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Bloom of Cactus   By: (1870-1954)

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[Illustration: "Lennon elevated his rifle and sent a parting shot over the heads of the fleeing riders"]




Garden City New York DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1920

Copyright, 1919, by Doubleday, Page & Company All Rights Reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian



I. Ambushed 3 II. Off Trail 13 III. The Gila Monster 24 IV. Pards in Peril 35 V. Dead Hole 47 VI. Her Folks 55 VII. Craft and Cruelty 62 VIII. Cactus Carmena 75 IX. The Man Who Was 85 X. The Setter of Traps 95 XI. Cross Currents 107 XII. A Bargain 117 XIII. The Blossoming 127 XIV. The Prowler 136 XV. Crooked Ways 145 XVI. The Drop 156 XVII. Death Play 168 XVIII. The Attack 180 XIX. Out of the Frying Pan 192 XX. Into the Fire 201 XXI. Treachery 211 XXII. The Sacrifice 222 XXIII. Out of the Past 234 XXIV. His Daughter's Father 245




As Lennon drove his heavily packed burro over the round of the ridge above the camp spring, all the desolate Arizona waste around him was transformed by the splendour of dawn. Up out of mysterious velvety blue black valleys loomed the massive purple walled fortresses and cities of the mountain giants, guarded by titanic skyward towering pyramids and turrets of exquisite rose pink.

The burro was not interested in scenery or light effects. He topped the ridge and plodded slowly down the steep trail on the far side. Lennon lingered to enjoy the glorious illusion of the view.

All too soon, as the glaring sun cleared the high plateau on the eastern horizon, the ethereal colours of daybreak faded. The magic towers and pyramids lowered and shrank in bulk until they became only bald rugged peaks and buttes.

No less remorselessly the flood of hot white sunrays burned away the shadow tapestry of the valleys. In place of the cool mysterious vales there were left only scorched gulleys and dry washes sparsely set with greasewood and sagebrush and cactus.

Yet the interest in Lennon's alert gray eyes increased rather than lessened as he swung away down slope after his burro. The trail he was following was very old. Above almost every arable valley bottom the heights were crested with the stone ruins of ancient pueblos. Not improbably, Coronado or others of the early Spanish explorers had ridden this trail, west and north around the great bend, into the territory of the Moquis and Navahos.

Within the memory of settlers not yet white haired, more than one war party of renegade Apaches had sneaked along the ancient way in search of victims. Every few yards of the bad lands offered perfect lurking places for liers in wait along the trail.

Lennon glanced at the butt of his rifle in its sheath on the burro's pack. He recalled the tales of the old prospector whose copper mine he was seeking to rediscover. But his glance was only momentary. He knew that twenty seven years had passed since the last murderous Indian outbreak in this land of desolation... Continue reading book >>

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