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"Santa Lucia, California. I was in the The two older boys made off toward West high school there two years. Everything 's Hall, and as soon as they were out of hearing quite quite different here.” Ned spoke Ned turned indignantly on Laurie. hurriedly, as though anxious to switch the "You're a nice one!" he hissed. "Look conversation from football, and Laurie at the hole you 've got me in! 'Half-back!' smiled in wicked enjoyment. “The cli- 'Played against Weedon School! What did mate 's different, you know," Ned went on you want to talk that way for? Why, those desperately, "and the country and-and fellows think I know football!" everything."

"Cheer up," answered his brother, grin“I suppose so," said Frank Brattle. ning. “All you 've got to do is bluff it "What 's your position, Turner?”

through. Besides, Proudtree asked us not Position?"

to let on we did n't know a football from a Yes, I mean where did you play? Behind doughnut, and I had to say something! You the line, I suppose, or maybe end.”

acted as if you were tongue-tied!” "Oh, yes, yes, behind the line.

“Yes, that 's so-you started it!" Ned 1-1-"

turned belligerently around. “Said it would “There are n’t many fellows can play half be a favor to you,”

He stopped, discoverback the way Ned can," said Laurie, gravely. ing that Proudtree had silently disappeared “He won't tell you so, but if you ever meet and that he was wasting his protests on the any one who saw him play against Weedon empty air. "Huh!” he resumed after a School last year

moment of surprise, “it 's a good thing he "Shut up!"' begged Ned, almost tearfully. did beat it! Look here, Laurie, I 'm in a

Kewpie was grinning delightedly. Joe beast of a mess. You know I can't face that Stevenson viewed Ned with absolute affection. captain chap to-morrow. Suppose he hand“Half-back, eh? Well, we can use another ed me a football and told me to kick it!". good half, Turner, and I hope you 're the "He won't. I've watched football pracfellow. I don't know whether Kewpie told tice back home. You 'll stand around in a you that I 'm captain this year, but I am, circle and I'm going to try mighty hard to captain How the dickens can I stand in a circle?” a winning team. You look a bit light, but objected Ned. I dare say you 're fast, and, for my part, I “And pass a football for awhile. Then like them that way. Besides, we've got

Besides, we've got you'll try starting, and maybe fall on the Mason and Boessel if we want the heavy ball a few times, until you 're nice and lame, sort. Practice starts to-morrow at four, by and after that you 'll run around the track

How about your brother? Glad half a dozen times—to have him come out, too. Even if he “Oh, shut up! You make me sick! I has n't played, he might learn the trick. won't do it. I 'm through. I 'd look fine, And there 's next year to think of, you would n't I? I guess not, partner!" know.

"You 've got to, Ned,” replied Laurie “I think not, thanks," answered Laurie. calmly. “You can't back down now. The “One football star is enough in the family.” honor of the Turners is at stake! Come on

"Well, if you change your mind, come on up and I'll read that rules book to you. and have a try. Glad to have met you. Maybe some of it 'll seep in!" See you to-morrow-er-Turner. I want After a moment of indecision Ned arose to find Dave, Frank. Coming along?" and followed silently.

(To be continued)

the way.

MY FAVORITE TREE

SOME people like the rugged oak,

Which grows so straight and tall; Some like the maple-tree because

It 's gorgeous in the fall.

Some like the pine, and some the elm,

And some the apple-tree;
But just about this time each year,
The Christmas-tree suits me!

Mary F. K. Hutchinson.

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The story of a boy who lost Christmas and found it again

By KATHERINE DUNLAP CATHER

this year."

In the doorway of a cabin in the California “I 've been waiting a long, long time," he
foot-hills, a dark-eyed child waited for the re said, as he watched him unsaddle the mus-
turn of the cow-boys. He had been there for tang and turn him into the enclosure for the
almost an hour, ever since the sun, like a great night. “I wanted to ask you about Père
blood-orange, had dropped down on the sum Noël."
mit of Bear Mountain, flooding the uplands Barton looked at the eager face with a puz-
with saffron-colored light and stretching vio zled expression.
let curtains across the cañons. The sunset "Père Noël?" he questioned. "Père Noël?

was a signal to him Who's he?''
that the work of the “Why, don't you know?" came the sur-
range was finished

prised answer. “He's the good saint who for the day and that comes on Christ's birthnight and leaves gifts the men would be for children who have been good and bundles starting homeward, of switches for bad ones. Always, in Belseventeen in all gium, he put cakes and sweetmeats in my big, stalwart fellows shoe when I set it by the hearth. But when who spent many the war came, the Prussians drove him away; long, and solitary so after that I had nothing at all. But I hours following the thought here in America, where there had course of the cattle. been no battles, he might come.”

