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<SPAN name="link2H_PART3" id="link2H_PART3"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> PART III. THE BLAZING OF THE TRAIL </h2> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0026" id="link2HCH0026"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXVI </h2> <p> A lumbering town after the drive is a fearful thing. Men just off the river draw a deep breath, and plunge into the wildest reactionary dissipation. In droves they invade the cities,&mdash;wild, picturesque, lawless. As long as the money lasts, they blow it in. </p> <p> "Hot money!" is the cry. "She's burnt holes in all my pockets already!" </p> <p> The saloons are full, the gambling houses overflow, all the places of amusement or crime run full blast. A chip rests lightly on everyone's shoulder. Fights are as common as raspberries in August. Often one of these formidable men, his muscles toughened and quickened by the active, strenuous river work, will set out to "take the town apart." For a time he leaves rack and ruin, black eyes and broken teeth behind him, until he meets a more redoubtable "knocker" and is pounded and kicked into unconsciousness. Organized gangs go from house to house forcing the peaceful inmates to drink from their bottles. Others take possession of certain sections of the street and resist "a l'outrance" the attempts of others to pass. Inoffensive citizens are stood on their heads, or shaken upside down until the contents of their pockets rattle on the street. Parenthetically, these contents are invariably returned to their owners. The riverman's object is fun, not robbery. </p> <p> And if rip-roaring, swashbuckling, drunken glory is what he is after, he gets it. The only trouble is, that a whole winter's hard work goes in two or three weeks. The only redeeming feature is, that he is never, in or out of his cups, afraid of anything that walks the earth. </p> <p> A man comes out of the woods or off the drive with two or three hundred dollars, which he is only too anxious to throw away by the double handful. It follows naturally that a crew of sharpers are on hand to find out who gets it. They are a hard lot. Bold, unprincipled men, they too are afraid of nothing; not even a drunken lumber-jack, which is one of the dangerous wild animals of the American fauna. Their business is to relieve the man of his money as soon as possible. They are experts at their business. </p> <p> The towns of Bay City and Saginaw alone in 1878 supported over fourteen hundred tough characters. Block after block was devoted entirely to saloons. In a radius of three hundred feet from the famous old Catacombs could be numbered forty saloons, where drinks were sold by from three to ten "pretty waiter girls." When the boys struck town, the proprietors and waitresses stood in their doorways to welcome them. </p> <p> "Why, Jack!" one would cry, "when did you drift in? Tickled to death to see you! Come in an' have a drink. That your chum? Come in, old man, and have a drink. Never mind the pay; that's all right." </p> <p> And after the first drink, Jack, of course, had to treat, and then the chum. </p> <p> Or if Jack resisted temptation and walked resolutely on, one of the girls would remark audibly to another. </p> <p> "He ain't no lumber-jack! You can see that easy 'nuff! He's jest off th' hay-trail!" </p> <p> Ten to one that brought him, for the woodsman is above all things proud and jealous of his craft. </p> <p> In the center of this whirlpool of iniquity stood the Catacombs as the hub from which lesser spokes in the wheel radiated. Any old logger of the Saginaw Valley can tell you of the Catacombs, just as any old logger of any other valley will tell you of the "Pen," the "White Row," the "Water Streets" of Alpena, Port Huron, Ludington, Muskegon, and a dozen other lumber towns. </p> <p> The Catacombs was a three-story building. In the basement were vile, ill-smelling, ill-lighted dens, small, isolated, dangerous. The shanty boy with a small stake, far gone in drunkenness, there tasted the last drop of wickedness, and thence was flung unconscious and penniless on the streets. A trap-door directly into the river accommodated those who were inconsiderate enough to succumb under rough treatment. </p> <p> The second story was given over to drinking. Polly Dickson there reigned supreme, an anomaly. She was as pretty and fresh and pure-looking as a child; and at the same time was one of the most ruthless and unscrupulous of the gang. She could at will exercise a fascination the more terrible in that it appealed at once to her