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Kiddie the Scout by Robert Leighton

He was in no great hurry to unpack


Rube was silent for a while.

"Didn't know 'bout the scalpin'," he said presently. "Didn't know as it were Eye-of-the-Moon as done it. Then, in that case, Broken Feather's father killed my father?"

"That's so. Guess you've got no occasion ter be anyways friendly with Broken Feather."

"Pity you allowed him t' escape," said Rube.

"Well, you see, Rube, it wouldn't have been gentlemanly to shoot at a man who was not armed," explained Kiddie, "and he was as good as unarmed when he had spent his last cartridge. You've got to be a gentleman, even when fighting a savage enemy. Yes," he went on, "I shall take a turn with the Express, if they'll let me; and I still have my licence. As for poor Jim Thurston, we will leave him at Lavender Ranch. Isa's sister, Martha Blagg, will look after him."

Kiddie of Birkenshaw's had always been well loved at Lavender, and he was warmly welcomed when his outfit halted at the gate. At his request Martha willingly undertook to nurse the wounded man until he should be well enough to return to his own home.

"My!" she exclaimed, at sight of the three heavily-loaded wagons. "My! Whatever are you goin' ter do with all that furniture? Goin' ter set up housekeepin' on your own account? Whatever have ye' gotten in all them Saratoga trunks?"

"All sorts of fixin's an' fancies," Kiddie told her. "Among other things, if you're hankerin' to know, thar's a heap of dress material that I brought all the way from London fer Martha Blagg. Likewise a dinky pair of shoes with silver buckles, and heels on 'em that'll make you inches taller'n you are now. I reckoned you'd rather have the cloth an' linen an' stuff than English hens or ducks an' sich farm truck, that wasn't just convenient ter bring along. I notioned ter bring you a couple of milch cows--pretty as antelopes, they was--but I couldn't manage 'em. Hosses is diff'rent. The brown mare with the white blaze up her face is fer Isa. Guess we may's well take her to the stable right now. He'll find her when he comes home. I'll send along the other fixings when I unpack."

He was in no great hurry to "unpack." When his outfit arrived at the camp, the main contents of the wagons were unloaded and stowed away under shelter, and the English horses were corralled. Only the materials for the building of his new cabin were left in the open at the edge of the trail.

These were the walls and partitions, doors, floors, and roof, already built in portable sections of stout American timber, needing merely to be erected and clamped in place on a substantial foundation.

He planned to erect the cabin on a long-chosen site apart from Gideon Birkenshaw's homestead, but near enough to be neighbourly.


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