The Daily Transcript (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 2, No. 130, Ed. 1 Monday, November 16, 1914 Page: 2 of 4
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NORMAN DAILY TRANSCRIPT
The Ambition of Mark Trit
HENRY RUSSELL MILLER
"THE MAN HIGHER UP." "HIS RISK
TO POWER." Etc.
(Copyright. 1913. by The Bobbs-Merrill Company)
Together he and Mark dragged Plotr
to the cab and forced him within.
Plotr. dazed by Mark's appearance, re-
sisted but feebly.
Before the grim majesty of ap-
proaching death even liotr's madnesB
was abashed. The supreme conscious-
ness received back the atom that,
when Imprisoned In flesh, had been
Roman. It was Kazla who saw.
"He Is dead." ,
The Matka uttered a low moan, then
became silent again, resumed her rigid
gazing at the not less still body. Plotr's
hand passed over his eyes in a bewil-
dered gesture. The woman who kept
the door made the sign of the cross
and went quietly out
Kazia bent over to kiss Roman's
forehead. Then Piotr came out of his
daze. He caught her roughly and drew
"You're not fit to touch him."
She turned and went slowly
the kitchen. Piotr followed.
He confronted her and Mark.
can go now, both of you."
"Oh, Piotr, not now!" Kazia began
pleadingly. "The Matka needs me
"We need nothing from you. We
weren't good enough for you once.
You left us to be a line lady. Now we
don't want you."
"But 1 came back and you wouldn't
let me stay."
"Yes, when you found that Jim
Whiting couldn't give you what you
wanted. You thought you could use
us then—as he did." He nodded to-
ward Mark. "How," his teeth bared
In an ugly accusing leer, "how did the
Hunky girl get to be such a fine lady?'
"Be still!" Mark stepped close to
him, sternly. "Isn't there any decency
In that cracked mind of yours? Re-
member she came to them," he pointed
toward the little bedroom, "when they
needed some one. You were out fill-
ing the streets with your blackguardly
rant. And whose money do you think
had to keep them alive because you
wouldn't do a man's work?"
"A man's work!" Plotr laughed, a
horrible startling cackle. "To a cracked
brain that isn't to betray and gouge
and drive—" He broke off. "Do you
mean it was her money?"
"Who else would have cared?"
Plotr went back Into the death room,
clutched his mother by the shoulder
and shook her cruelly. "Tell me," he
cried in her tongue, "have you taken
money from her—that woman—when
1 told you what she was?"
The Matka shrank back from his
vehemence. "I had to—to buy things
to keep him alive."
Piotr, releasing her, stared, his
mouth working queerly. "Even you're
He went again slowly Into the
kitchen, taking up his hat from the
sible. He rose and crept silently into
the room where Roman lay. A single
candle was burning low In its socket.
Hy its faint flickering glow the waxen
face and folded hands seemed not
dead, but only at peace. Mark looked
long at him, as though Koman held
the answer to his questions. Once he
leaned over, whispering.
"What have you found, Roman? Is
It simple there? Is there a new birth
In which mistakes can be paid for?
. . . 1 want to pay."
"What Have You Found, Roman? It
It Simple, There?"
table. He did not stop until he reached
the door. There he turned, facing
"You can have her now. I'm go-
"He's crazy," Mark muttered. "Don't
With an effort she recalled herself
to the situation. "You had better go
now. I must take care of the Matka.
Will you pleaBe telephone to the hos-
pital that I shan't be back tonight?"
"But I can't leave you alone here,
while Piotr's at large. I'm going out
to arrange for tomorrow. Then I'll
come back here."
"It may be best," she agreed.
Two hours later he returned and
rapped lightly. Receiving no answer,
he tried the door. It opened and he
Hanka lay on a narrow cot, in the
sleep of exhaustion. In a chctr by the
table, head pillowed on one arm,
Kazia, too, slept. She Btirred uneasily
as he entered, then became still. He
tiptoed to another chair and began hiB
The night seemed endless. To sit
motionltes, looking at the relaxed for-
lorn ligure she made, became lmpos-
It was two days after the funeral.
Mark had seen Kazia but for a few
minutes, merely long enough to learn
her new plans, and then Hanka had
been present Kazla proposed to take
care of her, and that they might not
have to be apart, to give up her line
position at the hospital; she thought
she could obtain a new one that would
take up only her days. She had, of
course, to find a new apartment.
