Newspaper Page Text
PAGES 9 ,TO 12.
- THE ARGUS, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 190G.
J HESPER, HHMLIN GKRLMND . Jo,-
j CHAPTER IV.
11 JfN had been absorbed In
a study of the cowboys. In her
- own walk of life even the
basest of men approached her
cad In linen and broadcloth sleek
beasts with civility; but here were
males whose lean jaws clamped upon
food with the eager haste of wolves,
men primitive as Plcts, with less of
law than Zulus. They were not out
laws from society, for they had never
known society. They were desperadoes
Raymond's motive in thrusting them
out appeared more and more a deed to
win applause. It lowered him, made
him less admirable in every way, and
when he spoke to her she withdrew
Into herself with a glance which chill
ed and depressed him.
"Of course his character Is of no con
sequence to me," she thought, "except
In so far as he is likely to influence
Louis." The situation suddenly lost its
spirit of comedy and took on a very
serious cast. The plan of leaving a
sensitive, poetic Iwy to the company
and Influence of men like these became
questionable, even dangerous. i;aker
was a foolish and stupid person, and
these rough riders troubled her; but
Raymond, to whom the boy's eyes a I
ready turned with fervent admiration,
was more corrupting still, for whatever
weaknesses he might have would sure
ly come to be active and vital forces in
debasing others. The whole design, in
the light of this encounter, assumed the
face of folly.
Th powerful young rancher, a mix
ture of barbarism and culture, engross
ed her quite as a mountain lion might
have done. I lis action could not be
foretold, and she was amazed to find
herself carried entirely outside herself,
shaken and dismayed. As he set to
work to put the table In order, silent
and sullen as before, she watched him
from her corner with intent gaze.
IIow deeply can I trust him?" she
asked herself. "Don admires him, and
he certainly is a man of intelligence."
Louis, who had gone to see the sun
set, called to her excitedly, and as she
stepped outside the door she, too,
caught her breath In wonder and ad
miration. She turned to the dim purple range,
crumpled Into ridges and slashed with
deep valleys. "They may be alluring
to you. laddie, but they scare me a lit
tle. Well, perhaps you'll be able to go
and see what they are like by and by,
when yon are stronger."
"Perhaps Rob will take me. I would
not be afraid of anything with him.
He's a splendid type. Don't you think
Ann smiled, but answered doubtfully,
Tie seeui3 a fine, resolute fellow." Her
sisterly anxiety reappeared. "But I
don't like to leave you here, Buddie.
These men, the best of them, seem
rough and reckless. I think you'd bet
ter go back with me really I do."
"Oh, no! I'm all right here, sis. Rob
will look after me. It's just what I
"Maybe it is for the. best, but I have
a feeling that something is going to
happen to yon. I don't like to go back
without you. I'll stay on a day or two
longer anyhow. I want to find out
more about conditions here. I have a
queer feeling at my heart. I don't
want to leave you. Let us gj in."
A kerosene lamp stood among the
dishes, and the driver of their team
and two late coming horsemen and the
Mexican boy were all eating together.
Raymond was not to be seen, and Ann
realized, with a pang of dismay, how
wholly she was depending upon him.
"Without him I shall be scared." she
admitted to herself. The other men
paid very little direct attention to her
beyond a moment's awkward pause
and a lowering of their voices. They
continued to discuss the fire and their
day's work. It was plain that they
were of different temper from the
crowd Raymond had thrown from the
door, and yet they were not prepossess
ing. The liveryman, a short, dirty and
very assertive man of small, wit, was
maintaining himself against one of the
riders in an argument. "I punched
rattle all over them hills." he was say
ing. "I know it's all another fake like
that old Mount Horeb business in '70.
It's nothln but a cattle range a lot o'
"Bnt they've found the gold. They
can't be no question about it now. I've
got a brother up there, and he writes
"They toltl the same kind o yarns
about Horeb, and see bow it turned out.
Tliey ain't an ounce o' gold in thij
whole Rampart range. It ain't the
right kind o formation."
"Well. I'm goin up there anyhow."
said Baker, "as soon as Barnett can
fill my place." I
"So am I," said one of the other coc
boys, a dark, smileless fellow nearly
forty years of age.
