Patty Finds A Glove
From: The Gold Girl
Dismounting before her cabin, Patty dropped her reins, pushed open the
door, and entered. Her eyes flew to the little dressing table. The
packet was gone! With a thrill of exultation she carefully inspected
the room. Everything was exactly as she had left it. No blundering
Microby had been here during her absence, for well she knew that
Microby could no more have invaded the cabin without leaving traces of
her visit than she could have flown to the moon. It was midday. She
had intended to rest when she reached the cabin, but her impatience to
establish once for all the identity of the cunning prowler dispelled
her weariness, and after a hurried luncheon, she was once more in the
saddle. "We've both earned a good rest, old fellow," she confided to
her horse, as he threaded the coulee she had marked 1 NW, "but it's
only six or seven miles, and we simply must know who it is that has
been calling on us so persistently. And when I find daddy's mine and
have just oodles of money, I'm going to make it up to you for working
you so hard. You're going to have a nice, big, light, roomy box stall,
and a great big grassy pasture with a creek running through it, and
you're going to have oats three times a day, and you're never going to
have to work any more, and every day I'll saddle you myself and we'll
take a ride just for fun."
Having disposed of her horse's future in this eminently satisfactory
manner, the girl fell to planning her own. She would build a big house
and live in Middleton, and fairly flaunt her gold in the faces of
those who had scoffed at her father--no, she hated Middleton! She
would go there once in a while, to visit Aunt Rebecca, but mainly to
show the narrow, hide-bound natives what they had missed by not
backing her father with a few of their miserable dollars. She would
live in New York--in Washington--in Los Angeles. No, she would live
right here in the hills--the hills, that daddy had loved, and whose
secret he had wrested from their silent embrace. And when she tired of
the hills she would travel. Not the slightest doubt as to her ability
to locate her father's claim assailed her, now that she had learned
to read his map.
It was wonderfully good to be alive. Her glance traveled from the tiny
creek whose shallow waters purled and burbled about her horse's feet,
to the high-flung peaks of the mountains, their loftier reaches
rearing naked and craggy above the dark green girdle of pines. Slowly
and majestically, hardly more than a speck against the blue, an eagle
soared. It was a good world--courage and perseverance made things work
out right. It was cowardly to despair--to become disheartened. She
would find her father's mine--but, first she would prove that Bethune
was a scoundrel of the deepest dye. And she would prove, she admitted
to herself she wanted to prove, that Vil Holland was all his friends
believed him to be. But, she blushed with shame--what must he think of
her? Of her defense of Bethune, of her deliberate rudeness, and worst
of all, of her night ride with the horse-thieves? He knew she had
suspected him--had even accused him. Would he ever regard her as other
than a silly fool? Vividly she pictured him as he had looked lashing
his way to her through the wildly crowding horse herd, determined,
capable, masterful--and wondered vaguely what her answer would have
been had he made love to her as Bethune had done? She smiled at the
thought of Vil Holland, the unsmiling, the outspoken, the
self-sufficient Vil Holland making love!
Upon the summit of a high ridge she paused and gazed down into the
little valley where she had located the false claim. A few moments
more and she would know to a certainty the identity of the prowler who
had repeatedly searched her cabin. Certain as she was whose stakes she
would find marking the claim, it was with a rapidly beating heart that
she urged her horse into the valley and across the creek toward the
rock wall. Yes, there was a stake! And another! And there was the plot
of ground she had laboriously broken at the foot of the wall. She
swung from the saddle and examined the spot. The rock fragments she
had selected from her father's samples were gone! And now to find the
notice! As she turned to search for the other stakes, her glance
rested upon an object that held her rooted in her tracks. For a moment
her heart stopped beating as she stared at the little patch of gray
buckskin that lay limp and neglected where it had fallen. Slowly she
walked to it, stooped, and recovered it from the ground. It was a
gauntleted riding glove--Vil Holland's. She could not be mistaken,
she had seen that glove upon the hand of its owner too many times,
with its deep buckskin fringe, and the horseshoe embroidered in red
and green silk upon its back.
