|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||Helen's Experience|
.!!!' i. i- , i i .ii I.',, ii " fffl-1 EflW 'JfoLi . 1Eii lsflrEi.lot. &3" sZ&$4f '"tfflrzy -&Mi' -Tkl " '" m"i.inVi' , - y" (From Overland Monthly, by rorinls.-lon J .f K1'0K1" "ho w" C" l h) eighteen Helen rx aifc. lirSw TrJn married TS 95011 1 for Iovc- At Ul'if liSS n t'vcnly"''vo ho BiWliSKjiftis found h or self 1 i 5"-& -v bankrupt of Vu I' ovory thlup;. M&jlM&W vith thc slub SS&yviiy'i-S'&' ora tenacity of YV&iv2vw hcr n:turo &ll lA J"5wIw vJ hraccd hcrMlf ,; Olf'tlVJ to enduro ex- V" ,'' Istcucc, but ftho neither hoped nor feared tiny tiling. Shn ate and dranlc and tlopt, thc mechanical routine of the days repeated lt.sclf, but Bite bad cotno to n dead ttop. She had los.t nil courac;c, all faith; n bare, blank wall faced her Thcro wns uolhlng more to bo enjoyed nor Miffcrcd. Sho had had every tlilnp; nntl lost every IhlnR. lftiohad consciously recognized nil this thero mlidit have been somo hopo of re.ictlon. When one npprtclates tho dramatic effect of chcum&tanccs, a new interest in new circumstances Is apt to Ira not far olT llut lleleu va cnpublo of no such nttltudc toward herself. One saw It In her face darlc and thin itnd chanfrclcss as n statue's. Mho had Rreal dark eyes, but they never varied their dreamy, unheeding look. Her voice was low, soft and monotonous. Andyctbho was not nt all n dreadful person to live with. It was impossible that her story should not cast lis shadow over the household, but when It was once settled that Helen's ejivcrlence had exempted hcr from nil tho ordinary rules thnt bound the othcts, matters adjusted themselves, nsthoy ulwaysdo, nntl the happy current of commonplace llvtnff Howed nroutid hcr undisturbed. She was slender and tfrnceful. strong, to-), as these slight-built New England women are often enough. At seventeen seven-teen sho hud not been handsome, but she had had that uir of any possibility of beauty that Is better than defined prettlncss. She was shy, reserved and cold, w 1th the positive, repelling power of strong naturcB, with the Puritan traditions tra-ditions of training superadded, Under it she was willful, headstrong and passionate, pas-sionate, never capable of seeing more than ono sldo of a subject, and always glorifying that sldo with tho whole force of u tropical Imagination rigidly repressed and totally ungovcrned. It was just then that In a school va-cttion va-cttion she visited a. friend In one of the Lhvhcst nnd oldest and steadiest of Connecticut villages. Whllo slio was In the hoifo there came out of tho vague Southwest a. young man that claimed blood relationship with tho family. It was Jiut In tho days when Urct Harte's heroes stood foremost In tho racks of popularity. The Inborn rebel- 1 lion against conventionalities In Helen's Hel-en's blood caught eagerly nt tho picturesque pic-turesque freedom and wlldness of these charactcriiatlons. Sho could not realise real-ise that one redeeming trait may not sulllco to make a whole life tolerable l'ayno Morse was as handsome In his blondo way as a young demigod. He had the slow, soft speech of tho plainsman; plains-man; ho swore no oaths, In hcr presence, r.t hast; lie conformed to tho require-nionts require-nionts of a community to which n revolver re-volver and n lariat-ropo were alike uncalled-for uud outlandish, with rt good-nature good-nature 1 toleration that had In Helen's eyv- immense piquancy und magnanimity. magnanim-ity. Then ho rode like a ivutuur, and the nccjiiiplUhmcnt was bo novel in that omor of tho hills that It seemed almost like something unlawful and ungodly- Somebody In u wild lit of speculation had i-hlpped las a train-load train-load of mu.tangb, with tlio Illusive hope tint they might bo broken for uso atnouj tlio