The Border Legion (Chapter 7, page 3 of 6)


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Chapter 7

"Boys," said Kells, with a ring in his weak voice, "it'll be a
harvest for my Border Legion."

"Fer what?" queried Bate Wood, curiously.

All the others except Gulden turned inquiring and interested faces
toward the bandit.

"The Border Legion," replied Kells.

"An' what's that?" asked Red Pearce, bluntly.

"Well, if the time's ripe for the great gold fever you say is
coming, then it's ripe for the greatest band ever organized. I'll
organize. I'll call it the Border Legion."

"Count me in as right-hand, pard," replied Red, with enthusiasm.

"An' shore me, boss," added Bate Wood.

The idea was received vociferously, at which demonstration the giant
Gulden raised his massive head and asked, or rather growled, in a
heavy voice what the fuss was about. His query, his roused presence,
seemed to act upon the others, even Kells, with a strange,
disquieting or halting force, as if here was a character or an
obstacle to be considered. After a moment of silence Red Pearce
explained the project.

"Huh! Nothing new in that," replied Gulden. "I belonged to one once.
It was in Algiers. They called it the Royal Legion."

"Algiers. What's thet?" asked Bate Wood.

"Africa," replied Gulden.

"Say, Gul, you've been around some," said Red Pearce, admiringly.
"What was the Royal Legion?"

"Nothing but a lot of devils from all over. The border there was the
last place. Every criminal was safe from pursuit."

"What'd you do?"

"Fought among ourselves. Wasn't many in the Legion when I left."

"Shore thet ain't strange!" exclaimed Wood, significantly. But his
inference was lost upon Gulden.

"I won't allow fighting in my Legion," said Kells, coolly. "I'll
pick this band myself."

"Thet's the secret," rejoined Wood. "The right fellers. I've been in
all kinds of bands. Why, I even was a vigilante in '51."

This elicited a laugh from his fellows, except the wooden-faced
Gulden.

"How many do we want?" asked Red Pearce.

"The number doesn't matter. But they must be men I can trust and
control. Then as lieutenants I'll need a few young fellows, like
you, Red. Nervy, daring, cool, quick of wits."

Red Pearce enjoyed the praise bestowed upon him and gave his
shoulders a swagger. "Speakin' of that, boss," he said, "reminds me
of a chap who rode into Cabin Gulch a few weeks ago. Braced right
into Beard's place, where we was all playin' faro, an' he asks for
Jack Kells. Right off we all thought he was a guy who had a
grievance, an' some of us was for pluggin' him. But I kinda liked
him an' I cooled the gang down. Glad I did that. He wasn't wantin'
to throw a gun. His intentions were friendly. Of course I didn't
show curious about who or what he was. Reckoned he was a young
feller who'd gone bad sudden-like an' was huntin' friends. An' I'm
here to say, boss, that he was wild."

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