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N EMPTY BOTTLE, tainly aimed, crashed through a window of the grog shanty, dignified by the title of the Railway Hotel and Refreshment Rooms. A drunken voice rose dolefully, and there was an oath and a moment's lull. The engineer for the new railway line moved restlessly on his canvas bunk in the little tarpaulin and wood hut, two hundred yards or more from the main line. The men on the branch line had quit work for the day. The timber men were rioting at the shanty, or in other shanties up the line, while the hotelkeepers reaped their harvest. To-morrow was a holiday, and the toilers were going to celebrate by "knocking down" what was left of their sweat-stained cheques. It was dry and hot, and one could scarcely blame them for their abnormal thirst.

The heat was like a foretaste of hell, the engineer thought, for he alternately tossed in a fever fire or shook with a gray ague. A return of the Gulf fever was upon him, and the doctors had long ago told him that his heart would not stand much of it; his fine old heart which had pumped blood for him for over fifty strenuous years. He was alone on the line out West, and his young wife was down in the coast town, where there were some comforts for a woman.

He could not have her here. She had offered to come, laughing when he said. "No," and accusing him of mistrusting her cooking. But how could he leave her here by day, within hearing distance of the sort of language the laborers on the lines "out back" habitually indulge in? She would have covered her little pink ears all day and have wilted under the sordidness of her surroundings, the fine, penetrating dust, and the swarms of everlasting flies. So he placed her at a comfortable hotel and went up country. He

had never questioned that he-big, rugged, with the square tipped fingers of the men of his house-toilers of the soil whose muscles never grow flaccid from underwork, must bear the want of luxury and the loneliness. It was part of his plan of life so to endure.

She was different. When trouble came she always looked brightly round for the way out, and availed herself of it, if possible. He sat down to it and suffered it in silence, with strong, bowed shoulders. So to-night he suffered his fever aches and his solitude. But as the hours wore on and the drunken racket abated at the hotel, the stillness began to tell upon his nerves, the sickness upon his mind.

"You will die, alone."

This voice kept whispering in his jerking heart-beats.

"You will die alone-all alone"

He felt under his pillow for the last letter she had written him. It lay beside his watch, with the leathern guard. He had never had a watch chain in his life. He hated anything that was not merely for use. Leather did as well, and was less expensive. The links in his shirt cuffs were bone, and he wore a bone collar stud. That was the man. His wife often chaffed him about it. She loved pretty things. He could not read her letter, for the fever played tricks with his eyes. But he knew all that was in it. To-night she was going to a "bridge" evening in the town. She was going to wear a new dress, a pale lemon color, and she wished he could see it, for it suited her.

"I don't suppose you would pay me a compliment," she had added in her mischievous way. "But that would not matter, so long as you thought it!" *** He seemed to see her now, sitting on a vinehung veranda, looking out to a sea full of the broken reflex of stars, while the moist, salt breeze shook the crests of the

cocoanut palms, and rustled the pandanus between the houses and the curved white beach. Oh, God! for a breeze from the sea. Oh, God! to sink and rest in that cool greenness, out of sight and sound of hilarious drunken brutes, the smell of stale whisky, and the bleat of evil-odored goats, startled from their slumbers by a ribald chorus. There would be a firewood train through, near the morning, that was all, and away by the engine shed a cleaner whistled merrily at his work. There were to be races in the afternoon, more drinking, more swearing, and a few loose women from the camp, to help in the inferno. The engineer buried his gray head in the pillow and groaned.

She had urged him to come to her for a day, and yesterday he had wired that business prevented him. He had not told her he was ill. He would shake off the fever, go to her for the holidays, he had told himself hopefully, yesterday. But tonight he did not think of this. To-night he did not believe he would ever see her again.

"You will die all alone." This had been the unspoken dread of his manhood, a certainty which, curiously enough, had dogged him in many desolate nightwatches, for we all have, hid away somewhere, our special foreboding; and this strong man, standing like a forest giant, self-contained, perfectly alone, until he met her and succumbed, had his own particular fear.

She had been a good wife to him, and he loved her, but his work took him constantly from her. It was hard for her, too, but he wanted her to be comfortable -and now.

And now, not any more would she stand on the railway platform of the town, under the flaring red and yellow posters that advertised a local beer or an American soap, waiting for him with her eyes on the empty, shining curve of rail.

Not any

more would she lean from the carriage window, drawing back a moment in startled pride. He had been so long alone, it seemed incredible that this bright girl, his his wife to be kissed or scolded, or neglected, as he will, as though he could ever will anything to hurt her. And now -he was going to die here-alone-with no long, slim hand nestling into his no

soft cheek against his own seamed one, alone.

