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Red Saunders by Henry Wallace Phillips

Part 3 out of 3

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"Oh, Will! Are you killed?" she cried.

And then a voice devoid of any signs of weakness, but loaded to the
breaking point with wrath, told in such language as had never been
heard in Fairfield that the owner was still much alive.

"Run away, Mattie! Run away and let me cuss!" shrieked Red. Miss
Mattie collapsed into the arms of Lettis.

The dust settled enough so that the anxious villagers could see
horse and man; the former resting easily, as if he had had enough
athletics for one day, and the latter sitting in the road. Neither
showed any intention of rising.

"What's the matter, Mr. Saunders, are you hurt?" inquired the fussy

"Please go 'way, ma'am," said Red, waving his arm.

"I'm sure you're hurt--I'm perfectly sure you're hurt," she
persisted, holding her ground. "Now, do tell us what can possibly
be the matter with you?"

"Very well," returned the exasperated cow-puncher, "I will. My
pants, ma'am, have suffered in this turn-up, and they're now in a
condition to make my appearance in polite society difficult, if not
impossible; now please go 'way and somebody fetch me a horse

It is regrettable that the discomfiture of the post-mistress was
received with undisguised hilarity. The blanket was produced, and
Red stalked off in Indian dignity, marred by a limp in his left
leg, for he had come upon Mother Earth with a force which made
itself felt through all that foot of soft dust.

"Bring that durn-fool horse along," he called over his shoulder.
Buckskin rose and followed his owner. There was no light in his
eye now; he looked thoughtful. He, too, limped, and there was a
trickle of blood down his nose. Verily it had been a hard fought

* * * * *

As both men were anxious to see the lay of the land as soon as
possible. Red took his place in the waggon that day, after the
damages were repaired, content to wait until his leg was less sore
for horseback riding.

There followed a busy two weeks for them. Mr. Demilt had some
money he wished to put into the enterprise, but his most valuable
assistance was, of course, his thorough knowledge of the resources
of the country.

They found an admirable site for the mill, in an old stone barn,
which had stood the ravages of desolation almost unimpaired. Red's
mining experience told him that the creek could easily be flumed to
the barn, and as that was the only objection of the others to this
location, they wrote the owner of the property for a price. They
were astonished when they received the figures. It had come by
inheritance to a man to whom it was a white elephant of the most
exasperating sort, and he was glad to get rid of it for almost a
song. They were a jubilant three at the news. It saved the cost
of building a mill, and including that, the price was as low per
acre as any land they could have obtained. Red closed the bargain

Lettis' part of the business was chiefly to arrange for the
disposal of their product, and when he explained to his partners
what he could reasonably hope to do in that line, the affair lost
its last tint of unreality, and became a good proposition, for
Lettis had an excellent business acquaintance, who would be glad to
deal with the straightforward young fellow.

The night after the signing of the deeds, Red said to Miss Mattie,
"We ought to have a stockholders' dinner to-morrow night, Mattie.
If you could hire that scow-built girl, who wears her hair
scrambled, to come in and give you a lift, would you feel equal to

"You always put it that I'm doing you a great favour in such
things, Will, but you know perfectly well there's nothing I'd
rather do," replied Miss Mattie, with a dimpling smile. "However,
it adds to the pleasure of it to have it put in that way, so I
won't complain. I'll just have my supper first, and then you men
can talk over your business undisturbed."

"You _will_ not--you'll eat with the rest of us."

"Yes, but you stockholders--" The word had an import to Miss
Mattie; a something, if not regal, at least a kinship to the king.
Under her democracy lay a respect for the founded institution;
impersonal; an integral part of the law of the State; in fact, a
minor sovereignty within an empire.

"Stockholder yourself!" retorted Red. "Don't you call me names."

"What do you mean, Will?" asked Miss Mattie, with wide-opened eyes.

