Shoe-Bar Stratton - Chapter 29
文章來源:未知 文章作者:enread 發布時間:2021-02-24 03:02 字體: [ ]  進入論壇
With her back against the veranda1 pillar, Mary Thorne watched the group of mounted men canter down the slope, splash across the creek2, and file briskly through the gate leading to middle pasture. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that, for the most part, her glance followed one of them, and when the erect3, jaunty4, broad-shouldered figure on the big roan had disappeared, she gave a little sigh.
"He looks better--much better," she murmured.
Her eyes grew dreamy, and in her mind she saw again that little hidden cañon with its overhanging ledge5 beneath which the man lay stretched out on his blankets. Somehow, the anxiety and suspense6, the heart-breaking worry and weariness of that strange experience had faded utterly7. There remained only a very vivid recollection of the touch of her hand against his damp forehead, the feeling of his crisp, dark hair as she pushed it gently back, the look of those long, thick lashes8 lying so still against his pallid9 face.
Not seldom she had wished those fleeting10 moments might have been prolonged. Once or twice she was even a little jealous of Bud Jessup's ministrations; just as, thinking of him now, she was jealous of his constant nearness to Buck11 and the manner in which he seemed so intently to share all the other's plans and projects, and even thoughts.
"Well, anyway," she said suddenly aloud, "I'm glad Stella's not here."
Then, realizing that she had spoken aloud, she blushed and looked hastily around. No one was in sight, but a moment or two later Mrs. Archer12 appeared on the veranda.
"I thought I heard voices a little while ago," she said, glancing around. "Have the men come back?"
Mary turned to meet her. "No, dear. That was the--the sheriff and some of his men."
"The sheriff!" An expression of anxiety came into Mrs. Archer's pretty, faded face. "But what has happened? What--?"
"I'm not quite sure; they had no time to explain." The girl put an arm reassuringly13 around the older woman's shoulder. "But they're after Tex and the other hands. They've done something--"
"Ha!" In any other person the sound would have seemed suspiciously like a crow of undisguised satisfaction. "Well, I'm thankful that at last somebody's shown some common sense."
"Why, auntie!" Astonished, the girl held her off at arm's length and stared into her face. "You don't mean to say you've suspected--?"
Mrs. Archer sniffed14. "Suspected! Why, for weeks and weeks I've been perfectly15 certain the creature was up to no good. You know I never trusted him."
"Yes; but--"
"The last straw was his bringing that ridiculous charge against Buck Green," Mrs. Archer interrupted with unexpected spirit. "That stamped him for what he was; because a nicer, cleaner, better-mannered young man I've seldom seen. He could no more have stolen cattle than--than I could."
A mental picture of her tiny, delicate, fragile-looking aunt engaged in that strenuous16 and illicit17 operation brought a momentary18 smile to Mary Thorne's lips. Then her face grew serious.
"But you know I didn't believe it--really," she protested. "I offered to keep him on if he'd only assure me he wasn't here for any--any secret reason. But he wouldn't, and at the time there seemed nothing to do but let him go."
"I suppose he might have had some other private reason than stealing cattle," commented Mrs. Archer.
"He had," returned Mary, suppressing a momentary sense of annoyance19 that her aunt had shown the greater faith. "As nearly as I can make out, he was here to shadow Tex. As a matter of fact he really wanted to leave the ranch20 and work from a different direction, so it turned out all right in the end. He thinks it was Tex himself who secretly instigated21 the cattle-stealing."
"The villain22!" ejaculated Mrs. Archer energetically. "But where has--er--Buck been all this time? Where is he now?"
The girl smiled faintly. "He was here a little while ago. He and Bud are both with the sheriff's posse. They believe the men are heading for the mountains and have gone after them."
Mrs. Archer glanced sharply at her niece, noted23 a faint flush on the girl's face, and pursed her lips.
"When are they coming back?" she asked, after a little pause.
Mary shrugged24 her shoulders. "Not until they catch them, I suppose."
