Lost Pueblo - Zane Grey - ebook
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Zane Grey is unrivalled in his mastery of the western scene... this is a charming and vintage story. Rich easterner Janey Endicott comes to Arizona with her father, where she is bored until she meets archeologist Phillip Randolph, who is investigating ancient Indian pueblos in the midst of the West’s wild culture. The distinct differences of personalities – she free and easy and wild, and he, quiet, reserved, „old fashioned” – is cause for quite interesting circumstances to erupt between them. Her father, rushing in where angels fear to tread, tries to match her with the son of an old friend. Complications arise. Moreover, her father and his money stage-manage all the excitement while the newly discovered pueblo ruins add prestige to the adventures which end in marriage.

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Liczba stron: 354

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Contents

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 1

Janey Endicott did not see anything of Arizona until morning. The train had crossed the state line after dark. New Mexico, however, with its bleak plains and rugged black ranges, its lonely reaches, had stirred in her quite new sensations. Her father had just knocked upon her door, awakening her at an unusual hour. She had leaped at her father’s casual proposal to take a little trip West with him, but it had begun to have a rather interesting significance to her. And Janey was not so sure how she was going to take it.

They had arrived at Flagerstown late in the night, and Janey had gone to bed tired out. Upon awakening this morning, she was surprised at an absence of her usual languor. She appeared wide awake in a moment. The sun streamed in at the window, very bright and golden; and the air that blew in with it was sharp and cold.

“Gee! I thought someone said it was spring-time,” said Janey, as she quickly got into slippers and dressing gown. Then she looked out of her window. Evidently the little hotel was situated on the outskirts of town. She saw a few scattered houses on each side, among the pine trees. There were rugged gray rocks, covered with vines and brush. The pines grew thicker and merged into a dark green forest. In the distance showed white peaks against the deep blue of sky. Janey had an inkling that she was going to like this adventure.

She did not care to admit it, but, although she was only twenty years old, she had found a good deal to pall on her at home in the East. Serious thought appeared to be something she generally shunned; yet to her, now and then, it came involuntarily.

While she dressed she pondered upon the situation. She had never been West before. After college there had been European travel, and then the usual round of golf, motoring, dancing, with all that went with them. She was well aware of her father’s dissatisfaction with her generation. Despite his attitude he had seldom interfered with her ways of being happy. This trip had a peculiar slant, now that she scrutinized it closely. They were to meet a young archaeologist here in Flagerstown, and probably arrange to have him take them to the canyon and other scenic places. Janey had become acquainted with him in New York, where he had been lecturing on the prehistoric ruins of the Southwest. Phillip Randolph had struck Janey as being different from the young men she played about with, but insofar as her charms were concerned he was as susceptible as the rest. Randolph had never betrayed his feelings by word or action. He had seemed a manly, quiet sort of chap, college bred, but somewhat old-fashioned in his ways, and absorbed in his research work. Janey had liked him too well to let him see much of her. Not until she and her father had been out West did he mention that he expected to meet Randolph. Then she was reminded that her father had been quite taken with the young archaeologist. It amused Janey.

“Dad might have something up his sleeve,” she soliloquized. “I just don’t quite get him lately.”

Janey found him in the comfortable sitting room, reading a newspaper before an open fireplace. He was a well-preserved man of sixty, handsome and clean-cut of face, a typical New Yorker, keen and worldly, yet of kindly aspect.

“Good morning, Janey,” he said, folding his paper and smiling up at her. “I see you’ve dispensed with at least some of your make-up. You look great.”

“I confess I feel great,” responded Janey, frankly. “Must be this Arizona air. Lead me to some lamb chops, Dad.”

At breakfast Janey caught a twinkle in her father’s fine eyes. He was pleased that she appeared hungry and not inclined to find fault with the food and drink served. Janey felt he had more on his mind than merely giving her a good time. It might well be that he was testing a theory of his own relative to the reaction of an oversophisticated young woman to the still primitive West.

“Randolph sent word that he could not meet us here,” remarked her father. “We will motor out to a place called Mormon Canyon. It’s a trading post, I believe. Randolph will be there.”

“We’ll ride into the desert?” asked Janey, with enthusiasm.

