Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
In a Hollow of the Hills Bret Harte

Chapter II.

Page 5 of 9

Table Of Contents: In a Hollow of the Hills

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

"Nonsense," said Key hurriedly. "We really saw nothing--it was all a fancy; and Uncle Dick was joking me because I said I thought I saw a woman's face," he added with a forced laugh.

Collinson glanced at him, half sadly. "Oh! You were only funnin', then. I oughter guessed that. I oughter have knowed it from Uncle Dick's talk!" They rode for some moments in silence; Key preoccupied and feverish, and eager only to reach Skinner's. Skinner was not only postmaster but "registrar" of the district, and the new discoverer did not feel entirely safe until he had put his formal notification and claims "on record." This was no publication of his actual secret, nor any indication of success, but was only a record that would in all probability remain unnoticed and unchallenged amidst the many other hopeful dreams of sanguine prospectors. But he was suddenly startled from his preoccupation.

"Ye said ye war straightenin' up yer pack just now," said Collinson slowly.

"Yes!" said Key almost angrily, "and I was."

"Ye didn't stop to straighten it up down at the forks of the trail, did ye?"

"I may have," said Key nervously. "But why?"

"Ye won't mind my axin' ye another question, will ye? Ye ain't carryin' round with ye no woman's shoe?"

Key felt the blood drop from his cheeks. "What do you mean?" he stammered, scarcely daring to lift his conscious eyelids to his companion's glance. But when he did so he was amazed to find that Collinson's face was almost as much disturbed as his own.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

"I know it ain't the square thing to ask ye, but this is how it is," said Collinson hesitatingly. "Ye see just down by the fork of the trail where you came I picked up a woman's shoe. It sorter got me! For I sez to myself, 'Thar ain't no one bin by my shanty, comin' or goin', for weeks but you boys, and that shoe, from the looks of it, ain't bin there as many hours.' I knew there wasn't any wimin hereabouts. I reckoned it couldn't hev bin dropped by Uncle Dick or that other man, for you would have seen it on the road. So I allowed it might have bin YOU. And yer it is." He slowly drew from his pocket--what Key was fully prepared to see-- the mate of the slipper Key had in his saddle-bags! The fair fugitive had evidently lost them both.

But Key was better prepared now (perhaps this kind of dissimulation is progressive), and quickly alive to the necessity of throwing Collinson off this unexpected scent. And his companion's own suggestion was right to his hand, and, as it seemed, again quite providential! He laughed, with a quick color, which, however, appeared to help his lie, as he replied half hysterically, "You're right, old man, I own up, it's mine! It's d--d silly, I know--but then, we're all fools where women are concerned--and I wouldn't have lost that slipper for a mint of money."

Page 5 of 9 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
In a Hollow of the Hills
Bret Harte

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004