"I mean you're a stockholder as good as anybody--you've got half my
stack. Now, hold on! Just listen! This is a queer run, Mattie,
from the regulation point of view, this company of ours; I know
enough about fillin' and backin' to know that--you ought to have
seen the pryin', and pokin', and nosin' around them Boston men did
before they took holt of the Chantay Seeche and made it a stock
company! One feller was the ablest durn fool I ever come acrosst.
I used to let on I didn't savvey anything about it. 'Now, explain
to me,' says I to him. 'You say you have so many shares of them
stock,' waving my hand to a bunch of critters in the distance.
'What part do you take? I mean, what's your share of each animal,
and does the last man get the hoofs and the tail?' 'Oh! you don't
understand,' says he. 'I'll explain it to you.' So he starts in
to tell me that 'stock didn't necessarily mean beef critters,' and
a lot more things, whilst old man Ferguson, who was putting the
deal through, stood listening and chewing his teeth, thinking I was
going to give our friend the frolicsome hee-hee at the wind-up.
But I stood solemn, and never even drew a smile, for fear of
queering Ferguson. Well. That's the proper way to start a
company; make it as dreary and long-winded as possible. We ain't
done that, and perhaps we'll go broke for breaking the rules, and
then your stock won't be worth a cuss; so don't you get excited
about it. I wanted the Saunders family to be represented. Pretty
soon the old lad with the nose will be around, and you'll have a
chance to read about the 'parties of the first part,' and 'second
parts of the party' and 'aforesaids' and 'behindsaids' and the rest
of the yappi them lawyers swing so that honest men won't know what
the devil they're up to."

"Oh, Will! How can I ever thank you!" cried Miss Mattie, her eyes
filling. It seemed a great and responsible position to the gentle
lady to be a stockholder in the corporation. It wasn't the
monetary value of the thing; it was the pride of place.

"If you don't know how, don't try," returned Red. "You give the
other three stockholders a good feed to-morrow and the thanks will
be up to you. Hello! There's the old lad now!" as a trumpet blast
rang out from the front porch. "It must take some practise to blow
your nose like that. I've heard Jackasses that could not bray in
the same class with that little old gent--come in. Come in! You
needn't sound the rally again."

Thus adjured the lawyer made his entrance, and Miss Mattie became
in due and involved course of law a stockholder in the Fairfield
Strawboard Mfg. Co.

Fairfield rose to activity like a very small giant refreshed.
Teams and their heavy loads kept the respectable dust in constant
commotion. A grist mill was added to the intended plant, thus
offering an inducement to the farmer to raise grain, and
incidentally straw, "So we can ketch 'em on both ends, too," as Red
put it.

The time seemed like enchantment to Miss Mattie. As a bringer of
the tidings, and a stockholder in the company, she had risen to be
a person of importance, with the result that she was even more
modestly shy than before, although in her heart she liked it; but
more delightful yet was the spirit of holiday activity which
inspired and pervaded the place.

Red had insisted on operating on the lines that are laid down with
railroad spikes in the Western communities; to patronise home
industries as much as possible. Therefore the machinery orders
went through Mr. Farrel, the blacksmith, initiating that worthy man
into the mysteries of making money without doing anything for it,
which seemed little less than a miracle to him. Everything that
could be bought through local people was obtained in that way. It
cost a trifle more, but it brought more money into the place, and
enabled the villagers to partake of the enlivenment, without the
feeling that it was a Barmecide feast. The post-mistress furnished
the paint, and it is painful to add that she tried to furnish a
number three paint for a number one price, arguing that she was a
poor, lone woman, struggling through an uncharitable world and that
the increased profit would do her considerable good--a view which
Red did not share. He would willingly have made her a present of
the difference, but he did not in the least intend to be choused
out of it by man nor woman. They had a very funny debate in
private, wherein the feminine tried to dominate the masculine
principle by sheer volubility and found to its disgust that the
method didn't work. Red listened most respectfully and always
replied, "Yes ma'am, but we don't want that paint. Get us some
good paint--bully old paint with stick'um in it--this stuff is like
whitewash, only feebler. We're going to put on a swell front up at
the mill, and we've got to have the right thing." And at last the
post-mistress said that she would, her respect for the
ex-cowpuncher having risen noticeably in the meantime.


