behind him for the bread,
and never knew that the good man had sacrificed himself for the sake
of seeing the child eat the bread. Morris kept up the deception
until he saw that Loney had finished his scanty meal, and then tears
of weakness, hunger and sorrow mingled and ran, unnoticed, down his
cheeks. Loney saw them and said:

“Oh, Mr. Goldberg! why are you crying?”

“Crying? I am laughing. I’m not crying. Don’t you know de difference
between laughing und crying! Ven ve get de golt ve can hire de best
detective-policemens in de vorld, und den ve fint her right avay. It
is hart dot ve must haf money, efen to fint our children ven dey pe
lostet. If I fint a million, dot all shall be spent to fint Dora!”

“I’ll help you, Mr. Goldberg. Would you buy me something?”

“Yes; vot you vant? A naughtymobble? Or a flying-machine?”

“Oh, yes!”

“Vell, den, I puy you a naughtymobble, mit a golt horn on it und mit
three pounds of diamonds all arount it. Haf you got a toothpick, Loney.
I haf got mein supper in mein teeth, und it makes me nervous.”

“No, sir, I haven’t got one,” said Loney, ready to cry, to think that
he could not give his benefactor what he wanted. He continued:

“Nefer mind, Loney. Ve vill vait till after breakfast.”

“Do you think there will be any breakfast, Mr. Goldberg?”

“If dere isn’t, den I vill be a deat’ von! Ah, sure dere vill be a
breakfast. I feel sure dot de Helen und de Bennie vill find someding,
if only a canary-pirt. Now you, Loney, go py de tent und sleep some,
und lay you down avile. I vill go to vork again till dey come. Maype I
vill fint de golt.”

The child went obediently into the tent and lay down on the bed of
leaves, and soon slept. Goldberg returned to the place where he had
been digging and commenced to work again, wielding the pick very
awkwardly, but with determination.

During the time that he had been at work at the claim, he had, under
Helen’s guidance and advice, dug a tunnel for quite a distance under
the mountain, and this he had shored up with timbers cut from the
trees. The work was hard and his unaccustomed hands were in a terrible
state, but the thought that the discovery of the gold hidden in this
claim meant the means to seek his child nerved him to the exertion.

Just above the mouth of his tunnel, but several feet distant, was a
large rock weighing many tons. Morris looked out toward the trail, from
whence he might expect to see Bennie and Helen come, but he failed
to look upward. Had he done so, he might have seen the evil faces of
John Pierson and Dopey Mack as they crouched behind the rock looking
down at the mouth of the tunnel. They had found a cavern several miles
away and had left Dora and Muriel there, while they came back to this
place. John had known of this claim, but had not known its location,
and now--to see such a chance for wealth pass from his hands into that
of the old shoemaker was too much, and he determined that the man must
die, so that he could step in and possess the claim. So steeped was he
in crime that the death of one or more victims counted for nothing in
his eyes.

When Morris had gone into the tunnel John whispered to Dopey, saying:

“Now is our time. We can loosen this big rock and push it down, so that
it will crush him as he comes out!”

“Aw, say, boss, why not plug him wid a bullet and be done wid it?”

“No; this quiet way is the best, and if anyone should, by any
possibility, be around, that person will think it an accident. Go and
bring that crowbar.”

The shoemaker kept at his task inside the tunnel, but it was growing
too dark to work much longer, and he laid down his pick and started
out, saying, as he did so, that it was no wonder gold was so costly,
since it was so hard to dig, and it was still less of a wonder that men
turned counterfeiters and thieves, when it was so much easier to be a
bad man than a good one. Then, again, he took up his pick and tried
to dig a few more strokes, but it was too dark and he came out of the
tunnel and sat down on a rock, where he suddenly gave way to grief and
sobbed as only strong men do.

“It is no use, no use! Dora, mein Dora, vere are you? Are you deat or
lifing?”

Just then the moon rose over the brow of the mountain and fell upon his
upturned face as he lifted his hands and prayed aloud:

“Oh, Gott! de fader abofe, send me mein chilt to me. I haf vaited so
long for her dot mein heart shall surely preak. Oh, Gott! send me mein
chilt!”

In the meantime John and Dopey, having loosened the rock, sneaked away
silently, leaving the rock balanced on a hair almost. They circled
around and escaped being seen by the rocks and tree-stumps, and stood
at a safe distance from the mine, as the rock might rebound. In such a
case it would be difficult to decide which way it would go. While they
stood hidden, waiting the moment when the loosened rock should come
crashing down, there was a soft sound, as of small feet brushing along
the leafy rocks, and a plaintive voice became audible as someone sang:

  “Tell me that you love me,
   Tell me softly, sweetly, as of old.”

The poor father thought this was the answer to his prayer and believed
that Dora was dead and this was her spirit that had come to warn him of
her death. He sank to the ground, sobbing, incapable of other movement.
Then, again, clearer, nearer came the sound of the dear voice, and
Morris raised his head to see his child come walking toward him and
singing the old song as she came. He half-whispered:

“Dora, mein chilt--alife! Dank Gott--alife!”

“Who are you, sir?” asked Dora, looking at her father as we look at
strangers. “I don’t know you. I am looking for my father and Bennie.”

“Look at me, mein chilt! I am your fader! Don’t you know me?”

