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HE mail cameintoCarnationneededforhissimplerequirements.but.it~ .twice a wtek, on Tuesdays and made it possible for him to perform a good Fridays. It Was brought over many kindly acts with,his right hand of from Red Hills, the nearest rail- which his left hand knew nothing. The road station twelve miles across the desert, recipients could be counted on to say by Joe Sowers, a superannuated cowman. nothing." , ". Sowers made the trip to Jim Peterson the But the case 01 Rosie, Rosie of the Gopher: . postmaster, keeper of Carnation's chief emHole's Bevv of Blossoms, had leaked out porium of general trade. Therefore, even some time" after Rosie's, unexpected d~: when he was at home in his rare intervals of parture for the East. It had leaked out rest from the constant visitations throughthrough the ugly mouth of Clark Shadw out his enormous district, the Bishop of the In a moment of very bad judgment, comNiobraras had two heavy days of "inside plicated by a certain amount of the Gopher work," since his mail receipts were larger Hole's very bad roo. liquor, poor Rosie had than those of any other citizen of Carnation. succumbed to the allurements Shadwell bad The bishop's mail bad another distinction. been holding out to her, and had abandoned It contained the only regular pay-checkfhat the frying-pan of the Gopher Hole's precame into the little frontier town which was carious housing for the fire of Clark Shadthe geographical center of bls work. This well's tumbledown shack on the edge .of was because, being a missionary bishop, he town. received his salary from the missionary Rosie bad never ceased to regret this headquarters in New York once a month. step. But regrets did her no good. Like As Sun Peterson was also the banker, the everybody else in or near Carnation she bishop bad fallen into the habit of taking soon came to know Shadwell for what he his check to the storekeeper as soon as he was, a truculent, transplanted hill-billy from got it, and having it cashed. , the tennessee mountains, a gun-fighter, This ,pnusual method of receiving one's who, weaned on com-licker and fed on rat, income had excited much .local comment? tail tobacco since before he bad teeth; had and it was well known that Bishop Kent. found the scope of his native land too narrow always carried his check to Peterson's and -. for his expansive nature.. He had come out came out with a roll of two hundred and • into the Bad Lands where he would have' fifty dollars, once every month. room to swing a gat, and bad' picked on ~~~~~~~~~~adeit

