Shoe-Bar Stratton - Chapter 32
文章來源:未知 文章作者:enread 發布時間:2021-02-24 03:19 字體: [ ]  進入論壇
Presently Mrs. Archer1 released her spasmodic grip on Stratton's flannel2 shirt and fumbled3 for her handkerchief.
"I'm a fool to--to waste time like this," she faltered4, dabbing5 her eyes with the crumpled6 square of cambric.
"I think you're rather wonderful," returned Buck7 gently. He helped her to a chair. "Sit down here, and when you're able, tell us just what--happened."
Her hands dropped suddenly to her lap and she looked up at him with wide, blazing eyes. Bud had approached and stood on the other side of the chair, listening intently.
"It was that creature Lynch," she said in a voice that trembled a little with anger and indignation. "He was the one who rode up on horseback. It was Pedro who was hidden in the loft8. Mary told you about that before the telephone went dead."
"The wire was cut," muttered Stratton. "That must have been the greaser's work."
She gave a quick nod. "Very likely. He's equal to anything. They met just outside the door and talked together. It seemed as if they'd never leave off whispering. Mary was over by the telephone and I stood here. She had that revolver, which she'd found in the other room." Her eyes indicated the weapon on the table, and Buck was conscious of a queer thrill as he recognized it as his own. "We waited. At last the--the beast pounded at the door and called to us to open. We didn't stir. Then he threw himself against the door, which cracked. Mary cried out that if he tried to force it, she'd shoot. The creature only laughed, and when she did fire, the bullet went wild."
She paused an instant, her fingers twitching9 at the handkerchief clasped in her lap.
"And then he broke in?" questioned Buck, in a hard voice.
She nodded. "Yes. I fired once, but it did no good. Before I could shoot again, Pedro came up from behind and snatched the revolver away. He must have forced his way into the kitchen. He threw me into a chair, while Lynch went after Mary."
Buck's lips were pressed tightly together; his face was hard as stone. "Didn't she fire again?"
"No, I don't know why. I couldn't see very well. Something may have gone wrong with the revolver; perhaps she had scruples10. I should have had none." Mrs. Archer's small, delicate face looked almost savage11. "I'd have gloried in shooting the brute12. At any rate, she didn't, and he took the weapon away from her and flung it on the table."
Again she hesitated briefly13, overcome by her emotions. Stratton's face was stony14, save for a momentary15 ripple16 of the muscles about his mouth.
"And then?" he questioned.
"I--I tried to go to her, but Pedro held me in the chair." Mrs. Archer drew a long, quivering breath. "Lynch had her by the wrist; I heard him say something about not hurting her; and then he said, quite plainly, that since she'd got him in this mess, she'd have to get him out. I couldn't understand, but all at once I realized that if they did--take her away, they'd probably tie me up, or something, to prevent my giving the alarm, and so I pretended to faint."
She lifted her handkerchief to her lips and let it fall again. "It wasn't easy to lie still in that chair and see the dear child--being dragged away. But I knew I'd be quite helpless against those two villains17. She--she didn't struggle much; perhaps she hadn't the strength." The old lady's voice shook, and she began again plucking nervously18 at her handkerchief. "The minute they were out of the door, I got up and followed them. I thought perhaps I might be able to see which way they went. It was pitch-dark, and I crept along beside the house to the corner. I could just see their outlines over by the corral. Pedro was saddling two horses. When he had done, that creature, Lynch, made Mary mount and got on his own horse, which he had been leading. Then the two men began to talk. I couldn't hear everything, but it sounded as if they were arranging to meet somewhere. They gave the name of a place."
Her eyes searched Buck's face with a troubled, anxious scrutiny19. "So many Arizona towns have a foreign sound, but somehow I--I've never even heard of Santa Clara."
