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Newspaper Page Text
tering coarse pleasantries. They hus
tled him toward the bar.
"Name it!" shouted the bartender.
"Five fingers of Lunn's!" shouted
.the man who had the boy in tow,
naming a popular and very fiery
brand of rum.
"I beg your pardon! I don't drink!"
The cowboys laughed. They in
sisted that he should drink. It seemed
to them both hospitality and a kind
of retribution upon a fellow who
could make up as a girl.
Harry's girlishness was apparently
a force of habit, for he stammered
and pleaded, and the more he did so
the more the men insisted. Finally
the manager of the troupe interfered
but they shook him off. They were
determined that Harry should swal
low his grog. Then Harry began to
At first discomfited, the cowboys
looked' at one another in consulta
tion. What was to be done with a
kid like that? They were as dis
gusted as Benson had been. One
threw the fiery spirit in his face.
"Dance, then!" yelled one, draw
ing his revolver and blazing into the
floor between his feet. The boy
sprang five feet into the air. But he
came down again and did not dance.
Instead, he planted himself defiant
ly upon the floor and doubled his
"Leave the kid alone! He's got
some spirit!" shouted one of the
kindlier of the crowd.
But another ran upon him and
struck the boy a vicious blow on the
face, knocking him backward into
Benson's arms. Instantly the saloon
was in an uproar. The drunken cow
boys -vyere evenly divided in their
opinions of Harry and meant to en
Then it was that Benson, looking
into his face with the perspicacity of
sobriety, realized that Harry Saun
ders was a girl. The "impersonation",
had been no impersonation at all He
was the impersonation.
, Swiftly he moved" toward the door j
T with Harry and before the cowboys
had realized that their quarry and
their object of protection respective
ly was gone he had untethered his
horse and mounted.
He leaned over. "Jump!" he shout-
ed, and as he did so the drunken mob
came pouring oSt, all now animated
by the same spirit of anger.
Benson leaned low and hoisted the
girl into the saddle in front of him
just as the leaders ranged themselves
"Eut him down, Ben!" they yelled.
"He's got to sing and dance and
drink now, and" then, maybe, we'll
teach him some more."
Benson spurred his horse, which
reeled wildly, upsetting the two who
clutched at the bridle. Then he was
off, galloping down the long, dusty
road toward his ranch, miles in the
distance. One or two shots were
fired; but very soon he had got clear
of the town, and, looking back,-saw
that he was not followed.
He reined in his panting steed to
a walk and spoke for the first time.
''Wfio are you? How did you get
here?" he demanded. "Firstr-your
name unless you don't want to give
The girl looked up at him and the
awful fear upon her face disappeared
when she saw the kindliness on his.
"Ethel Saunders," shesaid timidly.
"Harry was my brother. He was the
impersonator. He he died."
"How did you get here?"
"I had to come west I was threat
ened with tuberculosis. I could dance
,and sing a little, but I had never done
so in public, and I I didn t dare trust
myself in the mining camps. So,
since Harry had been known I
thought I'd take his place and pre
tend to be a boy. But I'm going home
now. I can't bear what happened to
day." She burst out sobbingjand the
discolored mark on her cheek
showed like a finger of shame.
"I can take you to Lumley's. The
coach will be there this afternoon,"
said Benson. "But the troupe "