All day Hanka had been alone In the
dismantled flat, thinking not of him
who had gone but of the woman who
had assumed her protection. Often
her head shook in troubled gesture.
Hanka had not lost the habit of seeing
and understanding many things from
her shadowy corner. Not out of grief
for the dead, she knew, had the look
that haunted her come into Kazia's
The dinner was over, the dishes
washed and put away; this being part
of Hanka's share in the new division
of labor. She went into the little bed-
room whither Kazla had gone to dress.
But at the door she stopped, unnoticed,
looking at the figure that lay motion-
less and face downward on the bed.
She started to steal away, then turned
again and went timidly to the bedside.
She laid a gentle hand on Kazia's hair.
"Little Kazia," Bhe murmured, half
frightened at her boldness, "what is
"Nothing, Matka," came the muf-
"Is It because of me? I don't want
to be a burden. I qan go."
"No, no! You musn't leave me. I'm
"Heart tired. Is It because of him—
"I have no lover."
Kazla rose wearily, and going to the
mirror, began to take down her hair.
The thick soft tresses fell tumbling
around her. Hanka, in troubled won-
der, watched the round arm that
wielded the comb, the smooth firm
shoulders. At Kazia's age Hanka had
already begun to wither into an un-
comeliness that men passed by unde-
siring. She went over to the dressing
woman and touched timidly the firm,
still youthful flesh.
"You are like your mother."
"What was she like?"
"She was like you." Kazla did not
smile. "Men saw her and wanted her."
The comb became still. "Did she—
did she love my father?"
"Such a love I have never seen."
It had been dark almoBt an hour
when the bell rang. Hanka heard
Kazia going to the door and a startled
exclamation answered by a mellifluous
voice Hanka did not know. The vis-
itor was admitted and taken Into the
sitting room. To the kitchen came
the murmur of Kazia's voice and his,
| chiefly his.
He had been there but a few min-
utes when hlB voice changed. It be-
came eager, with an undertone that
perturbed Hanka strangely. Once
Kazla uttered a low hurt cry. Hanka
rose and crept along the little hall.
She crouched In the darkness near
the sitting room door, listening In-
tently and wishing she had not been
so Btupld about English.
"Am I an ogre?" the mellifluous
voice was saying.
"I do not love you."
"It 1b not a question of love. I am
not old, but I have lived long enough
to prick that Illusion. We scientists
know what love Is."
"I don't care for you In any way,"
Kazia answered coldly. "Mr. Quinby,
you oughtn't to be here. A man In
"My dear lady, let me remind you
that the Interest of a man in my posi-
tion is not to be rejected lightly. With
a word I gave you the beet position
your profession offers a woman. With
a word I can take it away. I can re-
lieve you of the necessity of working
at all. I can make It impossible for
you to find work in this city."
"My dear lady!" the stranger's voice
proteBted. "I would not do that I
would harm no one. I am a tender-
hearted man. I, too, suffer, if by chance
others suffer through me." The voice,
vibrant with emotion, would have
wrung tears of sympathy from a stone.
Hut Hanka, as we have Been, could
not weep. "I am only trying to show
that those who enlist my Interest do
not lose by lt.">
"So you think I arn for sale?"
"Forgive ine, my dear," said Quinby,
"but that 1b gross. Say rather that,
since you have struck a responsive
chord in my breast, It will be my pleas-
ure to be guardian of your welfare,
to lift you out of the sordid struggle
for existence.. And have ( not proved
that? You lay In the hollqw of my
hand. With a breath 1 could have de-
stroyed your reputation. But 1 kept
silence, I advanced your Interests, I
held you tenderly In my heart. Wom-
an, you have bewitched me. I want
Hanka understood at least his last
words and she understood his tone.
She crept closer and through the crack
of the sitting room door saw Kazla
elude Quinby's outstretched arms.
At the same moment she heard a
halting step on the stairway. She
opened the outer door and went out
to meet Mark Truitt, whispering ex-
citedly to him in Polish. When he,
astonished by ber appearance and
emotion-, would have spoken, she
clapped a hand over his mouth, and
clutching him by a sleeve, drew him
into the hall. She pointed through the
Again Quinby reached toward Kazla
and again she recoiled.
