The Girl from Montana (Chapter 2, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 2

A great fear settled down upon the girl as she realized that she was alone
and, for a few hours at least, free. It was a marvellous escape. Even now
she could hear the echo of the man's last words, and see his hateful smile
as he waved his good-by and promised to come back for her to-morrow.

She felt sure he would not wait until the night. It might be he would
return even yet. She cast another reassuring look down the darkening road,
and strained her ear; but she could no longer hear hoof-beats.
Nevertheless, it behooved her to hasten. He had blanched at her suggestion
of walking spirits; but, after all, his courage might arise. She shuddered
to think of his returning later, in the night. She must fly somewhere at

Instantly her dormant senses seemed to be on the alert. Fully fledged
plans flashed through her brain. She went into the cabin, and barred the
door. She made every movement swiftly, as if she had not an instant to
spare. Who could tell? He might return even before dark. He had been hard
to baffle, and she did not feel at all secure. It was her one chance of
safety to get away speedily, whither it mattered little, only so she was
away and hidden.

Her first act inside the cottage was to get the belt from the cupboard and
buckle it around her waist. She examined and loaded the pistols. Her
throat seemed seized with sudden constriction when she discovered that
the barrels had been empty and the weapons would have done her no good
even if she could have reached them.

She put into her belt the sharp little knife her brother used to carry,
and then began to gather together everything eatable that she could carry
with her. There was not much that could be easily carried--some dried
beef, a piece of cheese, some corn-meal, a piece of pork, a handful of
cheap coffee-berries, and some pieces of hard corn bread. She hesitated
over a pan half full of baked beans, and finally added them to the store.
They were bulky, but she ought to take them if she could. There was
nothing else in the house that seemed advisable to take in the way of
eatables. Their stores had been running low, and the trouble of the last
day or two had put housekeeping entirely out of her mind. She had not
cared to eat, and now it occurred to her that food had not passed her lips
that day. With strong self-control she forced herself to eat a few of the
dry pieces of corn bread, and to drink some cold coffee that stood in the
little coffee-pot. This she did while she worked, wasting not one minute.

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