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'Drag' Harlan   By: (1875-1942)

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Author of The Boss of the Lazy Y, "Firebrand" Trevison, The Trail Horde, The Ranchman, Etc.

Frontispiece by P. V. E. Ivory

[Illustration: She laid her head on his shoulder, sobbing, and talking incoherently. (Page 65)]

Grosset & Dunlap Publishers :: New York

Made in the United States of America

Copyright A. C. McClurg & Co. 1921

Published May, 1921

Copyrighted in Great Britain


CHAPTER PAGE I A Desert Rider 1 II A Man's Reputation 9 III A Girl Waits 31 IV His Shadow Before 38 V A Prison 48 VI Chain Lightning 58 VII Single Handed 66 VIII Barbara Is Puzzled 78 IX An Unwelcome Guest 88 X On Guard 96 XI The Intruder 107 XII Barbara Sees a Light 114 XIII Harlan Takes Charge 119 XIV Shadows 129 XV Linked 142 XVI Deep Water 153 XVII Forging a Letter 159 XVIII Harlan Rides Alone 169 XIX Harlan Joins the Gang 174 XX Left Handed 191 XXI The Black Bearded Man 206 XXII A Dead Man Walks 219 XXIII Deveny Secedes 225 XXIV Kidnapped 229 XXV Ambushed 238 XXVI Rogers Takes a Hand 242 XXVII A Dual Tragedy 248 XXVIII Converging Trails 252 XXIX World's End 258 XXX The Ultimate Treachery 263 XXXI Peace and a Sunset 274




From out of the shimmering haze that veiled the mystic eastern space came a big black horse bearing a rider. Swinging wide, to avoid the feathery dust that lay at the base of a huge sand dune, the black horse loped, making no sound, and seeming to glide forward without effort. Like a somber, gigantic ghost the animal moved, heroic of mold, embodying the spirit of the country, seeming to bear the sinister message of the desert, the whispered promise of death, the lingering threat, the grim mockery of life, and the conviction of futility.

The black horse had come far. The glossy coat of him was thickly sprinkled with alkali dust, sifted upon him by the wind of his passage through the desert; his black muzzle was gray with it; ropes of it matted his mane, his forelock had become a gray tinged wisp which he fretfully tossed; the dust had rimmed his eyes, causing them to loom large and wild; and as his rider pulled him to a halt on the western side of the sand dune where both horse and rider would not be visible on the sky line he drew a deep breath, shook his head vigorously, and blew a thin stream of dust from his nostrils.

With head and ears erect, his eyes flaming his undying courage and his contempt for distance and the burning heat that the midday sun poured upon him, he gazed westward, snorting long breaths into his eager lungs.

The rider sat motionless upon him rigid and alert. His gaze also went into the west; and he blinked against the white glare of sun and distance, squinting his eyes and scanning the featureless waste with appraising glances.

In the breathless, dead calm of the desert there was no sound or movement. On all sides the vast gray waste stretched, a yawning inferno of dead, dry sand overhung with a brassy, cloudless sky in which swam the huge ball of molten silver that for ages had ruled that baked and shriveled land.

A score of miles westward twoscore, perhaps the shadowy peaks of some mountains loomed upward into the mystic haze, with purple bases melting into the horizon; southward were other mountains, equally distant and mysterious; northward so far away that they blurred in the vision were still other mountains. Intervening on all sides was the stretching, soundless, aching void of desolation, carrying to the rider its lurking threat of death, the promise of evil to come... Continue reading book >>

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