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"FURRINERS"

by Harold Titus
Author of "An Event."

IT WAS no fight. Neither—knowing "Baldy" Brown—was it the sickening triumph of a bully. It was just a natural reaction, only the inevitable boiling-over of that spirit which was once so typical but which is now ebbing so rapidly from Michigan lumbercamps: the popping of a safety-valve, which resulted in bruised faces and battered bodies, minor results compared to what might have happened had there been no outlet before the emotion gained that strength at which it would burst all bonds.

He went from one end of the bunk-house to the other, roaring as a storm, flinging his thick arms with the vigor of drive-rods, demolishing with a final swing the crude chair that had put three of them flat; kicking, clutching, striking, swearing. And they scurried from him, those Slavs. Not one of them wanted to stand, so those who were bruised and beaten were only the ones who tarried too long in his path.

Such men could give no battle to Baldy Brown, with his six foot three and his two hundred ten—all lithe, pliable muscle on sturdy bone—and his woods training. A blow, sometimes two, at the most three, sufficed; they were whipped in a breath. And he roared his way onward, daring them to stand.

So, I repeat, it was no fight.

They were foreigners, and the first of their kind with whom Baldy Brown had ever been forced to work. Up there on the south shore European labor was making its initial appearance in lumber-camps, marking the final passing of that swashbuckling clan which lent romance to the devastation of forests. And Baldy, one of the last of his kind, could not bear it.

He had stood much in his time; stood the coming of a milder breed of bosses, the going on of scores of companions, the arrival of a less stanch army of native stock. But when they put him to bunk and eat and work with foreigners who would not do a man's work and who could not make a man's fight—well, something had to break! For in the woods a man's capacity for manual accomplishment and blow-for-blow conflict is the measure of his value to the race; and wo to him who shirks!

These men shirked and on them Baldy Brown, accepted over a hundred-mile radius as a true woodsman, had breathed his damning judgment.

"Th' furriners!" he'd mutter under his breath. "Th' low-down furriners!" Failing in his classification to remember that he had toiled and brawled side by side with French and Scotch in his hey-days. "They ain't a man among 'em! Furriners!"

Then the limit; and unprovoked by word or look he bellowed his warning and charged through them, vision red, finding relief in the way he knew. From the tortured soul of one man comes a great symphony; from another, a master poem or picture; when Baldy Brown's innermost being writhed there could be no relief other t...

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