“No--I don’t know you, and I must go away from you, for I must find my
father and Bennie.”

As she said these words, poor Dora walked away toward the ravine from
whence she had come. Muriel, worn out with watching, had fallen asleep,
and Dora had somehow found another entrance to the cave and gone out
that way, which brought her to the mouth of the tunnel where her father
was at work trying to get gold to seek for his daughter, and now that
he had found her he discovered that she was insane and did not know
him. As she went back toward the ravine her father roused from his
stupor and cried:

“Dora! Dora! come back! Come back!” But she disappeared from his sight
in the darkening shadows, while John and Dopey both sprang at Morris,
saying roughly:

“Where are you going?”

“Stand avay! I am going to get mein chilt.”

“You’ll do nothing of the kind. She belongs to me now.”

“Stand avay! or, py de Gott dot made me, I vill kill you!”

“Kill?” sneered John, “why, you poor Jew, you wouldn’t kill anything.”

“Jew; yes, I am a Jew, but I haf anoder name and dot is vot de vorld
calls Fader, und a fader dot vill die for his young.”

“Stay where you are, or die!” said John.

“Mein chilt is dere, und you shall not keep me from her!” said Morris,
with a white, set face; and then, for the first time in his life,
Morris Goldberg was fighting, but this was for his child. He had no
thought of danger, but sprang at John’s throat. They struggled with
great ferocity. John had not expected to find such strength in the arms
of the old man, and had all he could do to ward off the strangling
fingers, but he managed to free himself from their grasp and call
“Dopey! at him!”

Then the shoemaker sprang, with his back to the rocky side of his
tunnel, after having seized a pick. This he flourished, saying:

“The first one dot moves, I vill brain!”

Loney heard the noise of the conflict and crept softly from the tent,
and, seeing in what danger his friend was, started away in the hope of
bringing aid. Dopey waited for no further orders, but fired his pistol
at Morris who ducked and the ball went wide of its mark, and higher.
It struck the big rock they had pried loose, and the sudden impact of
the ball caused it to recoil and then topple down with a great crash.
It rolled on down until it settled solidly at the very feet of John
Pierson, who gave it one look and then said:

“Well! by---- That rock is seamed with gold! He has struck it rich,
like all fools. He must have the deed to this claim. Upon him! at
him, Dopey!” But Dopey had fired his only shot and could not get near
enough, on account of that deadly pickaxe which Morris would surely
use, as he was worked up to a pitch where he had thrown his usual
prudence to the winds. He said, while the full extent of his good
fortune began to dawn upon his rather slow intelligence:

“I haf not de deet, und, if I hat, I vould die pefore I vould gif it to
you!”

Dopey reached around and took possession of one of John’s revolvers and
aimed at Morris when John, feeling sure of their superiority over the
lonely man, said:

“Don’t shoot, Dopey! Don’t kill him! If he hasn’t the deed on him,
we’ll make him tell where it is. We must take him alive. Come on!”

Both of the scoundrels sprang at Morris, whose mind was bewildered
by the simultaneous attack, and he wavered, so that Dopey managed
to strike him over the head with a slung-shot, which caused the
unfortunate man to fall, groaning and helpless, to the ground!

“Ah, now we have him,” said John, “and we’ll take him to the hut and
torture him to death by inches until he gives us the deed to this mine
of gold!”



CHAPTER XIII.


Down the trail there was a small procession coming to the relief of
the starved-out camp. Helen had seen an Indian, and as they all fairly
worshipped her as a superior being there was not one of them who would
not have coursed all over the State of Wyoming to do her a service. She
sent to Shoshone for food, and they were now on the road. Even Snakes
had come along, leaving his hotel to the care of his help. Dan and Mike
were also of the relief-party. Mike had hurt his foot and found it a
difficult matter to walk. They had ridden to the place, all but Mike,
whose pony had somehow gone so lame that they were obliged to leave
him. The others would have changed off with him and let him ride, but
he took this as an insult to his manhood, that he should be treated
like a baby, or, worse yet, a tenderfoot.

“Well, then, come on. You are worse than a pack of English tenderfoots.
If we are going to find the Angel and her friends, we must get a move
on. That’s what we must.”

“What do you think we are? A bunch of burros or mountain-goats? Do you
think we can climb these rocks the same as if they was flat prairie?”
said Dan, angry that Mike should be treated so badly, for they all knew
that Mike never shirked in anything from work to a free fight.

“Don’t mind Shoshone, Mike; he is stabbed by the spurs of love, and he
don’t know what he is saying half the time. He’s got cactus stickers in
his topknot, and he’s as sassy as a loon. Let him rave. Let him rave.”

“Well, you all know that I busted my saddle-girth a while back and that
dumped me out like a bag of flour, and kind ’er twisted my ankle.”

They all laughed at the wry face Mike made, but he sat down,
obstinately saying:

“Now, look here, fellows; this is nothing to laugh at. I’ve heard of
people faintin’ away with this, and I ain’t no coward when it comes to
it, and that you all know. I must rest this foot a little, and that’s
all there is to it.”

“Snakes, you stay here with Mike and we’ll push on. Somehow, I’ve got a
hunch that we’re needed up at the claim,” said Shoshone.

“No,” said Mike, “you all stay for ten minutes. That’s all I ask.”

