Young Maverick, the boy from Nowhere, or, The young oil king of Texas


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Young Maverick, the boy from Nowhere, or, The young oil king of Texas

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Title:
Young Maverick, the boy from Nowhere, or, The young oil king of Texas
Series Title:
Brave & Bold
Creator:
Rusher, Sam
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (29 p.) 29 cm.: ;

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Dime novels. ( rbgenr )
Adventure fiction. ( gsafd )
Detectives -- Fiction -- United States ( lcsh )
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serial ( sobekcm )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028886505 ( ALEPH )
07258921 ( OCLC )
B15-00050 ( USFLDC DOI )
b15.50 ( USFLDC Handle )

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University of South Florida
Brave and Bold

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Iss ued W eekly No.203 B y s u b scrip lt' o n $2.JO pe r yea r 8'ntere d accordi n g t o A c t of Con l{rers in tlte yea r I Q06, i n the Office o f tlt e L i b rarian of Con l{reJS, W ashin g ton, D C by STREET & S MI TH, 79-&; S eve n t h A ven u e New York N. Y. NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 10, 1906. Into the air went Young Ma v erick and his horse and down they plunged into the ri ver with a tremendous s plash

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BRAVE BOLD A Different Complete Story Every Week Jssued Weekly. By subscription $2.so per year. Entered according to Act of Congress in the year IQ06, in the Office of the Librarian of Congr1s3 Washington, D. C. by STREET & SMITH, 79-&; Seventh Avenue, New o(k, N. Y. No. 203. NEW YORK Nov embe r 10, 1906. Price Five Cents. Y Qnng Maverick, the Boy from Nowhere:: OR, The Young Oil King of Texas. By SAM RUSHER. CHAPTER I. THE FLYING DUTCHMAN. "Where does this kid you're tellin' me about hail from?" "Nowhere." "What?" "He says he hails from every place, and that's no place at all." "What's his name?" "He hasn't got any." "Look here, Luke Are you trying to josh me?" "Not on your life, Scapps !" "How can a boy get to be 16 or 18 years old and not have no name?" "I should have said, I suppose, that he's got a name, but that he doesn't know what it is." "How does that come, Larrimore?" "You can search me The letters 'L. M .' are tattooed on his left forearm, and the kid has fitted a couple of names to the letters." "What name? That's what I'm tryin' to get at.'' "He calls himself Lee Maverick.'' "Maverick, eh? He's the kind of a maverick that's runnin' wild with a brand Some 'un'Il see him an' take him in one o' these days But you ain't the kind to bother with a kid like that unless you got some kind of a job on, Luke Larrimore. Hustle up an' tell me what your game is. I've got these here steers purty nigh unloaded, an' they've got to be drove out to the ranch." Four cars were standing on a side-track, near a cattl e stockade, in the l ittle Texas town of Boliver. Three of the cars were box-ca rs-"empties"and tne fourth, which was shoved up to the chute of the stock ade, was a cattle-car, and out of it a lot of steers were being coaxed and driven The cattle were about as wild as they well could be, and the four cowboys who were doing the unloading had their hands mo r e than full. The conversation which begins this chapte r took place near the end of one of the box-cars The man called Luke Larrimore was of stocky build and flashy dress, and had an unscrupu l ous face and a pair of shifty eyes; the other, Scapps, wo r e a flannel shirt, a sombrero, a pair of buckskin "chaps," and pos sessed a countenance of as evil a cast as that of his com panion. Before Larrimo r e ,.nswered Scapps' last q u estion he ,gave a swift l ook about him to make sure that he and his friend were quite alone. "You're Jight," said Larrimore finally. "I wouldn't have taken the troub l e to find out what I have about this kid from Nowhere if there hadn't bee n a prospect of money in it. And it's a fat prospect, Scapps." Scapps began to show a deep interest. "Cough it up, can't ye?" queried as the other paused. "Don't be hangin' fire.'' "As foreman for the Two-G outfit," went on Larri more, "you rake in about fifty per, don't you, Scapps ?" "Sixty," c orrected the foreman. "I suppose you wouldn't like to make a hundred thousand or so, and enjoy life for the res t of your days?" "Try me, that's all." "Will you take chances?"

