Valley Thieves - Max Brand - ebook

Valley Thieves ebook

Max Brand

0,0

Opis

The outlaws chasing Silvertip were the deadliest in the West. They wanted the famous man - and the six-shooters they carried always got them what they wanted. The story relates Jim Silver’s continuing battle of wills and wits with his arch-enemy Barry Christian, in the process of which Silver’s wolf Frosty and his powerful horse Parade are abducted. Now, with guns drawn, Silvertip and Christian faced each other to settle their old feud once and for all! We also meet the enigmatic Harry Clonmel, another bigger-than-life character. One of the greatest Western authors of all time. Max Brand leads the reader on a very authentic tale of the old west the way it was.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

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

Liczba stron: 252

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

Androidzie
iOS



Contents

I. THE WHIRLWIND

II. THE WHEEL

III. THE SIGN OF TROUBLE

IV. THE FAMOUS MAN

V. CLONMEL’S AGREEMENT

VI. AT THE CARY PLACE

VII. SILVER’S FRIEND

VIII. TAXI’S ARRANGEMENTS

IX. THE CARY DOMAIN

X. THE HEAD OF THE CLAN

XI. WORSE TROUBLE

XII. BARRY CHRISTIAN

XIII. ANOTHER PRISONER

XIV. THE MAN OF ACTION

XV. GUNS IN THE DARK

XVI. THE PURSUIT

XVII. CARY’S OFFER

XVIII. A CHANCE

XIX. THE SECOND ATTEMPT

XX. A QUARREL

XXI. THE REVELATION

XXII. DEN OF DANGER

XXIII. CHRISTIAN’S IDEA

XXIV. END OF THE TRAIL

XXV. A NIGHT TRIP

XXVI. AT BLUE WATER

I. THE WHIRLWIND

People who know what I’ve been through generally look at me twice, because, after they hear the name of Bill Avon, they have to squint at me to make sure that they are seeing right, and that I can possibly be the man who once stood in front of the evil white face of Barry Christian and lived to talk about it afterwards. All that my friends know is that I’m big enough to be awkward, big enough to make an easy target, and by no means adroit with any tool except an ax or a pitchfork. They know that I have a bit of a ranch up in the Blue Waters, where my wife and I are making a home out of acres which are green for one month of the year, brown for five, and all the rest of the time are half wind and half snow; and when they see our shack that leans against a big boulder for shelter from the north storms, they can’t believe that out of that shanty came the man who knows more about Jim Silver than any other person in the world. Well, I’ve been misquoted a good deal, and a lot that has been said about Jim Silver, a lot of crazy exaggeration, has been traced to me. I deny it all. I never said that Jim Silver could knock a silver dollar out of the air as far away as he could see it spin. I never said that he was never thrown by any horse. I never said that he was as good with the left hand as with the right. I never said that his horse, Parade, understood every word and sign that the master uttered. I never said that Frosty, his wolf, could read the mind of any man. What I have said is–

But I am going to put down everything as I actually know it, parting the foolish lies from the honest facts. When you get through with the account, you’ll find the facts strange enough and you won’t wonder that the knowing of them has plastered ten more years of gray in my hair. I look fifty now, but I’m only a little over forty, and Christian and Silver and “Taxi” and the rest of them did that to me. Just knowing them did it to me.

First of all, it’s important to explain how I happened to be caught up by the whirlwind, and how that storm carried me into the dangerous society of Jim Silver, and that soft-footed, swift-handed devil of a Taxi, and Barry Christian. Still, when I think of them, it’s as though I were a child reading a book of wonders, stepping short behind seven-league boots. But as for the whirlwind itself, that picked me up and swept me along, the name of it was Harry Clonmel.

The first time I saw him was in Belling Lake. I’d gone down to the town to do the shopping for the month. My wife usually came with me; sometimes my boy was along; but Charlotte had a cold and a headache, this day, and Al stayed home to look after things. That was how I happened to be alone in Belling Lake.

I had some flour and a side of bacon, a good auger for boring post holes, two hundred pounds of barbed wire, some brads, and a big new roasting pan, with odds and ends for Charlotte, all piled into the back of the buckboard. I had gone to untie the team from the hitch rack, and I was just saying a few words to “Doc” Mitchell–I remember he was pulling at one side of his long mustache and laughing at something I had just said–when I first saw Harry Clonmel.

He had the right sort of an entrance. A fanfare of horns was in order, in the old days, when the king and hero entered, and the trumpet call that was sounded for Harry Clonmel was a sudden burst of whooping and yelling down in Jack Parker’s saloon.

The noise went right up to a crescendo, then guns boomed, and someone screeched. It was like the beat of a great bell just over my head, that climax to the uproar. It exploded in my brain and sent a shudder through my breastbone.

