[Illustration: Ann Shellington anticipates evil.
Frontispiece (Page 276.)]
From the valley of the missing
grace Miller white
Tess of the storm country
Illustrated with scenes from the
produced and copyrighted by the Fox film
GROSSET & DUNLAP PUBLISHERS: NEW YORK
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Copyright, 1911, by
W. J. Watt & company
Published, August, 1911
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“From the valley of the missing”
One afternoon in late October four lean mules, with stringy muscles dragging over their bones, stretched long legs at the whirring of their master’s whip. The canalman was a short, ill-favored brute, with coarse red hair and freckled skin. His nose, thickened by drink, threatened the short upper lip with obliteration. Straight from ear to ear, deep under his chin, was a zigzag scar made by a razor in his boyhood days, and under emotion the injured throat became convulsed at times, causing his words to be unintelligible. The red flannel shirt, patched with colors of lighter shades, lay open to the shoulders, showing the dark, rough skin.
“Git—git up!” he stuttered; and for some minutes the boat moved silently, save for the swish of the water and the patter of the mules’ feet on the narrow path by the river.
From the small living-room at one end of the boat came the crooning of a woman’s voice, a girlish voice, which rose and fell without tune or rhythm. Suddenly the mules came to a standstill with a “Whoa thar!”
“Pole me out a drink, Scraggy,” bawled the man, “and put a big snack of whisky in it—see?”
The boulder-shaped head shot forward in command as he spoke. And he held the reins in his left hand, turning squarely toward the scow. Pushing out a dark, rusty, steel hook over which swung a ragged coat-sleeve, he displayed the stump of a short arm.
As the woman appeared at the bow of the boat with a long stick on the end of which hung a bucket, Lem Crabbe wound the reins about the steel hook and took the proffered pail in the fingers of his left hand.
“Ye drink too much whisky, Lem,” called the woman. “Ye’ve had as many as twenty swigs today. Ye’ll get no more till we reaches the dock—see?”