victim's nobler instincts of reverence, his capacity for what might be called aesthetic fascination, as well as his passions. When she finally held him, she crushed him as calmly as she would a fly. </p> <p> Four bars supplied the drinkables. Dozens of "pretty waiter girls" served the customers. A force of professional fighters was maintained by the establishment to preserve that degree of peace which should look to the preservation of mirrors and glassware. </p> <p> The third story contained a dance hall and a theater. The character of both would better be left to the imagination. </p> <p> Night after night during the season, this den ran at top-steam. </p> <p> By midnight, when the orgy was at its height, the windows brilliantly illuminated, the various bursts of music, laughing, cursing, singing, shouting, fighting, breaking in turn or all together from its open windows, it was, as Jackson Hines once expressed it to me, like hell let out for noon. </p> <p> The respectable elements of the towns were powerless. They could not control the elections. Their police would only have risked total annihilation by attempting a raid. At the first sign of trouble they walked straightly in the paths of their own affairs, awaiting the time soon to come when, his stake "blown-in," the last bitter dregs of his pleasure gulped down, the shanty boy would again start for the woods. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0027" id="link2HCH0027"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXVII </h2> <p> Now in August, however, the first turmoil had died. The "jam" had boiled into town, "taken it apart," and left the inhabitants to piece it together again as they could; the "rear" had not yet arrived. As a consequence, Thorpe found the city comparatively quiet. </p> <p> Here and there swaggered a strapping riverman, his small felt hat cocked aggressively over one eye, its brim curled up behind; a cigar stump protruding at an angle from beneath his sweeping moustache; his hands thrust into the pockets of his trousers, "stagged" off at the knee; the spikes of his river boots cutting little triangular pieces from the wooden sidewalk. His eye was aggressively humorous, and the smile of his face was a challenge. </p> <p> For in the last month he had faced almost certain death a dozen times a day. He had ridden logs down the rapids where a loss of balance meant in one instant a ducking and in the next a blow on the back from some following battering-ram; he had tugged and strained and jerked with his peavey under a sheer wall of tangled timber twenty feet high,&mdash;behind which pressed the full power of the freshet,&mdash;only to jump with the agility of a cat from one bit of unstable footing to another when the first sharp CRACK warned him that he had done his work, and that the whole mass was about to break down on him like a wave on the shore; he had worked fourteen hours a day in ice-water, and had slept damp; he had pried at the key log in the rollways on the bank until the whole pile had begun to rattle down into the river like a cascade, and had jumped, or ridden, or even dived out of danger at the last second. In a hundred passes he had juggled with death as a child plays with a rubber balloon. No wonder that he has brought to the town and his vices a little of the lofty bearing of an heroic age. No wonder that he fears no man, since nature's most terrible forces of the flood have hurled a thousand weapons at him in vain. His muscles have been hardened, his eye is quiet and sure, his courage is undaunted, and his movements are as quick and accurate as a panther's. Probably nowhere in the world is a more dangerous man of his hands than the riverman. He would rather fight than eat, especially when he is drunk, as, like the cow-boy, he usually is when he gets into town. A history could be written of the feuds, the wars, the raids instituted by one camp or one town against another. </p> <p> The men would go in force sometimes to another city with the avowed purpose of cleaning it out. One battle I know of lasted nearly all night. Deadly weapons were almost never resorted to, unless indeed a hundred and eighty pounds of muscle behind a fist hard as iron might be considered a deadly weapon. A man hard pressed by numbers often resorted to a billiard cue, or an ax, or anything else that happened to be handy, but that was an expedient called out by necessity. Knives or six-shooters implied a certain premeditation which was discountenanced. </p> <p> On the other hand, the code of fair fighting obtained hardly at all. The long spikes of river-boots made