"They're talking about Sky camp,"
whispered Louis, "the new mining
The talk among the men shifted again
to a discussion of the fire. "I hope
Bob won't order us out to fight it to
night. I'm tirel as a dog, said one of
"The way I put it up Is this," bleat
ed the liveryman: "That fire started
from somebody campin over on Birch
creek, and It's 'way beyond the ridge.
It's got to cross that rocky wash be
fore It can do any damage."
"WelL we'll know when Rob gets
back, replied Baker, and Ann In
ferred from this that Raymond bad
ridden away to locate the fire, and
heartily hoped he would not be gone
The men shoved back one by one and
with sly, curious glances at the girl"
sitting so cold and white and still
against the wall, went out to smoke
and discuss her with the driver. Bak
er, mindful of his duties, remained.
"Don't be uneasy, miss. One of us will
stay here anyhow."
Louis was looking over his sketching
material, his mind busy with plans for
work, when u shout outside announced
Raymond's return. The lad rushed to
the door. "Oh, Ann. come quick!" he
called a moment later. "Here he
comes! Oh, can't he ride!"
Ann reached the door just as Ray
mond dashed up and swung from his
saddle. His voice was not loud, but
it was stirring. "Boys, the tire is
climbing the ridge, and we've got to
fight it. Gather up your blankets and
gunny sacks. We'll find Williams over
there with some water barrels. Hustle
now! I'll be along a little later. Tom,
you take charge till I come."
With groans and half jocular curses
the weary men, loyal to their duty,
scattered to rope fresh ponies and
gather up such material as they had
for fighting flame, while Raymond
came to the door and brusquely said
to Ann: "I'll leave Baker to look after
you, Miss Rupert. I hope you won t
Oh, certainly not, said Ann as firm
ly as she could.
"I'd like to go along!" cried Louis.
"You're needed right here," Raymond
Sternly replied. "We're likely to be out
all night, and your sister needs j-ou."
"Couldn't Baker go In your place ?"
asked Ann very quietly.
Jack Isn't very energetic. No; It's
"That's why I'd rather you stayed,"
Ann said. "If we should be attacked
by Indians or anything, Mr. Baker
might be asleep."
He laughed. "Indians! There aren't
any within 2x miles of here."
But you said you'd take care of us,
and Mr. Barnett has consigned ns to
He warmed beneath the allurement
of her glance. "But how would it look
for the boss to remain comfortably at
home while a fire"
You're not the boss. You're only the
His face lighted up. "True enough."
fter a moment's hesitation he added:
Very well, consider me your protector
amr cook. Baker is In for it." And
he went away tilled with a delicious
sense of having suddenly been honored
Itove his desert.
Ann was accustomed to men who
flew to do her bidding, but this instant
victory over the big rancher pleased
her unaccountably, and she langhed
softly, acknowledging a glow of con
fidence and relief in the promise of, bis
Out by the corrals the trampling
ana snorting of excited ponies could be
heard mingled with the muttered oaths
of the men as they hurriedly roped and
saddled. The sky was darkening rap
idly, and the pillar of smoke already
glowed like a brazen tower. It rose
straight into the air for hundreds of
feet, then spread away into a- long,
level cloud, showing that the wind had
not yet begun to fan the flame.
At last the men were all mounted
and, with a final command from the
boss, spurred away into the gloom,
complaining? weary, but faithful. Ray
mond felt a little foolish as by faced
the liveryAian from Wallace.
"No, I'm not going at least not until
I get Baruetfs people fixed for the
night. You'll have to bunk iu the tool
shed. I reckon."
"That's all right. I'll curl down close
to my team. I don't want to run any
risks with a lot of toughs like that
Williams gang cavort In' around. They
had just liquor enough aboard to make
'em reckless. I'd advise you to look out
for oM Turkey Egg there. He has It in
Raymond was unimpressed. "They're
halfway to Wallace by this time, and,
besides, Speck is a big bluff anyway.
We're rid of him forever."
"Well, all is, when you meet him next
you pull first," the little man replied
Raymond walked slowly toward the
house, tilled with a guilty joy. In
stead of a night of hard riding and Ia
lorious wet bag swinging he had giv
en himself the pleasure of sitting in
conversation with a beautiful and cul
tured girl. "I haven't earned this." he
admitted. "I don't deserve it. It's too
good to be true, but Barnett will ap
prove. Anyhow, I'm going to enjoy it
while I can.