quartz ledgos. They kicked, tli-v bucked, they bat on their haunches and biiu.'ak'd their wrong uloud In cvvrv v illation of the equine tongue, nail nt la .t I'.iyno Morse was appealed to as being only a little less savngo than th uiustanj-i, lo see If ho could do any-th any-th hi s with them. lie found himself ablo, and apparently apparent-ly i.ijoyod the work. His foarlcas riding, rid-ing, hiia quiet, merciless mayorship of the untamed brutes, completed the ton-quest ton-quest of Helen's fancy. That was In leafy .Iimoi It) Keptotnber she went back to school. A nionth later bho left tho U'cltatlon-rooni ono day, put .i he. hat. walked out of tho house nnd to the railroad station In thc iiwt city l'ayno Mumo awaited hcr V -y were mirrlcd within the hour, und ii foi-i snout th.7 tJld the story in thu Trv-tn .sitting rojin. Ilel-n wai. not defiant. She was quiet, rather i..ul, but uo more repentant or i -jrel ful tlinn a block of marble. Mr. TV, i rtuvjilicdtho trait by sympathy, p 'i 1) i . II.' lo ke 1 u' the two hi they sto .1 in ilie middle of tho room Mother mil sutv r had withdrawn .t little; IIolcii'.-i will was a thing that most of tile household did withdraw from Sho blood by her husband'o bide, slight, erect, her hand on his Hrin, but not leaning oil him nt all. "You are uwaie, sir," Mr. Tryon said, "that Mik. child In a minor by tho law I could take her from jou." "Hut you will not?" The question wan half assertion. "No, 1 shall not. Sho has chosen; sho , must h urn life In her own way. I bhiill try nnd uialcu nodilVerenco betwocu her und the other.. and may tho Ijord havo mercy on you both," ho added, half under un-der Tits brtvtli. Foi a month the two staid untUr tho home roof. Helen's mother put down Intmti 'ii and In-aluct with ii strong liutnl. miuilUd the supurllclal chaims I i.f tht man, and wa-. able nt last to say: "It w.t ine0-ulur Improper -wrong, I but w e i aa't hp liking hliq " llel ii -i.l ! , tun of theui-ruajly In' ItU linn Tho cureless, oasy, un- loiisclou- das. i of his niunuer, his unfailing, un-failing, elaborate, If soniowhat florid Loiirtubj'. tho itlr of vague roniauae that seeiuud to make the ntmosphero In which he breathed, all appealed to their ideal of tho chivalries und poetic. Ho did not talk much of himself, hut his haif Impersonal storM of wild adventures ad-ventures and rockles daring opened viMas Into a limitless wonderland. Mr. Tryon treated him polltoly always, and never bald n. word for or against him. Then Helen took tho few thousands of dollars, for which by right sho should havo waited till sho had leached her majority, nnd went with hcr husband hus-band Into tho then hnlf-savuge depths of tho Colorado cattle ranges. Tor four years her letters camo regularly, regu-larly, l'rom tho very first thero had luen UHlfV tt nnrtnnnl rni-nt-.l tit tlmm What sho hoped or feared, enjoyed en-joyed or suffered, no ono had any way of guessing. It wns tho kindest thing to read nothing more than appeared on tho surface, Hut at the end of that tlmo l'ayno Morso was tried nnd sentenced sen-tenced to confinement for life for participation par-ticipation In u daring train robbery. Sho simply sent tho papers In which the matter was recorded. Mr. Tryon followed his telegram with all tho speed possible. And so Helen Morto came homo again, n btatucaqito shadow of herself, sho nnd her baby, of whom tho whole family made an object of worship. Ono more blow remained to fall. A year later the baby died. Tho copy of the newspaper that told Its death told, too, the death of its father, shot dead while trying to cscapo from the prison in which he wns conllned. Helen wore black nfter that perhaps per-haps for her baby's death; pcrhapt for tho memory of tho man who had t rented hcr with n, cruelty sho never told