“Nearly a hundred miles. I daresay it will be a ride you’ll remember. Janey, will you wear that flimsy dress?”

“Surely. I have my coat in case it’s cold.”

“Very well. Better pack at once. I’ve ordered a car.”

“Are there any stores in this burg? I want to buy several things.”

“Yes. Some very nice stores. But hurry, my dear. I’m eager to start.”

When Janey went out to do her shopping, she certainly wished she had worn her coat. The air was nipping, and the wind whipped dust in her face. Flagerstown appeared a dead little town. She shuddered at the idea of living there. Limiting her errands to one store, she hurried back toward the hotel. She encountered Indians who despite their white man’s garb were picturesque and thrilling to her. She noted that they regarded her with interest. Then she saw a Mexican boy leading several beautiful spirited horses. There was nothing else in her short walk that attracted her attention.

In a short time she was packed and ready for her father when he came to her room. He acted more like a boy than her erstwhile staid and quiet parent. The car was waiting outside.

“We’re off,” declared Mr. Endicott with an air of finality. And Janey bit her tongue to keep from retorting that he could speak for himself.

Soon they left the town behind and entered a forest of stately pines, growing far apart over brown-matted, slow-rising ground. The fragrance was similar to that of Eastern forests, except that it had a dry, sweet quality new to Janey. Here and there the road crossed open ranch country, from which snow- clad peaks were visible. Janey wondered why Easterners raved so about the Alps when the West possessed such mountains as these. She was sorry when she could see them no more. Her father talked a good deal about this part of Arizona, and seemed to be well informed.

“Say, Dad, have you been out here before?” she asked.

“No. Randolph talked about the country. He loves it. No wonder!”

Janey made no reply, and that perhaps was more of a compliment than she usually paid places. The road climbed, but neither the steepness nor the roughness of it caused the driver any concern. Soon the car, entering thicker forest, dark and cool, reached the summit of a ridge and started down a gradual descent, where the timber thinned out, and in a couple of miles failed on the edge of the desert.

It was Janey Endicott’s first intimate sight of any desert. She felt strongly moved; yet whether it was in awe or wonder or reverence or fear, or a little of each combined, she could not tell. The sum of every extended view she had ever seen, in her whole life, could not compare with the tremendous open space before her. First it was silver and gray, dotted with little green trees, then it sloped off yellow and red, and ended in a great hollow of many hues, out of which dim purple shapes climbed.

“That must be the Painted Desert, if I remember Randolph correctly,” said her father. “It is magnificent. Nothing in Europe like it! And Randolph told me that this is nothing compared to the Utah country two hundred miles north.”

“Let’s go, Dad,” replied Janey, dreamily.

From that time on the ride grew in absorbing interest for Janey, until she was no longer conscious of reflection about her impressions. The Little Colorado River, the vast promontory of Kishlipi, the giant steppes up to the Badlands, the weird and sinister rock formations stretching on to an awful blue gulf which was the Grand Canyon; the wondrous flat tablelands called mesas by the driver, the descent into glaring sandy Moencopi Wash, and up again, higher than ever, and on and on over leagues of desert, with black ranges beckoning–these successive stages of the ride claimed Janey’s attention as had no other scenery in her experience.

She was not ready for the trading post. They had reached it too soon for her. It looked like one of the blocks of red rock they had passed so frequently. But near at hand it began to look more like a habitation. All about was sand, yellow and red and gray; and on the curved knife-edged ridge-crests it was blowing like silver smoke. There were patches of green below the trading post, and beneath them a wide hollow, where columns of dust or sand whirled across the barren waste. Beyond rose white-whorled cliffs, wonderful to see, and above them, far away, the black fringed top of an endless mesa.

“What do you think of it, Janey?” asked Endicott curiously.

“Now I understand why Phillip Randolph seemed such a square peg in a round hole, as my friends called him,” replied Janey, enigmatically.

“Humph! They don’t know him very well,” declared her father.

They were met at the door of the post by the trader, John Bennet. He was carrying some Navajo rugs. His sombrero was tipped over one ear. He had a weather-beaten face, and was a middle-aged man of medium height, grizzled and desert-worn, with eyes that showed kindliness and good humor.

