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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER IX WHAT FOLLOWED AN ELOPEMENT
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 “Take my gun, Lance, and stand at the door,” commanded the solemn, bewhiskered Justice. “Ain’t nobody gwine tuh disturb this court while in th’ puffawmance of its duty. No, sir!  
“Git busy, folks! Ketch holt of han’s,” and he proceeded to read through the form made and provided for such occasions by the State Judiciary, while Mr. Peleg continued to hammer at the door.
Dorothy and Tavia marveled at the courage of Molly Crater, who actually responded to the questions in unshaken voice while her angry father shouted threats outside.
“Now, by jinks!” exclaimed the Justice, throwing down the book and the bride with a kiss like the crack of a bullwhip, “yuh air tied hard an’ fast. Le’s see ol’ Peleg yuh.”
“He’s got a gun,” said the cowpuncher warningly, at the door. “Ef he blows Colt’s head off the knot will be purty well busted—what?”
 “Wal, I’ll lend Jim my gun,” said the Justice. “Then let ’em go to it.”
“No, sir-ree!” exclaimed the newly made Mrs. Colt. “I won’t have my husband and my father a-shooting at one another.”
“Peleg means business, Molly,” said Lance.
“So do I,” declared the bride. “I’d leave Jim right now ef he aimed a gun at pap. Just as I left pap ’cause he shot at Jim.”
Dorothy and Tavia were badly frightened. These people talked of the use of weapons in a most barbarous way. Even Tavia began to think the West was more uncivilized than it was romantic.
“That’s a good, strong door,” the bewhiskered Whistler. “And the window are bullet-proof. We stand a siege. I got a cellar, too.”
“But we can’t stay here!” cried Dorothy, in great .
“That is so, Doro. We have to catch that train,” agreed Tavia.
“There’s more’n one train stops at Killock, Miss,” said Molly Colt, nee Crater, to Dorothy Dale. “And pap will git tired and go away.”
“Nop,” said Lance, the cowboy. “I promised to git these ladies to Killock in time for the mawnin’ train, an’ I’m goin’ ter do it, or er leg!”
“And it’s after midnight now,” said Dorothy, looking at her watch.
“Yuh’ll hafter slip out the back way, git yuh , an’ scoot,” advised Whistler through his whiskers.
“We’ll all light out that way,” said young Colt.
“But we don’t wanter get these girls in any trouble,” said Mrs. Colt.
“We’ll leave ’em at once. Make for Branch Coulie. That’ll your pap off their trail,” said her husband of five minutes.
Dorothy Dale, although she was much frightened by the situation, did not lose her presence of mind. “Why don’t you and your husband stay here, Mrs. Colt?” she said, clinging to the older girl’s hand. “You remain in the house—or in this cellar Mr. Whistler speaks of, while Mr. Lance and Tavia and I slip out at the back and get away. Your father will think we are you.”
“That idea is as good as gold,” declared Lance, admiringly. “What the little lady says goes, Bill. You agreed, Jim?”
“And me, too,” said Molly Colt, when her husband nodded.
“Go to it,” squealed Whistler in his funny voice.
Tavia nudged Dorothy, and whispered: “You’re crazy! you’ll get us shot.”
“Not a bit,” said Lance, quickly, hearing her. “Our ponies are as fresh as can be now, while Peleg’s is clean tuckered out. He’s traveled already three times as fur as we have—and he ain’t been savin’ horseflesh, nuther, the state of mind he’s in. Believe me!”
“But the sheriff?” asked Tavia. “Won’t he arrest us?”
“If he wants my vote nex’ year,” Whistler, “he won’t . He’s only along to see fair play, I reckon.”
“Come on, then,” cried Lance.
“I’ll keep Peleg at the door. Colt, you an’ Molly slip the cellar,” commanded the Justice of the Peace. “Peleg will hear Lance and these young ladies after they git started, and I’ll sick him ontuh yuh. He wouldn’t ketch yuh in a week o’ Sundays—an’ I never seed that week come around yit.”
The girls from the East had only time to kiss Molly Colt good-bye and wish her happiness, when Lance hurried them out of the back door of the house. They were both keyed up with excitement, but Lance did not realize how troubled they were as he lifted them onto their respective ponies, after cinching the saddles again.
“All ready?” whispered the cowboy. “Then we’ll start. I’ll ride behind. If the old goose does any shooting he’ll aim at me, anyway—and none o’ these nestors kin shoot wuth a hang. You can see the trail, ladies?”
“Oh, yes,” replied Dorothy.
They rode out quietly, skirting a group of sheds, and struck into the trail. The ponies were well under way before the angry farmer heard them.
“He’s fell for it!” cried the cowboy. “Jerusha Juniper! Here he comes. Let ’em out, ladies. The ponies is fresh as jackrabbits.”
For perhaps two miles they heard the farmer and yelling behind them. But he did not shoot. Then the sounds of his pursuit ended. The ‘nestor’ had given up the chase.
“I hope he’ll not find his daughter and her husband until he gets over his mad fit,” said Dorot............
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