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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER XIX “‘WAY UP IN THE MOUNTAIN-TOP, TIP-TOP!”
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 Dorothy realized her as the fence crashed. She saw the mad bronchos boil out of the opening like water bursting through a dam, but she could not escape.  
She found her limbs powerless, and would have sunk to the ground when she attempted to move, had not Lance leaped forward and swept her into the of his left arm. His yell—and the throwing of his wide-brimmed hat into the faces of the charging beasts—did not turn them, but the cowpuncher never for an instant lost his presence of mind.
With Dorothy he leaped to the far side of the buckboard, after having flung his hat. One heave of his shoulder sent the lightly built over upon its side. Against this barrier the maddened horses came—but not so recklessly as they had charged the fence.
They were spreading out, too, and thus thinned, the mob was not likely to do much damage. Only one horse came over the overturned buckboard. He smashed several of two wheels, and knocked the back seat .
The peril to the girl was over in half a minute, but the trouble for the hands lasted all night and the next day. They were until the next evening collecting all the again.
Lance Petterby helped them, for he considered that his mother’s pet hen was one cause of the stampede. “Though, if thet thar miser’ble little houn’ dawg had kep’ his nose out o’ thet thar basket, thar wouldn’t have been no combobberation,” drawled Lance. “That’s as sure as be.”
They made much of Lance at the ranch-house the evening of the stampede, for the adventure lost nothing in Dorothy’s telling. Tavia undertook to “play tricks with her eyes,” as Dorothy accused, and was taken firmly to task for it by her chum.
“Now, Tavia, you are not going to act like a grown-up society girl with Lance Petterby. I won’t have it,” Dorothy said. “He’s a fine fellow, and you shan’t try to make him look silly. He helped us, that time we were left behind, to follow Aunt Winnie and the boys, and now he’s actually saved my life.”
“It wouldn’t be my luck, of course, to be snatched from beneath the of a whole pack of wild horses,” Tavia.
“If you think it was fun, Miss——”
“Well! it was dreadfully romantic,” declared Tavia, using her well-worn expression. “You don’t half appreciate your adventure.”
“Adventure! And have your heart almost jump out of your mouth?”
“But that’s only for the moment,” sighed Tavia. “You’re all right now.”
“I thank Heaven I escaped death,” Dorothy said, . “And you let Lance alone.”
But Lance Petterby had already had his attention strongly to Tavia Travers, and even had she so wished, she could not have easily avoided him while he remained at the ranch.
Lance stayed for only two nights. Then he had to return to duty, but his mother remained. Ophelia was not easily caught after her last escapade. She had joined Mrs. ’s half-wild flock of , and thus far nobody had been able to catch the little hen from Rand’s Falls, Massachusetts.
When Hank and his wife had a chicken for dinner, Mrs. Ledger took the shotgun and got near enough to the flock to blow the head off of the chicken she selected.
So, as Mrs. Petterby could not think of being parted from Ophelia for any length of time, she agreed to remain at the Hardin Ranch. The lively old lady was some company for Aunt Winnie, so175 Dorothy and Tavia to roam a little after Lance went away.
There was no hope of the girls getting Ned and Nat for companions these days. They were both in the saddle from morning till night. They had helped run down the wild ponies that had stampeded.
Hank declared the boys were wearing out all the cow ponies, they rode so hard. But there were a couple of more or less quiet mounts for the girls’ use, and Flores was always about to help Dorothy and Tavia catch and saddle them. Flores could handle horses like any man, could throw the , and otherwise displayed achievements natural to a girl in the West, but strange to those from the East.
“There!” complained Tavia, as she and her chum rode away from the corral. “You never finished telling me about that girl and the handsome stage driver, Doro. Aren’t they planning to run away and get married?”
“I don’t think so,” said Dorothy, with a little smile.
“But you don’t know for sure?” said the eager Tavia.
“I’m pretty sure,” admitted her chum gravely. “Not unless each is going to elope with another party.”
“Why, have they quarreled?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Doro Doodlebugs! You tell me at once. You’re every bit as mysterious as a baker’s mincepie.”
“But what do you want me to tell you?” asked Dorothy.
“Aren’t Flores and José sweethearts?”
“Certainly not!”
“Why not?”
“Because they happen to be brother and sister!” cried Dorothy, with a burst of laughter. For once one of Tavia’s romances was !
The girls had started for the hills, but they followed a trail which led them farther north than the path they had followed under Hank Ledger’s guidance.
“Perhaps we shall find the source of Lost River,” Dorothy said.
They had taken nobody into their confidence upon setting out, nor did anybody at the ranch-house see them go save Flores . In ten minutes after the girls started they were completely out of sight of the home buildings, the country was so rolling.
The ponies were good travelers. Long before noon Dorothy and Tavia were deep in the wooded hills.
“I’d love to go to the top of that mountain,Tavia,” said Dorothy, pointing to a green hill that rose right before them.
“Let’s!” cried Tavia. “From that height we ought to be able to see far—miles and miles!”
“Do you suppose we can get there and back by suppertime?”
“Why not?&rdqu............
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