“Wal, heah you are,” he welcomed them, throwing down the rugs. “Reckon we wasn’t expectin’ you so soon. Get down an’ come in.”

Janey entered the door, into what appeared to be a colorful and spacious living room. Here she encountered a large woman with sleeves rolled up showing brown and capable arms. She beamed upon Janey and bade her make herself “to home.” Then she joined the others outside, leaving Janey alone.

She looked around with interest. The broad window seat, with windows opening to the desert view, appealed strongly to Janey. Removing coat and hat she sat down to rest and take stock of things.

The long room contained many Indian rugs, some of which adorned the walls. On a table lay scattered silver-ornamented belts, hatbands and bridles. Over the wide fireplace mantel hung Indian plaques, and on top of the bookcase were articles of Indian design, beaded, and some primitive pottery. A burned- out fire smoldered on the hearth.

At this point Mrs. Bennet came in, accompanied by the trader, and Endicott, and a tall young man in khaki. Janey had seen him somewhere. Indeed, it was Phillip Randolph. Brown-faced, roughly garbed, he fitted the desert environment decidedly to Janey’s taste.

“Miss Endicott, I reckon you don’t need no introduction to Phil here,” announced Mrs. Bennet, with a keen glance running over Janey’s short French frock, sheer stockings and high-heeled shoes.

“Phil?… Oh, you mean Mr. Randolph.” The young man bowed rather stiffly and stepped toward her.

“I hope you remember me, Miss Endicott,” he said.

“I do, Mr. Randolph,” replied Janey, graciously, offering her hand.

“It’s good to see you out here in my West. I really never believed you’d come, though your father vowed he’d fetch you.”

“Well, Dad succeeded, though I can’t understand it,” rejoined Janey, laughing.

“Mr. Endicott, did you-all have a nice trip out?” asked Mrs. Bennet.

“I did. My daughter’s rather doubtful yet, I fear.”

“Now, isn’t that too bad, Miss Endicott,” sympathized the genial woman. “I saw right off how pale you are. You’ll get your health back in this desert.”

“My health!” exclaimed Janey, almost indignantly. “Why, I’m absurdly healthy. I’ve been picked for a health poster. It’s my father who is ailing.”

“Excuse me, Miss,” said Mrs. Bennet, embarrassed. “You see your father looks so strong–”

“It isn’t his body that’s weak, Mrs. Bennet,” interrupted Janey. “It’s his mind.”

Here Phillip came to the rescue, as Janey remembered he had always done in New York.

“Mrs. Bennet, it’s not a question of ill health for anybody,” he explained. “Mr. Endicott was an old friend of my father’s. I met him in New York. He wanted to come out West and get Miss Janey as far away from civilization as possible, to–”

“I’ll say he’s done it,” interrupted Janey. “It must be a real knockout to live here if you’re crazy about miles of nothing but sand, rocks and sky, and you’ve committed some crime or other and want to hide.”

Mrs. Bennet tried to control her amazement.

“Mr. Endicott, your rooms are not quite ready. Please wait here a little …Pa, see that them lazy cowboys fetch in the baggage.”

“Phil, where are the boys, anyhow?” asked Bennet, as his spouse bustled out.

“They were lounging in the shade when the car came up. Then they disappeared like jack rabbits in the sage. Sure they’re going to be funny. I’ll help you find them.”

“Folks, make yourselves comfortable,” invited Bennet, and left the room with the archaeologist.

Mr. Endicott sauntered over to Janey and gazed disapprovingly down upon her.

“Janey, I don’t mind you calling me crazy or poking fun at me. But please don’t extend that to my young friend Randolph. His father was the finest man I ever knew, and Phillip is pretty much like him…Janey, you’ll have to put your best foot forward if you want to appear well to Phillip Randolph. He’s not likely to see the sophisticated type with a microscope out here. In New York he had you buffaloed. You couldn’t like him because you didn’t understand him.”