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2 BRA VE AND BOLD. "What kind er chances ?" "The long kind." "You don't mean to put this young Maveri ck out of the way, nor anythin' like that?" "I haven't said so, have I?" "No: but you're hii'1tin' mighty stro ng. "Well, suppose it did come to that? I'm not saying that it will, but supposing that it did? The boy is a stray, and nobody knows much about him, or cares. And don't forget-there's a fortune in it." Scapps was silent for a moment; then he lifted his furtive gaze to Larrirnore's face and said: "I'd do a hull Jot fer a hundred thousand, Luke." "So would 'most anybody." Larrimore thrust out his hand, and the cattleman to ok it and gave it a shake. "Here's the idea : This young Maverick carries about in his clothes a l ega l document known as a contract for a deed." "That means that when he pays a certain amount of money he's to get a deed to some property, hey?" "Yes In the present instance the property to be conveyed is 160 acres of Texas land." "Good land?" "No; P.OOr-about the poorest quarter-section, from an agricu)tural and grazing standpoint, that old Bill Tetly owns." "Then wha t in Sam Hill--" "Wait. If that contract was out of the way I could buy that hundred and sixty from Tetly myself "What the blazes do you want with it?" "Don't you worry. It will mean a fortune to meand to you if you he l p me out "There can't be any go ld under the land, 'kase this here ain't a gold country "There's something better than go ld, Scapps "What?" "I'll keep that to myself. I've tipped my hand to you, but I'm not going to give away all the points. When these steers are unloaded send them out to the Two-G Ranch, but you stay in town. Get tlJe contract for the deed from young Mave rick, bring it to me, and I'll tell you more and give you a writing entitling you to a half-interest in the deal." There was a brief silence, and then Scap ps cleared his throat and said: "I've knowed you for a good while, Luke, and I never knowed you to tackl e a proposition within gittin' dollars out of it. I'll get that contract, but you'll never get it away from me until I more of your deal an' have my ri g hts put down in black and white." "That's business," returned Larrimore briskly. "What does this young Maverick do for a livin' ?" "Anything that comes handy For some time, thou g h, he's been selling what he calls 'Maverick Magi c Oil'--" "Thunder! Why, I've got a bottle o' thet out to the ranch, an' it' s sure the best thing for the rh e umati sm or for a sprain, that any of the punchers ever tried." "Did you ever smell of that oil?" "I have, that. It's enough to knock a feller over." "Well, it was the Magic Oil that put me on to this job. I followed young Maverick, found out where he got it, and--" Larrimore happened to cast up his eyes, and instant ly :ame to a pause, his words dying o n his l ips. "What's the matte.r with ye?" asked Scapps. "An eavesdropper!" Larrimore pointed to the top of the car, and both men saw a face that looked as though it had been cut from a comic valentine. It was the face of a boy, and had its Teutonic o ri g in written in every feature. Puffy cheeks, lon g, carroty hair, blue eyes, and a mouth that was always at a grin were the principal items in the make-up The youth was l ying down on the car top, looking over. "How you vas, chentlemen ?" inquired the Dutch youth. "Confou nd you!" shouted Larrimore, starting angrily to ward the car; "how lon g have you been there?" "I haf peen here sefera l rninids doo lon g for mein own goot, I can see dot so quick like anyding !" As the boy spoke he got up on his feet Viewed at full l ength, his resemblance to a comic valentine was even more pronounced. A little, o ld-country cap was stuck on the back of his head, an abbreviated j acket clung about his shoulders, and his trousers were baggy, ill-fitting, and about six inches too short. A section of rope was tied about his waist, and int o thi s make-shift belt was thrust an old hatchet and a huge horse-pistol which might have seen service in the Revolution "Catch the Dutchman Scapps !" cried Larrimore. "I'll do it!" replied the cattleman, and started up the i ron ladder at th e end of the car. "You vill, I don' d t'ink !" the boy flung back. "I'm der Flyin' Dutchman oof you blease, 'und ven you ketch me you ketch some veasels ashleep !" As Scapps jump ed upon the roof of the bo x car the bo y started along it at a run and l eaped to the second car, and then to the third, while Larrimore hurried along on the ground, to prevent him from climbing down. The boy, who went by the name of Chris Augen blick, mana ged to finally e lude his pursuers and made a searc h for Lee Maverick, who was pointed out to him. "Come this way said Lee, after hearing a few sen t ences, and he took Chris by the arm and drew him a littl e farther up the street Between the two buildings on the left there Wf.S a small platform wagon No horse was hitched to the wagon, and there was a dry goods-box behind the seat of the vehicle, cov ered with a gaudy Navajo blanket. On the blanket were neatly piled tier after tier of bottles, each bearing a yellow wrapper. A pretty young woman was sitt in g on the wagon-seat, and a warm light came into her wide blue eyes as th ey re sted on young Maverick. "Much obliged to you for watching the wagon for me, Kitty," said Lee halting by the fron t wheel. "Shall I help you down?" Kitty got up reached out her hand and was swung lig htly to the ground "It wasn't any trouble at all, Lee," she answered, "and I was glad to do it. I saw you pull the Dutch boy off the steer, and I thou ght for half a minute that you'd be knocked down and trampled on for your pains ."

