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The Trail of the Tramp by A-No. 1 (AKA Leon Ray Livingston)

Part 2 out of 3

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the servants and obtain an interview with the lady of the house to whom
he would tell a story that would make a "stone weep." With Jim by his
side this morning he spoke of him as being his cousin, and with a string
of woeful lies attached to his yarn he usually managed not only to
receive the price printed upon the package, which he held up in such a
position that the lady could not fail to see its fictitious value, but
oftentimes he received more than this sum.

They sold a number of the needle cases, and although Jim had a look of
complete disgust upon his face, showing how he disapproved of Danny's
lying, the latter, proud as a peacock, instead of being ashamed of
swindling kind-hearted ladies, said in a tone of voice which left no
doubt that he would do exactly as he proposed: "Eh, Jim, when I get to
be a plinger I shall have at least a dozen road kids peddling for me and
not like Jocko, who besides myself has only three other kids hustling
for him," and after a pause he disdainfully added, just as if his jocker
was not already doing incalculable harm, "only four kids, with so many
of them hoboing about the country."

At one of the houses, after Danny had repeated his tale of woe, a
charitable lady told them to await her return as she had left her purse
in her bed room, located on the second floor. Never suspecting that boys
appealing for assistance would turn into ingrates, she left the front
door ajar. The next moment Jim almost sank to the floor when he saw
Danny sneak into the house, enter the nearest room, and just as the lady
descended the stairs, dart back to his former place upon the porch,
holding a silver spoon in his hand, which he hid in his pocket. After
the lady had paid him for a needle case they left.

Danny repeated this disgraceful trick of basest ingratitude at several
other houses. Then he coaxed Jim into making the lying appeal necessary
to sell the needle cases, and whenever Jim managed to make a sale
Danny's praises knew no bounds. Finally Danny had just one needle case
left out of the stock Jocko had handed to him to peddle, and while they
waited before the open entrance door of a palatial residence for the
return of the lady of the house, who had left them to find her
pocketbook, and whose footfalls they could hear as she descended the
stairway leading into the basement of her home, Danny deliberately
pushed the unsuspecting Jim through the half-open door into the hall of
the mansion, and told him in a whisper that if he did not steal
something he "would tell Kansas Shorty."

In all his past life Jim had never stolen a single cent's worth of other
people's property, but with Danny threatening to tell Kansas Shorty
should he refuse to do as told, and remembering the cruel pounding he
had received at the hands of this fiend only such a short time before,
and the warning ere he and Danny set out upon their begging trip to do
exactly as Danny ordered, he realized that perhaps another far more
brutal beating would be his should he disobey Danny's command.

Before him was an open door, and when he entered the room he found it to
be the parlor. Looking about he saw a glittering gold watch lying upon
the piano, and picked it up, and gazed at it for a moment. "No, I must
not disgrace my honest name by becoming a common thief for the mere sake
of furnishing sodden wretches with rum," he mused, but while he
hesitated he heard the footfalls of the lady of the house as she
ascended the stairs, then the fear of the terrible punishment that would
be his if he disobeyed conquered his honesty and he slipped the time
piece into his pocket and joined Danny at the entrance.

When the lady of the house came to the door she handed Danny a bright
silver dollar and when he wanted to give her the needle case she refused
to take it from him, and while tears of pity streamed down her face she
said: "May God forbid that I take from you poor unfortunate boys an
article that you could dispose of to others, and thus further assist
your starving parents", and before the lads could utter a sound she had
shut the door in their faces.

It was now half past eleven in the morning, and as road kids do
"housework" only between nine and this time of the day, as after these
hours the police commence to be more active and the ladies become far
less inclined to listen to a tale of distress, they went back to the
plinger's headquarters.

In strict accordance with the unwritten code of the road although Jocko,
his ugly-visaged jocker, was amongst those in the room, Danny paid not
the least attention to his presence, but stepped up to the table upon
which an empty tin plate had been placed for just this purpose, and
deposited upon it every cent he had in his pockets and whatever he had
pilfered from the houses.

Danny now told Jim to place the watch he had stolen upon the tin plate,
which he did. Kansas Shorty picked it up and estimated its value at not
less than one hundred dollars, and then praised Jim for having upon his
first raid proven himself to be a first-class road kid, and that the
"gang" was proud to call him a pal. When Jim was out of hearing Danny
received much praise for having turned an honest boy into a beggar and a
thief by the same methods that he had been taught by his jocker and
other road kids.

So quickly had these rum-soaked, heartless monsters converted an
absolutely harmless lad into a criminal, that Jim pleaded with Kansas
Shorty to permit him to try unassisted to peddle needle cases. He was
not accorded this privilege, but was sent out with a boy nicknamed
"Snippy". This boy had a most repulsive looking sore upon his arm,
reaching from the wrist four inches upward. His graft consisted of
visiting offices located in the business district and showing to persons
this noisome sore, and then handing them the begging letter his jocker
had faked for him, he collected alms, while at the same time he
contorted his face as if suffering agony from his "disease".

When they returned to the hangout at the end of his working hours at 2
p.m., as the afternoon mails made charity calls of this class
unprofitable, Jim was given his third lesson by a lad who went by the
hobo name of "Spanish John."

On the preceding evening John and Jim had played catch ball in the
hallway and the way John chased after a ball he had failed to catch
caused Jim to greatly admire the boy's agility.

But this morning John certainly looked for all the world as if he had
passed through a long war. He upheld his body by means of a pair of
crutches and his face was all furrowed as if he were suffering agony,
while his left foot was drawn high above the ground just as if a cannon
ball had made its acquaintance, and it was with such a sad voice that he
called to Jim to follow him, that Jim felt so sorry for John he forgot
to ask him what had happened to him since both chased the elusive ball
in the hallway.

Spanish John had a sore upon his left leg just like Snippy had upon his
arm, and he used this sore, assisted by small cards called "duckets",
upon which an "appeal" was printed, to swindle honest and well meaning
people out of money. Proprietors of stores and shops were his favorites.
When supper time approached and while upon their way back to the
plingers' quarters, after they had left the business section, John
handed his crutches to Jim to carry, and told the astounded lad, who
supposed John had actually been crippled, that limping with crutches
was a "most tiresome job."

Everyone of the road kids had been trained by his jocker to become a
specialist in some particular brand of the begging game. One of them had
around his arm a plaster of Paris casting, that during his begging trips
would be filled with cotton upon which a few drops of carbolic acid or
some other "medicinally" smelling liquid had been poured, to give the
"phoney" broken-arm trick a cloak of respectability. When not at "work"
the "dummy" was shoved far above the boy's elbow and tied so that it did
not interfere with his playing "tag", and other boyish games.

A simple-faced chap, but one who knew the game from A to Z, played the
deaf and dumb game, for which purpose his jocker had forced him to learn
the sign language. Another boy had been taught to throw his hand and
fingers so far "out of joint" that a real crippled-for-life paralytic
could not have improved upon the deceptive deformity. Both of these lads
used duckets, pencils, shoestrings and thimbles as an addition to their
mute appeals, although it is a well-known fact that no genuinely
afflicted paralytics or mutes, least of all boys, ever resort to begging
for their living.

In the evening after supper had been served and things had somewhat
quieted down in the rooms, almost dumfounded by surprise Jim watched
Snippy's jocker paint a strong solution of lye into the dreadful
sore--known in the hobo vernacular as a "jigger"--upon the road kid's
arm. The poor little lad shrieked with pain as the acid ate into his
quivering flesh, which deepened the wound still more and gave it a
"fresh" look, which greatly added to its horrid repulsiveness so as to
all the more arouse the pity of those from whom he would be forced to
beg on the coming morning.

[Illustration: After supper Jim watched a hobo paint acid into the
dreadful sore upon Snippy's arm and heard the little lad shriek with
pain when the fluid ate into his quivering flesh.]

Joe made careful inquiries of one of the friends he had made among the
road kids, and this boy told him that oftentimes these inhuman monsters
continued the lye treatment for such a length of time and so fearfully
corroded their helpless victim's limbs, that blood-poisoning set in and
made amputations necessary to save their lives. The deeply seared, white
scars which these "jiggers" leave during the balance of the road kids'
natural lives, prove to those who are versed in the ways of the road, in
which school of crime a criminal branded with these tell-tale scars
received his first lesson.

Just before Jim went to rest for the night upon one of the bare wooden
benches that had been given to him for his bed, Kansas Shorty warned him
that if he ever said a single word of what had occurred since he left
Minneapolis, or would occur in the future, he would not only murder him
but would ramble to Rugby and tell his mother that her son had robbed a
house, and then he pulled out his notebook and repeated to Jim his
correct name and address, which the boy had in his innocence given him
at the Golden Rule Hotel.

The poor lad first shuddered with terror as he thought how his poor
mother would suffer should she be informed how he had disgraced her,
then he snuggled close to the black-souled fiend and solemnly promised
never to divulge a single word to any mortal.

The following morning Kansas Shorty gave Jim a package of needle cases
and in words that Jim could not misunderstand ordered him not to come
"home" until every one had been peddled.

Luck was with him. His rosy cheeks and his neat appearance opened the
hearts and loosened the purse strings of charitable ladies and it was
just ten o'clock when he returned to the hangout, having sold all of his

Jim pleaded to be permitted at least until the noon hour to sell more
needle cases, and his jocker, pleased to see the the lad so anxious to
support an able-bodied hobo loafer in idleness, consented and gave him
another supply.

Again fortune favored him and when a nearby clock pointed its hands to a
quarter of twelve he had just one needle case left. He rang the door
bell of a residence, and as if luck was with him, the lady of the house,
a matron with snowy hair and features which in every line bespoke the
kind-heartness of her soul, opened the door. After he had explained to
her his errand, she took the needle case out of his hand and then told
him to await her return as she had left her pocket book in her bed room
upon the second floor of her home. She went, leaving the front door

Jim heard the lady of the house mount the stairway, then the second
flight, now she was walking towards the rear of the building, and when
he heard a door slam, indicating that she had entered the bed room, like
a flash of lightning an evil thought shot through his mind. It was just
one step to the open parlor door. He craned his head, and looked into
the parlor, and when he saw that the shades were drawn, which would
prevent his being seen from the outside, he thought that this would be a
fine chance to show to Kansas Shorty, Danny and all the rest of his
"friends" how well he had learned their lessons.

Without the least hesitation he stepped into the semi-darkness of the
parlor, where his eyes were attracted by the gleaming steel of a large
caliber revolver lying upon the center table. He heard the lady's
footfalls as she descended from the second flight of stairs, and quickly
reaching out his hand he picked up the pistol and slipped it into his
pocket. He then turned about, to quietly take his former place before
the front door, but just as he turned, he felt a pair of hands grip him
from behind by the throat. He struggled hard to free himself from the
ever tightening grip, and then lost consciousness.

When he opened his eyes he found he was lying upon the floor in the
entrance hall of the residence, and he gazed upon two pairs of
handcuffs, one of which was clasped around his wrists, while the other
held his ankles in their steel embrace, while above him, watching his
every movement, was a man dressed in the uniform of a captain of police
who in a most menacing manner fingered the trigger of a revolver, which
Jim recognized as the same weapon that he had attempted to steal off the
parlor table.

Jim could not speak, as his badly crushed throat would not permit this
even had he wished to do so, but he further saw the same charitable lady
who had been so willing to purchase his last needle case, bending over
him, and while she looked at him as he lay there upon the floor before
her, handcuffed like a hardened, dangerous criminal, he heard her plead
with him. "Boy," she said, while her pitying eyes looked straight into
his own, "is there not somewhere in this world a good mother who has
taught you that honesty is always the best policy?" And while tears of
bitter repentance commenced to course down the poor boy's cheeks she
repeated the question, which caused the now heart-broken lad to sob
aloud in his anguish.