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'He opened the door=,' thiS.. y~Cla.rk:: Sb3dwdPs-, deals;" are- ye? Shewasweak and" Goshamighty; maa; that:'cattymonnt ain't [SiCk:arufh3.1fst.azyea, and.she Was suffering,': got no respec' fer nothin" ner nobody; They {~eli~tlieeffect:s of the beating, Shad- _ tells me ye're a-belpin" this- yere gal 0' his'n ilv.~~adIniniStered.the-nig:fit before;' ?:'? to get away east, . Why, ~, he'll jes" ~~Jrobody. except the bishop and- Rosie, and"- plum ruin ye with lead: bullets fer,'. that, ' ;the{~_P-~,: up->'above Who' was' th~"" roan's he knows what ye've ben up to. It's t~~ ~ knew'. what.: the. tWo ~w.-;;~~ a wonder he haint a-rearin' roun' right now.; bur abOut" an: hoor.latei, they~, Why~eIy's not 'he'll be ridin' after 'em 6~oUt Of'theobishop's.Jittle--hOuse and' arrkill the gal an' old Joe to boot. Hain't' ::';~:~ along Carnation'&· main, ye got no sensa" : ..':;:5tireer:of' sbacb,to; P~1it ~ Oldf' The biShQp turned on Hammond a cool, ;;roe;SOw'ers ,was. outside beside his diJapi-:: level-eye, , , . . :datM,bUCkboarttwith its pair of rangy cow' "Its very good of you., Mr. Hammond, to /poili~:!: and.' the bishop' paused to speak. warn me like this. I appreciate it highly, ,:t&h:D::trj~7~';;·;?'~,:'';·~ :,,'''; " ,sir. But there is no imsaediate likelihood ofy(nir" leaving for, a fe~ his doing anything: I am.Jnfonned. by, this "mmu~: Mr.... SOWers;.,' 'There will be a pas= . unfortunate young woman that he IS at the' i;Settger go!ng with-yOu to-Red Hillg.'~: "present time, drunk, sirvdead drunk in fact. !&~,Otd'Joc;'nodded' his dusty, old head and, "She will be aboard- the noon train long :;~~Lri:fIeCt:iYdy.m--:- the- thick;'dust of the- before he awakens, I have no doubts about :~Sayintnothiligi;'~ :~,",,;.,~<: .. . r, .: her safety. You may be interested to know' ·'~~"I'fiei.bisliOp-accompa.n.ied Rosie into-the' that I have given her letters to people in "'S!~Casbied:'hiS check and, while the store: .New York who will see to her welfare." 'loafmstood:agape,rounted out into Rosie's-- "Yeah-butl" Hammond choked at the ',~teD~1ei:H:lollar bills.: i The loafers f~ little man's simplicity'. "Look yere, Bishop; no~:thft.Oddly assorted pair, out in fron~ I wasn't tbinkin' so much about her; only- ,. ~~~aildsa.wthe bishOp deferentially kinda incidental-like, Hits mos'ly you I'm ~RoSeintc)the.buckboard.;',.,-', ~,:,.;;/ .. a-thinkin' about •. You"'~ gotta live right ~?~ake-:tJiiS< yoUng lady- to the station' at~ yere, ain't ye? Well, then. all's I gotta 5ay_ ifjOtl please," came the bishop's is, gosh sake; heel yo'self. Kin you do aay-: ~: p~voice speaking to oldJoe~:' "Perhaps, thin" tall with a gun? T s'pose not. Oood' 'J#Yo'L will be ~ enough' to seethat, she- land amightyl Hfrr ye stopped ~ think'~#~;~et:throagh:to New;Yor~ and~ what that~ marin' son of a..gun'll do' ~iipfacedsa£ety~ the train:~",">-:'·~-:';':jo~· ,;.\~ . toyou~"' :,', ,.; .' .' " ~uJi;~resporided-<)}d~I6e;shiftinghis::" The bishopjeoked pleasantly-up at his '.qm<rnervouslY from.one-slde of his leathem> :big:fritind whoIoaaed: him 'his ~hall· j ~jaws'to the~otherl'''*:;:-f':'>~';'~~ .'-,< .:::: and bar to conduct-services in whenever he' :,' ~ gid looked' tmutterable'i:hings at the'. spent a Sunday in Carnation.: . He smiled littk lrlshOpc who, removing hU hat, bowed like a child ... ~d~in~teaIUm(

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the buckboard ~ted off ~,tOt.he GOpher- Hole he would get her. -r at a great rate: - :[ \-' .. . -.' . ,~thieats Imdt:hdd,: her through fNery", Gravely saluting the' men about the store,~~i1t tmlt.Inel\1; the "pi.zenest" citj.::·'i doonray, the bishop turned on his heel, and :'~'ofCa.matioIi'couldt:hizW-vp;,·-: -_ ..' , . with- a measured tread. which he never i~-'SOne!"14onda~ night. the' ~ had ar-. . varied, about twent:y-<me inches-to the step, ,rlVed.b~frODl.a long visitation. and aftu -.Reddy Larimore had once reported, walked hls:.~_iat~of'd~lip.after three.. gravely ~ to his little adobe. house ',weei$:a.wa,:'-fiomi,his- ~bath tub, in.; the creek side. .•. . -; "" :, " ~ilie;~1aadstepPed.oVer.:to p~~:, Ed.HammOnd, proprietor of:: the Red ;~~for-~~~ma.it'':·TheRnvasVz_ Horse, Restaurant and Ba.r.;,having1eame& J~~~stack.·Of.;i~thar he had -not·, ,wbat'was in' the ~ overtook: the little: :'~e.;mtocasli his 'check but.-inte:oding~; man before he had.reached his ~ Ham;t.o:~t~~~:~ ~)t.allCmond laid a huge, J>r?tective baI)(hnthe·-