Nevertheless, this sense of being a
sneak and a cheat threw over him a
gloomy and preoeceupied air which
vexed Ann, who began to question him
very much as she would have done bad
she discovered unusual powers in her
coachman. "How do you happen to bo
out here, Mr. Raymond?"
He replied bluntly: "I don't know. I
came here six years ago because I
hadn't any trade and the cattle busi
ness was attractive, and I've been here
"But you are wasting your time and
Tnlo " - - I
For a moment he meditated a jocular
reply, but at last gravely said: "I
know it I've felt like a dough boy for
some time, and well, I'm just about
decided to try my luck up at the big
camp. I wish you would take a letter
to Barnett and be sure that he reads it.
1 want him to send another man down
here to take my place, But, see here,
you're both tired and want to go to
bed." He" rose and lighted, a second
lamp. 'Olrs. Barnett's bed is In this
room" he opened a door on -the side
opposite "I'll see if it is prepared.
Aun;raterposed. "Oh, no! I'm not so
neipless as that. Let me take the light,
I will do very well, never fear."
He yielded to her. "I'll get you-sorne
water, and I hope there are some clean
towels. Let me know if there is any
thing else I can do."
"You are very thoughtful."
"We try to keep that room ready, so
that when the folks come down it will
"I'm quite sure it will do," she said
definitely and entered the room.
Raymond turned to Louis. "Young
ster, can you shoot?"
"Not very well."
"Learn. A man going round this
country with a young woman wants to
be prepared for Avar. He may never
have any need "f a gun, and then
again, unexpected, he may. A gang of
hoboes like that today is dangerous
when they get to drinking, and it
stands a man in hand" He made a
sign commanding silence.
Ann reappeared with a pitcher in her
hand. "If j-ou'll fill this for me?"
"With pleasure," he quickly replied
After filling it and placing it in her
room, he asked: "Now, which bag is
yours? I'll pass that in."
"This one. But where are you and
Louis to sleep?"
"Right here." He caught at a sort of
frame hung upon the M-all. It fell and
was transformed into a bunk. "Right
here, close beside your door, I'll put the
youngster. I'll not take much sleep to
night. The boys will need some hot
coffee when they come In." He walked
to the door and stood there looking
away toward the fire. "I'm afraid
they've an all night job of it. The
mountain wind is springing up."
"If you really feel that you ought to
go" she began rather feebly.
"Would you feel safer If I stayed?"
His voice possessed a note of tender
ness as he asked this question. His
tall form, outlined in the outer dark
ness, again appealed, to her with power.
She hesitated. "I never was among
I mean I have never been separated
from my kind in this way before. I
am a city dweller, and, I confess, I am
a little nervous."
"Then you'd like me to stay?" he in
sisted. "Yes, I wish you would."
"Then I will do so. I'm sure Barnett
will excuse nie when he knows"
Something a whip, a pistol snap ted
far out in the darkness, a little shipping
sound, a puff of dust rose from Ray
mond's bro:l breast, and he put his
hand to his heart with a quick, inward
gasp of pain. "Olir"
"What was that?" asked Ann.
He swayed back against the door
frame, and a yellow white pallor came
over his face. "Some one has touched
me." he said slowly through his set
teeth. "It's that cowardly hound
Speck. Go call your driver. I'm shot."
He tried to walk to a chair, but reeled
Ann's first impulse was toward laugh
ter. It was so absurd, so melodramat
ic, so perfectly impossible. "He is try
ing to frighten us," she thought, look
ing down at him. but Louis ran out
screaming for Watson.
Raymond partly rose and faced her.
Big drops of agony sweat gleamed on
his forehead. "It's no joke," he gasped,
seeming to divine her feeling. "He's
put it right through, just above my
heart. Don't let me bleed to death,"
he ended, with guttural harshness, and
I'm shot." He tried to walk to a chair,
negan to tear at his coat in the effort
to get it off. As he took away his band
mill stiidiryl his nnlni. which whs rl
blood. Ann's heart grew sick with
1 norror. tier nmos
grew numb and
weak. Then, as she watched him tear
ing feebly at his coat, the long dormant
woman in her awoke. She ceased to
tremble and fell on her knees beside
"Let me help you," she said, and her
y.oice was calm and clear, herngera
firm. When his coat was off he" sank
again exhausted, breathing hard.
