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The Odds And Other Stories   By: (1881-1939)

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And Other Stories


Author of "Rosa Mundi," "The Bars of Iron," "The Keeper of the Door," "The Knave of Diamonds," "The Obstacle Race," "The Rocks of Valpré," "The Way of an Eagle," etc.



The Odds Without Prejudice Her Own Free Will The Consolation Prize Her Freedom Death's Property The Sacrifice

Other Books By Ethel M. Dell

The Odds

"If he comes my way, I'll shoot him!" said Dot Burton, her blue eyes gleaming in her boyish, tanned face. "I'm not such a bad shot, am I, Jack?"

"Not so bad," said Jack, kindly. "But don't shoot at sight, or p'r'aps you'll shoot a policeman which might be awkward for us both!"

"As if I should be such an idiot as that!" protested Dot. "I wasn't born yesterday, anyhow."

"No?" said Jack. "Somehow you look as if you were."

"Don't you be a donkey, Jack!" said his young sister, with an impudent snap of the fingers under his nose. "Being ten years older than I am doesn't qualify you for that superior pose. You're only a man, you know, after all."

"Buckskin Bill is only a man, but he's a pretty tough proposition," said Burton, with a frown.

She smoothed the frown away with caressing fingers. "I know. That's why I'd like to shoot him. But he's sure to be caught now, isn't he? They've got him in a trap. He'll never wriggle through with Fletcher Hill to outwit him. You said yourself that with him on the job the odds were dead against him."

"Oh, I know. So they are. But he's such a wily devil. Well, I'd better be going." Jack Burton arose with the deliberate movements of a heavy man. "I'm sick of this business, Dot. If it weren't for you, I believe I'd chuck it all and go into business in a town."

"Oh, darling! How silly!" protested Dot. "What a good thing I came out when I did! Things seem to be at a rather low ebb with you. But cheer up! What's a few head of cattle when all's said and done? When once this rascal is laid by the heels, you'll make up quicker than you know. Of course you will. Don't let yourself get downhearted! What is the good?"

He smiled a little. There was something heartening in the girl's slim activity of pose apart from her words. She looked indomitable. He pulled her to him and kissed her.

"Well, take care of yourself, Dot! You won't be frightened? You needn't be. He won't come your way. Hill has sworn solemnly to keep an extra guard in this direction. He may call around himself before the day is over. It wouldn't surprise me. Don't shoot him if he does! At least, give him a feed first!"

"Oh, really, Jack!" the girl protested. "I shall be cross with you before long. You'd better go quick before it comes on."

She put her arms around his neck and gave him a tight hug. Her sunburnt face was pressed to his. "Now, you won't do anything silly?" she urged him, softly. "I don't like parting with you in this mood. I wish I were coming too."

"Rubbish! Rubbish!" he said. "You stay at home, little shepherdess, and look after the lambs! I won't be late back. Mind you are civil to Fletcher Hill if he turns up! He'll be a magistrate one of these days if he plays his cards well."

"If he catches the biggest cattle thief in Australia?" suggested Dot, screwing her face into a very boyish grimace. "I wouldn't care to get promotion for that job, if I were a man. But I'll be vastly polite to him if he turns up. You've never seen me doing the pretty, have you? But I can awfully well when I try."

Her brother laughed. "Oh, don't be too pretty, my child! It's a dangerous game. Good bye! Don't go far away!"

"My dear man! As if I should have time!" ejaculated Dot.

She gave him another squeeze and let him go.

There were a great many things to be done that day, things which a mere ignorant male would never have dreamt of. There was bread to be baked, an evening meal to be prepared, countless household duties waiting to be done, and work enough in Jack's wardrobe alone to keep an ordinary woman busy for a week... Continue reading book >>

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