Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories
The Project Gutenberg eBook, Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories, byFlorence Finch Kelly, Illustrated by Stanley L. Wood
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Title: Emerson's Wife and Other Western Stories
Emerson's Wife -- Colonel Kate's Protťgťe -- The Kid of Apache Teju -- A Blaze on Pard Huff -- How Colonel Kate Won Her Spurs -- Hollyhocks -- The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Johnson Sides -- A Piece of Wreckage -- The Story of a Chinee Kid -- Out of Sympathy -- An Old Roman of Mariposa -- Out of the Mouth of Babes -- Posey -- A Case of the Inner Imperative
Author: Florence Finch Kelly
Release Date: May 4, 2006 [eBook #18309]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK EMERSON'S WIFE AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES***
E-text prepared by Al Haines
[Frontispiece: "Want my guns?" shouted Nick derisively.
"Then come and take 'em!"]
OTHER WESTERN STORIES
FLORENCE FINCH KELLY
AUTHOR OF "WITH HOOPS OF STEEL," "THE DELAFIELD AFFAIR," ETC.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOR
BY STANLEY L. WOOD
A. C. McCLURG & CO.
A. C. McCLURG & CO.
Published September, 1911
Entered at Stationers' Hall, London, England
Out on the plain we saw the Kid yelling like a
wild man, with Dynamite at his highest speed,
chasing a jackrabbit
AND OTHER WESTERN STORIES
Nick Ellhorn awoke and looked around the room with curiosity andinterest, but without surprise. He had no recollection of havingentered it the night before, and he was lying across the bed fullyclothed. But he had long ago ceased to feel surprise over a matter ofthat sort. His next movement was to reach for his revolver, and hegave a grunt of satisfaction on finding that it hung, as usual, fromhis cartridge belt. He was aware of a deep, insistent thirst, and ashe sat up on the edge of the bed he announced aloud, in a tone ofconviction, "I sure need a cocktail!"
Glancing out of the window, he saw a little plaza, fresh in the morningsunlight with its greening grass and budding trees, and beyond it thepink walls and portalled front of a long adobe building. He noddedapprovingly.
"I reckon I pulled my freight from Albuquerque all right. And I had agood load too," he reflected with a chuckle. "And I reckon I surebunched myself all right into Santa Fe; for if this ain't the PlazaHotel, I 'm drunker 'n a feller has any right to be who 's been totalabstainin' ever since last night. But I 've sure got to have acocktail now, if it busts a gallus!"
He stared wistfully at the door; but drunken lethargy was still uponhim, and his disinclination to move was stronger than his thirst. Hiseyes, roving along the wall, fell upon the electric call button.Stretching a sinewy arm to its full length he made dumb show ofpressing it, as he said, "One push, one cocktail; two pushes, twococktails!" Then he shook his head despairingly. "Too far, can'treach it," he muttered. But his face brightened as his handaccidentally touched his revolver. Out it flashed, and there was notremor in the long brown hand that held it in position. Bang! Bang!Bang! went the gun, three shots in quick succession, and then threemore. "Six pushes, six cocktails!" he announced, triumphantly.
The button had been driven into the wall, and several holes hoveredclose upon its wreck. A clatter of hurrying feet on the stairway andthe din of excited voices told him that his summons had at leastattracted attention. "Push button's a sure handy thing!" he exclaimedaloud as he fell back on the bed, laughing drunkenly.
The footsteps halted outside and the voices sunk to whispers.Presently Ellhorn, gazing expectantly at the door, saw a pair ofapprehensive eyes peering through the transom. At sight of the face hewaved his hand, which still grasped the gun, and called out, "Say, you,I want six cocktails!" The face quickly dodged downward and the feetand the whispering voices moved farther away. Then came the sound of arapid stride down the hall and a deep voice bellowed, "Nick, let me in!"
Nick called out "Tommy Tuttle!" and in walked a big bulk of a man, sixfeet and more tall, with shoulders broad and burly and legs like treetrunks. Ellhorn turned toward him a beaming face and broke into astring of oaths. But his profanity was cordial and joyous. It bloomedwith glad welcome and was fragrant with good fellowship and brotherlylove.
"Nick, you 're drunk," said Tuttle reprovingly.
"You 're away off, Tom! I was yesterday, but I 've been teetotallin'ever since I came into this room last night, and the whole Arizonadesert ain't in it with my throat this mornin'! I want six cocktails!"
"No, you don't," the other interrupted decisively. "You-all can havesome coffee," and he stepped back to the door and gave the order.
Ellhorn sat up and looked with indignant surprise at his friend. "TomTuttle—" he began.
"Shut up!" Tuttle interrupted. "Come and soak your head."
Ellhorn submitted to the head-soaking without protest, but drank hiscoffee with grumblings that it was not coffee, but cocktails, that hewanted.
