The Long Chance - Max Brand - ebook

The Long Chance ebook

Max Brand

0,0

Opis

This work is written not in the traditional western spirit. We are talking about a mercenary who guardes the Chandler’s shop with a gun. When the marshal himself said that I was no other than the murderer, I told him that I would leave Bostwick and try to start a new life without a gun. This is a great nigga, recommended for those who are looking for „something else” in the western genre.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
czytnikach Kindle™
(dla wybranych pakietów)
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 388

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

I. A WRONG START

II. THE SAFETY KILLER

III. GOOD ADVICE FROM THE MARSHAL

IV. ALL ABOARD!

V. A LONG SHOT

VI. A BALEFUL INFLUENCE

VII. A KNIFE IN THE DARK

VIII. A SUM IN SUBTRACTION

IX. I START ON A NEW ADVENTURE

X. AN ENCOUNTER I DIDN'T BARGAIN FOR

XI. EAVESDROPPING

XII. I TURN STUDENT

XIII. SHOWING THAT I STUDIED TO SOME PURPOSE

XIV. I BECOME ANOTHER MAN

XV. SOME INTERESTING LETTERS

XVI. I CHANGE COLOR

XVII. MY FIRST TEST

XVIII. FOUR-IN-HAND

XIX. A WILD RIDE

XX. AT GRANVILLE HOUSE

XXI. UNWORTHY OF A GENTLEMAN

XXII. IN DISGRACE

XXIII. A RARE LAD

XXIV. HAPPY HOME-COMING

XXV. LUKE BECOMES MY SERVANT

XXVI. DISCOVERED?

XXVII. IN THE MOONLIGHT

XXVIII. THINGS LOOK BLACK INDEED

XXIX. BIRDS OF A FEATHER

XXX. FIRE!

XXXI. FLIGHT

XXXII. NEW DANGERS AHEAD

XXXIII. TWENTY-FOUR WAYS OUT

XXXIV. NO THOROUGHFARE

XXXV. IN SUSPENSE

XXXVI. REPRIEVE

XXXVII. SILHOUETTES

XXXVIII. NANCY AND I

XXXIX. THE JIG IS UP

XL. IT ALL DEPENDS ON ME

XLI. GRATITUDE

XLII. THE CONTRAST

XLIII. JUST BY CHANCE

I. A WRONG START

THERE has never been any doubt in my mind that what I was intended for by nature was a life in the great West, where the cattle run the range and where the mountains have a meaning that is not entirely scenic. I was born with the hand and the eye and the heart for it and, as for the reasons which took me part of my life from the West–well, most of them were so foolish that I am almost ashamed to write them down.

It began with my dear mother, the best and the kindest soul in the whole world, but nevertheless preëminently a mother, and therefore entirely blind where I was concerned. There was enough heart in her to have mothered ten; but I was her only child, and was enveloped in a cloud of intense feeling–worship it became later.

She had been simply a jolly, pretty range girl, in the beginning; but it was in a frontier district where pretty girls were a rarity and treated somewhat like saints. In a region of Indian wars, cattle and sheep feuds, wildness and outlawry, where the rough-handed outcasts of the world assembled to find new lives, there was a premium upon nice girls. And no doubt my father considered himself the luckiest man in the world when he was able to marry her. I don’t think that he had much to commend him beyond stately good looks, and a very accurate rifle. He was fairly well known as a hunter and trapper and trader among the Indians; and, when he appeared at the fort in his suit of antelope skin, with the finest beaded moccasins on his feet and his long hair flowing down over his shoulders, of course he took the eye of the ladies. So he married my mother; I was born; and three months later he was killed by a drunken Comanche.

Ah, I’m glad that I was an infant, then, and not able to understand the grief of my mother! But as long as I knew her she could never speak of my father without tears in her eyes. He had died in the very height of their romance. He was still a great and glorious man, to her. And there she was, left with the only person in the world that possessed a drop of his blood, her baby boy!

It made that baby boy a sacred thing. She felt that she was far from good enough to deserve such a great treasure, and she began to make herself over so that she should be able to rear me as I ought to be reared. If my father had lived, I would have been turned out in his own pattern, a trader, hunter, and a jolly, happy fellow. But that would not suit my mother now. She began to read and study and improve herself. And, as I grew old enough for teaching, she began to teach me, desperately, and reverently, and endlessly!

I always had to have a book in my hands: I could read and write when I was four, when I should have been rolling in the dust and pulling the hair of the other boys in the fort. When I was six, I was quite a scholar. And when I was ten, I was really getting on with my books, and the priest at the fort had taken over part of my studies and was prepared to carry them on past the point where my mother could have taken them.