The work on the mill was pushed, and in spite of the usual amount
of unforeseen delays, it was ready for work by the latter part of
September. The official opening was set for the
twenty-seventh--Miss Mattie's birthday--and the village of
Fairfield was invited to a picnic to be held at the mill in honor
of the occasion. It is needless to say that the Fairfield
Strawboard Mfg. Co. did the thing up in shape. Waggons loaded
with straw, and drawn by four-horse teams, went the rounds of the
village, collecting the guests. It is doubtful if Fairfield was
ever more surprised than at the realisation of how much there was
of her--using the pronoun out of respect to the majority--"when she
was bunched," as Red said. You would not have believed that
straggling, lonesome-looking place held so many people. As Red
could discover no means in the town's resources to provide a meal
for three hundred people it was necessarily a basket party, which
struck Mr. Saunders as being grievously like a Swede treat. He
made up for it in a measure by having barrels of lemonade and cider
on tap at the grounds--stronger beverages being barred--and by
hiring a quartette of strings "clear from town."

At half-past two on a resplendent but hot September afternoon the
caravan started for the mill grounds, the women dressed in the most
un-picnicky costumes imaginable, and the men ostentatiously at ease
in their store clothes. Everyone was in the best of spirits, keen
for the excitement and pleasure that was sure to mark the occasion.

Red rode old Buckskin, who had succumbed to the inevitable, and
only "jumped around a little," as Red put it, on being mounted. It
was pretty lively "jumping around," but perhaps Mr. Saunders found
some satisfaction in sitting perfectly at his ease, smoking his
cigarette, while Buck jumped and Fairfield admired. And, at any
rate, Buck had legs of iron, and the wind of a locomotive, carrying
Red all day, and willing to kick at anything which bothered him
when night came. He was a splendid beast through and through, from
forelock to tail-tip, but he had learned who was his master and
obeyed him accordingly.

It was a five mile ride, mostly under the shade of fine old trees.
The road wound around the hills; here and there a break in the
arboreal border showed views of rolling country, well-shaped and
pleasing, winding up grassy slopes in groves of verdure. Of course
most of the freshness of leaf was past, yet the modest gray-green
gave a silvery sheen to the landscape that brought it into unity.

One member of the party felt that his heart was very full as he
looked at it. That was Lettis. "Blast the old office!" he kept
saying to himself. "Blast its six dingy windows, and the clock at
the end! Doesn't this look good, and doesn't it smell good, dust
and all?" and then he'd howl at the horses in sheer exuberance of
good feeling, making the mild old brutes put a better foot of it to
the front.

Red cantered up beside his waggon. "Well, Lettis," he said, "here
we go for the opening overture, with the full strength of the
company--we're great people this day, ain't we?" And the big man
smiled like a pleased big boy.

"Oh, what a bully old fellow you are!" thought Lettis as he looked
at him. Lettis was thinking of other qualities than flesh, but the
physical Red Saunders on horseback was deserving of a glance from
anybody; the massive figure so well poised; the clear cut, proud
profile; the shapely head with its crown of red-gold hair; the easy
grace of him by virtue of his strength--it would be a remarkable
crowd in which Chanta Seechee Red couldn't pass for a man. He was
every inch of that from the ground up.

Lettis had come to bow down to him in adoration, with all an
affectionate boy's worship. To those eyes Red was just right, in
every particular. Likewise to Miss Mattie, who even now was
filling her eyes with him, from behind the vantage of a
broad-brimmed straw hat.

