The White Cheyenne - Max Brand - ebook

The White Cheyenne ebook

Max Brand

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Terry Rivers was the black sheep of an aristocratic Southern family. When he headed West, the Law was in hot pursuit. In Zander City he won respect with his whip, fists and gun. There he met the legendary Lost Wolf, a white man who’d been raised by the savage Cheyennes. Lost Wolf had turned out so crazy that the Cheyennes wouldn’t make him a chief even though he was their best fighter. Between this untamed white Indian and the runaway Southern aristocrat developed the strangest friendship in the history of the West! "The White Cheyenne" was written in 1925 Frederick Schiller Faust (1892-1944) under his pseudonym Max Brand. Experience the West as only Max Brand could write it!

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Liczba stron: 411

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Contents

CHAPTER I

CHAPTER II

CHAPTER III

CHAPTER IV

CHAPTER V

CHAPTER VI

CHAPTER VII

CHAPTER VIIi

CHAPTER IX

CHAPTER X

CHAPTER XI

CHAPTER XII

CHAPTER XIII

CHAPTER XIV

CHAPTER XV

CHAPTER XVI

CHAPTER XVII

CHAPTER XVIII

CHAPTER XIX

CHAPTER XX

CHAPTER XXI

CHAPTER XXII

CHAPTER XXIII

CHAPTER XXIV

CHAPTER XXV

CHAPTER XXVI

CHAPTER XXVII

CHAPTER XXVIII

CHAPTER XXIX

CHAPTER XXX

CHAPTER XXXI

CHAPTER XXXII

CHAPTER XXXIII

CHAPTER XXXIV

CHAPTER XXXV

CHAPTER XXXVI

CHAPTER XXXVII

CHAPTER XXXVIII

CHAPTER XXXIX

CHAPTER XL

CHAPTER XLI

CHAPTER XLII

CHAPTER I

What makes me wonder chiefly is why I am not wandering around Charleston, wearing a rusty black coat, a white Vandyke, and an air of pretending not to know that I am being pointed out as a son of one of the best families in melancholy South Carolina.

I was an anomaly from the day of my birth.

I didn’t fit.

When I was born, it was seen that upon my head there were a few wisps of tow-colored hair; the whole family circle nearly fainted. The terrible news was hashed up and kept from the ears of Charleston lest the fatal tongue of scandal should attaint my mother. My mother–who was five per cent dear idiot and ninety-five per cent purest saint!

Well, while I lay squawking in my cradle, the wise heads of the family got together and dragged out the tomes of the family history. I wish I could recreate the scene for you, because I know it just as well as if I had been there!

You see, my family on both sides was drenched with the book-publishing mania. Both the Rivieres and the Duchesnes had always written books–about themselves. There never had been a man, in either branch of the family, since the beginning of print who had not been capable of some sort of wildness in his youth, who had not mulled the deeds of his boyhood over during his middle age, and who had not sat down in a few quiet moments before his end to scribble out or dictate his memoirs.

Usually what he had to write about was a string of sanctified lies. I mean, facts which had become invested with a “certain atmosphere” by frequent tellings and re-tellings, until not even the days which mothered the real events could have recognized their progeny. Careless little boyish remarks became bearded orations in this process of time and tender imagination; yawns became sighs, and sighs became music, so to speak.

To maintain the tradition, here am I sitting in my library doing the very same thing. Only, I think that I have just a touch more of the historian about me, and that, when some critical Diogenes hunts through my narrative for a few honest facts, he will see a scattering here and there, not too completely disguised.

To go back to the family conclave in my infancy.

The library was such a room as would fitly house the traditions of the Riviere-Duchesnes. It was a lofty chamber with dark woodwork and a gloomy red carpet upon the floor. Upon the walls appeared pictures of more or less celebrated ancestors–chiefly more, of course. The first study to which the youth of the Riviere-Duchesne family was introduced was history–family history. There was not a cousin, however distant, who, on appearing in the library which was the sanctum of the clan, could not instantly identify the subjects of these smudgy old oil paintings. Most of them were out of the wig-and-lace period when the gentry all wore high-arched eyebrows and had hands which had never done a lick of work except when the fingers were wrapped around the hilt of a sword.

They had done some work, though–that was to write about themselves:

“For the sake of my dear children, who have pressed me to commit to paper the narrative of my life.”

A lot of pressing they needed! I know by my own example. Who could keep me from turning out this history? Only I am frank about admitting that I hope its future abiding place will not be in that musty Riviere-Duchesne house, but in sundry public libraries–the more, the better!

