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Quite a Picnic
By Lyman Seelye
IG, awkward Billy Burns was disap- unpleasant incidents of the day, and sevB
eral days. gree, that he believed a straight A week before the Chamber of Comjacket would be required to keep him merce had decided to have a get-together from making a fool of himself before picnic and Billy had hurried to mention everybody. So he wandered away from the fact to Amy Lee, whom he, as well as the bunch of picnickers hoping to regain various others, considered an especially self-control in the quiet of the woods be- good companion at such times. But he side the river.
had received a rebuff positive. Failing But the further he went, in his solitary in that direction, it took him two days to ramblings the higher rose his rage. Few muster the necessary courage to request people can bear to be laughed at in public Miss Irene Shelton, "fair, fat and forty." without losing the mastery of their nerves. teacher of literature, and president of the
To increase Billy's disgruntlement, he Purity Club, to furnish a basket of lunch, almost fell into the river when he at in return for the honor of having him for tempted to seat himself on a plank, which an escort to the picnic. projected from the ruins of an old mill, Billy's devotion and the fair Army's and was reached by a rickety ladder. coolness to him were public property. No
"A fine place to sit and forget those one knew better than he of the twisted gresh guys at the picnic," said the much heart, that he must be prepared to “stand disgusted young man.
the gaff.” But the first thrust came early But when the plank-being nailed only and unexpectedly, when he told his emat one end—Aipped up and all but ployer to be on the lookout for a substiplunged Billy into the stream, his rage tute, as he was seriously thinking of going became unutterable. Only that he was West. something of a gymnast, he would have "Going West, eh? Don't take it that done a diving feat, and as it was he found bad, Billy, the little girl has some sense, himself in a position, where he must slide and she will soon tire of 'Fatty.' He is down a slimy old pile into the water, and an old fool, or he would not attempt to get ashore as best he could.
marry, or rather buy, a girl in her 'teens.” “An' it's my best suit—and clothes cost So it was "Fatty" who had caused the as much as diamonds these times," mut rift in Billy's hate. tered the marooned picnicker. He gritted It had been hard to give Amy up, when his teeth and began to think over all the he supposed that his successful rival was
young Tom Mason, whom he loose on the basket of lunch. While spected; but to give way to fat old Jabez Billy was figuring where he came in on Smart, whose money was admittedly the the feed, the master of ceremonies only reason for his being received in any shouted out to him to fetch a pail of home in town—well, the blow was too water from the spring near the river. great for calm endurance.
Billy used language that made the In the arrangements for the picnic it president of the Purity Club gag on a was decided that the president of the
mouthful of cold corned beef and angel Planters' Bank was to have full charge. cake, and the professor looked over his All the automobiles were to line up in
spectacles at the young man, as if he front of his financial institution. In that would like to apply the discipline of the way the affair would have a good start,
Mudville Polytechnic High School to him. and the Planters' Bank a fine free adver "Hurry up with that pail of water, tisement.
Billy!" cried the master of ceremonies, Billy being too poor to own a car, had
and as Billy slunk off in the direction of hired a cheap flivver for the day, and
the river he could hear the chuckles and was purposely ten minutes behind the bantering remarks of his acquaintances. time, but to his disgust found the pro "I guess I'd better fade out of this cession not yet started. To make matters scene for the afternoon," he remarked to
pompous master of ceremonies himself. “Irene Skelton herself could eat was waiting for him, to install a fat guest all the lunch in the basket, and that big
-Professor Muddlehead of the Mudville lobster of a professor would swallow the Polytechnic-in his hired Alivver, although basket. It's up to me to lunch off some there was plenty of room in the banker's slippery elm bark, or go hungry," own big touring car.
So instead of packing back a pail of "Young man, you're delaying the water he chucked the pail near the well, start," reproved the banker. "Put Pro
and rambled on till he met the mishap fessor Muddlehead in your machine right at the old mill, and found himself away, and drive up behind the Chamber dangling over the stream. of Commerce bus, so he will not get all “Gee! if the bunch saw me now how the dust at the tail end of the line."
they'd give me the laugh. I'll have to The professor, who weighed about a get out of this without letting 'em know hundred pounds more than Billy, rolled what's happened to me,” he panted. into the driver's seat and almost squeezed
He began to make a careful study of him out of the car.
the ways of egress. There were cross"You'd be more comfortable in the
timbers directly below him, and the water back seat, 'longside Miss Skelton,” gasped above them did not seem to be deep Billy, but the professor after one squint enough to render safe a drop into it. of the portly president of the Purity Club, He could crawl along the girder on which said he was all right as it was. Miss
one end of the plank rested, and slide Skelton seemed to be well pleased to be down a very dirty piling, or he could left alone with the basket of lunch.
swing back and drop on the plank, which Billy, as he drove up to the place would cause it to tip until the end on assigned him in the line, was conscious of which he stood caught another girder. a suppressed titter along the row of cars. Then he would be but little more than six What hurt him most, was to see Amy Lee feet above clear water. This seemed to snuggled up in a chummy roadster, be be the easiest way to escape, but he side old fat Jabez Smart, whose face thought it best to first dispose of his outer wore a satisfied grin which extended from garments. ear to ear.
