Newspaper Archive of
The Billings County Pioneer
Beach, North Dakota
September 27, 1945     The Billings County Pioneer
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September 27, 1945

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f i THE BILLINGS COUNTY PIONEER THE STORY THUS FAR: In a cold rainstorm, Flicka's colt, long overdue, is horn. Ken McLaughlin, Flicka's 12.year- old owner, finds her in a gulch. With the assistance of hls brother Howard he brings the mare and colt to the stables. Ken's astonishment, the foal is white. It is evidently a throwback to the Albino, n wild white stallion that is Fllcka's grandsire. This horse had stolen Gypsy from the Goose Bar ranch, the b/g horse farm owned by Ken's father In the Wyo- ming mountains. Her colts, while splen- did physicail~, were all unmanageable. Ken is worried when he realizes that the A/biuo's characteristics have cropped out In his colt. He waits for a favorable ~me to announce his big news. CHAPTER IH But the foal! That all-cOnquerlng prepotency Rob McLaughlin had spoken Of! After all the trouble Rob had taken to rid his stock of the hated blood of the Albino, here it was cropping out again. This foal was unlike its dam, unlike its sire, unlike any horse on the Goose Bar ranch. It resembled only one--the Albino. It was almost like having the Albino right there in the stall! Was the power and ferocity of the great outlaw enclosed within that mottled baby hide of pink and white? This thought made shivers go through Ken. Flicks had finished her mash. Ken lifted the bucket down and went to the door of the barn. He swung the top half open and looked out. It had stopped snowing. The wind had re- versed itself and had blown the storm back into the east whence it had come. There was a riot of squd- dins clouds in the sky with big stars close and bright, going in and out between them. It was much warmer. Ken folded his arms on the bottom half of the Dutch door and leaned there thinking. There were still other shadow- shapes woven into the aura that en- circled the foal like the predictions of a fortune-teller. That word Rob McLaughlin had dropped so casually into Ken's thought stream that day--race horse-- Race horse. It could not, of course, be Flicks, owing'to the thickened tendon which was the re- sult of her infection. But why not a colt of Flicks's? With a sweet and tractable mother to teach him man- ners, with the power and speed which came down to every one of the A.lbino's line--why not? It had been Nell who had first made this sug- gestion. Since then it had not been out of Kerfs mind. Ken turned 'from the barn door and ran his hand down that right hind leg of Flicka's. It was his fault--that thickened tendon---be- cause he had made them catch her for him. "But you're not sorry, are you, Flicka?" he whispered, going to her head, "because now you've got me---" Her face, leaning against him, was very still and contented. Ken took the lantern, gave one last look backward, and then left the barn, closing the door tightly behind him. He ran down through the gorge In front of the rambling stone ranch house were several acres of lawn, called by his mother, the Green, after the neat little village Greens of New England where she had spent her childhood. It was covered with a thin sheet of snow. Ken ran across it to the house, and, in the warm kitchen, took oft his slicker ,and sou'wester and drank the hot chocolate Howard had made. While they sat drinking, the two boys engaged in one of the wran- gling; incomprehensible and wholly ~blique discussions which make adult listeners conclude that the con- ;titution of boys' minds, and their :anguage, have nothing to do with reason, logic or natural facts. "Promise!" "Let go of me!" "But he's mine." "My tongue's not yoursu" "Prom--" Ken's voice rose. "Sh--sh--sh--" warned Howard. But Ken was conscious of being in the right. If their fathe~r heard the noise and discovered it was be- cause Howard wouldn't promise not to tell about Ken's colt before he had a chance to, Howard would get it in the neck, "Promise. Promisel PROMISE!" "All right, I promise. Get off my back." Bound for the stables and the colt, they paused behind the house at the sight of two strange cars. Visitors. Visitors brought home to the ranch from the dinner party last night. They recognized the cars. The blue one belonged to Colonel Morton Har- ris, an old classmate of their father's at West Point, now Colonel of Artillery at Fort Francis War- ren. The gray one belonged to Charles Sargent, millionaire horse- breeder, owner of the famous rac- ing stud, Appalachian. Sargent had his borne ranch not twenty-five miles from