Judith of the Godless Valley

Honoré Willsie Morrow

Judith of the Godless Valley

Project Gutenberg's Judith of the Godless Valley, by Honor Willsie This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: Judith of the Godless Valley
Author: Honor Willsie
Release Date: December 12, 2004 [EBook #14331]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII
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JUDITH OF THE GODLESS VALLEY
BY HONOR WILLSIE
Author of "The Enchanted Canyon," "The Forbidden Trail," "Still Jim," "The Heart of the Desert," etc.
1922

CONTENTS
I LOST CHIEF SCHOOLHOUSE II OSCAR JEFFERSON III THE GRADUATION DANCE IV THE HOUSE IN THE YELLOW CANYON V THE HUNT ON LOST CHIEF VI LITTLE SWIFT CROSSES THE DIVIDE VII THE POST-OFFICE CONFERENCE VIII JUDITH AT THE RODEO IX THE TRIP TO MOUNTAIN CITY X WILD HORSES XI THE LOG CHAPEL XII THE FIRST SERMON XIII PRINCE GOES MARCHING ON XIV THE BATTLE OF THE BULLS XV THE FLAME IN THE VALLEY XVI THE TRAIL OVER THE PASS XVII BLACK DEVIL PASS XVIII ELIJAH NELSON'S RANCH XIX HOME

JUDITH OF THE GODLESS VALLEY
CHAPTER I
LOST CHIEF SCHOOLHOUSE
"To believe in a living God; to preach His Holy Writ without fear or favor; to sacrifice self that others may find eternal life; this is true happiness."
--_The Rev. James Fowler_.
It was Sunday in Lost Chief; Sunday and mid-winter. For the first time in nearly ten years there was to be a sermon preached in the valley and every one who could move was making his way to the schoolhouse.
Douglas Spencer drove his spurs into Buster and finished the last hundred yards at a gallop. Judith, his foster sister, stood up in her stirrups, lashed Swift vigorously over the flanks with the knotted reins and when Buster slid on his haunches to the very doorstep, Swift brought her gnarled fore legs down on his sweeping tail and slid with him. She brought up when he did with her nose under his saddle blanket. The boy and girl avoided a mix-up by leaping from their saddles and jerking their mounts apart.
"Now look at here, Jude!" shouted Douglas, "you keep that ornery cow-pony of yours off of me or I'll make you sorry for it!"
Judith put her thumb to her small red nose, and without touching the stirrups leaped back into the saddle. Then she looked calmly about her.
"First ones here!" she said complacently. "Even the preacher hasn't come."
"I suppose,"--Doug's voice was bitter--"that if I rode over toward Day's to meet Jimmy you'd have to tag!"
"I sure-gawd would. Swift would like the extra exercise."
Douglas swept Judith's thin bay mare with a withering glance. "That thing! Looks like the coyotes had been at it!"
Judith wore but one spur and this had a broken rowell, but she kicked Swift with it and Swift whirled against the nervous Buster and bit him on the cheek. Buster reared. "Take that back, you dogy cowboy you!" shrieked Judith.
Douglas brought Buster round and raised his hand to strike the girl. She eyed him fearlessly. The boy slowly lowered the threatening hand and returned her gaze, belligerently.
Prince, a gray, short-haired dog, of intricate ancestry, squatted on his haunches in the snow with his tongue between his teeth and his eyes on the two horses. Swift sagged with a sigh onto three legs. Perhaps the little mare deserved some of the aspersions Douglas and his father daily cast upon her. She was a half-broken, half-fed little mare which Douglas' father had cast off. She did not look strong enough to bear even Judith's slim weight. But as the only horse Judith was permitted to call her own, the little bay was the very apple of the young girl's eyes, and she wheedled wonderful performances from Swift in endurance and cat-like quickness.
Buster was a black which the older Spencer had bred as a cow-pony but had given up because he could not be broken of bucking. Doug had begged his father for the horse, and Buster, nervous, irritable and speedy, was a joy to the boy's sixteen-year-old heart.
Douglas sat tall in the saddle. He measured, in fact, a full five feet ten inches without his high-heeled riding-boots. He was so thin that his leather rider's coat bellowed in the wind, and the modeling of his cheekbones showed markedly under his tanned skin. His sombrero, pushed back from his forehead, disclosed a thick thatch of bright yellow hair above wide blue eyes that were set deep and far apart. His nose was high bridged, and his mouth, though still immature, gave promise of full-lipped strength in its curves.
Judith was fourteen and only a couple of inches shorter than Douglas.
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