"Santa Clara!" burst out Bud. "Why, that's over in Sonora. If he should get her across the border--"
Mrs. Archer sprang to her feet and caught Stratton by one arm. "Mexico!" she cried hysterically20. "Oh, Buck! You must save her from that creature! You mustn't let him--"
"He sha'n't. Don't worry," interrupted Stratton harshly. "Tell me as quickly as you can what else you heard. Was there anything said about the way he meant to take?"
Mrs. Archer clenched21 her small hands and fought bravely for self-control. "He said he--he might be delayed. He didn't dare take the road through Perilla, and the trail through the mountains was probably blocked by the sheriff." Her forehead wrinkled thoughtfully. "He said the only way was to--to go through the pass and turn south along the edge of the T-T land. That--that was all."
Buck's face lighted with somber22 satisfaction. "It's a good bit," he said briefly. "When they started off did you notice which way they went?"
"Pedro rode past the house toward the lower gate. Lynch went straight down the slope toward the bunk-house. He was leading Mary's horse. I ran a little way after them and saw them cross the creek23 this side of the middle pasture gate."
Buck shot a glance at Jessup. "The north pasture!" he muttered. "He knows there'll be no one around there, and it'll be the safest way to reach the T-T trail. I'll saddle a fresh cayuse and be off." He turned to Mrs. Archer. "Don't you worry," he said, with a momentary touch on her shoulder that was at once a caress24 and an assurance. "I'll bring her back."
"You must!" she cried. "They said something--It isn't possible that he can--force her to--to marry him?"
"A lot of things are possible, but he won't have the chance," replied Stratton grimly. "Bud, you stay here with Mrs. Archer, and I'll--"
"Oh, no!" protested the old lady. "You must both go. I don't need any one. I'm not afraid of being here alone. No one will come--now."
"Why couldn't I go after Hardenberg and get him to take a bunch around the south end of the hills," suggested Jessup quickly. "They might be able to head him off."
"All right," nodded Stratton curtly25. "Go to it."
Inaction had suddenly grown intolerable. He would have agreed to anything save the suggestion that he delay his start even for another sixty seconds. With a hurried good-by to Mrs. Archer, he hastened from the room, swung into his saddle, and rode swiftly around to the corral. A brief search through the darkness showed him that only a single horse remained there. He lost not a moment in roping the animal, and was transferring his saddle from Pete, when Bud appeared.
"You'll have to catch a horse from the remuda," he said briefly. "I've taken the last one. Turn Pete into the corral, will you, and give him a little feed." Straightening up, he turned the stirrup, mounted swiftly, and spurred his horse forward. "So-long," he called back over one shoulder.
The thud of hoofs26 drowned Bud's reply, and as the night closed about him, Buck gave a faint sigh of relief. There was a brief delay at the gate, and then, heading northwest, he urged the horse to a canter.
He was taking a chance in following this short cut through the middle pasture, but he felt he had no choice. To attempt to trail Lynch would be futile27, and if he waited until dawn, the scoundrel would be hopelessly in the lead. He knew of only one pass through the mountains to T-T ground, and for this he headed, convinced that it was also Lynch's goal, and praying fervently28 that the scoundrel might not change his mind.
He was under no delusions29 as to the task which lay before him. Lynch would be somewhat handicapped by the presence of the girl, especially if he continued to lead her horse. But he had a good hour's start, and once in the mountains the handicap would vanish. The chase was likely to be prolonged, particularly as Lynch knew every foot of the mountain trail and the country beyond, which Stratton had never seen.
But the presence of difficulties only strengthened Buck's resolution and confidence. As he sped on through the luminous30 darkness, the cool night wind brushing his face, a seething31 rage against Tex Lynch dominated him. Now and then the thought of Mary Thorne came to torture him. Vividly32 he pictured the scene at the ranch-house which Mrs. Archer had described, imagining the girl's fear and horror and despair, then and afterward33, with a realism which made him wince34. But always his mind flashed back to the man who was to blame for it all, and with savage curses he pledged himself to a reckoning.
