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          At ten o'clock, the next morning, the air was still filled with flying, female figures. Though my nature is hard, it filled me with frenzy and terrible anguish to see those flying forms slowly dying of starvation for lack of food and water. At five o'clock of the same day, the flying forms still cluttered the last rays of the sun. The cordon of police stood by and cast menacing looks in my direction. In desperation, I plunged into the hotel, seized my trusty blunderbuss, which had never failed me in my vicissitudes. Would I see those guests, who had entrusted themselves in my keeping, slowly starve?

          I can see them yet, with their anguished faces and tongues hanging out, crying for a drop of water to quench their terrible thirst. My decision was made ! Come what would, I must act, and with a sweep of my blunderbuss, finger on trigger I pulled. Twenty-six female forms lay on the pavement in death-like silence.

          A crushing blow on my head, semi-consciousness and the cries of the multitudes, and I felt myself being dragged through the streets to a loathesome cell. Weeks later, I was tried and sent to San Quinton prison to                                                                             .
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serve a fifteen year sentence in solitary confinement. Last fall, I was released, and wandered to the northern Wisconsin forests to spend the remainder of my life communing with nature."
          As the man finished his story, his powerful head sank slowly to his breast. Mike Dutton, who was the first to reach his side, tried, with a quick movement to arouse the man, but to his surprise, found him lifeless. There was a dead silence, and every head was bowed in profound respect to the man who had never had a real chance in life.
          An owl in a dead hemlock, near the bunkhouse called lustily to a porcupine gnawing on a young balsam. The yip of a timber wolf, proclaimed "all's well", in the dense forest. A pall was thrown over the "deacon's seat" for some nights to come.


THE   HIDE   BEHIND

          Weeks had passed since the death of the dark-visaged stranger, and the gloom which had hung over the camp had partially lifted, for the earth revolves and man must live. The "deacon's chair" was once more called into service.
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The Hodag and Other Tales of the Logging Camps, Written by Lake Shore Kearney
(Madison, WI: Democrat Printing Press, 1928) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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