“Well, then, did you sprain your warbler, too? If not, then let’s
sing, to ease the pain,” said Shoshone. He well knew the virtues of
the singing to the cattle, so why not try it on the suffering man? So
he started the song and the rocky canyon resounded with the melody,
for these men make real music with their singing out in the open.
And scarcely had they finished the song than they heard a familiar
“Whoo-hoo,” and, with one accord, they said:

“The Angel. No use talking, our warbling would bring the angels down.
Whoo-hoo, Angel, this way!”

“I am awfully glad to see you, boys,” said Helen, as she climbed down
the declevity. “We’ve been hunting for game and found none, and are
pretty well starved out up there. And the little fellow needs better
food.”

“Come on, boys; come quick! Scoot, you wolves, and get a lamb from the
nearest flock! Don’t stand there looking, but scoot. I’ve got enough
with me for one good square meal all ready, and the rest will be easy.
Mike, you get on my cayuse. We can’t wait.”

“What is it, Mike? Have you turned your ankle? Let me see it. No saying
a word, but take off your boot, and quick,” said Helen, in the most
matter-of-fact business sort of way. Then she deftly felt the injured
foot and, with a quick wrench that made the strong man pale to the
lips, she said:

“Why, Mike, it was dislocated. No wonder it hurt. Now I’ll bandage it
the best I can until we get to civilization again.”

With a long strip of cloth which she carried in a little bag hung
to her waist, Helen bandaged the foot while the others looked on in
wonder, all wishing the ankle his own. Then Mike was kindly forced to
mount the horse, and Shoshone outdid himself in consideration for Mike.

As Dan and Snakes started for the lamb, Helen called them and told
them the place was at the head of the small gulch on Bald Knob. Then
she hurried Shoshone and Mike along, her own feet seeming tireless,
although she had been tramping over the mountains all day long, and
hungry.

“Whenever the Injuns come around as thick as they have been lately,”
said Mike, “the game gits scarce at once. I think as how the critters
has a way of telling each other that it ain’t healthy for them to stay.
Animals know lots more than we think. And they know that we don’t
bother much with them so long as there is fat yearlings to eat for the
asking. So when the Injuns come back from one of their jaunts, the
critters just mosey off, each one telling the other that it ain’t safe
to stay.”

“I think you are right, Mike, and I have thought it so, too. But now we
will be all right. I haven’t had a bite since yesterday.”

Shoshone turned pale and hastily took the knapsack from his back, but
Helen refused to touch a thing until they were all at the claim.

“Vamose, vamose, boys!” cried Shoshone to the others, who were going as
fast as the nature of the ground would permit toward a ranch down the
valley. “Hurry up, you catamounts! Come, and keep coming till there’s
enough grub for a month. The Angel is starved--that’s what!”

Scarcely had the ringing voice of Shoshone ceased reverberating through
the ravine than Helen and Shoshone saw the frail form of little Loney
come flying down toward them. With all his feeble strength, he cried:

“Help! Help!”

“Why, Loney! what is the matter?” asked Helen, taking the panting child
in her arms. “Speak, child, speak!”

“Mr. Goldberg! Mr. Goldberg!”

“What’s wrong, Loney?” asked Shoshone, filled with apprehension, for
he knew how ignorant the old man was of life in this region, and he
thought, in one brief instant, of dozens of dangers he might have run
into through his ignorance--from a nest of mountain-lions to a cave-in
of his tunnel.

“He is dead! He is dead!”

“Dead!” said Helen. “Dead! How?”

“Yes; he is dead! Some men came and killed him with a funny stick. They
fired at him, and a rock came down, but it didn’t hurt him, and then
they hit him and killed him, because he wouldn’t tell them where a
deed, I think they said, was. And I hid in the rocks and run away.”

“I don’t know who could have been vile enough to injure that good
man. He was like a child in his truthfulness and like an angel in his
goodness. And he was good to me. Come on, Shoshone and Mike, come on.
Let us go to him, and I swear to search Wyoming to avenge the death of
this good and inoffensive man! Shoshone, if I am anything at all of
what all you boys believe me to be, I owe it to him. He taught me that
it is never too late to mend.”

“So will I,” said Shoshone solemnly, as to himself, while Mike said:

“You can count me in, too, Angel, and together we will find who has
done this thing, and bring swift punishment on him.”

They rode on in the gathering dusk and soon were by the shack that had
been built near the claim, as it was convenient for water. There was a
light inside, a fact which seemed remarkable, and which made them use
much caution.

During the time when Loney had been running down the trail and
returning with Helen, Shoshone and Mike, John and Dopey had taken the
inert form of Morris and carried it to the shack and placed it on the
bed in a position so that they could torture him at their leisure.

The table had a lighted lamp upon it. Morris lay pale and almost in a
comatose condition. On the table by the lamp lay a heavy bar of iron.
John and Dopey were making a hurried search for the missing deed when
Morris groaned and stirred slightly on the bed, which caused the two
miscreants to stop in their fruitless search and approach him. In the
fracas John’s false beard had become loosened, and he let it fall,
while Dopey, who took his cue always from John, drew his off also, and
they stood revealed as the two who had carried Dora from her home.

“’Ow is he, boss? T’ink we’d better get t’rough wid him?”

