The Lexington Leader (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, July 19, 1918 Page: 7 of 8
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Ncoi of Fi^-Three
Berttatui ^ Sitidair
Ccpynga 2y UTTU. NXMf t Ca
HAZEL GETS A TERRIFYING GLIMPSE OF THE RUTHLESS
WAYS OF THE WILDERNESS.
OfJrT'V"':* HaZel Welr- a stenographer, living nt Granville,
k, P ? "ndcr " 01011,1 bT circumstances for which she Is
I blameIess- To esp Pe ^om the groundless gossip that pursues
® posltlon as schoolteacher at Cariboo Meadows, In a
.J J?T* "f British Co'utnljia. There, at a boarding house, she first
. Roaring Bill \\ ngstnff, a well-known character of that country.
Soon after her arrival Hazel loses her way while walking in the woods.
• e wanders until night when she reaches "Roaring Bill's" camp fire
n the woods. He promises to take her home in the morning, but she
Is conipe led to spend the night in the too,Is. After wandering In the
woods all the next day, "Roaring Bill" finally admits that he Is taking
Hazel to his cabin In the mountains. Hazel finds upon their arrival at
the cabin thnt she cannot hope to escape from the wilderness before
spring. During the long winter "Roaring Bill" treats Hazel with the
greatest respect. He tells her he loves hef and tries to induce her to
marry him, but she refuses. In the spring he takes her to Bella Coola
where she can get a boat to Vancouver. At Vancouver Hazel takes a
train for Granville, but on the way she realizes that she loves Wagstaff
and decided to return to him. "Roaring Bill" Is overjoyed and to-
gether they travel to a Hudson bay post and are married After
several months they decide to go farther Into the mountains to a snot
where Bill is confident there Is gold.
a snn-warmed meadow, wharf ripe yel-
low grasses waved to their horses'
knees. Hazel came afoot, a fresh-
killed deer lashed across Bilk's back.
Bill hesitated, as If taking his bear-
ings, then led to where a rocky spur
of a hill Jutted Into the meadow's edge,
A spring bubbled out of a i>ebbly ba
sin, and he poked about In the grass
beside It with his foot, presently stoop-
ing to pick up something which proved
to be a short bit of charred stick.
"The remains of my last campflre."
he smiled remlnlscently. "Packs off,
old pal. We're through with the trail
for a while."
On the second day they crossed the
Skeemt, a rlsfcy and tedious piece of
business, for the river ran deep and
Presently the way grew rougher. If
anythlijg, Roaring Bill Increased his
pace. He himself no longer rode.
When the steepness of the hills and
•canyons made the going hard the packs
were redlvided, and henceforth Satin
bore on his back a portion of the sup-
piles. Bill led the way tirelessly.
Through files, river crossings, camp
labor, and all the petty Irritations of
the trail he kept an unruffled spirit, a
fine, enduring patience that Hazel mar-
veled at and admired. Many a time,
•wakening at some slight stir, she
•would find him cooking breakfast. In
•every way within his power he saved
Many a strange shift wore they pnt
to. Once Bill had to fell a great
apruce across a twenty-foot crevice. It
took him two days to hew it flat so
that his horaes could be led over. The
depth was bottomless to the eye, but
from far below rose the cavernous
growl of rushing water, and Hazel
lield her breath as each animal stepped
gingerly over the narrow bridge. Oue
Once they climbed three weary days
up a precipitous mountain range, and,
turned back in sight of the crest by
an Impassable cliff, were forced to
back track and swing a fifty-mile de-
tour. September was upon them. The
•days dwindled In length, and the nights
grew to have a frosty nip.
Early and late he pushed on. Two
•camp necessities were fortunately
abundant, grass and water. Even so,
the stress of the trail told on the
horses. They lost flesh. The extreme J
steepness of succeeding hills bred galls (
under the heavy packs. They grew ;
leg weary, no longer following each '
other with sprightly step and heads '
high. Hazel pitied them, for she her- <
self was trail weary beyond words, i
The vagabond instinct had fallen I
•sleep. The fine aura of romance no
longer hovered over the venture.
