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Six Feet Four   By: (1882-1943)

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by Jackson Gregory





I The Storm

II The Devil's Own Night

III Buck Thornton, Man's Man

IV The Ford

V The Man from Poison Hole Ranch

VI Winifred Judges a Man

VII An Invitation to Supper

VIII In Harte's Cabin

IX The Double Theft

X In the Moonlight

XI The Bedloe Boys

XII Rattlesnake Pollard

XIII The Ranch on Big Little River

XIV In the Name of Friendship

XV The Kid

XVI A Guarded Conference

XVII Suspicion

XVIII The Dance at Deer Creek Schoolhouse

XIX Six Feet Four!

XX Pollard Talks "Business"

XXI The Girl and the Game

XXII The Yellow Envelope Again!

XXIII Warning

XXIV The Gentleman from New Mexico

XXV In the Dark

XXVI The Frame Up

XXVII Jimmie Squares Himself

XXVIII The Show Down



All day long, from an hour before the pale dawn until now after the thick dark, the storm had raged through the mountains. Before midday it had grown dark in the cañons. In the driving blast of the wind many a tall pine had snapped, broken at last after long valiant years of victorious buffeting with the seasons, while countless tossing branches had been riven away from the parent boles and hurled far out in all directions. Through the narrow cañons the wet wind went shrieking fearsomely, driving the slant rain like countless thin spears of glistening steel.

At the wan daybreak the sound filling the air was one of many voiced but subdued tumult, like the faraway growling of fierce, hungry, imprisoned beasts. As the sodden hours dragged by the noises everywhere increased steadily, so that before noon the whole of the wilderness seemed to be shouting; narrow creek beds were filled with gushing, muddy water; the trees on the mountainsides shook and snapped and creaked and hissed to the hissing of the racing wind; at intervals the thunder echoing ominously added its boom to the general uproar. Not for a score of years and upward had such a storm visited the mountains in the vicinity of the old road house in Big Pine Flat.

Night, as though it had leaped upon the back of the storm and had ridden hitherward on the wings of the wind all impatience to defy the laws of daylight, was in truth mistress of the mountains a full hour or more before the invisible sun's allotted time of setting. In the storm smitten, lonely building at the foot of the rocky slope, shivering as though with the cold, rocking crazily as though in startled fear at each gust, the roaring log fire in the open fireplace made an uncertain twilight and innumerable ghostlike shadows. The wind whistling down the chimney, making that eerie sound known locally as the voice of William Henry, came and went fitfully. Poke Drury, the cheerful, one legged keeper of the road house, swung back and forth up and down on his one crutch, whistling blithely with his guest of the chimney and lighting the last of his coal oil lamps and candles.

"She's a Lu lu bird, all right," acknowledged Poke Drury. He swung across his long "general room" to the fireplace, balanced on his crutch while he shifted and kicked at a fallen burning log with his one boot, and then hooked his elbows on his mantel. His very black, smiling eyes took cheerful stock of his guests whom the storm had brought him. They were many, more than had ever at one time honoured the Big Pine road house. And still others were coming.

"If Hap Smith ain't forgot how to sling a four horse team through the dark, huh?" continued the landlord as he placed still another candle at the south window.

In architectural design Poke Drury's road house was as simple an affair as Poke Drury himself... Continue reading book >>

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