This 1912 film was adapted into a short story for the People's Popular Monthly in July 1915
[Editor's note: judging by the reviews of the film, this story version contains some major changes of motivation]
The only unpleasant phase connected with Vera's wedding was the parting with her brother, Ted. Since childhood they had been almost inseparable; in fact, had been more like sweethearts than brother and sister. Then handsome Frank Bowers came. He was the son of a wealthy fruit grower in California, but he had gone to Arizona to dig his own fortune out of the earth. He had been on his way to obtain new supplies one day, when a break-down forced him to apply for assistance at Vera's home. Her parents approved of the match and felt no unusual grief over the parting, when she was a out to start for Frank's claim, but Ted could not reconcile himself to the separation, and as he stood beside the hired automobile holding Vera's hand he appeared to be all broken up.
"It's hard on him, poor fellow!" Frank said, as they boarded the train at the station, "but after a time he will get over it. He had to lose you sooner or later. And I know you must feel it too, dear. I realize the sacrifice you are making, and, before we go any further, we'll make a pact that no sacrifice will be to great for one of us to make for the other. Do you agree?"
And pretty Vera agreed.
Six hours later they left the train at Rohrs and climbed into a stage for the fifteen-mile drive to Frank's temporary home. They reached there in the late afternoon and Vera received a pleasant surprise.
"Oh, Isn't it beautiful!" she exclaimed, with genuine delight, as she halted at the pump to gaze up at her new home, a pretty two-story cottage.
"Not half as beautiful as you," he smiled, playfully putting his arm around her neck. "When I first came here I invested all my spare cash in putting up this cottage, not caring to live in a shack; but little did I dream of the beautiful fairy that would later come as its mistress. And when I am at the mines you won't be lonely in it, will you?"
"Of course, I'll miss you. And when you miss any one very much you are apt to be a wee bit lonely. But I'll try and keep busy and think of the joy of welcoming you home each day. Sometimes I may go down to the little stream we passed to catch fish for you."
For six weeks Very and Frank were perfectly happy. Then business reverses crept into their life and gave them a taste of trouble. Frank had staked out a claim just before his marriage, and, in order to hold the property, he should have done a certain amount of work on it, but in his new found happiness he had forgotten about the demands and the laws of the country. Several others, realizing the value of his claim, and knowing of his neglect in the matter, were trying to wrest the property from him. He needed fifteen hundred dollars to make his claim good, but did not have more than a thousand. He could easily have obtained the money by appealing to his folks, but his pride prevented his taking that step.
He and Vera had spent a whole week of evenings trying to devise ways and means to protect their property, but nothing feasible had suggested itself, and Frank, as well as Vera, was in a quandary. Practically all of her leisure time was spent brooding over the matter, and even when she went out to fish she occasionally found herself leaning against some tree dreaming of the dark shadow.
One afternoon on her return from the mines she was surprised to see Ted.
She rushed up and kissed him, and then backed away a few steps as she noted the troubled look in his eyes.
"I'm glad to see you, Ted. But tell me what brings you here unannounced?"
"I'm in trouble, sis," he replied, looking about nervously. "Take me inside and I'll tell you all about it."
Vera led the way to the kitchen and immediately began to prepare some food.
"Shortly after you left," he remarked, as he sat down to the table, "I became so lonesome that I had to light out and look for excitement. About ten days ago I got mixed up with some fellows over near the border line who had been smuggling arms to the rebels. I knew nothing of their game, and when one of them was arrested he implicated me. The federal authorities got after me and offered a reward of five hundred for my capture, and when I saw I couldn't make the other side I decided to come up here."
But why should they want to arrest you when you did not have anything to do with the smuggling? The idea is absurd."
"But they think I was connected with it and won't be satisfied until they land me in jail."
"You poor boy," she breathed, patting his cheek. "Do you think they will track you here?"
"I don't know. I'm in hopes of laying low until I get a chance to skip over the border. Then, if necessary, I'll join the rebels. Listen, I hear horses' hoofs now! Hide me some place! Quick, or I'm a goner!"
Vera told him to take a sandwich with him and then showed the way down to the cellar where she secreted Ted in a stone room. Then she returned to the kitchen and swept away the dishes from the table. She had scarcely finished with her task when she heard Frank's voice out at the gate. And looking out she saw that he was accompanied by a neighbor.