an admirable weapon in the straight kick. I have seen men whose faces were punctured as thickly as though by small-pox, where the steel points had penetrated. In a free-for-all knock-down-and-drag-out, kicking, gouging, and biting are all legitimate. Anything to injure the other man, provided always you do not knife him. And when you take a half dozen of these enduring, active, muscular, and fiery men, not one entertaining in his innermost heart the faintest hesitation or fear, and set them at each other with the lightning tirelessness of so many wild-cats, you get as hard a fight as you could desire. And they seem to like it. </p> <p> One old fellow, a good deal of a character in his way, used to be on the "drive" for a firm lumbering near Six Lakes. He was intensely loyal to his "Old Fellows," and every time he got a little "budge" in him, he instituted a raid on the town owned by a rival firm. So frequent and so severe did these battles become that finally the men were informed that another such expedition would mean instant discharge. The rule had its effect. The raids ceased. </p> <p> But one day old Dan visited the saloon once too often. He became very warlike. The other men merely laughed, for they were strong enough themselves to recognize firmness in others, and it never occurred to them that they could disobey so absolute a command. So finally Dan started out quite alone. </p> <p> He invaded the enemy's camp, attempted to clean out the saloon with a billiard cue single handed, was knocked down, and would have been kicked to death as he lay on the floor if he had not succeeded in rolling under the billiard table where the men's boots could not reach him. As it was, his clothes were literally torn to ribbons, one eye was blacked, his nose broken, one ear hung to its place by a mere shred of skin, and his face and flesh were ripped and torn everywhere by the "corks" on the boots. Any but a riverman would have qualified for the hospital. Dan rolled to the other side of the table, made a sudden break, and escaped. </p> <p> But his fighting blood was not all spilled. He raided the butcher-shop, seized the big carving knife, and returned to the battle field. </p> <p> The enemy decamped&mdash;rapidly&mdash;some of them through the window. Dan managed to get in but one blow. He ripped the coat down the man's back as neatly as though it had been done with shears, one clean straight cut from collar to bottom seam. A quarter of an inch nearer would have split the fellow's backbone. As it was, he escaped without even a scratch. </p> <p> Dan commandeered two bottles of whisky, and, gory and wounded as he was, took up the six-mile tramp home, bearing the knife over his shoulder as a banner of triumph. </p> <p> Next morning, weak from the combined effects of war and whisky, he reported to headquarters. </p> <p> "What is it, Dan?" asked the Old Fellow without turning. </p> <p> "I come to get my time," replied the riverman humbly. </p> <p> "What for?" inquired the lumberman. </p> <p> "I have been over to Howard City," confessed Dan. </p> <p> The owner turned and looked him over. </p> <p> "They sort of got ahead of me a little," explained Dan sheepishly. </p> <p> The lumberman took stock of the old man's cuts and bruises, and turned away to hide a smile. </p> <p> "I guess I'll let you off this trip," said he. "Go to work&mdash;when you can. I don't believe you'll go back there again." </p> <p> "No, sir," replied Dan humbly. </p> <p> And so the life of alternate work and pleasure, both full of personal danger, develops in time a class of men whose like is to be found only among the cowboys, scouts, trappers, and Indian fighters of our other frontiers. The moralists will always hold up the hands of horror at such types; the philosopher will admire them as the last incarnation of the heroic age, when the man is bigger than his work. Soon the factories, the machines, the mechanical structures and constructions, the various branches of co-operation will produce quasi-automatically institutions evidently more important than the genius or force of any one human being. The personal element will have become nearly eliminated. In the woods and on the frontier still are many whose powers are greater than their works; whose fame is greater than their deeds. They are men, powerful, virile, even brutal at times; but magnificent with the strength of courage and resource. </p> <p> All this may seem a digression from the thread of our tale, but as a matter of fact it is necessary that you understand the conditions of the time and place in which Harry Thorpe had set himself