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A Leap For A Lover

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Itiding over the Texan prairie on her spirited black stoed, with cheeks glowiiig, and eyes flashing with a sense of limitless liberty, Alice Arlyn seeuied a second Di Vernon - an Amazonian queen - every thing brave and beautiful. A summer day's sun was sinking beyond the horizon line of the wide expanse of prairie. A light breeze carne murmuring over the undulating grass. "This is perfectly delightful I" exclaimed Aliee, removing her hat. "The wind fairly lifts the hair from my brow." "If you wore a chignon you would be more desirous to avoid that effect, laughed her brother. "Imagine Arab and me scampering over tho prairie in chase of that article. " Alice smiled. "If I were a cynic, I would say that a chignon was a fit einblem of civilization - a sham ; but as I am not a cynic, I will enjoy my present freedom in thaiikf uhiess. " "Isay, Alice, hadu't we better return? They generally want me at the Ranche about this time. " "111 excuse your further attendance, Torn, but I am determined to go as far as the rier. I've discovered a new species of running vine among the trees there." "Torn reined in his horse, and hositated. "Why, Torn," said Alice, "you are not afraid that any body will run away with me, I hope, and she shook her riding-whip valiantly ; "and it's impossible for me to run away with any body, for there are not a dozen living souls in as many leagues." She rearranged tho folds of her dark green habit, and, with a graceful, mock obeisance to Torn, darted away. Torn, unlike most brothers, admired his sister more than any one else on earth. These two were all to each other - alone in the world - and their mutual love was infinitely greater on this account. Torn stood still for some time, looking after the receding figure, until the red horizon reminded him of his duties at the Ranche. Eeaching a clump of trees on the bank of the narrow stream, Alice halted, and gazed around her. Amid all the gorgeous eoloring of the scène there mingled that undefinable spirit of sadness which never f ails to aceompany the death of a day. Perhaps this was in unisón with her thoughts, for a grave expression came into her eyes, and the half smile ceased to play around her lips. Her thoughts had gone back two years - back through months of dreary waiting and self-reproach. 'The fignre of the man she had loved seemed to come between her and the sunset, with the reproachful look he had wornat their parting. Guy Philips and she had met, and become engaged. He had loved her passionately, and she had returned his love with equal fervor - they had different ways of showing it. Guy would have been content to gaze at her from morning to night, and a smile or a wórd would have been sufficient for him. Alice was not satisfied with this. She wanted her lover to be more 'lover-like,' less 'indifferent,' as she phrased it. They were at a fashionable summer resort, and Alice flirted fast and furiously. Guy bore this with admirable patience. "A male imitation of Chaucer's GriBelda, " she murmured impatiently. ' 'Will no thing arouse him ?" There was a certain self-styled Spanish marquis at the hotel. He was pretty well known to be an unscrupulous gambler. At one of the balls Alice selected him as partner iu two successive waltzes. "Something must come of this," she thonght, as she whirled around to the strains of the "Blue Danube." Something did come of it. Gny Philips' spirit was aroused. After the dance he grasped her wrist, and led her out upon the balcony. He sternly commanded her never to dance a round dance with any other than himself. Alice had not bargained for this. She wanted more warmth, even jealousy, in her lover ; but she would brook no infringement on her liberty of action. She replied haughtily, there was a stormy scene, and they parted. When her brother Torn proposedto go to Texas, and to invest some money in a scheme for raising cattle, Alice had volunteered to accompany him ; and she was glad of the chance, for accustomed scènes and people liad become painful to her. Sitting in her saddle here, with the Texan prairie land around her, she reviewed the past with bitter sorrow. She was awakened from her rêverie by the sound of approaching horses' hoofs. On the opposite side of the river, which the drought had narrowed to a small, turbulent stream, Alice saw a band of horsemen. They were approaching. She drew back amid the trees and watched them. As they came nearer, she saw they were Comancho Indians. They reached the opposite bank, and stoppe'd to parley. Their attention seemed fixed on some object in the