Hell's Hinges

1
The Reverend Robert Hen-
ley, recently ordained and
as yet unassigned to a par-
ish, delivers a sermon at the
Slums Mission of St. John's.

2
The victim of a great mis-
take. A weak and selfish
youth, utterly unfit for the
calling that a devout and
love-blinded mother has
persuaded him to follow.

3
      HIS MOTHER.
Radiantly happy in the real-
ization of her life's dream,
and blissfully unconscious
of the injustice she has done
her son and the church.

4
  HIS SISTER, FAITH.
Combining with a grave 
sweetness the strength of
character her brother so
woefully lacks, and forcing
herself to believe he will
prove a faithful servant
        of God.

5
   Untouched by the holy
 word he is conveying but
taking an actor's delight in
   swaying his audience.

6
AFTER THE SERVICE.

7
"I am beginning to fear that 
Robert is not made of stern 
enough material to be 
equal to the trials and temp-
tations of city work."

8
"Then why not get him a
parish in the country?"

9
   A FEW DAYS LATER.
The seeming answer to the
problem. An opportunity to
take charge of the establish-
ment of a church in the 
        West.

10
"Yes, I am sure that is the
place for your son, out on
the prairies where the peo-
ple live simply and close 
to God."

11
"It is the highest privilege
that can come to a ser-
vant of God: the oppor-
tunity to carry His word
into the far places"

12
   HIS IMAGINATION.
A mission appealing to his
   sense of romance.

13
"You are right.
  I will go."

14
"And I will go with you
to help you get comfort-
ably settled."

15
   THREE WEEKS LATER.
On the trail, a half hour's
  ride from their future 
         home.

16
    THE REALITY.
The town known on the 
government surveyor's 
maps as Placer Center but
throughout the length and
breadth of the sun-baked
territory just plain 'HELL'S
HINGES' and a good place
   to "ride wide of".

17
A gun-fighting, man-killing,
devil's den of iniquity that
  scorched even the sun-
  parched soil on which
        it stood.

18
    "SILK" MILLER.
Mingling the oily craftiness
of a Mexican with the dead-
ly treachery of a rattler, no
man's open enemy and no
     man's friend.

19
"The gospel shooter, that
the petticoat brigade sent 
for, ought to be here most 
any minute now."

20
"Hell's Hinges" prepares to
     do itself proud.

21
        THE
"PETTICOAT BRIGADE".
The scant handful of re-
spectable people in the sin-
ridden town --- a drop of
water in a barrel of rum.

22
   "BLAZE" TRACY.
The embodiment of the
best and worst of the early
West. A man-killer whose
philosophy of life is
summed up in the creed
"SHOOT FIRST AND DO 
   YOUR DISPUTIN' 
    AFTERWARD".

23
The two most dangerous 
men in the territory, widely
different in every charac-
teristic, but agreed on one
point: that neither LAW
NOR RELIGION shall ever
come to "Hell's Hinges".

24
"Blaze, I reckon you
must be gettin' nervous
with the parson most here."

25
"Yes, my hand's tremblin'
so I'm scared I'll shake
him out of his boots."

26
"Remember, Blaze, we're 
trustin' you to handle
this thing short and
successfulish."

27
"I reckon it's a sin to 
shoot a parson, so 
I'll just naturally scare 
him to death."

28
A different kind of smile -
sweet, honest, and trustful,
and seeming to say, "How
do you do, friend?"

29
One who is evil, looking for
the first time upon that
     which is good.

30
         SUNDAY
The first service in the barn
which does duty as a church.

31
DOLLY.

32
"There is a religious uproar
goin' on in Taylor's barn,
and the boys has gone up
to help celebrate."

33
The eternal, unconquera-
ble, white flame that shone
over the blood-drenched
Roman arena, and above
the racks of the Inquisition.

34
"Come on, boys, who'll
be the first to dance
with her?"

35
"There'll be no more
dancin' in here to-day."

36
"I'm announcin' here and 
now that there ain't goin' 
to be no more pickin' 
on the parson's herd so
long as they mind their 
own business."

37
At the close of the sermon.
       Unmoved.

38
"I just wish to remind
you all of God's great
love for us and how He
wishes us to come to Him.
Is there no one here today
who wishes to heed his call?"

39
"I reckon God ain't wantin'
me much, ma'am, but when
I look at you, I feel
I've been ridin' the wrong
trail."

