Big Stakes

1
It doesn't take much argu-
ment to start something.
Once started, there is only
one way to finish it.

2
Of course a woman was
at the bottom of it -
'twas always thus.

3
However, Mary Moore, waitress
in the White Star, and the most
popular girl in town, was worth
fighting over.
		. . . Wilamae Carson

4
Bully, Brand, owner 
of the local pool hall, 
and fond of Mary.
	. . . Les Bates.

5
Jim Gregory, foreman of the
"Crazy Snake" Rancho, a
devil-may-care-buckaroo that
refuses to take life seriously.
  . . . JAMES B. WARNER

6
'Skinny' Fargo, his best friend
and the 'goat' in many of
Jim's wild escapades.
		. . . H. S. Karr

7
"An' I smiled at Mary
 and the big clodhopper
 jumped on me."

8
"I'll have to go to the
 office for my key."

9
The Mexican side of the 
border, a Fiesta is taking 
place at the Rancho del 
Rada.

10
Senorita Mercedes Aloyez, the
proud Castillian daughter of
Don Enrico, master of the
Rancho del Rada.
           . . . Eleanor Fair

11
El Capitan Montoya, Com-
mandant at Sonoratown, to
whom she is betrothed.
   . . . Robert H. Gray

12
"Ah, Senorita - when your
 father, Don Enrico, re-
 turns next month from
 Pozo - then shall we be
 wed."

13
"El Capitan - my father
 gave you my hand -
 but not yet have I given
 you my heart."

14
"A fine oil can you are.
 That toss sure was the
 snake's hips."

15
"I leave now, Senorita, to
 join my men at Senora-
 town. Will you kiss me
 farewell?"

16
"My favors are not given
 so cheaply, El Capitan.
 I will race you to the
 cross-roads - for that
 kiss."

17
Pascal, a Yaqui goat-herder,
of the Rancho del Rada.
		. . . A. Knott

18
"You get the dang steer
 yourself. When you
 come back you can buy
 me a pair of crutches."

19
But steers are 'onery critters - Jim
and his cow-horse did their best.
The long-horn beat him to it. With-
out passport, without benefit of 
American Consul, not even pausing
to say good-bye, the stampeding 
brute invaded the State of Sonora.

20
"You have lost, El Capitan.
 The brave Americano
 - has won the race."

21
"We were racing - for
    a kiss - - - "

22
"Will the El Capitan be
 good enough to get
 my horse?"

23
Jim returned to the ranch,
riding upon air, dazed by
the beautiful vision that
knocked him for a row of
hot tamales.

24
"Just because you ain't
 popular with the ladies,
 like I am, you're sore!"

25
"Gosh a'mighty! You ought
 to have seen her - she's
 a peach - a regular dog-
 goned peach."

26
"She's a gold-dusk maverick
 millin' around in a flock
 of chickasaw cayuses. Say,
 that dame - - - "

27
"Dame - - - where's
 that steer?"

28
"Thunderation! I plumb for-
 got about the blamed long-
 horn! The way he was
 runnin' he's probably down
 in the neighborhood of
 Pozo by now - - - "

29
"She's a satin-finished ten
 of hearts in a deck of
 greasy paste-boards."

30
"I knew a feller once who
 was ridin' for th' Lazy S -
 and he fell in love with a
 Senorita that lived across
 the border in Chihuahua,
 and - - - "

31
"And that's what'll
 happen to you."

32
"I'm betting he died a
    joyous death!"

33
"Oh, the ravens wheel, an' the coyotes
  squeal,
An' a buzzard sets in a
  tree;"

34
"You're answerin'!"

35
 "But a maiden fair, with
      midnight hair,
"Is a callin' - - - a-callin'
      me!"

36
"Brand has threatened to
 kill you on sight! He's on
 his way here now! Please
 get away quick before
 he comes!"

37
"I'm not built for runnin',
 Mary. I've got bends in
 my legs from ridin' a horse.
 Reckon I'll have to stay an'
 take my medicine."

38
"Jim, I'd die if anything
 happened to you - - - "

39
"Looks like you're gettin'
 ready to play a harp. Ain't
 you ever goin' to learn that
 dynamite's a tame sport
 to foolin' around with
 women - - - "

40
"When Brand shows up,
 tell him that he'll find
 me here - waitin' for
 him."

41
"Pascal, keep you a close
 watch on the Senorita
 Mercedes as the eyes
 of her duenna are dim
 and her ears they are dull."

42
"If you are faithful - five
 - ten - of the brinca-
 dores, the little jumping
 beans, shall be yours."

43
"Where's Gregory?"

44
"Now, it's an even
    break - - -"

45
"Grab your gun, you
 poor excuse - I'm
 waitin'."

46
"I just come to warn you
 to get out of the country.
 I'm givin' you just one
 week to pack an' travel."

47
"Yellow!"

48
"Say, what's a nice present
 for the Senorita? I'm
 callin' on her tonight."

49
"An' you're goin' along
 to stand watch so that
 no Spiggoties pot me
 in the interlude."

50
The trysting place.

51
"You little black-eyed lump
 of Paradise, you've got
 my heart roped, throwed,
 and double-half-hitched
 for keeps."

52
"And sometime - you
 will take me - to your
 people?"

53
"You bet your life -
 sure. You and me are
 permanent."

54
"Ah, I like - much - 
 the Senor Americano."

55
"We're even. I'm loco
 about the Senorita
 Mercedes."

56
"Tomorrow night the
 Senor Americano will
 return?"

57
"Nothing could keep me
 away. I'm for you, mi
 amigo, till grass grows
 on the ocean."

58
"Listen! Sheba was only a
 cross-eyed witch beside
 my little Queen. If she
 wanted the moon I'd put
 wings on my horse and
 ride to heaven."