At last the whole party disembarked at the flat before the mill,
and made ready for the official starting of the machinery. The big
doors were thrown open, so that the company could see within while
resting outside in the shade, and under the cooling influence of
what breeze there was. The mill was officially started. Red
climbed the bank to the flume, and raised the gate. The crowd
cheered as the imprisoned waters leapt to freedom with a hollow
roar, raising in pitch as the penstock filled and the wheels began
to go round. Speech was called for, and the vigorously protesting
Red forced to the front by his former friends, Demilt and Lettis.
Thus betrayed by those he trusted, Red made the best of it.

"Ladies and gentlemen, fellow citizens!" said he. "The mill is now
open to all comers. We hope to make this thing a success; we hope
to see every horny-handed, hump-backed farmer in the country rosin
the soles of his moccasins, and shove his plough through twice as
much ground as he ever did before, and if he comes here with his
plunder, we'll give him a square shake. We'll pay him as much as
we dast, and not let him in on the ground floor, so he can crawl
out through the coal-hole, as is sometimes done. Now, everybody
run away and have a good time, for I don't like to talk this yappi
any more than you like to hear it. Kola geus! By-bye!"

It was a very successful picnic. They spent the afternoon in
wandering around in the usual picnic fashion, developing appetites,
until it occurred to Red to liven the performance by showing them
the art of roping, as practiced upon an old cow found in the woods.
As a spectacle it was a failure. The combined efforts of all the
hooting small boys could not make that cow run; she even stretched
her neck toward Red, as though saying, "Hurry up with your
foolishness. I have a cud to chew and can't stand here idle all
day." So Red galloped by and threw the noose over her head as an
exhibition of how the thing was done, rather than how it ought to
be done. Nevertheless, picnic parties are not hypercritical in the
matter of amusement, and the feat received three encores. The last
time he missed his cast through overconfidence. Whereat the old
cow tossed her head and tail in the air, and tore off at an
elephantine gallop, with a bawl that sounded to Red mightily like

"Durned if she ain't laughing at me!" he cried. But as a matter of
fact, it was a hornet and its unmistakable sting that injected this
activity into her system.

It was all very pleasant to Miss Mattie, as one's first picnic in
many years should be. She enjoyed the crisp green sod, the great
trees standing around, park-like, with the sunlight falling between
their shade like brilliant tatters of cloth-of-gold; while from the
near distance came the tiny shouting of cool waters. They had a
camp-fire at night, making the moonlight still more mysterious and
remote by contrast. The quartette of strings played for the ears
of those who cared to listen and for the legs of those who chose to
take chances on tripping their light fantastic toes over tree roots
in the grass.

Red loved music, and he loved the night. The poetic side of his
memories of watching the Dipper swing around Polaris, while he sung
the cows to sleep, came back to him. In his mind he saw the vast
prairie roll on to infinity; saw the mountains stand out, a world
of white peaks, rising from a sea of darkness. Again he heard the
plaintive shrilling of an Indian whistle, or the song of the lad
down creek made tuneful and airy by the charm of distance.

"Having a good time, Mattie?" he asked, with a smile.

"The best I ever had, Will," she answered, smiling back unsteadily.
Poor lady! The size of an occasion is so many standards, whether
the standard be inches or feet, or miles. Miss Mattie's events had
been measured in hundredths of an inch, and it took a good many of
them to cover so small an action as a successful picnic on a
beautiful night. Her eyes were humid; her mouth smiled and drooped
at the corners alternately. Red felt her happiness with a keen
sympathy, and as he looked at her, suddenly she changed in his
eyes. Just what the difference was he could not have told; nor
whether it was in her or in him. A sudden access of feeling,
undefinable, unplaceable, but strong, possessed him. There is a
critical temperature in the life of a man, when no amount of
pressure can ever make the more expansive emotions assume the
calmer form of friendship. There was something in Miss Mattie's
eye which had warmed Red to that degree, but he didn't know it. He
only knew that he wanted to sit rather unnecessarily close beside
her, and that he would be sorry when it came time to go home. And
he was very silent.

