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Hidden Gold   By:

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HIDDEN GOLD

BY

WILDER ANTHONY

FRONTISPIECE BY

G. W. GAGE

NEW YORK THE MACAULAY COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY THE MACAULAY COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

[Illustration: At the sharp crack of the rifle, Moran stopped short.]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I THE COMING OF THE SHEEP 11

II A MEETING AND A PARTING 23

III JEALOUSY 35

IV THE GATHERING STORM 44

V TREACHERY 57

VI MURDER 73

VII THE OLD TRAIL 84

VIII HIGHER THAN STATUTE LAW 93

IX THE BATTLE AT THE RANCH 106

X THE SENATOR GETS BUSY 114

XI TANGLED THREADS 129

XII DESPERATE MEASURES 144

XIII INTO THE DEPTHS 156

XIV A DASTARD'S BLOW 171

XV THE FIRST CLEW 181

XVI TRAPPED 200

XVII A WAR OF WITS 212

XVIII A RESCUE, AND A VIGILANCE COMMITTEE 234

XIX BAFFLED, BUT STILL DANGEROUS 250

XX THE STORM BURSTS 262

XXI WITH BARE HANDS AT LAST 272

XXII CHURCH GOING CLOTHES 283

HIDDEN GOLD

CHAPTER I

THE COMING OF THE SHEEP

From his seat on the top of a high ridge, Gordon Wade looked into the bowl shaped valley beneath him, with an expression of amazement on his sun burned face. Pouring through a narrow opening in the environing hills, and immediately spreading fan like over the grass of the valley, were sheep; hundreds, thousands of them. Even where he sat, a good quarter mile above them, the air was rank with the peculiar smell of the animals he detested, and their ceaseless "Ba a a, ba a a, ba a a," sounded like the roar of surf on a distant coast. Driven frantic by the appetizing smell of the sweet bunch grass, the like of which they had not seen in months, the sheep poured through the gap like a torrent of dirty, yellow water; urged on from the rear and sides by barking dogs and shouting herders.

Straightening his six feet of bone and muscle, the cattleman stood up and stepped to the extreme edge of the rim rock, with hardened countenance and gleaming eyes. A herder saw him standing there, in open silhouette against the sky line, and with many wild gesticulations pointed him out to his companions. With a quick motion, Wade half raised his rifle from the crook of his arm toward his shoulder, and then snorted grimly as the herders scrambled for shelter. "Coyotes!" he muttered, reflecting that constant association with the beasts that such men tended, seemed to make cowards of them all.

With an ominous shake of his head, he went back on the ridge to his waiting horse, eager to bear word of the invasion to Santry, his ranch foreman and closest friend. Thrusting the short barreled rifle into its scabbard beneath the stirrup leather, he mounted and rode rapidly away.

Dusk was gathering as he pushed his way through the willows which fringed Piah Creek and came out into the clearing which held his ranch buildings. Nestling against the foot of a high bluff with the clear waters of the creek sparkling a scant fifty yards from the door, the log ranch house remained hidden until one was almost upon it. To the left, at the foot of a long slope, the corrals and out buildings were situated, while beyond them a range of snow capped mountains rose in majestic grandeur... Continue reading book >>




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