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BRAVE AND BOLD. 3 "It would take a pretty nimble steer to knock me off my pins, Kitty," laughed Lee. "Miss Shane, allow me to present Chris Augenblick." "So glad as I can't tell," remarked Chris, with a bow. "Don't mention it," returned Kitty, with a mischiev ous sparkle in her blue eyes ; "next time you ride a broadhorn take my advice and face to the front." "Next time I ride a broadhorn you bed my life I von't ride id at all! Vence iss a great blenty, t'anks." "I'm going home now, Lee," Kitty Shane added, turn ing to young Maverick. "When arc you coming out to see Tetly again?" "To-morrow, if nothing happens to prevent. I'm ready to close that deal, Kitty." "Well,' good-by till to-morrow, then." The girl turned away and vanished around one of the buildings, and Lee and Chris climbed up on the seat of the wagon. "Now, then," said Lee, "what is it you want to tell me?" "You haf a contract for a deed in your pocket, yes?" Lee flashed Chris a sharp look "How do you happen to know that?' I "Iss id righdt ?" persisted Chris. "Oof id iss, look a leeclle ouclt. I5ere's anoclder feller vants id, uncr he's goin' to make some droubles." "Tell me what you know and how you found it out," said Lee .sharply. Thereupon Chris unbosomed himself. He had a very good memory, and, as he had heard the entire conversa tion between Larrimore and Scapps, the information he had to give was reliable. "I climbed to der top oof dot freight-car to
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\ 4 BRA VE AND BOLD. this: Larrimore's object is plain. He has caught onto what I am doing, and he wants to get this contract for a deed away from me, and make old Tetly a better offer than I have given him and so freeze me out. But I wasn't born yesterday, if I am a littl e hazy about myself other ways. I'll give him a run for his auburn chip, see if I don't!" Young Maverick s lap ped at the top of his sombrero "I've got three hundred dollars in there ; every cent of it made off this Magic Oil, for the oil is good, and the people know it I'm going to turn two hundred dollars over to Bill Tetly and get my deed, and have the deed put on record ; then I can snap my fingers at Scapps and Larrimore." "Vat you going to do mit der odder hundert tol lars ?" "I've got Ab Grimes boring a hole on that land. People hereabouts think I'm digging an artesian well1 but they're 'way off. I'm lookin g for oil, not water." "Chiminy grickets !" exclaimed Chris Augenblick. "You're der smardest feller vat I've met in a rnont' oof Suntays !" "You go back and sit down, Chris !" smiled Lee. "I'm an American boy-I know that much about myself-and I'm proud of it. A fellow has got to have hustle and snap if he climbs to the top of the heap, and that's where I'm bound for. These initials on my arm stand for something besides Lee Maverick, and I'm go ing to find out what they mean." Young Maverick drew up his left sleeve a nd pointed to. the two letters "L. M." that were tattooed on his arm. "I'll help you do dot Lee!" cried Chris excitedly. "I'U help you v'in oudt against dot Larri mo e und Scapps, and make more money as you can carry, und find oudt who you was. Yah, so helup me!" ''I'll see that you don't lose anything, Chris," Lee answered. He had taken an it1stinctive liking to the German boy, and felt that there was a "pay-streak" in his make up which would repay development. "Id's peen so long since I'fe had some money in my cloth es," Chris went on, "clot I'd like to ged to sellin' dis oil und see .a leedle oof der coin gaming my vay." !'That's right," answered Lee, jumping clown from the wagon; "it's high time we got down to busine ss, for I've got to go out to old Tetly's to-night and close up this deal for the land. I want to get my deed and exe cute the mortgage, and have both placed on record." Chris got in between the shafts. "I do business right in the middle of the street, Chris-it gives plenty of room for people to get around you You push at the end and. I'll pull here, and we'll snake the wagon out into the trail." In a few moments the wao-on was in position, and young Maverick got up on the seat and pulled out a banjo. -"Can you sing1 Chris?" he asked, as he began tuning up. "You bed my life l I can sing so goot as a-as a--" Mocking-bird?" suggested Lee .. "Vorse as dot." "Well, we've got to get the push together, and the only way to do it is to attract attention. So here goes!" Young Maverick was a rattling good banjo-player, and the instrument fairly sang under his swiftly moving fingers. Just as Chris began to sing, and the people started to drift in their direction, a rolling thump of 1\oofs, coming from a side street, reached their ears. Neither Lee nor Chris paid any attention to the sound, but suddenly around a corner not more than a hundred feet from the place where the wagon was standing a score or more of steers came pounding pell mell. The broadhorns did not continue on down the cross street, for a man suddenly appeared to turn them. "Dere he iss yelled Chris excitedly, pointing to the man who was heading off the cattle. "Who?" cried Lee, as he sprang up and cast aside the banjo. "Scapps !" Then, in a fl.ash, young Mq.verick realized what his enemies were attempting to do. The carload of steers, en route to the Two-G Ranch," were being stampeded along the main street. Lee half-started to spring from the wagon, but checked himself and straightened his muscular body. "Chump!" roared Chris. "Ve vill be run down!" The Dutch boy would have thrown himself to the ground had not Lee caught his shoulder and held him in the wagon. "That would be sure death cried young Maverick. "Before you got half-way to the walk the steers would be on you. The wagon is the safest place." While speaking Lee had been pulling off his coat. All at once he began to wave the garment and to yell at the top of hi!'? voice, hoping to cause the cattle to divide and pass on either side of the wagon. In this he was partly successful. A split appeared in the middle of the oncoming herd, as the animals at that point swerved against others at the side of the moving bunch. But those at the side did not yield by a hair's breadth, and, as a consequence, the gap in the herd did not open wide enough to let the steers pass the vehicle. The small wagon bounded beneath a terrific shock ; then followed a despairing whoop from Chris, and the wagon was lifted sideways, overturned, and the two boys disappeared amid a crashing of glass and sounds of splintering wood and rending iron. In the confusion Scapps and Larrimore, who had ap peared, tried to steal the valuable paper young Maverick carried, but Chris, recovering his senses in time, blocked their little game, and the two rascals had to get out of town as fast as horse-flesh could carry them in order to escape the aroused citizens. CHAPTER III. AT TETLY'S RANCH. "It's good-by ter them!" said one of the men, in a 'disappointed tone. "But let 'em look out! This hyar town of Boliver'll hev 'em on the black-list from now on I" Lee and Chris, while glad that they had managed to retain possession of the contract, were intensely disap pointed at the failure to capture Scapps and Larrimore. If the two rascals could have been locked up until after Lee had completed his deal with old Bill Tetly, a