A moment later the police patrol was heard clanging in the distance--it
had been called by telephone. It stopped in front of the house and
presently two blue-coats saluted their superior and then picked up the
boy, but before they carried him to the waiting police patrol the
captain told them that as he had come home for dinner a little earlier
than usual, he had divested himself of his heavy pistol and then, while
he was taking a mid-day rest upon the parlor lounge he had watched the
boy sneaking into the room, picking up the revolver from the center
table, and then he pictured to the policemen how he had quietly arisen
from the lounge and like a bolt from the blue sky made a prisoner of the
chap, whom he described as a most dangerous sneak thief--he did not know
the true story of the boy's past nor that not two weeks had elapsed
since the same handcuffed lad would have willingly laid down his life
before he would have permitted himself to stoop so low as to touch
property belonging to another person with the intention of stealing
same, nor was the captain acquainted with the fact that a tramp within
an even shorter space of time had killed this honesty, had spoiled the
future and virtually wrecked the life of the lad by forcing him to
become his road kid.

* * * * *

Within an hour's time the plinger gang in their rooms above the slum
saloon had been apprised by the subtle and mysterious means which is a
sixth sense with criminals, that the missing Jim, who had not shown up
for dinner, was behind the bars of the city prison, and afraid that he
would "peach" they made haste to vacate their quarters and scattered to
the four winds, each jocker taking his road kids with him. Just as they
separated, while the other scoundrels tried to console Kansas Shorty for
having so quickly been deprived of such a good road kid as Jim had
proven himself to be, he cheerily replied to their words of consolation:
"There are many more cities like Denver in the States and Canada where
we can ply our profession the same as we have here, and there are any
number of other people's sons whom I can entrap and can force through
fear of exposure and by brutality into becoming tramps, drunkards,
beggars and criminals, all at one and the same time."

* * * * *

They carried Jim to the city prison and locked him into a dark dungeon,
from which, after several hours of solitary confinement, three
detectives took him into the chief of police's office and there pleaded
with him to reveal the whereabouts of his jocker, as they were well
aware that this lad was merely a tool in the hands of some designing
scoundrel, but Jim, as all the other road kids before him have done,
refused to divulge the least word that would have caused his jocker's

Finding that pleading and threats were unavailing, the officers in their
efforts to catch the man "higher up" swore at Jim, then cuffed him and
finally, angry at the stubborn silence of the boy, they beat him
dreadfully, but even this punishment was in vain for Jim ever repeated
in his mind at every cuff and lick he received, that Kansas Shorty had
his mother's correct address and that this scoundrel would do far worse
than merely murder him, should Jim fail to keep the promise not to tell
who was his jocker.

Unable to extort a word from Jim that would lead to the arrest of his
jocker, the officers dragged the staggering, heart-broken lad back to
his cell and locked him up. When from sheer exhaustion he fell asleep
late in the night, he dreamed that Kansas Shorty's grinning face was
pressed against his steel-barred cell door. "Jim, Jim," he could
distinctly hear the scoundrel say mocking him in his helplessness, "come
on, Jim, let us go and peddle needle cases and loot more houses." Jim
leaped from his bunk at Kansas Shorty's throat, as if he were a wounded
tiger, to strangle with his bare hands the fiend who had so wantonly
spoiled his life, but he only gripped the cold steel bars of his cell
and awakened, then as he sank back upon the edge of the prison-bunk, he
realized that now it was too late--and he burst into bitter tears.

[Illustration: Behind bars]


"Slippery, the Yegg."

After Slippery, the Yegg, and Joe had parted company with Kansas Shorty
and Jim, they walked leisurely southward upon the railroad track. For
some time their conversation lagged, as Slippery was absorbed in
thoughts centering upon the boy who was walking by his side. Slippery
had up to this moment lived strictly in accord with the laws laid down
by the "Code of Crime", the rules of which, although not printed and
bound into a costly volume, nor even written, are nevertheless strictly
observed by those who defy law and order.

A tradition of this unwritten code was to the effect that a "wise" yegg
must never have a minor hoboing with him about the country, as not only
would the youngster be of little value when committing a crime and a
most decided handicap in making a getaway, but the greatest of danger
lay in the fact that should they be arrested, the boy would be more than
likely to not only reveal all he knew of the latest exploit of the yegg
and tell everything he had seen and heard since their first day's
comradeship, but he would undoubtedly turn state's evidence, and help to
send the yegg to the penitentiary for a long term. Slippery also weighed
the chances which he faced should he by misfortune "ramble" into other
"brethren of the gun" who happened to be abroad in the land, especially
along oft-traveled routes like those between St. Paul and Chicago, as
they would not only frown upon a yegg who had offended the ethics of
their clan by having a road kid traveling with him, but they would
quickly spread the fact broadcast throughout the land to the detriment
of the heretofore good reputation Slippery had enjoyed amongst the
numerous members of the "Fraternity of the Dark Lantern."

As a result of these reflections he decided to rid himself of Joe's
company as soon as possible, and the easiest and fairest method he could
think about to pull himself out of this dilemma was to find a job for
the boy upon one of the many farms which were scattered along the right
of way.

After having tried for hours to find some sort of a job for the boy,
Slippery, thoroughly disgusted at his vain efforts to rid himself of his
unwelcome companion, whom he considered by this time a nuisance, decided
that the next best plan would be to take Joe to Chicago and find there a
employment for him. Then the fact that they were supposed to meet the
others at the "big oak" in the evening flashed through his mind, and
that perhaps on account of this, Joe would object to hoboing any sort of

In furtherance of this plan Slippery visited several additional farm
houses to seek employment for the boy, acting after each failure even
more discouraged than ever in not being able to find a job, and his
disgust increased to such a degree, that it finally became an easy
matter for him to have the lad consent that they quit their resultless
efforts in this line and instead strive to reach the "big oak" that
Slippery assured Joe was growing close to the right of way several miles
to the south of them, and there meet the others, whom he had no doubt
had had no better success in finding employment.

Slippery now began to paint in most wonderful colors for his younger
companion, word-pictures of the grand sights and scenes which were
awaiting their arrival at Chicago, and unintentionally drifted into
describing the many cases he had heard about, where penniless boys there
had risen in a comparatively short time to the rank of

Joe, who until now paid more attention to the rough, stone ballasted
track beneath his feet that made walking a hardship, became greatly
interested in the subject that Slippery had reached in his conversation,
as it concerned the same matter that Jim and he had threshed out so many
times before they left their section home at Rugby, and when Slippery
spoke in glowing terms of the many advantages that employment in a large
city like Chicago held out to a hustling lad, Joe threw all his troubles
to the winds and laid bare to his older comrade every movement since his
childhood, and finally came to the point where he and Jim had planned to
run away to a city and there by watching for every chance of advancement
offered them, and by saving every cent and especially by adhering
strictly to honesty, had intended to work their way up the ladder of
success until they had reached a respected and independent position.
After he had paused to take a second breath, with a true boyish fervor,
he commenced to build aircastles as to what he would do when the day
arrived when they would not have to look so closely to the saving of
their pennies. The more enthusiastically Joe spoke of this bright
future, the less he became aware that his hopes had caused the answers
he received to his many questions he asked his older companion to become
more curt and sullen, nor did he realize that every word he spoke
stabbed Slippery's conscience as if it were a two-edged dagger.

Slippery, although he belonged to the the yeggs, had like ninety-nine
out of every hundred of his kind, been in his youth a harmless boy who
had been enticed by some good-for-nothing tramp to forsake his home, and
showing more ambition than to end his days as an alcohol-rotted wreck,
had drifted along with criminals, who for the sake of a few dollars or
even a handful of unused postage stamps did not hesitate to commit
murder, and who had in time taught Slippery the various divisions and
subdivisions of their dangerous existence.

Now that Slippery was barely thirty years of age, he was, although young
in years, old in crime and had been in many collisions with those who
represented law and order, and had served many long terms at hard labor
behind the stone walls of state and federal penitentiaries.

One evening, just before Slippery had finished his last sentence, after
the prisoners had been locked up for the night, his cell-mate in a
spirit of fun suggested that, to while away the time until the lights
would be turned low, they compute the average daily wage their
crime-steeped lives had earned for them. Although both were regarded by
their brethren of crime as most successful in their chosen profession,
they found after tedious calculating that the average daily wage of
their miserable existence since the day they left their homes had been a
fraction less than twenty cents. In this total they did not include the
many years they spent behind prison bars, performing, without pay,
ambition crushing toil under the eyes of brutal guards, fed upon poor
food, sleeping in unhealthy quarters, dressed in coarse, zebra-striped
suits and ruled by a most cruel discipline, all of which they were
unable to reduce to a dollar and cents basis.

Until that evening his bosom friends had been other equally desperate
criminals, as misery loves company, but even few of these could he
trust, as "stool pigeons" far outnumbered those whom he could
implicitly depend upon and even amongst the few, only too many were
snatched from his side by the stern hand of the law to linger for years
in penal institutions, if they did not become targets for revolvers or
were strangled upon a gallows. The more he thought of this shady side of
his past, the more changed became the point of view with which he judged
the rest of the world. The laborer whom he saw in the early morning
swinging his dinner pail while with light steps he marched to the daily
task in mill and factory, and whom he watched in the evening's dusk
after the factory sirens had blown the working man's curfew, hurrying
home anxious to reach his humble fireside, and for whom heretofore he
had only known feelings of deepest contempt, suddenly had become a man
who benefitted preciously far more of his life than any yegg he could

A strange yearning to join those who carried the dinner pails and who
had homes and firesides of their own made itself felt, and still later
this desire to foreswear his past and reform became ever stronger,
especially when one day by a singular chance he happened during recess
to pass a school house, and stepping behind a tree from where with a
wistful look in his eyes he watched the rosy-cheeked, romping children,
while at the same time revolting pictures of his own misspent life and
thoughts of the far worse to-be-spent future, and the fact that he had
been heretofore his own worst enemy came so strongly to his mind that
he could barely keep himself from sobbing.

From that evening when he for the first time in his whole life, studied
the life of a yegg from a commonsense and strictly commercial side and
found it in all its phases a losing game, dated the desire to quit the
life of crime when the first opportunity presented itself, but whenever
he tried to picture himself as having a happy home of his own, there,
like a black cloud suspended in a blue sky, came to him the knowledge
that never more could he hide his past, for from the moment that he
should endeavor to walk the narrow path, every yegg in the land would
point to him as a former brother-in-crime, and gossiping tongues would
quickly force him back into the fold, even while with his calloused
hands he would be toiling to earn an honest living.

While all of these pictures of his past flashed through his active mind
and the desire to be for just one time, a man who needed not to be
afraid to associate with honest people, he attentively listened to the
boy who was just now unfolding his plans for a bright future, and who
was telling about his section home by the side of the railroad track in
the midst of the endless prairies of the Dakotas, and although he
described the siding of Rugby as being a most desolate place, the desire
to reform became almost irresistible to Slippery when Joe told how every
evening the railroad laborers returned to their humble quarters worn and
tired out by the hard toil of the day, but happy with the satisfaction
that by performing their task they had added their share to the world's
work for the common good of all humanity.