distance. Alice looked in the direction indicated by their gestares, and saw the dusky forms composing a herd of buffaloes outlined against the glowing sky. The Comanches evidently resolved to pursue the flying herd. To Alice's great relief, they dashed away, leaving only three of their number on the river bank. Looking closely at these three - which she could easily do, as the river at this point was extremely narrow - she noticed that one of them was a white man. He was very pale, and his hunting shirt was blood-stained. His hands were bound together with thongs, and he hung upon his horse's neck as if too weak to sit upright. Without doubt he was a captive, and the two Indians had been left to guard him. The Comanches had their backs turned towards ;r, and were following with their eye the course of their companions. She could, however, plainly see the features of tho captive. Her face grew white as she looked, and she nearly reeled from the saddle. The captive was Guy Philips ! With a great, almost superhuman effort she collected her faculties, in order to answer the question, What was to be done ? Her first thought was to blow the whistle in the end of her riding-whip, the sound of which, if heard, would bring her brother and his dependents to her rescue. But she feit sure that it would not be heard, for the Ranche was too far away, and her signal of distress woulct draw the attention of the Comanches to her without producing auy good effect. The banks of the river wero mggeci, high and rocky ; the strssam itself - a brawling, tumulous thread of water - was barely visible from thoir immense height. A bold idea entered Alice's mind. It was a womanly idea ; to a man it would have seemed impracticable. She put her hand into the holster of her saddle, to feel that hor toy-like pistola were safe. How thankful she was that ahe had complied with Tom's roquest, and carried Jiese weapons ! Taking a revolver in one hand and whip in the otlier, sho prepared to leap ;he river. The mere thought of this atiempt would havo chilled the heart of the most iufntunted English fox-hnnter, for although the stream was narrow for a river, yet it was a terrible leap. Saying a pj ayer in her heart, she made ready to desoend among the unconscious enemy, holding the reins between her teeth. "On, Dion, on !" The whip feil stingingly 011 the noblo aiiimal's üanka. The horse reared. Then he seemed alniost to stretch out in a straight black line. His fore feet struck the edge of the other bank. L)own came the whip. He gathered himself up. Horso and rider liad leaped the rivor. The astonislied Comanches turned and viewed the apparition in amazement. Alice levelled her pistol at the nearest Indian. and fired. He wavered in his seat, and then feil with a crashing thud to the groimd. Alice dropped her whip and seized the bridle of Guy Philips' horae. She heard Guy murmur her name. "Use your spurs, if you can !" she said. The frightened animal were headed towaxds the river. She used the butt of her pistol to urge them on. It seemed as if lier brave spirit awed the horses into obedience. With a bonnd, which seemed as if it would crack their sinews, they cleared the gulf, though the weakened Guy would have fallen if he had not been bound securely to his horse. The Indiana were to be thanked for that. The Commanche attempted to follow, but his horse refused to leap. Infuriated, the Indian goaded the animal to it. The horse barely touched the the bank with his front hoofs, struggled to gain it for un instant, and then horse and rider sank down into the channel beneath. Stopping but a moment to cut the thongs which bound Guy Philips' arms, Alice rode on towards the Ranche. Ere they rerached it, Guy liad fainted from loss of blood. Tom's surprise was unbounded when Alice delivered her rescued lover into his hands. He pronounced Guy's wound, although severe, to be not dangorous, and, with proper care, he would soon recover. When Guy's senses returned, and he saw Alice, whohad refused toleave him, there was a scène, the dialogue of which, though somewhat incoherent, was mutually satisfactory to the aetors. ft appeared that Guy, having strayed from his party, liad been pounced upon by these strolling Comanches, and, after a brave struggle on his part, taken prisoner, to serve as a hostage for several of their number who had been captured by the United States' soldiere. "I say, Alice," laughed Tom, "you have fairly asserted woman's right- to use a pistol. "I will continue to assert woman's right to help man," returned Alice, glancing fondly at Guy. And Guy knew that a similar right would be his in future, as f ar as' Alice was concerned.


Old News
Michigan Argus