Mavericks eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Mavericks.

“Somebody coming hell-to-split after us, Jim.”

It turned out to be Buck Weaver, who had been notified by telephone of what was taking place.  A girl had called him up out of his sleep, and he had pounded the road hard to get in at the finish.

Jim explained the situation in a few words and offered to yield command to the owner of the Twin Star ranch.  But Buck declined.

“You’re the boss of this rodeo, Yeager.  I’m riding in the ranks to-day.”

“How did you hear we were rounding-up to-day?” Jim asked.

“Some one called me up,” Buck answered briefly, but he did not think it necessary to say that it was Phyllis.

Behind them, unnoticed by any, sometimes hidden from sight by the rise and fall of the rough ground, sometimes silhouetted against the sky line, rode a slim, supple figure on a white-faced cow pony.  Once, when the fresh morning wind swept down a gulch at an oblique angle, it lifted for an instant from the stirrup leather what might have been a gray flag.  But the flag was only a skirt, and it signalled nothing more definite than the courage and devotion of a girl who knew that the men she loved best on earth were in danger.

CHAPTER XXVII

THE ROUND-UP

The Mimbres Pass narrows toward the southern exit where Point o’ Rocks juts into the canon and commands it like a sentinel.  Toward this column of piled boulders slowly moved a cloud of white dust, at the base of which crept a band of hard-driven cattle.  Swollen tongues were out, heads stretched forward in a bellow for water taken up by one as another dropped it.  The day was still hot, though the sun had slipped down over the range, and the drove had been worked forward remorselessly.  Every inch that could be sweated out of them had been gained.

For those that pushed them along were in desperate hurry.  Now and again a rider would twist round in his saddle to sweep back a haggard glance.  Dust enshrouded them, lay heavy on every exposed inch; but through it seams of anxiety crevassed their leathern faces.  Iron men they were, with one exception.  Fight they could and would to the last ditch.  But behind the jaded, stony eyes lay a haunting fear, the never-ending dread of a pursuit that might burst upon them at any moment.  Driven to the wall, they would have faced the enemy like tigers, with a fierce, exultant hate.  It was the never-ending possibility of disaster that lay heavily upon them.

Just as they entered the pass, a man came spurring up the steep trail behind them.  The drag drivers shouted a warning to those in front and waited alertly with weapons ready.  The man trying to overtake them waved a sombrero as a flag of truce.

“Keep an eye on him, Tom.  If he makes a move that don’t look good to you, plug him!” ordered the keen-eyed man beside one of the drag drivers.

“I’m bridle wise, boss.”  But though he spoke with bravado Dixon shook like an aspen in a breeze.

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Project Gutenberg
Mavericks from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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