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Lonesome Land   By: (1874-1940)

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First Page:

E text prepared by Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

LONESOME LAND

BY B. M. BOWER

Author of "Chip, of the Flying U," etc.

With Four Illustrations BY STANLEY L. WOOD

[Illustration: As he raced over the uneven prairie he fumbled with the saddle string]

Contents

CHAPTER I. THE ARRIVAL OF VAL II. WELL MEANT ADVICE III. A LADY IN A TEMPER IV. THE "SHIVAREE" V. COLD SPRING RANCH VI. MANLEY'S FIRE GUARD VII. VAL'S NEW DUTIES VIII. THE PRAIRIE FIRE IX. KENT TO THE RESCUE X. DESOLATION XI. VAL'S AWAKENING XII. A LESSON IN FORGIVENESS XIII. ARLINE GIVES A DANCE XIV. A WEDDING PRESENT XV. A COMPACT XVI. MANLEY'S NEW TACTICS XVII. VAL BECOMES AN AUTHOR XVIII. VAL'S DISCOVERY XIX. KENT'S CONFESSION XX. A BLOTCHED BRAND XXI. VAL DECIDES XXII. A FRIEND IN NEED XXIII. CAUGHT! XXIV. RETRIBUTION

List of Illustrations

As he raced over the uneven prairie he fumbled with the saddle string

He was jeered unmercifully by Fred De Garmo and his crowd

"Little woman, listen here," he said. "You're playing hard luck, and I know it"

To draw the red hot spur across the fresh VP did not take long

CHAPTER I

THE ARRIVAL OF VAL

In northern Montana there lies a great, lonely stretch of prairie land, gashed deep where flows the Missouri. Indeed, there are many such big, impassive, impressive in their very loneliness, in summer given over to the winds and the meadow larks and to the shadows fleeing always over the hilltops. Wild range cattle feed there and grow sleek and fat for the fall shipping of beef. At night the coyotes yap quaveringly and prowl abroad after the long eared jack rabbits, which bounce away at their hunger driven approach. In winter it is not good to be there; even the beasts shrink then from the bleak, level reaches, and shun the still bleaker heights.

But men will live anywhere if by so doing there is money to be gained, and so a town snuggled up against the northern rim of the bench land, where the bleakness was softened a bit by the sheltering hills, and a willow fringed creek with wild rosebushes and chokecherries made a vivid green background for the meager huddle of little, unpainted buildings.

To the passengers on the through trains which watered at the red tank near the creek, the place looked crudely picturesque interesting, so long as one was not compelled to live there and could retain a perfectly impersonal viewpoint. After five or ten minutes spent hi watching curiously the one little street, with the long hitching poles planted firmly and frequently down both sides usually within a very few steps of a saloon door and the horses nodding and stamping at the flies, and the loitering figures that appeared now and then in desultory fashion, many of them imagined that they understood the West and sympathized with it, and appreciated its bigness and its freedom from conventions.

One slim young woman had just told the thin faced school teacher on a vacation, with whom she had formed one of those evanescent traveling acquaintances, that she already knew the West, from instinct and from Manley's letters. She loved it, she said, because Manley loved it, and because it was to be her home, and because it was so big and so free. Out here one could think and grow and really live, she declared, with enthusiasm. Manley had lived here for three years, and his letters, she told the thin faced teacher, were an education in themselves.

The teacher had already learned that the slim young woman, with the yellow brown hair and yellow brown eyes to match, was going to marry Manley she had forgotten his other name, though the young woman had mentioned it and would live on a ranch, a cattle ranch. She smiled with somewhat wistful sympathy, and hoped the young woman would be happy; and the young woman waved her hand, with the glove only half pulled on, toward the shadow dappled prairie and the willow fringed creek, and the hills beyond... Continue reading book >>




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