drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe he found many old shoes,
puttees, and boots.
From this miscellany he selected riding breeches, a pair of boots,
and the red hunting coat as the only articles that fitted his rather
large frame. Hastily he dressed, and, taking the ax the old man had
brought to the room as the only weapon available, he walked boldly
into the corridor, down the spiral stairway and into the guardroom.
Barney Custer was prepared to fight. He was desperate. He could
have slunk from the Castle of Blentz as he had entered it--through
the secret passageway to the ravine; but to attempt to reach Lustadt
on foot was not at all compatible with the urgent haste that he felt
necessary. He must have a horse, and a horse he would have if he had
to fight his way through a Blentz army.
But there were no armed retainers left at Blentz. The guardroom was
vacant; but there were arms there and ammunition. Barney
commandeered a sword and a revolver, then he walked into the
courtyard and crossed to the stables. The way took him by the
garden. In it he saw a coffin-like box resting upon planks above a
grave-like excavation. Barney investigated. The box was empty. Once
again he grinned. "It is not always wise," he mused, "to count your
corpses before they're dead. What a lot of work the old man might
have spared himself if he'd only caught his cadaver first--or at
least tried to."
Passing on by his own grave, he came to the stables. A groom was
currying a strong, clean-limbed hunter haltered in the doorway. The
man looked up as Barney approached him. A puzzled expression entered
the fellow's eyes. He was a young man--a stupid-looking lout. It was
evident that he half recognized the face of the newcomer as one he
had seen before. Barney nodded to him.
"Never mind finishing," he said. "I am in a hurry. You may saddle
him at once." The voice was authoritative--it brooked no demur. The
groom touched his forehead, dropped the currycomb and brush, and
turned back into the stable to fetch saddle and bridle.
Five minutes later Barney was riding toward the gate. The portcullis
was raised--the drawbridge spanned the moat--no guard was there to
bar his way. The sunlight flooded the green valley, stretching
lazily below him in the soft warmth of a mellow autumn morning.
Behind him he had left the brooding shadows of the grim old
fortress--the cold, cruel, depressing stronghold of intrigue,
treason, and sudden death.
He threw back his shoulders
But the terrible punishment which the mucker had inflicted upon him overcame him at last, and as Byrne felt the man's efforts weakening he partially disengaged himself and raising himself upon one arm dealt his now almost unconscious enemy a half-dozen frightful blows upon the face.Page 51
Never had any human being told Billy Byrne thus coolly and succinctly what sort of person he seemed to them.Page 74
At the suggestion every head turned toward the trail down which the two panic-stricken men had just come.Page 85
THE FIGHT IN THE PALACE BARBARA HARDING heard the samurai in the room beyond.Page 96
Theriere is dying," she said, "and I--I-- Oh, I am so afraid.Page 105
" Together they sought a favorable site for their new home, and it was as though the horrid specter of a few moments before had never risen to menace them, for the girl felt that a great burden of apprehension had been lifted forever from her shoulders, and though a dull ache gnawed at the mucker's heart, still he was happier than he had ever been before--happy to be near the woman he loved.Page 111
There sprang into her mind a sudden wish to hear Billy Byrne say the words that he had dared not say; but she promptly checked the desire, and a moment later a qualm of self-disgust came over her because of the weakness that had prompted her to entertain such a wish in connection with a person of this man's station in life.Page 120
"I'll keep that up, off and on, as long as I can.Page 125
once more he took up his wearisome journey.Page 132
The fans saw and appreciated the spectacular bravado of the act, and they went wild.Page 143
Presently the jury filed in and took their seats.Page 147
It rose and fell, winking and flaring close.Page 149
Instantly the fellow's companion was upon him; but the camper retained his death grip upon the beard of the now yelling bully and continued to rain blow after blow upon head and face.Page 162
Time was, Billy, when I'd have hated you as much as you would have hated me.Page 170
That very morning she had sliced some bacon with it.Page 173
"They'll telephone every farmer within twenty mile of here in every direction, an' they'll get you sure.Page 184
"I am sorry, senor," he said, "that you have been put to so much inconvenience.Page 188
" The man spoke Spanish, so that it was necessary that Bridge interpret his words for the benefit of Billy, who had understood only part of what he said.Page 234
" Eddie did as he was bid, and when he entered the little room he saw four Mexicans lolling about smoking cigarettes while Grayson stood before a chair in which sat a man with his arms tied behind his back.Page 243
The crossing this time was one of infinite ease, for Barbara let the rope lie loose and Brazos take his own way.