Judith of the Godless Valley
Project Gutenberg's Judith of the Godless Valley, by Honoré Willsie
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Title: Judith of the Godless Valley
Author: Honoré Willsie
Release Date: December 12, 2004 [EBook #14331]
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THE GODLESS VALLEY ***
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JUDITH OF THE GODLESS VALLEY
BY HONORÉ WILLSIE
Author of "The Enchanted Canyon," "The Forbidden Trail," "Still Jim,"
"The Heart of the Desert," etc.
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
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
--_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
"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!"
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
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