“He seems unconscious. That pounding you gave him with the slung-shot
was too much for his thick head, and may kill him, after all! He
hasn’t been able to speak a word since he has been here. But you shall
speak!” he continued to Morris, “you shall speak and tell me where to
find the deed, or I’ll slit your throat for you! Wake up and speak, or
I’ll tear your heart out, you old fool! Where is the deed? Where is
the deed, I say?” Then the villain choked the unconscious man, shaking
him like a rat, and finally discouraged, threw him back again upon the
pillow. “It’s no use, Dopey; he is the same as dead! We must wait and
search!”

“Dora! Dora! mein little chilt!” murmured the unconscious Morris, in a
feeble tone.

“Hear dat, boss? He spoke!”

“And he’ll speak again, or I’ll cut his throat!” And as he said these
words, John bent over Morris and threatened him with a keen and shining
knife. “Will you speak and tell me where that deed is, or shall I cut
your throat? Answer me!”

“Oh, cut away, boss! You’re losin’ time.”

“And lose the deed to that mine--not much. I’d rather wait. He was
talking of his child while still unconscious, and that makes me feel
sure he will come to in time and tell us where the deed is, or he’ll
never leave this bed alive!”

“And where is de gal now?”

“Oh, Muriel has got her, and I’ve got them both fastened in the old
shack below.”

At this instant there was a loud hallo, which caused the two murderers
to grow pale and start, but John said:

“There’s someone coming! Bar the door, Dopey!”

“Settle him now, before he comes to and tells tales!”

“You are right, Dopey. I’ll smother him!” And, saying these fateful
words, John seized the pillow and pressed it down over the prostrate
man’s face, while his ears were strained to catch any sounds.

There was a loud and insistent knock on the cabin-door, which had been
made to withstand the attacks of mountain-lions or any other possible
depredators, and the ringing voice of Shoshone said:

“Open! Open, I say! Whoever you are, open the door!”

John made a motion to Dopey to keep still, while he took out his pistol
and stood on guard, forgetting, in his peril, to press the pillow down
over Morris’ face, while Shoshone, without, again commanded that the
door be opened or he would break it down. John returned to the attack
upon Morris, and again pressed the pillow down tightly, intending to
finish his work and then, if so be, fight the intruders later.

There was but a short time before the door began to cede to the
efforts of Shoshone and Mike, who now forgot his lame ankle, and
John saw instantly that his only hope was to pay in audacity for his
imprudence, so when Shoshone and Mike entered the hut he had laid one
of his pistols on the table, as though that were the only one he had.
The pillow had been placed back of the man, and Shoshone came forward,
saying sternly:

“So he is here, and you are the men who have murdered him!”

“You are wrong there, Mister. We were riding along when we heard the
sound of trouble and dismounted, and came to see what we could do, and
found this poor man wounded, and brought him in. While we were doing
this, the scoundrels, whoever they were, rode off on our horses with
our entire outfit.”

“What is that pistol doing on the table? Is that the kind of medicine
you have been giving him?”

“That is not my pistol. We don’t need pistols. We are simply honest
prospectors, trying to locate a mine somewhere.”

“Well, I’m not armed, either,” said Shoshone. “I fell into a hole
coming here, and dropped mine; so, if you are honest men, I don’t need
them, and you will help me to help my friend.”

“Certainly we will, and be glad to do so,” said John.

Shoshone would have known John, had he not taken off the very perfect
false beard he had worn, although he had not seen very much of him
during their short stay at the hotel.

“I have a friend coming along behind, and she is a famous nurse. Our
poor friend here will need good care if he is to live.”

Saying this, Shoshone went to the door, as if going out, while the
wounded man, by a supreme effort, reached his hand out to the table,
and then, thinking that unsafe, began to tap the Morse telegraphic call
on a board of the bed:

  (. : . : .)

“What’s that?” asked John, startled, in spite of himself, and not
understanding the tapping. Shoshone returned from the door, saying to
himself, “The telegraphic call.” Then the wounded man again tapped, and
this time it came

  --. : . .. .... ..

“Why, what does this mean?”

Again the raps sounded out, loud and distinct, as Morris struck his
hardened knuckles against the board, making these sounds:

  .. ::: ..--.: .... .. ... .. ..

Shoshone read “These are the men who tried to rob and murder me!”

As Shoshone read these signs aloud, John saw that the game was up and
he must save himself as best he could, and sprang to reach his pistol,
but Shoshone was too quick for him and pulled him to the floor, while
Dopey came from the shadow where he had kept himself purposely and fell
upon Shoshone, and the three went struggling to the floor. Morris had
by now completely regained his consciousness, though not his strength,
and, finding himself unable to rise, he reached out and managed, by a
super-human effort, to reach the pistol on the table and fire it just
as John had seized the heavy lamp to brain Shoshone with it, as Dopey
held him down, and although Morris fired at random almost, he was
fortunate enough to hit John in the arm, while the lamp dropped to the
floor, just as Helen and Loney came panting in.

John and Dopey made their escape in the confusion, and there was
nothing left to do but to prepare and eat a good supper, which helped
materially in restoring Morris, who told them of having seen his
daughter, and that she did not know him.