"More bad news, Frank?" she queried, as she closed the door behind the two men. Frank's face carried an unusually despondent look.
"It looks as if I'm going to lose that mine unless I can scrape up five hundred within the next forty-eight hours," he answered. "Buck has been to town with me trying to help me to get hold of the money, but no one seems to want to loosen up. And quite a few have their eyes on that claim."
Vera sighed wearily and started to set the table for three.
"Don't set any place for me," Buck remarked, "for I've got to hurry on to the post office."
Vera stopped and sought Frank's eyes for instructions.
"I'd be mighty glad to have you with us for a bite, Buck," he said. "You know you're always welcome."
"Thanks, I know it, Frank. But I've got to hurry away. I'll be back this way in a short while, though." Then Buck left.
Vera continued with her work and for the first time in her life felt uneasy in her husband's presence. She did not know whether to tell him about Ted's trouble. She feared he might not see matters in the proper light; and still she did not like to keep anything from him. While she was trying to arrive at some decision Frank looked up at her and said:
"Sweetheart, I love you as much as ever; in fact, more, and I have all the confidence in the world in you. However, I'm going to ask you a question, and I don't want you to feel offended."
"I don't understand you, Frank."
He smiled slightly, then rested his elbows on the table.
"While I was down the road waiting for Buck I saw a man enter the house but did not see him some out. Who was he and where did he go?"
Vera flushed crimson and she knew by the changed expression in his eyes that he was aware of her act. Then she told of Ted's visit and his trouble.
"You're not angry, dear, are you?" she purred, putting her arm around his neck as she finished speaking.
"No; while you were talking I was just dreaming-dreaming wildly."
"And what was the wild dream?"
"Everything. That mine has me almost crazy. I know there's a fortune in it, and as the hours pass I can feel it gradually slipping away."
"And you can't think of any way to save it?"
His eyes brightened for a second and he looked up.
"I think I could, if you would work hand in hand with me."
"And didn't I promised to make any sacrifice?" There was a slight tinge of reproach in her voice.
"Do you still feel that way?"
Frank drew a long breath, then closed his fingers nervously.
"Why not let us turn Ted over to the sheriff, collect the five hundred, and later on help him to escape?"
Vera uttered a sharp cry and threw up her hands. She would have dropped to the floor had he not caught her.
"Oh Frank!" she sobbed, as he placed her in a chair at the opposite side of the table. "How could you ever ask such a thing?"
"I know it's an insane idea, sweetheart, but what can I do? He would only be in jail for a night. Then I could liberate him. Otherwise I'll have to quit and lose everything!"
The idea simply stunned Vera. And if she held out she knew that Frank would lose all. Why should he test her in such a cruel manner? She loved both, and would not bring herself to sacrifice either. If Ted would consent to such a plan it would be different. But she would never find heart to ask him. And while she sat there sobbing, Buck entered.
"Listen , Buck," Frank said, "Vera and I have had a little dispute. Perhaps you can help us out."
"Glad to do anything to help out, Frank. Just out with it."
"Vera holds the deeds to a lot that belongs to her brother Ted. We know that we could easily raise five hundred on the lot and save the day."
Vera sought Frank's brown eyes but could not discover the motive for his talk. She surmised, however, that it had something to do with surrendering Ted.
"I'm in favor of raising the money, even if it isn't playing fair with her brother," Frank went on. "Later on when things get better we can redeem the deeds. Now she is against selling out her brother to save her husband. What do you think?"
Buck pulled at his bearded chin for several seconds before offering any comment.
"It's a pretty raw deal to ask a sister to play false to her brother," he finally answered, "but at the same time she has to think of her husband. What she'll have to decide is which means the most to her. I think if I was in her place I'd chance selling out the brother. It's one love against another, and the present is always the thing that counts with me."
As Buck finished talking Frank settled back in his seat and allowed his gaze to rest on Vera. There was a question in his eyes, and she felt that she was expected to say something. Before she had time to reply, however, Frank said:
"I know it's a hard task for you to come to a decision, dear, and we might as well let fate decide it for us. We can toss a card. Are you willing to abide by the turn of a card?"