"Which certainly won't be to-night. I'm rather surprised at Buck. It seems to me that he ought to have stayed here to look after things, instead of rushing off to chase outlaws25."
"It wasn't his fault," defended Mary quickly. "He thought Alf and Stella were here."
"Alf and Stella! Good gracious, child! How could he, when they left four days ago?"
"He didn't know that. He took it for granted they were still here, and I let him think so. They needed him to guide the posse, and I knew if I told him, he'd insist on staying behind. After all, dear, there's nothing for us to worry about. It'll be a bit lonesome to-night, but--"
"Worry! I'm not worrying--about myself." Mrs. Archer regarded her niece with a curiously26 keen expression that seemed oddly incongruous in that delicate fragile-looking face. "I'm not blind," she went on quickly. "I've noticed what's been going on--the wretch27! You're afraid of him, too, I can see, and no wonder. I wish somebody had stayed--Still, we must make the best of it. What are you going to do about the stock?"
"Feed them," said Mary laconically28, quelling29 a little shiver that went over her. "Let's go and do it now."
Together they walked around to the corral, where Mary forked down some hay for the three horses, and filled the sunken water-barrel from the tank. Already shadows were creeping up from the hollows, and the place seemed very still and deserted30.
In the kitchen the sense of silent emptiness was even greater, accustomed as they were to the constant presence of Pedro and his wife. The two women did not linger longer than was necessary to fill a tray with supper, which they carried into the living-room. Here Mary closed the door, lit two lamps, and touched a match to the wood piled up in the big fireplace.
"It'll make things more cheerful," she remarked with an attempt at casualness which was not altogether successful. "I don't see why we shouldn't heat some water here and make tea," she added with sudden inspiration.
Mrs. Archer, who liked her cup of tea, made no objections, and Mary sprang up and went back to the kitchen. Filling a saucepan from the pump, she got the tea-caddy out of a cupboard, and then paused in the middle of the room, staring out into the gathering31 dusk.
Neither doors nor windows in the ranch-house were ever locked, and, save on really cold nights, they were rarely even closed. But now, of a sudden, the girl felt she would be much more comfortable if everything were shut up tight, and setting down the pan and caddy on the table, she went over to the nearest window.
It looked out on the various barns and sheds clustered at the back of the ranch-house. The harness-room occupied the ground floor of the nearest shed, with a low, seldom-entered loft32 above, containing a single, narrow window without glass or shutters33.
As Mary approached the open kitchen window, herself invisible in the shadows of the room, a slight sense of movement in that little square under the eaves of the shed roof drew her glance swiftly upward. To her horror she caught a momentary glimpse of a face framed in the narrow opening. It vanished swiftly--far too swiftly to be recognized. But recognition was not necessary. The mere34 knowledge that some one was hidden in the loft--had probably been hidden there all along--turned the girl cold and instantly awakened35 her worst fears.


