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HOME > Classical Novels > Dorothy Dale in the West > CHAPTER XXIV THE CHASE
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 “I tell you they’ve run away with her! Whatever shall we do?”  
Tavia was quite familiar in her excitement. She had seized Lance Petterby’s free hand and shook it with emphasis. But even at this moment Dorothy noticed the way the cowpuncher looked down at her chum, and she was sorry that Tavia was not more .
“Jerusha Juniper! do yuh mean it?” Lance said.
“We saw them riding away,” declared Tavia. “You didn’t find your aunt, did you, Doro?”
“She’s gone,” admitted Dorothy, feeling a little ill and faint.
“Jerusha Juniper! yuh don’t mean it?” repeated Lance. “’Tain’t possible that she’s been run off against her will?”
“It’s that awful Philo ,” said Tavia. “You don’t understand. She had promised to sign the papers for him this morning, and then she heard something, so she wouldn’t. He was here with a man named Biggs——”
221 “I know the scamp,” Lance.
“Well! they were just as mad!” pursued Tavia.
“So Philo has shown his hand, has he?” said Lance Petterby, slowly. “The ornery cur! I come over here to tell yuh aunt more thet I heard last night. Philo’s been workin’ for the mining company all the time.”
“Don’t stop here talking!” urged Tavia. “We must go after them. Doro and I will get our .”
“Ain’t Hank here?” demanded Lance.
“Mr. has gone to see about something at the other end of the range,” Dorothy said, in answer to this question.
“But there’s some of the Greasers here—and them boys?”
“Oh, yes!” cried Dorothy, and she told him where they were at work down in the branding pen.
“We’d better go,” admitted the cowboy. “I understand there is going to be something doing up in the hills this very day.”
“What do you mean, Mr. Lance?” cried Dorothy.
“Them minin’ people have got a gang to put in a few ca’tridges where they’ll do the most good—for them. They intend to blow out enough rock at the head of that you seen the surveyors working in, to drain the current of Lost River out of its bed.”
“Oh! the wicked things!” Tavia.
“You don’t mean it?” was Dorothy’s comment.
“So it was give to me, Miss Dale,” said Lance. “Them surveyors was workin’ for the Ackron Company. I got it from the feller that kerried the chain.”
“We saw him,” interrupted Tavia. “A bushy whiskered man.”
“Gil Patrick. That’s him,” said Lance, with emphasis. “When I got the straight tip I reckoned you folks oughter know it. For once let them mining people turn the river their way (they get it to their works a sight easier than the Desert City folks kin handle it) and yuh aunt would have a stiff fight on her hands in the courts. Possession is all of nine p’ints of the law—specially in water-rights,” added Lance, nodding vigorously.
“They must be very wicked men,” said Dorothy, “to wish to rob the poor farmers down there in the desert of water. And they will be robbing us, too.”
“I expect they’ll settle at a fair price—only yuh aunt won’t git Lost River back intuh its banks—no, sir!”
“It must not be,” declared Dorothy Dale, vigorously. “And if they have made auntie ride over to that place with them——”
“They have kidnapped her, I tell you!” cried Tavia, her excitement growing.
“I kyan’t believe it, gals,” said Lance Petterby. “But I’ll out yuh hands.”
“And we’ll get our ponies. Come, Doro,” added Tavia, starting on a run for the horse corral.
“Sorry Hank ain’t here,” said Lance, as he gave Gaby the . “But I’ll git the bunch yuh say is down there to the brandin’ pen.”
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