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She Would A Planter Be
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She fired, and the block remained intact.
"It's a long shot," he said, with the intention of easing her chagrin.
But she bit her lip and fired again. The bullet emitted a sharp shriek as it ricochetted into space. The metal block rattled back and forth. Again and again she fired, till the clip was emptied of its eight cartridges. Six of them were hits. The block still swayed at the gaff-end, but it was battered out of all usefulness. Sheldon was astonished. It was better than he or even Hughie Drummond could have done. The women he had known, when they sporadically fired a rifle or revolver, usually shrieked, shut their eyes, and blazed away into space.
"That's really good shooting . . . for a woman," he said. "You only missed it twice, and it was a strange weapon."
"But I can't make out the two misses," she complained. "The gun worked beautifully, too. Give me another clip and I'll hit it eight times for anything you wish."
"I don't doubt it. Now I'll have to get a new block. Viaburi! Here you fella, catch one fella block along store-room."
"I'll wager you can't do it eight out of eight . . . anything you wish," she challenged.
"No fear of my taking it on," was his answer. "Who taught you to shoot?"
"Oh, my father, at first, and then Von, and his cowboys. He was a shot--Dad, I mean, though Von was splendid, too."
Sheldon wondered secretly who Von was, and he speculated as to whether it was Von who two years previously had led her to believe that nothing remained for her but matrimony.
"What part of the United States is your home?" he asked. "Chicago or Wyoming? or somewhere out there? You know you haven't told me a thing about yourself. All that I know is that you are Miss Joan Lackland from anywhere."
"You'd have to go farther west to find my stamping grounds."
"Ah, let me see--Nevada?"
She shook her head.
"Still farther west."
"It can't be, or else I've forgotten my geography."
"It's your politics," she laughed. "Don't you remember 'Annexation'?"
"The Philippines!" he cried triumphantly.
"No, Hawaii. I was born there. It is a beautiful land. My, I'm almost homesick for it already. Not that I haven't been away. I was in New York when the crash came. But I do think it is the sweetest spot on earth--Hawaii, I mean."
"Then what under the sun are you doing down here in this God-forsaken place?" he asked. "Only fools come here," he added bitterly.
"Nielsen wasn't a fool, was he?" she queried. "As I understand, he made three millions here."
"Only too true, and that fact is responsible for my being here."
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