This was the boy of whose most unwelcome company only a few minutes
before Slippery had wished to rid himself as he considered him a serious
handicap to his career as a professional criminal, and who was now
telling of his plans, how he wished to atone by leading an honest life
for the wrong he had done to his widowed mother by leaving his home
without her consent, and as he continued to speak of his hopes of a
clean and glorious living, the same queer feeling that had attacked him
before came with ever increasing force over Slippery, and it almost
stunned him when the lad with his true-ringing, youthful voice,
exclaimed, "Slippery, you are going to be my partner, for all of us
working together can accomplish much more in Chicago to make our way to
wealth and fame than we two could. And then, when we have made our
fortune, I will want you to come back with us to Rugby and stay with us,
even if you have to buy for yourself a prairie farm, for I know mother
will wish that you stop with us, because she will always thank you for
having taken such good care of her Joe." After he had given vent to this
boyish dream he paused, expecting to receive an answer from his older
companion, but Slippery only nodded in assent, while at the same time he
rubbed his eyes with his hands as if tiny cinders had lodged in them.
His emotions caused him to avert his face so Joe could not see the tears
of repentance which his hurting conscience forced to run down his
cheeks. And then his better self got the master hand over him and he
silently swore that at this moment had arrived the oft wished for
opportunity for him to forsake the road and quit the crooked game of

Now came Slippery's time to make plans. His first thoughts were to
discover the best method to fullfil the promise he had just made to
himself to lead a new and different life. The best method as it appeared
to him would be for Joe and himself to ramble on to Chicago and there
procure employment, as he realized that to separate from his younger
companion would mean to him a rapid drifting back into his old ways.
This plan looked mighty good and he slyly chuckled as he thought that it
would be only a short time until his pay envelope would bulge from the
sum to which his wage would quickly increase, for he felt assured that
it would be an easy matter for him to be advanced into an ever better
salaried position, for a man who had the nerve to attempt to force a
living for himself from the world by means of the dangerous ways of
crime could easily accomplish anything once his perverted ambitions were
directed into the straight and narrow path. But suddenly his smiles
ceased and he felt a queer shuddering sensation shake his spine, for he
thought of the many criminals who made their headquarters in Chicago,
and who would be only too willing to spoil his plans to quit their
company and reform, so as to keep others of the brotherhood from
quitting the game and thereby making it all the more hazardous for
hardened and irreformable criminals to ply their nefarious vocations. He
weighed the chances he stood to reform in Chicago and abandoned the
scheme as impracticable.

Then Slippery recalled Jim's narrative of his lone prairie section home,
and he adroitly questioned the lad and discovered that the country about
Rugby was a desolate prairie, that post offices and banks were few,
widely scattered and poorly patronized, and that Joe had never heard of
any one of these being robbed, nor even a residence or farm house being
entered, and when the lad finished by telling of the fertility of the
soil and the fact that homesteads could still be had there for the mere
filing of the necessary claims, Slippery again became absorbed in his

Then he had a vision. He saw himself drilling into a safe. Then came a
dull explosion and when the safe's door was torn from its hinges he saw
himself upon his knees filling a large bag with the gold coins which
poured out of the dynamited treasure box. Then he saw Joe and himself
dressed in the best that money could purchase, speeding along aboard a
Pullman to Rugby, North Dakota. He felt the hearty hand grip as Joe's
mother thanked him for having kept her boy from coming to harm, and when
he saw himself the prosperous owner of an immense and well worked farm,
he then and there swore a silent but nevertheless solemn oath that
after the next successful safe-blowing exploit he would do exactly as
this vision had showed him would be the best method to turn over a new
page of his life.

"Look out, Slippery, jump for your life!" suddenly came a frightened cry
from Joe's lips, and instinctively Slippery followed Joe's example and
leaped off the track, upon which they had been so peacefully walking,
blissfully ignorant of how close to death they had come. In the next
fraction of a second a "Limited" thundered past them, whose ashen-faced
engineer was frantically pulling at the whistling cord and blowing the
danger signal, while he shook an angry fist at the frightened fellows,
who had so narrowly escaped an impending calamity.

"Joe," stammered Slippery, when he again found his voice that from sheer
fright failed him for some moments, "boy, you have saved my life and
come what may I shall stay and work with you and then after we have made
a 'stake' we will go to Rugby and I shall buy a farm and make my home
near your home and finish my days in peace and plenty."

From this moment Slippery became a different kind of companion to his
younger comrade, and while both now entered into an animated
conversation, Joe came to the conclusion that Slippery after all was the
best chum he had ever had. They were so busily engaged picturing their
futures, that not until evening approached did Joe make any remark
concerning the whereabouts of the "big oak" where they were to meet Jim
and Kansas Shorty.

[Illustration: "Jump for your life!" suddenly shouted the lad, and both
leaped off the track, escaping by a hair's breadth being struck by the
flying passenger train.]

They were just approaching a water tank, the destination Slippery
intended to reach, and pointing at a large oak close to the track he
told Joe that it was the place where he had agreed to meet the others.
They went over to it, and after they had made for themselves some
coffee, they sat beneath the wide spreading branches of the oak and
while dusk turned into night and the calls of the owls echoed over
fields and moor, and the moon cast its pale light over the landscape,
they patiently waited the arrival of the others. The longer they
waited and the more anxious Joe became to meet his twin brother again,
the more Slippery denounced Kansas Shorty's tardiness, and when midnight
arrived and they heard in the distance to the north of them the rumbling
of a train, Slippery had so completely won the confidence of Joe, that
the latter consented to accompany the yegg to Chicago without waiting
for the arrival of the others, whereupon Slippery tore a page out of his
memorandum and after writing on it a brief note, telling Kansas Shorty
that he and Joe had rambled into Chicago, and to meet them there, he
silenced any rising suspicions Joe might have had that everything was
not all right by pinning this note to the trunk of the tree.

When the train, which proved to be a long string of empty, open box
cars, pulled southward, after having filled its engine's tender at the
water tank, Slippery and Joe had safely stowed themselves away in one of
the "empties" and were soon rolling on towards Chicago, and had become a
most contented pair of hobo-partners.

Early on the third morning they landed at Chicago, and Joe found that
Slippery's tales as to the magnitude of this city had not been
exaggerated, for they rode hours and miles upon horseless "cable" cars
before Slippery beckoned to Joe to follow him, as they had arrived at
their destination, the center of the city's business district.

After eating their breakfast in a restaurant, they sauntered through the
streets to see the sights. While they walked aimlessly about the city,
Slippery acted at times so strangely that he called the attention of Joe
to him, who did not suspect the reason of his singular demeanor, nor
that he was walking with a man who in police circles had earned a well
merited reputation of being one of the most desperate criminals in the
land. Whenever Slippery would spot a policeman ahead of him he would
turn into an alley or by-way to avoid passing the guardian of the law.
At other times, just after they had passed some well dressed and often
really benign looking citizen, Slippery would roughly nudge him and
whisper, "that was one of those 'fly mugs'--a detective", and then it
would be some moments before he reverted to his former cheerfulness,
proving to Joe how much he feared or despised those who uphold the law.

The ringing of the church bells had just announced the noon hour, when
Slippery was stopped in the street by a neatly attired gentleman, who,
after they had most cordially shaken hands, entered into a whispered
conversation, which Joe overheard.

"Hello, Slippery, old boy, when did you find your way back to Chicago?"
were the first words of the stranger's greeting, who acted as if he were
greatly pleased with the return of Joe's pal to the "Windy City." "I too
am glad to be once more where one's eyes do not tire looking into
nothingness, bounded only by the horizon and the blue sky," answered
Slippery, and then in a whisper, he added: "Say, Boston Frank, give me a
square tip where Bunko Bill's gang is, so I can find a temporary hangout
until I get straight as to the lay of the land." "Oh, is that what you
wish to know, Slippery? Well they are in a private flat on South Clark,
just below LaSalle Street, second house from the corner, on the fifth
floor, and a dandy place at that, but," here he paused and with an
ill-disguised look of resentment he stared at Joe and then queried:
"Slippery, whose boy have you toting along with you?" And as Slippery
did not promptly answer him he added with contempt in his voice, "I
always understood that only a low-lived plinger dragged a road kid about
with him and never a proper crook." Then to Joe's terror, he heard the
man whom he had until this moment taken to be as honorable as his own
late father answer: "Boston Frank, this lad is the wisest and shrewdest
young crook that ever walked the streets of Chicago." This explanation
pleased Boston Frank, who now asked Slippery to introduce him to the
lad, which the former did, using his new nickname, "Dakota Joe."
Listening to their further conversation, to his horror Joe became for
the first time aware that Slippery was not a man looking for an honest
job, but a criminal whose dislike for the police, which he had so openly
manifested, was the natural result of the life he had been leading. Joe
decided to keep this unpleasant discovery to himself, as he was a
penniless lad in the center of an immense city.

When they parted company with Boston Frank, Slippery and Joe found the
house that he had described to be the "gang's" hangout, and after they
had climbed five flights up a narrow stairway, Slippery rang the door
bell of a flat. A shutter in the panel of the door that fitted so
perfectly into an opening that Joe did not observe its presence before,
was withdrawn and from behind a heavy wire screen a pair of glistening,
suspicious eyes searched their faces, and then a voice demanded what
they desired. Instead of an answer Slippery gave some differently
sounding knocks upon the panel above the screened opening and whispered,
"It's I, Slippery, the yegg."

Joe could distinctly hear the same person who had carefully replaced the
shutter over the once more invisible spy-opening unbolt, then unlock and
finally slowly open the door, and after she, a middle-aged woman, had
again most suspiciously scanned the features of her visitors, she
permitted Slippery and Joe to slip within the slightly opened door, that
she promptly shut, and then bolted and carefully locked, as if the flat,
instead of a home for human beings was a safe-deposit vault of an
immensely rich bank.

"Hello, Marie," Slippery addressed the woman after she had tried the
door knob to assure herself that the steel sheeted door was as correctly
closed as before she opened it, "how are you and the rest of the gang?"
And while they shook hands Joe looked about in the semi-darkness of the
hallway trying to see some members of the gang Slippery had spoken about
when he inquired of Boston Frank as to their whereabouts, and about
whom he had just repeated the question, which to Joe seemed odd because
there was not a sound to be heard in the flat, that, as it was supposed
to be the home of a "gang", should have at least shown these signs of
human habitation.

After the woman and Slippery had exchanged other brief greetings all
three went towards the rear of the hallway, and here she opened a door
and bade them enter, and by the brilliant illumination they saw it was
the dining room of the fiat. Around its well provisioned dinner table
were seated a number of men and women who in a most friendly, but noise
avoiding manner, greeted Slippery and while they questioned him as to
his latest movements, they gave Joe a chance to recover from the
surprise that completely shocked him, when he discovered that this
strangely secluded flat was the home of seven men and four women, all of
the latter--with the exception of the woman who had opened the
door--being barely more than young girls.

[Illustration: Marie at the door]


"The Wages of Sin is Death."

"Look here, friends," remarked one of the men seated at the table, who
was dressed in the height of fashion, and later proved to be the leader
of the others, after he had greeted Slippery and had for a brief moment
gazed at Joe, "Slippery has brought a road kid along with him, no doubt
intending to imitate the ways of the accursed plingers and add another
tramp to those who already hobo about the country." Slippery, to whom
this tart rebuke was addressed, now explained that the lad by his side
was his "pal", and not his road kid; this explanation seemed to satisfy
the speaker for he stretched out his hand and greeted Joe in a most
cordial manner, while Slippery introduced him to the party, not by his
honest Christian name, but by his road name, "Dakota Joe". But the next
moment a far greater surprise was in store for the boy when Slippery
commenced to introduce him to the well attired gentlemen and richly
gowned ladies, whom he supposed, judging by their general appearance,
were far removed from the level they had chosen for themselves, for
presently Slippery announced the name of the "gentleman" with whom he
had just shaken hands as "Bunko Bill", and Joe's unpleasant suspicions
that he had been led into a nest of human vipers were greatly increased
when his pal called off the names of the other inmates of the flat. The
nearest fellow was "Brooklyn Danny, the Dip"; the next one went by the
name of "Buffalo Johnny, the Strong Arm Man"; the fourth responded to
"Ohio Jack, the Sneak"; a neat looking fellow who sported a diamond stud
upon his shirt bosom answered to the appropriate name of "Diamond Al";
while the criminal tendencies of the sixth were plainly stamped in his
nickname, "Niagara Swifty, the Shop Lifter", while the last one, a
red-haired, wary-looking chap answered to the rather suggestive name of
"Atlanta Jerry, the Hold-Up."

