The Lexington Leader (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 25, No. 43, Ed. 1 Friday, July 7, 1916 Page: 3 of 8
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THE LEXINGTON LEADER
of a Big
Man in a
"Leave tlmt talk out! You know j you how to run a atrip through there,
what I mean." | The foreman says you're some better'n
"Well, I don't know as I ever had you used to be, hut that's no way to
too much In office hours—until the ! handle— Get out the way and let m«
other day." ! show y°u once."
Sheridan began cutting "It's a lie. "Better be careful," Iilbbs warned
I've had ltay Wills up from your of- him, stepping to one side.
lice. He didn't want to give you away, i "Careful? . Boh'!' Sheridan seized
but i' put the hooks Into him, and he a strip of zinc from the box. \\ liut
.. 1 > A a «■< tnllrln' h\ onilPflulf fllkllllt
SiierlJar.'a st'.cmpt to male a business I
tnan of liis son Bibbs by starting him In |
♦ he machine shop ends In Iilbbs going to
« KHi<ltai-ium, a nervous wreck, un hi' re-
turn TOhha finds himself an lncolisliier-
«bl« nnd unconsidered figure In the "New
House" of the Sherldans The Vertreeees.
oia town family r.cv 4o r t n< tmpover-
lshed. call on the Sheridans, newly-rich,
and Mary afterward puts into words her
parents' unspoken wish that she marry
one of the Sheridan hoys. Mary frankly
encourages .Jim Sheridan's attentions, Jim
tells Mary Bills is not a lunatic—"Just
• queer." Hu proposes to Mary, who Halt
accepts him. Sheridan tells Bilibs he
must go back to the machine shop as
soon as he is strong enough, in spite of
Bibbs' plea to be allowed to write. Edith,
Bibbs' sister, and Sibyl. Roscoe Sheridan's
wife, quarrel over Bobby Lamhorn; Sibyl
goes to Mary for help to keep l.amhorn
from marrying Edith, and Mary leaves
her In the room alone. Bibbs has to break
to his father the news of Jim's sudden
death. All the rest of the family helpless
In their grief, Bibbs becomes temporary
master of the house. At the funeral lie
meets Marv and rides home with her.
Bibbs purposely Interrupts a tete-a-tete
between Edith and Lamhorn. He tells
Edith that he overheard l.amhorn mak-
ing love to Roscoe's wife. Doctor Ourney
finds Bibbs well enough to go back to the
machine shop. Mary and Bibbs meet by
accident and form a pleasant friends' "jv
Roscoe Sheridan and Ills wife quaiTC
desperately about Bobby I-atnhorn. Bibbs
decides to go to work.
One of the greatest boons of
friendship is that it means un-
derstanding. Each of us has in
his soul fancies, dreams, rev-
eries, which only one other per-
son, perhaps, can appreciate.
Very often we must go beyond
the lines of family ties to find
the beautiful sympathy of
WupirUt:. 18li. b/ Harper 4 Brother*)
to anything or anybody, j bight I made up my mind Id give jou
"How often Is that?"
"The thing should make about sixty-
eight disks a minute—« little more
than one a second."
"Aad you're close to It?"
"Oh, the workman has to sit In Its
lap," he said, turning to her more
gnyly. "The others don't miud. You
see, It's something wrung vriih me. I
have an Idiotic way of flinching from
the confounded thing—I flinch and
duck a little every time the crash
cornea, and I couldn't get over It. 1
was a treat to the other workmen In
that room; they'll be glad to see me
back. They used to laugh at me al!
Mary's gaze was averted from Bibbs
now; abe sal with her-elbow resting en
the arm of the clialr, her lifted hand
pressed against her cheek. She was
staring at the wall, and her eyes had
a burning brightness In them.
"It doesn't seem possible anyone
could do that to you," she aald, In a
low voice. "No. He's not kind. He
ought to be proud to help you to the
leisure to write books; It should be nls
greatest privilege to have them pub-
lished for you—"
"Can't you see him?" Bibbs Inter-
rupted, a faint ripple of hilarity in Ills
voice. "No. It's just as well he never
got the— But what's the use? I've
never written anything worth print-
ing, and 1 never shtill."
"You could!" she said.