And so, with mind divided between alternating spasms35 of tenderness and fury, he came at last to the further side of middle pasture and dismounted to let down the fence. It was characteristic of the born and bred ranchman that instead of riding swiftly on and letting the cut wires dangle36, he automatically obeyed one of the hard and fast rules of the range and fastened them behind him. He did not pause again until he reached the little sheltered nook in the face of the high cliffs, out of which led the trail.
Had those two passed yet, or were they still out there somewhere in the sandy wastes of north pasture? He wondered as he reined37 in his horse. He scarcely dared hope that already he could have forestalled38 the crafty39 Lynch, but it was important to make sure. And so, slipping out of the saddle, he flung the reins40 over the roan's head and, walking forward a few steps, lit a match and searched the ground carefully for any signs.
Three matches had been consumed before he found what he was looking for--the fresh prints of two horses leading toward the trail. Hastily returning to his cayuse, he swung into the saddle and headed the roan toward the grade. They were ahead of him, then; but how far?
It was impossible to make any speed along the rough uncertainties41 of this rocky trail, but Buck wasted no time. Down in the further hollow he turned aside to the spring, not knowing when he would again find water for his horse. He did not dismount, and as the roan plunged42 velvet43 nozzle into the spring, a picture rose in Buck's mind of that other day--how long ago it seemed!--when he himself, sagging44 painfully in the saddle, had sucked the water with as great an eagerness out of a woman's soggy Stetson, and then, over the limp brim, gazed gratefully into a pair of tender hazel eyes which tried in vain to mask anxiety beneath a surface of lightness.
He bit his lips and struck the saddle-horn fiercely with one clenched fist. When the horse had finished drinking, he turned him swiftly and, regaining45 the trail, pushed on feverishly46 at reckless speed.
About an hour later the first pale signs of dawn began to lighten the darkness. Slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly, a cold gray crept into the sky, blotting47 out the stars. Little by little the light strengthened, searching out shadowy nooks and corners, revealing this peak or that, widening the horizon, until at length the whole, wide, tumbled mass of peak and precipice48, of cañon, valley, and tortuous49, twisted mountain trail lay revealed in all its grim, lifeless, forbidding desolation.
From his point of vantage at the summit of a steep grade, Buck halted and stared ahead with a restless, keen eagerness. He could see the trail curving over the next rise, and farther still he glimpsed a tiny patch of it rounding the shoulder of a hill. But it was empty, lifeless; and as he loosed the reins and touched the roan lightly with a spur, Stratton's face grew blank and hard again.
From somewhere amongst the rocks the long-drawn, quavering howl of a coyote sounded mournfully.