For a long time she stared at the green and red horseshoe. So it was
Vil Holland, after all, and not Monk Bethune, who had systematically
searched her cabin. Vil Holland, who had watched continually from his
notch in the hills. She had been right in the first place, and the
others had been wrong. Everybody disliked Bethune, and disliking him,
had attributed to him all the crookedness of the hill country, and all
the time, under their very noses, Vil Holland was the real
plotter--and they liked him! She could see it all, now--how, with
Bethune for the scapegoat, he was enabled, unsuspected, to plan and
carry out his various schemes, and with no possible chance of
detection--for he himself was the confidential employee of the
ranchmen--the man whose business it was to put an end to the
lawlessness of the hill country.
Patty was surprised that she was not angry. Indeed, she was not
conscious of any emotion. She realized, as she stood there holding the
gaily embroidered glove in her hand, that the rapture, the gladness
of mere existence had left her, and that where only a few minutes
before, her heart had throbbed with the very joy of living, it now
seemed like a thing of weight, whose heaviness oppressed her. She felt
strangely alone and helpless. She glanced about her. The sun still
shone on the green pines and the sparkling waters of the creek, and
above the high-tossed crags the eagle still circled, but the thrill of
joy in these things was gone. Slowly she turned and, still holding the
glove, mounted, and headed for the cabin on Monte's Creek.
At the door she unsaddled her horse, hobbled him, and turned him
loose. She realized that she was very tired, and threw herself down
upon the bunk. When she awoke the cabin was in darkness. The door
stood wide open as she had left it. For a moment she lay trying to
collect her bewildered senses. Through the open door, dimly
silhouetted against the starry sky, she made out the notch in the
valley rim. Her sense rallied with a rush, and she started nervously
as a pack rat scurried across the floor and paused upon the door sill
to peer inquisitively at her with his beady eyes. Crossing the room,
she closed and barred the door, and lighted the lamp. It was twelve
o'clock. She peered at herself in the glass and with an exclamation of
anger, dampened her wash-cloth and scrubbed furiously at her cheek
where, in deep tracery appeared the perfect shape of a horseshoe.
She was very hungry, and rummaging in the cupboard set out a cold
lunch which she devoured to the last crumb. Then she blew out the lamp
and, removing her riding boots, threw herself down upon the bunk to
think. She was angry now, and the longer she thought the angrier she
got. "I can see it all as plain as day," she muttered. "There isn't
anything he wouldn't do! He did cut that pack sack, and he ran the
sheep man out of the hills because he knew it would be dangerous for
him to have a neighbor that might talk. And the Samuelson horse raid!
Of all the diabolical plotting! With his outlaw friends holding
trusted positions on the ranch, and old Mr. Samuelson sick in bed! Oh,
it was cleverly planned! And that Pierce was right in with them. No
wonder he wanted to lock me in his cellar!
"Who, then, was the man that lay sprawled by the side of the trail?"
The girl shuddered at the memory of the cheap cotton shirt torn open
at the throat, and the moonlight shining whitely upon the bare leg.
"Some loyal rancher, probably, who dared to oppose the outlaws. It's
murder!" she cried aloud. "And yesterday I thought he was watching up
there in the hills to see that no harm came to me!" She laughed--a
hard, bitter laugh that held as much of mirth as the gurgle of a tide
rip. "But he's come to the end of his rope! I'll expose him! I'm not
afraid of his lawless crew! He'll find out it will take more than
rescuing me from that herd of wild horses to buy my silence! I'll ride
straight to Samuelson's ranch in the morning, and from there to
Thompson's, and I'll tell them about his part in the raid, and about
his watching like a vulture from his notch in the hills, and about his
stealing what he thought was daddy's map, and about his filing the
claim. And did show 'em the glove and--" She paused abruptly: "What a
fool I was to come away without the notice! That would have proved it
beyond any doubt, even if he hasn't recorded the claim!" For a long
time she lay in the darkness planning her course for the day. All
thought of sleep had vanished, and her eyes continually sought the
window for signs of approaching light.
At the first faint glow of dawn the girl caught up her horse and
headed for the false claim. It was but the work of a moment to locate
the stake to which the notice was attached by means of a bit of twine.
Removing the paper, she thrust it into her pocket and returned to the
cabin where she ate breakfast before starting for the Samuelson ranch.