Helen felt sure that her captors were holding her for a ransom, wishing
to get the mine into their control. They discussed the question awhile,
and then Loney said:

“Why, Mr. Goldberg, those two men were the very same that killed the
man in the shop. And when they struck you to-day they were not shaved.
To-night they are shaved, and I know them. They are awful bad men. They
took Dora, and they hit me. Oh, dear! it makes my head hurt to think
about it!”



CHAPTER XIV.


It was several weeks after the events narrated in the last chapter, and
there was quite an excitement at a place which, though not yet born,
was named Boomtown. There was to be a portion of the Reservation to
be given over to settlers, and many women were among the men who were
ready to cross the line at the signal and take up their section of
ground, and thus establish a home.

Morris had gained his strength, and Bennie had gotten over the
mortification of having been chased up a tree by what he considered
some vicious animal on the momentous night of the attack on Morris,
only to find in the morning that it had been but a cow that had
strayed from the herd and wanted human companionship. Bennie had been
unmercifully guyed by the rough men, but he took it all in such good
part that they ceased tormenting him and liked him better than he knew.

Helen and Loney were almost inseparable, and under her good care and
the good fare and bracing mountain air he was fast rounding into a fine
boy--healthy and rosy.

Shoshone, as well as all the men and women within range, was as fond
of Helen as ever. Her errands of mercy and kindness, done always
without money and without price, endeared her to all alike, even the
Indians looking upon her as something saintly and one whom they should
respect as one sent from the Great Spirit.

Dora had disappeared entirely, and no one could find the slightest
trace of her. The patient Indians had been impressed into the search,
but no tidings came from her, and no trace of John, Muriel or Dopey
could be found. Morris despaired, and had grown old and almost gray.
Bennie had lost much of his bright gayety, and it seemed as though the
shadow would never be lifted.

Morris had discovered that Helen was the sister of the dead man, and
as such he gave her her share of the claim which they were now sure
was of great value, but often a rich claim is known well to be, so
it lies idle and unproductive for want of the money to pay to work
it. This claim, which promised so well, would need deep tunnelling, a
quartz-mill and all the other things necessary to properly work it.
Morris and Helen might stay there forever and dig out a few dollars
worth of gold a day, but, with millions almost in sight, it would be
asking too much of them to expect them to do this, when Helen knew
if Morris did not, that there were plenty men with the means and the
knowledge ready to join them once they were convinced that the mine was
all they claimed.

So, to try and find one of these rare birds, the capitalist, Helen
and Morris with Loney, and Bennie, came down to Hellandgone, and were
persuaded by Shoshone and the others of the “old crowd,” as they called
themselves, to come over to the rush into the Reservation. Helen was to
cross the line with Loney, and lay claim to one parcel for the child
and one for herself.

Bennie was looking all about for Morris, who had disappeared strangely
and suddenly, but without success.

There was a great crowd gathered at the edge of the railroad,
waiting for the signal to cross it, for the roadbed was the line of
demarkation, and on the farther side was the land for distribution. Red
Eagle was there, looking on the crowd and at the land with a somber
face. This land had belonged to his forbears from beyond recollection,
and, little by little, it had been taken away from them, until now
this last and best strip was to be given over to the white man.

When all had gathered, that seemed likely to come, Shoshone mounted
a large dry-goods box that seemed to be there providentially for the
purpose and shouted:

“Listen! ladies and gentlemen. I am Pete Browning, known to you best as
Shoshone Pete. I have been appointed Marshal of Boomtown. I am here to
preserve order. Any decent man and I will get along all hunky, but all
thugs, crooks and bad men take warning, for I’ll shoot on sight! Now
you know me, who I am and what I’m here for.”

All the “boys” from Hellandgone and the adjacent country gave in chorus
their yell of “Ee--you!” until the very ground trembled.

“He’s a wanderer from Dead Man’s Gulch, but he’s not alone, for we’re
his little brothers!” shouted Dan. Then again resounded the “Zip! Zip!
yee, you!” in which Red Eagle joined with unction, for he smelled
whiskey as the ending of this festival. Then Red Eagle was cheered, at
which he bowed with preternatural dignity.

At this juncture Snakes Duffy came up with a keg of whiskey on his
shoulder, at which everybody cheered, but Helen went to him and,
smiling pleasantly, asked him something, to which he nodded assent and
deliberately turned the keg on end and sat down on it. He disposed
himself so as to listen to what Shoshone had to say, and this gentleman
spoke:

“To those who don’t know, let me state that at 12 o’clock precisely, a
few seconds from now, as Deputy United States Marshal, I shall fire my
pistol, and that will be the signal for the crossing of the line, which
is the railroad track. Over there is the Reservation, and no man must
cross it until he hears the signal. The one who does it, does so at the
risk of his life!”

Shoshone stood still as a statue, looking at his watch and holding his
great pistol with its shining barrel.

“Don’t be in a hurry, boys; don’t be in a hurry to try your wings. He’s
from the heart of the Gulch and shoots with both hands--never misses,
either.”

This advice probably had some effect, for everyone kept in his place,
when Mike shouted, and in a voice loud enough to be heard all over the
county:

“Say, boys, we all owe it to the Angel that she should be given one
minute’s start over everyone here. All in favor of it say ‘aye.’”

Such a chorus of “ayes” rose that it showed Helen that her gentle
ministrations and self-sacrifice had been appreciated in her own
generation.