40
BUILDING THE
  CHURCH.

41
"Why don't you come down
some day and hold a service
for the dance hall girls?
They'd sure appreciate it."

42
"I'd admire to walk 
home with you, ma'am."

43
      THAT NIGHT.
The "Mission" he forgot to
  mention to his sister.

44
"God, if You mean what You
say here, I'm askin' for her."

45
"Can't I see you alone
sometime, so I can learn
more about your work?"

46
AFTER SEVERAL MEETINGS,
    THE WEAKLING

47
"Remember, it's up to you.
If you do this thing right,
there ain't nothin' you
can't have."

48
"This is my birthday,
and I want you to help
me celebrate it."

49
THE FOLLOWING 
   MORNING.
Service time.

50
"We was waitin' for the 
Parson to sort o' lead us in."

51
"If you're lookin' for the
Parson, you'll find him
down in Silk's saloon."

52
"The Parson's sure some 
wildcat when it comes
to gettin' drunk."

53
"Is the Parson here?"

54
"He's like all the rest of 'em,
Blaze, - a low down hypocrite
and liar. There ain't no 
such thing as real religion."

55
"When women like her say
there's a God, there is
one, and He sure must 
be worth trailin' with."

56
"Boys, you all remember
'Arizona Frank,' the best roper
in the territory, don't you?"

57
"Once I seen 'Arizona'
rope a steer with as 
pretty a throw as was 
ever made, but the rope
broke and the steer 
got away."

58
"That wasn't 'Arizona's' fault.
It was the thing he was de-
pendin' on that was no good."

59
"I'm handlin' him
my own way. You
take care of her."

60
AND AGAIN CAME
 THE MORNING.

61
"The doctor is at 
Prairie Crossin'."

62
Then fell the purple shadows 
of the Western night, with
the peace of the silver
stars above, and the
fires of hate and evil
flaring redly below.

63
Past the point of sane
thought -- struggling weak-
ly through a delirium of
strangely distorted faces 
     and sounds.

64
THE ABANDONED 
   FLOCK.

65
"TO HELL WITH THE CHURCH!
  Let's burn her down!"

66
"The parson helped build 
the church. We'll let 
him touch her off."

67
"Boys, the Lord's dependin'
on us to stand by Him.
Before they burn down
that church they've got 
to fight."

68
"We don't want no blood-
shed, but we don't aim
to stand by and watch
you burn our church."

69
"Boys, the whole snivellin'
litter is here. Let's clean 
'em out for good and all."

70
"Bob, for God's sake, listen
to me - to me, your sister!
Help me! Help me!"

71
"Oh, you've killed him!
  You've killed him!"

72
The pitifully uneven strug-
gle when the face of God
  seemed turned away.

73
Standing like a martyr of 
old, with the symbol of its
faith proudly uplifted to
  the crimsoning sky.

74
The broken flight into the 
desert, while evil and mad-
ness join hands in the 
  triumph of victory.

75
"And the Parson's sister!
      Where is she?"

76
"They've killed him!"

77
"Don't leave her
till I come back."

78
"What did you do 
with his sister?"

79
"Don't get excited. She'll
be with her brother.
She ain't the kind 
that leaves."

80
"Look out! Blaze is comin',
killin' mad, and with a
gun in each hand."

81
"This is my affair, boys,
and I ain't takin' no
chances. When the doors 
open, I shoot!"

82
THE TELLTALE
  SILENCE.

83
"'Hell's Hinges' done itself
proud tonight, and it's goin'
to be rewarded."

84
"Hell needs this town,
and it's goin' back, and
goin' damn quick."

85
"I'm shootin' straight tonight,
and I'm plum willin' to kill!"

86
"You boys oughtn't to mind
a little heat like this.
It's nothin' to what you
all got comin' later."

87
"You ought to keep the old 
town company, but I ain't
aimin' to have you do that."

88
Sparks that fall like
  missiles of hate.

89
"We'll be goin' now."

90
HELL'S CROWN.

91
And then from the mothering 
sky came the baby dawn,
singing as it wreathed the
gray horns of the mountains
with ribbons of rose and gold.

92
"God, I ain't knowin' You very
well, but I'm askin' You a 
favor. Let her be happy."

93
"Over yonder hills is the
future - both yours and
mine. It's callin', and
I reckon we'd better go."

94
Whatever the future,
  theirs to share
     together.

THE END


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