Hurriedly washing the dishes, she picked up the glove and thrust it
into the bosom of her shirt, and drawing the crumpled notice from her
pocket, smoothed it out upon the table. Her glance traveled rapidly
over the penciled words to the signature, and she stared like one in a
dream. The blood left her face. She closed her eyes and passed her
hand slowly over the lids. She opened them, and with a nerveless
finger, touched the paper as if to make sure that it was real. Then,
very slowly, she rose from her chair and crossing the room, stood in
the doorway and gazed toward the notch in the hills until hot tears
welled into her eyes and blurred the distant skyline. The next moment
she was upon her bunk, where she lay shaken between fits of sobbing
and hysterical laughter. She drew the glove, with its fringed gauntlet
and its gaudily embroidered horseshoe from her shirt front and ran her
fingers along its velvety softness. Impulsively, passionately, she
pressed the horseshoe to her lips, and leaping to her feet, thrust the
glove inside her shirt and stepping lightly to the table reread the
penciled lines upon the crumpled paper, and over and over again she
read the signature; RAOUL BETHUNE, known also as MONK BETHUNE.
The atmosphere of the little cabin seemed stifling. Crumpling the
paper into her pocket, she stepped out the door. She must do
something--go some place--talk to someone! Her horse stood saddled
where she had left him, and catching up the reins she mounted and
headed him at a gallop for the ravine that led to the trampled notch
in the hills. During the long upward climb the girl managed to collect
her scattered wits. Where should she go? She breathed deeply of the
pine-laden air. It was still early morning. A pair of magpies flitted
in short flights from tree to tree along the trail, scolding
incessantly as they waited to be frightened on to the next tree.
Patches of sunlight flashed vivid contrasts in their black and white
plumage, and set off in a splendor of changing color the green and
purple and bronze of their iridescent feathering. A deer bounded away
in a blur of tan and white, and a little farther on, a porcupine
lumbered lazily into the scrub. It was good to be alive! What
difference did it make which direction she chose? All she wanted this
morning was to ride, and ride, and ride! She had her father's map with
her but was in no mood to study out its intricacies, nor to ride
slowly up and down little valleys, scrutinizing rock ledges. She would
visit the Samuelson ranch, and find out about the horse raid, and
inquire after Mr. Samuelson, and then--well, there would be plenty of
time to decide what to do then. But first, she would swing around by
the little tent beside the creek and see if Vil Holland had returned.
Surely, he must have returned by this time, and she must tell him how
it was she had been riding with the horses--and, she must give him
back his glove. She blushed as she felt the pressure of its soft bulk
where it rested just below her heart. Surely, he would need his
glove--and maybe, if she were nice to him, he would tell her how it
came to be there--and maybe he would explain--this. Her horse had
stopped voluntarily after his steep climb, and she glanced down at the
trampled grass, and from that to her own little cabin far below on
She wondered, as she rode through the timber how it was she had been
so quick to doubt this grave, unsmiling hillman upon such a mere
triviality as the finding of a glove. And then she wondered at her
changed attitude toward him. She had feared him at first, then
despised him. And now--she recalled with a thrill, the lean ruggedness
of him, the unwavering eyes and the unsmiling lips--now, at least, she
respected him, and she no longer wondered why the people of the hills
and the people of the town held him in regard. She knew that he had
never sought to curry her favor--had never deviated a hair's breadth
from the even tenor of his way in order to win her regard and, in
their chance conversations, he had been blunt even to rudeness. And,
yet, against her will, her opinion of him had changed. And this change
had nothing whatever to do with her timely rescue from the horse
herd--it had been gradual, so gradual that it had been an accomplished
fact even before she suspected that any change was taking place.
The huge rock behind which nestled the little tent loomed before her,
and hastily removing the glove from its hiding place, she came
suddenly upon his camp. A blackened coffee pot was nestled close
against a tiny fire upon which a pair of trout and some strips of
bacon sizzled in a frying pan. She glanced toward the creek, at the
same moment that Vil Holland turned at the sound of her horse's
footsteps, and for several seconds they faced each other in silence.
The man was the first to speak:
"Good mornin'. If you'll step back around that rock for a minute, I'll
slip into my shirt."
And suddenly Patty realized that he was stripped to the waist, but her
eyes never left the point high on his upper arm, almost against the
shoulder, where a blood-stained bandage dangled untidily.