There was nothing to reproach her with -it was entirely by his wish that she was not with him to-night. He stretched out his big, shaking arms, and something like a sob came from his deep chest. If she could only come suddenly through the open door, through which he could catch a glimpse of gum boughs, black against the star-threaded sky, and the peaked stacks of the timber, and one kerosene lamp flaring dangerously away lengthsman's tent. If she could only annihilate space, and come tripping in, in her lemon tinted gown, with her high heels clattering on the roughly boarded floor, and the flower in her hair nodding-nodding, to be crushed against his breast! But no. She sat on a vine-curtained veranda by the sea, and watched the players through the French lights, sipping some soft drink from a glass in which the ice clinked deliciously, and laughed at the pretty speeches some vacant, joyed and harmless youngster made to her, and thought kindly of him, of her big, rugged man "cut back."

The engineer dozed, wandering in sleep through the horrible, haunted country of the fever land. He started and muttered in that hag-ridden sleep.

The whistle of the firewood train swinging round the bend awakened him. He felt weak and done. Death, bone-white and ever hungry, leered in at the little paneless window. The candle had left a greasy monument along the side of the ginger-beer bottle it had been stuck into. The dawn was reddening in the East, and the birds chattered their morn-greetings. About the shanty all was silent, with a drink-heavy silence. People passed with the dawn sometimes, the engineer remembered. Men who were over fifty, and who had worked their hearts too hard, were weak with the dawning.

He heard the brakes jar at the siding. Heard the train grate out again, and puff away into the lovely, limpid morning, the only endurable hour of the day out West in mid-summer. He closed his eyes. Death was near, he thought, and he did not care-only he longed for some cool, dark spot underground, where the com-ing molten day could not find him,

where he could feel and fear no more, where there were no races, and no vilemouthed men, or screaming, wanton women, unsexed by the hardness of their hopeless lives.

Swish, through the dew-wet grasses! Swish a woman's skirts brushing the overturned candle box that served for a step to the little wood and canvas hut. Swish! the shurr of silk-the tap of high heels.

"Darling! I came just as I was, straight from the party, with only a mackintosh over my frock. One of the men heard you were ill from the guard on the down train. Oh, you bad thing, not to have wired the truth! I don't think I shall ever forgive you! I am going to take you back with me, to-night. I've settled it all with the department! The inspector is coming back by special from up the line to-night, and we are going to have a carriage reserved on his train. Oh, I can manage the inspector. I don't smile for nothing, except at you, you big goose. Don't worry! You have nothing to do but lie still and let me wait on you, until

we can carry you over to the train. It's no use looking square-jawed and obstinate, not a bit-I've come to stay this time."

He opened his eyes and saw her in her lemon tinted frock with her firm, creamy neck bare under her cloak, and the pointed toes of her satin slippers peeping like golden flowers from under the crisping flounces of her gown, saw the fading blossom she had forgotten to remove from her hair, crushed down under her straw hat-and another sob shook his big chest. Still he believed her a phantom from that torture land he had been journeying in.

"I had simply to tear to catch the train and squeeze into the guard's van, with some greasy men, but they were all kind and none drunk."

She knelt beside him and slipped her hand under his head, and he felt her cheek, wet against his own.

Then the engineer realized that he was not going to die, alone, after all; and in fact, and in this he proved to be perfectly correct, he felt that funny, jerky old heart of his had a good many full years of life in it yet.

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AND THOUGHT a Florida swamp was a devil of a place in which to encamp an army. Not so much as boss even of himself, much less of an army corps, Rand judiciously kept his thoughts to himself. Spreading them would do little good. On the other hand, it might get him in the "mill" -another name for the guard house which was a much more objectionable place than a rancid palmetto slough. The "mill," with its additional terrors, was itself in the geographical center of the big bog.

Following his first survey of the site, Rand really did not have much time to waste in idle thoughts. The Southern sun. was sinking low. If he and the others were to have shelter for their heads that night, action bordering on the automatic must be quickly had. Together he and the comrades of his squad fell to chopping tent pegs, not that the Government was short of the commodity, but rather because it was unable to get tent pegs, as it was other things, just where they were wanted at the proper time. The pitch on the trees the soldiers attacked with a vengeance was so adhesive that the hands clung to it with a grim persistence. "If we stick to each other as well as this blasted stuff does to us, we shall soon be molded into an octagon-shaped mass of uniformed humanity," pessimistically exclaimed the corporal, as he directed the tent pitching. Rand and the others promptly swore a hearty allegiance, but not without a growl at the mosquitoes, the mud and a smell that made the odorless excavator seem gentle.

