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The Range Dwellers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 133 pages of information about The Range Dwellers.

“I shall drive,” I announced quietly, taking her hands gently from the wheel.  She moved over to make room mechanically, as if she didn’t in the least understand this new move of mine.  I know she never dreamed of what was really in my heart to do.

“You will drive—­where?” her voice was politely freezing.

“To find that preacher, of course,” I answered, trying to sound surprised that she should ask, I sent the speed up a notch.

“You—­you never would dare!” she cried breathlessly, and a little anxiously.

“The deuce I wouldn’t!” I retorted, and laughed in the face of her.  It was queer, but my thoughts went back, for just a flash, to the time Barney had dared me to drive the Yellow Peril up past the Cliff House to Sutro Baths.  I had the same heady elation of daredeviltry.  I wouldn’t have turned back, then, even if I hadn’t cared so much for her.

She didn’t say anything more, and I sent the car ahead at a pace that almost matched the mood I was in, and that brought White Divide sprinting up to meet us.  The trail was good, and the car was a dandy.  I was making straight for King’s Highway as the best and only chance of carrying out my foolhardy design.  I doubt if any bold, bad knight of old ever had the effrontery to carry his lady-love straight past her own door in broad daylight.

Yet it was the safest thing I could do.  I meant to get to Osage, and the only practicable route for a car lay through the pass.  To be sure, there was a preacher at Kenmore; but with the chance of old King being there also and interrupting the ceremony—­supposing I brought matters successfully that far—­with a shot or two, did not in the least appeal to me.  I had made sure that there was plenty of gasoline aboard, so I drove her right along.

“I hope your father isn’t home,” I remarked truthfully when we were slipping into the wide jaws of the pass.

“He is, though; and so is Mr. Weaver.  I think you had better jump out here and run home, or it is not a velvet mask you will need, but a mantle of invisibility.”  I couldn’t make much of her tone, but her words implied that even yet she would not take me seriously.

“Well, I’ve neither mask nor mantle,” I said, “But the way I can fade down the pass will, I think, be a fair substitute for both.”

She said nothing whatever to that, but she began to seem interested in the affair—­as she had need to be.  She might have jumped out and escaped while I was down opening the gate—­but she didn’t.  She sat quite still, as if we were only out on a commonplace little jaunt.  I wondered if she didn’t have the spirit of adventure in her make-up, also.  Girls do, sometimes.  When I had got in again, I turned to her, remembering something.

“Gadzooks, madam!  I command you not to scream,” I quoted sternly.

At that, for the first time in our acquaintance, she laughed; such a delicious, rollicky little laugh that I felt ready, at the sound, to face a dozen fathers and they all old Kings.

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