“Darling Father,” replied Janey, smiling tantalizingly up at him. “Your name may be Elijah, but you’re no prophet. I liked your young friend well enough to let him alone. But that was in New York where there are a million men. I don’t know about out here. Probably he’ll bore me to extinction. Can’t you see he’s as dry as the dust of this desert? He’s living two thousand years behind the times. Fancy digging in the earth for things of the past. Well, he might dig up a jeweled corncob pipe and discover there were glamour girls in the old Aztec days.”

“Janey, you’re nothing if not incorrigible,” returned Mr. Endicott in despair.

“Dad, I’m your daughter. I don’t know whether you’ve brought me up poorly or I’ve neglected you. But the fact is all our educators and scientists claim the parents of the present generation are responsible for our demerits.”

“Janey, I’m responsible for your conduct out here, at all events,” declared Mr. Endicott, forcefully.

“Oh, you are! Well, my dearest Dad, I’m here all right–or else I’ve been drinking.”

“Janey, there’ll be no more of this drinking business.”

“Dad, you’ve got me figured wrong. I admit my crowd hit the booze pretty strong. But I never drank. Honest, Dad.”

“Janey, I don’t know whether to believe you or not. But I’ve seen you smoke.”

“Oh, well, that’s different. Smoking isn’t very clean, but it’s a fashionable vice, and restful at least.”

“How about all your men?” queried Endicott, evidently emboldened for the minute. “Lord! When I think of the men you’ve made idiots! Take that last one –the young Valentino who brags of being engaged to you.”

Janey laughed merrily. “Dad, do you think that’s nice? Bert Durland is just too sweet for words; also he dances divinely.”

“Durland is a slick little article. Like his social ladder-climbing mama. But I’ll see that he doesn’t dance or climb into your inheritance.”

“To think you separated me from him!” cried Janey, pretending tragic pathos.

A slim young Indian girl entered. She was dark and pretty.

“Meester, you room ees ready.”

“Thank you,” said Endicott, picking up his coat and hat. “Janey, you’ve got me right. I did separate you from Durland. Also from a lot of other fortune hunters. That’s why you’re out in this desert for a spell. Except for Bennet and Randolph, whom you can’t flirt with, there’s not a man within a hundred miles.”

Janey eyed her retreating parent, and replied demurely, “Yes, kind, sweet, thoughtful father.”

Endicott went out with the Indian maid, and at the same moment a young man entered the other door, carrying a valise in each hand. He had a ruddy face, and was carelessly dressed in striped woolen shirt, overalls and top boots. He wore a big dusty sombrero.

When he spotted Janey his eyes popped wide open and he dropped one valise, then the other.

“Was you addressin’ me, Miss?” he asked, ecstatically.

“Not then. I was speaking to my father. He just left the room… You –sort of took me by surprise.”

“Shore, you tuk my wind.”

“Do you live here?” asked Janey, with interest. This trading post might not turn out so badly after all.

“Shore do,” replied the young man, grinning.

“Are you Mrs. Bennet’s son?”

“Naw. Jest a plain no-good cowboy.”

“My very first cowboy!” murmured Janey. “Aw, Miss! I’m shore honored. I’ll be yore yore first anythin’. Ain’t you the Endicott girl we’re expectin’?”

“Yes, I’m Janey Endicott.”

“An’ I’m Mohave. The boys call me that after the Mohave Desert which ain’t got no beginnin’ or end.”

As Janey broke into laughter another young man entered, also carrying a grip in each hand. He was overdressed, like a motion-picture cowboy, and he had a swarthy, dark face. He gave Janey a warm smile.

“Cowboy, reckon you can put them bags down an’ get back for more,” blandly said Mohave.

“Buenos dias, Señorita,” greeted this one, dropping the bags and sweeping the floor with his sombrero. Janey was quick to see that Mohave suddenly remembered to remove his own wide headgear.

“Same to you,” replied Janey, smiling as teasingly as possible.

“Miss Endicott, this here’s Diego,” said Mohave, apologetically. “He’s a Mexican. He seen a Western movie once an’ ain’t never got over it. He’s been dressed up all day waitin’ for you.”

“I’m tremendously flattered,” returned Janey.

“Mees, thees are your bags I carry. I peeck them ut weeth your name on.”

