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Sardon The Scout

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Ia the summcr of 1864, I spent a few weeks at the ranch of a f riend m California. I scoured niuch of the surrounding country, partly for exerciso, and partly because I was something of a naturalist. In addition to all that, the scenery had a rare charm to me. "You haven' t nwt Sardón the bcout yct?" my friend asked. „A character of somo note, eh:1 1 mquired. "Widely known, at least, was the "An excellent sruide, familiar with overy foot of the country, and as brave as he is surely. None of us have ever been able to make his acquaintance. A love disappointment scoured him, I reekon." Without just knowing why, 1 foccame anxious to meet the scout . I visited the hills more frequently, and at last came upon him. □ He was seated upon a broad ledge oí rocks, behind him was a carvenous oneninff; beneath him was a steep precipice, at the bottom ' : h flowed a noisy, turbulent stream. He was ciad in buckskin, and was leaning upon his rifle, staring absentiy uto the top of the trees whieh marked the ravine. He had removed his cap, and his heavy, brown hair and bronzed face were fuïly exposed. I at once fecognized him :is a friend of my boyhood, with whose history I was not entirely unacquainted. Hr had dropped out of my sight, but not out of my recollection. The recognitioD brought a thrill of exciteraent to my veins, and I walked boldly to where he was seated. He turned toward me, his keen glance resenting the tnafmifflATI "You are Sardón the Scout." I said l knew how that would rouse him. He clared at me with fierceness, and 1 sawDhishand tighten on the barrel of nis rifle. "Don't you know me?" I asked. "No," he answered, with i-epressed vehemence; "nor do 1 want to." I laughed pleasantly, the memory of our old f riendship bringing a warm glow to my eyes. 'ONot a very hearty welcome, I said, with a shrug. "It wastft meant to be, was the crisp answer. f I f M.J self possession seemed to irrítate him. "Is therenothingyou wantioitnowr I significantly asked. He knew that I was familiar with the story of his eariler life; ho imderstood to what my question verged. His lips tightened, and a gleam of wrathcrossed his face. "Nothing," hc surlily rejoined. "Is the past dead?" I asked. "I am contented with the present." "Ralph, whatever they said, VictorineLamar was true to you." I spoke with oarnest abrnptnc3s, and it was like a blow in the face. lio aróse, and strodc vcry close to ruc, íiis cheeks twitching. "You want me to flingyou into the ravine?" he said, an ugly look on his face. He scemed able and rcady to dispose of me in the rnannner indicated. □ "No, Ralph," I rejoiced in a coniliatingtone. -'It's fifty fect down there, isn t it? I consider it safer jnst wbere we are. Let the past go." I flung myself upon the boulder which he hadvacated. He eyed me sharply, the tranquil look slowly returning to his face. "You are Bates Cunningham," he said. "Yes, Ralph. Am I changed?" "A good deal," he replied. "You don't caro to know how I am getting along?" "No," he replied with a grin. -'You studiedlaw, didn'tyou?" "I studied medicine." "And graduated?" "He asked that with sueh sudden interest that my eyes sought bis face. "More than that,' was my reply. "I have practiced." He stared at the ground for a moment. "Bates, it would beodd if you proved able to serve me," he said. His voice changed wonderf ully, when that spark of gemality touched it. "I am wülingto try" was my answer. He reflected for a half minute, his hand on his heavy hair. "Jerome is sick in there," he said, with a fling of his hoad toward the cavern. "A case of surgery; a miserable cow boy pat a ballinto his breast" "Jerome?" I asked. "A friend of yours?" ' ' A chum ; a mere boy- f rail , but brave to desperation. Bevond that, I know littleabout him." "Shall I enter?" "Possibly, I might carry him out," the scout rejoined. with a faint sneer. "There's a lamp burning." The cavern was rudelf furnished, _ and I was surprised to fino it so dry. A hano-ing lamp shed its rays around. Ihe wounded man was roclining upon a coueh of skins. His face was smootb, hut alniost as bronzed as the scout' s; his eyes were closcd, and ho breathcd sojightly .that I was not surc, at íirst, that he was breathing at all. I touehed his forehead, then feit his pulso, neither of which movements awakened him. ündoina; his hunting shirt, I thrust my hand iaside. I made a discovery that dazed me for a few seconds. Mir finorora wero clutohina: a locKet. I opencd it, and found the scout s picture inside; not as he lookcd then, but as he appeared the day ho graduatcd with me at Princeton. A faint moan carne to ni y cai-s; a pair of soft blue eyes wcre fixed on my face, a wasted hand reached out for the locket. "No, Victorine," I whispered, The chance in her face was wonderful to see. It bccarne illuminated. "Who are you?" she rrasped. "Yon know me and Ralph?" "Yes." ,., , "Give me the locket," shesaid ín iow, pleadine voice. ' 'For the love of Heaven do not íet him know. I am dying, and it's too late." . . "Oh, there's plenty of lite in you, I rejoined. " ' Victorine, he must know. 'Sir, I beg of you-" But I was already out of the cavorn. 'You found thb ball?" the scout '1 K f-( "I did not look for it," I said. "I have no -nstrament with me. I found this," aud I handed hini the locket. Whcn he saw the picture ae looked at me with intense astonishment. "Where?"heasked. "How lon has the man you cali Jeromo been with you?" "Almosttwo years." "Worthy of your friendship:' 'In every respect, "Ralph," I slowly said. '-You will have to go back into the past, whether you want to or not. Tbis Jerome is a - woman. None other than yaat old sweetheart, Victorine Lamar.' He stared at me. entirely uonerved. Hosatdown on the rock, aad buned his face in his hands. Ho could hardly believe it. Not the faintcst suspiciou had ever crossed his mind. The evidence of devotion touched him Ij-. 1 saw his grcat chcst heave; ït was my opportunity. . "Ralph, you wero deccived. Her treacherous cousïn started tho lies and wroucht the mischief. May angels and devüs curse him! Victorino was true to youto the last." I told him the story. He listened and was convinced. He almost becamo like a child undor the revelaüon. At other times so sturdy and raliant, just then he secmed to want to lean upon me for strength. "Shc will live?" hegrasped, "She will want to if reconoiled to yon. Half the care will be accomplished." "Bates, save her!" he cned, tightly orasping my hand. D"lí possible," was my answer. Why nárrate what followed? t could not describe the tonderness of tho interview. I extracted the ball. Victorino recovered, and became his wife. I met them afterward, at the home of hor fathcr. in Conuectieut, He was dono with his lonely outdoor üfe, and was once more the genial and confiding friend whose memory I had so much revered.


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Ann Arbor Democrat