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The Killer   By: (1873-1946)

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First Page:

[TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: In many older texts, the character combination "oe" was tied together with a ligature. Such instances are represented in this ASCII text by enclosing them in brackets. Hence in words such as Oedipus, for example, when the 'O' and the 'e' are connected with a ligature, they will be shown as [Oe]dipus. In addition, the text contains a ranch brand consisting of the characters J and H connected (no space between). This brand is shown in the text as [JH].]

[Illustration: He had been shot through the body and was dead. His rifle lay across a rock trained carefully on the trail.]

THE KILLER

BY

STEWART EDWARD WHITE

AUTHOR OF THE BLAZED TRAIL, THE RIVERMAN, ARIZONA NIGHTS, ETC.

GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS NEW YORK

COPYRIGHT, 1919, 1920, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES AT THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N.Y.

COPYRIGHT 1919, 1920, BY THE RED BOOK CORPORATION

CONTENTS

PAGE

THE KILLER 3

THE ROAD AGENT 135

THE TIDE 157

CLIMBING FOR GOATS 189

MOISTURE, A TRACE 211

THE RANCH 229

THE KILLER

CHAPTER I

I want to state right at the start that I am writing this story twenty years after it happened solely because my wife and SeƱor Buck Johnson insist on it. Myself, I don't think it a good yarn. It hasn't any love story in it; and there isn't any plot. Things just happened, one thing after the other. There ought to be a yarn in it somehow, and I suppose if a fellow wanted to lie a little he could make a tail twister out of it. Anyway, here goes; and if you don't like it, you know you can quit at any stage of the game.

It happened when I was a kid and didn't know any better than to do such things. They dared me to go up to Hooper's ranch and stay all night; and as I had no information on either the ranch or its owner, I saddled up and went. It was only twelve miles from our Box Springs ranch a nice easy ride. I should explain that heretofore I had ridden the Gila end of our range, which is so far away that only vague rumours of Hooper had ever reached me at all. He was reputed a tough old devil with horrid habits; but that meant little to me. The tougher and horrider they came, the better they suited me so I thought. Just to make everything entirely clear I will add that this was in the year of 1897 and the Soda Springs valley in Arizona.

By these two facts you old timers will gather the setting of my tale. Indian days over; "nester" days with frame houses and vegetable patches not yet here. Still a few guns packed for business purposes; Mexican border handy; no railroad in to Tombstone yet; cattle rustlers lingering in the Galiuros; train hold ups and homicide yet prevalent but frowned upon; favourite tipple whiskey toddy with sugar; but the old fortified ranches all gone; longhorns crowded out by shorthorn blaze head Herefords or near Herefords; some indignation against Alfred Henry Lewis's Wolfville as a base libel; and, also but, no gasoline wagons or pumps, no white collars, no tourists pervading the desert, and the Injins still wearing blankets and overalls at their reservations instead of bead work on the railway platforms when the Overland goes through. In other words, we were wild and wooly, but sincerely didn't know it.

While I was saddling up to go take my dare, old Jed Parker came and leaned himself up against the snubbing post of the corral. He watched me for a while, and I kept quiet, knowing well enough that he had something to say.

"Know Hooper?" he asked.

"I've seen him driving by," said I.

I had: a little humped, insignificant figure with close cropped white hair beneath a huge hat. He drove all hunched up. His buckboard was a rattletrap, old, insulting challenge to every little stone in the road; but there was nothing the matter with the horses or their harness... Continue reading book >>




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