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vol. xiii. ( V Plymouth; n. c, Friday, march 28, 1902. n6j.-
'TWEEN EARTH AND SKY.
E was a strong, quick lad of
sixteen years. If big bones,
blue eyes and a toAvhead
count for anything, be bad
Swedish blood In his ve ns.
It was his duty for eight hours of
every working-day to fetch and carry
over the girders and crosspieces, as
the great cantilever bridge grew, foot
by foot, out over the ravine. Bolts,
tools, water and what not he took
nimbly from place to place at the call
of the workers. Most of his waking
hours were spent in perilous places,
high in the air, where a misstep meant
deam. , , ,
Nobody knew who he wasi and only
the foreman knew where he came
from. The men of the gang' called
him "Johnson's kid." Johnson, the
brusque, gigantic foreman, called him
plain "kid," and, curiously, seemed to
value the dumb affection and loyalty
the waif gave him. The foreman was
ready enough to respond with hfs fists
when the kid needed protection from
. the baiting of the men, which was
often; but a show of tenderness was
far from him. .
The kid's regard for Johnson was
past the understanding of the gang.
In the sight of the men, who hated
him for his abusive tongue, the fore
man had no traits to win love. It was
commonly put down to a queer twist
In the boy's nature that he should care
for Joiinson. As a matter of fact, this
affection had its source In a happen
ing of two years before, when the
.White Rock Bridge was built over one
of the great rivers in the far North
west, and the kid was new at the work.
It was there, one day, when he was
walking a twelve-inch girder two hun
dred and seven feet aboy the river,
that the kid lost his presencf of mind
for the first and last time.
- This Joss of courage, or self -possession,
may come upon any bridge
builder, no matter., how used to hig
places. It is unaccountable and comes
suddenly. Generally It puts an end I
s tttrtn'o tarni Kn folia
to the man's career. Either he falls
to his death, or, .so fearful is the
shock, he can never again summon
courage to venture out on the
structure. - ?
On this occasion the kid had dropped
his pail of water and sunk to the
girder. ne lay flat on his stotnach,
gripping the iron with his arms and
knees. His case was desperate. Ter
ror of the space below had utterly
overcome him. It seemed inevitable
that he should faint, of sheer fear, and
tumble through, two hundred and
seven feet of space to the river. ,fIis
arms were fast becoming nerveless.
It was Johnson who,, perceived the
boy's predicament. Hewas quick to
act, and his experience made him fer
tile in expedients. Calmly, and
whistling, he walked aljng a parallel
Sh'der to where the kid lay, just out
of reach. Then, for as long as he
dared, he looked up and down the
river, humming the chorus of ajold
song. He observed his near presence
and self-possession seemed to quiet
the lad's terror.
"Here, kid," said the foreman,
quietly, "get to land an' tell Bill Ole
son , to hurry up with them rivets.
And say," he added, sharply, "don't
you lose any time about It!"
The boy did not move. It4was evi
dent, however, that the firi, 'amiliar
command had steadied him some
what "Hear me?" roared the foreman.
"Get up, when I tell you! Hurry them
rivets up, now, and be lively!"
Then the boy got to his feet. While,
pale and shaking, he made his way
over fifty feet of narrow foothold, the
foreman kept roaring his command to
make haste. When the boy reached
the platform of the abutment he fell
in a faint; but the foreman was there
to catch him, and carried him the rest
of the way to the bluff.
It was for this that the kid loved
Johnson. It was for what occurred
the next day that Johnson came as
near to loving the kid as he could
come, perhaps, to loving anything.
In the noon hour, which is the time
for skylarking, the boy climbed the
outmost upright, bent on proving his
courage, that he might put a stop to
the gibes of the men once and for all.
There was an eighteen Jnch plate
riveted securely tQ Jthe tap of fhe up
Tight.. Upon this he clabbered, per
severing against the warning cries of
the men, who had gathered to watch
him. Then he stood erect, looked at
the sky and the river and all around,
and danced a breakdown.
"What'd you do .that for?" . the fore
man asked him angrily, 1 when he had
come down. "Eh? What'd you do
that fool thing for? Don't you know
"My feet was cold, , boss," ' said the
kid, with a twinkle i$ his eyes.
"Say, kid," exclaimed Johnson,
moved for once to enthusiasm, "you
stick to me and I'll . stand by you!
Understand? You stick to me."
In this way it came about that the
foreman and the kid traveled Eust
in company; acQ when Johnson was
put to work on the big cantilever at
Rocky Gorge, they were still together.
"Where I go you can come," the
foreman had said to the boy. "You're
a bridge-builder born."
