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A Thrilling Moment

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One of the most thrilling experiences recorded in the aunáis of shooters' careerswas that iu vnich Dick Singleton, an old time Bradford shooter, played the role of hero. He played it well too. That the sensa tioual drama did not turn out to be a tragedy iu which six lives were t.tken in the last act is due to the hero's cool head, qnick decisión and superb nerve in the face of almost certain death. Siiigleton was one of the best known shooters iu the Bradford neld. He had all tbo qualities which euter into the make up of a successful jiiggler with deatü'.-; agencies. He had shot hundreds of wells and transported glycerin all over roads which at certaiu seasons had no counterpart for all rouud villaiuy auywhere, but hisreckless caution had always averted a catastrophe. Oue day Singleton started out to shoot a well located uear Bradford. The well had been"drilled iu" twoor three days bef ore, but the shooter had been too busy to put in a shot. Arrived at the well Singleton proceeded to fill the shells with glycerin from his cans. That is a proceeding of some delicacy, as glycerin allows no liberties to be taken with it. Care must be exercised in pouring the stuff from the cans into the shells. The well was about 1,800 feet deep, aud duriug the interval siuce drilling had stopped about 1,000 f eet of fluid had accumulated in the hole. There was nothing uuusual about that, but something unusual did happen speedily and most inopportunely; somethiug calcnlated to turn one's hair gray and make such an impression on the memories of the men present as time could not efface. The glycerin shell had been lowered several huudred feet, and Singleton was slowly playing out the cord, when he feit the line slacken. Immediately he heard an ominous roar. It was a sound to appall the stoutest heart. The well had started to flow! Singleton knew the meaning of that sound. He knew that a column of oil 1,000 feet high, obeying the Ímpetus of the mighty forces of nature, then in com'ulsion 2,000 feet underground, was forcing to the surface with a velocity of a cannon ball a shell containiug 20 auarts of elvcerin. He realized that the propnlsive energy of that column of oil would project the shell against the timbers of the derrick with tremendous forcé. No need to speculate ou what would follow the impact. All this was flashed upon Singleton's consciousness as he stood leaning over the hole. The thought flash and the signal of peril were coiucident in point of time. It was an awful moment - such a moment as no man had ever experienced and lived to describe. Singleton's companions understood the import of that terrifying sound. Acting upon a natural impulse, they turned to flee, seeking in flight the safety which they knew it was futile to hope for. Almost bef ore terror could impart motion to their limbs the catastrophe would befall. If Singleton had lost his head or hesitated for only a fractional part of a second, six men would have been blown into eternity, and another horror would have been added to the long listcharged to the account of nitroglycerin. But he did not lose his head. He knew that flight was useless. No time for that Whether he should run or stay, death seeemd to be inevitable. If he should stay, there was one chance - only one. It came to Singleton like an inspiration. The one chance decided him. Desperate as it was - a million to one that it would fail - he resolved to take it. Who can say what passed through the man's mind during the inappreciable fraction of time that he waited to put his plan into execution? Perhaps Singleton himself could not describe what his mental visión beheld in that brief interval between the warning and the appearance of the messenger of eternity. He was conscious of nothing but the peril which was nishing upon him and his companions and of the stern resolve to stand at his post and do all that heroic manhood could do to avert the impending doom. Men thinkquickly at such tima Singleton's mind acted with the celerity of lightning. His muscles obeyed the mándate of the will with electric promptitude. He made his title clear to heroism on that eventful day. He braced himself, and as the shell shot from the hole he threw his arms around it, not knowing but the sudden arrest of motion would explode the charge and not knowing that be could hold the shell at alL Desperation gave him strength. There he stood, victor over death, surprised to find himself alive and smothered in the thick, greasy fluid whioh flow-ed from the well and feil in torrents upon him. But he held fast to the prize which his alert mind, quick eye and prompt action had won in the hand to hand grapple with the forces of destruction. Singleton is still living somewhere in the lower oil country, and he oocasionally tries his hand at a shot, but if he should live until the final day of judgment he could never forget the day when he played back stop in the game between life and death, with nature in the box and 20 quarts of nitroglycerin doing service as a ball. - St. Louis Republic. The bandaging of the feet of Chinese girh is begun in naany cases at tbe age of 4.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News