He threw his hat so that it landed on It's going to be an off day for me, sure,
the bank a dozen feet from the water's thought Billy, and his fears proved well-edge. His coat he tied into a ball by use founded, for as soon as they reached of the sleeves and it soon lay beside the the picnic ground, his two com
hat. Then folding his vest around his panions in the flivver turned themselves watch and pocketbook, he laced it to one
shoe and tossed the bundle to the shore. farmers at the picnoc, Billy had no fears Before he could do more he heard a great of serious consequences to the outing commotion in the bushes and saw Amy party. But he was in a humor to be Lee running along the footpath leading to brutal. the old mill. A furious red bull with
“Mr. Burns, you are just horrid." wicked-looking horns was chasing her. The huge animal was bellowing in a most
There was full five minutes of silence,
before she timidly asked: terrifying way. Amy was as white as her
"Mr. Burns, please come and help picnic dress and her dark eyes were popping out with terror.
She had no
"I wish I could." breath to waste in screaming, but was
Another period of silence, and then: running for dear life.
"If I call you Billy, won't you try?". How can I save her, thought the horri
"Say, Amy, can't you turn around and fied Billy, but she did the trick herself.
see what shape things are in ?" She glimped the ladder, which leaned
“I have tried and it makes me dizzy. against the mill and dashed up its treach
Please tell me all about it?" erous rungs with an unavoidable display
In a few words he told her how near of fine picnic hosiery. In a moment the
he came to a fall in the water, and exbull was hooking the ladder, and with a
plained how the insecure plank threatened swing of his tremendous neck threw it upleasant results. Then she interrupted into the river. But Amy had escaped, him: and was squatted on the shaky plank
“Can you save yourself, Billy?" which had caused the unseen Billy such
"I am in no danger, but am puzzled to trouble. The position was the last a
know how to help you, without letting pretty girl would have chosen but that
you drop into the water." was her least consideration at the exciting
"Was it true, Billy, what you once told moment.
me about always having loved me?" Fearful that if he spoke to her from “It was, and is Gospel truth.' his concealed position, Amy might be "And you can forgive me, Billy, for startled and fall from her precarious posi- listening to that horrid old Jabez Smart's tion, Billy remained silent until the
talk about diamonds, and trips around taurine monster had retraced his steps, the world. I never have promised anywhen he whispered, so as not to attract thing-never-only listened." the retreating enemy:
"You had a right to listen, girlie, and "Oh, Miss Lee!"
need no forgiveness; but I have loved Amy gave a little shriek and tried to
you all the time, and I love you nowadjust her disarranged drapery.
more than ever.' "Who's that?" she asked.
“Let the plank go, Billy, and fish me "Billy."
out, dead or alive. Hurry, please, for I “Oh, Billy-Billy—ain't this perfectly
don't want anybody else to help you." awful?”
He flung his remaining shoe to the Are you hurt, Amy?"
shore, and stretched along the girder to“No-only frightened.
ward the dirty piling, as far as he could By his gymnastic ability Billy was able
and still hold down the end of the inseto get nearer to his former sweetheart,
cure plank, before he made answer: just as wild shouts and terrible bellow
“Catch your breath when you fall from ings were heard from the picnic grounds.
the plank, and hold it as long as "That bull will surely break up the possible.” picnic,” he grimly predicted.
He scrambled along the girder, and as “Do you think he'll kill anybody, Billy, the plank tipped, there came a cry that dear?"
made his blood run cold. "I sure hope so," muttered the "Oh, Billy, there is a great big nail, aggrieved lover. "I wouldn't mind if he wow!” gored about three fatties.”
It was too late to mend matters, and in Knowing that there were several husky his haste he so loosely clasped the piling,
that the jolt he received when he struck While this performance was in progress, bottom, forced him to try a second time the bull had come back unnoticed to the before he could stand on his feet. A river bank after chasing the picnickers. trifle dazed, he hurried to the bank, and He took the movement of Amy's feet to for a moment intently scanned the water be a challenge to mortal combat. With for trace of Amy, but he could not wait, another of his frantic bellows, he plunged and made a strong dive in search of her. into the water and chased Billy, pawing Before his head went under water, he and striking right and left with his horns. heard her call: "Billy, can't you—" and But in the water the man
was easily came to the surface as soon as possible, master of the swimming brute, and looking toward one bank of the river and barring an accident could manage him then to the other bank, wondering almost at will. While the frightened girl whence the call came.
was crying directions, and begging Billy "Look up, Billy, look up," and the to try to make good his escape, he was suppressed mirth in the voice lightened silently maneuvering for position. his heart.