Joe, who had heard at home the section men tell about the "monicker"
every tramp bore, could not help but note that these "names-de-crime"
which Slippery had just now given as the ones with which these gentlemen
addressed each other, so very closely resembled those used by the hoboes
that perhaps every one of the men before him had formerly been a road

The boy's astonishment was greatly increased when next Slippery
introduced the "ladies". The one who so cautiously opened the door for
their entrance was honored by the name of "Dippy Marie"; the second on
account of the color of her hair was known as "Red Annie"; while a third
was titled "Noisy Jane", and the last, the youngest and best looking one
of them, went by the nickname of "Babe".

After this introduction Bunko Bill invited Slippery and Joe to make
their home with them during their sojourn in Chicago, which offer was
readily accepted and then all sat down to dine. After dinner Slippery
under the pretense of wishing to show Joe the city, managed to keep out
of complications which might have been caused by some of the inmates too
closely questioning the lad, and he took the boy for a walk to the
nearby shores of Lake Michigan.

After Joe had enjoyed for some time the beauty of the marine scenery
that spread like a gigantic panorama before his eyes, he broke the
silence by bluntly asking Slippery how and when they were to meet his
brother Jim. Slippery assured Joe and quieted him by saying that it
would be merely a matter of days before they would meet Jim in the
street in the same manner that they had met Boston Frank.

They returned to the flat in time to join the others at supper, and
after this had been served Joe wondered why one after another, all the
members of the gang cautiously slipped out of the door and vanished down
the stairway with the sole exception of "Dippy Marie", who showed them
to their bedroom.

In the morning Boston Frank made a call at the flat, and behind locked
doors had a long conference with Slippery and the others. After his
visit Slippery became a busy man and Joe watched him oiling, filing and
tempering a collection of jimmies, nippers, wedges, pliers, saws, and
other such tools for which an expert mechanic could find a proper use.
When Joe carelessly picked up a small bottle that stood upon the table
before Slippery, the yegg's face turned pale, and then he explained to
the boy who too commenced to shudder the longer he listened, that the
harmless looking liquid in the bottle was fearfully dangerous

The following afternoon Boston Frank made a second visit and then he and
Slippery, each carrying a heavy satchel filled with the tools Slippery
had so carefully looked after, followed by Joe, around whose left leg
they had bandaged, despite his most vehement protests, the small bottle
containing the deadly explosive, left the flat. They took a street car
to the railroad station, where Boston Frank purchased tickets to Dixon,
one of the prettiest and most hustling cities in western Illinois. Soon
they were rolling out of the railroad yards and across the fertile
plains and arrived at their destination late in the night.

They left the train from the rear platform of the last Pullman, and
climbed to the ground from the opposite side of the station platform,
and after they had hurriedly walked about a mile in the darkness, Boston
Frank stopped at a barn, and while Slippery and Joe walked ahead, he
noiselessly opened the barn door and after hitching the owner's fastest
horse to his best buggy he leisurely overtook the others and made them
climb in, after they had placed the heavy satchels in the buggy's body,
and then he carefully drove the horse on into the night.

During their conversation, which Joe overheard, Boston Frank mentioned
to Slippery that the "P.-O." had been reported to be a regular mint, and
he repeatedly assured him that no one was sleeping in the "P.-O." as he
had tried several nights in succession to purchase tobacco at the
"P.-O.", but his knocks were not answered.

At a cross-roads country store they stopped and here Joe understood what
Boston Frank had meant with "P.-O.", as it bore a large sign that had
the words "Post Office" painted upon it.

While Boston Frank hitched the horse and buggy to a nearby tree,
Slippery carried the heavy satchels containing the tools to the rear of
the store, while he ordered Joe to carefully unwrap the nitro-glycerine
bottle from his leg, which the boy gladly did to be rid of the dangerous
explosive, and then handed it to Slippery.

Joe, who had not yet the least inkling what sort of mysterious night
work was contemplated by his older companions, suddenly came to the
realization of his own danger when Slippery in a decidedly unfriendly
manner, roughly commanded him to stand guard in front of the store, and
after he had placed the lad so he could scan the different roads, he did
something that has made more blood thirsty desperadoes out of harmless
boys than any other trick, he pressed a cocked, large calibered revolver
into the unsuspecting boy's hand and curtly ordered him, under pain of
losing his own life if he failed to obey this order, to blaze away at
any approaching human being. Then he disappeared towards the rear of the

For a moment Joe's brain worked overtime, especially when he looked at
the murder tool the other fellow had placed into his trembling hand and
he promptly decided to cast the pistol into the middle of the roadway
and run for his life to escape not only the clutches of these fellows,
whom he now realized were desperate robbers, but to escape a possibly
far worse fate. Just as he started to follow out this idea, Slippery
stepped around the corner, and after he once more warned the lad not to
falter in shooting to kill, he gave Joe a spool of fine copper wire to
hold and when the surprised boy wished to know the reason, he showed Joe
where he had the other end of the same wire twisted about his wrist,
and cautioned him to hold it taut and that every time he gave the wire a
sharp pull the boy should answer with the same signal, and that if he
saw anyone approaching several sharp pulls should be the danger signal.
Then he again left the lad, and whenever he tugged on the wire Joe
answered with the agreed signal, and by this simple means Slippery had
not only forced a harmless boy to do dangerous outpost duty, and was
assured that he was always on guard, but what was most important, he had
a noiseless danger signal that, even should the boy fail to kill
somebody, he would thus notify the robbers that all was not well and
give them plenty of time and a far better chance to make their getaway
than the boy himself had, especially if he "shot to kill", as he had
been commanded to do, which would have meant a long term behind the
prison bars if not a trip by the route of the hangman's rope.

While Joe had thus been forced to become their involuntary accomplice,
the two yeggs pried open the rear entrance of the store, and then
Slippery worked at his profession of safe blowing. When all had been
made ready to explode the charge, they carried the satchels with their
tools out of the store and placed them in the buggy and made everything
ready for an instant escape. Boston Frank unhitched the horse and held
it by the head, while Slippery went back to the store, lit the fuse and
then stood at the rear door until an explosion, which seemed to tear the
store asunder told the waiting yeggs that the moment to commence their
dangerous harvest had arrived. While Boston Frank had trouble to quiet
the madly plunging, frightened horse, Slippery dove into the store to
emerge again an instant later choking, sneezing and almost blinded just
as if he had dynamited a box loaded with powdered red pepper instead of
a common fireproof safe. Foiled in stealing the contents of the safe,
amid awful curses, he climbed into the buggy and called to Joe to jump
upon its rear, and while they heard all around them loud calls and even
pistol shots of the farmers, who had been aroused out of their
slumbers, Boston Frank turned into the highway leading back to Dixon and
the race for their liberty commenced.

They dashed down the wagon road at top speed, Boston Frank ever urging
the horse on to greater efforts, as in speed lay their only salvation.

Passing the first farm house which fronted upon the wagon road, they
could see by the light cast by a lantern that stood beside him upon the
porch, a man dressed in his night robe raise a revolver and after taking
a careful aim at the approaching buggy, just as they were in line with
him, discharge point blank in quick succession its six messengers of
death into their midst. But Boston Frank did not slacken the pace, on
the contrary he urged the horse to ever greater speed.

Not a word was exchanged by the inmates of the buggy during this race,
and for several miles farther they drove at the utmost speed, then the
horse's terrific gait commenced to slacken, and now that they were
beyond the aroused neighborhood, Boston Frank slowed the horse and
turned in at a road crossing to throw possible pursuers upon a wrong

Just as they realized how close an escape they had, Slippery keeled over
against Boston Frank and said hoarsely: "Frank, for mercy's sake take me
where I can get a drink of water. The fellow who fired at us from the
first farm house hit his mark, for I am shot." "Slippery, old boy," now
queried Boston Frank, not believing that such a dire calamity had
overtaken them, "you are joking, aren't you?" And then, when Slippery
did not answer, he looked into his pal's face and saw there the pallor
of death while two dark lines emerging from the corner of his mouth
caused by the wounded man's life blood, trickling away, proved to him
that his comrade in crime had only too accurately spoken the bitter
truth. Now he coughed and when Boston Frank saw a stream of blood shoot
out of the wounded man's mouth and heard a choking noise in his throat,
he readily recognized the nature of the hurt and that Slippery had been
shot through his lungs.

Boston Frank in sheer desperation again urged the rapidly tiring horse
to one last effort, but soon the best speed he could get out of the
animal was a slow trot. Again Slippery most piteously begged for a drink
of water, and taking a desperate chance, when he saw in the darkness an
open gate that led into a field, he guided the tired horse into it, and
after Joe had closed the gate behind them he drove ahead until a thick
thorn hedge stopped further progress. Here they lifted the wounded man
out of the buggy and laid him upon the ground. He continued to plead
most piteously for a cooling drink of water to appease his torturing
fever thirst. "Joe," cautioned Boston Frank, after he had securely tied
the horse to the hedge, "you take care of poor Slippery until I return
with my derby filled with water, as I cannot bear to listen longer to
the poor fellow's heart-rending appeals." Then he disappeared into the
night, resolved to find water at any price.

"Joe, Joe, come here, Joe," the lad heard Slippery weakly calling a
moment later, and he knelt beside the wounded man and asked him what he
desired. Just then Slippery could not answer, as he was again vomiting
blood, and Joe tried to ease his breathing by elevating his head with
boughs he broke from the hedge.

"Joe," the wounded fellow called again, "where are you, Joe?" The boy
placed his hand in the outstretched, searching hands of Slippery, who
feebly pressed them with his own and said, "Joe, I know I am mortally
wounded, and want you to make me, a dying man, a promise. I meant to
forsake crime and live the life of an honest man for your sake after we
had successfully pulled off this job--my last one." He paused a moment
and then continued, "I took you with us, so when you and I went to your
home in Rugby you would never forget that you had been my accomplice
and would not be apt to peach on me. I know that the wound I received
is the just punishment for the greatest wrong mortal man can commit,
that of leading a harmless boy astray." Again he paused, as if his
troubled conscience overpowered him, and then with a renewed effort that
heavily taxed his fast ebbing vitality, he added, "Joe, for the love you
bear for your mother, of whom you have spoken so often, swear now,
before the Almighty, that you will from this moment forward shun the
three evils which have brought me to this, and which are 'Bums, Booze
and Boxcars', and that you will not further associate with the criminals
at the flat, for if you return to them, on account of this night's work
you will be forever one of their number." And there in the solitude of
the night, kneeling beside his dying companion, with his arms uplifted
towards the starry firmament, Joe solemnly swore that he would beware of
"Bums, Booze and Boxcars", and quit the very people whose acquaintance
he had made through Slippery.

[Illustration: And there in the solitude of the night, kneeling beside
his dying companion, Joe solemnly swore to forever forsake the "Road."]

For a moment all was silence, which was interrupted only by the gurgling
of the blood as it welled up into the mortally wounded yegg's throat,
then came the pitifully human appeal from the lips of the dying man,
"Joe, where are you, Joe? Do not leave me alone, Joe, now that all have
left me and everything is so dark before my eyes." Then after a brief
pause he painfully stammered, "Joe, find your brother Jim, then both of
you go back to your mother and be once more her boys." He again became
silent and then, now that it was too late, he plainly showed, that
although he was a despised yegg, there was one place in this wide world
where there would be one true friend waiting in vain for his return, for
he slowly added, "Joe, believe me, there is no friend like mother and no
place like home."