the duty of success. </p> <p> He had seen too much of incompetent labor to be satisfied with anything but the best. Although his ideas were not as yet formulated, he hoped to be able to pick up a crew of first-class men from those who had come down with the advance, or "jam," of the spring's drive. They should have finished their orgies by now, and, empty of pocket, should be found hanging about the boarding-houses and the quieter saloons. Thorpe intended to offer good wages for good men. He would not need more than twenty at first, for during the approaching winter he purposed to log on a very small scale indeed. The time for expansion would come later. </p> <p> With this object in view he set out from his hotel about half-past seven on the day of his arrival, to cruise about in the lumber-jack district already described. The hotel clerk had obligingly given him the names of a number of the quieter saloons, where the boys "hung out" between bursts of prosperity. In the first of these Thorpe was helped materially in his vague and uncertain quest by encountering an old acquaintance. </p> <p> From the sidewalk he heard the vigorous sounds of a one-sided altercation punctuated by frequent bursts of quickly silenced laughter. Evidently some one was very angry, and the rest amused. After a moment Thorpe imagined he recognized the excited voice. So he pushed open the swinging screen door and entered. </p> <p> The place was typical. Across one side ran the hard-wood bar with foot-rest and little towels hung in metal clasps under its edge. Behind it was a long mirror, a symmetrical pile of glasses, a number of plain or ornamental bottles, and a miniature keg or so of porcelain containing the finer whiskys and brandies. The bar-keeper drew beer from two pumps immediately in front of him, and rinsed glasses in some sort of a sink under the edge of the bar. The center of the room was occupied by a tremendous stove capable of burning whole logs of cordwood. A stovepipe led from the stove here and there in wire suspension to a final exit near the other corner. On the wall were two sporting chromos, and a good variety of lithographed calendars and illuminated tin signs advertising beers and spirits. The floor was liberally sprinkled with damp sawdust, and was occupied, besides the stove, by a number of wooden chairs and a single round table. </p> <p> The latter, a clumsy heavy affair beyond the strength of an ordinary man, was being deftly interposed between himself and the attacks of the possessor of the angry voice by a gigantic young riverman in the conventional stagged (i.e., chopped off) trousers, "cork" shoes, and broad belt typical of his craft. In the aggressor Thorpe recognized old Jackson Hines. </p> <p> "Damn you!" cried the old man, qualifying the oath, "let me get at you, you great big sock-stealer, I'll make you hop high! I'll snatch you bald-headed so quick that you'll think you never had any hair!" </p> <p> "I'll settle with you in the morning, Jackson," laughed the riverman. </p> <p> "You want to eat a good breakfast, then, because you won't have no appetite for dinner." </p> <p> The men roared, with encouraging calls. The riverman put on a ludicrous appearance of offended dignity. </p> <p> "Oh, you needn't swell up like a poisoned pup!" cried old Jackson plaintively, ceasing his attacks from sheer weariness. "You know you're as safe as a cow tied to a brick wall behind that table." </p> <p> Thorpe seized the opportunity to approach. </p> <p> "Hello, Jackson," said he. </p> <p> The old man peered at him out of the blur of his excitement. </p> <p> "Don't you know me?" inquired Thorpe. </p> <p> "Them lamps gives 'bout as much light as a piece of chalk," complained Jackson testily. "Knows you? You bet I do! How are you, Harry? Where you been keepin' yourself? You look 'bout as fat as a stall-fed knittin' needle." </p> <p> "I've been landlooking in the upper peninsula," explained Thorpe, "on the Ossawinamakee, up in the Marquette country." </p> <p> "Sho'" commented Jackson in wonder, "way up there where the moon changes!" </p> <p> "It's a fine country," went on Thorpe so everyone could hear, "with a great cutting of white pine. It runs as high as twelve hundred thousand to the forty sometimes." </p> <p> "Trees clean an' free of limbs?" asked Jackson. </p> <p> "They're as good as the stuff over on seventeen; you remember that." </p> <p> "Clean as a baby's leg," agreed Jackson. </p> <p> "Have a glass of beer?" asked Thorpe. </p> <p> "Dry as a tobacco box," confessed Hines. </p> <p> "Have something, the rest of you?" invited Thorpe. </p> <p> So