Alton of Somasco - Harold Bindloss - ebook

Alton of Somasco ebook

Harold Bindloss

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Opis

Harry Alton harms the natural environment. They are driven by the desire to make more money. He goes to drastic measures. The main character cuts down forests to turn this area into a profit center. Suddenly, he received the news that he inherited an estate in England. However, Alton does not wish to return there. After all, there is a selfish heir. In the end, the protagonist will begin to accuse and Alton will have to fight in a duel.

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Liczba stron: 621

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Contents

CHAPTER I. THE FIRST ENCOUNTER

CHAPTER II. AT TOWNSHEAD’S RANCH

CHAPTER III. HARRY THE TEAMSTER

CHAPTER IV. HALLAM OF THE TYEE

CHAPTER V. THE HEIR OF CARNABY

CHAPTER VI. MISS DERINGHAM MAKES FRIENDS

CHAPTER VII. ALTON BLUNDERS

CHAPTER VIII. HALLAM’S CONFEDERATE

CHAPTER IX. MISS DERINGHAM FEELS SLIGHTED

CHAPTER X. THE UNDELIVERED MESSAGE

CHAPTER XI. CONFIDENCE MISPLACED

CHAPTER XII. IN VANCOUVER

CHAPTER XIII. THE SOMASCO CONSOLIDATED

CHAPTER XIV. THE COMPACT

CHAPTER XV. ON THE TRAIL

CHAPTER XVI. CAUSE FOR ANXIETY

CHAPTER XVII. ALONE

CHAPTER XVIII. IN THE WILDERNESS

CHAPTER XIX. FOUL PLAY

CHAPTER XX. THE NICKED BULLET

CHAPTER XXI. OKANAGAN’S ROAD

CHAPTER XXII. MISS DERINGHAM DECIDES

CHAPTER XXIII. THE AWAKENING

CHAPTER XXIV. HALLAM TRIES AGAIN

CHAPTER XXV. ALTON IS SILENT

CHAPTER XXVI. WITHOUT COUNTING THE COST

CHAPTER XXVII. THE FORCE OF CALUMNY

CHAPTER XXVIII. ALTON FINDS A WAY

CHAPTER XXIX. THE PRICE OF DELAY

CHAPTER XXX. SEAFORTH’S REINSTATEMENT

CHAPTER XXXI. “THE THIRD TIME”

CHAPTER XXXII. ALTON HOLDS HIS HAND

CHAPTER XXXIII. MISS DERINGHAM’S CONFESSION

CHAPTER XXXIV. THE CONSUMMATION

CHAPTER I. THE FIRST ENCOUNTER

It was snowing slowly and persistently, as it had done all day, when Henry Alton of Somasco ranch stood struggling with a half-tamed Cayuse pony in a British Columbian settlement. The Cayuse had laid its ears back, and was describing a circle round him, scattering mud and snow, while the man who gripped the bridle in a lean, brown hand watched it without impatience, admiringly.

“Game!” he said. “I like them that way. Still, it isn’t every man could seize a pack on him, and you’ll have to let up three dollars on the price you asked me.”

Now three dollars is a considerable proportion of the value of an Indian pony fresh from the northern grass lands, with the devil that lurks in most of his race still unsubdued within him, but the rancher who owned him did not immediately reject the offer. Possibly he was not especially anxious to keep the beast.

“Oh, yes,” said a bystander. “He’s game enough, and I’d ask the boys to my funeral if I meant to drive him at night over the lake trail. After being most kicked into wood-pulp Carter hasn’t any more use for him, and I’ll lay you a dollar, Alton, you and your partner can’t put the pack on him.”

Perhaps the Cayuse was tired, or desirous of watching for an opportunity, for it came to a standstill, snorting, with its wicked eyes upon the man, who laughed a little and shoved back the broad hat from his forehead as he straightened himself. The laugh rang pleasantly, and the faint twinkle in Alton’s eyes was in keeping with it. They were grey, and steady when the light sank out of them, and the rest of the bronzed face was shrewd and quietly masterful. He wore a deerskin jacket fancifully embroidered, blue canvas overalls, and gum boots to the knee, while, though all of them needed repair, the attire was picturesque, and showed its wearer’s lean symmetry. The man’s age was apparently twenty-five, and eight years’ use of the axe had set a stamp of springy suppleness upon him. He had also wrested rather more than a livelihood from the Canadian forest during them.