“Go, Angel, and take the boy, Loney, along. He ought to have a start in
life.”

“Thank you, friends,” said Helen, “I will do this, not so much for
myself----”

“Oh, go on and pick out a pretty place, and the boys will build you a
shack.”

Smiling happily, Helen went across the track and back some yards and
sat down. With a shout then Shoshone fired his pistol, and there was a
wild rush of all present, but it was a good-natured one, thanks to the
absence of the cause of most of the disputes of the far West--whiskey.

Then a strange phenomenon took place. As the pistol was fired, Shoshone
sprang from the box and rushed forward with the rest, intent on finding
Helen and protecting her from the rushing feet, and this box rose in
the air of itself and two legs showed beneath it, until it reached the
goal it had set, and then the box with the legs under it sat down on
the ground, and those near could read the legend:

  MORRIS GOLDBERG, SHOEMAKER, & REAL ESTATE.

All present sent up such a shout of laughter that it set the crowd in
such good humor that the town was born without a single fight.

As Shoshone reached the side of the dry-goods box he was nearly dead
from laughter, but managed to say:

“Well, you have beat us all, Mr. Goldberg. We have but our lots, while
you have your house all done, and are ready for business.”

“Yah, dere pe no flies on me, Mr. Shoshone. Vere is der Angel, mein
partner in der claim? Meppe ve make some moneys in real estate, und
I can vork at mein trate until ve fix it all. Yust to t’ink, she vos
de sister of dot ‘Cactus Bill.’ I dell you dot she is a real angel.
Didn’t she dake care of me after dot scoundrel knocked me out? Und she
is like a mutter to dot Loney. Und she is so goot. Ach, Gott! if I haf
millions, dey should all be hers.”

Somehow this frank admiration was not so pleasant to Shoshone as it
might have been. He felt a sort of tugging at his heart that he had
never felt before. Was it jealousy? He did not know exactly, but it was
a very uncomfortable feeling. Then he asked how it was that Morris,
with a claim, and thus a home of his own, should have come down here to
try to grasp a homestead.

“Ah, mein friendt, it vos because one of dem cigar-store signs came
und said dot he haf heard dot dose mens vot haf stole mein chilt vos
coming here, und I comet too. Und so long as ve vos here, it don’t cost
nodings to take de claim, and so, meppe, I vork und make enough to vork
de claim. Say, Shoshone, vy you don’t get merrit mit de Angel, and live
here, too?”

This innocent question so took Shoshone by surprise that for a moment
he could not speak. Then he said, sadly:

“I would, but she won’t have me. I don’t blame her for not liking one
so rough.”

“Ut-tut, I haf see in her eyes, ven she look at you, dot she likes you,
und----”

Here Shoshone seized the old man’s hand and fairly wrung it in his joy.
The shoemaker said, simply:

“Vell, I call de Bennie to bring me mein tools und I pegin piziness, if
dere is any; und if not, den ve set de tent. Und Helen vill haf de tent
till she can get a house. Vill you come?”

Would he go to where Helen was? He certainly would, and did.

John and Dopey had been in that crowd. John’s resources always depended
on the men that he could fleece at gambling, or some other game of
confidence. They had resumed their full beards and dressed in a
different manner, so they felt sure they would not be recognized if
anyone of the crowd at Hellandgone should be at the birth of the new
town. John had caught sight of Morris, and said to Dopey:

“Either that Jew is the smartest detective in the United States or
the biggest fool for luck. It doesn’t matter much which, but it seems
impossible to get rid of him.”

“Have you tried de right way yet, boss? You allus lets him get away. It
wouldn’t be noticed if he was to get a stray bullet in his gizzard now.
There is allus a shooting-match in this kind of a ruction.”

“You are right. This is the place and time to rid ourselves of him.
Here we put our necks in danger, sneaking in the back way, so to speak,
and run up against the old man, and the daughter still on our hands. We
have got to play this game fine or we’ll lose. And here she has come to
her senses again. That is one of the unaccountable things no one can
explain. Some persons go suddenly insane and as suddenly regain their
reason. It doubles our danger. And Muriel has turned such a tiger-cat
about her. Oh, hide! hide quick! For if God is to judge me, here comes
my wife, and the boy with her. How shall we get him away, for no one
knows when or what he may tell?”

The two scoundrels escaped in the crowd, and pretended to be hunting
for someone. The last thing they would now think of was to try to
settle in the place made so dangerous for them.

Helen and the child came along to the box where Morris had fixed his
abode and sat down upon it, she having registered the two claims. She
said:

“We must try and get back to the Gulch before there is any kind of
trouble, for often when there is a crowd like this they get to drinking
and fighting. Snakes was so good, and would not sell any, but there may
be others who will. Some of the men are desperate characters.”

“Let’s hurry then, for I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you,
because I love you so much.”

“Do you love me, Loney? That sounds so sweet, and I am so glad that I
could win your affection. And I am glad if I could to-day do anything
to insure your future. If my own little boy had lived, he would have
been about your own age. And he must have looked as you do had he
lived.”

“Well, I wish that I had been your little boy. You don’t know how it
feels to know you are nobody’s boy.”