"That's because you've never seen
the poor little things I've tried to do."
"You wouldn't let me, but I know
you could! Ah, It's a pity!"
"It Isn't," said Bibbs, honestly. "I
never could—but you're the kindest
lady in this world, Miss Vertrees."
She gave him a flashing glance, and
It was as kind as he said she was.
"That sounds wrong," she said, Im-
pulsively. "I mean 'Miss Vertrees.'
I've thought of you by your flrst nar.ie
ever since I met you. Wouldn't you
rather call me 'Mary'?"
Bibbs was dazzled; he drew a long. I
deep breath and did not speak.
"Wouldn't you?" she asked, without I
n trace of ec,, etry.
"If I can!" he said, in a low voice.
"Ah, that's very pretty!" she
laughed. "You're such an honest per-
saa. it's pleasant to have you gallant
sometimes, by way of variety. She
became grave again immediately. "I
hear myself laughing as if it were
someone else. It sounds like laughter
on the eve of a great calamity." She
got up restlessly, crossed the room and
leaned against the wall, facing him.
"You've got to go back to that place'/"
"And the other time you did it—"
"Just over It," said Bibbs. "Two
years, hut I don't mind the prospect
of a repetition so much as—"
"So much as what?" she prompted,
as he stopped.
Bibbs looked up at her shyly. "I I
want to say It, but—but I come to a
dead balk when I try. I—"
"Go on. Say, it, whatever it is," j
she bade him. "You wouldn't know
how to say anything I shouldn't like."
"I doubt if you'd either like or dis-
like what I want to say," be returned,
moving uncomfortably in his chair and
looking at his feet—he seemed to feel
awkward, thoroughly. "You see, all
my life—until I met you—If I ever
felt like saying anything, I wrote It in-
stead. Saying things is a new trick
for me, and this—well, it's just this:
I used to feel as if I hadn't ever had
anv sort of a life at all. I'd never
been of us
and I'd never had anything, myself,
except n kind of haphazard thinking.
But now it's different—I'm still of no
use It, anybody, and I don't F"0 any
prospect of being usc*nl, but I have
had something for myself. I've had
a beautiful and happy eT?eri«!)ee and
It makes my life seem to be—I mean
I'm glad I've lived it! That's all; It's
your U tting me be near you sometimes,
as you have, this strange, beautiful,
happy little while!"
He did not once look up, and reached
silence, at the end of what he had to
say, with eyes still awkwardly regard-
ing his feet. She did not speak, but
| a soft rustling of her garments let him
know that she had gone back to her
hair again. The house was still: ilie
shabby old room was so quiet that the
sound of n creaking iu the wall
seemed sharp and loud.
And yet, when Mary spoke at last,
her voice was barely audible. "If you
think it hits been—happy—to be
friends with me—you'd want to—to
make it last."
"Yes," he gulped.
"But you make that kind of speech
to me because you think it's over."
He tried to evade Iter. "Oh, a day
laborer can't come In his overalls—"
"No." she Interrupted, with a sud
den sharpness. "You said what you
did because you think the shop's going
to kill you."
"Yes, you do think that!" She rose
to her feet again and came and stood
before him. "Don't deny it. Bibbs.
Well, If you meant what you said—
and you did mean it, I know It!—
you're not going to go back to the san-
itarium. The shop shan't hurt you.
And now Bibbs looked up. She stood
before him, straight end tall, splendid
In generous strength, her "yes shining
"If I mean that much to yon." she
cried, "they can't harm you! Go back
to the shop—but come to me when
your day's work is done. I.e* the ma-
chines crash their sixty-eight times a
minute, but remember each crash that
deafens you is that much nearer the
evening and me!"
Ee stumbled to his feet. "You say—"
"Every evening, dear Bibbs!"
He could only stare, bewildered.
"Every evening. I wont you. They
sha'n't hurt you again!' And she held
out ber hand to him; it was strong
and warm in his tremulous clasp. "If
I could, I'd go and feed the strips of
zinc to the machine with you," she
said. "But all day long I'll send my
thoughts to you. You must keep re-
membering that your friend stands be-
side you. And when the work Is done—
won't the night make up for the day?"