During the drive back to the house he spoke in monosyllables; he
went straight to the barn with Lettis afterward, and made no
attempt to take the usual frank and hearty good-night kiss.

"You're as glum as an oyster!" said Lettis, when they reached their
quarters. "What's the matter, old man?"

"I don't know, Let; I feel kind of quiet, somehow."

"Sick? Or something go wrong?"

"No; nothing of the kind; it's just sort of an attack of stillness,
but I feel durn good."

Lettis laughed. "If it wasn't you, Red, I'd say you were in love,"
he said.

It was well the barn was dark; or he would have seen a change
wonderful to behold come over the ex-puncher's face. "The lad has
hit it," he said to himself in astonishment; aloud he grunted
"hunh" scornfully, and aroused himself for an unnecessary joke or

Miss Mattie had noticed the "attack of stillness" and immediately
tried to fasten the blame upon herself. What had she done? She
couldn't recall anything. She remembered she had said something
about the way his hair looked with the moon shining on it; perhaps
he had taken offence at that; the remark was entirely
complimentary, but sometimes people are touchy about such things;
still that was not the least like Cousin Will. She must have said
or done something though--what could it be? Oh what a pitiful
memory that could not recollect an injury done to one's best
friend! She tossed and wondered over it for a long time before at
length she tell asleep.

Red also looked up at the roof, and took account of stock. His
face was radiant in the dark. "If I could only pull that off!" he
thought. "I must seem an awful rough cuss to her, though; all
right for a cousin, but it's different when you come to the other
proposition. My Jiminy! I'll take a chance in the morning and
find out anyhow!" said he, and, eased in mind by the decision of
action, he too shook hands with Morpheus and was presently dreaming.

It had never occurred to Red Saunders that he was afraid of
anybody. He even chuckled, when he got Lettis out of the way with
a plausible excuse the next morning. Then he strode briskly into
the house, his question on his lips in a plump out-and-out form.

Miss Mattie looked at him with her slow smile. "What is it?" she

Red swallowed his question whole. "I--I wanted a little hot water
to shave with," said he. Then a fury took hold of him. "What the
devil am I lying like this for?" he thought. He exhorted himself
to go on and say what he had to say like a man; but the other Red
Saunders refused to do anything of the sort. He took the cup of
hot water most abjectly and fled from the house. He had to shave
then, and in his hurry and indignation he turned the operation into
a clinic. "Oh Jiminy! Look at that!" he cried, as the razor
opened up another part of the subject. "There's a slit an inch
long! If I keep on at this gait, I won't have face enough to say
good morning, let alone what I want to do. What ails me? What
ails me? Why should I be scart of the nicest woman God ever built?
Now by all the Mormon Gods! I'll post right into the house and say
my little say as soon as these cuts stop bleeding!"

Cob-webs stopped the cuts, and other cob-webs stopped Red Saunders,
late of the Chanta Seechee ranch; two hundred and fifty pounds of
the very finest bone and muscle. And the cob-webs held him,
foaming and boiling with rage and disgust, calling himself all the
yaller pups he could think of, but staying strictly within the safe
limits of the barn. It was a revelation to the big man, and not a
pleasant one. How was he to know that the most salient point of
his apparent cowardice was nothing less worthy than respect for the
woman's purity? That if he would stop swearing long enough to get
at the springs of his action, he would find that he hesitated
because the new light on the matter made huge shadows of the slips
in the career of a strong, lawless, untrained but sorely tempted
man? He knew nothing of the sort, and the funniest of comedies
took place in the barn. He would reach the sensible stage. "Pah!
All foolishness. Go? Of course he'd go, and this very minute, and
have the thing done with, good or bad"; he was quite amused at his
former conduct--until he reached the door. Then he'd skip nimbly
back again, with a hot feeling that somebody was watching him,
although a careful inspection through the crack of the door
revealed no one.