1 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。
2 flannel S7dyQ     
  • She always wears a grey flannel trousers.她總是穿一條灰色法蘭絨長褲。
  • She was looking luscious in a flannel shirt.她穿著法蘭絨裙子,看上去楚楚動人。
3 fumbled 78441379bedbe3ea49c53fb90c34475f     
(笨拙地)摸索或處理(某事物)( fumble的過去式和過去分詞 ); 亂摸,笨拙地弄; 使落下
  • She fumbled in her pocket for a handkerchief. 她在她口袋里胡亂摸找手帕。
  • He fumbled about in his pockets for the ticket. 他(瞎)摸著衣兜找票。
4 faltered d034d50ce5a8004ff403ab402f79ec8d     
(嗓音)顫抖( falter的過去式和過去分詞 ); 支吾其詞; 蹣跚; 搖晃
  • He faltered out a few words. 他支吾地說出了幾句。
  • "Er - but he has such a longhead!" the man faltered. 他不好意思似的嚅囁著:“這孩子腦袋真長。”
5 dabbing 0af3ac3dccf99cc3a3e030e7d8b1143a     
  • She was crying and dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. 她一邊哭一邊用手絹輕按眼睛。
  • Huei-fang was leaning against a willow, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. 四小姐蕙芳正靠在一棵楊柳樹上用手帕揉眼睛。 來自子夜部分
6 crumpled crumpled     
adj. 彎扭的, 變皺的 動詞crumple的過去式和過去分詞形式
  • She crumpled the letter up into a ball and threw it on the fire. 她把那封信揉成一團扔進了火里。
  • She flattened out the crumpled letter on the desk. 她在寫字臺上把皺巴巴的信展平。
7 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。
8 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。
9 twitching 97f99ba519862a2bc691c280cee4d4cf     
  • The child in a spasm kept twitching his arms and legs. 那個害痙攣的孩子四肢不斷地抽搐。 來自《現代漢英綜合大詞典》
  • My eyelids keep twitching all the time. 我眼皮老是跳。 來自《現代漢英綜合大詞典》
10 scruples 14d2b6347f5953bad0a0c5eebf78068a     
n.良心上的不安( scruple的名詞復數 );顧慮,顧忌v.感到于心不安,有顧忌( scruple的第三人稱單數 )
  • I overcame my moral scruples. 我拋開了道德方面的顧慮。
  • I'm not ashamed of my scruples about your family. They were natural. 我并未因為對你家人的顧慮而感到羞恥。這種感覺是自然而然的。 來自瘋狂英語突破英語語調
11 savage ECxzR     
  • The poor man received a savage beating from the thugs.那可憐的人遭到暴徒的痛打。
  • He has a savage temper.他脾氣粗暴。
12 brute GSjya     
  • The aggressor troops are not many degrees removed from the brute.侵略軍簡直象一群野獸。
  • That dog is a dangerous brute.It bites people.那條狗是危險的畜牲,它咬人。
13 briefly 9Styo     
  • I want to touch briefly on another aspect of the problem.我想簡單地談一下這個問題的另一方面。
  • He was kidnapped and briefly detained by a terrorist group.他被一個恐怖組織綁架并短暫拘禁。
14 stony qu1wX     
  • The ground is too dry and stony.這塊地太干,而且布滿了石頭。
  • He listened to her story with a stony expression.他帶著冷漠的表情聽她講經歷。
15 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。
16 ripple isLyh     
n.漣波,漣漪,波紋,粗鋼梳;vt.使...起漣漪,使起波紋; vi.呈波浪狀,起伏前進
  • The pebble made a ripple on the surface of the lake.石子在湖面上激起一個漣漪。
  • The small ripple split upon the beach.小小的漣漪卷來,碎在沙灘上。
17 villains ffdac080b5dbc5c53d28520b93dbf399     
n.惡棍( villain的名詞復數 );罪犯;(小說、戲劇等中的)反面人物;淘氣鬼
  • The impression of villains was inescapable. 留下惡棍的印象是不可避免的。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • Some villains robbed the widow of the savings. 有幾個歹徒將寡婦的積蓄劫走了。 來自《現代英漢綜合大詞典》
18 nervously tn6zFp     
  • He bit his lip nervously,trying not to cry.他緊張地咬著唇,努力忍著不哭出來。
  • He paced nervously up and down on the platform.他在站臺上情緒不安地走來走去。