“Now there, Buffalo Bill, you mustn’t flatter me any more,” replied Janey, coquettishly.

“Oh, Mees! Señor Buffalo Beel you call me. I have seen heem in the movies.”

Here he drew two guns with an exaggerated motion-picture-drama style. “A- ha! Veelian! Een my power at las’! A-ha! Your time ees come. I keel you!”

He brandished both guns in Janey’s face. In alarm she slipped off the window seat to dodge behind a table.

“Diego, you locoed cowpuncher, get on the job,” ordered Mohave, forcibly. “Ray is comin’.”

Diego evidently had respect for Mohave. Hurriedly sheathing his guns, and picking up his sombrero he recovered the two valises. Meanwhile Janey emerged from behind the table.

“Mees, Diego will act for you again,” he announced grandly.

“Ye-es. Thanks. But please make it someplace where I can dodge,” replied Janey.

Diego left the room, and Mohave, taking up his load, turned to Janey.

“Miss Endicott, don’t trust Diego, or any of these other hombres. An’ perticular, don’t ride their horses. You’ll shore get throwed an’ mebbe killed. But my pet horse is shore gentle. I’ll take you ridin’ tomorrow.”

“I’d love to go with you,” returned Janey.

Then Mohave made swift tracks after Diego, just in time to escape being seen by a third cowboy, who entered from outside, carrying a trunk as if it had been a feather. He set it down. He was bareheaded, a blond young man, not bad looking, in size alone guaranteed to command respect. And his costume struck a balance between that of Diego and Mohave.

Janey gazed at him and exclaimed, “Well! Tarzan in cowboy boots, no less.”

Ray stared, then walked in a circle to see whom she meant. But as there was no other man present he seemed to divine the truth, and approached her straightaway.

“Wal, for Gawd’s sake!” he broke out, in slow sepulchral tones.

“Oh, yes, indeed, it’s you I mean,” returned Janey, all smiles. “I’ll bet when your horse is tired you pick him up and carry him right home.”

“Wal, for Gawd’s sake!” ejaculated Ray, exactly as before.

“Are there any more verses to that song?”

“Wal–for Gawd’s sake!”

“Third and last–I hope.”

“First time I ever seen an angel or heered one talk,” he declared.

“Please don’t call me an angel. Angels are good. I’m not. I’m wild. That’s why I’ve been dragged out West. Ask Dad, he knows. Say, that reminds me. I’m dying for a smoke. Dad’s old-fashioned and I don’t carry them when he’s around. Could you give me a cigarette?”

Ray merely stared.

“Please, handsome boy! Just one little cigarette.”

“Ain’t got nothin’ but the makin’s,” he finally ejaculated.

“Thanks. That’ll do,” replied Janey, receiving the little tobacco pouch he handed her.

It fascinated Ray to see Janey roll her own. He was so absorbed that he failed to note the entrance of a fourth cowboy, who was burdened with hatboxes and more grips. He was the handsomest of the lot. With his fine intent eyes straight ahead, not noticing Janey, he crossed the room and went into the hallway. Janey had watched him pass in a surprise that grew into pique. He had never looked once at her. He would have to pay for that slight.

“Wal! Yore shore some pert little dogie,” remarked Ray, lighting a match for her.

“Dogie!… Say, Mr. Cowboy, explain what you mean!”

“A dogie is a calf or a colt that ain’t got no mother.”

“Where did you learn anything about me?” asked Janey, a bit wary.

“Shore any kid with a ma couldn’t ever roll a cigarette an’ smoke it like you do.”

“Indeed! Ray, are you a desert preacher?” queried Janey, distantly.

“Sorry, Miss. Shore didn’t mean to hurt yore feelin’s. But it kind of got me–seein’ you smoke like thet. Yore so damn–’scuse me, I mean yore so shore pretty that it goes agin my grain to see you up to dance-hall tricks.”

“You don’t like women to smoke?” returned Janey, curiously.

“Perticular, I don’t like to see you smokin’.”

“Then I won’t,” decided Janey, and walking to the fireplace she threw the cigarette down.

“Jes-jes ‘cause I don’t like you to smoke?” ejaculated Ray, rapturously.

“Jes ‘cause you don’t like me to.”