Red discovered another thing that afternoon, which was that the
more nervous you are the more nervous you get. He groaned in
perfect misery: "Ohoho! That I should have seen the day when I was
afraid to ask anybody anything. What's come over me anyhow? It's
this darn country, I believe--'tain't me," then he stopped short.
"What you saying, Red?" he queried. "Why don't you own up like a
man!" The fact that it had a funny side struck him, and he
laughed, half forlornly, and half in thorough enjoyment. He
suddenly sobered down. "She's worth it, anyway," said he. "She's
the best there is, and I ought to feel kind of leery of the
outcome--Well--Now, I guess I won't say anything till there's a
downright good chance. I see I didn't savvy this kind of business
like I thought I did. 'Twouldn't be no kind of manners to step up
to a lady and shout, 'I'd like to have you marry me, if you feel
you've got the time!' That don't go no more than a Chinaman on
roller-skates. Your work is good, Red, but it's a little lumpy in
spots; them two left feet bother you; you're good in your place,
but you'd better build a fence around the place--damn the luck!
Smotheration! I think she likes me, all right, but when it comes
to more'n that--oh, blast it, I'll just have to wait for a real
good chance; now come, old man, get four feet on the ground and
don't roll your eyes, take it easy till the chance comes."

Little he knew the chance was coming up the street at that moment.
He only saw Miss Mattie step out into the bed of flowers, her face
looking unusually pretty and youthful under the big straw hat, and
start to reduce the weeds to order. She glanced around as though
in search of some one, and Red felt intuitively that the one was

"Here's where I ought to act as if I wore long pants," said he;
"now, what's to hinder me from going out there and get a-talking?"
And then he sat down hastily, more disgusted than ever, and smote
the air with his fist. "You'd think the nicest, quietest woman
that ever lived was a wild beast, the way I act; yes sir, you

Meantime the chance drew nearer. It was not a pleasant looking
opportunity. Its eyes, full of dread and dreadful, peeped out from
beneath a brush of matted hair; a tough, ropy foam hung from its
mouth. If you put as much of that foam as would go on the point of
a pin in an open cut, you would have an end that your worst enemy
would shudder at. For this was the most horrifying of dangerous
animals--a mad dog. Poor brute! As he came shambling down the
road, he was the grisly mask of tragedy.

It was near noon, intensely hot, and the street of Fairfield was
deserted. No one saw the dog, and if his occasional rattling,
strangling howl reached any ears, they were dead to its meaning.
He was unheeded until he lurched through the gate which Lettis had
left open, as usual, and spinning around in a circle gave voice to
his cry.

It brought Miss Mattie to her feet in an unknown terror; it brought
Red from the barn in a full cognizance--he had heard that sound
before, when a mad coyote landed in a cabin-full of fairly strong
nerved cowmen, and set them screeching like hysterical women before
a chance shot ended him.

Red saw the brute jump toward Miss Mattie. Instantly his hand flew
to his hip, and as instantly he remembered there was nothing there.
Then with great, uneven leaps he sprang forward. "Keep your hands
up, Mattie, and don't move!" he screamed. "Let him chew the dress!
For God's sake, don't move!"

She turned her white face toward his, and through the dimness of
sight from his straining efforts, he saw her try to smile, as she
obeyed him to the letter, and without a sound. "O, brave girl!" he
thought, and threw the ground behind him desperately.

At twenty feet distance he dove like a base-runner, and his hands
closed around the dog's neck. Over they went with the shock of the
onset, and before they were still, the hands had finished their
work. A clutch, and a snap, and it was done.

The dog lay quivering. Red rose to his knees wondering at the
humming in his head. His wits came back to him sharply.

"Did he bite you, Mattie?" he cried. But she had already caught
his hands and was looking at them, with a savage eagerness one
would not have believed to be in her.

"There is no mark," she said, suddenly weak, "he didn't touch you?"

"Answer me when I speak to you!" shouted Red, beside himself. "Did
he bite you?"