"Cut away my shirt get at that hole
and plug it," he commanded. "Any
thing that will fill it. You'll find some
6cissors there in that box in the win
His shirt was wet with blood, and
yet the girl clipped it away with steady
hands. He looked down at the wound
and then smiled up to her. "I'm all
right. It was a steel jacketed CQ 30.
It won't bleed much, and it's above my
lung. I'll fool him yet."
The driver, wild of eye and much
crumpled of hair, scrambled into the
room. "Who did It? Who did It?"
"Never mind who did it. Plug this
hole," commanded Raymond. "Bring
some cold water and pour on it."
Ann saw that the driver's wits were
too muddled to permit of proper action,
and while her tense nerves quivered
she bathed the wound, which was al
ready ceasing to bleed.
"Turn me over, cap," called Ray
mond. "Y'ou'Il find another vent on the
Louis and the driver turned him gen
tly on his face, and Ann was horrified
to find an uglier wound than the other,.
Sick with horror as she was, she con
t rived to cut away the shirt and stanch
the blood as before.
Raymond was recovering from the
first shock of tie wound, and, though
his breathing was troubled, his mind
was clear. "Now, Watson," he said to
the driver, "spread some blankets un
der me, and then you go out. to the
corral and take my brown mare, :ith
the saddle on, and slide out for Wal
lace and bring a doctor. Don't urgo
the mare just let her take her gait
and don't ride her back. Leave her
After the driver had helped him to a
bed on a blanket Raymond added,
"Now I've got to be quiet and wait,
that's all there is about it." fie looked
at Ann. "You can go to bed and sleep.
Youngster, you're in for sentinel duty
Ann interrupted him. "You must not
talk, not another word! Lie perfectly
still. We will keep cool bandages on
your wound till the doctor comes."
He submitted to her directions and
lay quiet, moving only to allow her to
cbauga-the impress. Louis, when he
knew what was needed, became almost
as deft as Ann and relieved her of the
painful task of replacing the bandages.
But the powerful frame of the ranch
man grew each moment more inert, and
at last they could not dress the wound
at his back.
long time the silence re
ined unbroken except now
then, when the girl bent
over the silent figure to ask,
"Can I do anything for you?" Each
ime she listened with added fear, hop
ing eagerly for his voice. "Oh, I wish
we could do something," she whispered
now and again to Louis.
The boy, worn out with his day's ex
citement, struggled manfully to keep
a wake, but as the night deepened slum
ber rose about him like a wreath of be
numbing incense. His sense of- what
had taken place dulled, his head nod
ded and drooped, and at last Ann low
ered him to the floor, where he slept, his
cheek pillowed upon her feet.
Again the singularity of the chance,
the absurd unreality of the situation,
came upon the self .contained girl, in
citing her to sort of hysterical laugh
ter. Here now she sat Ann Rupert,
most conventional of persons In a rude
ranch house, . alone with a strange.
rough man sleeping in a deathlike
trance before her.
The minutes elongated like bands of
rubber, attaining the len.th of quarter
hours, and the night stretched away
Into horrifying distance . as she sat
tensely waiting, hoping each moment
for deliverance, expecting each instant
to hear the swift beating of hoofs, the
hoarse laughter of the men; but only
the wind serpents hissed and the wolf
At last immobility became intolera
ble, and. lowering Louis' head to the
floor, she gently placed his doubled
coat beneath it and with a mighty ef
fort of the will bent again abne the
pallid man, so tragic iu his sup ueuess,
"Are you still suffering? Can I do
anything for you?"
He turned his head slowly and with
a glance which made her shiver an
swered: "No; I have ceased to bleed.
I am going to pull through if my pulse
keeps down. Won't you takeit?"
Timidly taking his brown wrist' in
her soft finger tips she tried to count
the pulsing of his blood.
He waited a little time in silence,
then said: "It's there, hat it's weak.
Don't you feel it?"
"Yes; it is more regular now," she
"I'm not going to die, he continued
in a hoarse", flat tone. "I conld get up
and mount a horse right now, only I'd
bleed If I did. It's hard to keep- quiet,
but I'm going to do it. I can't afford to
die now. You've roused me. There's
something in the world for me to. do."
"You must not talk," she whispered.
"Please it will do you harm."
