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The Romance of Silver Peak
By Henry W. Mahan, Jr.
M o , No, Miss. I said I'm to shoot That guy up there'll get his signals
him a signal when I get the twisted if you ain't careful.”
names of the folks on this stage “No. It's five if Miss Gladys Walif there's a certain party aboard.” lace is aboard. Now then let's see."
The girl seemed more interested He had climbed from behind the and excitement had caused her to wheel and unfastened the curtains and make more room than she realized was commenced to remove the luggage. really there. “Well, what, what — The girl had already alighted and name did he think would be in here?” assembled her equipment. “Well, She hesitated. The question sounded Mister Driver!" He looked at her strangely to her.
wonderingly. “I'm Miss Gladys WalThe old man looked about and tried lace," and she extended her hand. He to get a good look at her.
grasped it more than heartily. "Miss Gladys Wallace! He's been “Well, well. Mighty, mighty, glad a telling me for some time — Five to know you, Miss. He's been a lookBlasts if she's aboard — Five Blasts, ing for you. And now here goes." now Ames, don't forget. And I ain't He stepped over to the wheel and forgotten neither.”
placing his gauntlet on the klaxon The girl said nothing. She was sounded off five sharp blasts. quivering with joy but her nerves were He looked around and laughed a restraining her speech.
real mountaineer's laugh. She was The stage was nearing its destina stooping and gazing sharply up the tion now and the rain was ceasing mountain side toward the row of lights slightly. “That's the Hotel up there," while he sounded the call. the driver remarked. “We'll make it “He's a shaking hands with himself in just a few minutes now.” They all right, Miss.” And Ames completed skidded around curve after curve and unloading the luggage. The girl, with down the trail that surrounds the a tear or two rolling down her cheek steam cave baths and up through the followed the page into the lobby of mesquite-lined trail, until the music the hotel. and laughter of the guests had floated When Gladys Wallace had comdown to them. No sooner had the pleted her toilette and prepared herpassengers planned their arrival than self for her evening meal, she dethe stage had swung up before the scended into the lobby of the hotel Hotel and into the garage. The driver and found her way to the dining room. sounded his klaxon three times. It was a huge affair, with massive pil
"What's the idea ?” queried the old lars that lent a dignified scenic apman.
pearance. The guests were many in “I'm to give Mr. Gleason three number and there were notables whom blasts when we hit the hotel safely." she had read of and seen upon the
"I thought you said 'five blasts.' screen and stage in the city. Here
many wady to thing Finished lobby bridges was sweeteste hade mained at billiards
and there a table with a well-known The girl was startled. “Graham screen star, and occasionally a call Glenn here?” She was somewhat for some person of note was sounded dazed. She arose and hurried to the by a page.
scene of the entrance. She looked She was engaged in contemplation through the crowd that had gathered over her journey. She had waited a where two men had placed the injured long time for this very event to take fellow upon an easy couch. place. Here she was now all ready T he Hot Springs Doctor had been for the conclusion of the story she had summoned upon learning of the young dreamed so about. She felt of her man's injuries and was attending him. bosom. They were there all right, a "What is your name my lad ?". package of his latest letters, and some “Graham Glenn, Sir." of them postmarked with this very The girl could not mistake the voice. hotel. Her dreaming caused her to She looked again and could see him search about for the box—there it was now. Sure enough it was Graham right by the desk and he had mailed Glenn. The one fellow in the world them there. She had been abroad for whom she had devoted her time with many months, had returned and now before she had become engaged to was ready to complete her dreams of Carter Gleason. the sweetest thing in life.