19 scrutiny ZDgz6     
  • His work looks all right,but it will not bear scrutiny.他的工作似乎很好,但是經不起仔細檢查。
  • Few wives in their forties can weather such a scrutiny.很少年過四十的妻子經得起這么仔細的觀察。
20 hysterically 5q7zmQ     
ad. 歇斯底里地
  • The children giggled hysterically. 孩子們歇斯底里地傻笑。
  • She sobbed hysterically, and her thin body was shaken. 她歇斯底里地抽泣著,她瘦弱的身體哭得直顫抖。
21 clenched clenched     
v.緊握,抓緊,咬緊( clench的過去式和過去分詞 )
  • He clenched his fists in anger. 他憤怒地攥緊了拳頭。
  • She clenched her hands in her lap to hide their trembling. 她攥緊雙手放在腿上,以掩飾其顫抖。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
22 somber dFmz7     
  • He had a somber expression on his face.他面容憂郁。
  • His coat was a somber brown.他的衣服是暗棕色的。
23 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。
24 caress crczs     
  • She gave the child a loving caress.她疼愛地撫摸著孩子。
  • She feasted on the caress of the hot spring.她盡情享受著溫泉的撫愛。
25 curtly 4vMzJh     
  • He nodded curtly and walked away. 他匆忙點了一下頭就走了。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • The request was curtly refused. 這個請求被毫不客氣地拒絕了。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
26 hoofs ffcc3c14b1369cfeb4617ce36882c891     
n.(獸的)蹄,馬蹄( hoof的名詞復數 )v.(獸的)蹄,馬蹄( hoof的第三人稱單數 )
  • The stamp of the horse's hoofs on the wooden floor was loud. 馬蹄踏在木頭地板上的聲音很響。 來自辭典例句
  • The noise of hoofs called him back to the other window. 馬蹄聲把他又喚回那扇窗子口。 來自辭典例句
27 futile vfTz2     
  • They were killed,to the last man,in a futile attack.因為進攻失敗,他們全部被殺,無一幸免。
  • Their efforts to revive him were futile.他們對他搶救無效。
28 fervently 8tmzPw     
  • "Oh, I am glad!'she said fervently. “哦,我真高興!”她熱烈地說道。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • O my dear, my dear, will you bless me as fervently to-morrow?' 啊,我親愛的,親愛的,你明天也愿這樣熱烈地為我祝福么?” 來自英漢文學 - 雙城記
29 delusions 2aa783957a753fb9191a38d959fe2c25     
n.欺騙( delusion的名詞復數 );謬見;錯覺;妄想
  • the delusions of the mentally ill 精神病患者的妄想
  • She wants to travel first-class: she must have delusions of grandeur. 她想坐頭等艙旅行,她一定自以為很了不起。 來自辭典例句
30 luminous 98ez5     
  • There are luminous knobs on all the doors in my house.我家所有門上都安有夜光把手。
  • Most clocks and watches in this shop are in luminous paint.這家商店出售的大多數鐘表都涂了發光漆。
31 seething e6f773e71251620fed3d8d4245606fcf     
  • The stadium was a seething cauldron of emotion. 體育場內群情沸騰。
  • The meeting hall was seething at once. 會場上頓時沸騰起來了。
32 vividly tebzrE     
  • The speaker pictured the suffering of the poor vividly.演講者很生動地描述了窮人的生活。
  • The characters in the book are vividly presented.這本書里的人物寫得栩栩如生。
33 afterward fK6y3     
  • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 讓我們先去看戲,然后吃飯。
  • Afterward,the boy became a very famous artist.后來,這男孩成為一個很有名的藝術家。
34 wince tgCwX     
  • The barb of his wit made us wince.他那鋒芒畢露的機智使我們退避三舍。
  • His smile soon modified to a wince.他的微笑很快就成了臉部肌肉的抽搐。
35 spasms 5efd55f177f67cd5244e9e2b74500241     
n.痙攣( spasm的名詞復數 );抽搐;(能量、行為等的)突發;發作
  • After the patient received acupuncture treatment,his spasms eased off somewhat. 病人接受針刺治療后,痙攣稍微減輕了。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • The smile died, squeezed out by spasms of anticipation and anxiety. 一陣陣預測和焦慮把她臉上的微笑擠掉了。 來自辭典例句