nor hinted at; perhaps for herself, because sho had outlived every tiling. At tiny rato sho went In somber garments, and no one questioned or remarked. And so up to this night thu night of hcr twenty-fifth birthday, when they woto nil sitting about the tea table and talking of Harry's prospects, Harry had liought a shuro In n Texas ranch, nnd he and lib partner wcro going to rough It alone m their cat) in among "the grass and sheep. Harry was enthusiastic, enthusias-tic, forestalling a llttlo and unconsciously unconscious-ly tho character he was to assumo by and by. "Now, Mr. MIcnwberl" (Jraco said, mockingly. "Mother, you ought to glvo him a tin plate und cup; and keep silver forks out of his sight. And Harry, yon'll havo to cut tho ticquulntunco of boiled shirts, unless you boll them your-belf, your-belf, and then you'll havo spasms over tho starch." Helen looked up, and said, in her slow, lmpatslve way: "Why couldn't I go and keep houso for you, Harry?" Silence fell about tho tublo. The Idea had never presented Itself to one of them, but now all at once It did not seem so Impracticable. No fancy of Helen's over did for Helen. "I havo seen something of the life," she said. "Thero is nothing s'n it that I T-Tfrr- V (" 7-57 v-?r "' ii l niik stood nv ii En itusiiANp'e bum:. can not face. I do not mind tho solitude, soli-tude, nud a houso is more comfortable with a woman lu It." And so It was settled. Sho went about hcr preparations with a straightforward, straight-forward, imhurrylng readiness Mint admitted ad-mitted of llttlo assistance. Iu ten days tho brother and sister started, and tlio family felt somehow as If there had been n death, as well ns n departure. In thoso aays tho railroad linen weie everywhere Incomplete, Helen, alighting alight-ing from tho low train ut Its furthermost further-most point of ndvnncc, found herself with live hundred milts of stitge-ridliig before her, With her usual bilcnce, sho did not even comment on tho discomforts discom-forts of tho journey She was the only woman In tlio great swinging couch Tho other passengers weio men, bronzed and bearded, In Ihinuels und bombrcios, and with inoio or less of the furniture of an nrmory nbout them. They paid hcr n good deal of deferential attention, and wcro usstduour, in supplying sup-plying every want, rcul or imagined. And Helen took it as sho did every thing else, with n gentlo kind of haif-unobservant haif-unobservant gravity, Mint seemed to bo very puzzling to their inlnlR On tlio sci-oHd d.ty well ntnong tho mountains, Mvltigm? dov u a long incline in-cline uraontr the dark shadows of the pines, Micro wus u sudden, abrupt report re-port of llro-arms, a plunging, lurching motion of tho coach, u sudden uproar of voices without; and lleleu, crushed down into tho lower corner of tho vehicle, ve-hicle, with n smothered Impression of several tons of kicking humanity over and nbovo her, hunrd "road agents" uttered ut-tered somowhero In tho mass, uud knew what had Iwfalton them. One by ono the passengeri. wciu extracted. ex-tracted. "There's a lady In there," a voice said. "Wo'll como lo her presently. Scat yourbelvcbon that log, gentlemen. Hure sho Is! Now, minium," nffeilng it diamond-ringed white hand. I'p rose Helen, as little dishevelled ns possbi for a womtiii a lie under the ctrcuiiitances, nnd was assisted up and out by a masked man w itl the easiest elegnnco of demeanor. "Wo nro sorry to incouvculeiKO- n lady," ft (jiet vojet said, "but It u. ono of tho unpleasant necessities of business. busi-ness. I suspect w o have made it mistake. Wo took this to bo the paymaster's trip down to tho mines." Melon bowed oouipowdly, nud took hor seat beside, tho others, and then, under cover of half a down revolver., ttttmmmaanmammKmmmt sasJsalwasssaiwiiaaBaii there wnn n rnpld nnd oxlfnustlvo collection collec-tion of valuables from the) party. Helen was not molested; no ons spoke to her. In tho first ininuto of tlio nttnek soiuo ono had thrust a heavy wallet In her hand) sho held It carelessly, with hcr huudkcrchlef and tho glovon nho had THCnn WAS A RAPID COLLLCT10N Of VAL- IIABLE?.,.