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BRA VE AND BOLD. source of worry would have been lifted from the boy's mind. After a few minutes' conversation with bystand ers young Maverick and Chris went out to view the wreck of the wagon. The wreck was complete, and the wagon was good only for the scrap-pile. Half a dozen bottles were found unbroken, and Lee distributed them gratis among the crowd. As it was close to supper-time, Lee suggested that they go to the hotel and get a meal and spend the night. "Vy, my poy," answered Chris, "I hafn't got so mooch as a red cent in my clothes !" "Don't worry about that, Chris answered Lee. "I've got enough for the two of us. We're pards, and it's no more than right that I should take care of you." "You're de best feller vat efer habbened," Chris an swered, with feeling. As they turned and made for the hotel the Dutch boy asked : "Whose wagon vas dot, Lee?" "Mine," young Maverick answered. "I bought it sec ond-hand for $20, and that's what I'm out, together with an amount of Magic Oii which would have brought me in about $so more." "Ach, vat a luck id iss !" exclaimed the Teuton. "Dose fellers mean pitzness righdt from der trop oof der hat, Lee. Dey vould as soon kill us as to look at us; yah, dot's der trut'." Lee Maverick compressed his lips sternly. "It's a safe-money break that they've found out by this time that they won t be able to have things their own way," said he. "That quarter-section of oil-land belongs to me-or will belong to me before many hours have passed-and I'm not going to lay down on the proposition just to please Larrimore and Scapps." At the hotel the boys had supper, lodging, and break fast. After breakfast they started for the livery-stable, and on the way Lee dropped into a hardware-store and bought himself a six-shooter and ::i box of cartridges. "In all my knockirrg about the country," said he to Chris, "I've never toted a g1111. But I guess there's some need of it now. Hadn't you better throw tlJat old pistol away and let me buy you a modern six shooter, Chris?" "Vat?" gasped Chris, catching hold of the horse-pistol with both hands. "Vy, I voulcln't trade dis gun for a car-load oof dose fancy shooden-machines I haf got pullets"-he pulled out a small canvas bag that ap peared extremely heavy-"und I haf got caps"-he brought into sight a box of brass caps-"und I haf got all der paper for vadcling vich I need. Ach I voulcln't gif oop Blitzenmeister I He has peen goot to me, und I shtick py my friends." "Blitzenmeister !" laughed young Maverick. "Is that what you call the old pop-gun?" "Sure; Blitz for short. Blitzen iss lighclning in der language mit vich I vas born alretty, und dis gun sphits lighdning venefer I pull der drigger. Yah, you bed somecling for nodding!" From the hardware-store the boys went on to the liv ery-stable. Lee Maverick had a fine bronco in the barn-the ani mal which had drawn liis wagon into town. As the wagon was gone, and he had no further use for the harness, he traded the harness with the pro prietor of the stable for a saddle, after which he hired a riding-horse for Chris, and the two mounted and set out for old Bill Tetly's ranch. Tetly's ranch was six miles from Boliver, and, as it was a fine, bright morning, the boys were in excellent spirits. They beguiled the tedium of the journey by an ex change of mutual experiences. Chris told how he had landed at Castle Garden, sev eral years before, how his parents had died in New York, and how he had been adopted by a German im migrant, who took him to Minnesota and all but worked him to death. Being a lad of spirit, Chris rebelled against his treatment after a time, and took tpe old pis tol, which had belonged to his father, and the old hatchet, which had belonged to the immigrant, and had gone forth into the world prepared either to cut or to blow his way to fortune. He added, also, that he h!ad clone considerable cutting and not a little blowing, but without much success. Still, he had hopes, and that was about all he did have. Then Lee, in return, told how his first recollections of life were wrapped up in the Bowery, and pretty near the whole East Side of New York City, with after ex periences among the characters along the "seamy side" of Chica go; how he was sometimes called "Tom," some times "Dick," and sometimes "Harry," but had never had any "last" name whatever; how he had peddled papers and attended night-school; how the desire to find out something about himself had sent him out into the country from place to place, and how he had finally reached Texas and had taken the name of Lee Mav erick fitting it to the initials on his forearm. When Lee had finished his talk the buildi111gs at old Tetl y' s ranch hove in sight. There was a corral out back of old Tetly's barn, and here Lee pulled up his horse. "Tetly's a hard old chap to deal with, Chris," ob served Lee; "he wants the big encl of every bargain, and he'll pinch a dollar until he makes the eagle scream. Besides,. he's not overhoni;:!st. He's married to a mighty nice woman, though, and there's one of the finest girls in the country staying here. You hold my horse and keep out of sight here, and I'll go around to the kitchen door and ask Kitty to tell me how the land lays before I walk in on old Bill and ask for my deed." "I viii be here, Lee," answered Chris, taking his friend's bridle; "und I vill be ready for any drouble vat shows oop along der pike und heads you vay." "I'm not looking for any trouble," Lee answered, "but, of course, one can never telJ when he's go,ing to bump into a bunch of that article." As he started to walk away he halted abruptly and pointed off across the plain. "If your eye-sight is good, Chris," he added, "you can see the top of a derrick over there." "I can see it so plain as anyding," replied Chris. "Well, that's old Ab Grimes' well-digger, and it's on my hundred and sixty. When I got through in the house we'll go over there. Grimes and I don't hitch very well, but he's the only man in this section who owns a digging-machine." Thereupon Lee cut around the back of the high corral and approached the rear of the barn. He was about to pass the when a sudden thought