Sometimes when dusk ended the
•day's Journey and she swung her stif-
fened limbs out of the saddle, she
would cheerfully have foregone all the
gold In the North to be at her ease
before the fireplace In their distant
cabin, with her man's head nesting In
tier lap, and no toll of weary miles
•looming sternly on the morrow's hori-
zon. It was all work, trying work, the
more trying because she sensed n
latent uneasiness on her husband's
jart, an uneasiness she could never In-
duce him to embody In words. Never-
theless, it existed, and she resented Its
existence—a trouble she could not
«hare. But she could not put her fln-
>ger on the cause, for Bill merely smiled
a denial when she mentioned it.
Nor did she fathom the cause until
■upon a certain day which fell upon
the end of a week's wearisome traverse
•of the hardest country yet encountered.
They broke out of a canyon up
which they had struggled all day onto
a level plot where the pine stood In
somber ranks. A spring creek split the
flat in two. Beside this tiny stream
Bill unlashed his packs. It still lacked
two hours of dark. But he made no
comment, and Hazel forbore to trouble
him with questions. Once the pneks
were off and the
Just short of the top Bill halted, and
wiped the sweat out of his eyes. And
as he stood his gaze suddenly became
fixed, a concentrated stare at a point
northward. He raised his glasses.
"By thunder I" he exclaimed. "I be-
lieve—It's me for the top."
He went np the few remaining yards
with a haste that left Hazel panting
behind. Above her he stood balanced
on a bowlder, cut sharp against the
sky, and she reached him Just as he
lowered the field glasses with a sigh
of relief. His eyes shone with exul-
"Come on np on the perch," he In-
vited, and reached forth a long, mus-
cular arm, drawing her up close be-
side him on the rock.
"Behold the Promised Land," he
breathed, "and the gateway thereof,
lying a couple of miles to the north."
They were, it seemed to Hazel, roost-
ing precariously on the very summit
of the world. On both sides the moun-
tain pitched away sharply in rugged
folds. Behind them, between them and
the far Pacific, rolled a sea of moun-
tains, snow-capped, glacier-torn, gi-
"Down there," Roaring Bill waved
his hand, "there's a little meadow, and
turf to walk on. Lord, I'll be glad to
get out of these rocks! You'll never
catch me coming in this way again.
It's sure tough going. And I've been
seared to death for a week, thinking
we couldn't get through."
"But we can?"
"Yes, easy," he assured. "Take the
glasses and look. That flat we left our
outfit In runs pretty well to the top,
about two miles along. Then there's : K0t cnreless. Life isn't a bit harsher
a notch in the ridge that you can't get
Four Walls and a Roof.
Brought to It by a kindlier road,
Hazel would have found that nook In
the Klappnn range a pleasant enough
place. She could not deny its beauty.
Rut she was far too trail weary to ap-
preci'-*o the grandeur of the Klappan
range. She desired nothing so much
as rest and comfort, and the solemn
mountains were neither restful nor
soothing. They stood too grim and
aloof In a lonely land.
There was so much to be done, work
of the hands; a cabin to build nnd a
stable; hay to be cut and stacked so
that their horses might live through
the long winter—which already her-
alded his approach with sharp, sting-
ing frosts at night, and flurries of
snow along the higher ridges.
Bill staked the tent beside the
spring, fashioned a rude fork out of
a pronged willow, and fitted a handle
to the scythe he had brought for the
purpose. From dawn to dark be swung
the keen blade In the heavy grass
which carpeted the bottom. Behind
him Hazel piled it In little mounds
with a fork. She Insisted on this,
though It blistered her hands and
brought furious pains to her back. If
her man must strain every nerve she
would lighten the burden with what
strength she had. And with two pair
of hands to the task, the piles of hay
gathered thick on the meadow. When
Bill Judged that the supply reached
twenty tons, he built a rude sled with
a rack on It, and hauled In the hay
with a saddle horse.
