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Wells, Chester Caesar (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume X, Number 3 (December 1912)

Webb, Charles Nicholls
A pawn of fate,   pp. [unnumbered]-26



                   A PAWN OF FATE
                     By Charles Nicholls Webb, '15
"These are pawns that the hand of Fate careless sweeps from the checkerboard."
                                  -Ballads of Misery by John Cartar
HIDDEN on the valley side by dense
hazel brush the boy slouched lazily
along the cowpath, which wound itself
snakelike around the wooded hill. As he
walked along he kicked his toes into clods
of dirt in the pathway, and with a childish
interest, watched them spurt into small
clouds of finely divided dust.  When he
came to the point where the path issued
boldly upon a prominent face of the hill,
he ceased this amusement, and, before
leaving the sheltered portion to make a de-
tour about the open space, surveyed the
valley keenly.
  It was that warm period just preceeding
summer when spring fever ceases to be a
delectable experience and becomes, instead,
an interminable bore. Pleasant Valley lay
in a fitful siesta.  It seemed singularly
lifeless despite the profusion of growing
things. On the opposite hillside several
head of cattle were huddled together be-
neath a half dead elm. A chicken hawk,
the only sign of life in the heavens, circled
with lazy deliberation at an incalculable
height above its prospective victim hidden,
for any sign to the contrary, in the grass
below. Satisfied with his examination the
boy hastened into the open. At one point
a huge boulder lay on the hillside. He
passed back of this and then, again pro-
tected by the trees, started on a straight
course up the steep hillside, coming at
length to an abandoned lime kiln half hid-
den by piles of brush.
  At some distant period this kiln had been
converted into a cave by merely covering
the open top with logs, which in turn, were
hidden by heaps of brush and clumps of
vegetation. It was an ideal rendezvous
for adventurous youths or hunted men and
the boy gave a shiver of satisfaction as he
entered it through the narrow doorway.
The interior had been furnished recently
and it would seem, with an eye to per-
manency.   In the dryest corner lay a
mattress nearly new and covered with
several heavy blankets and two shabby
sofa pillows. A shelf fashioned from a
cracker box was fastened to one wall. It
held several cans of vegetables and meat,
a stone jar evidently containing other pro-
visions, and a pile of five cent novels.
Articles of clothing hung from a hook in
one corner, and in lieu of chairs and a table
stood two small boxes and one large one
in the middle of the cave. Evidently the
place had been furnished by novel reading
boys.
   Scant light was admitted through the
 narrow aperture which served as a door,
 and, upon entrance, the boy hastened to
 light a candle which he fastened to the top
 of a box. Stepping to the shelf he deposit-
 ed a large calibre revolver which he re-
 moved from his hip pocket, and selected


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