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Newspaper Page Text
Ave or six minutes every man 'jack of
us was saddled and bridled and giving,
the others orders about spreading out
along the trail and bringing him back.
The girl watched 'us ride off.
"You must get him," she cried.
"He's worth so much to me O, more
than you canpossibly understand."
"I'll bring him back or bust, miss,"
said Bill Jones.. 'i can't say more
We hadn't got out of sight, of Im
perial City before we began wrang
ling among ourselves as to who was
to blame for driving the poor young
fellow out into the cold. Each of us
tried to put it on the others, but final
ly we compromised by agreeing to
put it on Bill Jones.
He must havehad some grit in him
after aU,:ior he had covered quite a
good d,eal of ground, .e;followe"d his
steps for something like ten miles,
and then they stopped. The coach
had stopped here, too, for there was a
good deal of shuffling tracks of horse
hoofs in the snow. There weren't any
more tracks so we all agreed that Mr.
Porter, .had got aboard,.;
Then we began" arguing again.
Some wanted to ride iack and. tell
the young lady, ;but .others 'didn't
much fancy facing- her without Mr.
Porter on hand. So we agreed that it
would be best to ride on after the
coach and bring him back.
Well, sir, that coach seemed to be
driven by the devil, judging from the'
pace it made. We didn't catch'up to it
till nearly daylight just outsitie Presi
dent, and by that time -vve, were ;pretty
near frozen,' and our horsesfcooV And
when we did make it pull up ttiiere sat
Mr. Porter asleep inside.
Come back? Not he. He cursed us
when we appealed to his better na
ture, said he didn't give a hang for
the young lady and he wasn't going
to be led into any trap by a pack of
blood-thirsty ruffians who only want
ed to get him back and take his life.
The coach was full of mining men
and they mostly agreed that Francis
had the' law on his side. So we put in
at President for a rest and then, hav
ing fed our horses and ourselves, we
set back along the trail to Imperial
We got back toward evening. It
hadn't occurred to us to inquire how
the young woman was going to pass
the night. We supposed that she'dgo
to Hank Meany's house. Then we be
gan to count noses and we found that
Hank Meany was among us and Im
perial City was left uninhabited.
"I guess a girl like that has sense
enough 'to make herself at home,"
said Hank Meany. "I'll lay a pound of -dust
to a half pound she'll be at the
We had to take him up on it. Bets
were laid among all of us. We made
a -sweepstakes and the man whose
home she had honored was to gel
something like nine thousand dollars
in dust. We hurried along then and
rode into Imperial City with a whoop
and a yell.
We rode up to Hank's hotel. There
wasn't any young lady there, nor any
signs of her. She wasn't in Bill Jones'
hut nor mine nor anybody's. At last
we came to the conclusion that she
wasn't anywhere in Imperial City.
"She wandered out into the cold to
die," stammered Bill Jones, and be
"Well, we've got to find her," I said.
"Be a man, Bill. Come along, boys."
There weren't any tracks of shoes,
but a horse seemed to have been hit
ting the trail pretty hard back toward
Ordinary, for its hoofs had flung up
the snow in all directions, and the
tracks ran on and on untilafter we'd '
gone three hundred yards, Bill reined
in his mare.
"That's my old piebald, by thun
der!" he yelled. "Look at them nicks
in the ice frpm that hind shoe of
We looked at one another, but no- 4
bodx dared say what he was; thinking
of. However, Bill's piebald was he
best horse in Imperial City and there