Then came another hemorrhage and a stream of his life blood shot into
the air and then, with a last effort, he drew Joe's hands to his
parched, suffering lips, and while he covered them with kisses, the
rattling in his throat increased, then decreased, and finally
stopped--he had expired.

When Boston Frank returned with the water, he only found his dead pal,
as Joe, horror stricken by the dead man's glassy stare, by the blood
covered corpse, by the quietude of the night and all the horrors which
had transpired, had fled into the night as if furies and demons were
pursuing him, bent only upon placing as much space as possible between
his living self and the gruesome tragedy he had left behind. He climbed
over fences and forced his way through hedges; forded creeks and swam
streams, until from his frantic exertions he became so completely
exhausted that when he fell into a clump of bushes he was unable to
rise, and gradually sank into a deep sleep.

Then a strange dream came to him. He dreamed he was a prisoner locked up
in a narrow cell, and that he saw Slippery, the yegg's face pressed
against its cross-barred steel door, while on both sides of him stood
officers of the law. They were leading him to the gallows, upon which he
had been condemned to expiate his crime, and now on his way to face his
doom he had stopped to bid Joe a last farewell, and Joe could distinctly
hear his words: "Good-bye, Joe, do not do as I did, who when a youngster
ran away from a good home to follow Bums, Booze and Boxcars, but go back
to your waiting mother before it is too late, for remember, 'The Wages
of Sin is Shameful Death'."

[Illustration: Hanging from the gallows]


"Scattered to the Winds."

The sun stood high in the heavens when Joe awakened, and it was some
moments before he remembered the horrible occurrences of the preceding
night. But most vividly of all he remembered the solemn promise he had
made to his dying pal and to strengthen himself in his resolve to
strictly live up to his pledge, he fell upon his knees and repeated the
solemn oath.

At a rippling brook he washed and removed every trace of the ordeal he
had passed through, and then inquired from a farmer the direction to the
railroad station at Dixon, where he intended to hop a train to Chicago
and, arriving in the city, find a job so he could support himself
honestly, while keeping on a lookout for his missing brother Jim.

After an hour's walk he arrived at the railroad station and found a
crowd surging about a baggage truck which stood upon the station
platform, and when he managed to push his way through the throng he
found that the people were staring at a blood soaked blanket that
covered a carcass of some sort. Joe only stopped for a moment, for when
one of the men, more curious than the others, lifted up a corner of the
blanket, Joe gazed into the lifeless features of Slippery, the yegg, and
forced by his emotions he retreated quickly to another part of the

Here he overheard some of the citizens discussing the post office
robbery, and he heard them say that the railroad and city policemen had
identified the dead robber as one of the most dangerous criminals in the
land for whose apprehension "dead or alive", the government offered a
large reward. He also heard that the same country store post office had
been dynamited twice in the past three months, and that the postmaster
had set a trap with the aid of his neighbors, to give the next gang of
burgling yeggs a hot reception.

Presently a loud shout was heard and the crowd made a rush to the front
of the station. Joe followed and saw a dirt covered man, securely
manacled to an officer, entering the waiting room. Joe instantly
recognized Boston Frank, and heard that he had been caught by a farmer's
posse, who, following a trail of blood that had dripped from the buggy,
had surprised Boston Frank while he was busy at work burying the
satchels containing the burglar tools.

Joe caught Boston Frank's eye and forthwith pushed himself alongside the
yegg. While the officer to whom he was manacled paid close attention to
the postmaster, who told him that although yeggs had spoiled his safe
for a third time, he had protected his own and the government's
valuables by having placed a quart bottle of formaldehyde in the safe,
Boston Frank contrived to whisper to Joe that he had Slippery's purse in
his hip pocket, and for him to take it and keep its contents, as he
himself would have little use for cash in the penitentiary, for a long
term now stared him in the face, and he ordered Joe to purchase a ticket
and take the first train leaving for Chicago and to warn the others, as
the officers, while searching him had found an incriminating letter that
bore upon its envelope the correct address of the gang's hangout.

Joe did as Boston Frank had directed, and a moment later he had,
unobserved, abstracted a well-filled purse from the latter's pocket and
hid it in his own. He then made his way to the ticket window and called
for a ticket to Chicago. When he pulled out the purse that Boston Frank
had told him belonged to the slain criminal, he almost dropped it from
sheer surprise, as he instantly recognized it as his own purse, the very
one that had been stolen from him at the Golden Rule Hotel, and the loss
of which had started all of his misfortunes. He paid for the ticket and
then in a secluded spot he counted the contents of the purse, which
proved to be a windfall to the penniless lad, as it amounted to twelve

While he waited for the arrival of the train, marvel as he might, he
could not solve the riddle connected with the strange return of his
purse that had so mysteriously managed to come back to its rightful
owner after having disappeared at a place five hundred miles removed
from Dixon, Illinois.

He rode to Chicago on the same train upon which the government officers
were bringing the corpse of the slain robber, and while Boston Frank was
chained to a seat in the smoking car, Joe sat silently in the
first-class coach, thinking of the lucky escape he had had and ever and
anon repeating the oath he had made to the now lifeless clay in the
baggage car ahead.

While Joe was thus occupied he must have attracted the attention of one
of the train men, who good-naturedly stopped to chat with him, and
inquired where he was going. Joe told him that Chicago was his
destination, and innocently added that he intended to find employment in
the city. "Say, kid," the good-natured brakeman advised him, more as a
huge joke than in a serious vein, "if you cannot find anything better,
hit my boss for a job." And then he gave Joe the correct address of his

When the train arrived at the Chicago terminal, Joe boarded a street car
that brought him quickly to the flat where he intended to acquaint its
inmates with the misfortune that had overtaken Slippery and Boston
Frank, and also to deliver the verbal message the latter had given him.
To his surprise he found the front of the house in which the flat was
located kept clear of public traffic by a cordon of policemen, while
several police patrols were backed against the curb, and were not only
loaded with the handcuffed criminals, who had been caught like rats in a
trap, upon the telegraphic advice of the Dixon police authorities, but
with thousands of dollars worth of stolen property that had been found
in trunks and other hiding places.

While Joe stood in the crowd watching the finish of those who had
transgressed the law, with far better reasons than the curious idlers
about him could suspect, he felt someone sharply pull his coat sleeve.
He felt himself turning ashen-gray from fright as he thought some
detective had recognized him, and when the same sharp pull was repeated,
trembling with fear, he turned to see who it was that knew him in
Chicago, and recognized that his dread was groundless as it was "Babe"
who had pulled his sleeve, the youngest girl in the den of the thieves,
who luckily happened to be away from home when the police commenced the
raid of the flat.

[Illustration: Her emotions got the better of her and she placed her
arms around the sobbing lad's neck and kissed him.]

"Come, Joe," she whispered, "I want to speak to you." He followed the
girl and both walked to the nearby shore of Lake Michigan, where he
repeated to her word for word everything that had occurred since he last
saw her at the flat, and when he remarked that both of them should thank
a kind Providence that had kept them out of the hands of the police,
tears trickled down their cheeks, while they gazed out over the restless
waters of the lake.

It was "Babe" who broke the silence by remarking: "We are indeed lucky,
Joe. Just think of what would have been our fate had we been arrested
with the others. You would have been sent to a penal institution to
emerge years later an ex-convict, a marked man forever afterwards, while
I would have been sent to a home where I would have been forced to
associate with the most degraded wretches. I was only seventeen last
month and was sent from a faraway western city to a boarding school in
the east, where the "blue stocking" matrons made the unfettered life
that I had learned to love at home such a misery for me, that I ran away
and came to Chicago to seek employment. I fell in with evil company,
but, thank God, I have yet enough common sense left to know when to
quit, and that is right now. For obvious reasons, I am not going to tell
you my address, but," here she turned and out of a hiding place in her
dress pulled a fair-sized roll of greenbacks, and then she continued, "I
have managed to look out for a day just like this one and have saved a
few dollars so I could get back home in the west, and" now she peeled a
hundred dollar bill from the roll she held in her hand, "I want you to
accept this sum and forget that you ever met me." Here her emotions got
the best of her and she put her arms around Joe's neck, who was sobbing,
being unable to express in any other manner his appreciation of the
girl's generosity, and after she had kissed the boy she whispered: "Joe,
for the sake of your mother I want you to swear that you will never
again become a companion of criminals." Joe repeated to her the same
solemn oath he had pledged to the dying Slippery, and promised that he
would faithfully adhere to it as long as he lived. When he finished, for
the want of something better to give her as a souvenir, he emptied the
purse that had so strangely come back to him and made the girl accept it
as a token of his gratitude for her timely help, when a mere dozen
dollars stood between him and temptation.

After making Joe promise that he would not attempt to follow her, she
bade him farewell and walked to the nearest street crossing, and while
Joe was busy wiping his eyes with one of his hands, he waved her
farewell with the other until she mounted a street car and was whirled
beyond his vision.

After Joe had furnished himself with a proper outfit of clothing, and
all the other things required by a young man who intends to find a
respectable position, he engaged a room at a first-class hotel. He ate
his supper in company with honest people and later retired for the
night. He turned off the light, and while he lay there between the
sheets waiting for sleep to overtake him, the fearful experiences of the
last two days followed one another through his agitated mind just as if
they were moving pictures. When he came to the scene where he knelt by
the side of the flying yegg and solemnly swore to forever quit the path
Slippery had shown him, he felt a strange power drag him out of the bed,
force him to kneel upon the floor and repeat the sacred promise to shun
Bums, Booze and Boxcars and then, when he went again to bed, it was only
a few moments until he was soundly sleeping.


"Where is my Brother James"

On the following morning after he had breakfasted, he carefully copied
all suitable advertisements inserted in the daily papers and set out to
find employment, resolved to accept the very first job offered him,
having profited by his Minneapolis experience when he and Jim refused
many offers of employment which for the moment did not look good to
them, but for which on the following day they actually begged.

Filled with hope to quickly land a good job, he called at the different
addresses, and, although he walked for hours up and down the streets and
avenues, everywhere he inquired the place had been secured by some other
person who had called earlier in the day. When afternoon approached,
wearied by the resultless job-hunt and discouraged by his continued
misfortune, he sank upon a bench in a city park to take a rest.

While listlessly watching the passersby a touch of homesickness almost
got the mastery of him. He was just at the point of deciding if it would
not be best for him while yet he had the funds to do so, to purchase a
ticket back to Rugby and ask his mother's forgiveness. He even arose
from the bench to put this idea into execution, but he only made a few
steps when he faltered and returned to his seat, the courage to face his
mother without his brother James failed him. To find James now became
his one desire, but think of whatever scheme he might, it seemed that to
have patience and wait to meet him in Chicago was the only method he
could discover.

Just then, whistling a lively tune and with a toothpick saucily sticking
out of one corner of his mouth, a small Western Union Messenger boy,
dressed in all the brass buttoned glory of his snappy uniform, passed
the tormented Joe, and somehow the latter's dejected countenance did not
please the telegram carrier, and he greeted him with a withering,
sneering look that caused Joe to double his fist within his pockets,
aching to have it out with the fresh fellow. But before he could muster
sufficient anger to start trouble, the messenger boy, no doubt fearing a
sound thrashing, quickened his steps and hastened beyond the danger
zone. Joe watched him until he passed around a street corner and
wondered what caused him to be so overbearing, and just then the uniform
of the messenger reminded him of the advice the brakeman gave him on the
train, that should he be unable to find a job to tackle his
superintendent for employment. He consulted his notebook into which he
had entered the address, and taking a street car, a few minutes later he
climbed the stairway of a large railroad office building and quickly
found himself in the ante-room of the railroad ruler's office.

