Francis Lynde.

The Taming of Red Butte Western online

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the loan of a few of Uncle Sam's boys from Fort McCook. Gridley got on
to it through Dix, and he also cut us out of Mr. Leckhard's answer
telling us that the cavalry boys were on 73. By Gridley's orders, the
two Ruffords and some others turned an engine loose to run down the road
for a head-ender with the freight that was bringing the soldiers. Dawson
chased the runaway engine with the coupled-up _Nadia_ outfit, caught it
just in the nick of time to prevent a collision with 73, and brought it
back. He's down in the car now, with one of the young women crying on
his neck, and - - "

Miss Brewster got up out of her chair, found she could stand without
tottering, and said: "Howard, I _must_ go back to mamma. She will be
perfectly frantic if some one hasn't told her that I am safe. We can go
now, can't we, Mr. McCloskey? The trouble is all over, isn't it?"

The trainmaster nodded gravely.

"It's over, all but the paying of the bills. That rifle-shot we heard a
little spell ago settled it. No, he isn't dead" - this in answer to
Lidgerwood's unspoken question - "but it will be a heap better for all
concerned if he don't get over it. You can go down. Lieutenant Baldwin
has posted his men around the shops and the Crow's Nest."

Together they left the shelter of the trainmaster's room, and passed
down the dark stair and out upon the platform, where the cavalrymen were
mounting guard. There was no word spoken by either until they reached
the _Nadia's_ forward vestibule, and then it was Lidgerwood who broke
the silence to say: "I have discovered something to-night, Eleanor: I'm
not quite all the different kinds of a coward I thought I was."

"Don't tell me!" she said, in keen self-reproach, and her voice thrilled
him like the subtle melody of a passion song. "Howard, dear, I - I'm
sitting in sackcloth and ashes. I saw it all - with my own eyes, and I
could neither run nor scream. Oh, it was splendid! I never dreamed that
any man could rise by the sheer power of his will to such a pinnacle of
courage. Does that make amends - just a little? And won't you come to
breakfast with us in the morning, and let me tell you afterward how
miserable I've been - how I fairly _nagged_ father into bringing this
party out here so that I might have an excuse to - to - - "

He forgot the fierce strife so lately ended; forgot the double victory
he had won.

"But - but Van Lew," he stammered - "he told me that you - that he - " and
then he took her in his arms and kissed her, while a young man with a
bandaged head - a man who answered to the name of Jack Benson, and who
was hastening up to get permission to go home to Faith Dawson - turned
his back considerately and walked away.

"What were you going to say about Herbert?" she murmured, when he let
her have breath enough to speak with.

"I was merely going to remark that he can't have you now, not if he were
ten thousand times your accepted lover."

She escaped from his arms and ran lightly up the steps of the private
car. And from the safe vantage-ground of the half-opened door she turned
and mocked him.

"Silly boy," she said softly. "Can't you read print when it's large
enough to shout at all the world? Herbert and Carolyn have been
'announced' for more than three months, and they are to be married when
we get back to New York. That's all; good-night, and don't you dare to
forget your breakfast engagement!"









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Online LibraryFrancis LyndeThe Taming of Red Butte Western → online text (page 20 of 20)