"That's a good idea," Buck observed. "I'll toss it."
Still no word came from Vera's trembling lips.
"Who's to be sacrificed, dear?" Frank queried, "husband or brother?"
"Let him toss the card," was her faint reply.
Buck, all unconscious of the real part he was playing, readily took an ace of spades from a deck of cards and then turned to the husband and wife.
"Who will cry?" he asked.
Neither spoke and Buck looked a trifle uneasy.
"I see," he said sagely. "Well, I'll cry for you, Frank. If it faces up what I cry you win and the money will be raised; and if it don't, you lose and you'll have to get the money some other way or quit." Buck rubbed the back of his head and stared at Vera. "Lordy! The woman loses in either case! She's sort of whip-sawed!" Then Buck tossed the card into the air.
He and Frank watched its upward flight while Vera kept her eyes riveted on the floor. As the card turned to descend Buck shouted, "Heads!" It finally stuck the floor on its edge, and after holding its balance for a second was about to turn face downward, when the door blew open and a gust of wind drove it back, leaving its face pointing toward the ceiling. When Vera saw what had happened she began to cry and threw her head on her arms.
"You win Frank," Buck uttered a bit regretfully.
Frank looked at his sobbing wife and then went to her side.
"The thing is done now, dear, and there's no use regretting it. I'll do all I promised and everything will turn out all right."
But Vera made no reply.
"Are you going back to the mines?" Buck inquired.
"Not just yet, Buck. I want to go out for a while and I wish you'd wait until I return. You might go out and bring up my horse."
Frank waited until Buck had gone out and then took hold of Vera's arm.
"Listen, dear he said, this is a grim tragedy, but it has to be carried out. Buck and I are going down to tell the sheriff and prepare to collect the reward. Ted will never know we had a hand in it. And I'll get him free as soon as the reward is paid."
"But I will know that I have been a traitor to my brother," Vera returned looking up, tears still trickling down her cheeks. "And how will I ever look him in the face again? Oh Frank! This will kill me!"
It won't if you'll look at it in the proper light. Can't you trust me? Do you think I'd ever do anything that would hurt you or Ted in the long run?"
Buck and Frank started and in a few seconds she could hear their horses' hoofs pounding on the hard road. Then a sudden change came over Vera. She sprang to her feet and darted down to the cellar.
"Come quick, Ted!" she cried pulling open the door. "The sheriff has been told that you are here, and Frank has gone to put him on a false trail. Quick"
"When!" whistled the surprised Ted. "What in the world am I going to do?"
"Follow me and don't ask questions, Ted," she ordered. An she led the way to the kitchen, where she handed her brother a pair of Frank's overalls. "Put these on and people will think you're a laborer from around here. Take this money. It will help some."
When Ted had donned the overalls Vera went outside with him, and as she reached the pump she gathered up an armful of flowers and handed one to him. "Keep this as a remembrance," she smiled.
"It's mighty nice of you to help me out, sis," he said, "and Frank as well. Give him my best regards. Sorry I couldn't see him. Maybe I'll get across the border all right. Anyhow, I'll have to trust to luck. Good bye, sis," and he kissed her and turned to go.
Tears welled up in Vera's eyes and the flowers dropped from her grasp.
"I'm going with you, Ted."
"Don't be foolish, Vera. It's bad enough for me to be in trouble. You just stay where you are. What will Frank think if he finds you gone? Think of what he would say if you went with me."
"He won't say anything when he knows I did it to help you. I'll go along until you reach the border. Then I'll send for him to come and get me."
Brother and sister started away with all the speed that they possessed. And when they had reached the next county they came across two Mexicans stacking hay. As they were about to pass on Vera caught hold of Ted and directed his attention to a distant hill.
"See!" she uttered in a low tone. "There are several horsemen. Most likely the sheriff is with them. Hurry and pitch some hay! I'll tell the Mexicans you want to try your strength.
Ted did as he was ordered while Vera spoke to the men in part Spanish, part English. Then Vera turned to watch the horsemen, while her brother kept his eyes on her. As soon as the horsemen disappeared the pair continued on their journey.