1 veranda XfczWG     
  • She sat in the shade on the veranda.她坐在陽臺上的遮蔭處。
  • They were strolling up and down the veranda.他們在走廊上來回徜徉。
2 creek 3orzL     
  • He sprang through the creek.他跳過小河。
  • People sunbathe in the nude on the rocks above the creek.人們在露出小溪的巖石上裸體曬日光浴。
3 erect 4iLzm     
  • She held her head erect and her back straight.她昂著頭,把背挺得筆直。
  • Soldiers are trained to stand erect.士兵們訓練站得筆直。
4 jaunty x3kyn     
  • She cocked her hat at a jaunty angle.她把帽子歪戴成俏皮的樣子。
  • The happy boy walked with jaunty steps.這個快樂的孩子以輕快活潑的步子走著。
5 ledge o1Mxk     
  • They paid out the line to lower him to the ledge.他們放出繩子使他降到那塊巖石的突出部分。
  • Suddenly he struck his toe on a rocky ledge and fell.突然他的腳趾絆在一塊突出的巖石上,摔倒了。
6 suspense 9rJw3     
  • The suspense was unbearable.這樣提心吊膽的狀況實在叫人受不了。
  • The director used ingenious devices to keep the audience in suspense.導演用巧妙手法引起觀眾的懸念。
7 utterly ZfpzM1     
  • Utterly devoted to the people,he gave his life in saving his patients.他忠于人民,把畢生精力用于挽救患者的生命。
  • I was utterly ravished by the way she smiled.她的微笑使我完全陶醉了。
8 lashes e2e13f8d3a7c0021226bb2f94d6a15ec     
n.鞭撻( lash的名詞復數 );鞭子;突然猛烈的一擊;急速揮動v.鞭打( lash的第三人稱單數 );煽動;緊系;怒斥
  • Mother always lashes out food for the children's party. 孩子們聚會時,母親總是給他們許多吃的。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • Never walk behind a horse in case it lashes out. 絕對不要跟在馬后面,以防它突然猛踢。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
9 pallid qSFzw     
  • The moon drifted from behind the clouds and exposed the pallid face.月亮從云朵后面鉆出來,照著尸體那張蒼白的臉。
  • His dry pallid face often looked gaunt.他那張干癟蒼白的臉常常顯得憔悴。
10 fleeting k7zyS     
  • The girls caught only a fleeting glimpse of the driver.女孩們只匆匆瞥了一眼司機。
  • Knowing the life fleeting,she set herself to enjoy if as best as she could.她知道這種日子轉瞬即逝,于是讓自已盡情地享受。
11 buck ESky8     
  • The boy bent curiously to the skeleton of the buck.這個男孩好奇地彎下身去看鹿的骸骨。
  • The female deer attracts the buck with high-pitched sounds.雌鹿以尖聲吸引雄鹿。
12 archer KVxzP     
  • The archer strung his bow and aimed an arrow at the target.弓箭手拉緊弓弦將箭瞄準靶子。
  • The archer's shot was a perfect bull's-eye.射手的那一箭正中靶心。
13 reassuringly YTqxW     
  • He patted her knee reassuringly. 他輕拍她的膝蓋讓她放心。
  • The doctor smiled reassuringly. 醫生笑了笑,讓人心里很踏實。
14 sniffed ccb6bd83c4e9592715e6230a90f76b72     
v.以鼻吸氣,嗅,聞( sniff的過去式和過去分詞 );抽鼻子(尤指哭泣、患感冒等時出聲地用鼻子吸氣);抱怨,不以為然地說
  • When Jenney had stopped crying she sniffed and dried her eyes. 珍妮停止了哭泣,吸了吸鼻子,擦干了眼淚。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • The dog sniffed suspiciously at the stranger. 狗疑惑地嗅著那個陌生人。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
15 perfectly 8Mzxb     
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.證人們個個對自己所說的話十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我們做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
16 strenuous 8GvzN     
  • He made strenuous efforts to improve his reading. 他奮發努力提高閱讀能力。
  • You may run yourself down in this strenuous week.你可能會在這緊張的一周透支掉自己。
17 illicit By8yN     
  • He had an illicit association with Jane.他和簡曾有過不正當關系。
  • Seizures of illicit drugs have increased by 30% this year.今年違禁藥品的扣押增長了30%。
18 momentary hj3ya     
  • We are in momentary expectation of the arrival of you.我們無時無刻不在盼望你的到來。
  • I caught a momentary glimpse of them.我瞥了他們一眼。
19 annoyance Bw4zE     
  • Why do you always take your annoyance out on me?為什么你不高興時總是對我出氣?