Light seemed to glow from her; he
was blinded by that radiance of kind-
ness. But all he could say was. husk-
ily, "To think you're there—with me—
standing beside the old zinc-eater—"
And they laughed and looked at each
other, and at last Bibbs found what It
meant not to be alone In the world
lie had a friend.
just one more day. Well, you got to
It before 1 did—pretty close to the
eleventh hour! All ri"bt. Start in to
mo—OW- It's the first o' the month
Think you can get up in time?"
"Six o'clock." Bibbs responded brisk
l.v. "And i want to tell you—I'm go
ing in a 'cheerful spirit.' As you said
I'll go and I'll 'like it!' "
"That's your lookout!" his father
grunted. "They'll put you back on the
clipptii muehiue. Von get nine dollars
"More than I'm worth, too." said
Bibbs, cheerily. "That reminds me, I
didn't mean you by 'Midas' in that
nonsense I'd been writing. I meant
"Makes a hell of a lot of difference
what you mean!"
"1 just wanted you to know
The sound of the young man's foot-
steps ascending the stairs became in
audible, and the house was quiet. But
presently, as Sheridan sat staring an-
grily at the fire, the shuffling of a pair
of slippers could be beard descending,
and Mrs. Sheridan made her appear-
ance, her oblique expression nnd the
state of her toilette being those of a
person who, after trying unsuccess-
fully to sleep on one Bide, has got up
to look for burglars.
"Papa!" she exclaimed, drowsily
"Why'n't you go to bed? It must be
goin' on Meven o'clock!"
She yawned, and seated herself near
him, stretching out ber hands to the
fire. "What's the matter?" she asked
sleep nnd anxiety striving sluggishly
with each other iu her voice. "I knew
you were worried all dinner time
You got something new on your mind
besides .liin's belli' taken away like he
was. What's worryin' you now, papa?"
She leered feebly. "X' tell me that'
You sat up to see Bibbs, didn't you?"
the air. There's an awful ruction goin'
on, and you got to keep hoppin' if
you're goin' to keep your balance on
the top of It. And the schemers! They
run like bugs on the bottom of a board
—afiev mi? piece o' money they hear is
loose. Fool schemes and crooked
schemes; the fool ones are the "tost
2nd the worst! You got to light to
keep your money after you've made
it. And the woods are full o' mighty
industrious men that's only got one
motto: 'Get the other fellow's money
came through. You were drunk twice
before and couldn't work. Yon been
leavln' your office for drinks every few
hours for the last three weeks. I been
over your books. Your office Is way
behind. You haven't done any work,
to count, iu a month."
Roscoe's head was sunk between
his shoulders. "I can't stand very
much talk about It father," he said,
"No!" Sheridan cried. "Neither can
I! What do you think It mean# to
me?" lie dropped into the chair at
Ids big desk, groaning. "I can't stand
to "talk about it any mot'
on talkin' to yourself about? Tryin'
to make yourself think you're so
abused you're goin' wrong in the
"'Abused?' No!" shouted Bibbs. "I
was singing—because I 'like it!' I told
you I'd come back and 'like It.' "
Sheridan may not have understood.
At all evente, he made no reply, but
began to ron the strip cf zinc through
the machine. He did it awkwardly—
and with bad results.
"Here!" he shouted. "This is the
way. Watch how I do It. There's
nothln' to it. If you put your mind on
it." By his own showing then his mind
to listen, but I'm goin' to find out was not upon it He continued to talk
what's the matter with yon. nnd I'm "A!! you got to look out for is to keep
Not Drinking Because I've Got s
When he came Into the new house,
a few minutes later, he found his fa
tlier sitting alone by the library fire.
Bibbs went in nnd stood before him
"I'm cured, father," he said. "When
do I go back to the shop? I'm ready."
The desolate nnd grim old man did
"He starts iu at the shop again to
morrow morning," said Sheridan. j before he gets yours.
"Just the same as he did before?" I mans' built as I have
"Just pre-clsely!" I built good and strong.
How—long you goin' to keep Win-, good thin
at it. papa?" she asked, timidly.
