WHAT DAN BAILEY DID.
You’ve all seen such characters as poor Dan Bailey. There’s always some such personage hanging about every town. Not exactly dangerous, but the most worthless piece of humanity conceivable. A poor, drunken, wretched sot. Occasionally he did a little work, sawing wood or cleaning up somebody’s yard, and so got money to get a little whiskey. But that was all, and how he got all the liquor he drank, where he got food to eat, where he slept, where his clothes came from, was a mystery. Not that he was possessed of an elaborate wardrobe. The same dirty, ragged suit of clothes had been his only adornment for years. It was amazing how he made them last so long. Perhaps the dirt held them together. If his face had been washed, or his hair and beard combed, they showed no signs of it, and so poor Dan was kicked and cuffed about, the jeer of the children, the village ne’er-do-well.
One night—a sharp, frosty night in autumn—the village w’as roused by the wild cry of fire. The flames had selected for their prey the cottage of a poor laborer. By the time the aroused inhabitants reached the spot, the whole structure was ablaze. The family had fled from it, and the people stood round to see it burn. Suddenly a wild shriek rent the air. ” Me baby 1 me child 1” In the excitement of the moment a young child had been forgotten in the house. The mother, half frantic when she made the discovery, rushed toward the burning building. She would save her child or die with it. But they caught her and held her back. She was only a poor woman, but a mother’s love was strong within her,’and her cries were pitiful. Dan Bailey heard them. He came forward and learned the awful truth. Worthless wretch though he was. his heart beat in sympathy for her. He turned and looked at the blazing pile. The hot tongues of flame leaped from every corner. It was a surging, roaring mass of fiie. It seemed impossible for a human being to enter it and come out alive. Dan Bailey gazed at it for a moment. There was a look of fixed determination on his bloated face. He spoke : “ 11 the kid’s in thar, it’s a goner,” anil he walked away.