She put her band impulsively oh his
forehead as if be were a child, and he
closed his eyes and lay in silence for
several minutes. When she withdrew
her palm he muttered: !Leave it there.
It is so cool and soft." '
"Would you like a wet cloth on your
head?" ' , .. .
"No only your hand If you.' don't
He'r feeling toward him at the mo
ment was like that she manifested to
ward her brother. "I don't mind, if it
helps you," she answered, but a flush
rose to her face.
. "The boj-s will come in soon, and
then you can go to bed and rest. I'm
sorry to trouble you. Y'ou can go now.
I'm all right," he said.
"I shall not leave you," she firmly re
plied. You're mighty good," he said sim
ply. The night wore on interminably. At
a little past o. faint and far, arose the
cheerful crowing of a cock. Her heart
burned with joy the morning was
near! As she waited the light came
and voices, faint and far away, touched
herear. and then slowly, moving iu a
disorderly squad, the weary fighters of
flames came riding down the slope and
across the meadow.
The herders did not ride up to the
house, as she expected them to do, but
turned aside toward the stables, and
she could hear them as they dropped
their saddles and turned their tired
ponies loose. "Surely they will come
now." Then all was still save the crow
lng of the cocks and that sad bowling
of the wolf on tbe'hill.
Unable to endure Ihe suspense, she
tiptoed across the floor and hurried out
toward the corrals, her heart in her
throat with fear of the body on the
floor. She ran as silently as possible,
as if to avoid rousing some fierce ani
mal, and was close upon the men be
fore they saw her.
"What's that?" she heard one quick,
keen voice cry out.
Then each man rose from the heap of
blankets wherein he lay curled like an
Ann answered them breathlessly.
"Come to the house, quick. Mr. Ray
mond is shott"
Their responses were like bullets:
'Shot! Who shot him?"
"Some one fired out of the darkness
he was standing in the doorway. I'm
all alone. He must have help!"
"Gone for the doctor."
Shaking loose from his bed, Baker
started on the run for the house, but
Ann cried out sharply: "Wait! Go
quietly. You must not excite him."
And. walking beside him. she returned
to the house, and in a sort of daze the
other herders silently followed. The
jangle of Baker's big spurs, familiar
and penetrating, called Raymond to a
knowledge of his surroundings.
He turned his head and looked at the
men in a way that made them shrink
and asked: "How's the fire? Did you
Baker replied, "Ye we got her un
Raymond half closed his eyes. "I'm
glad you're here. This lady needs a
rest. Somebody did for me. Baker,
you and Jones and Skuttle stay here.
Perry, you saddle a horse and get Abe
and his wife. Miss Rupert, you go to
bed; the boys will look after me now.
I can't let you wear yourself out for
But Ann could not so easily be put
aside from her plain duty. "No, I will
stay till the doctor comes."
At last, when the wounded man was
lying comfortably on a thick pile of
blankets and the white light of the
morning tilled the cabin, Ann yielded
to his entreaties, went to her rttom
and threw herself down upon her bed
with a sense of having put all her ease
ful, careless girlhood behind her. It
was as If she bad suddenly been flung
Into a gray and bitter sea far from
Louis, who had been roused by the
return of the herders and who s'at
watching their slow and painfully cau
tious handling of the sufferer with the
mute, unemotional gaze of a sleepy
kitten, followed his sister Into the in
ner room and stood In silence till his
bewilderment left him and his per
plexity crystallized Into words. Then
"Jupiter! I didn't know you could
do such things. What do you think?
Is he going to die?" '
"I don't know, laddie. I hope not.
I've done all I can."
Ann must have dropped asleep there
after, for when she woke tluvfiorizontal
rays of the flaming sun filled the room
and the loud and hearty voice of a wo
man could be board out in the kitchen.
Her words came distinctly to Ann's
ears. "Now. Rob, you've got me to
deal with. I'll cuff your ears if you
don't do as I say. Y'ou've got to eat to
keep your strength up."
Ann rose hastily, but paud before
the closed door with a new and singu
lar timidity. The coming of another
woman made her own position embar
rassing. With a return of resolution
she opened the door and met the big
gray eyes of a tall, broad shouldered,
slatternly woman, who stood over Ray
mond with a bowl of steaming broth in
her hand. She was neither deft nor
dainty, but Ann perceived that she was
capable and good tempered, a natural
nurse, '. - . - - - -
"Good morning," she called, and her
inflections and many of her phrases
were masculine. "You must 'a' had a
right hard night of it. Friend of the
Barnetts, Rob tells me."
