Skip to content
Read our Accessibility Statement
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Youth's companion
The Youth's companion : the best of American life in fiction fact and comment, v. 93, no. 51, Decemb...
Switch to old viewer
The Youth's companion : the best of American life in fiction fact and comment, v. 93, no. 51, December 18, 1919.
Dickenson, Edwin C.
21 January 2015
Boston : Perry Mason Company
Dime Novel and Popular Literature
The Deserter and the desert / by Edwin C. Dickenson.
Children's periodicals, American.
Disclaimer of Liability
Disclaimer of Endorsement
‘wt 3%’-.sa4',’.“x?’2 %’4...!’.”-:13: %?".g'a.3t‘..-1% r%3!x':’1‘:‘u‘-3: <72-'rf> 5?;‘i"4s.:-‘QT: 63.’:-2-'lL’.’.-<:'5 c"-2".“-:.21'.."’:?i’a 2E7"r..'-5.3:'!5?B-P" ii 2%! 5:733 %‘.'::‘>’-’3"-t‘-Er or... 23.9% car":-1‘.'5.4..%.’% %":‘..>9% %'-s$‘$ %‘%e:' at‘ E-‘Tz’$.‘s‘Z&%‘.‘;:'r‘F'.l‘.’f! $".;'>’R‘>".‘s‘.’-fit’ $535.35 Q3w’rL? $E.‘7.'?‘F.$ ‘e')‘.>’.‘5."x$ S‘$’.7.'?9.‘x’.‘f2 ‘c‘>.z‘”:75"."x-“;’2 WE E‘.?:1‘%e',’3'x’5 &'?z‘).'5;&&-‘,’5% $333 %‘55e'.Gx.K3 sf‘.-r"‘z.. VOLUME 93 NO. 5i Popyrirriltt rate. by Perry Manon vomruny. Boston. ltlmor. OMPAN ON .,. ' IN FlCiION FACT AND COMMENT YEARLY SUl3SCRlP'TlON'25" ' FIVE CENiSACOi’i' DECEMBER I8. I9l9 2 from the top of the last foothill the blotch of green that marked the bed of the river. lie lounged in his saddle. remembered that lounging was nminst the regulations and hannful to the d sat up again. Then he shook his head and urged his horse on. No good stopping there. Better make the shade of the ootwnwoods and the pre- cious stream before it got hotter. Sand and mesquite danced before his eyes in the stearning heat’. His mnteen was empty. and the last drink from it been as hot as morning ooiiee. His eyes were half closed against the glans .IT was midday when MacDonald saw scuttled from beneath his horse's hoofs. Cottontails spread enormous ears and sailed away before him. Once his eye caught the glistening coils of a rattler. too lazy even to sound a warning. llis thoughts wandered disconsolately back to the events of the morning. Al- ready he was sorry. A few hours ago he had been :2. mvalryman in good standing, a soldier with a troop that had made a name for itself. friends, and a job he liked better than he had real- ized. Now he wusa deserter,-or would be soon,-liable to face a firing squad, for these were war times; an outcast with every man's hand against him. Sullenly he reviewed the events that had led to this predicament. He saw now that it dated back to the time of his enlistment. lie had signed up to light in France, and, because mvalry had grown unpopular on the continent, they had sent him to bake in Arizona. Then he had “got in wrong" with the top sergeant by being into two succes- sive rnomlngi M reveille. It seemed to him that every particularly disagree- able bit of fatigue work had some to him after that. But the ultimate and immediate cause for his parting oom- pany with Troop C was an incident that had happened that morning. A platoon had set out. on a three days’ patrol alorliz the border. It was the choice detail of the post for it ended at a ranch where they shot ducks in an artiticinl pond and roasted them after- wards. It meant escape from guard and fatigue at camp and was thenearest thing to a mention that the men had. liiaeDonald lind drawn this detail for the first time. He started out with the others in high spirits, grinning at his envious tent mates left in camp. And then, at the first halt, scarcely five miles from camp, the top sergeant came back for it belated inspection. ills eye. unfailing for dotail of eqnipmentrestrd on P01 1!. “ W ro is your extra bandoloer, MacDonald ?” he demanded. In honor, liiaeI)onalrl’s hand went tohis shoulder. by Edwin C.Dicl<enson The strap was not there. He re- membered then that he had laid it on the saddle rock when he had gathered up saddle and bridle. “I forgot it,” he