"Don't—don't touch me."
"Why do you rebuff me? You're not
an Ignorant child. You must have
known what my interest in the hos-
pital and In you this year has meant
You wouldn't have taken my help un-
less you were willing to give me what
"What 1b it—what Is It you want?"
"I want you to be to me what you
have been to Truitt."
"And if—If I refuse?"
"1 have never yet told that I caught
Truitt and a sun-browned woman alone
In an Ottawa hotel under circum-
stances—I have no reason to love him.
I have refrained from telling only for
your sake. I—Why do you force me
to say this? I have no wish to be
brutal to you. Seeing you has turned my
head. But you will not—surely you
can not refuse."
She dropped back Into a chair, cov-
ering her face with her hands. When
she looked up, she wore again the
strange rapt expression.
"You said," she whispered chok-
ingly, "you said—you would pay."
"Yes, yes!" he cried eagerly.
"You are trying to rob Mark Truitt
—to force him out of the company.
Will you—give that up?" Still In the
same broken whisper.
"Even that. You are worth every-
"And will you give me time—to send
him away—and never let him know?"
"It Is for you to make conditions.
Ah! my dear—"
In triumph Quinby stepped toward
her and bent over to take her hand.
"Don't do that!" said a voice behind
Quinby whirled. For a long silent
minute the trio faced one another.
Then Mark, white of face, hands
working convulsively, went slowly to
the stupefied Quinby, who seemed
turned to stone. He did not resist
even when Mark's hand leaped up
and caught him cruelly by the throat.
He was pressed back until his back
met the wall. The grip tightened.
Quinby's face grew purple. He
Bquirmed and tried to cry out, but only
a hoarse gurgle resulted.
Kazla came to herself. She sprang
to her feet and caught Mark's arm,
breaking his grip.
"Don't hurt htm. He's not worth
Gently, without taking his eyes from
Quinby, Mark freed his arm from her
clasp. But he did not touch Quinby
again. The first murderous impulse
died. He turned contemptuously away
Quinby, released from the cruel hand
and eyes, started across the room.
Mark whirled upon him once more.
Quinby stopped. "This," he said
weakly, "is a trap."
"Set by yourself." Mark turned to
Kazla with a helpless mirthless laugh.
"What is my cue? Shall I kick him
down stairs—or spring his dirty trap?"
"Let him go," she answered list-
Mark shook his bead. "Not without
paying. He said," grimly, "he was
willing to pay."
"I'm not afraid of you," Quinby mut-
tered a feeble defiance. "What can
you say of me that isn't true of you?"
"Ah!" Mark drew a sharp whistling
breath. Quinby shrang back, his hands
going protectively to his aching throat
"Now you shall pay. You—" He broke
off with a gesture of disgust "I find
I've no stomach for blackmail Just
now. I'll telephone Henley to come
over. He'll know how to handle this
Then Quinby was Indeed fear-struck.
He clutched Mark's arm tightly. "Don't
tell him!" he quavered. "We can set-
tle this ourselves. I didn't really In-
tend to force you out of the company,
only to—to frighten you a little."
Mark Jerked hie arm free. "So you're
a coward as well as a fraud! But I
knew that before. This Is too sick-
ening. You'd better go."
Quinby started again to go.
"You seem to be afraid of Henley
Yoj have reason. Tomorrow at ten-
thirty you have an engagement to meet
him at his office—I have Just made It
for both of you. At eleven I will meet
him. You know best what Henley In
his present mood will do if he gets
wind of your latest adventure in phi-
lanthropy. Now go."
Quinby went. The next morning,
prompt on the hour, he kept his en-
gagement with Henley.
A weakness for epigrams has de-
feated more than one fair project
After a discreet Interval—long enough,
as he thought, for the interment of
the dead past—Jeremiah Quinby
sought to revive the paleontological
i propaganda. He found that for once
the public memory was long and laid
more stress on the fateful twins of
production than on Ichthyosauri and
kindred monsters. The air was dark-
ened with poisoned barbs of satire
derision. Thcrt fell a great phi-
lanthropist, pierced to the heart. That
is to say, Quinby retired from the
realm of beneficence and his rival
reigned absolute once more.