Until he knows something!" The
unhappy man struck his pnlms to-
gether, then got to his feet and began
to pace the room, as was his won!
when he talked. "He'll go back to the
machine he couldn't learn to tend prop-
erly In the six months he was there.
and he'll stick to It til! he does learn
it! That boy's v Sole life, there's been
a settin' up o' something mulish that s
against everything I want him to do
I don't know what it is, but it's got
to be worked out of him. Now, labor
ain't any more a simple question than
what it was when we were young. My
idea Is that, outside o' uuion troubles,
the man that can manage workln' men
is the mau that's been one himself.
Well, I set Blblis to learn the men nnd
to learn the business, and he sot him-
self to balk on the first job! That's
what he did, and the balk's lasted close
on to three years. If he balks again
I'm just done with him! Sometimes 1
feel like I was pretty near done with
"I knew there was something else,"
said Mrs. Sheridan, blinking over a
yawn. "You better let it go till to-
morrow and get to bed now—'less
you'll tell me?"
"Suppose something happened to
Roscoe," he said. "Then what'd I
have to look forward to? Then what
could I depend on to hold things to
gether? A lumrnix! A lummix that
hasn't learned how to push a strip o'
zinc along a groove!"
"Roscoe?" she yawned. "You needn't
"I'm Cured, Father," He Said.
not relax. "I was sittin' up to give
you a last chance to say something
like that. I reckon it's about time!
I just wanted to see If you'd hnve
manhood enough not to make me take
you over there by the collar. Lasl
worry about Roscoe, papa. He's the
strongest child we had. ! never did
know anybody keep better health than
he doe3. I don't believe he's even had
a cold in five years. You better go up
to bed, papa."
"Suppose something did happen to
him, though. You don't know what It
, means, keepln' property together these
I.days—just feeepin' il alive, let alone
makin' it grow the way I do. I tell
you when a man dies, If that dead
man's chuklern ain't on the job, night
and day, everything h« built 'II get
carried off. My Lord! when I think
o' such things comln' to me! It don't
seem like I deserved it—no man ev
tried harder to raise his boys right
than 1 have. I planned nnd planned
and planned how to bring 'em up to
be guards to dr'.vo the wolves off, and
how to be builders to build, and build
bigger. I teli you this business life Is
no fool's job nowadays—a man's got
to have eyes In the back of his head.
Yrou hear talk, sometimes, 'd make you
think the millennium had come—but
right the next breath you'll hear some-
body hollerln' about 'the great unrest.'
You bet there's a 'great unrest!' There
ain't any man alive smart enough to
see what it's goin' to do to us In the
end, nor what day it's got set to bust
loose, but It's frothln' and bubblln' In
the boiler. This country's been flilin'
up with it from ail over the world for
a good many years, and the old camp-
meetin' days are dead and done with.
Church ain't what it used to be. Noth-
ln's what It used to be—everything's
turned up from the bottom, and the
growth is so big the roots stick out iu
-iti when a
-v...,. <1,]<1 prosper—those
are the fellows that lay for a
chance to slide In and sneak the ben-
efit of it and put their names to It!
And what's the use my bavin' ever
been born, if such a thing as that Is
goin' to happen? What's the use my
bavin' worked my life and soul Into
in" business, if it's nil goin' to be dis-
persed and scattered soon as I'm In
He strode up nnd down the long
room, gesticulating—little regarding
the troubled and drowsy figure by the
fireside. His throat rumbled thunder-
ously; the words came with stormy
bitterness. "You think tills is a time
for young men to be lyln' on beds of
case? I tell you there never was such
a time before; there never was such
opportunity. The sluggard is de-
spoiled while he sleeps—yes, by George!
if a man lays down they'll eat him be-
fore he wakes!—but the live man can
build straight up till he touches the
sky! This is the business man's day;
it used to be (lie soldier's day nnd the
statesman's day, but this is ours! And
It nin't a Sunday to go fishln'—it's tur-
moil! turmoil!—and you got to go out
and live it and breathe It and make
it yourself, or you'll only be a dead
man walkln' around dreamin' you're
alive. And that's what my son Bilibs
has been doin' all his life, and what
he'd rather do now than go out and do
his part by me. And if anything hap-
pens to Roscoe—"
"Oh, do stop worryin' over such non-
sense," Mrs. Sheridan Interrupted, irri-
tated into sharp wakefulness for the
moment. "There ain't anything goin
to happen to Roscoe, and you're just
torment in' yourself about nothln .