36 dangle YaoyV     
  • At Christmas,we dangle colored lights around the room.圣誕節時,我們在房間里掛上彩燈。
  • He sits on the edge of the table and dangles his legs.他坐在桌子邊上,擺動著雙腿。
37 reined 90bca18bd35d2cee2318d494d6abfa96     
勒韁繩使(馬)停步( rein的過去式和過去分詞 ); 駕馭; 嚴格控制; 加強管理
  • Then, all of a sudden, he reined up his tired horse. 這時,他突然把疲倦的馬勒住了。
  • The officer reined in his horse at a crossroads. 軍官在十字路口勒住了馬。
38 forestalled e417c8d9b721dc9db811a1f7f84d8291     
v.先發制人,預先阻止( forestall的過去式和過去分詞 )
  • She forestalled their attempt. 她先發制人,阻止了他們的企圖。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • I had my objection all prepared, but Stephens forestalled me. 我已做好準備要提出反對意見,不料斯蒂芬斯卻搶先了一步。 來自辭典例句
39 crafty qzWxC     
  • He admired the old man for his crafty plan.他敬佩老者的神機妙算。
  • He was an accomplished politician and a crafty autocrat.他是個有造詣的政治家,也是個狡黠的獨裁者。
40 reins 370afc7786679703b82ccfca58610c98     
感情,激情; 韁( rein的名詞復數 ); 控制手段; 掌管; (成人帶著幼兒走路以防其走失時用的)保護帶
  • She pulled gently on the reins. 她輕輕地拉著韁繩。
  • The government has imposed strict reins on the import of luxury goods. 政府對奢侈品的進口有嚴格的控制手段。
41 uncertainties 40ee42d4a978cba8d720415c7afff06a     
無把握( uncertainty的名詞復數 ); 不確定; 變化不定; 無把握、不確定的事物
  • One of the uncertainties of military duty is that you never know when you might suddenly get posted away. 任軍職不穩定的因素之一是你永遠不知道什么時候會突然被派往它處。
  • Uncertainties affecting peace and development are on the rise. 影響和平與發展的不確定因素在增加。 來自漢英非文學 - 十六大報告
42 plunged 06a599a54b33c9d941718dccc7739582     
v.顛簸( plunge的過去式和過去分詞 );暴跌;驟降;突降
  • The train derailed and plunged into the river. 火車脫軌栽進了河里。
  • She lost her balance and plunged 100 feet to her death. 她沒有站穩,從100英尺的高處跌下摔死了。
43 velvet 5gqyO     
  • This material feels like velvet.這料子摸起來像絲絨。
  • The new settlers wore the finest silk and velvet clothing.新來的移民穿著最華麗的絲綢和天鵝絨衣服。
44 sagging 2cd7acc35feffadbb3241d569f4364b2     
  • The morale of the enemy troops is continuously sagging. 敵軍的士氣不斷低落。
  • We are sagging south. 我們的船正離開航線向南漂流。
45 regaining 458e5f36daee4821aec7d05bf0dd4829     
復得( regain的現在分詞 ); 贏回; 重回; 復至某地
  • She was regaining consciousness now, but the fear was coming with her. 現在她正在恢發她的知覺,但是恐怖也就伴隨著來了。
  • She said briefly, regaining her will with a click. 她干脆地答道,又馬上重新振作起精神來。
46 feverishly 5ac95dc6539beaf41c678cd0fa6f89c7     
adv. 興奮地
  • Feverishly he collected his data. 他拼命收集資料。
  • The company is having to cast around feverishly for ways to cut its costs. 公司迫切須要想出各種降低成本的辦法。
47 blotting 82f88882eee24a4d34af56be69fee506     
  • Water will permeate blotting paper. 水能滲透吸水紙。
  • One dab with blotting-paper and the ink was dry. 用吸墨紙輕輕按了一下,墨水就乾了。
48 precipice NuNyW     
  • The hut hung half over the edge of the precipice.那間小屋有一半懸在峭壁邊上。
  • A slight carelessness on this precipice could cost a man his life.在這懸崖上稍一疏忽就會使人喪生。
49 tortuous 7J2za     
  • We have travelled a tortuous road.我們走過了曲折的道路。
  • They walked through the tortuous streets of the old city.他們步行穿過老城區中心彎彎曲曲的街道。
TAG標簽: task lead start