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Ben Blair The Story of a Plainsman   By: (1878-1909)

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First Page:

[Illustration: Florence touched his arm. "Ben," she pleaded, "Ben, forgive me. I've hurt you. I can't say I love you." Page 114.]

BEN BLAIR THE STORY OF A PLAINSMAN

By WILL LILLIBRIDGE

Author of "Where the Trail Divides," etc.

A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT BY A. C. MCCLURG & CO. A. D. 1905

Entered at Stationers' Hall, London

All rights reserved

Published October 21, 1905 Second Edition October 28, 1905 Third Edition November 29, 1905 Fourth Edition December 9, 1905 Fifth Edition December 14, 1905 Sixth Edition February 28, 1907

To My Wife

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. IN RUDE BORDER LAND 1 II. DESOLATION 9 III. THE BOX R RANCH 23 IV. BEN'S NEW HOME 37 V. THE EXOTICS 44 VI. THE SOIL AND THE SEED 53 VII. THE SANITY OF THE WILD 66 VIII. THE GLITTER OF THE UNKNOWN 74 IX. A RIFFLE OF PRAIRIE 83 X. THE DOMINANT ANIMAL 94 XI. LOVE'S AVOWAL 106 XII. A DEFERRED RECKONING 117 XIII. A SHOT IN THE DARK 134 XIV. THE INEXORABLE TRAIL 148 XV. IN THE GRIP OF THE LAW 164 XVI. THE QUICK AND THE DEAD 185 XVII. GLITTER AND TINSEL 193 XVIII. PAINTER AND PICTURE 204 XIX. A VISITOR FROM THE PLAINS 217 XX. CLUB CONFIDENCES 230 XXI. LOVE IN CONFLICT 242 XXII. TWO FRIENDS HAVE IT OUT 258 XXIII. THE BACK FIRE 270 XXIV. THE UPPER AND THE NETHER MILLSTONES 287 XXV. OF WHAT AVAIL? 304 XXVI. LOVE'S SURRENDER 318

BEN BLAIR

CHAPTER I

IN RUDE BORDER LAND

Even in a community where unsavory reputations were the rule, Mick Kennedy's saloon was of evil repute. In a land new and wild, his establishment was the wildest, partook most of the unsubdued, unevolved character of its surroundings. There, as irresistibly as gravitation calls the falling apple, came from afar and near mainly from afar the malcontent, the restless, the reckless, seeking instinctively gregarious the crowd, the excitement of the green covered table, the temporary oblivion following the gulping of fiery red liquor.

Great splendid animals were the men who gathered there; hairy, powerful, strong voiced from combat with prairie wind and frontier distance; devoid of a superfluous ounce of flesh, their trousers, uniformly baggy at the knees, bearing mute testimony to the many hours spent in the saddle; the bare unprotected skin of their hands and faces speaking likewise of constant contact with sun and storm.

By the broad glow of daylight the place was anything but inviting. The heavy bar, made of cottonwood, had no more elegance than the rude sod shanty of the pioneer. The worn round cloth topped tables, imported at extravagant cost from the East, were covered with splashes of grease and liquor; and the few fly marked pictures on the walls were coarsely suggestive. Scattered among them haphazard, in one instance through a lithographic print, were round holes as large as a spike head, through which, by closely applying the eye, one could view the world without. When the place was new, similar openings had been carefully refilled with a whittled stick of wood, but the practice had been discontinued; it was too much trouble, and also useless from the frequency with which new holes were made. Besides, although accepted with unconcern by habitu├ęs of the place, they were a source of never ending interest to the "tenderfeet" who occasionally appeared from nowhere and disappeared whence they had come... Continue reading book >>




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