A heavy troubled silence was In the
little room. Kazla stood passively by
the table, waiting for Mark to speak.
After a long while he raised his eyes
"Kazla, you poor romantic fool! Did
you think any amount of money was
worth that—even If he had kept his
word? When I think what—oh. how
could you think of It!"
"I wanted," she answered in a queer
lifelesB voice, as if benumbed by this
criBis into which they had stumbled,
"I wanted to do one thing for you—
and your happy city."
"My happy city! What happiness
could it have had, built on that? And
I—hadn't you given me enough?"
"I gave you only love."
"It was all I had to give. It wasn't
"I wish I could have given aB much
as you." The wistful words slipped
He stepped closer to her.
"Kazla, this has got to end."
"You must marry me tomorrow."
Life, and with it pain, flickered once
"You are trying to give something
now. But I'm glad yo\i said that."
"I'm asking you to give something
more. You will?"
"Why do you ask It?"
"Because I've hurt you enough. I
did hurt you when I let you—led you
to sin, even though we kept It a secret
from the world. I want to make you
happy—you said yourself we've broken
a law. I want happiness—and I can't
have It, knowing that for all I've taken
from you I've given nothing."
She tried to smile; the sight of It
cut to his heart. "Every reason but
the one. But I'm glad you wouldn't
lie to me now." The smile faded. "You
see. I can't."
"Kazia, dear," he pleaded, "we
started wrong—let's begin over again.
Let's give love a new birth."
His voice ranc with a longing she
could not understand, but he could not
touch her. She shook her head spir-
"There can be no new birth so long
as there Is memory. You could never
forget that I—that I am not clean."
"Do you think me so small as to
hold my own fault against you? It is
my sin, too." He stepped closer, reach-
ing out his arms to take her. "Come,
dear, your poor little reasons aren't
She shrank away from his clasp,
trembling. Into the tired white face
came a look of fear and despair. She
glanced this way and that, as though
she sought an escape. Her hands went
to her face. Then she forced them
down and her eyes to his.
"I thought—I ' thought you under-
stood. . . . I—I wasn't clean—before
we sinned. The doctor who helped
me, I—" She could say no more.
Suspicion had not prepared him for
this. He stared foolishly at her, show-
ing how he recoiled from the fact her
broken words had revealed. He did
not then think it strange that the
shame of a woman he did not love
should stab so deeply.
"Kazla, how could you—how could
After a while he forgot his own pain
a little In pity for the silent stricken
woman. Again his arms reached out
for her and would not be denied.
"It must make no difference." His
sternness was all for himself. "What
am I to blame you? You sold your
body to live. I gave my soul to feel
others squirming under my feet. You
hurt only yourself. I've hurt every
one I touched. I hurt you. If I hadn't
been a coward years ago when we
first loved, you would never have been
tempted. Your sin Is only a part of
mine. It is you who have most to
Slowly she raised her head to look
at him. "And you," came a broken
Incredulous whisper, "and you would
marry me—even now?"
"All the more now!"
For an InBtant a faint pitiable hope,
defying knowledge, shone In her eyes.
"Have I been mistaken? Only love
could Ignore—ah! don't lie to me now.
It wouldn't be kindness. Is It Just pay
He tried to look away from her and
could not Her eyes held his, seeking
through them to hunt out the last
truth hidden In his soul. With a rough
convulsive movement he drew her
head down on his shoulder.
"How can I know what It U? It
must be love, since I need you and
want to make you happy. If It Isn't
now, surely love will come when we
start right. Kazla, don't refuse me
this chance to make up to you a little
of the harm I've done you."
Her answer was a stifled sob. He
felt her body relax; her head rested
heavily on his shoulder.
She released herself. He did not
try to hold her. They faced each other
In a heavy throbbing silence.
His soul quivered with the cruelty
of It; It would have been Infinitely
easier for him If she had been the
unfaithful one. His words echoed
mockingly in his ears, torturing him
with their hopeless futility.
"You will not?"
"You couldn't say It—and I don't
The sight of her had become more
than he could endure. He turned away
and dropped Into a chair, letting his
head fall to the table.