59
"Let's get out of here
 quick. I've got a funny
 feeling up an' down
 my spine."

60
"Don't be foolish. If you
 get shot I'll see that you
 get a swell headstone."

61
"It is not for me, the re-
 venge. It is not for me
 Pascal, to kill! Another
 that pleasure shall have!

62
At the barracks of the
El Capitan in Sonora-
town.

63
"It is about the Senorita
 Mercedes - one other
 Americano there is and
 he waits. Both may be
 taken."

64
"Ten of my best men at
 once - with equipment
 for a week's trip."

65
"Bring along the reptil
 Diablo, and the Padre,
 there will be a marriage."

66
"And the brincadores,
 El Capitan - the little
 jumping beans - - -"

67
Six nights Senor Jim came to
meet the fair Senorita while the
reluctant 'Skinny' patiently stood
watching by the banks of the
Santa Cruz. On this, the seventh
night - - -

68
"I fear, Senor - - - "

69
"Pascal, the Yaqui, has been
 away. Tonight he returned,
 bringing with him the terrible
 gila monster - the reptil
 Diablo! He looks at me -
 so - I am afraid - - - "

70
"Now, now, my little wild-
 rose sweetness, don't get
 shaky! Everything will
 pan out plumb all right."

71
"Listen Angel kid, tonight
 we'll get an American
 Padre - or a Justice of
 the Peace - and be
 married permanent and
 regular!"

72
"What th' hell - - - "

73
In Vallejo, other events are
shaping themselves - guided
by the unseen hand of Brand,
the secret leader of the 
Night Riders.

74
"It's bite is death."

75
"Well, here's where we
 kiss the Angels. I hope
 you're satisfied."

76
"You're lover - shall feel
 the bite of the Reptile
 Diablo - - - "

77
"But before that there shall
 be the marriage. Senorita
 Mercedes, to me, El
 Capitan Montoya, by
 Padre Agonza."

78
"No, perhaps the Seno-
 rita would rather be
 the victim."

79
"I will die."

80
"So? The pleasure shall
      be yours."

81
"You're a hell of a brave
 Captain - to torture a woman!
 You're afraid to face a man
 - without a pack of your
 dirty wolves at your back!"

82
"El Capitan ain't no sport! He
 wouldn't take a chance on a
 cinch. He wouldn't bet on four
 aces - unless he had another
 one up his sleeve - he's afraid
 to take a gamble."

83
"It is a lie! El Capitan
 would bet life itself on
 the dice, the horse, the
 brincadore - - - "

84
"Now you're talking!
 Prove that you're a
 game sport and will
 gamble on the jumpers!"

85
"The stakes?"

86
"They shall be the lives of
'Skinny' and me - and the
 love of Senorita Mercedes
 - against your life!"

87
"If I win, we go free an'
 the Senorita goes with
 us - an' - El Capitan
 lets the reptil bite him - -"

88
"You don't care how
 you gamble away my
 life, do you?"

89
"El Capitan accepts the
        wager!"

90
"It might interest you to
 know that your friend
 Gregory is across the
 border tonight making
 love to a Spanish Senorita."

91
"One of my men followed
 him. I know where to
 get him when I want him."

92
"This is your last chance.
 Marry me and I promise
 to let Gregory go.
 Otherwise - - - "

93
"I won't - I love him - - - "

94
"Tonight your lover
       dies!"

95
"Take this note to Gregory
 - you know where to
 find him."

96
Certain it is when a bet is made
on the brincadores the pledge
must be kept: else the soul of
the one who refuses shall be,
in purgatory, forever as the
bouncing bean - unable to
find repose!

97
"I'll take the little spotted
       fellow - - - "

98
"The brincadore that first
 jumps out of the circle
 shall be the winner. The
 Padre shall referee."

99
"Go to it, you little son-
 of-a-seed-pod, keep
 moving! You're doing
 fine!"

100
"It is not fair! The
 brincadores should
 not be talked to!"

101
"Gosh, can't a fellow
 boost for his own
 bean."

102
"According to the rules the
 Senor Americano must
 neither talk to the bean nor
 tickle it with a straw to
 make it go quicker."

103
"It is finished - Senor
 Jim's bouncer is the 
 victor!"

104
"Safely permit the Vaqueros
 Americanos to return again
 to the Rancho del Crazy
 Snake."

105
"Hold on a minute, El Capitan.
 Before you feed yourself
 to the gila monster tell that
 hombre to give us back our
 guns."

106
"Senorita Mercedes, to you,
 farewell - adios! The hand
 that you do not desire I
 shall offer to the reptil
 Diablo."

107
"You're too white."

108
"El Capitan, you gave me
 a chance for life - now
 I'll give you a chance
 for love!"

109
"Take your choice,
 Senorita, we're leavin'
 it all to you!"

110
"A boy brought it to me
 - I don't know anything
 about it."

111
"I must go in a hurry,
 Senorita. Let us decide
 this matter when I return."

112
"This may be a trap set
 by Brand. You had
 better follow."

113
"You shall watch him
        die!"

114
"Americano Jim is - what
 you call - a good sport.
 I will take my men and
 go with you."

115
"I'll wait here, you
 fellows get Gregory."

116
"If you come near me
     I'll jump!"

117
A woman's decision.

118
"For the Senor Americano - - "

119
"It is the romance, the
 friendship, the respect.
 Him I shall always -
 admire."

120
"But for El Capitan -
 my brave El Capitan - - "

121
"Now, I have discover
 - in my heart, it is -
 love."

122
"Well, you poor, love-sick
 calf - are you sorry the
 Senorita give you the
 gate?"

123
"No, I'm not. When those
 beans got to jumpin' I
 got to thinkin' that Mary
 was a pretty good sort
 of girl, after all."

The
END


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