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G BRAVE AND BOLD. struck him-a thought which later proved to have oeen both happy and o.therwise. Giving a cautious glance around, he pulled a folded paper from an inside pocket and thrust it between two stones in the barn's foundation, then proceeded on in the direction of the k;itchen door of the house. Before he reached the door he heard voices in the kitchen. One voice was Kitty's, as he knew very well and the other was one with which he was not so familiar, but which he knew well enough to recognize. Lee's face went a trifle pale, but he shut bis te et h resolutely and leaned against the wall of the kitchen, close to the door. CHAPTER IV. OLD BILL TETLY. "You needn't be so high and mighty, Kitty Shane," sd one of the voices-a man's voice, and the one which Lee knew well enough to recognize. "Oh, I needn't, needn t I?" came the exasperated voice of the girl. "Well, you take m y advice and get out of this kit c hen and lea ve me alone!" "You used to care for me, Kitty, up th ere in Denv e r." "I never cared a straw for you, Luke Larrimore! You're a villain, and yo\l know it-a gambler, and a confid e nce-m a n and everything else It's an ill wind that blows you clown here, I know that much. And if you com e pestering me you 'll be sorry for it, I tell you that straight!" '.'Oh! I will ? See here, can't you be rea sonab le? Gad, you're prettier than you used to be!" "And I'm just as able t o tak e care of myself as I used to be too Will you get ou t of here?" "Not till I get through talking with you. Mr. Tetly has been telling me about your taking up with thi s young Lee l\Iaverick--" nwhat's that to you?" "It's little to me, but it's a good deal to you. Young Maverick is a sca lawag, and--" Lee heard a thump, as th o u g h Kitty b ad stamped her foot. "Don't you say a word against Lee! He's worth a dozen of you, Luke Larrim o r e Leave this hou se!" I reckon n ot, my little spitfi re. You've got to give me a ki ss for o ld times' sake. Just one, now. By J ove, I will have it!" A sound as of a struggle came from within the kitch en, and Lee flew to th e door. But he did not cross the thre s hold, for as he looked in he saw that th e girl was abundantly able to take care of herself. Larrimore, in his flash y clo th es and his white top-hat was close to Kitty, who, with her sleeves rolled up had been engaged in her work. There was a dish-pan in front of her, and as Lee looked in the g irl had sprung away from Larrimore and turned toward the table. The man pressed insolentl y on, and in a twinkling Kitty had let the would-be masher hav e the entire con tents of the di s h-pan. Larrimore's hat tumbled off as the greasy water deluged his head and shoulders, and he danced up and down and spluttered wrathfully. "Lee!" cri e d Kitty, sudd.l:nly catching sight of M av erick's smiling face in the doorway "On deck, Kitty!" L ee sang back. The .next instant he had l eape d into th e kitchen, had caught Larrimore by the shou lders and had rushed him through the door, giv ing him a parting send-off in the shape of a kick. '"Oh, I'm so glad you've come!" cried Kitty. "You didn't n ee d much h e lp to call the villain down," laughed Lee, making a football of the top-hat and send in g it outside after its owner. ''I'll be eve n with you for this!" fumed Larrimore, rubbing th e soap-water from his eyes with one hand and groping for hi s hip pocket with the other. "I'll be even with both of you for this!" "If you ever try to forc.e your attentions upon Miss Shane again, you scoundrel," cried Lee, "you'll get even with me in a way you won't like!" By th e n Larrimore had managed to jerk a revolver from his pock et. "Look out!" warned Kity, and young Maverick s lammed the door. "\i\Then did that f e llow come h e re?" asked Lee. "He came h ere last night, Lee, and he's been putting up some kind of a job with old Bi ll. I don't know what it i s, but it has something to do with you and old Bi ll has been in a tearing rage ever s inc e Larrimore talked with him. Don't stay here, Lee. You're in dange r. Please go." "I've got business with old T et l y," r et urned young Maverick firmly, "and rm going to transact it." "It would be as much as your life is worth to try to do any business with old Bill this morn in g. He's so worked up h e's h a lf-cra zy And Mrs. T et ly is over in Bolive r visiting with her sister, so old Bill is having everyt hin g his own way. Don't go, Lee!" "I might as well have it out with Tetly fir s t as last," Lee decisively; "and now is as good a time as any." Just th e n the kitchen door was flung open, and Kitty gave a muffled scream, thinking Larrimore was coming with his r evo l ver. It was not Larri'more however, but old Bill, and he was bringing a sho t-gun 'vith him. Bill Tetly was a six foot lank -and shaggy specimen of a Texan. He had gray i sh whiskers all over his face. and shaggy eyeJ;irows, and there was a pe culiar twitch ing to his limbs which suggested palsy. But the twitching only came vvhen old B ill was ex cited. Since early manhood the old r anche r had been subjec t to cataleptic-fits, and his wife, Hannah, always feared a fit when Bill got angry, which was often. "You've got the face to come right into my house, have you, you young whippersnapper!" bellowed old Bill. "After what you've done, I shouldn't think you'd be able to look me in the eyes Oh, I'll take care of :you! Get out o' h e re, Kit! I'm gain' to have it out with this young scoundrel, an' I don't want you around Leave the hou se!" "See here, Uncle Bill," returned the girl, "you're mad, and--" "vVill yo u leave?" roared the irate old rancher. "Don't you g ive me any of your back talk but git!" "Go on, Kitty," said Lee, in a low tone; "I'll be all ri g ht. Larrimo re has been talking to Tetly, and per haps I can explain matters." "Old Bill won't li ste n to reas on, and you can't ex plain a thin g Oh, I wish Aunt .Hannah was h ere I"ll leave the house, Lee, but I'll go and get Ab Grimes--"