Aren't you ever goin' to bed?"
Sheridan halted. "All right, mam-
ma," he said, with n vast sigh. "Let's
go up." And he snapped off the elec-
tric light, leaving only the rosy glow
of the fire.
"Did you speak to Roscoe?" she
yawned, rising lopsidedly in her drow-
siness. "Did you mention about what
I told you the other evening?"
"No. I will tomorrow."
guiu' to straighten! you out!"
Roscoe* shook his head -helplessly.
"You can't straighten tne out."
"See here!" said Sheridan. "Can you
| , , ond star sober
today, while I get my work done
will I have to hire a
to follow you around and knock the
whisky out o' your baud if they see
you tryin' to take it?"
"You needn't worry about that,"
said Roscoe, looking up with a faint
resentment. "I'm not drinking be-
cause I've got a thirst."
"Well, what have you got?"
"Nothing. Nothing you can do any-
thing about. Nothing, I tell you."
"We'll see about that!" said Sheri-
dan, harshly. "Notv I can't fool with
you today, and you get up out o' that
chair nnd get out o' my office. You
bring your wife to dinner tomorrow.
You didn't come last Sunday—but you
come tomorrow. I'll talk this out with
you when the women folks nre workln'
the phonograph, after dinner. Can you
keep sober till then? You better be
sure, because I'm goin' to send Aber-
crombie down to your office every little
while, nnd he'll let me know."
Hoscoe paused at the door. "You
told Abercromble nbout it?" be asked.
"Told him!" And Sheridan laughed
hideously. "Do you suppose there's an
elevator boy in the whole dam' build
ing that ain't on to you?"
Roscoe settled his hat down over his
eyes aud went out.
Who looks a mustang in the eye?
Changety, chang, chang! Bash! Crash.
So sang Bibbs, his musical gayetles
Inaudible to his fellow workmen be-
cause of the noise of the machinery,
lie had discovered long ago that the
uproar was rhythmical, and It had
been Intolerable; but now, on the aft-
ernoon of the fourth day of Ills return
he was accompanying the swing and
clash of the metals with Jubilant va-
quero fragments, mingling Improvisa-
tions of his own among them, nnd
mocking the zinc eater's crash with
It pressed over to—
"Don't run your hand up with It,"
Bibbs vociferated, leaning toward him.
"Run nothln'! Y'ou got to—"
"Look out!" shouted Bibbs and Gur-
ney together, and they both spraiig tor
■otiple o' huskies j ward. But Sheridan's right hand had
Fearless ana holA,
Chang! Bash! Behold!
With a leap from the ground
To the saddle in a bound,
And away—and away!
followed the strip too far, nnd the zinc
eater had bitten off the tips of the flrst
nnd second fingers. He swore vehe-
mently, and wrung hip hand, sending a
shower of red drops over himself and
Iilbbs, but Guruey grasped his wrist,
and salel, sharply:
"Come out of here. Come over to
the lavatory In the office. Bibbs, fetch
my bag. It's in my machine, outside."
And when Bibbs brought the bag to
the washroom he found the doctor f till
grasping Sheridan's wrist, holding the
injured hand over a basin. Sheridan
had lost color, and temper, too. He
glared over his shoulder at his son as
the latter handed the bag to Gurney.
"You go on back to your work," he
said. "I've had worse snips thnu that
from n pencil sharpener."
"Oh, no, you haven't!" said Gurney.
"I have too!" Sheridan retorted, an-
grily. "Bibbs, you go on back to your
work. There's no reason to stand
around here watchin' ole Doc Gurney
tryin' to keep himself awake workln'
on a scratch that only needs a little
courtplaster. I slipped or It wouldn't
happened. You get back on your Job."
"All right," said Bibbs.
"Here!" Sheridan bellowed, as hla
son was passing out of the door. "You
watch out when you're runnin' that
machine! You hear what I say? I
slipped, or 1 wouldn't got scratched,
but you—you're liable to get your
whole nand cut OAS You keep yx>Ui
"Yes, sir." And Bibbs returned to
the zinc eater thoughtfully. '
naif an hour later Gurney touched
him on the shoulder and beckoned hltn
outside, where conversation was pos-
sible. "I sent him home, Bibbs. He'll
have to be careful of that hand. Go
get your overalls off. I'll take you
for a drive and leave you at home.