the Goose Bar. "Charley Sargent and Mort Har- ris," said Howard airily. "That's keen. No church today." But Ken stood looking at the cars and thinking. Charley Sargent, tall and thin as a beanpole in his narrow Cheyemle pants--always kidding and olowning--his long brown fac~ under the widebrimmed western hat looking as Gary Cooper's might when he got older--it was always t~m when Charley ~argent came to ~Mtt, and he might talk about his race horses. Ken's heart felt a little flutter of excitement. He wanted "to know all he could find out about race horses. And Appalachian, the big black racing stud--he- "Come on!" said Howard, heading for the barn. Ken walked slowly after him, won. dering if the presence of visitors would interfere with his own sur- prise. Should he tell them at break- fast? It had to be arranged so that the impression was favorable. They had to be glad and proud that it was white, as he was himself. That wasn't all, He had really to act so that no one, not even his father, would suspect that he was hiding anything. Thatwas going to be hard. It was hard enough to keep any sort of secret--harder still it you felt the least bit guilty about it--- When they reached the corral they ssw that Flicks and the colt were both out, enjoying the early morn- ing sunshine. Gus and Tim were watching, astonished and amused. Ken rushed at Gus and grabbed him. "Don't tell anyone, Gun--they ~- F/-////~/ t ."Would it cost much, Dad?" don't know yet. I want to s'prise 'era--promise--" "'Yu cud knock me over with a feather, Kennie," said the old Swede, with his slow smile. "But white horses is gude luck, they say." ' "Never seen no such colt on this ranch before," added Tim. "What'll the Captain say?" "Don't t~ll him until I have a chance to," insisted Ken. "Promise, will you?" "Sure. You can tell 'era, Kennle," said Gtm. "She's your mare, and your colt too, I guess." Ken opened the barn door and called Flicks in. The colt did not follow but stood blinking in the sun- shine. Gun and Tim shooed it gently in. Ken put them both in the far- thest stall and he and Howard stood for a while watching them. But Kc~ had important business on his mind, and, presenUy ran down to the house and found that his mother was making breakfast and his father upstairs shavimg. Ken leaned against the bathroom door and called gently, "Dadl" "Hullo there!" "Say, dad--would you tell me something?" "Depends." "Well--if you had money enough, what kind of fences would you have on the ranch?'~ "Well--if I had money enough, I'd tear out every foot of barbed wire and put in wooden fences. Good solid posts about ten feet apart and four feet high. Even one line of rafts on top of that would keep horses in ---that is, if it was solid enough so they couldn't rub them down with their fannies." "Would it cost much, dad?" ,'You can get the poles for noth. ing up in the Government Reser~ve, but the cutting and "hauling would cost money--that's work. I wouldn't have time to do it myself." "Even if it costs lots of money, dad, it wouldn't matter." Rob's answer was smothered in the sounds that go with shaving, and suddenly he began his favorite shay. ing song. Suddenly the door burst open and he strode out in riding breeches. boots, singlet, and a very gay good ~umor. His black hair was rough, his eyes very blue, and all his big white teeth showing. He almost rode over Ken and the boy felt over. powered by the impact of his father's personality. With the door closed between them, it had been less potent. "~'ll be waiting for you a-hat the kitchen door!" roared Rob, stamp- ing down the hall toward his room. He stopped at the head of the stairs, looked over and shouted, "Say, you fellowst MorH Charley! Are you still asleep? Flapjacks comin' up!" There was an answering shout from the terrace st the front of the house, "We're way ahead of youl" and Rob hurried into his room to finish dressing. Outside, Nell and her two guests were being entertained, as was usual at the Goose Bar ranch, by the antics of assorted animals. Chaps, the black cocker, and Kim, the collie, were chasing each other on the Green as if nothing were needed for ex~]berant happiness but to have been shut up for a night and then let out again. All traces of snow had disap- peared. There was intense sunlight ~reaking everywhere into the colors of the prism. There was a boister- ous wind bending the pines and making Nell's blue linen dress flut- ter. "What do you think of him?" she called to Colonel Harris, who stood near the fountain inspecting Rob's work team. They were huge hrown brutes. "That one you're looking at is Big Joe," she added, "the pride of Rob's heart." "I should