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"As I said before, it is extremely kind of you to take this interest, Mr. Hammond. I may tell you that I am not unmindful of my own personal safety, Perhaps you did not know that before I entered the ministry I studied law." Hammond interrupted. He spoke as a , person speaks to a lovable but very inez~"perienced child. '. ' "Lord love ye, Bishop! This yere aint no question: of law. Don't you see? You're dealirr-ia. with a..:: sharp art· a bad egg_. What's this yere Shadwell care 'bout law· Good land!!','. ;. .;_'-' .• -- . \ Ed'.~ond threw up his hands in a hopeless gesture. The bishop' was incapable of understanding the situation. The bishop merely continued to smile like a child. "You misapprehend me, I am afraid, Mr_ Hammond. What I meant to convey was orily this: That-in my study of the law I wasfrequently confronted" with the. maxim, 'Never cross a bridge until you come.to itl' You see, w4i,le I v~ ~,.to'ypu for your thought-of .. ; Y*,-aftet aD~'we are anticipating; are we not? I fear you are crossing a bridge before arriving at it, Mr. Hammond. Just now Shadwell is in no con-. dition to' do anything. He may even fer main unaware of what has become of this unfortunate young woman. He is not very popular, is he?' There is no occasion for anybody to tell him of my small part in the matter, is thew" Hammond took his departure abruptly at this point in the conversation. He could not trust himself to speak again without profanity, so strong were his feelings at this moment.· ,He did not wish to use profanity in the bishop's presence .. The bishop continued placidly, twentyone inches to the step, toward his little house, his mind on his unfinished letters. Hammond- proceeded straight back to Peterson's store, gathered the loafers together, and discharged his mind. "An' if any. of yo' shoats," he ended, "opens yo' traps about it, the old man's cooked, I'm a-tellin' ye; an' if that hep.pens, by tl}e goshamighty, they'll be two. more folks full, of lead in. this yere meetropolis, the' same' bein' tha]; there skunk Shadwell an' the saphead that spills a word. to- himl"« Peterson' promised to see to it that old Joe kept his mouth tight shut.

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CL<\RK SHADWELL'S' first in-: quiry took place late that night. He was cold sober when he walked. into the Gopher Hole, and he said, little. Reluctantly convinced that nobody: there knew anything about the subject; of'his inquiry, he .was nonplussed. ShadwellfS1imagination did not reach the possit>ility~oi-1 anyone's shipping his light cY love: out!oir~ town. If she hadn't gone back to her: old, life. at the Gopher Hole she must necessarilY::) be m some other man's house, or deadi;;,~ the days succeeded one another. andna;~ dence of Rosie~s":being above ground:.-~ Carnation; t.he~conviction grew:' upoIJt.h.im\ that she must have met- accidenta.l.;dea.~ in some form; or, possibly-weI4 she;.h.ad: more than once hinted at-doing away witm herself." r-.' ,~ , -. ,-".... ·~c.:~·i:; The bishop was away· from Carnation: fo~ several weeks at one stretch; during the resl'i of the month, and·.when he returned Shad-j well had made up his mind.-thatjf.he·ba.d4 lost Rosie, at least no otherma.n.was.hi~

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bishop and several other persons- ~,inij Peterson's store waiting fw; the contents-of-i old. Joe's mail bags to be .sorted and distributed. The l>ishop received his .lettersand opened the first two or three that came: to hand while talking to some of his ac-_, quaintances, He glanced through the con". tents and dropped the envelopes into the waste-box which. stood near the central stove. _ r '. .,. As soon as he was gone, Clark. Shadwell· who was present poked at the trash inthewaste-box. Then, stooping, he picked out; a stamped envelope which- had caught his: eye. It was the kind of envelope already stamped, and with three dotted lines in theupper left-hand corner, along wi~. the words: "If· not delivered in -days,'re-" turn to __ " In these blank spaces were written, a: New York address, and the name, Rose Hollister. _ -. - _-,"; Shadwell spelled this out carefully" then; quickly crumpling the envelope, he dropped: it back in the waste-box. and,.' without aword to anybody, walked out.oLthe,!ltOre and, unhitching his loped off. ~,the,. direction of· his shack. at the town's edi~.,,· ~ .. •As soon as he was gone, Ed Hammond, picked out the crumpled ball and, straightening it out read what Shadwell had read.

