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him thus engaged. He was a rough,
card-playing rustler and was prompt
ly seized with an idea.
"Can you paint picters, too?" he
"You mean portraits?" asked Ar
"That's it. I want one done. When
you're through with that sign come
' inside and ask for Broncho Jim."
9 This Arden did. He found his pro
spective client in a duly hilarious
state, with a wealth of poker chips at
his elbow. Broncho Jim passed him
over a mint slab, validated for half
"Double that when you get her
done," was the announcement
"Her whom?" asked Arden won
deringly. "Ziatina, down at the circus. She
has no use for me, but I've hit the
fancy that I'd like her-picter. Make
it big and lots of color in it Take
me!" " '
"I think I do," assented Arden, and
set out on his queer mission.
Ziatina was a popular name at the
little settlement just then. She was'
a half-bre'ed, graceful as a gazelle,
with great black eyes and a willowy
form. She was the star of the show,
and her appearance in a sketch bring
ing in scouts, cowboys and the usual
personnel of a frontier drama, car
ried the very poor rest of the daily
She had been toasted and cheered
and made love to by rude rustlers
and miners, but she was as stone, as
ice to fulsome praise, and m her for
bidding eyes there was ever a far
away glow, as though her thoughts
were with some dusky lover she could
tip Arden sketched Ziatina, unnoticed,
in one of her most graceful poses.
He made a studio for two days of his
little, obscure room at the settlement
tavern. The canvas finished, was a
somewhat florid, but very recogniza
ble portrait of the star of the circus.
Arden- went after Jim. He had not
mounted the canvas, but carried It
I on a roller. He, sought out Jim at
his usual haunts.
"He's gone," was the report he got
from the proprietor of the principal
gaming place of the settlement
"Gone, where? Where?" question
ed the disappointed Arden.
"Last nightcleaned out, and
made for the mines to get a new
Arden took the portrait back to his
room, and shoved it in his kit, and
forgot all about it.
He had money enough as it was to
buy a horse, but he made the mistake
of starting off on the trail alone and
unguided. He blundered in following
it, got lost in a desolate wilderness.
For six days he had no sight of habi
tation or human being. The morn
ing of the seventh he was awakened
from a sound sleep on a bed of green
in a ravine to the accompaniment of
Half-a-dozen dusky warriors sur
rounded lrim. Their fierceness wa&
emphasized by the way in which they
brandished knives, rifles and toma
hawks at him. His horse had been
appropriated by one savage, another
was ransacking his traveling kit
His despoiler passed around to'his
comrades article after article. Final
ly he came to tie rolled-up portrait
It came loose in his hand, and he
stared agape at the picture of the
halfbreed circus star.
Arden had noticed a stalwart young
brave who seemed to be the leader of
the party. He had a certain princely
and dignified mien and took no part
in the pilfering goings on. Just at
this Juncture, however, as two of the
savages, In turn, with mocking laugh
ter drew each a knife and poised it
for a fling, as if to see how near they
could graze the ar of the bound and
helpless Arden, this young Indian
rushed forward with a tumultuous
'He halted the two 'sanguinary
braves with-a gesture. J He snatched
the portrait from the hand of the, man
who held it'He stared at it, his face'