say," said the Colonel in his cultured, precise manner, tak- ing off his glasses and polishing them, "that he is a pure-bred Percheron, sixteen hands high, and weighs thirteen hundred pounds." "'Just about right," said Nell, picking up her cat, Pauly, who was begging beside her. Pauly, a sinu- ous, tortoiseshell angora with long topaz eyes and a little siren face, slipped one arm around Nell's neck, hung on, and tried to lick her mouth. Nell tapped the tiny coral sickle- shaped tongue and laughed. Charley Sargent's lanky form hovered over her. "You're 10akin' mighty pretty this mornin'--how do you get those pink cheeks?" "You forget I've been slaving over the kitchen stove getting breakfast for--let's see---five male men---" She buried her face in Pauly's soft brown fur. Charley Sargent always embarrassed her with his flattering eyes and flirty ways. He made her feel about eighteen. "Isn't this a day!" she exclaimed. "Who could believe it was snow- ing last night! That's Wyoming for you!" She turned her face up to the sky. There were magpies and plover and chicken hawks gliding on steeply tilted wings against the blue, and now and then, when the wind veered, came a breath of snow from the Neversummer Range in the south. "Last night," said Charley, still hovering, "was a mighty nice party. But I'm afraid to face Rob. He bawled me out for dancin' with you so much." "This other one," called Colonel Hal~ris, "is not pure-bred, is he?'" "No," said Nell, running down the steps to join him. "That's old Tom- my. He's our bronco-buster. When- ever Rob.has a young horse he wants to take the ginger out of, he harnesses him up with Tommy." While she chattered she was re- membering how furious Rob had been last night when Charley Sar- gent had waltzed with her and spun her around and around so fast that, her long blue dress had stood out like the skirt of a whirling dervish. All the same---it was fun. Breakfast was noisy. There were flapjacks, thin and brown and light with slightly crmp edges. Piles of them, piping hot. A bowl of brown sugar was on the table and a Jug of ~aple syrup. With her flapjacks. Nell liked marmalade, melted and thinned and hot. "By Jiminy, I'll try thatl" ex- claimed Clmrley, taking the pitcher. All the time, the thought of his colt was never out of Ken's mind. Even while he was watching and listening to the others, he was trying to figure out just how he would tell it. The build-up he had attempted with his father hadn'! come to much. Ken wanted, too, to talk to his mother about the things she would like to buy when his colt was winning money on the race tracks. Dresses and velvet things with fur like the General's wife wore, so that they would all fall in love with the colt the moment they saw it because of all it was going to do for them. But as the hilarious breakfast pro- gressed through grapefruit and flap- jacks and sausages and pots orator- fee with thick yellow Guernsey cream, and Rob got up again and again to go to the k/tchen, and How- ard carried piles of plates in and out, Ken became convinced that this wasn't the time to tell it. They wouldn't pay attention---would Just say, "Oh, a new colt? FLicks has foaled at last? Fine---pass the syr- up, will you?" After alL there were so many colts born on the Goose Bar ranch. A car drove up and stopped be. hind the house. As Rob returned from the kitchen, Colonel Harris said, "That's probably the sergeant and orderly with my mare." "What for?" asked Nell. Rob explained. "Mort wants to have his saddle mare bred by Ban- ner, so I told him to send her up today." "It's late for breeding, isn't it?" "Yes," said Harris, "it is. I thought she was bred, but she isn't after all. so we're going to try again." "Why don't you have her bred by a real stud!" said Charley. "You do~t happen to be ignorant of the fact that my Appalachian is the finest racin' stud in horse history, do you?" (TO BE CONTINUED) Released by Western Newspaper Union. By VIRGINIA VALE ONE year ago Darryl Zanuck, of 20th Century- Fox, selected five compara- tively unknown young play- ers and predicted that within 12 months each would be a star. He was right. Jeanne Crain, Dick Haymes and Vivi- an Blaine are currently starring in the new technicolor musical, "State Fair"--though they don't seem exactly stellar material. June Hayer is seen in "Where Do We Go From Here?" with Fred MacMurray, will be seen with Betty Grable in "The Dolly Sisters." William Eythe played opposite Tallulah Bankhead in "A Royal Scandal," and will be seen in ~a starring role in 'The House on Ninety-Second Street," the F. B. L-atomic bom2 news-drama. 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