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LAHOMA

by

John Breckenridge Ellis

CONTENTS

I THE TOUCH OF A CHILD II BRICK MAKES A MOVE III FLIGHT IV AN UNWONTED PRAYER V A NEW ROBINSON CRUSOE VI A MYSTERIOUS GUEST VII RED FEATHER VIII GETTING CIVILIZED IX A YOUNG MAN'S FANCY X THE FLAG OF TRUCE XI THE HALF OPENED BUD XII THE BIG WORLD XIII A SURE ENOUGH MAN XIV WRITING HOME XV THE DAY OF FENCES XVI THE ONYX PIN XVII BRICK MAKES A STAND XVIII LIFE ON ONE CONDITION XIX LIKE LOVERS XX TOGETHER XXI THE NORTHER XXII JOURNEY'S END XXIII FACING THE MOB XXIV MINE ENEMY XXV GLEDWARE'S POSSESSIONS XXVI JUST A HABIT

CHAPTER I

THE TOUCH OF A CHILD

"I have given my word of honor my sacred oath not to betray what I have discovered here."

At these words from the prisoner, a shout arose in which oaths and mocking laughter mingled like the growling and snapping of hunger maddened wolves.

"Then if I must die," Gledware cried, his voice, in its shrill excitement, dominating the ferocious insults of the ruffians, "don't kill the child you see she is asleep and she's so young only five. Even if she were awake, she wouldn't know how to tell about this cabin. For God's sake, don't kill the little girl!"

Since the seizure of Gledware, the child had been lying on the rude table in the midst of a greasy pack of cards cards that had been thrown down at the sound of his galloping horse. The table supported, also, much of the booty captured from the wagon train, while on the dirt floor beside it were prizes of the freebooting expedition, too large to find resting place on the boards. Nor was this all. Mingled with stolen garments, cans and boxes of provisions, purses and bags of gold, were the Indian disguises in which the highwaymen from No Man's Land had descended on the prairie schooners on their tedious journey from Abilene, Kansas, toward the Southwest.

In the midst of this confusion of disguises, booty and playing cards, surrounded by cruel and sensual faces, the child slept soundly, her lips slightly parted, her cheeks delicately flushed, her face eloquent in its appeal of helplessness, innocence and beauty. One of the band, a tall broad shouldered man of middle age, with an immense quantity of whiskers perhaps worn as a visible sign of inward wildness, was, despite his hardened nature, moved to remonstrance. Under cover of lurid oaths and outrageous obscenity, he advanced his opinion that "the kid" needn't be shot just because her father was a sneak jug spy.

"Shut up!" roared a tremendous voice, not directly to the intercessor, or to the prisoner, but to all present. Evidently it was a voice of authority, for comparative silence followed the command. The speaker stepped forward, thrust his fingers through his intensely red shock of hair, and continued, with one leg thrust forward:

"You know I am something of an orator, or I guess you wouldn't of made me your leader. Now, as long as I'm your leader, I'm going to lead; but, I ain't never unreasonable, and when talk is needed, I'm copious enough. I am called 'Red Kimball,' and my brother yonder, he is knowed as 'Kansas Kimball.' What else is knowed of us is this: that we wasn't never wont to turn loose a spy when once ketched. Here is a man who says he is Henry Gledware though God knows if that's so; he comes galloping up to the door just as we are in the midst of a game. I stakes all my share of the spoils on the game, and Brick Willock is in a fair way to win it, that I admit, but in comes this here spy "

The prisoner in a frenzied voice disclaimed any purpose of spying. That morning, he had driven the last wagon of the train, containing his invalid wife and his stepdaughter for the child lying on the table was his wife's daughter. At the alarm that the first wagon had been attacked by Indians, he had turned about his horses and driven furiously over the prairie, he knew not whither... Continue reading book >>




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