"You're hurt!" she cried, swinging from the saddle and running toward
"Nothin' but a scratch. I got nicked a little, night before last, an'
I just now got time to do it up again. It don't amount to
anything--don't even hurt, to speak of. I can let that go, if you'll
"Well, I won't just go away--or just anything else, except just attend
to that wound--so there!" She was at his side, examining the clumsy
bandage. "Sit right down beside the creek, and I'll look at it. The
first thing is to find out how badly you're hurt."
"It ain't bad. Looks a lot worse than it is. It was an unhandy place
to tie up, left-handed."
Scooping up water in her hand Patty applied it to the bandage, and
after repeating the process several times, began very gently to
remove the cloth. "Why it's clear through!" she cried, as the bandage
came away and exposed the wound.
"Just through the meat--it missed the bone. That cold water feels
good. It was gettin' kind of stiff."
"What did you put on it?"
"Nothin'. Didn't have anything along, an' wouldn't have had time to
fool with it if I'd been packin' a whole drug-store."
"Where's your whisky?"
"I ain't got any."
"Where's your jug? Surely there must be some in it--enough to wash out
The man shook his head. "No, the jug's plumb empty an' dry. I ain't
be'n to town for 'most a week."
Patty was fumbling at her saddle for the little "first aid" kit that
she faithfully carried, and until this moment, had never found use
for. "Probably the only time in the world it would ever do you any
good, you haven't got it!" she exclaimed, disgustedly, as she unrolled
a strip of gauze from about a tiny box of salve.
"I'm sorry there ain't any whisky in the jug. I never thought of
keepin' it for accident."
The girl smeared the wound full of salve and adjusted the bandage,
"Now," she said, authoritatively, "you're going to eat your breakfast
and then we're going to ride straight to Samuelson's ranch. The doctor
will be there and he can dress this wound right."
"It's all right, just the way it is," said Holland. "I've seen fellows
done up in bandages, one way an' another, but not any that was better
'tended to than that." He glanced approvingly at the neatly bandaged
arm. "Anyhow, this is nothin' but a scratch an' it'll be all healed
up, chances are, before we could get to Samuelson's."
"No, it won't be all healed up before you get to Samuelson's either!
Run along, now, and I'll stay here while you finish dressing, and when
you're through, you call me. I've had breakfast but I can drink a cup
of coffee, if you'll ask me."
"You're asked," the man replied, gravely, "and while I go to the tent,
you might take that outfit an' jerk a couple more trout out of the
creek." He pointed to a light fishing pole with hook and line attached
that leaned against a tree. "It ain't as fancy as the outfit Len
Christie packs, but it works just as good, an' ain't any bother to
take care of."
A few minutes later Vil Holland emerged from the tent. "Sorry I ain't
got a table," he apologized, "but a fryin' pan outfit's always suited
me best--makes a fellow feel kind of free to pull stakes an' drift
when the notion hits him."
"But, you've camped here for a long time."
The man glanced about him: "Yes, a long time. I guess I know every
place in the hills for a hundred miles round an' this is the pick of
'em all, accordin' to my notions. Plenty of natural pasture, plenty of
timber, an' this little creek's the coldest, an' it always seems to
me, its water is the sparklin'est of 'em all. An' then, away off there
towards the big mountains, early in the mornin' an' late in the
evenin', when it's all kind of dim down here, you can see the sunlight
on the snow--purple, an' pink, an' sometimes it shines like silver an'
gold. It lays fine for a ranch. Sometime, maybe, I'm goin' to
homestead it. I'll build the cabin right there, close by the big rock,
an' I'll build a porch on it so in the evenin's we could watch the
lights way up there on the snow."
Patty smiled: "Who is 'we'?" she asked, mischievously.
The man regarded her gravely: "Things like that works themselves out.
If there ain't any 'we', there won't be any cabin--so there's nothin'
to worry about."
"Did you catch the horse-thieves?"
Vil Holland's face clouded. "Part of 'em. Not the main ones, though."
Patty shuddered. "I saw one of them lying back there by the trail. It
"Yes, an' a couple of more went the same way, further on. We'd rather
have got 'em alive, but they'd had their orders, an' they took their
medicine. We got the horses, though."
"I suppose you're wondering how I came to be in among those horses?"