-.- . taken off, and n book, to which she had clung unconsciously through all the confusion. con-fusion. None of hcr belongings were touched or looked at. "The Pino Valley coaclovlll bo olonj before morning. We can. only say wo nro sorry for tho blunder," und Willi a courteous gesturo of farewt 11 to Helen, the party rodo nwny. Hoth lenders lay tlcntl In their tracks Clearly Micro was nothing to do but to wult for tho Pino Vulluy coach. H len was made comfortable with show In nnd wraps on n bed of pine boughs, and fell nslecp quietly under tho stats. Sho did not waku even when the coach camo tip. "Now, Helen," n voice said, and fhe opened hcr eyes to Itnd Harry standing beside Her, unit with him n tall figure dark In the starlight. "Another road iigent?"shc said, half asleep. Harry laughed. "Wotlon't know what he muy develop Into. At present he is Frank Ilronson." Helen rose toher feet, bioad awake nt once. "You've had n stirring Introduction to your new life," it pleusunt olce said, "nnd populur report imiltcs you out u heroine." Helen Hushed n little resentfully. He might havo been talking to a girl of sixteen six-teen iu that voice of easy patronage. Sho was silent. Hairy, used lo that peculiarity, pe-culiarity, did not notice. , Frank ilronson begun again: "I'm afraid you'll bo Inconveniently crow tied, Miss Tryon." "I beg your pardon," in hcr slow, cold way. "I am Mrs. Morse." They cumo out juot then Into tho glnro of the lumps, Ilronson looked ut her curiously. "Harry did not tell me," ho said, w Ith a sudden air of coustralncdbashf illness At the Journey's end tho passenger whoso pocket-book she had saved took n great solitaire diamond oft his little finger, "A memento, madam, simply n memento. The ring was la the wallet You saved mo fifteen thousand dollar' last night by your piesenco of mind.'' Sho would not tnke ,lt, mil. a few-weeks few-weeks later thcro camo to her through tho post-ofileo tho stone reset In uiiother ring heavy enough for an armlet, bho smiled, slipping it over her slender finger. Then she met Ilronson's eyes watching her, "My good deeds pursue me. I nm 'tho herolno of Pino Gulch. Would you havo suspected it? And there Is no address." ad-dress." Sho dropped tho ring into lib. hand and walked away. They were settled now in their new home. A very sketchy sort of home It wns, but enough for this needs of u climate cli-mate where a houso is not needed much more or much of tcner than an utnbi ella. They had camped with thu luxuries of wall tents, whllo the young men did their own building. A sitting-room, two sleeplng-iooms and a kitchen that was all; and tho canvas of the , tenia made an awning under which a. hammock might bo swung. Tho new plno boards wcro aromatic In tho hot sunshine, tho conventional requirements of living wcro reduced to their very simplest form, It wns a bolltary enough llfo for ,i woman. One of llairy's experimental gang of Chinese workers had been detailed de-tailed to kitchen duties, and tho pence of tho houso wns profound llut Melon liked it Dreamy nnd silent she wus still, but somehow llttlo by little she seemed to come back toward luimnn sympathies and Interests. Half unconsciously un-consciously her blnck garments! were laid nsldo as oppressive iu tho heat of the long, bright days, The young men coming homo nt night found n white-draped white-draped presence awaiting them. Harry thought without spoken comment Mint soiiiuthlng of her girlhood as ho reineni-bciedhcr