Man Size eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 297 pages of information about Man Size.

Man Size eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 297 pages of information about Man Size.

While darkness gathered, Sleeping Dawn lay in the bunch grass with her eyes focused on the camp below.  Her untaught soul struggled with the problem that began to shape itself.  These men were wolfers, desperate men engaged in a nefarious business.  They paid no duty to the British Government.  She had heard her father say so.  Contrary to law, they brought in their vile stuff and sold it both to breeds and tribesmen.  They had no regard whatever for the terrible injury they did the natives.  Their one intent was to get rich as soon as possible, so they plied their business openly and defiantly.  For the Great Lone Land was still a wilderness where every man was a law to himself.

The blood of the girl beat fast with the racing pulse of excitement.  A resolution was forming in her mind.  She realized the risks and estimated chances coolly.  These men would fire to kill on any skulker near the camp.  They would take no needless hazard of being surprised by a band of stray Indians.  But the night would befriend her.  She believed she could do what she had in mind and easily get away to the shelter of the hill creases before they could kill or capture her.

A shadowy dog on the outskirt of the camp rose and barked.  The girl waited, motionless, tense, but the men paid little heed to the warning.  The man working at the stirrup leather got to his feet, indeed, carelessly, rifle in hand, and stared into the gloom; but presently he turned on his heel and sauntered back to his job of saddlery.  Evidently the hound was used to voicing false alarms whenever a coyote slipped past or a skunk nosed inquisitively near.

Sleeping Dawn followed the crest of the ridge till it fell away to the mouth of the coulee.  She crept up behind the white-topped wagon nearest the entrance.

An axe lay against the tongue.  She picked it up, glancing at the same time toward the camp-fire.  So far she had quite escaped notice.  The hound lay blinking into the flames, its nose resting on crossed paws.

With her hunting-knife the girl ripped the canvas from the side of the top.  She stood poised, one foot on a spoke, the other on the axle.  The axe-head swung in a half-circle.  There was a crash of wood, a swift jet of spouting liquor.  Again the axe swung gleaming above her head.  A third and a fourth time it crashed against the staves.

A man by the camp-fire leaped to his feet with a startled oath.  “What’s that?” he demanded sharply.

From the shadows of the wagons a light figure darted.  The man snatched up a rifle and fired.  A second time, aimlessly, he sent a bullet into the darkness.

The silent night was suddenly alive with noises.  Shots, shouts, the barking of the dog, the slap of running feet, all came in a confused medley to Sleeping Dawn.

She gained a moment’s respite from pursuit when the traders stopped at the wagons to get their bearings.  The first of the white-topped schooners was untouched.  The one nearest the entrance to the coulee held four whiskey-casks with staves crushed in and contents seeping into the dry ground.

Project Gutenberg
Man Size from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.