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Alton of Somasco   By: (1866-1945)

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ALTON OF SOMASCO

A Romance of the Great Northwest

By HAROLD BINDLOSS

Author of

"Winston of the Prairie," "The Dust of Conflict," "The Cattle Baron's Daughter," "The Young Traders," etc.

With Illustrations

By R. MARTINE REAY

A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS

NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT, 1905

BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

This Edition Issued in March, 1906.

CONTENTS

CHAP.

I THE FIRST ENCOUNTER II AT TOWNSHEAD'S RANCH III HARRY THE TEAMSTER IV HALLAM OF THE TYEE V THE HEIR OF CARNABY VI MISS DERINGHAM MAKES FRIENDS VII ALTON BLUNDERS VIII HALLAM'S CONFEDERATE IX MISS DERINGHAM FEELS SLIGHTED X THE UNDELIVERED MESSAGE XI CONFIDENCE MISPLACED XII IN VANCOUVER XIII THE SOMASCO CONSOLIDATED XIV THE COMPACT XV ON THE TRAIL XVI CAUSE FOR ANXIETY XVII ALONE XVIII IN THE WILDERNESS XIX FOUL PLAY XX THE NICKED BULLET XXI OKANAGAN'S ROAD XXII MISS DERINGHAM DECIDES XXIII THE AWAKENING XXIV HALLAM TRIES AGAIN XXV ALTON IS SILENT XXVI WITHOUT COUNTING THE COST XXVII THE FORCE OF CALUMNY XXVIII ALTON FINDS A WAY XXIX THE PRICE OF DELAY XXX SEAFORTH'S REINSTATEMENT XXXI "THE THIRD TIME" XXXII ALTON HOLDS HIS HAND XXXIII MISS DERINGHAM'S CONFESSION XXXIV THE CONSUMMATION

ALTON OF SOMASCO

CHAPTER I

THE FIRST ENCOUNTER

It was snowing slowly and persistently, as it had done all day, when Henry Alton of Somasco ranch stood struggling with a half tamed Cayuse pony in a British Columbian settlement. The Cayuse had laid its ears back, and was describing a circle round him, scattering mud and snow, while the man who gripped the bridle in a lean, brown hand watched it without impatience, admiringly.

"Game!" he said. "I like them that way. Still, it isn't every man could seize a pack on him, and you'll have to let up three dollars on the price you asked me."

Now three dollars is a considerable proportion of the value of an Indian pony fresh from the northern grass lands, with the devil that lurks in most of his race still unsubdued within him, but the rancher who owned him did not immediately reject the offer. Possibly he was not especially anxious to keep the beast.

"Oh, yes," said a bystander. "He's game enough, and I'd ask the boys to my funeral if I meant to drive him at night over the lake trail. After being most kicked into wood pulp Carter hasn't any more use for him, and I'll lay you a dollar, Alton, you and your partner can't put the pack on him."

Perhaps the Cayuse was tired, or desirous of watching for an opportunity, for it came to a standstill, snorting, with its wicked eyes upon the man, who laughed a little and shoved back the broad hat from his forehead as he straightened himself. The laugh rang pleasantly, and the faint twinkle in Alton's eyes was in keeping with it. They were grey, and steady when the light sank out of them, and the rest of the bronzed face was shrewd and quietly masterful. He wore a deerskin jacket fancifully embroidered, blue canvas overalls, and gum boots to the knee, while, though all of them needed repair, the attire was picturesque, and showed its wearer's lean symmetry. The man's age was apparently twenty five, and eight years' use of the axe had set a stamp of springy suppleness upon him. He had also wrested rather more than a livelihood from the Canadian forest during them.

All round him the loghouses rose in all their unadorned dinginess beneath the sombre pines, and the largest of them bore a straggling legend announcing that it was Horton's store and hotel. A mixed company of bush ranchers, free prospectors, axemen, and miners lounged outside it in picturesque disarray, and high above rose a dim white line of never melting snow.

"Well," said Alton, "it's time this circus was over, anyway, and if Carter will take my bid I'll clinch that deal with you... Continue reading book >>




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