The big cantilever job was a difficult
one, and Johnson was more harsh and
abusive than ever. As a consequence,
when the men were making ready for
the great strike which took place that
year, three or four scamps in John
son's gang, who cared neither for one
side nor the other, thought they had
found their opportunity for revenge.
They gave loud expression to their
pretended sympathy with the men,
and soon accused the burly foreman
of having disclosed the strikers' plans
to the superintendent. Johnson did
not take the trouble to deny the
charge, but he resented it with ugly
tempered commands - and a brimming
measure of labor for every hour of
he day. The hatred of his enemies
grew more menacing, and their num
From suspicion to threats of ven
geance is a short and easy path for
men who hae already undertaken a
lawless course. Johnson was thrice
anonymously warned to seek work
elsewhere, and that quickly. A coffin
and bleeding heart, rudely scrawled in
black and red on the last notice,- gave
point to the warning. Upon each oc
casion the foreman had taken pains to
fhow his contempt by a more flagrant
abuse of the worst of the malcontents,
whom, recklessly, he. soon roused to a
pitch of fury that boded ill for him.
The kid observed this cloud of dan
ger rising. He had nothing to fear for
himself, but he was no less distressed
on this account.
On the October night which just pre
ceded the first day of the big strike
the foreman had gone on some small
errand down to the superintendent's
office in the ravine, under the bluff op
posite to that upon which the work
men's shack was set. There was but
one path; running along the edge of
the cliff for half a mile, It then de
scended steeply to the gorge, and led
over 'a rickety bridge to the opposite
At various points th? path turned
sharp angles, and ran all through a
fringe of bushes. The night was thick.
A thin rain had fallen in the after
noon, and the fog now lay like a
blanket in the ravine. It appeared to
the kid that the foreman's return, be
ing made at a late hour, would be at
tended with some danger.
The men had made a. fire in. the big
box stove in the rear of the shack, for
the night was cold. Gathered round
the fire, a group of the foreman's per
sonal enemies began to talk freely, and
soon worked themselves into a rage.
"Where's the kid?" exclaimed Big
Red Smith, - suddenly and somewhat
Several men turned and spied the boy
idling innocently near the door.
"He's all right," one of them whis
pered. An intense, close conversation in
whispers ensued. The kid heard the
name of Johnson coupled with the
word "even" spoken with deep passion.
It needed nothing more to make him
prick up his ears. The stray words
that came to him increased his uneasi
ness. He fancied that the men were
to "take it out of Johnson" while they
had the chance.
Soon four men passed him on their
way out into the night. Their faces
were flushed and scowling. One of
them the foreman had thrashed for In
subordination three weeks before.
When they had gone, the boy felt him
self to be under the surveillance of all
the men left in the room. Neverthe
less, he made up his mind that, cost
what it might, he would be good to
Johnson, who had been good to him. .
"Fetch the kid here," he heard some
one say in a whisper.
"Naw," was the reply. "Leave him
alone. . He can't get away. Keep your
eye on him. Bill."
This was sufficient to convince him
that some evil was awaiting the fore
man. What was it? How could it be
averted? Fossibly it was a beating at
som turn in the road, where men
could easily lie in wait, and attack
from behind. Certainly it was not
murder. No man of them was so fool
hardy as to put his own neck In dan
ger. But might not the end of it,
when passions were aroused to the
boiling point, be murder?
The kid began to edge toward the
door.. He moved with exceeding care
quietly, slowly, and as if aimlessly.
When he had come near to the thresh
old Big Red Smith called sharply:
"Where's the kid?"
"Here!" some one shouted. "Come
The kid was making speedily for the
door. Four men. Big Red in the lead,
followed in hot haste; but the boy was
not to be caught. He escaped through
the open door and sped down the path
to the edge of the bluff. -He had
planned clearly in his mind what to
do, and in all he did that. night he
hesitated not once.
The path to the ravine was closed to
him by the four men who had gone
The eastern abutment of the big
cantilever had at that time been fin
ished. The ironwork of the structure
stretched out one hundred feet into
the air, reaching for the middle of the
gorge, where it was to meet the op
posite ' section then under construct
ion. Half-way up the bluff, on a broad
ledge, the big steam derrick had its
place. , ThQ lean, . black arm, which
lifted the ponderous girders from the
bottom of the ravine to their stations
in the span, extended from this ledge
beyond the point to which the struct
ure had been carried. From Its ex
tremity hung the mighty tackle and
blpcks. The ropes fell to the ground
below where, for convenience, the
Ironwork had been transported from
the town above over a makeshift rail
road. The plan of the kid was to walk the
girder to the ropes, and descend thence
by the "standing fall" to the bottom
of the rattfne.
