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father -wouldn't listen to me after I'd
tramped1 twenty miles to. give you a
"A warning?" repeated Ruth
"I understand your young man and
some friends are coming .through, on
the stage this evening ? " v
"Why yes," replied Ruth slowly.
"Well, I overheard two half-breeds
down on the Taylor place talking
early this morning, planning to join
two other hard "characters, hide" be
tween here and the railroad, and hold
up the stage coach. They know'some
strangers are coming, and you see
strangers are taken as'free picking in
this district." " '
Ina moment Ruth., became alarm
ed.. Within a quarter of an hour she
arid Pete had arrange'd-to outwit the
bandits. His plan was to take the one
horse left on the place and start down
the trail to meet and warn the com
ing .stage coach. He had been gone
two. hours when The horse he had
gone away with came back riderless.
. Instantly Ruth, was on her mettle.
She could only theorize that the ani
mal had thrown Pete, or- that he had
met-the bandits. She quickly buckled
a belt about her slender waist, sprang
to -the saddle, and was soon on the
trail, feeling that time was very pre
cious anil haste urgent..
Dusk had come on, but there was a
clear, full moon. Ruth had gone
about twenty miles, when at the bend
in the road she drew rein promptly
near some high bushes
A nicker of light; like that of a
match, suddenly flaring in among
some heavy timbers -ahead, had at
tracted, her attention. Ruth, tied the
horse and began a. detour- of .the. vi
tilnlty. - .
..-.witnm nve minutes, true aaugnter
of the frontier that she was, she un
derstood the situation ' completely.
Shehad viewed 16ur men smoking
and reclining in a natural hideout It
seemed that during, some recent
storm 'a large tree, had been- bent.
over-ana nan uprooieaoy-ine -iorce
of the wind. The roots had been partly-
broken, but Jn sinking back4o its
old position the top of the tree had
caught under the heavy branch of an
other'tree a hundred feet distant.
This eld the inclined tree as in a
vise, but at a tugging tension.
In the hole formed where the roots
had given away the men Pete hd de
scribed were hiding awaiting the
coming of the stage coach.
Ruth crept cautiously around to
the spot where, the top of,, the tree
was caught. Her experienced eye told
her .that this, once released, would
shoot back to its original position
with catapult force She had along,
sharp i$knlfe,.ih; her belt. She climbed
the.' smaller, three and endeavored, to
cut- through tHelimb that held the
larger tree captive. For'nearly an
hour she-hacked and clipped. Sud
denly in the .distance she heard the
echoing hoots of the stage" coach
horn saluting some lonely, .mountain
cabin. She could see the men in the
tree hole, getting ready to rush-out
when, their anticipated victims came
within sight, "
, "Oh, T must hurry, hurry !" breath
ed Ruti ardently, in breathless; ex
citement, and renewed ,her end'eavors
with redoubled ardor "with, blistered
bleeding hands. ' fj
R-rip snap crash! "Like.'a strick
en iant rising -from the. dusV-the
great? trW ajfc-'lost tore 'feefrqih its
fetters There were shouts of. dismay
and frantic ,yells of pain as the roots
sank back , into place, shutting .the
.baffled plotters into a sure prison.
Again the winding horn. Ruth
ran out into the road. She stood in
its center, a statuesque and heroic
figure in. the white moonlight. The
stage coach came to a stop. Her
lover, sprang out, and Ruth was en
closed in his loving arms.
It did not take longyfor Ruth to
explain. The driver; and passengers
managed to dig away the sandy loam
from the disturbed tree roots. Crush
ed and subdued,, the outlaws were
dragged out and secured.. Ruth had