All the boomers were occupied each with his own plans, and they seemed
to consist in getting their claims registered, and after that getting
their tents set up. In a surprisingly short time the place looked like
a miniature village done in white. No one seemed to notice that two
men had approached Helen and the child, who were still sitting on the
box which Morris owned. As she saw these rough-looking men, each with
a full dark beard, Helen started, for there was something sinister in
their manner. She turned to them, saying:

“Who are you, and what do you want?”

“Never mind who I am. I know my business, and it is that I want that
boy.”

“What right have you to ask such a thing? What is this child to you?”

As Helen said this firmly, John stood so that he was hidden from sight,
while he removed his false beard, saying:

“Look at me closely and, maybe, you will know.”

“My God! it is John Pierson!”

“Yes; John Pierson, and that boy’s father.”

“Then I am his mother. Touch him if you dare!”

“Don’t let him take me! Don’t let him! It was that man that killed the
man in New York and tried to kill me!” screamed Loney, clinging to
Helen wildly.

“Don’t fear, my child! for he shall not harm one hair of your head!”

“And what will you do? What can you do to prevent it?”

“Do? Stand here and fight for him until you’ve hacked me to pieces with
that murderous knife! And I bid you beware, for I am his mother!”

“Onto her, Dopey! We’ll settle this right now!”

Dopey started toward Helen with his slung-shot raised for a crushing
blow, when he stopped suddenly with his arm raised, as he saw behind
John the long figure of Morris, who stood there, with his pistol
raised, ready to fire.

Morris had not lived long as he had in the West without learning how to
shoot and to employ some of the picturesque language in use there.

“Looket out, mein frients! Diss is de Yiddish doctor, und he might fill
you full of a kint of pills you vouldn’t like so vell.”

“Get away, Dopey; here comes someone else we don’t want to meet.” And
they started away so suddenly that Morris had no chance to shoot, had
he dared fire in that crowded place.

“Und I dare not shoot, although dose are de mens vot haf mein Dora.”

“They are the ones that killed the man in your shop, for I saw the big
one take off his whiskers--and it was the same one!”

“Und mein chilt, maype, is among dis crowd. May de goot Gott show me de
vay to fint her!”

While this was transpiring, Helen was kneeling at Loney’s side, weeping
with joy and kissing the child at the same time. “May He help you to
find your child as He has helped me find mine! Loney is my own little
boy, whom Heaven has sent back to his mother’s heart. Thank God! that
he did not die!”

“I knew that you would come back some day, for I always prayed you
would. I knew I would find my mother. I don’t like my father, for he is
bad and wicked. He tried to kill me, and carried Dora away!”

“Is that so, Mr. Goldberg? It is then but an added crime.”

“Yes, Helen, und I haf prayet dot I vould fint mein child. I vill go
out und look in efery blace till I see if she is here. Go you to de
tent und stay dere till I come again. You are not safe here.”

Bennie came back sad and crestfallen. What to him were all the lots in
the world without Dora, and even his optimistic soul was down in the
depths of despair. But all he said was:

“I will go with you to look for her. I think I saw the two men that we
seek among the boomers, but am not sure; but, in any case, it is better
than sitting still.”

“Yes, Bennie, ve must fint her or I shall lose my reason.”

So Helen and the child started back to the tent and went inside, and
there they were measurably safe, as they were surrounded by boomers who
were busy setting their tents in order.

“Oh, mother,” said Loney, “how glad I am that we have found each other!
Now, when it comes night, I can say my prayers at your knees instead of
all alone.”

“Yes, and you must always pray for the good man who took you into his
home when you were an outcast, through your own father’s wickedness. It
was he who showed me that it was never too late to mend. And I do not
intend to ever try to teach you to revere the memory of such a father
as yours is. He is unworthy of such a child, even unworthy of me.”

“Mother, they call you the Angel here. Why? Oh, I know; it is because
you are so kind to everyone. Teach me, so that I may be like you.”

Scarcely had Helen and Loney gone from the box when Muriel and Dora
came to the very spot. Muriel was pale and worn out, and her once
handsome garments were almost in rags from the long marches and the
exposure to which she had been subjected. Dora was dressed in a pretty
and complete Indian maiden’s costume which Muriel had bought from Red
Eagle, whose love for firewater had caused him to barter away what
his squaw had kept sacred ever since her daughter had died in her
youth. So, unless he happened to see her face, John would scarcely
have recognized Dora. She had a shawl drawn up over her head, so as to
conceal her identity still better. Muriel said, hurriedly:

“Go, go! and get lost in the crowd! I cannot protect you longer!”

She did not tell Dora that she knew herself to be dying from pneumonia,
for she knew the child then would not leave her, so she held Dora close
to her heart for a moment, and then sent her away.

“I thank you with all my heart for all your goodness to me, and I will
pray that Heaven may repay you for all you have endured for me!”

“Go, go! I fancy I see them following us in the crowd back there. And
it will cost our lives if they find us again! Go, Dora!”

“Good-bye, dear Muriel. God bless and keep you safe!” And Dora mingled
with the crowd, none of whom took more than casual notice of the squaw,
for squaws were common about there.

Shoshone came by the box, hoping to find the shoemaker. Helen was with
him, but the boy was not. “And,” he said, continuing a conversation
they had had:

“Don’t worry about the boy, Helen. He is safer with the boys than with
you.”

They did not notice Muriel, who looked at Helen for a moment with tears
in her eyes and then slipped away unseen by Helen, whose sorrows she
had caused in a great measure.