She answered him with a sob "No." And then his question asked
itself, and answered itself, although, again, he did not know it.
He gathered her up in his arms, kissed her like one raised from the
dead, and swore and prayed and thanked God all in the same breath.

His old imperious nature came back with the relief. "Here!" said
he, putting her away for a moment. "Take off that dress--that
slime on there's enough to kill a hundred men--take it right off."

Miss Mattie started blindly to obey, then stopped. "Not here,
Will--I'll go in the house," she said.

"You'll take it off right here and now," said Red, "and I'll burn
it up on the spot. I'd ruther have forty rattlesnakes around than
that stuff--off with it. This is no child's play, and I don't care
a damn what the old lady next door thinks."

Miss Mattie slipped off her outer skirt, and stood a second,
confused and dainty. She took flight to the house, running as
lithely as a greyhound.

"By Jingo!" said Red in admiration.

"Let's see you bring another woman that can run like that!"

He gathered some hay and piled it on the dress, firing the heap.

Then he turned to his antagonist. "Poor old boy! Hard luck, eh?
But I had to do it," he said, and gave him decent interment at the
end of the garden; washed his hands carefully and went into the
house on pleasanter duties.

"I'll ask her now, by the great horn spoon!" said he, valiantly.

Miss Mattie was in a curious state of mind. There was an after
effect from the fright, which made her tremble, and a remembrance
of Cousin Will's actions which made her tremble more yet. When she
heard him coming she started to fly, although now clothed beyond
reproach, but her knees deserted her, and she was forced to sink
back in her chair. Red came in whistling blithely--vainglorious

He had _his_ suspicions, generated by the peculiar fervour Miss
Mattie had shown in regard to his hands.

"Mattie," quoth he, "I'm tired of living out there in the barn--I
want a respectable house of my own."

"Yes, Will," replied Miss Mattie, astonished that he should choose
such a subject at such a time.

"Yes," he continued, "and I want a wife, too. You often said you'd
like to do something for me, Mattie; suppose you take the job?"

How much of glancing at a thing in one's mind as a beautiful
improbability will ever make such a cold fact less astonishing?
Miss Mattie eyed him with eyes that saw not; speech was stricken
from her.

Red caught fright. He sprang forward and took her hand. "Couldn't
you do it, Mattie?" said he. There was a world of pleading in the
tone. Miss Mattie looked up, her own honest self; all the little
feminine shrinkings left her immediately.

"Ah, but I _could_, Will!" she said. Lettis came up on the stoop
unheard. He stopped, then gingerly turned and made his way back on
tip-toe, holding his arms like wings.

"Well, by George!" he murmured, "I'll come back in a little while,
when I'll be more welcome."

He spoke to Red in strong reproach that night, in the barn. "You
never told me a word, you old sinner!" said he.

"Tell you the honest truth, Let," replied Red earnestly, looking up
from drawing off a boot, "I didn't know it myself till you told me
about it."

They talked it all over a long time before blowing out the light,
but then the little window shut its bright eye, and the only life
the mid-night stars saw in Fairfield was Miss Mattie, her elbow on
the casement, looking far, far out into the tranquil night, and
thinking mistily.


By Stewart Edward White


Mr. White has intermingled the romance of the forests with the
romance of a man's heart, making a story that is big and elemental,
while not lacking in sweetness and tenderness. It is an epic of
the life of the lumbermen in the great forests of the Northwest,
permeated in every line by out-of-door freshness and the glory of
the labor of the struggle with nature. It will appeal to everyone
who cares for trees, the forests or the open air.

"Mr. White has the power to make you feel the woods as the masters
of salt-water fiction make you feel the sea."--_The Boston Herald_.

"Of the majesty of the falling forests the book is eloquent, and
its place in the history of our literature is secure."--_The
Chicago Nevis_.

"He has realized to the full the titanic character of the struggle
between man and nature in the forest, and has reproduced it in his
pages with an enthusiasm and strength of insight worthy of his
theme."--_The St. James Gazette_.

