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The Uphill Climb   By: (1874-1940)

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Author of Good Indian , Chip, of the Flying U , etc.

With Illustrations by CHARLES M. RUSSELL

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers


[Illustration: "Hell o, Ford, where the blazes did you drop down from?" a welcoming voice yelled. Frontispiece.]



I "Married! And I Don't Know Her Name!" II Wanted: Information III One Way to Drown Sorrow IV Reaction V "I Can Spare this Particular Girl" VI The Problem of Getting Somewhere VII The Foreman of the Double Cross VIII "I Wish You'd Quit Believing in Me!" IX Impressions X In Which the Demon Opens an Eye and Yawns XI "It's Going to Be an Uphill Climb!" XII At Hand Grips with the Demon XIII A Plan Gone Wrong XIV The Feminine Point of View XV The Climb XVI To Find and Free a Wife XVII What Ford Found at the Top


"Hell o, Ford, where the blazes did you drop down from?" a welcoming voice yelled. (Frontispiece)

She lifted her head and looked at him, and drew away.

Dick tottered upon the step and went off backward.

"Ford, I'm no coquette," she said straightforwardly.


"Married! And I Don't Know Her Name!"

Ford lifted his arms above his head to yawn as does a man who has slept too heavily, found his biceps stiffened and sore, and massaged them gingerly with his finger tips. His eyes took on the vacancy of memory straining at the leash of forgetfulness. He sighed largely, swung his head slowly from left to right in mute admission of failure to grasp what lay just behind his slumber, and thereby discovered other muscles that protested against sudden movement. He felt his neck with a careful, rubbing gesture. One hand strayed to his left cheekbone, hovered there tentatively, wandered to the bridge of his nose, and from there dropped inertly to the bed.

"Lordy me! I must have been drunk last night," he said aloud, mechanically taking the straight line of logic from effect to cause, as much experience had taught him to do.

"You was and then some," replied an unemotional voice from somewhere behind him.

"Oh! That you, Sandy?" Ford lay quiet, trying to remember. His finger tips explored the right side of his face; now and then he winced under their touch, light as it was.

"I must have carried an awful load," he decided, again unerringly taking the backward trail from effect to cause. Later, logic carried him farther. "Who'd I lick, Sandy?"

"Several." The unseen Sandy gave one the impression of a man smoking and speaking between puffs. "Can't say just who you did start in on. You wound up on the preacher."

"Preacher?" Ford's tone matched the flicker of interest in his eyes.

"Uhn hunh."

Ford meditated a moment. "I don't recollect ever licking a preacher before," he observed curiously.

Life, stale and drab since his eyes opened, gathered to itself the pale glow of awakening interest. Ford rose painfully, inch by inch, until he was sitting upon the side of the bed, got from there to his feet, looked down and saw that he was clothed to his boots, and crossed slowly to where a cheap, flyspecked looking glass hung awry upon the wall. His self inspection was grave and minute. His eyes held the philosophic calm of accustomedness.

"Who put this head on me, Sandy?" he inquired apathetically. "The preacher?"

"I d' know. You had it when you come up outa the heap. You licked the preacher afterwards, I think."

Sandy was reading a ragged backed novel while he smoked; his interest in Ford and Ford's battered countenance was plainly perfunctory.

Outside, the rain fell aslant in the wind and drummed dismally upon the little window beside Sandy. It beat upon the door and trickled underneath in a thin rivulet to a shallow puddle, formed where the floor was sunken. A dank warmth and the smell of wet wood heating to the blazing point pervaded the room and mingled with the coarse aroma of cheap, warmed over coffee... Continue reading book >>

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