“An’ you’ll forgive me fer talkin’ like I did?”

“Surely.”

“I’m askin’ you to prove thet.”

“How?”

“Go ridin’ with me tomorrow,” suggested Ray, breathlessly. “You can ride my pet hoss. He’s shore gentle. You don’t wanna ride any of these hombres, horses. You might get throwed an’ hurt. They’re shore mean.”

“I’d love to go with you,” responded Janey, dreamily.

At this moment the handsome cowboy returned, and was again crossing the room, straight-eyed and hurried, when Ray hailed him. “Rustle now, you cowboy. Fetch them bags in.”

Janey had taken a few steps forward. The cowboy glided round the table to avoid encountering her, and then bolted out of the room.

“Well, I never!” exclaimed Janey. “You’d think I was Medusa. He didn’t see me… He simply didn’t see me!… Who is he?”

“Thet’s Zoroaster. Mormon cowpuncher. Fine fellar, but awful scared of women. Ain’t never seen any but Mormon girls. He’ll never look at you!”

“Oh, he won’t!” replied Janey, with a threat in her voice.

“Shore not. An’ don’t you ever talk to him. He’d like as not drop dead. Last year a girl from the East asked him to dance, an’ he run right out of the hall. Didn’t show up for a week.”

“It’s an awful chance to take, but that boy needs reforming,” declared Janey. Ray stared at her a moment before he took to his defense–”Wal, for Gawd’s sake!”

Mohave came in with a sly grin on his ruddy face.

“Ray, Mr. Bennet is askin’ fer you,” he said.

“Where?” asked Ray, in both doubt and disgust.

“He’s gone out to the post and wants you pronto.”

Ray went out grumbling and Mohave approached Janey with evident profound satisfaction.

“Looks like you’re goin’ to be as popular as stickin’ paper with flies,” he said, meaningly.

“Mohave, after flies take to flypaper they struggle to get away. That’s not a pretty compliment.”

“Say! Did you know you called me Mohave?” he asked, in amazement.

Janey feigned surprise. “Did I?”

Then she was electrified at the entrance of still another cowboy.

“‘S-s-scuse me, f-f-folks, w-w-w-where’s Ray?”

“Tay-Tay, he’s gone to the post an’ I wish you wouldn’t.”

“Like h-h-hell he has,” interrupted Tay-Tay.

“Bennet is lookin’ fer him.”

“L-l-last I saw of Bennet he was runnin’ the car in the shed.”

“Good. Then he won’t be right back an’ Ray’ll have to find him.”

Janey stood fascinated by Tay-Tay’s struggle with words.

“B-b-b-bad I’d say! For you an’ Ray! The cows are yore job, an’ yore both locoed b-by this d-d-dame. It’s g-g-goner rain like hell!”

Janey turned to Mohave. “Perhaps you b-b-better go…Well, I hope to die if I’m not stuttering too!”

Here Diego, filling the doorway, struck a dramatic pose and fixed sentimental eyes on Janey.

“Por ultimo! Señorita mia!” he said eloquently.

“Too many languages around here for me,” returned Janey.

“Here’s Diego to give a hand. I was jest tellin’ Miss Endicott how you could ride. An’ she’s shore ailin’ to see you round up the cows.”

Diego’s look of fiery pride slowly changed to one of suspicion; and Tay- Tay stared from him to Mohave. The next thing to happen was Ray shoving Diego into the room, and stalking after him, to transfix Mohave with menacing eyes.

“Wal, for Gawd’s sake! So you was jest gettin’ me out of the way. Said Bennet was lookin’ for me. Wal, cowboy, he ain’t.”

“Don’t you accuse me of no sneakin’ trick,” replied Mohave, flaring up.

“Bennet was askin’ fer you. He’s plumb forgot. He’s gettin’ absent- minded, you know. Ask Tay-Tay here if Bennet didn’t send him lookin’ fer you to fetch in the cows.”

“S-s-smatter with you, Mohave?” retorted Tay-Tay. “B-B-Bennet didn’t send me nowhere. I c-c-ame fer myself.”

“Tay-Tay, yore tongue’s not only more tied since you seen Miss Endicott, but yore mind is wuss,” complained Mohave.