He wondered who The cow-boy gave a whistle of surprise. would be first to "Well, you see we never had any boys on come. It did not the Rio Bravo Ranch before, so the old fellow matter much, be has n't been in the habit of stopping here. cause they all be But take my word for it that he 'll be around longed to this country, that was

But even as he spoke, his eyes seemed to different from his say, “Just how it will be managed is more old home across the than I know." sea, and any one Barton went to his cabin to wash for sup

of them could tell per, and Jacques climbed up on the corral him what he wanted to know.

fence to talk to the horses. Never had he Somehow he hoped that it might be Tom seen so many in one place until he came to Barton, the big foreman, because Barton the Rio Bravo Ranch, and to watch the men had such a pleasant way of showing him the saddling and bridling them, or a mustang horses and cattle, and was always willing that never had known a rope trying to keep a to sit by his bed at night and tell stories cow-boy from mounting him, was wonderthat chased away the lonely feeling that fully fascinating. At first, fear lest somecomes to little boys who are far from home body should be killed made him miserable, and want their mothers to tuck them down but he soon learned that range riders know under the covers.

how to meet every fractious move of their anA cloud of dust rolled southward from the imals. So he watched in delight, so strange mesa. That meant that somebody was riding and exciting it all was, for Jacques Buchère toward the ranch-houses, and Jacques leaned had not always lived in the California footforward, alert. A moment later he saw a hills, and his life before he came to them was horse come galloping toward him, and then spent in a very different world from the cow he recognized Pluto, the pinto mustang country. Tom Barton always rode. His dark eyes Beyond the sea, in the Belgian city of Lougleamed eagerly as they watched the rider vain, he had opened his eyes upon the world; approach; and as the man rode in through and there, until seven years old, he had lived the gate from the open range, he ran down to with his father and mother. It was a happy the corral to meet him.

life, with school during autumn and winter,

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SO

"HE WATCHED IN DELIGHT,

games and sports throughout the long sum “I mean to adopt him," he said, “and you mer-time, and sometimes a picnic in the for- boys will have to help me make him happy." ests beyond the town. But the war came, Cow-boys are big, rough fellows, hard and Louvain went down before the German muscled and iron nerved. They must be, to advance like wheat stalks in front of a scythe; stand the life of the range. But it does not and when the bombardment was over, he was follow that their hearts are hard too. And alone in the home that had been such a pleas- these riders of the Rio Bravo, when they ant one. His parents? Ah yes, he had lived heard their employer's words, answered with with them; but if it could speak, a Prussian a cheer. shell would tell their pitiful story.

"We'll all adopt him," spoke Jack Rankin, At first, it seemed just a nightmare that who was so big and shaggy in his bearskin would pass away, the loneliness, the sadness coat that he looked like a bear. and stillness of it all. But when he looked And sixteen lusty voices shouted in chorus, through the broken windows into the smoke- Yes, yes!” choked street, he knew it was not dream, but So Jacques came over sea and land to find reality.

a whole company of foster-fathers waiting to Then a woman came, a good woman who receive him. It was a bit bewildering at first, wanted to help in alleviating the suffering of and he got names and faces badly mixed. Louvain, and into her heart crept Jacques. But before he had been on the ranch a day, he

decided that the nicest thing that can happen to any one is to be adopted by seventeen cow-boys. He was more sure of it than ever as he sat on the fence in the twilight; for as the men rode in, each had a cheery word for him, and Bud Nelson, the fat little cow-punch who made such a funny picture riding steers, brought him a rattlesnake skin that he said would make the finest kind of a belt. And had n't Tom Barton just said that Père Noël would certainly leave gifts in his shoe this year?

Jacques went to EDWIN JOHN PRITTIE bed early that night.

The cow-boys gathered

in Tom Barton's She petted him and made the hard hours cabin to talk over plans, for the foreman had softer. And one day, to a ranch in the Cali- said they must have a Christmas tree, and fornia foot-hills, went a letter with the Bel- ' how it was to be managed was more than anygian boy's story.

body knew. They were forty miles from a “I want to find a home for him in America,” store. The nearest evergreen trees were in wrote this nurse to her cousin William Dex the high Sierras, several times forty miles ter, who was owner of the Rio Bravo Ranch. away, and the next day would be the twenty"I want him to be happy after the sad things fourth of December. he has known.”

"I tell you, it can't be done,” Sid Watkins William Dexter made a resolution as he drawled, as they talked the matter over. read that letter, and very soon afterward he "I'm game for anything anybody wants to do told his resolution to the cow-boys.

for the kid, but it would be as easy for a

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SO STRANGE AND EXCITING IT ALL WAS

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