All round him the loghouses rose in all their unadorned dinginess beneath the sombre pines, and the largest of them bore a straggling legend announcing that it was Horton’s store and hotel. A mixed company of bush ranchers, free prospectors, axemen, and miners lounged outside it in picturesque disarray, and high above rose a dim white line of never-melting snow.

“Well,” said Alton, “it’s time this circus was over, anyway, and if Carter will take my bid I’ll clinch that deal with you. Have the pack and seizings handy, Charley.”

The rancher nodded, and Alton got a tighter grip on the bridle. Then the Cayuse rose upright with fore-hoofs lifted, and the man’s arm was drawn back to strike. The hoofs came down harmlessly, but the fist got home, and for a moment or two there was a swaying and plunging of man and beast amidst the hurled-up snow. Then the Cayuse was borne backwards until the vicinity of the hotel verandah left no room for kicking, and another man hastily flung a rope round the bundles he piled upon its back. He was also tolerably capable, and in another minute the struggle was over. The Cayuse’s attitude expressed indignant astonishment, while Alton stood up breathless, with his knuckles bleeding.

“I’ll trouble you for that dollar, and I’ll keep him now,” he said. “Can you wait until I come down next week, Carter?”

“Oh, yes,” said the rancher. “Your promise is good enough for a year or two.”

The speaker was a sinewy bushman in curiously patched overalls with a bronzed and honest face, and he turned aside with a little gesture of dislike, when a man of a very different stamp pushed by him. The latter wore a black felt hat and a great fur-lined coat, while his face was pale and fleshy and his eyes were cunning. His appearance suggested prosperity and a life of indulgence in the cities, and when he stopped in front of Alton the latter would have lost little by any comparison between the pair. The pose of his sinewy figure and the clear brownness of his skin spoke of arduous labour, sound sleep, and the vigour that comes from a healthful occupation. The steady directness of his gaze and quiet immobility of his face also conveyed an indefinite suggestion of power and endurance, and there was a curious grace in his movements when he turned courteously towards the stranger.

“You soon fixed him, packer,” said the city man.

Alton laughed. “The boys mostly call me rancher,” said he. “Still, it don’t count for much, and I do some packing occasionally.”

“That’s all right,” said the stranger sharply, for there was something in Alton’s answer which made him inclined to assert his dignity. “Everybody seems to be a rancher hereaway, and you mayn’t be too proud to put through a job for me.”

Alton nodded, and glanced at the speaker questioningly.

“No. If it would fit in,” he said.

“I’m Hallam,” said the other man. “Hallam and Vose, of the Tyee mineral claim. They’ve been fooling things up yonder, big pump’s given out, and I’ve a few hundred pounds of engine fixings back at the railroad I want brought in by to-morrow.”

Alton glanced at the pack-beasts waiting unloaded outside the store, and shook his head. “I’m sorry I can’t trade with you,” he said. “You see, I’ve promised another man to pack up some stores for him.”

Hallam made a gesture of impatience. “Then you can let him wait,” he said. “This deal will pay you better. You can put your own price on it.”

Alton’s eyelids came down a little, and the stranger seemed to find his glance disconcerting. “You don’t seem to understand. I promised the other man to bring up his things,” he said.

“Well,” said Hallam, “come along into the shanty yonder, and have a drink with me. We may fix up some way of getting over the difficulty.”

“Sorry!” said Alton with a suspicious quietness. “I don’t drink much, anyway, and then only with the boys who know me.”

“Hey!” said Hallam. “You are talking like a condemned Englishman.”

“I can’t help that,” said Alton. “I am a Canadian, but if you want another reason, it wouldn’t suit me to drink with you, anyway. You see, you didn’t do the square thing with one or two friends of mine who worked on the Tyee.”

He turned on his heel, and Hallam, who was a man of some importance in the cities, gasped with astonishment and indignation.

“What is that fellow?” he said.

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