  • I felt annoyance at being teased.我惱恨別人取笑我。
20 ranch dAUzk     
  • He went to work on a ranch.他去一個大農場干活。
  • The ranch is in the middle of a large plateau.該牧場位于一個遼闊高原的中部。
21 instigated 55d9a8c3f57ae756aae88f0b32777cd4     
v.使(某事物)開始或發生,鼓動( instigate的過去式和過去分詞 )
  • The government has instigated a programme of economic reform. 政府已實施了經濟改革方案。
  • He instigated the revolt. 他策動了這次叛亂。 來自《現代漢英綜合大詞典》
22 villain ZL1zA     
  • He was cast as the villain in the play.他在戲里扮演反面角色。
  • The man who played the villain acted very well.扮演惡棍的那個男演員演得很好。
23 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.當地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著稱。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班遲到出了名。
24 shrugged 497904474a48f991a3d1961b0476ebce     
  • Sam shrugged and said nothing. 薩姆聳聳肩膀,什么也沒說。
  • She shrugged, feigning nonchalance. 她聳聳肩,裝出一副無所謂的樣子。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
25 outlaws 7eb8a8faa85063e1e8425968c2a222fe     
歹徒,亡命之徒( outlaw的名詞復數 ); 逃犯
  • During his year in the forest, Robin met many other outlaws. 在森林里的一年,羅賓遇見其他許多綠林大盜。
  • I didn't have to leave the country or fight outlaws. 我不必離開自己的國家,也不必與不法分子斗爭。
26 curiously 3v0zIc     
  • He looked curiously at the people.他好奇地看著那些人。
  • He took long stealthy strides. His hands were curiously cold.他邁著悄沒聲息的大步。他的雙手出奇地冷。
27 wretch EIPyl     
  • You are really an ungrateful wretch to complain instead of thanking him.你不但不謝他,還埋怨他,真不知好歹。
  • The dead husband is not the dishonoured wretch they fancied him.死去的丈夫不是他們所想象的不光彩的壞蛋。
28 laconically 09acdfe4bad4e976c830505804da4d5b     
  • "I have a key,'said Rhett laconically, and his eyes met Melanie's evenly. "我有鑰匙,"瑞德直截了當說。他和媚蘭的眼光正好相遇。 來自飄(部分)
  • 'says he's sick,'said Johnnie laconically. "他說他有玻"約翰尼要理不理的說。 來自飄(部分)
29 quelling f4267e1dfb0e0cf8eebbf7ab87b64dae     
v.(用武力)制止,結束,鎮壓( quell的現在分詞 )
  • Quelling her grief, she said 'Good-bye! 'again and went on. 她把悲痛壓下去,二番說了一聲再見,又轉身走去了。 來自辭典例句
  • The police succeeded in quelling the riot. 警方把暴亂鎮壓了下去。 來自辭典例句
30 deserted GukzoL     
  • The deserted village was filled with a deathly silence.這個荒廢的村莊死一般的寂靜。
  • The enemy chieftain was opposed and deserted by his followers.敵人頭目眾叛親離。
31 gathering ChmxZ     
  • He called on Mr. White to speak at the gathering.他請懷特先生在集會上講話。
  • He is on the wing gathering material for his novels.他正忙于為他的小說收集資料。
32 loft VkhyQ     
  • We could see up into the loft from bottom of the stairs.我們能從樓梯腳邊望到閣樓的內部。
  • By converting the loft,they were able to have two extra bedrooms.把閣樓改造一下,他們就可以多出兩間臥室。
33 shutters 74d48a88b636ca064333022eb3458e1f     
百葉窗( shutter的名詞復數 ); (照相機的)快門
  • The shop-front is fitted with rolling shutters. 那商店的店門裝有卷門。
  • The shutters thumped the wall in the wind. 在風中百葉窗砰砰地碰在墻上。
34 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不過是重復了你以前講的話。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去純粹是浪費時間。
35 awakened de71059d0b3cd8a1de21151c9166f9f0     
v.(使)醒( awaken的過去式和過去分詞 );(使)覺醒;弄醒;(使)意識到
  • She awakened to the sound of birds singing. 她醒來聽到鳥的叫聲。
  • The public has been awakened to the full horror of the situation. 公眾完全意識到了這一狀況的可怕程度。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
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