stammered. “Forgot itl" barked the top sergeant. “You know the Captain's orders for a man who for- gets his ammunition?" MacDonald was too miserable to answer. “Go back to omnp and report to the fatigue sergeant for duty on the picket line.” The patrol went on; MacDonald turned back. in spite of his anger and chagrin he meant to return to ramp. But as he rode on his sense of injustice grew. He had a full wr- tridge belt of ammunition. Besides, there had been extra bandoleers in the wagon that no oompanied the patrol. The “top” had it in for him; he would have let another man off with a warning. Then Maclinnald thought of an- other twenty-four hours on fatigue. The day before he had finished his regular detail of cleaning the picket line, sweeping the parade ground and doing a dozen other minor and menial tasks. Worst of all was the thought of facing his mates in camp with the isle of his forgetfulness Money jingled in his pocket. Yesterday had been a long-delayed pay day, He would not be looked for in camp for three days and the railway was only forty miles distant. Before he knew it he had reinod his horse into a cross trail to the east. Through the hot morning he had ridden. Long before this time his fellows on the patrol would have halted in some shady cation until the scorching noonday hours were over. But he had pressed on, following the vision of the comfortable cushions in a swift-running train, of the coast with cooling drinks and plenty to eat. of the turf and the trees and the flowers and the sea. To ease his conscience he told himself that he would reenlist under another name and go to France with an overseas division. Now, at last. with a sigh of relief. he reached the shade of the ootwnwooda A hun- dred yards beyond, a stmam boiled out of the sand. ran a short course and seeped out of sight again with all the mystery of a desert river. llis aninmldid not pause in the shade of the oottonwoods, but went on and wad->d into the shallow, swift-running stream. liiacilonald looked down at it In disgust The water was chocolate in oolor, and only a few inches tloep. “A real riverl" the horse- man repent;-d bitterly. The horse thrust its muzzle eagerly into the dist-nlnred water. raised it in disnppoint- merit, and then. with A sigh rat was almost human. low- ered it again and drank nois- ily. Iilaclionald diillliillllii-‘(I stitlly. lie was more ruuidle mm...-as -v u r lvrcnu sore and weary than he had realized. and there was run unsteadiness about his gait that vaguely alarmed him. Limping upstre.-un, be lowered him- self at full length to drink. [it the nrst mouthful he exclaimed and spat the stun‘ from his mouth. It was not only coffee-like in appearance but wamr to the taste. liut already his thirst was a need as well as a desire. Thnisting his face into the tepid Hood, he drunk. When he had finished. he returned to the shade of a big oottonwood under which was a strip of close-cropped turf. The heat was more terrific than ever; the water he had drunk soorned to increase his dis:-omfort rather than to relieve it Taking oi! his spurs and his car- trldge belt, be stripped and went back to the streiun. The horse, having drank im oil, wandered dejeciedly back to graze on the saint)’ herbage MacDonald lay at full length in the middle of the narrow stream and found temporary re- lief. The water barely oovorod his body. Now and then he thrust his in-ml under and found an appreciable relief from tho heat of the noon- duy sun. Occasionally he got to his feet, and the breeze. as It dried him rapidly, would give him delicious but short-lived refreshment. For a long time he lingt-rod. A Iassitude had crept over him that he could not shake off; he seemed unable to summon will power enough to leave the tepid slreurn. Even the instinct of self-preservation seemed to have been dulled in him. It was none too friendly a oountry. There had been rumors nt camp the day be- fore of raiding bands of