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moved, and Foster leaped forward with upstretched hands—to block that kick or die! The opposing tackle tried to stop him— and failed. A mountain could not have stopped him. Then, with that blinding vividness with which a man sees in the instant of a great crisis, Foster saw Hills, the Lockwood right end, just ahead of him; and near Hills, ready to force him out of the play, the crouching Ellington quarter-back. There were two things that Foster could do: he could try to smother the kick himself, or he could charge into the Ellington quarterback and let Hills try to block the kick. And Hills was nearer Black than Foster was. Foster did not hesitate. It was his moment of supreme sacrifice. He plunged against the crouching quarter-back—and gave Hills the chance to block the kick. Foster lived through the next five minutes as a man lives in a dream. He heard the sharp thud of the kick—then a muffled thud near him. Vaguely he sensed that Hills had blocked the kick. Then something struck the ground in front of him—something dark and oval. Instinctively he reached for it—clasped it in his arms—started forward toward the Ellington goal-line! To himself, he did not seem to be moving, but the white lines flashed by his blurred vision. There were men just behind him. He could hear their fierce panting and the pounding of their feet on the ground. They were gaining on him. He had never been much of a runner, anyway. He glanced up. There was not a man between him and the distant goal-line! At that moment something broke loose in Foster's soul. He began to run like a wild man—faster and still faster! He felt a sharp tug at his legs—then again he was running free! Straight between the goal-posts he ran— and touched the ball to the ground. A great roar was sounding in his ears—the roar, it seemed, of that distant ocean which he had never seen:

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came up to Foster. “I 'm master of ceremonies to-night,” he said. “You are to make a speech.” “I—I can’t,” said Foster. “You not only can—you must,” Nick replied. “This is official—and final.” After a while Foster got away from the fellows and slipped away to the familiar lunch-room. He wanted to think quietly for a few minutes. And there Bitmore found him. “I’d get down on my knees,” the efficiency man said, “only the floor does n’t look very clean. Will you come back, sweetheart, oh, will you come back to me?” Foster stared a bit. “I thought you had a good man,” he said. “I thought I had,” Bitmore said. “This fellow Bolles is a funny proposition. He evidently gets away with it most of the time— but not with your old Uncle Billy Bitmore. You 've got stuff in you—Bolles has n’t. That's the whole story.” “You ’d like to have me come back?” Foster asked. “Don’t use such language!” the man exclaimed. “I would n’t like to have you back —but I would love to have you, I’d grovel— I 'd—” “I’ll come,” said Foster, with a smile. “Can you come to-night?” Bitmore asked abruptly. The roar of the distant ocean was in Foster's ears—but there was a louder sound even than that—the roar of that crashing cheer that had carried his name. His smile deepened. He was thinking that he would be a “lone steer” no longer. “No,” he told Bitmore, “I can't come tonight—I’ve got to make a speech to-night!”

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It was with feelings of doubt that were not very far from dismay that Beatrice Deems watched her new acquaintance, Dan O'Leary, saddle her recently acquired horse. She had ridden before, of course, in the tan-bark ring of the riding-school or on shady bridle-paths in the park, always on well-broken steeds whose beauty and grooming were equaled only by their good manners. But now, as she stood in her short khaki riding-skirt and her high boots, waiting outside the great dilapidated shed that in this little Montana town did duty as a livery-stable, she was beginning to wonder whether she really knew anything at all about horses. Certainly, she had never thought of riding anything like this plunging creature, who stood straight up on his hind legs one moment, then dropped to his fore feet and stood on them in turn, with the ease of a circus performer. She had spent only two days in Ely, the little town planted beside Broken Bow Creek, in the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains. At first she had thought that the village, with its scattered boxlike houses and dusty, shadeless street, was most unlike the West of the picture-books and the movies. The antics of her new horse, however, were disturbingly like what she had witnessed in Wild West shows. “Name's Buck,” volunteered the man who was struggling with the saddle, and added, though in a tone that seemed to indicate the explanation as quite unnecessary, “It 's on account of his color, you know.” “Oh!” returned Beatrice, a little blankly. For the life of her she could think of nothing else to say. She had yet to learn that all Western ponies of that golden buckskin shade of coat bear the same name. At the moment she was tempted to believe that the title had something to do with the way in which the creature was humping his back like a gigantic cat and jumping up and down on his nimble white fore feet. Dan's shabbily overalled assistant, Sam, came and stood at the wide door of the stable, grinning respectfully, and watching the performance with interest. “Your father went out on the range and chose the horse himself, when he was here