Private Rand, had he known it, was not long to be doomed to the swamp. A worse fate stared him in the face. Congress, having failed to call for a hospital corps when asking for volunteers, it now became necessary in the maelstrom of the

rush from the North southward to organize a body for the care of the sick and wounded. The order providing for the organization said that clean-cut men of intelligent appearance were wanted for the work. Somehow, in some strange way, the company commander, an honest, hornyfisted brick-layer in civil life, made Private Rand, a bank cashier, his first choice. If the act was accepted as an honor, Rand in no way showed it. It was bad enough to rustle for one's self, without being compelled to give the "first insult to the injured," to the sick, the halt and the blind in a ramshackle, make-shift sort of a hospital. That was a woman's work anyway! Every one rebelled at the obnoxious detail. Each was profuse in lauding the other's fitness for the assignment. Rand revolted like a rhino, but the brick-laying captain stuck stubbornly to his decision that the cashier private was the only "clean-cut, intelligent appearing" guardian of his country in the entire command.

Measles and typhoid had already put in an aggressive appearance. As the lesser of two evils and lacking the bravado spirit of the sensational high diver or bridgejumper, Private Rand, in the end, chose the measles-with a little mumps thrown in. With measles, fate might hold fame for him. A man's stomach ofttimes comes before all else in considering certain matters. In the State camps most stomachs were amply and richly taken care of by generous donations from sweetheart, sister or mother. But now the bill of fare was conspicuous by the absence of everything save substantial old "Government straight." Bacon and hard tack, with coffee utterly ashamed to own its name, let alone the brand, the same being highly flavored with pine knots at that, failed to combine to cause a man to choose a typhoid ward where nothing save limpid liquids found their way about. Full diet was the fare


of the measles men, and it had its attractions more, perhaps, for the attendants than it had for the sick fellows. component parts of the straight ration, masticated into a sodden mass and sent on their circuitous journey through the intestines of ailing soldiers, unlike the horseshoe nail diet of the ostrich, fail in their office.

The isolation hospital for measles and mumps was rigged up in an old farm house standing back in the woods a safe distance from the effects of drills and sham battles. In the yard some years before a prize-fight of international prominence had been pulled off. This was about the only interesting thing about the deserted place. It appealed only to the sporting element. Rand and some of the sick men found few charms in the simple story. Rand's time may have been too much taken up with cleaning spit cups and moving acrimonious patients to certain spots in the well-ventilated, splintered floor alleged by those lying upon it to be softer. There were no beds and little bedding. Rubber ponchos, be it known, spread upon bare floors as mattresses, are famous for flattening flesh to a pan-cake consistency. There being no sheets or downy comforters and very few army blankets, the patients and the attendants were constantly at war. The strife may have been good experience for the coming struggle in the islands of the Caribbean. In the day time the sick men said they were too hot. Obeying orders, the attendants strove to prevent colds by keeping them covered. At night, the sickest man thought he should have all the available blankets to protect him from the floor. Others, more powerful physically, thought differently. So they whined and kicked and growled, fumed, fussed and fought. Ordinary men would have been driven to distraction in a single day, but Rand's captain went on record to testify that the private was something more than ordinary. One strapping fellow, a dealer in "sightless swine" at home (otherwise a "blind pig") wishing to drown his multitudinous woes, drank the contents of all the medicine bottles, believing they contained percentages of alcohol. As the doctor came but once a day, the patients naturally failed in their doses, very little to their displeasure. Rand assured himself

there was not much harm in this intemperate act, since the patients came in at a much greater rate than they went out. Advertised in this way, the medicine would. not have made a howling success upon the markets as a patent medicine cure-all. To cap the climax of all this trouble and annoyance, the reputation a measles ward had in some mysterious way acquired as a good-feeding institution, was all a horrible nightmare, a culinary myth. Complain as they would, Rand and his associates simply could not induce the doctor to get an outfit to permit them to do their own cooking. They were constantly met with the argument that the measles would soon be stamped out, and the pest-house closed. That news for a time buoyed up some of the more depressed ones. But Rand and the tipler had no faith in the curative properties or the intoxicating qualities of the treatment. Rand was already pining for activity, a move into Cuba, or a transfer to the typhoid ward, and the liquids for diversion, anything. Wading in a swamp, languishing in a guard house, or chopping pitchy tent pegs was preferable to this. For three weeks he tried daily to get a pass to visit his comrades from home. That was out of the question. There was too much danger in permitting a man to roam at large fresh from a pest-house. Rand felt as though he were a leper or a man with the sevenyear itch. The meals, carried or hauled in a big camp kettle from the main hospital two miles away, were getting unbearably repulsive. The attendants lost their appetites as fast as the sick men. Boiled potatoes, hard tack, cold canned tomatoes and dish-water coffee got to be aggravating sights. Bread and wholesome water would have been a relish. To flash this fare upon Rand was something similar to waving a red flag at a bull. "I might just as well get the measles myself as to be penned up this way," he mused seriously. If ever a man prayed it is surmised he offered up fervent strains as long as a Sunday sermon to get the measles. In trying to remember whether or not measles or mumps were among his childhood maladies, the big fellow got to thinking of home. The next thing he knew he was desperately homesick. That was the king bee of miserable afflictions. He found he could

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