they all drank. </p> <p> On a sudden inspiration Thorpe resolved to ask the old man's advice as to crew and horses. It might not be good for much, but it would do no harm. </p> <p> Jackson listened attentively to the other's brief recital. </p> <p> "Why don't you see Tim Shearer? He ain't doin' nothin' since the jam came down," was his comment. </p> <p> "Isn't he with the M. &amp; D. people?" asked Thorpe. </p> <p> "Nope. Quit." </p> <p> "How's that?" </p> <p> "'Count of Morrison. Morrison he comes up to run things some. He does. Tim he's getting the drive in shape, and he don't want to be bothered, but old Morrison he's as busy as hell beatin' tan-bark. Finally Tim, he calls him. "'Look here, Mr. Morrison,' says he, 'I'm runnin' this drive. If I don't get her there, all right; you can give me my time. 'Till then you ain't got nothin' to say.' </p> <p> "Well, that makes the Old Fellow as sore as a scalded pup. He's used to bossin' clerks and such things, and don't have much of an idea of lumber-jacks. He has big ideas of respect, so he 'calls' Tim dignified like. </p> <p> "Tim didn't hit him; but I guess he felt like th' man who met the bear without any weapon,&mdash;even a newspaper would 'a' come handy. He hands in his time t' once and quits. Sence then he's been as mad as a bar-keep with a lead quarter, which ain't usual for Tim. He's been filin' his teeth for M. &amp; D. right along. Somethin's behind it all, I reckon." </p> <p> "Where'll I find him?" asked Thorpe. </p> <p> Jackson gave the name of a small boarding-house. Shortly after, Thorpe left him to amuse the others with his unique conversation, and hunted up Shearer's stopping-place. </p> <p> <SPAN name="link2HCH0028" id="link2HCH0028"> <!-- H2 anchor --> </SPAN> </p> <div style="height: 4em;"> <br /><br /><br /><br /> </div> <h2> Chapter XXVIII </h2> <p> The boarding-house proved to be of the typical lumber-jack class, a narrow "stoop," a hall-way and stairs in the center, and an office and bar on either side. Shearer and a half dozen other men about his own age sat, their chairs on two legs and their "cork" boots on the rounds of the chairs, smoking placidly in the tepid evening air. The light came from inside the building, so that while Thorpe was in plain view, he could not make out which of the dark figures on the piazza was the man he wanted. He approached, and attempted an identifying scrutiny. The men, with the taciturnity of their class in the presence of a stranger, said nothing. </p> <p> "Well, bub," finally drawled a voice from the corner, "blowed that stake you made out of Radway, yet?" </p> <p> "That you, Shearer?" inquired Thorpe advancing. "You're the man I'm looking for." </p> <p> "You've found me," replied the old man dryly. </p> <p> Thorpe was requested elaborately to "shake hands" with the owners of six names. Then he had a chance to intimate quietly to Shearer that he wanted a word with him alone. The riverman rose silently and led the way up the straight, uncarpeted stairs, along a narrow, uncarpeted hall, to a square, uncarpeted bedroom. The walls and ceiling of this apartment were of unpainted planed pine. It contained a cheap bureau, one chair, and a bed and washstand to match the bureau. Shearer lit the lamp and sat on the bed. </p> <p> "What is it?" he asked. </p> <p> "I have a little pine up in the northern peninsula within walking distance of Marquette," said Thorpe, "and I want to get a crew of about twenty men. It occurred to me that you might be willing to help me." </p> <p> The riverman frowned steadily at his interlocutor from under his bushy brows. </p> <p> "How much pine you got?" he asked finally. </p> <p> "About three hundred millions," replied Thorpe quietly. </p> <p> The old man's blue eyes fixed themselves with unwavering steadiness on Thorpe's face. </p> <p> "You're jobbing some of it, eh?" he submitted finally as the only probable conclusion. "Do you think you know enough about it? Who does it belong to?" </p> <p> "It belongs to a man named Carpenter and myself." </p> <p> The riverman pondered this slowly for an appreciable interval, and then shot out another question. </p> <p> "How'd you get it?" </p> <p> Thorpe told him simply, omitting nothing except the name of the firm up-river. When he had finished, Shearer evinced no astonishment nor approval. </p> <p> "You done well," he commented finally. Then after another interval: </p> <p> "Have you found out who was the men stealin' the pine?" </p> <p> "Yes," replied Thorpe quietly, "it was Morrison &amp; Daly." </p> <p> The old man flickered not an eyelid. He slowly filled his pipe and lit