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The Desert Fiddler   By: (1876-1928)

Book cover

First Page:

[Frontispiece: Charles Ray as Bob Rogeen, and Barbara Bedford as Imogene Chandler.]

THE DESERT FIDDLER

BY

WILLIAM H. HAMBY

PHOTOPLAY TITLE

PERCY

ILLUSTRATED WITH SCENES FROM THE PHOTOPLAY A THOS. H. INCE PRODUCTION RELEASED BY PATHÉ PICTURES

NEW YORK

GROSSET & DUNLAP

PUBLISHERS

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY

CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES

AT

THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.

ILLUSTRATIONS

Charles Ray as Bob Rogeen, and Barbara Bedford as Imogene Chandler . . . Frontispiece

Jenkins and Lolita awed by Percy's fiddling.

Lolita tries her wiles on Percy.

Reedy Jenkins makes a proposition to Imogene.

A mutual discovery they both cared.

Holy Joe shanghaies Imogene's ranchmen and discovers Percy a willing ally.

"Make it plain to the Chandler girl that this is her last chance to sell before I ruin her crop."

"Shut off the water? Why all the cotton in the valley will be withered in a day."

THE DESERT FIDDLER

CHAPTER I

Bob Rogeen slept in the east wing of the squat adobe house. About midnight there was a vigorous and persistent shaking of the screen door.

"Yes?" he called, sleepily.

"They have just telephoned in from the Red Butte Ranch" it was Dayton, his employer, at the door "the engine on that tractor has balked. They want a man out there by daylight to fix it."

Bob put up his arms and stretched, and replied yawningly:

"Well, I guess I'm the fixer."

"I guess you are," agreed the implement dealer. "You know the way, don't you? Better ride the gray; and don't forget to take your gun." The boss crossed the patio to his own wing of the house.

The young fellow sat up and kicked along under the edge of the bed, feeling for his shoes.

"A love lee time to go to work," he growled, good naturedly. "Here is where the early bird catches the tractor and the devil."

When he came out of the door a few minutes later, buttoning his corduroy coat even in Imperial Valley, which knows no winter, one needs a coat on a March night Rogeen stood for a moment on the step and put up his long arms again to stretch some of the deep sleep from his muscles. He was not at all enthusiastic about odd jobs at midnight; but in a moment his eyes fell on the slanting moonlight that shone mistily on the chinaberry tree in the patio ; the town on the American side was fast asleep; the wind with the smell of sagebrush stirred a clump of bamboo. The desert night had him and when he rode away toward the Mexican line he had forgotten his gun and taken his fiddle.

He passed through Mexicali, the Mexican town, where the saloons were still open and the lights over the Red Owl, the great gambling hall, winked with glittering sleeplessness; and out upon the road by the irrigation canal, fringed with cottonwood and willows.

He let the reins drop over the saddlehorn, and brought the fiddle round in front of him. There was no hurry, he would be there before daylight. And he laughed as he ran his right thumb over the strings:

"What a combination a fool, a fiddle, and a tractor."

Bob could not explain what impulse had made him bring a fiddle with him on the way to mend a balky gasoline engine. As a youth they had called him rather a wild youth he had often ridden through the Ozark hills at night time with his fiddle under his arm. But in the last eight years he had played the thing only once, and that once had come so near finishing him that he still carried the receipt of the undertaker who came to bury him the next day.

"Oh, well," Bob grinned into the night as he threw his right knee over the saddlehorn and put the fiddle to his shoulder, "we'll see how she goes once more."

For three miles he rode leisurely on, a striking figure in the dim moonlight a tall young man on a gray horse, fiddling wildly to the desert night... Continue reading book >>




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