PAGE 8

BRA VE AND BOLD. 7 "No; don't do that! I'd have another against me if you did." "I've got to do something!" returned the girl, and turned and ran from the kitchen into the other part of of the house "You're worse'n a Piegan Injun, Lee Maverick!" shouted old BiJ!, bringing his shot-gun around in front of him, where it would be handy for sudden use. "What have I done?" demanded Lee. "The least you've done is ter insult a friend who is stoppin' under my roof!" answered the rancher "You kicked him out of my house-my house !" And old Bill glowered at Lee in a fury. "He deserved to be kicked out," said young Mav erick calmly, "and if you were the kind of an uncle to Kitty that you'd ought to be you'd kick Larrimore off the place." "Don't you give me any of your back talk! I know my business, you young swindler!" Lee whitened at the word "swindler." "See here, Bill Tetly," he cried, "you've gone about far enough! I'm no swindler, and you know it!" "You are a swindler If you had gone right down inter my pocket an' taken out a thousand dollars you couldn't be more of a thief! Oh, I know you! Larrimore has told me a few things." '"\!\That has Larrimore told you?" asked Lee, choking back his indignation. "He's told me how you bought that quarter-section an' only give me $500 when it's worth $1,500 Larrimore has offered me $1,500 for it, an' I'm goin' to sell it to him!" "You can't sell it to him," answered Lee; "you've already sold it to me." "I will sell it to him! I haven't given you no deed to the land yet. I'd like to see you get a deed I" "I've got a contract for a deed, and that contract will hold good in any court of law in the land! I haven't swindled you. If my plans pan out I'll make myself a rich man, and you'll be ten times richer than I am. If I find what I'm sure I'm going to on that quarter-sec tion, the land you own all around it will be immensely valuable." "Oh, you can't smooth it over!" sneered old Bill. "I'm goin' to sell that quarter to Larrimore, an' you've got to give me back that contract, and I'll hand you the $so yol! paid me." Old Bill tapped his vest pocket. "I've got the money right here. You give me the con tract, and give it to me right now! D'ye hear?" "I won't give you the contract, Mr. Tetly," Lee an swered as respectfully, but as firmly as he knew how. "This man Larrimore is a rascal, and he's trying to beat both of us !" "Give me that contract!" cried old Bill, raising his shot-gun. "I'd shoot you down as quick as I'd shoot a dog!" Young Maverick knew that the old rancher was be side himself and half-crazed by the stories Luke Larrimore had been telling him; for that reason he would not bring out his revolver, although his position was one of the greatest peril. The thing for him to do was to resort to a ruse of some kind and get out of the house, for it was out of the question to ask old Bill to give a deed just then, feeling as he did. Had Lee made the request, he would probably have been, shot on the spot for his temerity. "Well, well," said Lee, feignin9: fright and fumbling at the pocket of his coat; "don t shoot, Mr. Tetlyplease don't shoot!" "Give me the contract!" returned old Bill curtly. After much fumbling, Lee took from his inside pocket a folded paper on which he had been figuring up the results of his Magic Oil business, and advanced toward old Bill, with the paper outstretched in his trembling hand. If the rancher failed to recognize the document at first glance, Lee figured that he would 11ave time enough to get out of the house and to his horse, back of the corral, without resorting to violence But old Bill was sharp enough to see that the folded paper had not the legal form of the contract. "No, you don't!" cried Tetly. Lee was close enough to catch the gun and jerk it away from Tetly, and he did it with a quickness that almost carried the rancher off his feet with surprise. "Stop, you!" roared old Bill, as young Maverick darted out of the door, with the gun in his hand. Lee, however, kept right on, and he might have made good his escape if another individual had not taken a hand in the set-to. This other man was Scapps, who was seated on his horse just around the corner of the house Scapps heard old Bill's yell, and turned his head just in time to see Lee making in the direction of the barn at a run, carrying the shot-gun. As the reader already knows, Scapps was a c;attle man, and his equipment was complete, so there was a rawhide riata at his saddle-horn. In a jiffy Scapps realized that his chance had come, and he jerked the riata from the place where it hung, raised himself in his stirrups, and swung the rope around his head. The foreman was a master hand with the rope, and when he released the coils the noose sped like an arrow to its mark. Before Lee had a chance to learn what was going on he was caught about the head and shoulders and slammed backward to the ground, Of course, they found nothing on the boy. Old Tetly was so angry he wanted to murder Lee, so that Scapps had to wrestle with him. In the confusion the Dutch boy crept out from the barn. cut the cords they had passed around his chum, and the two, mounting, dashed away. As they rode out from behind the big corral fence they sighted three horsemen off over the plain, spurring at a jaded gallop in the direction of Tetly's ranch. "Gee-whiz!" exclaimed Lee, eying the mounted men. "Vat's der madder?" asked Chris. "One of those men over there is the sheriff, and the other two must be his deputies. I've had a time of it this morning, and if I could only get Scapps into the hands of the sheriff I wouldn't feel that I had had all my trouble for nothing." Just then they toward Scapps, and saw him standing with the limp form of old Bill in his arms. The rancher's face was purple and there was foam on his lips. "Py shin ks!" muttered Chris. "Der cowpoy has kilt dot feller, Lee!" "No; he hasn't. Old Bill has simply got one of his fits. It's a wonder the fit didn't come on before this