it. </p> <p> "I'll get you a crew of men," said he, "if you'll take me as foreman." </p> <p> "But it's a little job at first," protested Thorpe. "I only want a camp of twenty. It wouldn't be worth your while." </p> <p> "That's my look-out. I'll take th' job," replied the logger grimly. "You got three hundred million there, ain't you? And you're goin' to cut it? It ain't such a small job." </p> <p> Thorpe could hardly believe his good-fortune in having gained so important a recruit. With a practical man as foreman, his mind would be relieved of a great deal of worry over unfamiliar detail. He saw at once that he would himself be able to perform all the duties of scaler, keep in touch with the needs of the camp, and supervise the campaign. Nevertheless he answered the older man's glance with one as keen, and said: </p> <p> "Look here, Shearer, if you take this job, we may as well understand each other at the start. This is going to be my camp, and I'm going to be boss. I don't know much about logging, and I shall want you to take charge of all that, but I shall want to know just why you do each thing, and if my judgment advises otherwise, my judgment goes. If I want to discharge a man, he WALKS without any question. I know about what I shall expect of each man; and I intend to get it out of him. And in questions of policy mine is the say-so every trip. Now I know you're a good man, one of the best there is, and I presume I shall find your judgment the best, but I don't want any mistakes to start with. If you want to be my foreman on those terms, just say so, and I'll be tickled to death to have you." </p> <p> For the first time the lumberman's face lost, during a single instant, its mask of immobility. His steel-blue eyes flashed, his mouth twitched with some strong emotion. For the first time, too, he spoke without his contemplative pause of preparation. </p> <p> "That's th' way to talk!" he cried. "Go with you? Well I should rise to remark! You're the boss; and I always said it. I'll get you a gang of bully boys that will roll logs till there's skating in hell!" </p> <p> Thorpe left, after making an appointment at his own hotel for the following day, more than pleased with his luck. Although he had by now fairly good and practical ideas in regard to the logging of a bunch of pine, he felt himself to be very deficient in the details. In fact, he anticipated his next step with shaky confidence. He would now be called upon to buy four or five teams of horses, and enough feed to last them the entire winter; he would have to arrange for provisions in abundance and variety for his men; he would have to figure on blankets, harness, cook-camp utensils, stoves, blacksmith tools, iron, axes, chains, cant-hooks, van-goods, pails, lamps, oil, matches, all sorts of hardware,&mdash;in short, all the thousand and one things, from needles to court-plaster, of which a self-sufficing community might come in need. And he would have to figure out his requirements for the entire winter. After navigation closed, he could import nothing more. </p> <p> How could he know what to buy,&mdash;how many barrels of flour, how much coffee, raisins, baking powder, soda, pork, beans, dried apples, sugar, nutmeg, pepper, salt, crackers, molasses, ginger, lard, tea, corned beef, catsup, mustard,&mdash;to last twenty men five or six months? How could he be expected to think of each item of a list of two hundred, the lack of which meant measureless bother, and the desirability of which suggested itself only when the necessity arose? It is easy, when the mind is occupied with multitudinous detail, to forget simple things, like brooms or iron shovels. With Tim Shearer to help his inexperience, he felt easy. He knew he could attend to advantageous buying, and to making arrangements with the steamship line to Marquette for the landing of his goods at the mouth of the Ossawinamakee. </p> <p> Deep in these thoughts, he wandered on at random. He suddenly came to himself in the toughest quarter of Bay City. </p> <p> Through the summer night shrilled the sound of cachinations painted to the colors of mirth. A cheap piano rattled and thumped through an open window. Men's and women's voices mingled in rising and falling gradations of harshness. Lights streamed irregularly across the dark. </p> <p> Thorpe became aware of a figure crouched in the door-way almost at his feet. The sill lay in shadow so the bulk was lost, but the flickering rays of a distant street lamp threw into relief the high-lights of a violin, and a head. The face upturned to him was thin and white and wolfish under a broad white