Then one day my uncle, Stephen Larkin, came into my life with a strong hand. He was a typical frontiersman. There was no real malice in him, but he could hardly speak without swearing, and he told my mother frankly that she was ruining me. She was amazed. She felt that what she had been doing for me should be the admiration of the world; and, though she didn’t say so, she let my uncle understand her pride. He merely snorted.

“There’s not a boy in that street,” he said, “who can’t thrash him.”

My mother went to the window and looked out. The street was filled with children.

“Nonsense!” said she at last. “Isn’t he the true son of his father?”

“Not a little bit!” said Uncle Steve. “The man you married was the straightest-shooting, hardest-riding, fastest-hitting man on the prairies. And you’ve got a boy that’s only the son of a book. Open him up and what’s inside of him? Just print!”

My mother turned around to me with fire in her eyes. She was a frontierswoman herself. She would rather have seen a man dead than shamed with cowardice.

“Are you afraid of any of those boys?” said she.

I was. Horribly! But I merely smiled. Of course I was not, I said.

“There you are, Stephen!” says she.

“Stuff!” said Uncle Steve. “It’s easy enough to talk like that, but the little rat is getting blue around the gills. Look here, Sammy–”

“His name is Samuel,” corrected my mother coldly.

“Sammy,” said Uncle Steve, “you see that kid out there with the freckled nose and the black, stringy hair? Do you dare go out and slap his face? He’s shorter than you are.”

Of course he was. But a great deal broader, and ten times as muscular. He was the terror of the whole town. I closed my eyes and then I told myself that, after all, it couldn’t last long, because the first blow would knock me out of time. So I walked out the door and slapped the face of the hero. He was too surprised to do a thing, for a moment, and then he started in and tore me to ribbons.

He knocked me into the fence, where my jacket caught on a picket and held me up so that I couldn’t slip down into the dust, and there I hung and got a lambasting. I think that the second or third punch knocked my wits away. Finally my uncle came out and picked me off the fence and carried me into the house; and my mother, with a white face, began to sponge my cuts and bruises.

The first word that I could understand as I came to was my mother saying, “He didn’t cry out once for help!”

“No,” said my uncle, “he took his licking as game as ever I seen. As game as ever I seen! But, just the same, it was a licking.”

My mother was silent, and with my swollen eyes shut, and a hundred pains darting through my body, I realized that the picket and the senselessness together had held me up and made a hero of me in the eyes of my family. I felt a guilty joy until I heard my uncle say, “We’re going to have this out of him. Honey, I’m going to teach that kid to fight!”

“Never!” cried my mother. “He’s meant for better things.”

“Fight like his daddy did before him,” said Uncle Stephen.

And that won! My mother could never play a card over the mention of my father’s name. Uncle Stephen declared that I had earned a vacation from studies and that he was going to take me for three weeks into the mountains, hunting.

It was five months before we returned. I went out soft and sappy and sagging at the knees. I came back like an Indian, on my toes. Every day I had to handle a rifle and a pistol; every day I had to do tricks with a bowie knife. And more than that, and worst of all, I had to box with my uncle for at least a half hour at the beginning of each day. He meant to be gentle, but he was twice as strong as he guessed; besides, he used to say, “I tell you three times how to block a straight left. Three times I show you and tell you. The fourth time, if you can’t do it, you take it!”

Well I can remember standing up blubbering with rage and shame and pain and fear to be knocked down half a dozen times running. But the seventh time I learned the trick. Yes, Uncle Stephen was a brutal fellow. But he felt that it was better for me to get a beating from a member of the family than from an outsider.

“I don’t want to have to die for you, kid,” he used to say, “and unless you learn something, one of these days I’m going to see you a growed-up man, and shamed by some one, and then I’ll have to step in on your side. Why, when I was your age, I could catch a wild cat by the tail and wring it off! There was nothing that I wouldn’t fight and there was nothing that I couldn’t kill!”

That was probably close to the truth. And for five months we hunted and he made a man of me. During four months of that time I moaned for home and mother. But before the end I had begun to handle myself a bit better. And on my twelfth birthday I ducked a straight left and belted my uncle in the stomach with a neat right hook.

He gasped, then grabbed me in his arms and hugged me.

“Now wait till you get that freckle-faced little half-breed!” said he.

That was what I was waiting for too.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.

This is a free sample. Please purchase full version of the book to continue.