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The Free Rangers A Story of the Early Days Along the Mississippi   By: (1862-1919)

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First Page:

THE FREE RANGERS

[Illustration]

JOSEPH A. ALTSHELER

The FREE RANGERS

The FREE RANGERS

A STORY OF EARLY DAYS ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI

BY

JOSEPH A. ALTSHELER

AUTHOR OF "THE YOUNG TRAILERS," "THE FOREST RUNNERS," ETC.

[Illustration]

APPLETON CENTURY CROFTS, INC.

NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT, 1909, BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, must not be reproduced in any form without permission of the publishers.

Copyright, 1936, by Sallie B. Altsheler Printed in the United States of America

"THE FREE RANGERS," WHILE AN INDEPENDENT STORY IN ITSELF, CONTINUES THE FORTUNES OF THE TWO BOYS AND THEIR COMRADES WHO WERE THE CENTRAL CHARACTERS IN "THE YOUNG TRAILERS," "THE FOREST RUNNERS," "THE KEEPERS OF THE TRAIL" AND "THE EYES of THE WOODS."

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. THE CALL 1

II. A FOREST ENVOY 17

III. AN INVISIBLE CHASE 39

IV. TAKING A "GALLEON" 54

V. ON THE GREAT RIVER 74

VI. BATTLE AND STORM 96

VII. THE LONE VOYAGER 115

VIII. THE CHATEAU OF BEAULIEU 133

IX. PAUL AND THE SPANIARD 153

X. A BARBARIC ORDEAL 171

XI. THE SPANIARD'S OFFER 181

XII. THE SHADOW IN THE FOREST 196

XIII. THE WHITE STALLION 214

XIV. NEW ORLEANS 230

XV. BEFORE BERNARDO GALVEZ 251

XVI. IN PRISON 271

XVII. THE FLAW IN THE ARMOR 285

XVIII. NORTHWARD WITH THE FLEET 302

XIX. THE BATTLE OF THE BANK 322

XX. THE BATTLE OF THE BAYOU 334

XXI. THE DEFENSE OF THE FIVE 349

XXII. THE CHOSEN TASK 361

THE FREE RANGERS

CHAPTER I

THE CALL

The wilderness rolled away to north and to south, and also it rolled away to east and to west, an unbroken sweep of dark, glossy green. Straight up stood the mighty trunks, but the leaves rippled and sang low when a gentle south wind breathed upon them. It was the forest as God made it, the magnificent valley of North America, upon whose edges the white man had just begun to nibble.

A young man, stepping lightly, came into a little glade. He was white, but he brought with him no alien air. He was in full harmony with the primeval woods, a part of them, one in whose ears the soft song of the leaves was a familiar and loved tune. He was lean, but tall, and he walked with a wonderful swinging gait that betokened a frame wrought to the strength of steel by exercise, wind, weather, and life always in the open. Though his face was browned by sun and storm his hair was yellow and his eyes blue. He was dressed wholly in deerskin and he carried over his shoulder the long slender rifle of the border. At his belt swung hatchet and knife.

There was a touch to the young man that separated him from the ordinary woods rover. He held himself erect with a certain pride of manner. The stock of his rifle, an unusually fine piece, was carved in an ornate and beautiful way. The deerskin of his attire had been tanned with uncommon care, and his moccasins were sewn thickly with little beads of yellow and blue and red and green. Every piece of clothing was scrupulously clean, and his arms were polished and bright.

The shiftless one who so little deserved his name paused a moment in the glade and, dropping the stock of his rifle to the ground, leaned upon the muzzle. He listened, although he expected to hear nothing save the song of the leaves, and that alone he heard. A faint smile passed over the face of Shif'less Sol. He was satisfied. All was happening as he had planned. Then he swung the rifle back to his shoulder, and walked to the crest of a hill near by.

The summit was bare and the shiftless one saw far. It was a splendid rolling country, covered with forests of oak and elm, beech, hickory and maple. Here and there faint threads of silver showed where rivers or brooks flowed, and he drew a long deep breath... Continue reading book >>




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