The Girl from Montana (Chapter 6, page 2 of 17)


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Chapter 6

There was a terrible moment in which he realized that the girl was saved
and he himself was in peril of death, while he held to the coat till the
girl was on her feet in safety. Then he saw the writhing coil at his feet
turn and fasten its eyes of fury upon him. He was conscious of being
uncertain whether his fingers could let go the coat, and whether his
trembling knees could carry him away before the serpent struck; then it
was all over, and he and the girl were standing outside the sage-brush,
with the sound of the pistol dying away among the echoes, and the fine
ache of his arm where her fingers had grasped him to drag him from danger.

The serpent was dead. She had shot it. She took that as coolly as she had
taken the bird in its flight. But she stood looking at him with great eyes
of gratitude, and he looked at her amazed that they were both alive, and
scarcely understanding all that had happened.

The girl broke the stillness.

"You are what they call a 'tenderfoot,'" she said significantly.

"Yes," he assented humbly, "I guess I am. I couldn't have shot it to save
anybody's life."

"You are a tenderfoot, and you couldn't shoot," she continued
eulogistically, as if it were necessary to have it all stated plainly,
"but you--you are what my brother used to call 'a white man.' You
couldn't shoot; but you could risk your life, and hold that coat, and look
death in the face. You are no tenderfoot."

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