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Keith of the Border   By: (1858-1923)

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By Randall Parrish

Author of "My Lady of the North," "My Lady of the South." "When Wilderness Was King," etc.


I The Plainsman II The Scene of Tragedy III An Arrest IV An Old Acquaintance V The One Way VI The Escape VII In the Sand Desert VIII The Wilderness Cabin IX The Girl of the Cabin X Mr. Hawley Reveals Himself XI The Fight in the Dark XII Through the Night Shadows XIII The Ford of the Arkansas XIV The Landlady of the Occidental XV Again Christie Maclaire XVI Introducing Doctor Fairbain XVII In the Next Room XVIII Interviewing Willoughby XIX A Glimpse at Conspiracy XX Hope Goes to Sheridan XXI The Marshal of Sheridan XXII An Interrupted Interview XXIII An Unexpected Meeting XXIV A Mistake in Assassination XXV A Reappearance of the General XXVI A Chance Conversation XXVII Miss Hope Suggests XXVIII The Stage Door of the Trocadero XXIX By Force of Arms XXX In Christie's Room XXXI The Search for the Missing XXXII Fairbain and Christie XXXIII Following the Trail XXXIV Again at the Cabin XXXV The Cabin Taken XXXVI The Duel in the Desert XXXVII At the Water Hole



Chapter I. The Plainsman

The man was riding just below the summit of the ridge, occasionally uplifting his head so as to gaze across the crest, shading his eyes with one hand to thus better concentrate his vision. Both horse and rider plainly exhibited signs of weariness, but every movement of the latter showed ceaseless vigilance, his glance roaming the barren ridges, a brown Winchester lying cocked across the saddle pommel, his left hand taut on the rein. Yet the horse he bestrode scarcely required restraint, advancing slowly, with head hanging low, and only occasionally breaking into a brief trot under the impetus of the spur.

The rider was a man approaching thirty, somewhat slender and long of limb, but possessing broad, squared shoulders above a deep chest, sitting the saddle easily in plainsman fashion, yet with an erectness of carriage which suggested military training. The face under the wide brim of the weather worn slouch hat was clean shaven, browned by sun and wind, and strongly marked, the chin slightly prominent, the mouth firm, the gray eyes full of character and daring. His dress was that of rough service, plain leather "chaps," showing marks of hard usage, a gray woolen shirt turned low at the neck, with a kerchief knotted loosely about the sinewy bronzed throat. At one hip dangled the holster of a "forty five," on the other hung a canvas covered canteen. His was figure and face to be noted anywhere, a man from whom you would expect both thought and action, and one who seemed to exactly fit into his wild environment.

Where he rode was the very western extreme of the prairie country, billowed like the sea, and from off the crest of its higher ridges, the wide level sweep of the plains was visible, extending like a vast brown ocean to the foothills of the far away mountains. Yet the actual commencement of that drear, barren expanse was fully ten miles distant, while all about where he rode the conformation was irregular, comprising narrow valleys and swelling mounds, with here and there a sharp ravine, riven from the rock, and invisible until one drew up startled at its very brink. The general trend of depression was undoubtedly southward, leading toward the valley of the Arkansas, yet irregular ridges occasionally cut across, adding to the confusion. The entire surrounding landscape presented the same aspect, with no special object upon which the eye could rest for guidance no tree, no upheaval of rock, no peculiarity of summit, no snake like trail, all about extended the same dull, dead monotony of brown, sun baked hills, with slightly greener depressions lying between, interspersed by patches of sand or the white gleam of alkali... Continue reading book >>

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