When his turn came he entered the superintendent's office, whom he found
to be a very kindly spoken gentleman, and brought matters to a quick
head by blandly asking him for employment. The superintendent smiled to
see a youngster like Joe daring to ask him, the master of thousands of
employees, for a job, but Joe quickly convinced him that he was able to
do a man's work and told how his late father had been a railroad
employee at the time of his demise. The superintendent became interested
in the open-faced lad, who most insistently pleaded to be given a chance
to prove his desire to make good.

In those days, the railroad companies were not so strict in the hiring
of their employees as they are at present, and when the superintendent
asked Joe what sort of job he thought he could fill, the latter,
remembering the natty uniform of the passenger train's crew, promptly
replied that a brakeman's job aboard a passenger train would just suit
him, which answer caused the superintendent to break out into a hearty
laugh, after he had told Joe that he was several sizes too small to fill
that position. But Joe was entirely too much in earnest to be turned
away this easily, and drawing himself to his full height, he pleaded
that, as he had no home and neither touched tobacco nor strong drink,
he should at least be given a trial, and then finished his appeal by
telling the superintendent that a young, live and accommodating trainman
was preferred by the patrons of every railroad to a cranky one.

This last statement pleased the superintendent so well that he told Joe
to report a week after date in a regulation uniform and that he should
have a chance to prove his side of the argument. Joe thanked the
superintendent for his kindness and after he closed the office door he
jumped down the stairway three steps at a time, so happy was he. In fact
he realized that he had not only found a job that would decently support
him, but one that strictly conformed with his somewhat restless
disposition, as it permitted him to travel to his heart's content aboard
the flying trains, giving him at the same time a chance to earn an
honest living and see a bit of the world.

He gave a tailor a "hurry" order for a trainman's uniform, and when he
reported on the appointed day at the superintendent's office, he was put
in charge of a conductor who quickly became his fatherly friend, because
Joe did everything required of him in a most satisfactory manner. Each
pay day he placed a large percentage of his salary in a savings bank,
and as his wages were from time to time increased, he soon became the
owner of a comfortable bank account.

He always kept a sharp lookout for his brother Jim, but five years
rolled around in which time he found no trace of his missing brother.
Finally he was attacked by a severe case of homesickness; somehow he
felt a strange loneliness come over him, and the picture of his mother
could not be effaced from his mind, and fearing as much as ever to
return home without his twin brother, he finally wrote a long letter,
pleading for her forgiveness and inquiring if anything had been heard
from James since they left home together. He wrote his own address in
the upper corner of the envelope and dropped the letter into a mail box.
But from the moment the letter left his hands, his anxiety while
waiting for an answer became such a burden that he was unable to attend
to his duties, and had to ask for a lay-off. As hours were added to
hours and days to days without an answer arriving, the strain of the
suspense finally became so fearful that mute desperation was written in
every line of his face, and to end the misery he was busily packing his
suitcase ready to leave for Rugby, letter or no letter, the following
morning and there upon his knees plead with his mother to forgive his
boyish prank, when someone knocked on the door and when he opened it he
found it was his landlady who handed him a letter, and he recognized it
as being the same one he had addressed to his mother at Rugby, but there
was this time written across its face: "Moved to Canada. Present address

Joe stared at the letter for some moments as if dazed, then he locked
the door, and when on the following afternoon his landlady knocked to
inquire if anything was wanted he opened it. His bed was still
unruffled, showing that he had not occupied it during the night, and
when she saw the same letter she had brought to him, its writing blurred
and tear-stained, lying open upon the dresser, and noted the red and
swollen eyes and woe-begone expression of Joe's face, her motherly heart
quickly surmised the pitiful drama that had been enacted behind the
closed door of the room. She stepped close to the broken-hearted man,
who was sitting upon a chair, mutely holding his head between his hands,
and while she lightly stroked his hair she pleaded with him to go to the
street, as she thought that mingling with the crowds would prove the
best heart-balm for him.

Joe took his kind landlady's advice, and while walking about the streets
he felt that the pangs of remorse for the prank which had deprived him
of his good mother were less severe, and when he began to feel more like
his former self he retraced his steps to his lodging house.

When he reached South Clark Street, his progress was blocked by a jam
of vehicle traffic. The ever increasing crowd of delayed people forced
Joe into the vestibule of one of the many slum saloons abounding in that
locality, and here he watched the mounted police hard at work trying to
again open the thoroughfare. While he thus passed the time until he
could cross the street, he was accosted by a typical Chicago rum-soaked
bum. "Say, friend," the semi-maudlin wretch pleaded while he edged most
uncomfortably close to Joe, "would you mind assisting a hungry fellow
who has not eaten a square meal in a week?" More for the sake of getting
rid of his unpleasant company, than from a desire to accord charity, Joe
went into his trouser pockets for a small coin to hand to the beggar,
but while fumbling for the money he caused his trainman's cap to fall to
the pavement. He reached down and picked it up, and when he straightened
himself he pulled out a dime and handed it to the beggar, who, instead
of accepting the proffered donation, disdainfully pushed aside the hand
holding the alms and stepping closer he almost insultingly leered into
Joe's face. "Say, McDonald," he hissed, "when did you make your
getaway?" Before the astonished Joe could utter a single word the tramp
pointed at Joe's trainman's cap and added: "I see you are working now
for the Chicago & North-Western Railroad," and when still no sign of
recognition came from Joe's mouth he in a most threatening manner
finished: "Do they know your record over there?"

Joe, although he trembled with ill-suppressed rage at this street
beggar's impudence to openly insult him in such barefaced manner, held
his peace for the moment, as he tried in vain to fathom how and where
the mendicant had learned to call him by his correct name. To wring this
information from the sodden wretch was his first purpose. "Say, fellow,"
Joe almost pleasantly asked the beggar, "who told you that my name is
McDonald?" "Did you think I did not recognize you?" replied the bum in a
most insolent tone while at the same time he pointed his hand at Joe's
birthmark. "When you bent forward to pick up your cap I remembered you
the moment I put my eyes on that streak of white hair," and then, sure
that he had before him a victim whom he could blackmail with perfect
impunity, he inquired, "Have you been back to Rugby since I saw you the
last time, and say, McDonald, how are the chances for your helping a
poor friend to the price of a meal and a bunking place for the night?"

[Illustration: "Say, friend," pleaded the semi-maudlin beggar, "would
you mind assisting a hungry fellow who has not eaten a square meal in a

Joe felt greatly relieved when he heard the fellow's more familiar talk,
as it seemed to prove that the beggar had been one of his late father's
section laborers, and he searched his pockets once more and pulled out a
silver dollar and pressed the coin into the man's outstretched palm, and
then, wondering why he did not even deign to thank him for this generous
gift he inquired if he had lately been back to Rugby, and if he ever
heard what had become of his mother, Mrs. McDonald. Instead of an answer
to his question the beggar straightened himself to his full height, "So
you have not been home?" the bum mocked in a most impudent manner, "a
little scared to show up amongst the folks at home with that soiled
record chalked behind their honest family name, eh?" As yet no reply
came from the trainman's trembling lips, still under the impression that
he was speaking to Joe's twin brother, the bum added, while a most
diabolical grin spread over his ugly visage, "Haven't peddled needle
cases lately, have you?" "I do not understand what you are referring
to," the now thoroughly mystified Joe interrupted the beggar, "I have
never peddled a needle case in all my life." "Trying to wiggle yourself
out of your past, eh?" the vagrant scornfully retorted, and thinking
that his victim was trying to slip out of his net, he continued, "guess
you think you can fool this old plinger and try to work the 'innocent'
game on your old jocker, eh?"

Joe again insisted that he did not understand what the fellow was trying
to say, and tiring of the unpleasant conversation he blandly asked the
beggar if he were not somewhat rum crazed. "Call me rum crazed," the
wretch shrieked in towering rage, feeling that his victim was getting
the better of the argument, that he intended should form a base upon
which he would later collect blackmail, and while he shook his dirty
fist in Joe's face, he added, "I, crazy? How dare you call me crazy? I,
Kansas Shorty, the plinger?" Then he stepped back a pace and while his
hideous, rum-bloated face was made all the more repulsive by his
malevolent eyes with which he glared at the shuddering Joe, who only
now, that the fiend had revealed his name-de-road recalled and
recognized in the person of the beggar, the tramp who had taken charge
of his brother James.

While the rogue was yet gloating over the apparent discomfort his words
had caused, Joe suddenly threw himself upon the vagabond, and while he
bore him to the pavement and while his hands throttled the viper's
throat, he shrieked into the beggar's ears. "I am Joseph McDonald, and
you die on this spot unless you tell me what you have done with my
brother James." They struggled desperately, one to free himself from the
strangle hold, while Joe wished to force a confession from the fellow
beneath him whose staring eyes were bulging out of his skull, and whose
face had commenced to turn a bluish-black.

Quickly the usual city crowd gathered about the fighting men and a
second later the slum saloon in front of which they were battling,
emptied its filthy scum into the street, all anxious to enjoy the
combat. Some of the plingers amongst this riff-raff must have recognized
their mate, and thinking that the trouble was merely a case of a street
beggar insulting a citizen, and noting that this one wore the hated
uniform of a railroad man--every tough's sworn enemy--they made common
cause and the next moment Joe saw a heavy beer bottle descending upon
his head, then all was darkness.

When he regained consciousness he was lying upon the floor of the slum
saloon, with his pockets turned inside out and his watch missing, and a
dull pain almost bursting his skull. He staggered to his feet, and while
he tried to steady himself against a table, the bartender took hold of
his coat and shoved him through the swinging doors into the street, and
advised him to make a quick getaway unless he wished to be arrested for
attempting to murder a "poor and harmless working man".

For a week his conductor did not see Joe, who was, during every moment
of this time, ceaselessly combing the slums, the dives, the police
courts and even the "jungles" upon the outskirts of the city in a vain
effort to get a glimpse of Kansas Shorty.

To some of the fellows whom he recognized as having been members of the
"mob" which prevented his choking Kansas Shorty into a confession, he
told the story of his missing brother and repeated the strange
conversation that had passed between them before he felled the scoundrel
to the pavement. These plingers, knitted together by the common
knowledge that of all human vultures they are the most despised, had
only shrugs for the unfortunate man, and when one of them, tiring of his
repeated pleadings, condescended to hand him a mite of consolation, all
the information he cared to impart was contained in the rejoinder that
"Kansas Shorty had jumped the city."

[Illustration: Unconscious in the gutter]


"The Noble Work of the Salvation Army."

A most decided change had come over Joseph McDonald when he again
reported himself ready for duty. Since his struggle with Kansas Shorty
he had repeatedly weighed every word this rascal had spoken and adduced
from it that something most dishonorable must have been Jim's fate, and
the oftener he attempted to unravel the mystery that lay concealed
behind the ill-omened remarks made by this scoundrel, the more morose he
became from the constant strain, for his troubled conscience caused him
to feel that he was equally to be blamed for any disgrace that might
have overtaken his missing brother.

The more he worried the more he became resolved that even should he
never be able to see his brother again, the chances that he would some
day run across Kansas Shorty were far more favorable, as he well knew
how drifters of his class roved aimlessly over the country as their
fancy, the wanderlust, and more often the police drove them onward.

To find Kansas Shorty became an obsession with Joe. If luck favored him
in his search, he planned to plead with the scoundrel, but should this
prove of no avail, then he intended to strangle him until he would
divulge the secret which shrouded Jim's fate.

Oftentimes, especially when late in the night, after the passengers had
gone to sleep upon the coach seats, and Joe thought himself unobserved,
his fellow trainmen, to whom he had confided his life's story, watched
Joe, to whom a troubled conscience refused peace, raise his hands before
him and slowly close the fingers with such suggestive motions, that it
caused the trainmen to shudder when they imagined the same fingers
executing like motions while entwined about Kansas Shorty's throat.