Yaquis. Yet Mao- Iionnld had violated one of the cardinal rules of the cavalry when disinounted: he had left his gun in the gun boot. Moreover, his pistol wmz in its holster athuclied to the belt, a hun- drod yards away beneath the cottonwood trees. With the act of deserting had come a reaction against the routine and habits of the soldier. Once he got to his feet and walked halfway back toward the trees with the intention of getting his gun; but the sun beat down so fiercely that be halted ind:-<-lsin>ly. turned and went back to the rippling current of the stream. There he lay until a shrill neigh from his horse roused was horseman enough to know what that neigh meant-the presence of other horses. Getting quickly to his feet, he saw a bond of about a. dozen horsemen just entering the grove. They were from Mex- ico and sinned, and MacDon- ald, knowing that Arizona tolerated no armed Mexi- mns. felt his heart sinlr, for theywere nearer to his horse and equipment than he was. At the nelirh of MncIlon- uld's horse they had halted in suspicion. But the grove was opt-n,und the only thing THEA DEsERTER‘AND THE DESERT in rziglit was a single animal. They came slowly on with rlfla across the porn- niels of their saddles Then they saw Maellonald. naked. They greeted him with laughing Jeers, but as he oontin- uul to walk toward his clothes a pistol orm-lied. and the sand kicked up in front f him. Muclionald stopped in his traclrs. lie into a strange thought llmt if he only hail his clothes on they might offer some resistance to a bullet; to face gun- fire without a. stitch on an-mod to .lo- mand a superior sort of criurruze. As he stood there under the blazing sun, a whim man and helpless the brown Moxlrnns sat their horses in the shade of the big cottonwood and curiously looked him over. Th:-n, at I guttuml word of oonnnnnd, one of the horsemen wheelwl his pony and "lie oil’ in the direction of the rail- way. rloubtleu to see whether lilac- Donald was part of an BAlV'al'l(’9 guard. The others rode by him down to the water, giving him curious and un- friendly glances. liaelinnuld started lxu-,k toward his clothes znmin but stopp<><l at I sharp command from the leader of the band; the liiexloun potted in liolstered revolver significantly. It was MacDonald's first experience with men who held human life soclieap. it was hard to believe that they would shoot him as carelemly as if he had been a dog; and he was surprised. too, in a vague way, that the matter was not of more concern to him. Just now his chief thought was to get out of that blazing sun. lie tumed back to the stnzim and crouched in the water. The bandits made no objection Pn-sently the scout came canterlng back: he shook his head at the ques- tioniml glztnoe of the leader, and then the members of the band tslkrd together in their own lan They were at odds about something -that was plain. The leader shook his head vigorously at some argument that secured popular with the m1Ijon'ty of his hand. There was more of the Span- ish-llexlmu in the leader. He was slender. aquiline of feature. somewhat of the dandy ; his apparel and the silver adnrnments of his horse's bridle were gaudier than those of the others. liis followers had the high cheek bones, brood faces and squat bodies of the Yaqui. At last the leader. with a certain dignity and finality, waved aside the arguments of his men and, turning to Mar-Donald. spoke in good English. “They would kill you at once. gringo. These men of mine do not like your white skin, and they have no inin;:in:I- tion. lint I. I am their captain, and it ploasvs me to give you your lite--for the pmserit." he added, with an un- fricndly gleam in his dnrk eyes. “It is warm. you will need no clothes so those - 5’5‘:‘x‘3i"x:’E‘.‘5.-7‘>".‘C3".;.3‘ ‘-'.I.‘.&’.Wzx".‘.’s’ $27: .&’ ‘z:."‘J’:77‘.‘x’."i.’? ‘2E‘I7:'v‘5'3‘i$ %E%T"k.%’.'?‘F.% $5.33 9..“.‘z’;7"-"” %.‘ $3 ‘o;"“.‘z'.5as."’;’o’ %“..‘z’.%"""' w‘ 91 m