“Are you sure he would be safe with them? Think what it would mean to
me to lose him again!”

“Don’t worry. Anyone of the boys would die for you any day, and as he
is your boy they would naturally transfer their allegiance to him. And
you say it is his father who, to rob you of him, killed your brother,
‘Cactus Bill,’ and stole this poor Dora? Say, he must be aching for
the noose. And, besides, it was he who tried to kill Goldberg!”

“Yes; he is John Pierson. I saw him but just now, and he tried to
take my child again. Oh, I wonder such men are permitted to live! He
outraged every human emotion, abandoned me with another woman, and to
think that he should have killed my poor brother! He was an honest man.”

“You bet he was. We all knew him, and he was white, he was.”

Shoshone stopped in his oration, saying: “Go back to the tent, girl.
Some of the boys are going to get busy.”

“What do you mean, Shoshone?”

“Nothin’, Helen, nothin’. I didn’t mean for you to go alone. I’ll go
along.”

“Thank you, Shoshone, I am growing to be a coward.”

They could not have gone more than fifty yards from the box when Muriel
came back that way, looking behind her in terror, as she saw her two
enemies following her, so that she could not escape. John approached
her, saying:

“What have you done with her? Where is she, you traitor?”

“I have set her free, you devil! and I’m ready to die for having done
it!” said Muriel, no longer seeking to escape, and folding her hands.

“Then die!”

Saying this, John fired point-blank at Muriel’s heart, and she fell to
the ground with a cry, while John said to Dopey: “Come this way! this
way, quick!”

At the sound of this shot, followed by a woman’s cry, there was a rush
of people, and among them Helen, for, in her excited mind, she feared
for her child. As she approached, the men made way for her, and she
knelt by the side of the dying woman, saying:

“A woman, poor thing!”

Then she started, saying, “You, you!”

“Yes, I; and is it possible that I am to die in your arms--you whom I
wronged so deeply?”

“Yes, Muriel, if you die, it shall be in my arms and with my pardon.”

“You pardon me after all I’ve done to you?”

“Yes; freely and fully, but don’t think of that. Can you pray?”

“Not until I tell you who killed me! It was John Pierson. The man I
took away from you has been your avenger.”

“I want no revenge, Muriel. Vengeance is not for us!”

The unfortunate woman gasped a few times, and while Helen was praying
for the passing soul the light went out of Muriel’s eyes and she was
dead!

“Hats off, boys; she is going over the range,” Shoshone had said while
Muriel was gasping her last breaths. Helen covered the face, letting
fall pearly tears as she did so.

While the moment was still tense there was a scream from a woman, and
Dora rushed to the spot where the crowd had gathered, crying:

“Save me! save me!” And she ran to Helen as the only woman there.

John and Dopey threw prudence to the winds by pursuing her, and John
drew his pistol, saying:

“We have a fine round-up just now, everybody together!” And he tried to
seize Dora, while her father, with his eyes of fire and his hair flying
in the wind, came rushing up.

“I heard Dora! I heard her!” Then he leveled his pistol at John,
saying: “Move a muscle, and I’ll kill you deat!”

“Kill him, Dopey! I’m all right.”

“Never mind him, pardner,” said Shoshone to Morris. Then to John: “Your
game is up, and I have won, as the Deputy Marshal. Boys,” he added,
with a dread significance. They closed around the murderer and Dopey,
who showed more fight than John had, but then he did not know quite so
well the meaning of the deep silence that had fallen upon them all.

“Dora! Dora!” called the distracted father, when there ran into his
arms what he had supposed was an Indian girl.

“Papa, papa! and Bennie, too. Oh, how glad I am! I don’t know how it
all happened, but we are together now.”

Shoshone made a motion to Goldberg to take them away, and, leading Dora
by one hand and Bennie by the other, they started to the tent.

Helen sank down to the box, incapable of movement. She knew what the
sudden silence meant and saw Dan take his lariat. She covered her face
with her hands and sat there for what she thought a year. Then she felt
her hand taken, and looked up to see Shoshone standing there and in his
grave face she read the truth. Swift justice had been meted out to the
murderers for their crimes!

Helen was free; no, not quite free, for she was now held close in
Shoshone’s arms.

THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *

GUS HILL’S ENTERPRISES.

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  GUS HILL,
  1358 Broadway, :: New York.
  CHAS. E. BARTON, General Manager.

       *       *       *       *       *

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[Illustration]

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  DION O’DARE                                By Charles E. Blaney
  THE BOY DETECTIVE                          By Charles E. Blaney
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  JOSIE, THE LITTLE MADCAP                   By Charles E. Blaney
  FIGHTING BILL, SHERIFF OF SILVER CREEK             By O. Harper
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  CONVICT 999                               By Grace Miller White
  EDNA, THE PRETTY TYPEWRITER                   By Grace M. White
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  A CHORUS GIRL’S LUCK IN NEW YORK                       By White
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  A RACE ACROSS THE CONTINENT                   By Grace M. White
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Transcriber’s Notes:

Illustrations have been moved to paragraph breaks near where they are
mentioned, except for the frontispiece.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in
the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have
been corrected.



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The shoemaker: A powerful picture of nature, adapted from Hal Reid’s famous drama of the same name" ***




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