Joe's second hobby was to study the hobo monickers written upon or
carved into the railroad company's property. From the time his train
left the Chicago Terminal until it pulled into the Union Station at
Omaha, where Joe's "trip" ended, he employed every spare moment while
they stopped at stations or water tanks, to carefully read every hobo
sign that the drifters passing to and fro over the line had left behind
them, ever hoping to discover a clue to Kansas Shorty's whereabouts by
finding his name-de-rail with a date and an arrow beneath it pointing in
the direction he was traveling.

Joe's third and favorite hobby was to hunt hoboes who dared to beat
their way upon his train. He finely discriminated between the man in
search of employment, the harmless tramp who had fallen a victim to the
wanderlust, the sneaking rogue who "toted" a six-shooter for the special
purpose of killing human beings, preferring railroad employees and
hoboes, and the rascal who had trained other people's sons to beg a
living for him, exactly as an Italian organ grinder would train a
performing monkey or bear. Many were the railroad lanterns Joe had to
replace for those he broke over the heads of the two latter classes of
tramps, especially the last ones, who clung even more obstinately to
their road kids than a tiger clings to his prey. The youngsters he had
rescued, if he was not able to send them safely home, he would turn over
to proper authorities, for well he knew that each one of these runaway
boys had not only somewhere a broken-hearted mother waiting for his
return, but that, if they were not stopped drifting to the abyss while
still young, with the evil training that depraved tramps gave them, it
would be merely a matter of time before they too would have learned to
destroy and pilfer railroad property; rob box cars and stations, and
thus repay with almost brutal ingratitude those who had permitted them
to travel unmolested upon their trains.

The years rolled quickly by and although Joe had now been in the
company's employ for almost fifteen years, he refused every offer of
promotion, preferring his humble trainman's job, that, although he had
years ago given up all hope of ever seeing his brother James again, gave
him a chance to atone for his own blighted past by his self-appointed
mission, that of trying to combat single-handed and unassisted the most
vitally important and yet most revolting phase of the whole tramp
problem. His endeavor in this line caused much ridicule among his fellow
railroad men and those who had stopped to listen to tramps and
especially to plingers, whom Joe's unselfish work had deprived of
victims and who denounced him as a "Stool Pigeon", as a "Spotter" and
whatever other venomous attribute their black souls could hurl at him,
in an attempt to damage his well earned reputation as a benefactor to
humanity, who in spite of many threats of bodily injury, by pointing to
the seriousness of the road kid evil, proved to the world its intimate
connection with the never lessening, nay, ever increasing, numbers of
thieving and murdering vagrants.

At both ends of his "run", at Chicago, as well as at Omaha, Joe had a
rest of twelve hours before he again had to report for duty. One
evening, just after he arrived at Omaha, his attention was attracted by
a band of the Salvation Army holding a public service on a street
corner. Their leader was loudly extorting and pleading with the crowd
listening to his service, for penitents to come forward and permit the
band to pray for their salvation. He was a good orator, and to hear him
the better, Joe pushed his way through the crowd until he stood at the

Just at the moment when some of his audience commenced to titter at the
poor success the appeal seemed to have, forcing his way through the
crowd came a half drunken, shaggy bearded and poorly dressed man, who,
when he reached the open center of the meeting, pleaded with the
Salvation Army's leader to pray for him. Undaunted by the fellow's rough
appearance and the very evident marks of his craving for strong drink,
the leader shook his hand and after he bade him welcome asked him as a
primary step towards complete salvation to make a public confession of
his sins.

Sobered by the solemnity of the moment the penitent wretch straightened
and then gave a brief review of his life. It was the oft-repeated story
of a runaway boy, hailing from a good family, drifting into
hobo-companionship with all the rum, filth and crime that such
association implies, and ended by telling that on this day, after having
so wantonly wasted the best years of his life, he had made up his mind
to end it all by placing his head upon the rails. On his way to the
railway yards he had stopped to listen to the service of the Salvation
Army, and when he heard their leader plead for lost souls, especially
those who had been rejected by every other denomination, he felt it to
be an act of God that had caused him to stop, and he came forward to try
and make a second and better start in life.

When he finished his pitiful story of a blasted life, there was hardly a
dry eye amongst the listeners, and taking advantage of the good
impression the confession had made, the Salvation Army leader asked all
those who were believers in Christ to offer up a silent prayer for the
penitent sinner.

Joe joined the many others who complied with this request, and holding
his cap before him, he bent his head in prayer. Then a strange incident
occurred, for just as he replaced his cap the same repentant wretch for
whose regeneration he had just prayed, came towards him and while tears
rolled down his seamed face he stretched forth his hands and pleaded,
"James McDonald, unfathomable are the ways of the merciful God, for here
at the moment when I had resolved to henceforth lead a clean life he has
sent you so I could beg your pardon for the greatest wrong a human being
could inflict upon a harmless boy, that is, to wantonly spoil his
future. James McDonald, I recognized your white hair streak when you
lowered your head to pray for the salvation of the very man whom you had
far better reason to curse. Will you not now forgive me, whom you have
known as Kansas Shorty, and who will seek in the morning the first
honest job he has ever done in his whole life?" Joe, dumfounded at
meeting the fellow whom, although aged and disfigured by the unnatural
life he had been leading, he now recognized as the tramp for whom he had
searched for so many years, held his peace, for he recalled how he had
at Chicago spoiled by undue haste his chance to discover the fate of his
missing brother, who had resembled him so much that Kansas Shorty for a
second time made the same error in their identity.

[Illustration: A drunken, shaggy bearded and poorly dressed man pushed
himself through the crowd, which listened to the Salvation Army's leader
plea for penitents to come forward.]

He told the wretch that he forgave him, and then drew back and became
lost in the crowd, but while he stood well out of Kansas Shorty's view,
he never took his eyes off the form of the new recruit of that immense
army of human wrecks which the Salvationists have dragged out of
saloons, gutters, penal institutions and back from suicide to convert
and transform them into useful members of society.

When the Salvation Army's street service had been concluded, led by
flying flags and keeping step to the beating of a drum they marched to
their prayer hall. Kansas Shorty, supported in his unsteady gait by two
brethren of the Army, walked in the midst of the procession, while Joe
kept some distance in the rear, never permitting his eyes to stray off
the shambling form of the man who held the key to the riddle that had so
effectively spoiled Joe's joy of life.

After the army had entered the meeting hall, Joe called on the leader
and gave him a brief outline of his past and asked him to assist him to
cause Kansas Shorty to make a complete confession. The leader called his
latest convert into his private office and explained to him that it was
not James but his twin brother Joe of whom he had begged forgiveness,
and he spoke so earnestly to the penitent outcast that the latter made a
clean breast of all he knew concerning James McDonald, and although the
leader as well as Joe tried to make him reveal more, he steadfastly
maintained that after Jim's arrest at Denver he had left that city in a
hurry and did not know anything further concerning his fate.

When Joe left the Salvation Army's headquarters it was he who had to
seek support to keep himself from falling, as the information he had
just received unnerved him so completely that he could barely walk, for
what Kansas Shorty had told not only proved that with Jim's
disappearance he had lost every member of his family, but that his
brother had also disgraced their good name.

Late that night while he rolled restlessly about upon his bed, tormented
by this last disappointment, and while he puzzled his feverish mind, a
strong resentment came over him that Jim should have permitted himself
to be so easily led astray by a good-for-nothing tramp, but when he
remembered the circumstances of his own experience with Slippery, the
yegg, brotherly love got the mastery over him and an idea flashed
through his mind, that if Jim had been arrested at Denver the court
records there should show the sentence the Judge had imposed, and that,
although it seemed merely a forlorn hope, there was a chance to pick up
the trail that would lead to something, and even if he failed to
accomplish anything, for the sake of his own satisfaction, that he had
done everything possible to clear up his brother's disappearance, he
decided to leave on the morning for Denver.

[Illustration: The Salvation Army]


"Forgive and Forget."

In the morning Joe put his plan into execution by applying for and
receiving a month's leave of absence, and taking the first train, he
arrived early on the second day at Denver. Here he hastened to the court
house and had the city clerk search in musty records and when he came
close to the date that Joe had calculated tallied with Kansas Shorty's
story, they found James McDonald's name, and the sentence the judge had
imposed which read: "Imprisonment in the Colorado State Reformatory at
Buena Vista until of age."

This second step towards unravelling his missing brother's fate pleased
Joe so well that before another hour had rolled around he was aboard a
train bound for Buena Vista to continue the search there. At day break
he arrived at this pretty mountain city and hired a livery rig and drove
to the reformatory, situated upon the outskirts of Buena Vista. Here he
called at the warden's office, and after stating his errand, again old
records were searched, which showed that James McDonald had been
received at the institution, but on account of exemplary behavior had
soon after his arrival been paroled into the care of a rancher named
Holmes. Then the warden recalled the case and explained to him that Jim
not only had become Mr. Holmes' son-in-law by marrying his daughter, but
that he was the proud father of a son and a daughter and was considered
a respected member of the community. He also advised Joe to drive to Mr.
Holmes' ranch, as it was only about ten miles down the valley.

It was almost dinner time when Joe arrived at Mr. Holmes' handsome home,
and when he saw a man standing at the gate as he approached, he
immediately knew that it was his long lost brother, as he still
resembled Joe, as much as in the past.

"Jim," cried Joe, as he swung himself from the buggy, and "Brother
Joe," came back the prompt reply, and then with tears of joy streaming
from their eyes they embraced each other, and after their affectionate
greeting they repaired to a nearby bench, and while holding his
at-last-found brother's hands Joe remarked, not aware that his brother
did not know that their mother and their eldest brother Donald had
disappeared in Canada, a land almost as large as the United States:
"Brother Jim, there is just one thing in this world that would add to
our happiness and that is, I wish our mother were here to join us at
this happy reunion," but hardly had he finished when Jim replied: "Joe,
now that we have at last found each other, let us do what for so many
years I have promised my wife and babies, should the good Lord answer my
prayers and permit me to meet you again, and travel to Rugby and
surprise our mother and plead for her forgiveness before she has passed
from among the mortals, as she has no doubt suffered untold anguish in
all the weary years since we ran away, as I have not dared during all
this time to visit her nor write to her until I was assured that you
were still among the living."

[Illustration: "Jim", cried Joe, as he swung himself from the buggy, and
"Brother Joe" came back the prompt reply, and then with tears of joy
streaming down their faces the reunited brothers embraced each other.]

Joe merely nodded his head as if assenting, as he did not wish to spoil
his brother's gladness at this moment by telling of the fateful letter
across the face of which was written: "Moved to Canada. Present address
unknown," nor of the many official letters he had in his trunk from the
Governor of every Canadian Province and many other officials, all of
whom had searched in vain for their missing mother, and, too, he
recalled those long hours of fearful remorse behind the locked door of
his room, and decided to withhold this knowledge from his brother as
well he realized that it would cause heart wounds which would require
years to heal.

Joe now gave his brother a brief review of his own career since they
were separated, and finished by telling him that his present occupation
was that of a railroad employee.

At this moment an elderly gentleman approached and Joe introduced him
to his brother as Mr. Holmes, his father-in-law, who, while Jim left to
arrange for Joe's dinner, told Joe that after he had engaged Jim, the
latter had proven himself so reliable that when a few years later his
only daughter, Dorothy, who had been sent east to finish her education,
returned and had fallen head over heels in love with Jim, he not only
gave his paternal blessing, but on their marriage day gave her for a
wedding present a deed to the ranch.

Just then the dinner bell rang, and when they came to the house Mrs.
James McDonald with her son, a lad of eight, and her daughter, a pretty
girl of five, were waiting for them, and after Jim had introduced Joe he
called his attention to the fact that his baby girl was named after her
Aunt Helen who disappeared so mysteriously, and that the children had
the McDonald family mark, the streak of white hair upon their heads.