Amen I" said Bill, when he had emp-
tied the rack for the last time, and
the hay rose In a neat stack. "That's
another load off my mind. I can build
a cabin and a stable In six feet of
snow if I have to, but there would
have been a slim chance of haying once
a storm hit us. We wouldn't go hun-
gry—there's moose enough to feed an
army ranging lu that low ground to the
"There's everything that one needs,
almost, In the wilderness, Isn't there?"
Hazel observed reflectively. "But still
the law of life Is awfully harsh, don't
you think, Bill. Isolation Is a terrible
thing when it Is so absolutely com-
plete. Suppose something went wrong?
There s no help, and no mercy—abso-
lutely none. Nature, when you get
close to her, is so Inexorable."
Bill eyed her a second. Then he put
his arms around her, and patted her
"Is it getting on your nerves already,
little person?" he asked. "Nothing's
going to go wrong. I've been in wild
country too often to make mistakes
Swuna the Keen Blade In the Heavy
with the naked eye, and a wider can-
yon running down Into the basin. It's
the only decent break in the divide for
fifty miles so far as I can see. We're
lucky to hit this pass."
"Suppose we couldn't get over here?"
Hazel asked. "What If there hadn't
been a pass?"
"That was beginning to keep me
awake nights," he confessed. "Do you
realize t'lat it's getting late In 'the
year? Winter may comi
.... . bing I—In-
slue of ten days. And me caught in
a rock pile, with no cabin to shelter
ins. oncethe packs my hest gin, nnd no hay up tQ
horses at liberty, Bill horses! You bet It bothered me"
caught up his rifle. I slie hlm and
Bill smiled down at her.
"But it's plain sailing now," he con-
tinued. "I know that basin and all the
country beyond it. It's a pretty decent
camping place, and there's a fairly
easy way out."
He bestowed a reassuring kiss upon
her. They sat on the boulder for a
few minutes, then scrambled downhill
to the Jack-pine flat, and built tf,eir
evening flre. And for the first t|me
In many days Roaring ~
"Come on, Hazel," he said. "Let's
take a little hike."
The flat was small, and once clear
of It the pines thinned out on a steep,
rocky slope so that westward they
could overlook a vast network of can-
yons and mountain spurs. But ahead
of them the mountain rose to an up-
standing backbone of jumbled granite,
and on this backbone BUI Wagstaff
bent an anxious eye. Presently they
sat down on a bowlder to take a
breathing spell after a stiff stretch of
climbing. Hazel slipped her hand In
his and whispered:
"What Is It, Billy-hoy?"
"I'm afraid we can't get over here
with the horses." he answered slowly.
"And If we can't find a pass of some
klr.d—well, oonie on! It Isn't more
lhan a quarter of a mile to the top."
here than In the human ant heaps
What does the old, settled country do
to you when you have neither money
nor job? It treats you worse than the
worst the North can do; for, Incklng
the price, It denies you access to the
abundance that mocks you In every
shop window, and bars you out of the
houses that line the streets. Here,
everything needful is yours for the tak-
ing. No, little person, I don't think
the law of life is nearly so harsh here
as It Is where the mob struggles for Its
dally bread. It's more open and
aboveboard here; more up to the Indi-
vidual. But It's lonely sometimes. I
guess that's what alls you."
"Oh, pouf 1" she denied. "I'm not
lonely, so long as I've got you. But
sometimes I think of something hap-
pening to you—sickness and accidents
and all that."
"Forget It!" Bill exhorted. "That's
the worst of living in this big, still
country—It makes one Introspective,
and so confoundedly conscious of what
puny atoms we human beings are.
after all. But there's less chance of
sickness here than any place. Wait
till I get that cabin built, with a big
fireplace at one end. We'll be more
comfortable, and things will look a
little rosier. This thing of everlasting
hurry and hard work gets on every-
The best of the afternoon was still
unspent when the haystacking termi-
nated, and Bill declared a holiday.
When the flre had sunk to dull em-
bers, and the stars were peeping shyly
in the open flap of their tent, she whis-
pered in his ear;
"You mustn't think I'm complaining
or lonesome or anything. Billyboy
when I make remarks like I did today!