getting your house ready,” he volunteered. “He could n’t have found another one in the valley could go like Buck.” “Did he did he try him?” Beatrice wished to know. Her feelings in the matter were oddly mixed, for she dreaded the moment when she must mount to the big unfamiliar saddle, and yet she was all on fire to test the horse's speed. “No, he did n’t try him,” was Dan's answer; “he just said he wanted a safe horse for his daughter, liked the looks of this one,—and well he might, and said he knew an honest man when he saw one and would take my word for it that the horse would suit. There, now the saddle 's firm. You must n’t think anything of the way he acts when you pull up the cinch—they all do that!” For all her misgivings, Beatrice was no coward. She stepped forward, discovered in one violent second that a Western pony sets off the moment he feels the rider's weight on the stirrup, then flung herself, somehow, into the saddle and was away. “I did not do that very well,” she was thinking, “another time— Oh, oh!” For her very thought was interrupted by the sudden rush of wordless delight as the horse beneath her stretched himself to that long easy lope that is like nothing else in the world. The fresh mountain wind, sweeping down from the clean, high peaks above, sang in her ears, the stony road swung past below. The motion was as easy as a rocking-chair, but seemed as swift asthoughtitself. Motoring she had always loved, but she confessed with sudden disloyalty that it was a bumpy business compared to the measured swaying of this living creature between her knees. Buck's personal prejudices seemed indeed to be directed solely against the cinching of the saddle; that process once over, he was as eager and happy as she to clatter across the bridge, pass the last of the ugly little houses and the high-fronted store buildings, and turn his white blazed face toward the mounting trail that led out of the valley. Beatrice drew rein when they had breasted the first rise and paused a moment to look back. The houses strewed haphazard across the slope below her made more of a town than she had thought. There was the packing-box railroad station where she and her sister Nancy and their Aunt Anna had arrived so recently; there was the house where they were living, a little larger than the others, but square, hideous, and unshaded, like the rest. “We must n’t care for architecture,” Nancy had said when they first surveyed their dwelling rather ruefully, “when the Rocky Mountains begin in our back yard.” There was also the winding stream, with its abrupt bend that warranted the title of Broken Bow Creek, a mere trickle of water just now in that wide, dry valley down which the thin line of the railroad stretched away, with the straight parallel of the rails seeming to bend and quiver in the hot clearness of the sunshine. To the north was a portion of Ely that she had not seen before, a group of warehouses, some office-buildings, a concrete mixing-plant, and a huddle of workmen's bunkhouses. She could see the cobweb lines of temporary railroad, steam-shovels moving on flat-cars, and innumerable men toiling like black ants along the sides of the raw cut that had been made in the red soil of the valley. “That must be the dam and the irrigation ditch that Dan O'Leary was telling us about,” she reflected. “How hot it looks down there! I did not dream they had so many men. And how clear the air is. Oh surely, surely, Aunt Anna will get well here as fast as we hope!” The wind lifted Buck's yellow mane and her own brown hair, while the horse pawed the stony ground impatiently. She let him go on, for she was, in truth, as eager as he. This was the first day that she had found time to go far from their own house, and she had now a most fascinating goal before her. What girl of sixteen would not feel excited over the prospect of exploring a tract of mountain-side woods of which she was sole owner? Beatrice had never quite understood how her father had come to purchase that stretch of land above Ely—she had not, indeed, thought to ask. She had come into his study one Sunday morning when he was going over his papers and had surprised him with the announcement that she was sixteen that day. Having no other present ready, he had brought out some dusty title-deeds and had made them over to her. “It will never be of the least use to you, my dear,” he said, “so do not consider it much of a present—twenty-three acres, with timber, cabin, and a waterfall, so the description

reads, but you must not think they are any of them worth anything. I have never seen the place, myself.” She had believed that it was on account of this talk about Ely that they thought of the town again when the doctors had prescribed “a change of climate, some dry, bracing place in the West,” for their Aunt Anna, who was Mr. Deems's younger sister and had cared for his household ever since the death of the two girls' mother, years ago. Anna Deems was a slim, frail person of indomitable spirit, and after a severe illness during the winter had begun to look as though she were far more spirit than body. Beatrice had always thought that going to Ely was her own suggestion, though she could not deny that it was Aunt Anna who had carried the plan through in the face of some rather unaccountable opposition from her father. Mr. Deems had finally given in, and had then made a flying trip to Ely to be sure that the air and climate were what they wanted, to choose a house, engage a Chinese cook, and make all preparations for a summer's stay for his sister and the two girls. “I did not have time to visit your estate on the hill, Beatrice,” he said on his return. “You will have to explore it yourself. Dan O'Leary has charge of it and said he has been renting it to some engineers who were surveying the mountain. But it is unoccupied now. The place may prove to be a good picnic-ground, but I fear it has no other possibilities.” He might say what he chose, Beatrice was thinking, but he could not destroy her eagerness to see the place. The trail ran crookedly upward before her, disappeared in some dense pine woods, then slanted across the spur of the mountain and vanished again. Higher above rose the bare rocky slopes of the lofty peak that dominated the whole valley, Gray Cloud Mountain, on one of whose lower, rugged shoulders lay her land and her cabin. After climbing for a quarter of a mile, she was obliged to hesitate at a fork in the way, uncertain which of the steep paths she was to take. A little cottage clung to the bare hillside beside the road, a shabby place, with no paint and a patched roof. The door was swinging open as she passed and a man was just going in, a short, thick-set, foreign-looking person who scowled at her over his shoulder when she asked the way. “That one,” he said briefly, pointing to the right-hand fork and speaking with a heavy

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