PAGE 9

8 BRA VE AND BOLD. As the foreman supported the unconscious rancher his s tartled eyes could be seen roaming about the spot where Lee had lain. Scapps saw his cut and rined riata, and was plainly in a state of mind on account of Lee's absence from the neighborhood. "Look over this way, Scapps !" shouted Lee. Scapps looked that way, with a jump; then, shouting an oath, he flung old Bill to the ground and leaped to his horse. In a moment he had gained the saddle and was off at breakneck speed after the boys. CHAPTER V. KITTY IN DANGER. "Vat. you do dot for, Lee?" asked Chris, as he and his friend larru.ped their horses hito a dead run. "I want to lure Scapps near enough to the sheriff so that we can capture him Seeing the sheriff Scapps turned and made off. Lee explained matters, a11d the sheriff, borrowing the fresh horses of the boys, took a deputy and hastily pursued. While Granger, the deputy, was putting up the horses in the barn Lee and Chris picked up old Bill, who was still unconscious and carried him into the house and laid, him on a loun ge. "There's nothing we can do for him, Chris," said young Maverick. "If h e's let alone he'll come nut of it all right. I wonder what became of Larrimore? And where is Kitty?" "I hafen t seen neider vone," said Chris. Lee called for the girl, but no answer was r et urn ed, so it was evident that she was nowhere about the hou se. "It must be that she is over at that well-drilling ma c hine," remarked Lee. "She said she was going over there to get Grimes to help me. I told h e r not to go, but she may have go ne, all the same, so we'll push along in that direction." By this time they were at the rear of the barn, and Lee came to a halt. I might as well take the contract now," he observed. ''If I find I can't exchange it for the deed I'll take it to the bank in Boliver and have it stored in the bank Yault. That paper's t oo valuable for me to be taking am chances with it." \Vhile speaking Lee pad made his way to the place where he had hidd en the document, and h e bent over and thrust hi s h a nd in between th e two loose stones. "Great Cc.esar's ghost!" muttered Lfe, a wild expression coming over his face. ''Ain't it dere ?" asked Chris quickly. "No!" "Are you sure dot's der place vere you put id?" "I could take my oath!" ''1\'leppy you make a misdake mit _yourseluf, Lee. Look in some odder places." They both searched, l ook ing into every crack and crevice on that side of the foundation of the barn, but without result. "After all the fuss to keep hold of that contract and the.i,1 to lose it in such a fool way as this !" exclaimed Lee : Suddenly he began examining the ground for foot prints. At that point the ground was of a soft, clayey and readily yie lded a n impre ssion oJ the foot. He was n ot long in findin g what he sought-the mark of a bro ad shoe weli studded with heavy nails. It was the mark of such foot-gear as a laborer might wear, and not of the patent leathers affected by Larrimore, nor of the long thin-heeled boots worn by the cattleman, Scapps. There was some satisfaction in discovering that neither Larrimore n o r Scapps had taken the document, and young Maverick began to pluck up heart. "We've got to find the fellow who wore those shoes," said Lee. "But I'm not going to begin on that trail until I learn what has become of Kitty. We'll go on over to the well-drilling outfit, Chris, and see if Kitty is there. I have a feeling that she's in some sort of dan ger, and there is only one man I know of who could be the source of any danger to Kitty, and that is Lar_ rimore." Chris was of the opinion that Lee's suggestion was i:{ good one to follow, so the boys set th eir faces in the direction of the tall derrick of the drilling.'."jack and made rapidl y toward it. As the y came closer and closer, and got a view of the drilling-jack and its su rroundin gs, their pulses quick e ned and their speed increased until they were proceed' ing at a run. A t fir st th ey made out three figures at the foot of the dtilling-machine, and as they hurried on they sa\vM;_ ... that two of these figures were those of men and the .. third that of a woman. .., "" Then in a few moments they made out the men to b '% Luke Larrimore and Abner Grjmes and the woman tcF be Kitty. -The girl stood in front of the men, and seemed to be p l ead in g with them about something. Larrimore was off to the l eft, and Grin;ies was a littl e in front of him so that Kitty seemed to be addressing Grimes, rath e r than Larrimore. "Dot's a funny combination!" muttered Chris, feeliug,_ at his rope belt to see that Blitzenme i s t er was there and ready for business. "I pelieve, so helup me, dot dere's _..,.11 goin' to be someding doing, Lee!" 'l "If either of th ose men rai ses a hand against Kitty there'll be plenty doing, and no mistake!" young Mav erick returned. Larrimore had wiped the g re asy water off his cloth es and had knocked the dents out of his hat, that he l ooked little the worse for his experience in old Bill's kitchen. But that he had not forgotten the experience was evident from the ugly look which he turned upon the girl. Suddenly the three near the drillin g -machin e heard th e approach of the boys and gazed in their A look of relief passed over Kitty's face. "Hurry, L ee !" she cried. "Grimes ha s got your--" She did not fini s h her remark, for, with a fierce ex-clamation, Grimes had sprung toward her and given h er a savage push which threw her to the ground. "Leave h e r alone, you coward!" cried Lee angrily. Leaping back, Abner Grimes turned half around and glared at young Maverick. Chris went around the derrick and jumped on the s hort ladder th a t led to its top, pulling old Blitzen meister as he climbed. Noting the Dutch boy's move, Larrimore swept a hand un der his coat a nd brought out his six-shooter.