Before she dreamed the meaning of the He looked up and was forced to smile, by-play, the king of the herd was made to as at a glance he took in the situation.
swim directly under her; and as he did so The big nail which had frightened Amy her lover swung one foot over his broad when she began to slide toward it, was a back, and the next instant he was standspike driven through the end of the
ing beside her. It was only a moment plank, and protruding several inches
that he could maintain his position, but above it. She had avoided striking it
that was long enough for one strong arm squarely, but it had caught in her skirts,
to pass around her, while another which being of strong material, held her wrenched the skirt from the spike. suspended full two yards above the water, Now luck favored them, for the bull with her head slightly lower than her
caught sight of the coat which lay on feet. Seeing him smile, she said:
the sloping bank, as a little whirlwind “If you laugh at me, I won't ever come Aluttered the sleeve, and he swam directly down.”
toward it. Billy allowed himself to drop "If
you won't come to me, I will surely into the water, and swam slowly to near come for you."
the opposite shore; and before the bull “And I'll be all the more pleased if you had reached the offending coat, the two do so quickly."
humans had slipped behind a clump of As she said this, she extended her bushes, from which point of vantage they hands in mock supplication, and the could watch his antics without fear. pursing of the lips sent a thrill of joy He gored the coat and shook it, until through every fiber of Billy's frame. But it was but a rag hanging from one horn, banter could not completely cover the and in doing so managed to step on the element of danger, which both knew ex hat. As it lay in a soft place his foot isted. There was no apparent way by went through it, and it formed a bracelet which he could reach her; or test the around his leg near the knee. strength of the skirt; and knowing that Suddenly the monster scented someshe could not swim, he was very loth to thing, and threw his nose high in the air leave even for the short time necessary to make sure of its nature; while the reto procure the means of assistance. mains of the coat fell like a veil over his
He tested the depth of the water, and face. Taking quick advantage of the found that when standing on his toes, his blinding, a man sprang from the timber mouth would come above the surface,
back of him and dropped a noosed rope and then he asked:
over his horns; and in a very few seconds "Can't you kick yourself loose, and I
the herd monarch was tied to a tree. will catch you when you fall?"
Farmers and picknickers gathered around She laughed at the thought and at the the remnants of raiment, and speculated same time made an effort, and only suc regarding the fate of the owner. ceeded in waving her feet.
(Continued on Page 93)
The Crook Who Had A Pull
How It Worked and Also How It Failed.
By Charles Horace Meiers
him around the corner, and turn him T San Francisco, in the old days, loose.
where Red Hogan used to work Mike's beat was Red's favorite. He brazenly, with little fear of interference could get away with more crooked work by the cops, so long as he did not commit on that beat than on any of the others; murder. This he was careful not to do, for, in truth, Mike was one of the
gang not out of any feeling of compassion for when Red was leader of the notorious his victims; but for his own safety. To Hogan Gang, which terrorized a certain kill, or come too near it, in his work Eastern city and made a clean get-away would call forth altogether too much in without ever having their identity known vestigation, and might lead to his un or having their pictures taken for the doing. Red was smart enough to know Rogue's Gallery. this; for he had been in the crook busi Red seldom bothered to talk things ness for a number of years, during which over in advance with Mike. When he saw time he had worked with some of the a stranger who looked good to him he most brainy operators in the business from simply got the gentleman's money, one end of the country to the other. But smoothly, if possible and preferably, but he also had his instructions from the roughly if necessary. He got it one way crooked cops on these few beats, two of or another; in this he was relentless. He whom had come to San Francisco, from looked upon them as his rightful prey, an Eastern city, to become policemen in and his conscience never bothered him. order that they might help their pals by His only anxiety was to get away with looking the other way. They warned him the job in some way that would not often about being too rough, for on one react against him. After finishing a good or two occasions he had nearly killed his job of this kind he could count the roll, victims when they resisted his brazen chuck it away in one of his several hold-ups. The cops had managed to turn hiding places, and lie down to dreamless the wrath of the law against the unfor sleep. It is said to be a psychological tunate victims by reporting that they had fact that a person possessing a criminal assaulted Red, giving trumped up reasons mind does not dream. Whether it is true which swayed the sympathies of the police in all cases or not, I do not argue, but it court to Red's side of the case.
was true of Red. No stranger who saw big Mike For two weeks Red had not been on Hennessey swinging easily along on his Mike's beat. He had been letting it rest beat, looking the part of a fine protector in order that there might not be enough of the public, would think for a single unseemly occurrences to call for protest moment that he would be the kind of man on the part of the public. that would take money to betray them One evening, the fifteenth of July, to and, instead of protecting them, protect be exact, Red appeared on his favorite the crook who laid them out with a black beat, neatly dressed and appearing like a jack and deftly cleaned their pockets of business man from some interior town money while Mike remained obligingly who, like many others at that time of the block or two away on his beat; or, if he year, was spending his vacation in San did appear, it was to arrest the other Francisco because the valleys were hot. fellow, or to grab Red roughly, hustle He saw a big man in uniform almost a