"I figured you'd got mixed up in it at Samuelson's, somehow. The boys
didn't know nothin' about it--except Pierce--an' he guessed wrong."
Patty laughed. "He accused me of being one of the gang, and even
threatened to lock me in his cellar."
"He won't again," announced the man, dryly.
"I rode down there to get him to go for the doctor. Mr. Samuelson was
worse, and there was no one else to go. And when I started on for
town, the horses swept down on me and carried me along with them."
"Was the doctor got?" asked Holland with sudden interest.
"Yes, I rode on down to Thompson's, and Mr. Thompson sent a man to
town. He was provoked with you for not letting him in on the raid."
"He'll get over it. You see, I didn't want to call out the married
men. I surmised there'd be gun-play an' there wasn't any use takin'
chances with men that was needed, when there's plenty of us around the
hills that it don't make any difference to anyone if we come back or
not. I didn't figure on lettin' Pierce in."
When they had finished washing the dishes the girl glanced toward the
buckskin that was snipping grass in the clearing: "It's time we were
going. The doctor may start for town this morning and we'll meet him
on the trail."
"This ain't a doctor's job," protested the man. "My arm feels fine."
"It's so stiff you can hardly use it. It must feel fine. But it
doesn't make a particle of difference how fine it feels. It needs
attention. And, surely you won't refuse to do this for me, after I
bandaged it all up? Because, if anything should go wrong it would be
Without a word the man picked up his bridle and walking to the
buckskin, slipped it over his head and led him in. He saddled the
horse with one hand, and as he turned toward the girl she held out the
"Isn't this yours? I found it last evening--out in the hills."
Holland thrust his hand into it: "Yes, it's mine. I'm sure obliged to
you. I lost it a couple of days ago. I hate to break in new gloves.
These have got a feel to 'em."
"Do you know where I found it?"
"No. Couldn't guess within twenty miles or so."
Patty looked him squarely in the eyes: "I found it over where Monk
Bethune has just staked a claim. And he staked that particular claim
because it was the spot I had indicated on a map that I prepared
especially for the benefit of the man who has been searching my cabin
Holland nodded gravely, without showing the slightest trace of
surprise. "Oh, that's where I dropped it, eh? I figured Monk thought
he'd found somethin', the way he come out of your cabin the last time
he searched it, so I followed him to the place you'd salted for him."
He paused, and for the first time since she had known him, Patty
thought she detected a flicker of amusement in his eyes. "He didn't
waste much time there--just clawed around a few minutes where you'd
pecked up the dirt, an' then sunk his stakes, an' wrote out his
notice, an' high-tailed for the register's office. That was a pretty
smart trick of yours but it wouldn't have fooled anyone that knows
rock. Bethune's no prospector. He's a Canada crook--whisky runner, an'
cattle rustler, an' gambler. Somehow, he'd got a suspicion that your
father made a strike he'd never filed, an' he's been tryin' to get
holt of it ever since. I looked your plant over after he'd hit for
town to file, an' when I tumbled to the game, I let him go ahead."
"But, suppose the rock had been right? Suppose, it had really been
"Buck can run rings around that cayuse of his any old day. I expect,
if the rock had be'n right, Monk Bethune would of met up with an
adventure of some sort a long ways before he hit town."
"You knew he was searching my cabin all the time?"
"Yes, I knew that. But, I saw you was a match for 'em--him an' the
fake Lord, too."
"Is that the reason you threw Lord Clendenning into the creek, that
"Yes, that was the reason. I come along an' caught him at it. Comical,
wasn't it? I 'most laughed. I saw you slip back into the brush, but
I'd got so far along with it I couldn't help finishin'. You thought
the wrong man got throw'd in."
"You knew I thought that of you--and you didn't hate me?"
"Yes, I knew what you thought. You thought it was me that was
searchin' your cabin, too. An' of course I didn't hate you because you
couldn't hardly help figurin' that way after you'd run onto the place
in the rim-rocks where I watched from. If it wasn't for the trees I
could have strung along in a different place each time, but that's the
only spot that your cabin shows up from."
"And you knew that they always followed me through the hills?"