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Adventure
Then, with a suppressed oath, he started for the bishop's house. The bishop, urbane as always, listened to his fervid second warning. .' Clark Shadwell knew! By Rose H'ollister's foolishness, and the bishop's innocence, there was no further concealment possible. and, as Ed graphically imparted it, -. - was about to bust loose. Was the bishop heeled? 1,. "Goshamightyt Here! Take this! Pack it constant, too! Goshamightyl"· Hammond left. too full of wrath and concern for the bishop's safety to trust himself for further utterance, and the bishop picked. up gingerly, and examined curiously, the small, compact, double-barreled ' derringer he had left on the table. That evening Doc Ellis had a hurry call to the bishop's house, and the next day the Carnation Tocsin and Range BtUidin carried a circumstantial account of how the chief ecclesiastic of the territory had slipped and fallen on the floor of his famous bathroom, tht!_bathr()Om his predecc:s.so! had inwas no necessary connection between those facts and his complicity in her escape. On Friday of that same week, the bishop received his mail as usual and carried it home with him. Later in the evening he returned' to Peterson's store to C3.3h his check. Shadwell and several others-were 'at the store. Peterson handed the bishop his bills, and the bishop placed them wi th his free left hand in the left-hand pocket of his neatly pressed black trousers, and took his departure after greeting pleasantly everybody in the store, Shadwell left within a minute afterward. and as there #was rio one present who could guess that anything was in the wind except Peterson himself, his exit excited no comment whatever. Peterson, greatly worried, and unable to leave because. he was alone in' the store, sent a boy for Hammond. . Hammond arrived in a minute or two, and Peterson whispered to him that Shad- . well had trailed the bishop out. Hammond sprang out of the door and lturrie4downJ,h~ str~t Wward the bishop's Past the lighted se&ion of the main stalled. with' ...· ~~'J'tm Wbicb pumped ~., water from the creek, and a straining ap- street he hastened and broke into a run as paratus which removed part of the alkali soon as he had left this behind him. A1; he mud from the water, and broken his right ran. he slid his holster around on his belt, arm. The paper referred to this injury as and loosened itsllap. a compound fracture, this descriptive item The bishop was out of sight, and there was being furnished by Carnation's leading no trace of Shadwell, but Ed had noticed scientist, Doc Ellis. his cayuse still tied to the rail in front of , The next day the bishop with his right Peterson's when he rushed out, and knew arm in elaborate splints and a sling con- that Shadwell must be afoot, and not far cocted of many rolls of bandage, went un- . away; complainingly about his affairs, and to all He found the bishop's house in darkness, inquiries responded with the cheerful stateas-he slowed his pace on arriving before it; ment that his injury was nothingand looked, with a worried expression, at the unlighted windows. He came nearer, "Just nothing at all, thank you." How he managed for the subsequent days walking stealthily now, his hand on the butt to dress would have puzzled Carnation if of his forty-five. He started to walk around Carnation had been critical of such matters. the house. and as he neared the first corner, But Carnation wasn't critical and, as Ed he heard Shadwell's voice suddenly and Hammond pointed out scornfully to one stopped. drawing his gun, just within the curious customer of his at the Red Horse-+ concealing shelter of the house's edge. "That there old bishop don't have to tie It occurred to him that at his usual gait no necktie like other Easterners, 'cause he the bishop had had just about time to reach 'wears one of them purple dickies." his house, and had gone around to the door To Hammond's importunities to watch at the farther side which he commonly used, his step, ,t\le bishop always returned as- Shadwell had probably taken the other side surances of his complete immunity from of the road, and had managed to pass the danger, and cited the fact that Shadwell had bishop on the way, unobserved in the dark, made no hostile move whatever igainst him. , He had been waiting for the bishop around All Shadwell knew from having read Rosie's the corner of the house, and had confronted envelope was that Rosie had got away to ruin there. That was it! He, Hammond, 'VA_ v,,~t,. ..~~ 'h,,~ ="tt",., itn him. 'There had managed to arrive just in time!