The night had "cleared. Low in the
sky to the west the moon was break
ing through the thin clouds. It would
be broad light soon. The boy picked
his way over the encumbered abut
ment platform. He had come to the
naked girder, which protruded into the
air, when his pursuers found him out.
"You're all safe, kid!" Big Red
shouted. "You're as good there as
The men sat down, panting and
laughing, for they were tired with
the run and amused by the issue.
The kid made his way cautiously,
balancing himself with his arms. The
light was barely sufficient. The path
he must tread lay darkly before him;
but the girder was solidly fixed in its
place. It did not sway under his
weight. Thus far, the way had not
been difficult to his experienced feet
and trained nerves. He saw the ropes
hanging just beyond the end of the
Far belw two hundred and fifty
feet below and far beyond, the lights
in the superintendent's house and in
the group of executive offices shone
cheerfully. It was for those lights
h was bound. When he came to the
end of the girder, he paused, for a
moment, to breathe. His feet rested
on an iron plank, sixteen inches wide.
There was nothing , above nothing on
either side; all about was misty space,
all that was solid was underfoot.
"Hi!" Big Red roared, of a sudden.
The kid had reached for the tackle.
It was now plain to the men on the
bluff that he meant to descend by it.
They came after him, threatening him
with violence if he should persevere.
"Come back or I'll throw you off!"
Big Red houted, hoarsely.
Unhappily for the kid, he could not
catch the ropes. Three times he tried
vainly to grasp them; each time, so
desperate was the effort, he placed his
balance in fearful jeopardy. At last
his finger brushed the nearest strand.
This gave him an idea. He brought
his feet together, and advanced them
until the tips of his toes were flush
with the end of the girder. He reached
again, and failed again. He allowed
himself half an inch more. Then, by
leaning out so far that a breath of air
might have toppled him over, he was
able to touch the rope again, and to
push it. This nearly cost him his
balance. He tottered for the space of
a breath; but recovered, cleverly, and
leaned forward again, nothing daunted.
Meanwhile, Big Red was tiptoeing
after him. The kid felt the girder
vibrate. He turned his head, but kept
his feet in their place.
"Get out of there!" he said grimly.
"Let me alone, you I Don't you come
here! Get back!"
"Come back, kid!" he whined. "It'll
be all right If you come back. We
won't hurt you."
For an answer the kid reached again
for the rope, bearing himself as if
Big Red Smith were, noVhere about.
He was teetering on his toes, and had
as much of his body thrust forward
as his balance could sustain. Another
push on the rope set the block below
swinging like a. pendulum. He pushed
it again and again and again. With
each touch its swing was greater. At
last one rope came within reach. He
crooked his forefinger about it, and
The weight of the r'.ock, on its re
turn ' swing, was a neavy strain to
put upon his delia.ee poise. For an
instant he was on the point of Reaping
for the rope before he should be
wrenched from his place. He met the
strain, however; fixed his grip, pulled
the arm of the derrick in, and selected
the standing fall the only stationary
rope of all the tackle. It was but the
work of a moment to wind this about
his leg, swing far out, and slide
swiftly toward the ground, leaving
Big Red to vent his rage as best he
Johnson was bidding the superin
tendent good night when the kid, out
of breath, brought his warning to the
office door. Johnson was saved, and
you may be sure his friendship for
the kid was not diminished by this
latest exploit. Youth's Companion.
The Billboard Xalsance. .
The Springfield (Ohio) Republic takes
a sensible view of the sign-board ad
vertising nuisance, which it comments
upon as follows:
In. Columbus there is a discussion on
at present about street signs. The
Capital is much in need of labels for
the corners (a subject which Spring
field ought to be investigating, by the
way), but it is the display of popular
sentiment in another direction that
has been most Interesting.
Owing to the expense of manufac
turing and placing suitable signs, the
feasibility of granting the contract to
some advertising company who would
pay for the privilege of putting up sign
posts with eulogies of Its various wares
displayed on them, was talked over.
Instantly the people were up in arms.
They declared that such a proceedure
would deface the streets and make
Columbus a laughing stock. Street
signs, they said, were already too nu
merous, and they wduld rather foot
the bill for any proper signs Council
might see fit to buy, than have money
put into the city treasury by an adver
All this goes to show which way the
wind is blowing. It may be years, but
some day fence signs and bill boards
and barn placards will go. The people
are getting tired of them.
We are glad to note the fact that
newspapers in all sections of the coun
try are beginning to take up this fight.