After a little he felt her hand gently
smoothing hia hair. And soon she be-
gan to speak in a voice unsteady at
first but gathering strength as she
"You mustn't reproach yourself. I
know you'd love me If you could. And
you mustn't think I refuse Just for
your sake. I'd do what you want—
since you want It so much—only It
would be misery for me always. You
wouldn't want that. . . . And this—It
seems I've always known It would
come. It was a chance I took for a
few months' happiness. I've had my
happiness. . . . You haven't harmed
me—I beg you to believe you haven't
But the hoarse cry died away. There
was nothing to say. His humiliation
was complete. Magdalen that she was,
He Felt Her Body Relax—Her Head
Rested Heavily on His Shoulder.
he looked up to her from depths of
self-abasement she could never know.
The voice was growing unsteady
again. "When I think how It might
have ended—If you hadn't come to-
night—! I'm glad you came—to save
me from —that. . . . And now—I think
you had better—go. . . ."
It was a red sunrise, that Sabbath
morning, and the ruddy glow lingered
In the eastern sky long after the sun
had swung clear above the hlllB. A
slanting shaft found his window and
fell upon him as he dreamed. He
He awoke slowly, reluctantly, drift-
ing toward consciousness through a
golden haze that vibrated with far-
away dwindling harmonied.
"Where have I heard that before?"
After a little he remembered—a
youth, full of dreams and credulous.
Joyously facing his great adventure.
"And tomorrow I set out on a new
adventure. It was a long way from
there to here. ... I wonder, would
any man, given the choice, travel his
road a second time?"
He rose and went to the window.
Two years had passed, crowded with
effort, crowned with achievement
From the window where he stood, still
seeking to recover the lost harmonies,
he could see the beginning of his
happy city, all ready for the great ex-
He bathed and dressed—in the new
bathroom that was his one concession
to the luxuriousness of the old life—
and descended to the kitchen. The
pleasant odor of frying ham met his
nostrils; there was a hotel In Bethel
now at which the Truitts generally
had their meals, but sometimes, of a
leisurely Sabbath morning, Simon still
served as cook.
But the bent old man at the south
window had forgotten breakfast. For
a little Mark watched him without
"Good morning, father," he said at
"Good morning, Mark." Simon
turned reluctantly from the window.
"I waa Jest tbinkin' It'll be 20 years
tomorrow ye went away—an' now
"Yes. Your dream has come true.
If you live until tomorrow night you'll
have seen It all—steel made In Bethel."
Breakfast ready, they sat down and
began the meal In silence. Mark ate
Ever since Mark had returned,
Simon had been vaguely sensible of a
suffering to which some solacing word
might be Bald. But the word would not
come to his unschooled lips.
"I wish," Simon thought "I could
give him something."
It was a real suffering Simon sensed,
no day without its hour of payment,
no hour so heavy as on that Sabbath
From across the town came a mel-
low clamor, the voice of the new
church bell calling the faithful.
The clamor ceased and after an In-
terval resumed for a few last taps be-
fore he rose and went Into the house
for his hat and cane. When he emerged
again he found Simon sitting on the
"Qoln' to church?"
"1 guess I'd better."
"Yes. Courtney likes ye to. Do
ye," Simon asked suddenly, "still be-
ileve what he preaches?"
Mark hesitated a moment "I sup-
pose 1 never did. I'd like to, but I
can't It takes a certain quality of
mind, I suppose—or early habit I
can't quite see—" There was that
in Mark's tone which made Simon
look up quickly. "I can't see the logic
of letting another's suffering pay for
"Ye'll be late." Simon suggested.
Doctor Hedges, driving along the
valley road, drew up at the statiou
until the eleven o'clock train, having
discharged its Bethel passengers, sped
onward. The passengers were two, a
man and a woman, strangers to the
doctor and therefore allen to Bethel.
The woman stood on the otherwise de-
serted platform, looking uncertainly
around her. The man made directly
for the doctor.
"Do you," he demanded, "know
where Mark Trult lives?'
"Why, yes." The doctor bestowed
a friendly smile on the Btranger. "I
guess I do."
"Can you show me how to find It?"
"Yes." Hedges glanced toward the
woman; she was entering the station.
"I can do better. I can take you there."
"If you will." And the stranger
promptly entered the buggy.