“Could it be possible that Graham When she had finished her dinner Glenn was here also ?" She shook she retired to the main lobby where herself. This was no time for questhere were folks engaged at bridge, tions. Graham Glenn lay there inwriting letters, and enjoying billiards. jured. There were conversations running "It's all right, my lad," assured the from tennis to golf, and back to hunt- Doctor. "No bones broken. But a ing, and the chase above the springs bad shock. When were you going and the outdoors in general. And down again ?". there was regret for the rainstorm min- “I had contemplated returning togled with that indescribable sensation morrow, Doctor. I don't like to wait. that springs from an open fire in a Couldn't I make it tonight? I am mountain inn.
needed back in the city right away." She had fallen to thinking. One "Well, you're not suffering much. more day and he would be there. An It's more of a shock. You have your Episcopalian clergyman passed her car here, have you not?” chair and joined a group before the “Yes, my Roamer Limousine, in the fireplace.
garage." She followed him with her witching "Well, with a nurse you can do it. eyes. She concluded that this was the What train do you want to get?" gentleman that Carter Gleason had "I want to catch the 3:30 limited told her of, and who would join them in the morning at San Bernardino. I in marriage. She wanted to speak to think I'm all right, Doctor." him, but she enjoyed her visionary “There are no nurses here at presdreaming and was contended to sit and ent. Let me see" – and the Doctor dream. She had retraced her steps was thinking. to this wonderful hotel and figured The girl watched the two and lisover her enchanting future, when there tened to the conversation. She was suddenly seemed to have arisen a likewise thinking. He had saved her commotion near the front entrance brother's life at one time. He was in that distracted her attention.
need of help-a nurse, any assistance, "It's Mister Glenn," she heard mur to catch the 3:30 train. She thought, mured about her. “Graham Glenn - and as she thought she stepped he was found laying in the roadway through the crowd of guests that had above the hotel a mile or two, pos- gathered and touched the Doctor on sibly fallen from his horse."
as thinkine see
to have when thered
and as the 3:30 train.anshassistance,
sibly fathen hotelling in the roadway
He turned toward her. "Doctor, I “Yes, sir, I—". know this young man. If you will let The boy did not finish the senme, I should like to do him this serv- tence, whatever he would have said. A ice that he needs as nurse. I'm not a tremendous crash sounded up the nurse but I can assist him to catch mountain side as though the whole had his train I'm sure.”
collapsed. The doctor looked at Glenn and as Glenn shuddered, seemed faint, and he did so Glenn caught sight of the finally spoke. "I guess that fall is on girl. He was not as awkwardly sur- my nerves, Gladys, that thunder prised as he might have been she sure seemed to frighten me a great thought to herself, but of course he deal." had been injured.
"Was that thunder, Graham ? It The two exchanged greetings, in a sounded different from thunder. I nohaze of excitement. The doctor as- ticed a red flaring light on the mounsented. She had explained to Glenn tain top. Maybe something caused a that she was returning for the cere- landslide." mony of which he had already heard “Maybe, so." Glenn was clearly not the day following and he had volun- himself. They were started on the teered to her his car for her return downward journey. He looked back trip. With an expression of congrat- and seemed to recoil as he put his atulation he took her hand.
tention again on the soaking roadbed. "Thanks, Gladys. It's mighty good “Probably a fire there," and he moof you. You can make it in the Roam- tioned in the direction of the flaring er if you're not afraid to try it." light.
She returned to her room and gath- "What is that up there, Graham?" ered such paraphernalia as she She seemed interested in the light as thought she would need. She sur- she asked the question. veyed the room to see that she had “That's Silver Peak." left nothing. Her wrist watch was “Oh yes,” and she fell to thinking. laying on the dresser, and she return- Her words were muffled. ed to get it. She looked at it. "Just Graham Glenn and his girl astwelve o'clock,” she mused.
sistant were hitting the road for the "Rather late to be trying an adven- three-thirty westbound Santa Fe ture of this sort, but if it's got to be, Limited. it's got to, that's all.” She assured When Carter Gleason had planted herself. As she flashed the lights out his red torch on the crest of Silver in the room a streak of lightning hit Peak he unbuttoned his heavy coat overhead. She stepped to the win- and stood before the light the brildow. The room was dark, and she liant torch afforded. It was burning watched the light over the country be- a steady red, and over it he rubbed low. She followed it back up the his chilled hands for it offered some mountain side.