He familiarity and the essential
commonness of her tone repelled Ann,
who asked, with cool dignity, "Can I
do anything?" .
"Not a thing. I'm Mrs. Scribbins,
Rob's highest neighbor. We come
a-runniu the moment we heerd of this
thing, for Rob"s a mighty good man
Ami repented and held out her hand
"I'm glad to see you, Mrs. Scribbins
I'm Miss Rupert, and this is my broth
er." She turned to Ixuis, who had
crept to her side, pale and silent.
Mrs. Scribbins shook hands, carefully
guarding her rotli. "I don't see how
you kept -Rub -down. I've had to Just
about throttle him once or twice since
I came. lie's a headstrong cuss and
hates being bossed or missed."
"lias the doctor come?"
"Good I-iord, no! But I've scut Abe
up the road. That fool Watson is
more'u likely to get lost and never get
in. Even if he did he couldn't get a
doctor here before noon, ami that Wal
lace doctor ain't worth the powder to
blow him up anyway. We need a bone
doctor from Valley Springs. As soon
as Don Barnett hears of this he'll come
a-ruuuin' With the best there Is iu the
Raymond lay on his pile of blankets,
his face expressionless as that of a
dead man, but his eyes called to the
girl, and she bent to ask, "Are you
His lips moved a little. She bowed
lower, and he whispered, "Y'es bring
"They havcoue for him."
"They must hurry." Then he added.
"Don't leave me."
With a conviction that he knew he
was about to die, she spoke, and her
tone was tense with a desire to help
him. "I will not leave you. Do not
He closed his eyes again and lay so
still, so breathless, it seemed that he
had entered upon the last coma, be
yond the reach of any medicine.
Louis, awed quite out of his sprightly
self, drew Ann aside and whispered,
"How is he?"
"He is worse. Oh, I wish the doctor
"The boys say that big, speckled
faced fellow did it. He had it iu for
Mr. Raymond. Do you know, Perry,
the Mexican boy, took' a horse and was
going to chase them up, but the boys
wouldn't let him. They've sent word
to the railway, and they'll have Spec
kle before night. Uncle Don said that
these fellows were only hired men, but
seems to me they're a good deal like
the old time cowboys."
ARNETT was at breakfast when
a telegram was laid at his el
bow by the maid. He opened
it leisurely, thinking it some
matter of business, but bis hands stiff
ened as he read:
Bob Raymond Is shot
la town 'itiiek.
SonJ best tlootor
For just a moment he sat in silence,
then rose and walked slowly to his li
brary. Seating himself before the lit
tle desk on which stood a movable tele
phone receiver, he began to "make
things hum." He reached his friend.
Dr. Braide, and set him in motion. He
ordered out his racing automobile. He
telegraphed Watson to take fresh
horses and return by way of Junction
and 'get the best doctor there. "Bum
the air as you go," he added.
After giving orders" for his valise to
be packed he walked up to Mrs. Bar
nett's room and kissed her good morn
ing without betraying his excitement.
"I'm going out to the ranch," he said.
"The boys are having trouble wli the
hay, and I want to see how they're
coining on. You won't mind, will
"Of course not, Don. I'm going to be
all right in a few hours. I'm glad
you're going. You can bring Ann home.
You should have gone with her vester
day." "I see that now," be answered dryly.
"It will be a startling world for her.
Well, I'm off. Better stay In bed to
day. I'll be back by tomorrow night, I
When he took his seat in his big. flat,
powerful auto car his face was set in
grim lines. "Is she all right, Henry?"
he asked of his engineer.
"In perfect order, sir."
"She needs to be. This Is to bo a
With his big goggles over his eyes
and his cap drawn low down on his
forehead. Barnett seized the wheel,
and the ponderous, panting organism
began to move. Wheeling into the
street, he let on the full power of the
engine, and when he drew up at
Braide's gate the mechanism was hot
with speed. Its joints oiled and frlc
tionless In racing trim.
Braide, a small, smiling, trig young
fellow, came out. "What is it all
"Got your tools?"
He pointed at bis Lag. "Emergency
"Then all aboard!"