I love you a heap, and I'd be happy
anywhere with you. And I'm really
and truly at home In the wilderness.
Only—only sometimes I have a funny
feeling; as If I were afraid. I look up
at these big mountains, and they seem
to be scowling—as If we were tres-
passers or something."
"I know." Bill drew her close to
him. "But that's Just mood. I've felt
that same sensation up here—a foolish
Indefinable foreboding. All the out-
of-the-way places of the earth produce
that effect, If one Is at all Imaginative
many days Roaring Bill whistled
and lightly burst Into snatches of song | It's the bigness of evervthlng.Tnd'the
In the deep bellowing voice that had eternal stillness. It would he | n
given him his name back In the Carl-| the nerves to live here always Bn?
f >w hUm°r ,"'as lnf<'c- w<' re on|y nfter a stake—then all the
1 I III I ,f of pleasant places of the earth are onen
once more br°"d,y '"em to us; with that little old log house
' 1 up by line river for a refuge tvhen-
At noon two days later, they stepped ever we get tired of the world nt largo,
our of a heavy stand of spruce Into ( Cuddle up and go to sleep. You're a
dead-game sport, or you'd have hol-
lered long ago."
And, next day, to Hazel, sitting by
watching him swing the heavy, double-
bitted ax on the foundation logs of
their winter home. It all seemed fool-
ish, that heaviness of heart which
sometimes assailed her. She was per-
fectly happy. They had plenty of food,
n a few brief months Bill would wrest
a suck of gol 1 from the treasure house
of the North, and they would Journey
home by easy stages. Why should she
brood? It was sheer folly—a mere
ebb of spirit.
Fortune favored them to the extent
o. letting the October storms remain
In abeyance until Bill finished Ills
cabin, with a cavernous fireplace of
rough stone at one end.
Followed then the erection of a
stable to shelter the horses. Midway
Of its construction a cloud bank blew
out of the northeast, and a foot of
snow fell. Then it cleared to brilliant
days of frost. Bill finished his stable.
At night he tied the horses therein. By
day they were turned loose to rustle
their fodder from under the crisp
snow. It was necessary to husband
the stock of hay, for spring nijght be
After that they went hunting. The
third day Bill shot two moose In an
open glade ten miles afleld. It took
them two more days to haul In the
frozen meat on a sled.
He also laid In a stock of frozen
trout by the simple expedient of locat-
ing a large pool, and netting the
speckled denizens thereof through a
hole In the Ice.
So their lurder was amply supplied.
And, as (he cold rigidly tightened Its
grip, and succeeding snows deepened
the white blanket till suowshoes be-
came Imperative, Bill began to string
out a line of traps.
December winged by, the days suc-
ceeding each other like glittering pan-
els on a black ground of long, drear
nights. Christmas came. They mus-
tered up something of the holiday
spirit, dining gayly off a roast of cari-
bou. For the occasion Hazel had saved
the last half dozen potatoes. With the
material at her command she evolved
a Christmas pudding, serving It with
brandy sauce. And after satisfying
appetites bred of a morning tilt with
Jack Frost along Bill's trap line, they
spent a pleasant hour picturing their
next Christmas. There would he holly
and bright lights and music—the festi-
val spirit freed of all restraint.
A day or two after (he first of the
year Roaring Bill set out to go over
one of the uttermost trap lines. Five
minutes after closing the door he was
"Easy with that flre, little person,"
he cautioned. "She's blowing out of
the northwest again. The sparks are
sailing pretty high. Keep your eye
on It, Hazel."
"All right. Blllutn," she replied. "I'll
Not more than fifty yards separated
the house and stable. At the stable
end stood the stack of hay, a low hum-
mock above the surrounding drift. Ex-
cept for the place where Bill dally re-
moved the supply for his horses there
was not much foothold for a spark,
since a thin coat of snow overlaid the
gi eater part of the top. But there was
that chance of catastrophe. The chim-
ney of their fireplace yawned wide to
the sky, vomiting sparks and ash like
a miniature volcano when the flre was
roughly stirred, or an extra heavy sup-
ply of dry wood laid on. When the
wind whistled out of the northwest the
line of flight was fair over the stack.