"Yes, an' they wasn't the only ones that followed. Clendenning ain't
as bad as Bethune, for all he's throw'd in with him. The days Bethune
followed you, I followed Bethune. An' when Clendenning followed you, I
"You thought Bethune might have--have attacked me?"
"I wasn't takin' any chances--not with him, I wasn't. One day, I
thought for a minute he was goin' to try it. It was the day you an'
him et lunch together--when he pretended to be so surprised at runnin'
onto you. I laid behind a rock with a bead draw'd on him. He stopped
just exactly one step this side of hell, that day."
Patty regarded the cowboy thoughtfully: "And Bethune told me he had to
go over onto the east slope to see about some horses. It was after we
had met Pierce, and Bethune asked about Mr. Samuelson and Pierce
snubbed him. I believe Bethune planned that raid. And seeing us
together that day, Pierce jumped to the conclusion that I was in with
"Yes, it was Monk's raid, all right, an' him an' Clendenning got away.
He doped it all out that day. I followed him when he quit you there on
the trail, an' watched him plan out the route they'd take with the
horses. Then I done some plannin' of my own. That's why we was able to
head 'em off so handy. We didn't get Bethune an' Clendenning but I'll
get 'em yet."
They had mounted and were riding toward Samuelson's. "Maybe he's made
his escape across the line," ventured the girl, after a long silence.
Holland shook his head: "No, he ain't across the line. He don't think
we savvy he was in on the raid, an' he'll stick around the hills an'
prob'ly put a crew to work on his claim." He relapsed into silence,
and as they rode side by side, under the cover of her hat brim, Patty
found opportunity to study the lean brown face.
"Where's your gun?" The man asked the question abruptly, without
removing his eyes from the fore-trail.
"I left it home. I only carried it once or twice. It's heavy, and
anyway it was silly to carry it, I don't even know how to fire it, let
alone hit anything."
"If it's too heavy on your belt you can carry it on your saddle horn.
I'll show you how to use it--an' how to shoot where you hold it, too.
Mrs. Samuelson ain't as husky as you are, an' she can wipe a gnat's
eye with a six-gun, either handed. Practice is all it takes, an'----"
"But, why should I carry it? Bethune would hardly dare harm me, and
anyway, now that he thinks he has stolen my secret, he wouldn't have
any object in doing so."
"You're goin' to keep on huntin' your dad's claim, ain't you?"
"Of course I am! And I'll find it, too."
"An', in the meantime, what if Bethune finds out he's been tricked?
These French breeds go crazy when they're mad--an' he'll either lay
for you just to get even, or he'll see that he gets the right dope
next time--an' maybe you know what that means, an' maybe you
don't--but I do."
The girl nodded, and as the horses scrambled up the steep slope of a
low divide, her eyes sought the hundred and one hiding places among
the loose rocks and scrub that might easily conceal a lurking enemy,
and she shuddered. As they topped the divide, both reined in and sat
gazing silently down the little valley before them. It was the place
of their first meeting, when the girl, tired, and lost and
discouraged, had dismounted upon that very spot and watched the
unknown horseman with his six-shooter, and his brown leather jug
slowly ascend the slope. She glanced at him now, as he sat, rugged and
lean, with his eyes on the little valley. He was just the same, grave
and unsmiling, as upon the occasion of their first meeting. She
noticed that he held his Stetson in his hand, and that the wind
rippled his hair. "Just the same," she thought--and yet--. She was
aware that her heart was pounding strangely, and that instead of a
fear of this man, she was conscious of a wild desire to throw herself
into his arms and cry with her face against the bandage that bulged
the shirt sleeve just below the shoulder.
"I call this Lost Creek," said Holland, without turning his head. "I
come here often--" and added, confusedly, "It's a short cut from my
camp to the trail."
Patty felt an overpowering desire to laugh. She tried to think of
something to say: "I--I thought you were a desperado," she murmured,
and giggled nervously.
"An' I thought you was a schoolma'am. I guess I was the first to
change my mind, at that."
Patty felt herself blushing furiously for no reason at all: "But--I
have changed my mind--or I wouldn't be here, now."
Vil Holland nodded: "I expect I'll ride to town from Samuelson's. My
jug's empty, an' I guess I might's well file that homestead 'fore
someone else beats me to it. I've got a hunch maybe I'll be rollin' up
that cabin--before snow flies."
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