The double doors of Jack Parker’s place split open like a shingle under a hatchet stroke. Instead of the blade of a hatchet, the body of a man appeared, that big, tough fellow, “Bud” Lawson. He shot out, head first, with a gun still exploding in one hand and the other arm making swimming movements in the thin of the air. He landed on his face, in the street. The deep dust spilled out from the impact, like water into spray; a cloud of white burst up; out of the cloud appeared big Bud Lawson, running.

He was not charging back toward the saloon, either.

No, sir, he was sprinting the other way, and he legged it so fast that the dust was sucked a little distance after him; the wind of his speed jerked the hat off his head and blew up his long hair on end. The weight of the gun impeded him. He shied that gun away, and lifted his knees higher and higher. He was going so lickety-split that, when he reached the first corner, he had to slant himself forty-five degrees to get around the angle, out of sight.

I wondered what group of men had been enough angered by some of Lawson’s tricks to grab him and throw him out of the saloon door that way. I wondered how they could be so rash, knowing that Lawson would surely hunt them down, one by one, afterwards. Out of the saloon boiled a dozen men, shouting, laughing. I knew a good many of them. They must have been drunk, to pick on Lawson, I thought.

Then I saw what had actually chucked Lawson into the air like a sawdust doll. It was a dark-haired fellow who came half-way out the saloon entrance and paused there, resting his hand on top of the door.

Resting his hand on top of the door, I said, and meant it. Why, he was a regular whale, that fellow. I never knew his feet and inches. Six four, six five–I don’t know what he was. Nobody ever wanted to put a measuring rod on him or ask a scales how many pounds he weighed. All the mind said when it looked at him was: “He’s big enough!” He overflowed the imagination. The idea of him ran out onto the margin of the page, so to speak. Because, no matter how big his body was, the spirit in him was bigger still. I could see the gloss and sheen of his dark hair; I could see the dark gloss and the fire of his eyes even at that distance, and the laughter that was bursting from his lips rang in my head as though some huge, bell-mouthed trumpet had been placed at my ear, and blown.

When he stopped laughing, there was still a tremor in me, as though a quiver had come out of the ground and remained in the weak of my knees.

He stepped back inside the door, and the rest of the crowd–like silly little children dressed up in long pants–followed after that real man.

Doc Mitchell was a hardy fellow, with the sort of a vocabulary that is picked up while freighting with mule teams across the mountain desert, but even he could find nothing to say now, though he seemed to be trying.

I looked at Doc and wanted to laugh, but there wasn’t any laughter in me. I had been emptied of everything, including speech.

After a while, Doc said: “Big wind, don’t you blow my way!” He began to laugh helplessly, his eyes going in a foolish way from side to side. I began to laugh, too, and knew the same idiocy was in my face.

“There’s a whole lot of business in that hombre,” I said.

“There’s a whole month of Sunday meetings in him,” said Doc Mitchell.

“Lawson is no fool,” I said.

“He’s a real bright boy,” said Doc Mitchell. “He knows when to pick his feet up fast and put them down far apart.”

Sheriff Walt Milton slanted around the next corner on a cayuse and came along ding-bust-it for the two of us. He pulled up his nag. The spade of his Spanish bit pried the mouth of his bronchi wide open; I saw the bloody froth drooling, and the fear and agony like blood in the eyes of the horse, too.

Walt was the sort of a fellow who was always in a hurry, and he always seemed to have his teeth set just right for a fight. He was a sandy man, both ways you take the word. There was no yellow in him, and, also, his complexion and hair were so faded that there appeared to be dust in his eyebrows, and dust seemed to be always in the wrinkles of his face. Even his eyes were a sort of straw color. The brighter they got, the paler they grew. He was a man-killer, was Walt Milton. We all knew that; we all were sure that he liked his job, not for the salary, but for the shooting chances that went with it. But we kept on voting for him because a mild sheriff would have been no good with the wild fellows in our neck of the woods.

I talk about Walt Milton because he had a big hand in what was to come. He sang out, as he pulled up his horse:

“What’s this I hear about a shooting scrape in Parker’s place?”

“A big hombre in there just threw Bud Lawson out on his head,” I told Milton. “Lawson seemed to be doing the shooting, and the stranger was using his hands.”

“Just his hands?” said Milton, with half of a smile.

He rode on to Parker’s place, got off, and went inside. Whatever he saw and heard in there seemed to satisfy him. He came out, got on his horse, and jogged slowly past us down the street, with a thoughtful look on his face.

Doc Mitchell muttered: “Walt is tasting a big fight with that big stranger. It oughta be something worth while.”

I started to untie my team again, but out of Parker’s saloon appeared the big young man once more, with the crowd following, stretching their legs to keep up with him. The nearer he came striding toward us, the bigger he loomed, but he carried his weight like a racer. He was put together with springs.

I could see why Bud Lawson had picked on him. It was because there was such bright good nature in his face. There was a spring of it in his heart, and it kept overflowing at his eyes.

He went on up the street and turned in at Denny McRae’s place. I retied the lead rope I had unknotted and looked at Doc Mitchell, and Doc looked at me. Then, without a word, we tagged along to see the fun.

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.