"Can't," said Bibbs. "Got to stick
to my job till the whistle blows."
"No, you don't," the aoctor returned,
smothering a yawn. "He wants me to
take you down to my office and give
you an overhauling to see how much
harm these four days on the machine
The long room was ceaselessly thun-
dering with metallic sound; the air
was thick with the smell of oil: the
floor trembled perpetually; everything
"was Implacably In motion—nowhere
was there a rest for the dizzied eye.
The first time he had entered the place
Bibbs had become dizzy instantly, and
six months of It had only added In-
creasing nausea to faintness. But he
felt neither now. "All day long I'll
send my thoughts to you. You must
keep remembering that your friend
stands beside you." He saw her there
beside him, and the greasy, roaring
place became suffused with radiance.
The poet was liappy In his machine
shop; lie was still a poet there. And
he fed his old zinc eater, and sang:
Crash, basil, crash, bash, chang!
Wild nre his eyes,
Fiercely he dies!
Crash, bash, bang! Bash, chang!
Heady to fling
(Jul gloves In the rlng-
"I like the machine," said Bibbs.
"I've made a friend of It. I serenade
it and talk to it, and then It talks back
But Roscoe did not come downtown
cr | the next day, nor the next: nor did
Sheridan see fit to enter his son's
house. He waited. Then, on "the
"You Go Back to Yojt Work,"
have done you. I guess you folks have
"Indeed, indeed? What does It say?"
"What I want to hear."
He was unaware of a sensation that
passed along the lines of workmen.
Their grent master had come among
them, and they grinned to see him
standing with Doctor Gurney behind
the unconscious Bibbs. Sheridan nod-
ded to those nearest him—he had per- j got that old man pretty thoroughly
sona! acquaintance with nearly all of j upset, between you, up at your house!
them but he kept his attention upon 1 But I don't Intend to go over you. I
nls son. Bibbs worked steadily, never with my eves half shut.—-"
fourth day of the month, Roscoe j turning from his machine. Now and I "Yes," Bibbs interrupted, thats
walked into his father's cSce at nine tilcn he varied his musical program I what they are."
In the morning, when Sheridan hap- vvlth remarks additosea to the zinc j "I say I can see you re starting out,
pened to be alone. enter. , least, n good shape. What's mada
"They told me downstairs you'd left j "Go on, you old crash-basher! Chew | the difference?"
word you wanted to see me."
"Sit down," said Sheridan, rising.
Roscoe sat. Ills father walked close
to him, sniffed suspiciously, and then
walked away, smiling bitterly. "Boh!'
he exclaimed. "Still at it!"
"Yes," said Roscoe. "I've bad a
couple of drinks this morning. What
"I reckon I better adopt some decent
young man," his father returned. "I'd
bring Bibbs up here and put him in
your place if he was fit. I would!'
"Better do it," Roscoe assented, sul-
"When'd you begin this thing?"
"I always did drink a little. Ever
since I grew up, that is."
It up! It's good for you, if you don't I "I like the machine," said Bibbs,
try to bolt your vittles. Fletcherlze, j "Well, well!" The doctor stretched
you pig! That's right—you'll never himself and stamped his foot repeat-
get a lump in your gizzard. Want some edly. "Better come along and take a
more? Here's a nice, shiny one." drive with me. You can take the time
The words were Indistinguishable, but j off that he allowed for the examina-
Sheridan Inclined his head to Gurney's j tlon, and—"
ear nnd shouted fiercely: "Talkin' to
himself! By George!"
Gurney laughed reassuringly, and
shook his head.
Bibbs returned to song.
Chang! Chang, bash, chang! It's I!
Who looks a mustang In the eye?
Fearless and ho-
llis father grasped him by the arm.
"Herel" he shouted. "Let me show
Will Old Man Sheridan come
to himself and appreciate Bibbs'
real value now—will he take his
son out of the machine shop
and give him a chance to live
his own life?
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
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Royaltey, Harold H. The Lexington Leader (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 25, No. 43, Ed. 1 Friday, July 7, 1916, newspaper, July 7, 1916; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc110733/m1/3/: accessed April 25, 2019), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.