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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 258 pages of information about The Heart of the Range.

He pulled himself erect slowly and tenderly.  His knees were very shaky.  His head throbbed like a squeezed boil, but—­he wanted to learn what was in that saddle-pocket.  Possibly he might obtain therein a clue to the horse’s owner.

He slipped the strap of the pocket-flap, flipped it open, inserted his fingers, and drew forth a small package wrapped in newspaper and tied with the blue string affected by the Blue Pigeon Store in Farewell.

Mr. Dawson balanced the package on two fingers for a reflective instant, then he snapped the string and opened the package.

“Socks an’ a undershirt,” he said, disgustedly, and started to say more, but paused, for there was something queer about that undershirt.  His head was still spinning, and his eyes were sandy, but he perceived quite plainly that there were narrow blue ribbons running round the neck of that undershirt.  He unrolled the socks and found them much longer in the leg than the kind habitually worn by men.  Mr. Dawson agitatedly dived his hand once more into the saddle-pocket.  And this time he pulled out a tortoise-shell shuttle round which was wrapped several inches of lingerie edging.  But Mr. Dawson did not call it lingerie edging.  He called it tatting and swore again.

“That settles it,” he said, cheerlessly.  “I’ve stole some woman’s cayuse.”

CHAPTER II

THE YELLOW DOG

It was a chastened Racey Dawson that returned to Farewell.  He went directly to the blacksmith shop.

“’Lo, Hoss Thief,” was Piney Jackson’s cheerful greeting.

“Whose is it?” demanded Racey Dawson, wiping his hot face.  “Whose hoss have I stole?”

“Oh, you’ll catch it,” chuckled the humorous Piney.  “Yep, you betcha.  You’ve got a gall, you have.  Camly prancing out of a saloon an’ glooming onto a lady’s hoss.  What kind o’ doin’s is that, I’d like to know?”

“You blasted idjit!” cried the worried Racey.  “Whose hoss is this?”

“I kind o’ guessed maybe something disgraceful like this here would happen when I seen you and yore friend sashay into the Happy Heart.  And the barkeep said you had two snifters and a glass o’ milk, too.  Honest, Racey, you’d oughta be more careful how you mix yore drinks.”

“Don’t try to be a bigger jack than you are,” Racey adjured him in a tone that he strove to make contemptuous.  “You think yo’re awful funny—­just too awful funny, don’t you?  I’m askin’ you, you fish-faced ape, whose hoss this is I got here?”

“Don’t you know?” grinned Piney, elevating both eyebrows.  “Lordy, I wouldn’t be in yore shoes for something.  Nawsir.  She’ll snatch you baldheaded, she will.  The old lady was wild when she come out an’ found her good hoss missing.  And she shore said what she thought of you some more when she seen she had to ride home on that old crow’s dinner of a moth-eaten accordeen you left behind.”

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