warmth. He felt that he had accom"Too bad, too bad," she mused. plished a worthy errand—he reflected, "Must have hit something up there. as he stood gazing down below into The top of that mountain burns a flar- the maze of sleet and fog. The valley ing red.”
was dim with its diamond like radiWhen she had found her way back ance now, and the chasm below him to the lobby and onto the side ve was as quiet as a graveyard in the randa Glenn was waiting in his car. early morn. It was dark as pitch save She was assisted by a page who helped for the torch. her to the seat beside the wheel. “They'll be getting the signal now,"
"Here boy, give this note to this he ventured to himself. “And they'll gentleman when he calls. His name is all be glad the road is going through on the envelope,” and he slipped the I guess. Ned's probably got the boys boy a quarter.
there now for the big blast. Great fellow, Ned—he'd help his enemy before the steady climb, but faithful unto himself.”
death. Now up, now down, curve after Gleason still pondered as he curve, and switchback, through mud watched the maze below him. He was and snow with an occasional branch clearly in a confused state of mind. hitting either of them, but the sure Way up here in the end of nowhere footsteps of the horse always gaining almost, giving a signal to help his fel headway. Gleason was more lightlow ranchers, and preparing the way hearted but at once uneasy in his refor his search that would follow him turn to the ranch. He argued with down there.
himself. "They must be having a iime to “That can't be! If they've got it get the fuse laid right," he thought through, why should I waste time out loud. He went back to where he over night here?" He seemed to be had hitched his horse. His krapsack in a puzzled state of mind. The horse, was fastened to his saddle, and from with its burden, seemed to realize a it he took the flask of whiskey, and a journey of achievement. Its step generous gulp, for the night was test- would have signified an answer to liis ing his physique. He braced up and questions. then reached for his revolver. There “Do you think you can do it, Pal? was no telling what he might meet Do you want to push onto Ned's cabin before a blaze like this. He couldn't tunight?” The horse was closer to meet a prowler single handed, and his the ranch house now. She seemed to Colts Automatic was a steady friend. know the path without any effort, and He raised it skyward to test it out, was jogging more easily. As she swung then pulled the trigger. A mightier around a final turn they came upon sound than he had expected reached the south gate, and she galloper like his ears from below the hazy mist. a happy boy onto the path that landed
"They're going through,” he fairly them presently at the front door. shouted. Then turned and put his Gleason sat in his saddle for a mohand upon his horse's head. They've ment. He was thinking. He reassured cut her through Pal. Didn't you hear himself. it? We'll be passing that cut tomorrow, "I'll do it.” He looked at his watch. for the garden of my—”
"Just two-fifteen A. M.,” he said. As Gleason was mumbling in cor he queried a figure approached him templation. He strode forward be from the veranda. He reached for fore the torch. The fog had gradual- his Colts. ly lifted. Fumes of powder had “Halt!” he shouted hoarsely, for reached his nostrils. He pierced the the air had clouded his voice. “Who's panorama with his vision, and it fell there?”. far below. He could imagice many “Pablo, Senor," and the answer was things.
somewhat terrified. "Must have scared them out down “Pablo? Well, what are you dothere,” he thought. "Maybe the 'Mark ing up this time of night?" Twain' on a midnight run for sup- “I fix Senor's stuff in package. I plies. Never knew her to hit the lower watch light from Silver Peak and hear road this time of night before.' He the noise and think Senor go right was tracing a dim ray of light on the on." auto road below that was close by the “What do you mean, Pablo? You hotel. It flickered from his vision. He think I'm going right on? Why?" looked about to see that he had left "Well, Manuel come here again tonothing, fixed the torch more firmly night with message. I have 'em here, in the tree stump he had chosen, then Senor," and he brought forth another remounted his horse, and set forward scrap of paper which he tendered to to retrace his steps to Silver Peak Gleason. He read it. Ranch. His horse was weary froin “Tell Mr. Gleason he had better
making. He for a door.
ito at her through horse's headd put his