It behooved them to watch wind and
Hazel washed up her breakfast
dishes, and set the cabin in order ac-
cording to her housewifely Instincts.
Then she curled up In the chair which
Bill had painstakingly constructed for
her especial comfort with only ax and
knife for tools. She was working on
a pair of moccasins nfter an Indian
pattern, and she grew wholly absorbed
In the task, drawing stitch after stitch
of sinew strongly and neatly Into
place. When nt length the soreness
of her fingers warned her that she bad
been at work a long time, she looked
at her watch.
"Goodness me! Bill's due home any
time, and I haven't a thing ready to
eat," she exclaimed. "And here's my
flre nearly out."
She piled on wood, and stirring the
coals under It. fanned them with her
husband's old felt hat. forgetful nf
sparks or aught but that she should
be cooking against his hungry arrival
Outside, the wind blew lustily, driving
the loose snow ncross the open In long,
wavering ribbons. But she had for-
gotten thnt It was In the dangerous
quarter, and she did not recall that Im-
portant fact even when she sat down
again lo watch her moose steaks broil
on the glowing coals raked apart from
the leaping hlar.e. The flames licked
Into the throat of the chimney with
the purr of n giant cat.
No sixth sense warned her of Im-
pending calamity. It burst upon her
with startling abruptness only when
she opened the door to throw out some
scraps of discarded meat, for the blaze
of the burning stack shot thirty feet
In the air. nnd the smoke rolled ncross
the meadow In a sooty manner.
Bareheaded. In a thin pair of mocca-
sins. without coat or mittens to fend
her from the lance-toothed frost. Hazel
ran to the stable. She could get the
horses out, perhaps, before the log
walls becanle their crematory But Bill
coming In froin his traps, reached the
stable first, and thcrn was nothing for
her to do but stand and watrh with a
sickening self-reproach. He untied
and clnbhod'lhe reluctant horses out-
side. Already the stable end against
(he hay was shooting up tongues of
flame. As (he blaze lapped swiftly
over the roof and ate Into the walls
the horses struggled through the deep
drift, lunging desperately (o gain a few
yards, then turned to stand with ears
pricked up at the strange sight, shiv-1
erlng In the bitter northwest wind that j
assailed their bare, unprotected bodies.
Bill himself drew back from the flre j
and stared at It fixedly. He kept si. !
lence until Hazel timidly put her hand '
on his arm.
"You watched that lire all right. 1
didn't you?" he said then.
'Bill, Bill I" she cried. But lui
merely shrugged his shoulders, and
kept his gaze Hxed on the burning
To nazet, shivering with the cold,
even close as she was to the Intense
heat, It seemed an Incredibly short
time till a glowing mound below the I
snow level was all that remained; a !
black-edged pit that belched smoke
and sparks. That and five horses i
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She Was Working on a Pair of Moc-
casins, After an Indian Pattern.
humped tall to the driving wind, stol-
idly enduring. She shuddered with
something besides the cold. • And then
Bill spoke absently, his eyes still oq
the smoldering heap.
"Five feet of caked snow on top of j
every blade of grass," she heard him
mutter. "They can't browse on trees,
He had stuck his rifle butt first In
the snow. He walked over to It; Hazel
followed. When he stood, with the
rifle slung In the crook of his arm. she
tried again to break through this silent
nloofness which cut her more deeply
than any harshness of speech could
"Rill, I'm so sorry!" she pleaded.
"It's terrible, I know. What can we
"Do? Huh!" he sixorted. "If I ever
have to die before my time, I hope It
he with a full belly and my head
in the air—and mercifully swift."
Kven then she had no cU'ar Idea
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Enough to Go Around.