After dinner Jim called Joe into his private office and pleaded with him
to forsake the railroad and make his future home upon the ranch. But it
was quite a while before Joe would even listen to his proposition, but
when Jim assured his brother that he could not think of having to part
with him again he finally consented to the change.

During the remainder of the afternoon Joe was busy writing his
resignation and arranging to have his property transferred from Chicago,
while Mr. Holmes and Jim were away from the house overseeing the work of
the ranch. After Joe had finished his correspondence he took a seat in a
rocking chair upon the porch from where he had a grand view of the
fertile valley of the Arkansas and the snow capped mountain ranges

A little later his sister-in-law joined him, and although she sat in
another rocker close to Joe's, he found it impossible to engage her in a
conversation, try as he might, as she persisted in staring him in the
face. Chagrined at what he thought to be an affront, he suddenly blurted
out: "Mrs. McDonald, is there something about my face that interests
you?" Instead of an answer the lady who had turned a ghastly pallor
handed him a small, paper wrapped parcel. Joe opened the same, and then
after he hastily scanned its contents he speechlessly stared at his
hostess. "Great God in Heaven," exclaimed Joe, breaking the suspense and
unable to better express his amazement at the singular turn affairs had
taken, while with a trembling hand he drew forth from the paper a small
leather purse. "Can it be possible that you, Mrs. McDonald, are 'Babe',
the girl I met fifteen years ago in Chicago, and whose timely assistance
gave me a start upon the narrow path?" "I am the same girl, Joe," she
quietly replied, "and it was for the express purpose of getting a chance
to tell you that I am 'Babe' that I stared so rudely into your face,
because I knew that now or never had come the climax in the lives of
those who had in former days known each other as 'Babe' and 'Dakota
Joe'." Then she took the small leather purse out of Joe's trembling hand
and again wrapped it in the paper, and after striking a match that she
had brought for this purpose, she held the lighted splinter against the
paper, and when the hungry flames leaped up she threw the burning parcel
upon the lawn below, and while they both watched the fire consume the
fateful purse, Mrs. McDonald took Joe's hand into her own and while they
pressed a mute, but none the less oath-bound promise to each other, she
solemnly said: "For the sake of Jim's happy home and our innocent
children, for the sake of the name all of us bear, and the many years I
have lived an honorable life to atone for what occurred before the day
when I last saw you in Chicago, I plead with you, whom, to my horror, I
later discovered to be my own husband's missing brother, to let the past
be forgiven, to be buried in silence and be forever hereafter

[Illustration: decorative element]


"All is Well, that Ends Well."

Joe's sojourn at his brother's home had reached the fifth year, and
although he outwardly gave every indication of being perfectly
satisfied, his visit had actually been a continued torture to him, for
his brother became from day to day more insistent to pay their mother at
Rugby the long intended visit. Joe, who had never yet dared to acquaint
his brother with the truth concerning her disappearance, found it the
hardest task of his life to dissuade Jim from making the journey and to
find plausible excuses to prevent him from sending a letter to Rugby.

The "skeleton in the closet" rattled ever more threateningly. "Next
Spring," was Jim's ultimate reply, while his fist came angrily down upon
the parlor table, after he and Joe had another of their evermore heated
arguments as to the why and why not they should visit their mother,
"Dorothy and the children and I will certainly visit Rugby, and if you
do not care to join us to see her, we shall go without you," and then he
arose and left the room.

Singular indeed are the ways of Providence, for with the arrival of
Spring a Canadian colonization agent found his way into the fertile
valley of the Arkansas, where every acre of land was pre-empted and
worth a huge price. Backed by an unlimited number of well written
pamphlets which he freely distributed, he described Canada as equal to
the land of Canaan; that homesteads were begging there for settlers and
that land would bountifully produce anything, considering the northern

Jim, who had saved a large portion of the annual income the ranch had
earned became greatly interested in that part of the colonizer's story,
in which he spoke of the enormous dividends that investments would
bring, and when the agent explained to him that at a small additional
outlay he could combine a Canadian trip with his journey to Rugby, this
settled the matter.

There was not a single loop hole left for Joe to prevent the journey,
and when Jim and his wife commenced to pack their trunks, ready to leave
for Canada on the coming morning, with or without Joe, the latter with a
heavy heart followed suit, intending to ease as much as possible his
brother's grief when Jim discovered that his journey to Rugby had been
made in vain.

In the morning Mr. Holmes drove Joe, Jim and his wife and children to
the railroad station, but when the brothers asked at the ticket window
for a round trip ticket to Canada, via Rugby, they were informed--to the
dismay of Jim and to the joy of Joe, as this spelled additional
delay--that the ticket would be only good for stop-overs upon their
return journey.

Soon they were aboard their train, and while Jim and his family had the
time of their lives, Joe could hardly conceal the dread which racked his
conscience when he thought how pitifully different would be their
homeward trip.

The outward journey ended at Edmonton, the hustling "Gate City to the
Arctic", and then they commenced their return trip, stopping at
Saskatoon, the beautiful "Hub City of the Saskatchewan"; at Regina, that
stately "Queen City of the North West;" at Calgary, the "Gem City of the
Rockies", and travelled from the latter to Winnipeg, the "Chicago of

They intended that Winnipeg should be their last stop, as from there
they meant to return via Rugby to their Colorado ranch.

While viewing the sights of cosmopolitan Winnipeg with its wide streets
and beautiful avenues, their progress was stopped in front of the City
Hall by policemen, who held back a curious crowd, while they were
unloading several patrol wagons filled with oddly dressed foreigners.
Joe pushed himself close to one of the policemen and inquired the reason
of their arrest, and the obliging guardian of the peace explained to him
that they were "Doukhobors", a religious sect that on account of
persecution had left Russia, and although they made first-class
settlers, some of them had been arrested on account of queer practices
which conflicted with the laws of Canada, and which, despite repeated
warnings, they refused to discontinue.

By this time the prisoners had been transferred into the city hall, and
the officer volunteered to see to it that Joe and his friends would find
a good vantage point from where they could watch a Canadian court trial.
Joe accepted the officer's kind offer, and the latter opened a path
through the densely crowded court room for the McDonalds, who were soon
standing at the railing that separated the prisoners from the public.

Amongst the more than a score of prisoners were several women, all of
whom were old hags with the exception of one, who was really good
looking considering that she wore the same homely, gray homespun dress
and black shawl that did service for headwear, worn by all the women of
her sect.

All noise subsided when the judge entered the court room. He was a
stern-faced gentleman, and wore a white wig and a black robe, which,
although they gave him the appearance of a patriarch, also added greatly
to the austerity of his exalted office.

It was against the tenets of the Doukhobors to employ legal counsel to
defend them, and so the trial was quickly finished. The young woman was
the only one amongst them who could understand the English language, and
she answered the judge's questions, and when the sentence had been
passed, the others in their anxiety to hear from her how long a term
they had been condemned to, almost mobbed her, and in the struggle the
black shawl covering her head fell to the floor.

"Look, Jim, look!" shouted Joe to his brother above the din the
Doukhobors made, while at the same time he pointed towards the young
woman's head, upon which one braid of white hair stood plainly out
against a black braid on each side of it. "She is the first human being
I ever saw or heard of that had the birth-mark of the McDonald's." Then
a vague suspicion flashed through his mind and he asked the officer to
bring the woman over to where he was standing so he could question her
concerning her past.

While the judge and the barristers were engaged in writing the
commitment papers, Joe asked the woman to tell him who was her mother,
and when she pointed at a wrinkled hag, he had the policeman stand the
latter beside her daughter, who now acted as interpreter. Now Joe had
Jim's daughter stand beside the younger woman, and when the old hag
noted the resemblance between the two she paled and commenced to weep.
Aided by the policeman, and the promise that if the Doukhobor woman told
the truth concerning the young woman's parentage she would not be
molested, and greatly influenced by the fact that her sect, like the
Quakers, consider telling an untruth a mortal sin, she told the
following story:

While she and her husband in company with many others of their sect were
crossing the Atlantic, during the stormy winter voyage, her only child,
a little girl, died and was buried at sea. They landed in America and
were loaded aboard an immigrant train, which several days later stopped
in a snow covered prairie. Looking out of the coach window, the bereaved
mother saw a little tot, just the size of their own "Maritzka", playing
in the snow below the window, and yearning for her departed baby she had
climbed from the train and petted the little child, who instead of being
frightened by the strange woman, permitted her to kiss its rosy cheeks,
and while she felt the tot's chubby hands and soft limbs, the mother
love which she used to lavish upon her own Maritzka got the upper hand
of her, and noting that no one was guarding this smiling baby girl, and
that no homes were near, she could not resist the temptation to have
this child replace the one God had taken from her. Realizing that the
child's clothing did not match her own, she quickly undressed the tot,
and after she had wrapped it in her shawl she climbed aboard the train,
which at this moment commenced to pull away. While she dressed the child
in the clothes which had belonged to her own child, she discovered that
she had overlooked a locket that hung around its neck, and that ever
since that day had kept this place. She now caused her kidnapped
daughter to take off and hand this locket to Joe, and when he opened it
he found his late father's and his mother's picture in it, and an
inscription that read, "Henry McDonald to Ethel, his wife."

Then Joe and Jim quickly proved to the young woman that they were truly
her brothers, and promised her that they would properly look after her
every need if she would part with the foreign woman, who, in her
ignorance, had not only spoiled her life, but had caused her father's
death. She consented to go with them and took a tearful farewell of the
Doukhobor woman, who had been a mother to her all these years, and
although poor herself, had provided her with a fair education.

The story of the strange finding of their long lost sister traveled
through the court room, and when it came to the attention of the judge,
he suspended the young woman's sentence so her brothers could take her
back with them to the States. He was anxious to hear from their own lips
the story of the strange recovery, and he induced Joe to repeat to him
every fact connected with the loss and the finding of their sister.
After Joe had finished, the judge seemed so well pleased with the story
he told, that he begged them to be seated so he could send for a
reporter of Winnipeg's leading paper, "The Manitoba Free Press", so all
the world could read of the wonderful recovery of their sister. They
gladly consented, and then the judge gave whispered instructions to a

When the messenger returned the judge arose from his chair and met him
half way across the court room, and both entered an adjacent jury
chamber, from which the judge a few minutes later emerged and beckoned
to the McDonalds to join him in this room. When they entered the jury
chamber they found themselves in the presence of an elderly lady seated
at a table, whose silvery hair lent an added charm to the sad expression
of her face, and whom the judge introduced as the reporter sent by the
"Free Press" to write their interesting story for that paper.

Joe then repeated the story of the mysterious disappearance of their
baby sister, and while he narrated her recovery after so many years, his
strange tale caused the attentively listening lady reporter to exclaim:
"How wonderful are the ways of our Lord." When Joe had finished the
judge inquired of the brothers what their intentions were concerning
their sister's future, to which question Jim answered that they would
take the earliest train to Rugby and that he thought it would be best to
leave her there in care of their mother and their eldest brother Donald.

While he was talking the judge had taken off his wig and laid aside his
robe. Hardly had Jim finished unfolding his plan, than the judge wheeled
around, and when the brothers looked in the direction of his uplifted
finger, which was pointing towards the back of his head, to their
complete amazement they saw there the same strange streak of snow white
hair that distinguished every member of the McDonald family. Ere they
could utter a single syllable the judge again faced them and told them
that he himself, was their brother Donald McDonald, and that after they
ran away from home he and their mother had emigrated to Canada, where by
hard work and frugality they had managed to send him to a university,
from which, after he had studied law, he had gradually been promoted to
a judgeship.

Joe, whose conscience had troubled him ever since the fatal moment when
his unopened letter had been returned to him from Rugby, broke the
profound silence that prevailed in the room after the judge's revelation

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