brow. Dark eyes gleamed at him with the expression of a fierce animal. Across the forehead ran a long but shallow cut from which blood dripped. The creature clasped both arms around a violin. He crouched there and stared up at Thorpe, who stared down at him. </p> <p> "What's the matter?" asked the latter finally. </p> <p> The creature made no reply, but drew his arms closer about his instrument, and blinked his wolf eyes. </p> <p> Moved by some strange, half-tolerant whim of compassion, Thorpe made a sign to the unknown to rise. </p> <p> "Come with me," said he, "and I'll have your forehead attended to." </p> <p> The wolf eyes gleamed into his with a sudden savage concentration. Then their owner obediently arose. </p> <p> Thorpe now saw that the body before him was of a cripple, short-legged, hunch-backed, long-armed, pigeon-breasted. The large head sat strangely top-heavy between even the broad shoulders. It confirmed the hopeless but sullen despair that brooded on the white countenance. </p> <p> At the hotel Thorpe, examining the cut, found it more serious in appearance than in reality. With a few pieces of sticking plaster he drew its edges together. </p> <p> Then he attempted to interrogate his find. </p> <p> "What is your name?" he asked. </p> <p> "Phil." </p> <p> "Phil what?" </p> <p> Silence. </p> <p> "How did you get hurt?" </p> <p> No reply. </p> <p> "Were you playing your fiddle in one of those houses?" </p> <p> The cripple nodded slowly. </p> <p> "Are you hungry?" asked Thorpe, with a sudden thoughtfulness. </p> <p> "Yes," replied the cripple, with a lightning gleam in his wolf eyes. </p> <p> Thorpe rang the bell. To the boy who answered it he said: </p> <p> "Bring me half a dozen beef sandwiches and a glass of milk, and be quick about it." </p> <p> "Do you play the fiddle much?" continued Thorpe. </p> <p> The cripple nodded again. </p> <p> "Let's hear what you can do." </p> <p> "They cut my strings!" cried Phil with a passionate wail. </p> <p> The cry came from the heart, and Thorpe was touched by it. The price of strings was evidently a big sum. </p> <p> "I'll get you more in the morning," said he. "Would you like to leave Bay City?" </p> <p> "Yes" cried the boy with passion. </p> <p> "You would have to work. You would have to be chore-boy in a lumber camp, and play fiddle for the men when they wanted you to." </p> <p> "I'll do it," said the cripple. </p> <p> "Are you sure you could? You will have to split all the wood for the men, the cook, and the office; you will have to draw the water, and fill the lamps, and keep the camps clean. You will be paid for it, but it is quite a job. And you would have to do it well. If you did not do it well, I would discharge you." </p> <p> "I will do it!" repeated the cripple with a shade more earnestness. </p> <p> "All right, then I'll take you," replied Thorpe. </p> <p> The cripple said nothing, nor moved a muscle of his face, but the gleam of the wolf faded to give place to the soft, affectionate glow seen in the eyes of a setter dog. Thorpe was startled at the change. </p> <p> A knock announced the sandwiches and milk. The cripple fell upon them with both hands in a sudden ecstacy of hunger. When he had finished, he looked again at Thorpe, and this time there were tears in his eyes. </p> <p> A little later Thorpe interviewed the proprietor of the hotel. </p> <p> "I wish you'd give this boy a good cheap room and charge his keep to me," said he. "He's going north with me." </p> <p> Phil was led away by the irreverent porter, hugging tightly his unstrung violin to his bosom. </p> <p> Thorpe lay awake for some time after retiring. Phil claimed a share of his thoughts. </p> <p> Thorpe's winter in the woods had impressed upon him that a good cook and a fiddler will do more to keep men contented than high wages and easy work. So his protection of the cripple was not entirely disinterested. But his imagination persisted in occupying itself with the boy. What terrible life of want and vicious associates had he led in this terrible town? What treatment could have lit that wolf-gleam in his eyes? What hell had he inhabited that he was so eager to get away? In an hour or so he dozed. He dreamed that the cripple had grown to enormous proportions and was overshadowing his life. A slight noise outside his bed-room door brought him to his feet. </p> <p> He opened the door and found that in the stillness of the night the poor deformed creature had taken the blankets from his bed and had spread them across the door-sill of the man who had befriended him. </p> <p>
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