reineni-bciedhcr was coming back Into her face and Into the rounding outllnoi if her figure. Once or tw lee ho heard i echo of tho old imperious liilloctluiiH oi speech, when something went wioiigiu the hlniplu piogiiimiiK' of their Iioiim-keeptng; Iioiim-keeptng; oneo or twice she laughed aloud ut some of Sum l.rti'r, itchlcu' incuts. At least, the old, monotonous cnlm was biukcu; she had lita of depression, de-pression, felt keenly in tho seiulllve household atmospheric , It was the evening nfteivthf'oiim'ng of tho ring, Helen found hat-BclI ut the very bottom of her register of feeling. They were nil out of doors In the huge-starred, huge-starred, dowloss SiniHiwcxibjrn night. Tho two men, outstictched on their blankets lay silently smoking. Helen, swinging in her hammock, was. speechless, speech-less, too. Ilyaudby Hurry asked her some trivial question, nnd tho voice that unswered him was hoarse with tears, lie took no notice, und a minute after sho went Into the house. Harry followed her, and came back niter nwhlle, his own voice not over steady "That girl bus broken down at lust It's tho first time In years, uud not easy years cither. I doubt if nuy ono has seen her cry since, sho came homo," "Mrs. Morse?" "Who else?" testily, "now I hate tho nuiqu- I nuver even think of It If I cm) help It. Yon don't know tlio story?" "I havo Rtiewod that !, I mean I couldn't help knowing tlmio wad some-thing some-thing painful Mm. Morse In ,oung to bo a widow." "Sho Is twnuty-flve," luiuquel.v "Helen always would havo her own way. Sho hud It when she vm seventeen, seven-teen, ,nd married it seaundrol. He got ft llfo sentence for train robbery, and was killed trying to make his oocape from prison. She got tho news tho day her only child wos buried " ,. Ilronson gave) a half-groan, u sound "'"sssssMsMtwswni.saasyrayaa.-viiwaiesjajjjuatasM - " " i ,i almost Uko a Kob, as Tryon paused In his blunt recital. "Thai was two year ago. Sho never whlmppivd under It, nnd to-nlht Mw Is crying ns If she would kill hrrnr-lf. And I don'tkiiow but she will. TMtik of a woiiinn h life going lo wrcr-l, lil.e Hint ' liulev.-r HmiiMin may have thought, he wi'ul nothing There wns rt long si-h si-h nee and mu li IiOktco smoke. ' Don't they tahcumclhliigr he Raid, hint itin;iv nfter . Idle. "A ti n' I i'ii i.vin Umig I'll broil ii quail, if Vii liki- lli.il , so," neeepttng the nugttesllott liu ilulle Then they wml out Into "-.in I.e- .hinliig little kilchen, nnd p,ilteiil iboul Willi the best of Inlen-tii-tv, Iii'L, with much disturbance of '"i ill, jingling movables Helen' err-in,: err-in,: wan oer now. She lay prone and ncrvcleui with the exhaustion of such t-nrn. Hhe heard the uproar ntnong the pots ntrl pans, and wondered faintly about it. Harry opened the door finally, with a laden tray In his hand. "I matlo the I"," he explained. breathlessly, "and Ilronson cooked the I bud. and we couldn't find the bread " Helen sat up nnd pushed the damp hair back from her face. ' lii-on&oii thought of It,"' he said, persuasively. per-suasively. "I'd try audcat it little." And Helen drank her ton, und nibbled her bin! with nu unsmiling sense of the unfitness of thingn when meat and drink were offered ns u remedy for such troubh-H u hem. llut it did her good. She slept dream-leusly dream-leusly that night, nnd if she came out to bieukfa t with heavy shadows under her oj is. the sad lipped mouth hud lost n little of IU rigid linen of pain. 