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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls In The Saddle - Chapter 23. Great Days
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The Outdoor Girls In The Saddle - Chapter 23. Great Days Post by :tuanor Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :1922

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The Outdoor Girls In The Saddle - Chapter 23. Great Days

CHAPTER XXIII. GREAT DAYS

That very afternoon Allen composed a letter to Paul Loup's concert manager--advised and censored by the girls, of course--and they all rode off to town to mail it in time to catch the four o'clock outgoing mail.

"Now," said Mollie, as, this duty well performed, they started back to the ranch, "I feel better. We've started something, anyway."

"Let's hope that we can finish it," added Grace, dubiously.

They did not expect an answer to this epistle within ten days, and in the meantime they found plenty to keep them busy around the ranch.

Progress at the mines was swift, and almost any minute now they might expect to hear the glorious tidings that some one had "struck it rich."

Nothing had been seen of Peter Levine since that memorable night when the map had been taken from him, and it was rumored that the rascally lawyer had left town.

"And the longer he keeps away the healthier it will be for him, I reckon," Allen said, adding with a laugh: "Gee, but it makes me happy every time I think of how sore that chap may be."

Betty had dimpled sympathetically.

"You have an awfully mean disposition, Allen," she chided him.

Meggy and Dan Higgins were working furiously at their mine, but after a few days Betty was quick to see that they were not progressing as well as some of the others. After all Meggy, though unusually strong and robust for her age, was only a girl and her father was an old man who had just about worn out his energies in a fruitless search for fortune.

Betty had besought her father to send help to these good friends of hers, and Mr. Nelson had immediately complied.

There had been some trouble with Dan at first--with Meggy too, for that matter.

"We can't take nothin' thet we can't pay fer, sir," the old fellow assured Mr. Nelson positively. But the latter reminded him that he and Meggy had saved his daughter's life, as well as those of the other girls, and that this put him, Mr. Nelson, deeply in the others' debt. In view of this the old fellow finally surrendered. In his heart he was deeply, fervently thankful for the help of the young, able-bodied man whom Mr. Nelson provided and for whose services he paid.

"But ef I strike thet thar gold vein, sir," Dan assured Mr. Nelson earnestly, "I'm goin' to make it up to you, sir, every cent of it."

"All right, we can talk about that later," Mr. Nelson said, and laughed and walked on to view his own operations, feeling that he had done a very good day's work.

One morning, as the girls mounted their horses and turned their heads in the direction of the gold diggings, they heard what seemed to be wild cheering and shouting in the distance and with one impulse they urged their horses to a gallop.

"Somebody's found something!" shouted Mollie, as the cheering and shouting became more distinct. "Oh, girls, I wonder who it is."

"Maybe a mine has caved in, or something," Grace called back, pessimistically. "You'd better not get too happy, all at once."

"You old wet-blanket!" cried Betty, as she leaned forward and whispered in Nigger's ear, urging him to greater speed. "That kind of mine doesn't cave in very often. Oh, Nigger, hurry, old boy! Don't you know we've got to get there quickly?"

As they approached the noise became tumultuous, and as they topped a small hill that brought them in full view of the new diggings they saw a sight that they would never forget as long as they lived.

They gazed on what seemed to be a mob gone wild. Men grasped each other around the waists, performing some kind of crazy dance that looked like an Indian cakewalk. Others tossed their hats in the air and shot holes through them as they fell to the ground. And all were laughing, crying, shouting, waving arms and head gear in a sort of wild, feverish, primal jubilation.

The girls caught the thrill of it and they tingled to their finger tips. Putting spurs to their horses, they galloped down into the thick of it.

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