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The Round-Up A romance of Arizona novelized from Edmund Day's melodrama   By: (1866-1923)

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A Romance of Arizona

Novelized from Edmund Day's Melodrama


John Murray and Marion Mills Miller


I. The Cactus Cross II. The Heart of a Girl III. A Woman's Loyalty IV. The Hold up V. Hoover Bows to Hymen VI. A Tangled Web VII. Josephine Opens the Sluices VIII. The Sky Pilot IX. What God Hath Joined Together X. The Piano XI. Accusation and Confession XII. The Land of Dead Things XIII. The Atonement XIV. The Round up XV. Peruna Pulls His Freight XVI. Death of McKee, Disappointed Desperado XVII. A New Deal XVIII. Jack!



The Cactus Cross

Down an old trail in the Ghost Range in northwestern Mexico, just across the Arizona border, a mounted prospector wound his way, his horse carefully picking its steps among the broken granite blocks which had tumbled upon the ancient path from the mountain wall above. A burro followed, laden heavily with pack, bed roll, pick, frying pan, and battered coffee pot, yet stepping along sure footedly as the mountain sheep that first formed the trail ages ago, and whose petrified hoof prints still remain to afford footing for the scarcely larger hoofs of the pack animal.

An awful stillness hung over the scene, that was broken only by the click of hoofs of horse and burro upon the rocks, and the clatter of the loose stones they dislodged that rolled and skipped down the side. Not a breath of air was stirring, and the sun blazed down from the zenith with such fierce and direct radiation that the wayfarer needed not to observe the shadows to note its exact position in the heavens. Singly among the broken blocks, and in banks along the ledges, the cactus had burst under the heat, as it were, into the spontaneous combustion of flowery flame. To the traveler passing beside them their red blooms blazed with the irritating superfluity of a torch light procession at noonday.

The trail leads down to a flat ledge which overlooks the desert, and which is the observatory whither countless generations of mountain sheep have been wont to resort to survey the strange world beneath them with what purpose and what feelings, it remains for some imaginative writer of animal stories to inform us. From the ledge to the valley below the trail is free from obstructions, and broader, more beaten, and less devious than above, indicating that it has been formed by the generations of men toiling up from the valley to the natural watch tower on the heights. Reaching the ledge, the prospector found that what seemed from the angle above to be an irregular pile of large boulders was an artificial fortification, the highest wall being toward the mountains. Entering the enclosure the prospector dismounted, relieved his horse of its saddle and his burro of its pack, and proceeded to prepare his midday meal. Looking for the best place where he might light a fire, he observed, in the most protected corner, a flat stone, marked by fire, and near it, in the rocky ground, a pot hole, evidently formed for grinding maize. The ashes of ancient fires were scattered about, and in cleaning them off his new found hearth the man discovered a potsherd, apparently of a native olla or water jar, and a chipped fragment of flint, too small to indicate whether it had formed part of an Indian arrowhead or had dropped from an old flintlock musket.

"Lucky strike!" observed the prospector. "I was down to my last match." And, gathering some mesquit brush for fuel, and rubbing a dead branch into tinder, he drew out a knife and, rapidly and repeatedly striking the back of its blade with the flint, produced a stream of sparks, which fell on the tinder. Blowing the while, he started a flame. When the fire was ready the man shook his canteen. "Precious little drink left," he said. "I wish that potsherd carried water as the flint chip does fire... Continue reading book >>

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