PAGE 10

YE !\)JD DOLD. 9 CHAPTER VI. THE FLIGHT OF GRL\1ES. Before any one spoke Kitty pick ed herself up from the ;roun d where she had been thrown by the brutal well-digger and possessed h erse lf of her sun-bonn e t which had fallen from her h ead Lee meanwhile had covered Grimes. "Put up that gun!" went on Gr imes backinooff "WI 0 wan y. 1at do you mean by drawin' a g un on me?" "What do you mean by treating Thliss Shane in the way you did?" retorted L ee "That's my busine ss, a.nd it's none of you r put in!" "I'll make it my business," returned Lee. "He' s a little bit gone on Miss Shane, sneered Lar rimore. "You keep sh till mit yourseluf !" called Chris from derric.k. "Oof you don 'd, you bed my life I let Bhtzenme1ster shpeak a vort for himseluf, und dot vill seddle der pitzness all aroundt !" Lee retreated until he was standing b es ide the girl. "Go back to the house, Kit," said he. "Your uncle has had one of his spells, and he needs you." "I'll answered the girl, with fl.ashing, eyes, "but not until I tell you what Abner Grimes has done." "You can tell me later." "I'm going to tell you now, so you will have a chance to get that contract away from him." "Contract?" echoed Lee. "Yes; he saw yo u put it away, ;md these men have b een quarreling over it." du !" fum ed Chris Augenblick, a glitter commg mt o his blue eye as he sighted alonothe barrel of the. pistol. "Shust say d e r vort, Lee, you bed som ed m g for nodding dot Blitzenmeister vill put a hole dro o b ot' d ose chays !" go off at half-cock, Chris," returned young Maverick sharply. Then ad d ed, his eyes on Grimes but addressing th e girl: "Did Grimes o-ive the to Larrimore?" 0 "No; I am sure he did not." "So you're in this too, are you, Grimes?" Lee de mand ed of the well-digger. "I always knew you were somethmg of a rascal, but I never thought you'd take my good money for digging this well and fight again s t me while in my employ." "Think I 'm an ijut ?" snorted Grimes, lookinashiftily ab out him. "Don't I know blame well ye borin' this hole for water?" "I don't care what you know, or think you know!" Lee an s \yered warmly. ''I'm done with you, h ere and now! Pick up your traps an' get off this ground!" "Ye ain't got any ri ght ter this a-round, an' con se -k I 1 "' ent y, ye
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