"Nick, ain't you-all ashamed of yourself?" Tuttle asked severely. Butit was anxiety rather than reproof that was evident in his large, roundface and blue eyes. His fair skin was tanned and burned to a brightred, and against its blazing color glowed softly a short, tawnymustache.
"No, Tommy, not yet," Nick replied cheerfully. "It's too soon. It'slikely I will be to-morrow, or mebbe even this afternoon. But not now.You-all ought to be more reasonable."
"To think you 'd pile in here like this, when I 'm in a hole and needyou bad," Tuttle went on in a grieved tone.
The fogs had begun to clear out of Ellhorn's head, and he looked upwith quick concern. "What's up, Tom?"
"The Dysert gang 's broke loose again, and Marshal Black 's in SanFrancisco, and Sheriff Williamson 's gone to Chicago. I 've got toride herd on 'em all by myself."
"What have they done?"
"Old man Paxton was found dead by his front gate yesterday morning. He'd been killed by a knife-thrower, and a boss one at that—cut rightacross his jugular. I went straight for Felipe Vigil, and last night Igot a clue from him, and he promised to tell me more to-day. But thismorning he was found dead under the long bridge with his tongue cutout. That's enough for 'em; not another Greaser will dare open hismouth now. I wired you yesterday at Plumas to come as quick as youcould."
"Then what you gruntin' about, Tom? I left Plumas before your wire gotthere, and how could I be any quicker 'n that?"
"I wish Emerson was here. I 'd like to have his judgment about thisbusiness. Emerson 's always got sure good judgment."
"Send for him, then," was Nick's prompt rejoinder.
Tuttle looked at him with surprise and disapproval. "Nick, are youdrunker than you look? You-all know he 's just got back from hiswedding trip."
"But he 's back, all right, ain't he! Neither one of us has ever gotinto a hole yet that Emerson did n't come a-runnin', and fixed forwhatever might happen. And he's never needed us that we did n't getthere as quick as we could. You-all don't reckon, Tom, that EmersonMead's liver 's turned white just because he 's got a wife!"
Tom Tuttle fidgeted his big bulk and cleared his throat. Words did notcome so easily to him as deeds, but Ellhorn's way of putting it madeexplanation necessary. "I don't mean it that way, Tom. Once, lastyear, down in Plumas, when Emerson would n't let us shoot into thatcrowd that wanted to hang him, I wondered for just a second if he wasafraid, and it made me plumb sick. But I saw right away that it wasjust Emerson's judgment that there ought n't to be any shootin' rightthen, and he was plumb right about it. No, Tom, I sure reckon thereain't a drop of blood in Emerson's veins that would n't be ready for afight any minute, if 't was his judgment that there ought to be afight, even if he has got married. But we-all must remember that he 'sgot a wife now, and can't cut out from his family and go rushin' roundthe country like a steer on the prod every time you get drunk and raisehell, or every time I need help. We 'll have to pull together afterthis, Tom, and leave Emerson out. It would be too much like stackin'the cards against Mrs. Emerson if we didn't."
As Tuttle ended he saw a gleam in the other's eyes that caused him toadd with emphasis, "And I 'm not goin' to call him up here, and don'tyou do it, either!"
Nick got up, shook himself, and winked at the hole in the wall wherehad been the electric button. He was a handsome man, as tall asTuttle, but more slenderly built, with clean-cut features, dancingblack eyes, and a black mustache that swept in an upward curve over histanned cheek. His friend scrutinized him anxiously as he slidcartridges into the empty chambers of his revolver.
"Sure you 're sober, Nick?"
Ellhorn laughed. "How the devil can I tell? I can walk straight andsee straight and shoot straight; and if that ain't sober enough totackle any four-spot Greaser, I might just as well get drunk again!"
"Well, I reckon you 're sober enough to jump into this job with me now;and if you stay sober, it's all right. But if I catch you drinkin'another drop till we get through with this business, I 'll run you backinto this room and sit on your belly till you 're ready to hollerquits!"
It was a dangerous solidarity of crime and mutual protection againstwhich the two deputy marshals started out alone. The Dysert gang hadbeen organized originally as a secret society to further the politicalambitions of men who were not overscrupulous as to instruments ormethods. But gradually it had drifted into a means of wreaking privaterevenge and compelling money tribute. Those of its early members whowere of the law abiding sort had left it long before, and itsmembership had dwindled to a handful of Mexicans of the recklesslycriminal sort. They were credited, in the general belief, with thefts,assaults, and murders; but so closely had they held together, so potentwas their influence with men in public station, and so general was thefear of the bloody revenges they did not hesitate to take, that not oneof them had yet been convicted of crime.
Faustin Dysert, who had organized the society and was still its head,combined in himself the worst tendencies of both Mexicans andAmericans, his mother having been of one race and his father of theother, and both