From: The Light Of Western Stars
Stewart took Nels, Monty, and Nick Steele aside out of earshot, and they
evidently entered upon an earnest colloquy. Presently the other cowboys
were called. They all talked more or less, but the deep voice of Stewart
predominated over the others. Then the consultation broke up, and the
"Rustle, you Indians!" ordered Stewart.
The ensuing scene of action was not reassuring to Madeline and her
friends. They were quiet, awaiting some one to tell them what to do. At
the offset the cowboys appeared to have forgotten Madeline. Some of them
ran off into the woods, others into the open, grassy places, where they
rounded up the horses and burros. Several cowboys spread tarpaulins
upon the ground and began to select and roll small packs, evidently for
hurried travel. Nels mounted his horse to ride down the trail. Monty
and Nick Steele went off into the grove, leading their horses. Stewart
climbed up a steep jumble of stone between two sections of low, cracked
cliff back of the camp.
Castleton offered to help the packers, and was curtly told he would
be in the way. Madeline's friends all importuned her: Was there real
danger? Were the guerrillas coming? Would a start be made at once for
the ranch? Why had the cowboys suddenly become so different? Madeline
answered as best she could; but her replies were only conjecture, and
modified to allay the fears of her guests. Helen was in a white glow of
Soon cowboys appeared riding barebacked horses, driving in others and
the burros. Some of these horses were taken away and evidently hidden
in deep recesses between the crags. The string of burros were packed
and sent off down the trail in charge of a cowboy. Nick Steele and Monty
returned. Then Stewart appeared, clambering down the break between the
His next move was to order all the baggage belonging to Madeline and her
guests taken up the cliff. This was strenuous toil, requiring the need
of lassoes to haul up the effects.
"Get ready to climb," said Stewart, turning to Madelines party.
"Where?" asked Helen.
He waved his hand at the ascent to be made. Exclamation