Then followed a silence which Janey hugely enjoyed. What a time she was going to have! Wouldn’t she turn the tables on her tricky father? Mohave backed away from the threatening Ray. The other boys edged nearer to Janey, who thought it wise to retreat to the window seat. The suspense of the moment was broken by the entrance of Zoroaster, who swung two pairs of boxing gloves in his hands. Behind him entered the Indian maid.

“Mees, your room ees ready,” she announced, and retired.

Janey was in no hurry to follow. Something might happen here too good to miss.

“Thar you are!” announced Zoroaster, indicating Tay-Tay. He might be a Mormon, but he was certainly good to look at, decided Janey.

“W-w-what y-y-you w-w-want me for?” stuttered Tay-Tay, rebelliously.

“Yore time’s come. I’ve been layin’ fer you. An’ right now we can have it out,” returned the grim Mormon.

“W-w-why right now more’n another time?” asked Tay-Tay.

“Wal,” spoke up Ray, “I reckon a blind man could see thet. Lope on outdoors, Tay, an’ get yours.”

Diego showed his white teeth in a gleaming smile.

“Geeve the gloves to Ray an’ Mohave. They’re lookeen for trouble.”

“It’s me who’s lookin’ fer trouble, an’ after I’m through with Tay I’ll take any of you on. Savvy?”

“B-b-but if I w-w-want to q-q-quit in the m-m-middle of a round I won’t be able to say s-s-s-stop,” replied Tay-Tay.

“Aw, yore jest plain backin’ out before this lady…Wal, who of you will put them on?”

Zoroaster looked from one to the other. They all appeared to have become absentminded. Janey had an inspiration, and rose, radiant, from the window seat.

“I will, Mr. Zoroaster,” she said.

The Mormon cowboy’s face turned redder than his hair. He was dumbfounded, and plainly fought to keep from running. But Janey’s smile chained him. If she saw in the boxing bout an opportunity to get acquainted with Zoroaster, he evidently saw one to outdo the other zealous suitors for her favor. Awkwardly he thrust a pair of gloves at her.

“All right, Miss. You’re shore showin’ these hombres up. But I’ll be careful not to hurt you.”

Janey was athletic and, as it happened, was the best boxer in her club. Pretending unfamiliarity with boxing gloves she begged someone to help her put them on. All save Ray rushed to her assistance.

He stared, open-mouthed, and finally ejaculated, “Wal, for Gawd’s sake!”

“There! Now, Mr. Zoroaster, give me a few pointers, please,” suggested Janey, winningly.

“It’s easy, Miss,” he said, extending his gloved hands. “Keep one foot forward, an’ lead with your left hand. Keep yore eyes on my gloves an’ duck.”

Janey affected practice while Zoroaster circled her. Plainly he was not a scientific boxer; and Janey, who had had many a bout with the club instructor, saw some fun ahead. Suddenly she ceased her pretense and went for Zoroaster, swift and light as a cat, and grasped at once that she could hit him when and where she pleased.

“Ride ‘em, cowgirl. Oh, my!” cried Mohave.

“Thet’s placin’ one, Miss,” shouted Ray, in great glee.

“S-s-s-soak him fer me,” stuttered Tay-Tay, in delight.

“Señorita, you ees one grande boxer,” declared Diego, dramatically.

Zoroaster’s fear and amazement helped to put him at Janey’s mercy. She danced around the transfixed Mormon, raining taps upon his handsome nose. Finally she struck him smartly with her left, and followed that up with as hard a right swing as she could muster. It landed square on Zoroaster’s nose and all but upset him.

The cowboys, instead of roaring, seemed suddenly paralyzed. Janey, glowing and panting, turned to see what was wrong. Her father stood in the doorway, horrified, completely robbed of the power of speech. Zoroaster bolted out of the front door, followed by his cowboy comrades.

Janey’s mirth was not one whit lessened by the sight of her father’s face. Gayly she ran to him, extending the gloves to be untied.

“Weren’t they something? I love ‘em all, and that handsome red-headed devil best. Oh, bless you, Dad. I’ll stay here forever!”

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