The ranks are growing day by day,
and, as the Republic truly says, "the
people are getting tired of them and
they must go." This matter is in the
hands of the newspaper publishers
themselves. They can, by making one
solid, united front, wipe out the nui
sance in the twinkling of an eye and
if they but knew it, the great American
people are anxiously waiting for the
eye to twinkle. Fourth Estate.
An Atchison woman who has an "ar
tistically" furnished nome, made a
table cover, a dressing case scarf, and
a pair of sash curtains out of one
forty-nine cent curtain. Atchison
There are 130,000,000 people on the
face of the globe who don't know what
soajp is. ., ,.
The fleecy flakes come f allin' down
Deep in the stillness of the night,
An' robe the earth bo bare an' brown
In bridal dress o' purest white,
An' memory goes a nosin' back
Toward the happy long ago,
When 'round the farm we used to track
The bunnie rabbits through the snow.
AH bundled up with "comforters"
Around our boyish necks an' ears
We'd call the little huntin' curs
To limber up their runnin' gears,
An' round the snowy ol' straw stack
An' brush-heap clearin' we would go, ,
Our hearts alive with fun, to track
The skeery rabbits through the snow.
When one was started, Moses help!
But how them hankerin' dogs'd fly!
At every jump they'd gfe a yelp.
Us kids a j'inin' in the cry, : ;
Then through a dog-proof fence 't'd cut
An' to'ards its home in safety go,
A leavin' its pursuers but '
Its tracks cut down into the ano4.
When in the mountain short o' meat;
Have seen the elk with shaggy hair ;
Lay dead an' bleedin' at our feet, .
The mountain lion'e pelt have packed
To camp, an' laic1, the blacktad low,
But had no sport like when we tracked
. Them skecred up rabbits through the
Madge "Have you given Jack your,
final answer yet?" Mabel "Not yet
but I have given him my final 'no.".
Brooklyn Life. '
. "Why do you girls call Eertle 'The
Foem?' " "Why, he's just like a poem.
He's been rejected at lest forty times V
Chicago Daily News.
"Is that distinguished looking gentle
man o mnn et lottoraV" "Vsa he'e '
D. D., LL. D A. M., N. A., from Wash
ington, D. C." Philadelphia Bulletin.,
"Why do you talk so much?" ma cried.
Reproving little May.
"I s'pose it's cause," the child replied,
"I's.i got so much to say." . )
Philadelphia Press. .
Mrs. Brown "You know I went to
the employment agency " Mrs.
Jones "Yes? Did you get a cook that
suited you?" Mrs. Brown "Why, no!
I couldn't even get a cook that didn't
suit me!" Puck. 4
Mrs. Hauskeep "Yon needn't deny
it, Delia I saw you permit that policed
man to kiss you last night." Delia
"Av coorse, ma'am. Shure, ye wouldn't
have me resist an officer, would ye?"
"Why don't you so to work?" asked
the well meaning friend. "I don't dare
to," answered Willie Wishington. "Peo
ple, would think my. father had disin
herited me, and it would ruba my
credit."" Washington Star.
George "And if things do not go
well with us the first year, darling, I
hem presume your father will not see
us suffer?" Birdie (sighing) "No,
dear, poor papa's eyesight is rapidly
growing worse, even now." Tit-Bits.
Strange capers which oft may cut '.'
Blame not in unrestricted rrms.
Of course you may not like it, but
It's quite agreeable to germs.
"Johnnie," said bis mother, threaten
ingly, to the Incorrigible,. "I am going
to have jrour father whip you when he
comes home to-night '; "Please don't,,
mamma," replied. JdnleT-fctly,
"paw is alius so tire-'f-TShe comes
home." Boston rost.' Chie '
Officer "Is your btr -pio -rfas
so deaf, any better? "n.encf- Sure,
he'll be all right in thto jSrning.'
Officer "You don't say sol" Bridget ,
"Yes; he was arrested yesterday. and
he gets his hearin' in the morning." .
"According to statistics," said the
sweet girl graduate, "women live about
ten years longer than men." "Yes,"
growled the old bachelor, "and they
might live fifty years longer if they
weren't so shy about passing the thirty
A visitor to the farm was especially
struck by the great ruggedness -and
strength of one of the stalwart har
vest bands, and said to the farmer:
"That fellow ought to be chuckful f
of. work." "He is," replied the farmer,
"or he ought to be, because I hain't
never been able to get none out of
A Musical Note.
It is reported that 150,000 piano
fortes were sold in the country last
year, now many of them conduced
to thoughts of harmony? Boston
I Globe. -