_Eleven Editions in eleven months_ $1.50

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By George Douglas


A story remarkable for its power, remarkable for its originality,
and remarkable for its success. The unique masterpiece of an
unfortunate young author, who died without knowing the unstinted
praise his work was to receive. The book portrays with striking
realism a phase of Scottish life and character new to most
novel-readers. John Gourlay, the chief personage in the drama,
inhabitant of the "House With the Green Shutters" and master of the
village destinies, looms up as the personification of the brute
force that dominates. He stands apart from all characters in
fiction. In the broad treatment and the relentless sweep of its
tragedy, the book suggests the work of Dumas.

"If a more powerful story than this has been written in recent
years we have not seen it. It must take first honors among the
novels of the day."--_Philadelphia Item_.

"One of the most powerful books we have seen for a long time, and
it marks the advent of a valuable writer."--_New York Press_.


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By Seumas McManus

Author of "Through the Turf Smoke"


This is a story of Donegal ways and customs; full of the spirit of
Irish life. The main character is a dreaming and poetic boy who
takes joy in all the stories and superstitions of his people, and
his experience and life are thus made to reflect all the essential
qualities of the life of his country. Many characters in the book
will make warm places for themselves in the heart of the reader.

Cloth, 12mo $l.50

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By Shan F. Bullock

Author of "The Barrys," "Irish Pastorals"


Mr. Bullock takes us into the North of Ireland among
North-of-Ireland people. His story is dominated by one remarkable
character, whose progress towards the subjugation of his own
temperament we cannot help but watch with interest. He is swept
from one thing to another, first by his dare-devil, roistering
spirit, then by his mood of deep repentance, through love and
marriage, through quarrels and separation from his wife, to a
reconciliation at the point of death, to a return to health, and
through the domination of the devil in him, finally to death. It
is a strong, convincing novel suggesting, somewhat, "The House with
the Green Shutters." What that book did for the Scotland of Ian
Maclaren and Barrie, "The Squireen" will do for Ireland.

Cloth, 12mo $1.50

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By Arthur Morrison


No one knows the lower side of London life so well as Arthur
Morrison, and this novel is his most masterly presentation of the
underworld with which he is so familiar. He has knit mean
characters, mean passions, mean stage setting into a powerful drama
of life that thrills as much because of the realism with which it
is drawn as because of the exciting scenes that come treading
helter-skelter upon each others heels. The rough sailors, the
thugs and criminals that frequent the "Hole in the Wall" Inn lose
none of their picturesqueness, nor any of their sordidness either,
from Mr. Morrison's treatment of them. He handles his material in
a way that suggests strongly the work of Dickens. As an intimate
picture of the lowest life in London, the novel is without an equal.

"It is a section of human life showing true lights and shadows, a
section cut by an exceedingly sharp blade. Some of the things that
Dickens is most praised for are evident in the work of Mr.
Morrison."--_Springfield Republican_.

"All of Mr. Morrison's work deserves the recognition it has
attained, but this is undoubtedly the most artistic, the most
virile, and the most heartrendingly true."--_Baltimore Sun_.


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By Arnold Bennett

Author of "The Great Babylon Hotel"


Probably no story of the year is so simply and yet so artistically
told as this one. It portrays the development of a sweet and
natural girl's character, amid a community of strict Wesleyan
Methodists in a Staffordshire town. How her upright nature
progresses with constant rebellions against the hypocrisy and cant
of the religionists, by whom she is surrounded, is brought out by
the author faithfully and with great delicacy of insight. Many
will love Anna, and not a few will find something in her to suggest
"Tess of the Durbervilles." The plot is extremely simple, but the
reader will find a surprise in the last chapters.

The English letter from W. L. Alden, in the _New York Times Review_

"It will be promptly recognized by the critics whose opinion is
worth something _as the most artistic story of the year_."

Cloth. 12mo $1.50

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