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The Moccasin Ranch
A Story of Dakota

written by "Howitt, John Newton, 1885-1958"
...ed around. "We must move the goods!" he shouted above the tumult. "See, the rain is beating in!" Rivers, with Blanche encircled by his arm, pressed her to his side reassuringly. "Don't be afraid. It can't blow down," he repeated. He then leaped to Bailey's assistance, and, while the thunder crashed in their ears and the lightning blinded their eyes, they worked like frantic insects to move the goods away from the western wall, through which the rain was beating. There was a pleasure in this assault which the woman could not share. It was battle, absorbing and exalting. Their shouts were full of joyous excitement. Once, when the structure trembled and groaned with the shock of a frightful59 blast, Rivers again put his arm around Blanche, saying: "It can't blow over. See those heavy barrels? If this store blows down, there won't be a shanty standing in the county." She pushed to the window to get a glimpse of the sod when the lightning flamed. She imagined the plain as it would look with every cabin flattened to earth, its inmates scattered, unhoused in the scant, water-weighted grass. As they all stood staring out, Rivers pointed and shouted to Bailey, "See that flag-pole!" It was made of hard pine, tough and supple, but it bent in the force of the wind like a willow twig. Again and again it bowed, rose with a fling, only to be borne down again. At last it broke with a crash; the upper half, whirling down, struck the roof, opening a ragged hole60 through which the rain streamed in torrents. Rivers cried, in battle alarm, "The roof is going!" "No, it ain't!" trumpeted Bailey, sturdily; "swing a tub up here to catch the water!" The woman forgot her fears and aided the two men as they toiled to cover the more perishable goods with bolts of cotton cloth, while the appalling wind tore at the eaves and lashed the roof with broadsides of rain and hail, which fell in constantly increasing force, raising the roar of the sto...

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