The Girl from Montana (Chapter 6, page 1 of 17)


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Chapter 6

He stepped boldly around the green barrier, and his first glance told him
she was lying there still asleep; but the consciousness of another
presence held him from going away. There, coiled on the ground with
venomous fangs extended and eyes glittering like slimy jewels, was a
rattlesnake, close beside her.

For a second he gazed with a kind of fascinated horror, and his brain
refused to act. Then he knew he must do something, and at once. He had
read of serpents and travellers' encounters with them, but no memory of
what was to be done under such circumstances came. Shoot? He dared not. He
would be more likely to kill the girl than the serpent, and in any event
would precipitate the calamity. Neither was there any way to awaken the
girl and drag her from peril, for the slightest movement upon her part
would bring the poisoned fangs upon her.

He cast his eyes about for some weapon, but there was not a stick or a
stone in sight. He was a good golf-player; if he had a loaded stick, he
could easily take the serpent's head off, he thought; but there was no
stick. There was only one hope, he felt, and that would be to attract the
creature to himself; and he hardly dared move lest the fascinated gaze
should close upon the victim as she lay there sweetly sleeping, unaware of
her new peril.

Suddenly he knew what to do. Silently he stepped back out of sight, tore
off his coat, and then cautiously approached the snake again, holding the
coat up before him. There was an instant's pause when he calculated
whether the coat could drop between the snake and the smooth brown arm in
front before the terrible fangs would get there; and then the coat
dropped, the man bravely holding one end of it as a wall between the
serpent and the girl, crying to her in an agony of frenzy to awaken and
run.

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