Henry leaped out and caught up the
bag, while the doctor climbed in beside
Barnett on the front seat.
"This looks ominous. How much of
a trip is It going to be?"
"Just a short run." answered Bar:
nett as bo swung the shining red bulk
of the car into .Iogalyon avenue, which
led directly east over the plain.
Beneath their feet the puff and click
of the piston and the pur of cogs grew
each moment more furious until nil
sounds fused. Into a humming roar.
The keen air of the morning smote the
riders jovially. The flaming sunlight
slanted i:pon them with growing heat,
and backward, beneath them, the sod
sVpt like" a tawny carpet, while Bar
nett, watchful. Intent, composed, work
ed the levers and valves with the skill
of a uractical engineer. When thejr hid
crossed the" two" railroads and 'were
climbing the long, low ridge he casual
"My foreman, Raymond, Is shot, and
you've got to puJI him through."
"Great Scott, Don, I can't afford the
time! It'll take all. day. ' If I'd
"You'd have gone just the same," as
serted Barnett calmly. The machine
was again running swiftly. "Y'ou're
here, and you daren't jump out, and
you might as well enjoy yourself. This
is to be a record run. I'm going to pull
in by noon."
Braide was young and a man of red
b'.oud and shining eyes. "Very well;
go it, old sport! I eau stand it if you
can. I'll make it a holiday and charge
you double for every hour."
When they had reached the top of the
pass between two pinon spotted bills
the road could be seen for miles, driv
ing straight into the mist of the mighty
Missouri valley. '
"It's all the way down grade from
here to Omaha," remarked Barnett.
"I could make the run In two hours,
only I mustn't invite a breakdown."
"You seem to value your foreman."
"lie's something more than my fore
man. He's a splendid chap. You've
met him the fellow who went on the
'coyote drive with us."
"Why, certainly I remember him.
I've met him at the club. But ho was
very reticent. I didn't get at him.
Who is be? How does he come to bo
"He's a little slow about telling his
own life story, but he's all right. I
think I know the cause of tills shoot
ing. He got into trouble with a couple
of fellows out there, and one of them
has done him."
As they entered uiton a particularly
smooth stretch of road the man at the
wheel relaxed his hold and said, with
deep feeling: "I don't mind saying that
I'm anxious about Rob. I've grown
mighty fond of him. lie's not one giv-.
"7 tlon't in I ml naylnrj that I'm ahx'mt
about lUtb "
en to confidences, and I've resitoctel
his reticence, I don't know quite why,,
he is here, but I trust him and count
myself fortunate to have him on lh
place. He made $10,1)00 for me Dt
year on hay and cuttle, and must have
a little bunch laid up for himself. I've
felt for a year that I ought to put Ro"
Into something better. I owed It to
him. Now. if he dies" He broke o.T
and bent to bis wheel to hide the emo
tion that made bis lips quiver.
It lacked ten minutes of noon as Bar
nett rose above the last great wave of
the tawny sea and sighted the clump
of eottouwoods In which his ranch
buildings sat, and two minutes later he
swept into the yard and up to the door
amid a throng of singularly silent cow
boys and ranchers. The first one to
speak was Mrs. Scribbins, who ex
claimed: "Jerusalem the golden! You -hain't
come from lome this morniu in that
doggone thunder cart, have ye?"
"That's what. How's Rob?"
"Quiet as mice; but I hope ye brought
Barnett' rose from his seat stiffly and
rlimhed painfully down, while Braide
seized his case of tools ami hurried
Into the cabin.
Barnett, feeling a. small hand grip
ping his arm. turned to meet Louis.
"Hello," said he. "How is Ann?"
"She's all right. She saved Bob's
life," answered the Itoy.
Ann. who stood just outside the door,
answered very quietly: "I am quite
well. How is Jeannette?"
"I left her feeling very well. But tell
me the truth. Is Rob dying?"'
"No," said Ann. "But he needs help.
He was shot last evening and has lain
all night in palu. He Is very weak
Baruett hurried into the hot dusk of
the ranch house, smelling of the dinner,
which .was cooking, and bent above his
"Hello, Rob! How do you feel?"
Raymond whispered, "Oh, .I'm all
right; a little weak"
The doctor Interposed. "Clear the
room of everybody but this .woman."
(Continued on Page X$n.).