Don't Imagine flint you're getting
of Ills Intention. She looked up nt him a" 'he bard luck or nil the good luck,
pleadingly, but he was staring at the j because that never happened to any'
horses, his teeth biting nervously al j ''ody nnd never will.
his under lip. Suddenly he blinked. I ——
and she saw Ills eyes moisten. In the ! Samarltanism
same Instant he threw up his rifle. Al ' A Sunday school teacher had been
the thin, vicious crack of It, Silk col- ; recounting to her class tile storv of
lapsed. I tlie Good Samaritan. When she asked
She understood then. With her hnnil ! what the story meant, one boy
pressed hard over her mouth to keep 1 s"l'l:
back the hysterical scream thnt threat-1 "It means that when I am In trouble
ened, she (led to the house. Behind ni.v neighbors must help me "
her the rifle spat forth its staccato ■
message of death. For a few second."
the mountains flung whlpllke echoes
back and forth In a volley. Then the
sibilant voice of the wind alone broke
fhe stlllm !SS.
Numbed with the cold, terrified al
the elemental mthlessness of II all, slif
threw herself on the bed, denied even
the relief of tears. Pry-eyed and heavy'
hearted, she waited for her husband'*
coming, nnd dreaded It—for the tlrsl
time she had seen her BUI look on her
with cold, critical anger. For nn In
terminable time she lay listening foi
the click of the latch, every nerv«
Fie came at last, nnd the thump ot
his rifle as he stood it against the wall
had no more than sounded before lie ;
was bending over her. He sat down I
on the edge of the bed, nnd putting j
his arm across her shoulders, turned
her gently so that she faced hlm. !
"Never mind, little person," he wills
pered. "It's done and over. I'm sorrv ;
I slashed nt you the way I did. That's I
a fool man's wny—If he's hurt nnil j
sore he always has to jump 011 some I
"D-don't, Bill!" she cried forlornly J
"I know It's my fault. I let the flre j
almost go out, and then built It mi '
big without thinking. And I know
being sorry doesn't mnke any differ- j
ence. But please—I don't want to be |
miserable over it. I'll never be care-!
"All right: I won't talk about It, j
linn," he said. "I don't think you will j
ever be cnreless about such thing* j
again. The North won't let us get
away with It. The wilderness Is big-
ger than we are, nnd It's merciless If !
we mnke mistakes."
"I see that." She shuddered Invnl-1
untarily. "It's a grim country. It1
frightens me." I
"Don't let it," he said tenderly. "So
long as we have our health and i
strength we can win out. and bej
stronger for the experience."
"How can you prospect in the spring j
without horses to pnek the outfit?" she j
nsked. nfter a little. "How can we get
out of here with all the stuff we'll I
"We'll manage It." he assured light- |
ly. "We'll get out with our furs and 1
gold, all right, and we won't go hun-
gry on the way, even If we have no
pack train. Leave It to me."
"1 hose who can speak French a Ut-
ile," says an American soldier writ-
ing from France, "are constantly asked
luestions by those who can't, such as.
Why do they call so many dogs In
France id?' One hates to tell them
Hie reason Is that 'id' means 'here.'
and of course In calling the dog they
say, Here, here!'"—Outlook.
Mark Had It Right.
Mark Twain, so the story goes, was
walking on a Hannibal street when he
met a colored woman with her youth-
"So this Is the little girl, eli?" Mark
said to her as she displayed her chil-
dren. "And this sturdy little urchin In
I he bill belongs, I suppose, to the con-
"Yassah," the woman replied; "vas-
sali, dat's n girl, too."
as between POSTUM
and other table
is in favor of the
Hazel, by a queer twist of
luck, makes a rich "strike,"
which atones for the thought-
lessness that previously bad
brought disaster upon her and
Bill. The next Installment tells
how it happened.
is all this and more.
Its most delicious.
Besides there's no
waste, and these
are days when one
should Save. Try
(TO BE CONTINUED.,
Here’s what’s next.
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Little, Ed F. The Lexington Leader (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 27, No. 45, Ed. 1 Friday, July 19, 1918, newspaper, July 19, 1918; Lexington, Oklahoma. (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc110838/m1/7/: accessed April 13, 2021), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.