The doctor clucked to his horse and
turned hospitably, with conversational
Intent, to his guest. But the latter
"Ha!" The stranger smiled, a brief
wintry smile. "Doctor, I see. Do you
"Well," Hedges spat rumlnatlvely,
"that's a pretty risky thing to Bay of
any man, but I guess—"
"What do they think of him here?"
"They think he's a great man—and
It's his own—"
"He's a great mechanic," said the
"I," drawled the doctor, "know more
about men than mechanics, but—"
"What do you think of him?" the
guest Interrupted again.
The doctor, hoping to complete at
least one sentence, qulekeued his
drawl. "He's a man who's either Iob-
ing himself or finding himself, I'm
"You wouldn't," chuckled the doc-
tor, "have time for the explanation."
He drew up before the little cottage.
"He lives here."
"Hardly!" the visitor retorted. "I
take the three o'clock train. Much
obliged." He sprang, more briskly
than his rotundity promised, out of
The doctor drove away still chuck-
ling. The chuckle would not have
died even had he known his passenger
to be none other than that Henley
whose star, flashing with comet-like
swiftness and brilliancy above the hor-
izon of speculation, had In two years
achieved full planetary dignity and Im-
portance. But the doctor was not a
student of Wall street astronomy.
"Humph!" The luminary surveyed
the weather-beaten little cottage with
its unkempt yard and near-by smithy.
"So he lives here. Affectation, of
He strode up the path and saluted
the old man on the stoop.
"Mr. Truitt lives here, 1 believe?"
"I'm Simon Truitt. But I reckon
ye want Mark, Mr. Henley."
"Ha! You know me. His father,
"Yes. I saw ye once, years ago,
when he was In the hospital."
"I remember," said Henley, who had
forgotten that Incident completely. "I
"He's at church."
"Church! Surely not a habit?"
"He goes gener'Iy, alnoe he com*
"Hmm! Something new for Truitt"
Henley frowned. "And my time's short
I suppose I may as well save some
of it by going over the plant now.
There's no objection, I suppose?"
"No; I," Simon ventured uncer-
tainly, "I was Jest about to go over
"I'll be glad of your company," Hen-
ley graciously replied. "Shall we
An hour later Henley emerged from
the shadowy finishing mill, blinking
hard in the midday's sunshine and try-
ing to revise bis estimate of the sltua
He followed Simon out on a tiny
cape that Jutted Into the river,
whence they could see other evidences
of Truitt's lucidity—the hospital, the
bank, the store, the cluster of homes
gleaming white on the hillside.
And Henley saw—not as the experts
had seen, happy If they perceived all
that had been reduced to fact—but
with the eyes of one whose greatness
was to see what might be, what could
be. And as he looked part at least,
of Truitt's dream was unfolded before
him. The valley a teeming, throbbing
citadel of Industry. The city clamber-
ing over the Blopes, capturing the
heights, reclaiming other slopes from
the forest, until In length and breadth,
in numbers and Importance, It rivaled
that other fastness where he. the mas-
ter. had been known only as a lieuten-
ant The creator In him, not yet
killed, but only obscured by the mad-
ness of exploitation, thrilled at the
"He sees big." he muttered. "He
Bees big. I dldnt think It waa in him."
He stood on the point, scanning
thoughtfully the noble valley, forged
ting his silent companion. "He's
picked out a great site. . . ." And
then to Henley came a vision of his
That city and citadel his, creature of
his genius and might, doing bis bid-
ding, yielding him homage and trib-
ute, carrying forth his fame to the
paling of lesser men's reputations, cap-
ital of an empire—his empire.
"By God!" he breathed aloud. "By
God! . . And It's possible—how
did the builders of cities overlook thla
place? i . It would be better
than doing faker's tricks with stocks
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
An old man in indianapolis, who has
lost all his teeth, takeB his "toothless-
It Is difficult for him to articulate
as he did In the days of hU youth,
and he admits that gums are not quite
as useful as teeth when it comes to
In fact his sole dependence on his
gums in his old days has led him to
refer to his misfortune cheerfully by
calling his words "gumdrops."
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Burke, J. J. The Daily Transcript (Norman, Okla.), Vol. 2, No. 130, Ed. 1 Monday, November 16, 1914, newspaper, November 16, 1914; (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc112838/m1/2/: accessed October 22, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.