Crossroads - Max Brand - ebook

Crossroads ebook

Max Brand

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It is the continuing saga of Max Brand’s finest heroine, Jack – Jacqueline Boone. Jack is blessed and cursed by the cross of Meilan when she meets Dix Van Dyck. Dix Van Dyck, is being persecuted by an evil sheriff, named Onate. Dix, perhaps too fond of action and excitement, had stayed out of trouble on the strength of his boyish charm and the verdict of „suicide” passed on those who drew their guns on him. Strangely enough, it is Jackie Boone and a beautiful Yaqui Indian girl named Dolores, who has an evil side that come to Van Dyke’s aid repeatedly in a novel bursting with larger-than-life action.

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Liczba stron: 382

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Contents

I. DESTINATION: THE WORLD

II. DOUBLE BEND

III. THE STORY OF THE CROSS

IV. THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE

V. A FIGHT AGAINST LUCK

VI. THE CAMP FIRE

VII. THE ICONOCLAST

VIII. PLAIN TRAIL

IX. OÑATE TALKS INFORMALLY

X. THE SPECIALIST IN PAIN

XI. EL TIGRE

XII. DOLORES

XIII. THE TRAIL

XIV. THE TRAP

XV. PARTNERS

XVI. BLOOD MONEY

XVII. THE GIFTS OF OÑATE

XVIII. A STUDY IN ACCENT

XIX. CHIVALRY

XX. THE GOVERNOR MEETS A LADY

XXI. THE BOSS

XXII. THE SHADOW OF THE BARS

XXIII. A MAN OF DESTINY

XXIV. BILL LAWTON IS HARD HIT

XXV. THE DOVE

XXVI. THE WHIP

XXVII. FEAR

XXVIII. GARCÍA—FRIEND

XXIX. STUD POKER

XXX. DOLORES FINDS A MAN

XXXI. EL TIGRE COVERS HIS HEAD

XXXII. SPORTING CHANCE

XXXIII. SUSPENSE

XXXIV. EL TIGRE PAYS ALL HIS DEBTS

XXXV. THE COMING OF JACK

XXXVI. OÑATE'S INSPIRATION

XXXVII. THE WHITE HORSE

XXXVIII. TEARS FOR EL TIGRE

XXXIX. THE HUNTING

XL. THE MAN WHO BEAT McGURK

XLI. THE WAITING

XLII. JAQUELINE

XLIII. THE SONG OF THE HEART

XLIV. OÑATE SMILES

XLV. The Peace of OÑATE

I. DESTINATION: THE WORLD

“HOW much hell can this fellow raise?” inquired a stranger in Guadalupe, after being regaled at some length by a tale of the manifold exploits of Dix Van Dyck.

And the answer was: “Partner, how much hell is there?”

Yet many held that there was nothing malicious about Dix Van Dyck. It was simply the spirit of what had been mischief in his boyhood. Now that he had passed the period of fisticuffs and entered that of six-guns, his pranks had serious consequences quite frequently, but his heart had not changed a whit.

Formerly, a fist fight satisfied all the yearnings of his hungry soul, but now that he stood something over six feet and weighed in the neighborhood of two hundred pounds of hard, fighting, lean-drawn muscle, an encounter with the brown fists of Dix Van Dyck was hardly preferable to a gun fight.

In another environment Dix unquestionably might have led a harmless and, in time, useful existence, but unfortunately he was born in the land of little rain and lived in a state where some eighty percent of the population is Mexican, where the laws of the legislature were printed in Spanish first and afterward in English, and where a Mexican considered himself of a strata a few degrees above that of any Anglo-American. It goes without argument that in such an environment Dix Van Dyck found a plenteous field for mischief, and he harvested his crop of deviltry with the most painful husbandry. Yet he escaped unpunished for many years. The reason was that there was in Dix Van Dyck an appealing element suggestive of the big boy run wild, and men found it hard to judge him sternly. Also it was known to all men that Dix was not the sort to hunt his six-gun by preference. He was perfectly contented to rely upon those bone-hard fists of his until the other fellow–probably from a strategic position behind a chair or from a corner of the floor–drew his gun. Then it was all over except the coroner’s verdict. That verdict was usually “suicide.”

Afterward there followed a period of anguish for Dix Van Dyck. For he did not like killings, and he swore off on gun play as religiously as a confirmed drunkard. But always the excitement of a prospective fight was too much for him, and the undertaker received another order. This would make it appear that Dix was a public nuisance. Yet men liked him. A man who fights squarely is judged most leniently in the Southwest. Moreover, the boyishly eager, almost wistful smile of Dix would have disarmed a heart of steel.

If he had confined his attentions to men of ill repute, all would have been well, but in an evil moment Dix crossed the path of a certain politician, one Señor Don Porfirio Maria Oñate. In the newspapers he was known as Mr. Oñate, but in private life everyone used the title he preferred. The worthy Señor Oñate was running for the office of sheriff of Chaparna County and approached Dix Van Dyck in a public place with a request for his vote. This was a rash step and would never have been undertaken by the noble don if he had not been too warmly inspired by tequila, that is apt to make the courage greater than the judgment.

The reply of Dix Van Dyck was of Homeric temper and volume. He stated his opinion of Señor Don Porfirio Maria Oñate in full and completed his survey of the don’s public career with some terse remarks about his ancestors. Any other man in the Southwest might have been tempted to fight, but even tequila was not as potent in the soul of Mr. Oñate as the fear of Dix Van Dyck. He stroked his mustache and smiled and hated Dix Van Dyck with his little, bright eyes, but he said nothing.

Afterward he sent his brother, accompanied by two accomplished cut-throats, to settle the long account with Dix Van Dyck. They came upon him from the rear when he was unarmed, and there followed a battle that still lives in the memory of the inhabitants of Chaparna County. Dix Van Dyck tore a shelf from the wall and with it brained two of his assailants. Then he strangled the third with his bare hands. Afterward he called upon Señor Oñate, but that gentleman was not at home, another proof of wisdom.

Three days later Señor Oñate was elected sheriff of Chaparna County, and Dix Van Dyck kissed his mother good bye, hugged his little brother, and departed for regions unknown to the north.

This might seem strange to some, for the last crime of Dix had been most manifest self-defense, but the dwellers in Chaparna County understood. It would have been impossible to get a jury that was not under the thumb of the new sheriff. It would have been a mockery, not a trial. So Dix Van Dyck mounted on a great horse, strong enough to bear even his weight on a day’s ride, and disappeared into the hills.

He was not ill pleased by the thought of leaving Chaparna County, even under compulsion. Like the young Alexander, he was anxious for new worlds to conquer, and, once started along the outward path, he wondered why he had not made the move before. His mind was at peace; self-content warmed his blood. In the long holster his Winchester jostled softly. At either hip was the comfortable weight of a six-gun. The sweat of the tall horse was like incense in his nostrils, and the creaking of the saddle leather was sweeter than music to his ears. Behind his saddle a blanket was rolled in the slicker, and in the saddlebags he carried enough provisions for many a day.

The Arab seizes a handful of dates and another of barley and is ready for the desert. The Southwesterner travels almost as light. For guide Dix Van Dyck carried an instinct sure as that of a hunting coyote or a migratory bird. His destination was–the world.

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