"Listen, sis," Ted remarked a few minutes later. "I don't think it's fair to put you to all this bother. Better let me go on alone. I got myself into the mess and ought to be able to get out of it.
"No, no; I'm going to stay with you until you reach the border."
"But are we any nearer the border than when we started out? I imagine we're traveling in a circle."
"We still have about five miles to go. But look! There are the horsemen again! They seem to be taking a round-about way."
"If we keep to the open we'll surely be caught," she replied, her brow furrowed with wrinkles. "We will have to look for some place to hide over night.
Vera made a short scouting expedition and was fortunate enough to discover an old cave, just the place to hide away.
"We can crawl in there," she said, on bringing Ted to the mouth of the cave, "and when the sheriff is unable to find us by morning he will think we have reached the border and then return. Then we can go on our way."
Into the cave they went just as the sun was nearing the horizon It was large and the floor was strewn with jagged rocks, giving them some trouble while picking their way. Ted had a few matches and used them sparingly while making a comfortable place for his sister to rest. Finally the streak of light that had filtered in through the opening vanished and they settled down for the night. They discussed the possibilities of their escape and Ted's future until their eyes closed in sleep.
Ted was the first to awake, and by the aid of his last match he looked at his watch.
"Wake up, sis. It's almost nine o'clock," he said, shaking her by the shoulder.
Vera sat up and tried to pierce the darkness.
"Must be something wrong, Vera. I don't' see any light coming in. Wait until I crawl to the opening to see."
For five minutes she waited in nervous suspense.
"It looks to me as if the entrance is closed up," Ted announced on his return. "I heard a lot of noise like men using picks. We must be walled in!"
"Oh, Ted, don't say that!" she cried, reaching out for him.
"But it's true. And looks as if we were in a bad fix. I'm going to see if I can't attract attention by shouting. I've got to get you out of here if I spend the rest of my life in jail!"
"No, no, Ted, stay with me. What can you do?"
"Nothing by sitting here. Let me go to the entrance and shout. It's our only hope."
"Hello! Hello, out there!" Ted bellowed with every ounce of his strength.
When they had been hugging the entrance for about fifteen minutes they saw a thin streak of daylight shoot through. Ted shouted again, and this time he heard a man's voice.
"Back, back, careful there!" the voice ordered. "There must be some one inside. I heard a voice."
"It's all right now, Vera," Ted murmered, slipping his arm around Vera's waist. "Just keep cool."
"But what will you do, Ted? You'll surely be taken now."
As they waited there in breathless suspense the hole gradually grew larger. Ten minutes later the entrance had been widened enough to admit the passage of two persons, and two laborers hurried in.
"We just learned by chance that you were in there," the foreman said. "We were pulling down the rocks when a little boy told us he had found a handkerchief at the mouth of the came and thought someone was in there. After a time we heard a faint shout.
Twenty minutes later while they were plodding along the road they met Frank and Buck. Frank leaped from his saddle and rushed to her side.
"Thank the Lord I've found you!" he cried. "We have been out hunting for you all night. A little boy told us he thought a woman was buried in the cave and we came up to see."
"We were buried in the cave, all right," Ted laughed. "And we owe our lives to that kid. You ought to reward him."
"I know him and I certainly will," Frank responded.
"I realize what has happened, Vera," Frank said, taking hold of her hand. "And I don't blame you. It was mean and selfish on my part, and when I discovered you had gone I felt like killing myself. I'm sorry for it all.
"What's it all about?" Teed quizzed in surprise. "Vera did not tell me you had a scrap."
"She told me you were in trouble," Frank replied, "which led to a little dispute. But I didn't think she'd take it to heart. Take this money, Ted, and Buck will see you across the border. Drop us a line when you get settled, and I'll see if I can't have the matter squashed. Vera and I will go home and promise never to quarrel again. Everything will be all right. I have swallowed my pride and have wired to dad to send me some money to save my mines." Facing Vera, he extended his hand and added: "Will you let bygones be bygones?"
"You still love him, don't you, sis?"
She nodded and was forced to smile.
"Then show him you do by giving him one of those nice kisses you used to give me in days gone by."
"But aren't you going to kiss me?" she pouted.
"Yes, after Frank gets the first one."
And when Frank offered to kiss her he found her willing.
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