It was the solemn volumes of this library which were sought and pored over by my anxious relatives in an effort to identify other members of the family who had been blond of hair and gray of eye. All the rest were befittingly dark of skin and dark of eye and hair. What is so romantic as a black eye and a white head?

At last–I think it was Uncle Renault St. Omer Louvois, of the Duchesne branch, you know–I think it was this uncle who rushed out of the library as fast as he could one midnight, with a twenty-pound book under his arm. He gathered my anxious father, half a dozen more anxious cousins, and so forth, around him.

Uncle Renny–though I never dared to shorten his name so familiarly to his face–declared that he had trailed the secret to its hiding place. He straightway opened that volume and was instantly immersed in the details of how a great-uncle, or some such relative, had slipped from the straight and very narrow matrimonial path of a proper Riviere-Duchesne. Finding a pretty Saxon in the County of Kent, he had made her his housekeeper and, in due time, his wife.

This was how blond hair came into the stately line.

It was a thing not to be spoken of, the history of the family of this same Kentish girl. It was not gentle. It seems that the rascals had turned out a fine strain of buccaneering swordsmen, who had followed the sea and made nothing of taking the vessels of their majesties of Spain or of France either–not even when it involved the round thumping of a Riviere-Duchesne in command of the “lilies” of France.

However, this was not a thing to be dwelt upon.

What was important was that there was a precedent, some hundred years old, of blond heads in our family. No dreadful whisper could be circulated concerning my seven-times-sacred mother.

The next step was to discover how many times the blond hair had intruded upon what might be called the pure strain, up to this moment. It was then learned that there had been no fewer than three. The reason why their names were not prominent in our annals was that all three had been preeminent rascals!

The first was Terence. At the age of eleven he disappeared, coming back five years later with a rolling gait, a brown face, and a frightful seaman’s lingo.

The bad blood was breaking out! Did not the whole world know that the Riviere-Duchesne gentry always followed the land, and nothing but the land? The sea smacks of piracy and merchandise. The Riviere-Duchesnes were always people of landed estates. Yet here was this Terence turning himself into a sea-roving vagabond in this disgusting fashion.

Of course, they clapped him straightway into a school. Before a single Latin quantity had been thumped into his head, he broke the nose of his tutor and escaped by night, to be seen no more during half a dozen years. When he appeared again he was a grown-up young man with some sort of a gold-laced uniform on his shoulders. No one could find out just what service this Terence Riviere-Duchesne was in, but it was certain that it was one which paid him handsomely. In prize money, he said. Presently it was discovered that the service he was in was his own. This very proper youth was a pirate of the old school, it might be said; he both picked the pockets and cut the throats of his victims. He died very properly on his own quarter-deck in the act of passing a pike through one of his Britannic majesty’s naval officers.

The next blond-headed Riviere-Duchesne was given the name of Oliver. This gentleman did not go to sea. He felt that the land would be much more fitting for his talents. While he was still in his early twenties he was arrested and charged with some prodigious robberies. His escape from justice was due, many felt, to the talents of his lawyer, whom he hired with a fraction of his ill-got gains. A few years later he was accused again, this time of being the head of a whole circle of thieves, whose operations he directed.

This time he was convicted, but he disappeared and was never seen again. All of his great estate was found to be so tied up in the law that it went to his heirs, and those he had robbed could not reclaim a penny of their money.

The third blond gentleman was given the name of Paul. He, too, had felt the sea call in his blood and ran away in his boyhood. He returned to dry land, and, graduating from the United States Military Academy, he immediately resigned to take service with a South American republic which was trying to get used to liberty by cutting throats on all sides with a free hand. Here he disappeared, for the most part. During the past fifteen or twenty years mention was heard of him only now and again. There were vague rumors that a certain enormously wealthy Señor Don Paolo Riviero in South America was none other than our own Paul.

These three precedents did not argue very favorably for my future. Yet my father was a man who took the facts by the horns–and broke the neck of them if he could.

He said it was shameful to dodge the truth; that, for his part, he had no intention of attempting to do so, but he would be very happy to have any one convince him that there had not been some good in each of those three persons. For his part, again, he felt that they had simply been blessed with too much energy, and therefore what they had needed was not new natures, but better educated ones.

He said that he would face the fact.

His manner of facing it sent a shudder through the entire family circle. He straightaway called me by the whole group of the three names–Terence Oliver Paul Riviere-Duchesne!

My Uncle Renault used to say: “Even if the blood of a pirate, a thief, and a mercenary soldier are in his veins, why should you immortalize the fact in his very name?”

My poor mother said: “Alas, my dear, if you call upon the devil, is he not apt to appear?”

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