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137

The Cunning of) the Serpent
Hammond edged himself along against the rough wall of the little house, ready to intervene at an instant's notice. HE heard clearly Shadwell's ugly snarl, low-pitched as it was, around the corner of the house. . "I said shove up yo' han's, -yo'! Shove 'em up, now, right sudden'way up+-or I'll blow yo' to --!" "BuJ, my dear sir"-it was the bishop's clear voice-"can't you see that it is out of the question? r can not move my right hand because it is bandaged tight," "Then shove up yo' good ~onto, now-yo' mis'ble li'l pup yo'I" Ed Hammond stepped softly around the corner. He had guessed, correctly, that the bishop would be facing him, Shadwell standing so as to present his back, facing the bishop. He saw Shadwell's back and slouching shoulders, and the little bishop beyond him, his free left hand and arm perpendicular, the huge white bandage' which confined the other conspicuous in the dimness of early evening. ~ was edging up toward the bishop, his gun held upon him. What could he be up to, exactly? Then Hammond saw through it, He was intending, first, to secure the roll of bills. When he had once got that safely away from the bishop, he could easily overcome the slightly built, elderly and now disabled little man. He would not risk the sound of a gunshot, Hammond raised his forty-five. But he was very unexpectedly interrupted. There came from close at hand a roar which made him jump, and ruined his steady aim. Shadwell had shot down the little man after alL Ed plunged forward. A gun was too good for Shadwell. He wanted to get his, big powerful hands on him and choke the miserable life out of his worthless carcass. He stopped, confused in the dim light. The figure which he had dimly perceived as it tottered and feU to the ground in a limp heap lay almost under his feet. It writhed and roiled about, and from it there came a steady stream of profanity. At a little distance there stood the bishop, busily engaged with his left hand in unwrinding the huge bandage from his right hand and arm. "What the-" gasped Hammond.
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said the bishop. "You quite startled me, I assure you." He threw the loosened bandage to the ground and, transferring from his right hand to his left the double-barreled derringer from which a thin wisp 'of acrid smoke yet rose, he handed the deadly little weapon back to its rightful owner. "Doctor Ellis was very obliging;" remarked the bishop, rubbing his cramped right hand which had 'just discharged the derringer through the bandage. "He took great pains with this arrangement. . You see, Mr. Hammond, I have been for years unused to firearms, and so I could take no chances, That is why I waited until Shadwell came so close that I could hardly miss. I shot him+accurately, I think-through the right shoulder, so as to disable his gun arm. L hope I have- not injured him too severely." _ Around the corner of the house came a confused group of men, in the lead, Tom Hankins, a deputy sheriff, carrying a lantern in one hand, a glistening blue-barreled fortyfive in the other. "What's all this rannikaboo?" inquired Hankins in a voice of authority. By the light of the lantern the bystanders envisaged thee scene. They looked at the bishop, the bandage on the ground; they sniffed the sharp smell of burned cloth which rose from the crumpled bandages. Hankins, stooping over, hauled the still cursing Shadwell roughly to his feet, His right arm hung helpless. One of the men picked up his undischarged revolver and looked at it curiously. "You come along with me to the calaboose,. Shadwell," said Hankins grimly. "We've had our eyes on you for some time and now I reckon ~ve got you to rights." Hankins led away his captive, the other men closing in around them as they wended their way back toward the calaboose. The bishop looked at Ed Hammond who stood, his jaw hanging, and again the bishop smiled like a happy child. "I can not help wishing that I had not been obliged to resort to such an expedient. Mr. Hammond;" he remarked, as he picked up the bandages and turned toward his house, "but you may remember that we.are exhorted in the Scriptures to combine the harmlessness of doves with the cunniDg 0{ "the serpent! Good evening, Mr. Hammond, and thank vou very much."

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