'I here hnd been uu epldemie of law-Ictiiesa law-Ictiiesa thioiigh Mie country for tho last few weeks. The particular manl-festatiuii manl-festatiuii of the disease was horse-stealing. Now, to take it man's horse waa generally w onto for the community tliuii taking his life. The public sense of justice did not nlwuys wult for tho slow nnd lather uncertain action of the law. Harry rode away Mint evening without defining Ids business, nnd llrou-son llrou-son tumid Helen uloiie, In her hammock un usual. Thesf two did nut Hnd talknccussary They had reached that grade of acquaintanceship ac-quaintanceship where long silences mo unmarked. A wiiiiidlesHhilf hour pushed Helen lay with half-shut eyes, watch- 1a JV'ft '2A , F$k&--icrr$y --'Ay A'.' K&A i&3 sM ,ltM.1 if .$&ffil iJkr A SOL'NDLKSS IIALl'-llOUll I'ABELD. Ing the broad flood of sunset light die out of tho sky. lli-onson wos smoking H hen the cigar was quite done he rose dOlberately and stood beside hcr. In the faint light, In her white gown, her twenty-flvo years rolled back and left hcr In girlhood again. "Helen!" he said, touching n fold of her dress with softly levcreut hand. She looked up ut him with un instant's surprise, then her eyes foil. "Forgive me," ho said, humbly. "I have not seen many women. When you c.une it was llko it rovelation. And now 1 know- that I love you," she opened her lips to speak, but ho stopped her. "I know," he said. "Harry told me your story. Would you dure trust another man?'' Theio was something very chlldllko iu the simplicity of tho question. She half-smiled. Then nil at once tho past rushed over her. "No," she said wlldly.rislng to her feet. "All that has gono by forever. You do not know what you are saying a worn-un worn-un who has lived through such n degradation degra-dation of ill-tieiitment und cruelty us I who has so utterly miatuken herself nud all the ineaiiiivr of her life, has no r 'it to listen to such wonts as you have spoken." T hey were standing face to fnee. She put out her bunds Willi a helplubn. sticivthles uir of lepcllmg ptotctt. l'eiliuw ho misunder. lood the gesture; he took them in his nw u und held them fii inly bud gently. She did tint resist the cla.p, btundiiig mute und mi&etable. Peihapt. until that hour It had neter occurred oc-curred lo hrr that tiny renewal of Mint idd btury could be possible. She had felt hoi'hclf w.t .ip.at iiKin nil tho common com-mon hit of women. Thai h seemed mi innocently and couif.h tely bi ignore such ti'uylo facta nu her lile held heat down ull her gnaiil, swept nwuy tho luiuluturka HihI hail ben the diuary n-nilndeni n-nilndeni of her pai.t folly mid sin. Hew.iHWhut that other hnd In-en plain' man i eared among the inlliienues f an utmost law loss community. Al-way Al-way tut the edge uf the advancing wne of civilisation, nlicio llio other had gi.'Wii iei kles , he was grave and self-eoul self-eoul ihii d. lie knew books belter III ill many .vlioh, d lixed . nioiig them; there was a treutlene:.. in his tpeech that meanl bomethiiig better than n.eiv sweet teiniiei-i und Helen was woman eiiMii.h yet to feel the fasfluutlon of liih iiiu'i- iiliirktreiigth the very elusp Mint held her, gentlH un It was, was Irreulstl-hie Irreulstl-hie if he chose to have It so. "At least, I lovo you," lie is Id at Uiit'. "You know it now," with a long breath as of relief, "I have not uiy cret to heip, uud shall in cr lovo any one else." Mm smiled again thmiiah all her trouble. He believed U hluvseU with such uiunlfebt fnith. lip recused hor hnnd. She went back to h'-r liauiHiack and he to hi blankit, uiul siletictf fell again U'tweeu them Hapry eaiue baek whllo thy were -.till in t'lcir pluoos. ' s -j Hi. i.j it down flria," he. s mi. .!,!!. , 1 1 JJi hi. ,u. le bei-num floiun's. Wo know hv.v ai.uy thcru uie io the gang, and we havo disci di-sci iptlous of tho piliichml leaders. lt' a regularly orfUtUneJ lUkti. Th leader lead-er is u CapUlu Oordott. Ue'U find uliu-seli uliu-seli cupulwril with a uhort Mpw IX tho league ye Is hold oi liltu, We know pivtly well their Ut ulniisMter." Helen turnetl UugwiiUi'. ' COM! Itltll IN Ollt NEXl.