The Border Boys on the Trail by Fremont B. Deering

The Border Boys on the Trail

byFremont B. Deering

Kobo ebook | April 6, 2016

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"Maguez! Maguez!"

The trainmen began hoarsely shouting the curious-sounding name of the small frontier town near the Mexican border, in the southwest part of New Mexico. Slowly the long dust-covered Southern Pacific express rolled imposingly into "Mag-gay," very slowly, in fact, as if it did not wish to tarry in that desolate, sun-bitten portion of the continent.

As the brakes began to grind down, one of two boys of about seventeen, who had been lounging on the shady side of a forward sleeper, awoke from a semi-doze with a start.

"Hullo! somebody wants Maggie!" exclaimed Ralph Stetson, as he gazed out of the open window. He saw nothing more novel before his eyes, however, than the same monotonous stretch of yellow, sandy wastes, sprinkled with sage brush and dotted by a few wandering cattle, which the train had been traversing for hours.

"You'll have to get used to New Mexican pronunciation of Mexican names, Ralph," laughed his companion, as he also opened his eyes and began looking about him in the half-startled manner peculiar to those abruptly awakened from "forty winks." "'Maggie', as you call it, is our station."

"Station!" echoed the other. "Where is it?"

He stuck his head out of the window as the train gradually decreased speed, but his eyes encountered nothing more suggestive of a town than a stock car on a lonely side track, into which some cowboys, with wild yells and much spurring of their wiry little steeds, were herding a few beef cattle.

"That freight car must be in front of the town," muttered the boy, pulling in his head.

"Over this side, you tenderfoot!" laughed Jack Merrill, pointing out of the left-hand window. "Haven't you got used to Western towns yet?"

"One-sided towns, you mean, I guess," said Ralph, rising and looking out in the opposite direction. "Why in the name of the State of New Mexico do they build all the towns out here at one side of the tracks?"

"So that Easterners can have something to wonder about," laughed Jack Merrill, brushing off the accumulation of white desert dust from his dark suit with a big brown hand.

"Or so that they can at least get a few minutes of shade when a train pulls in," retorted Ralph, gazing at the sun-baked collection of wooden structures toward which the train was rolling. A yellow water tank, perched on a steel frame, towered above the town like a sunflower on a stalk. Apparently it took the place of trees, of which there was not a vestige, unless a few cactus plants be excepted.

"Better follow my example and brush some of the desert off," said Jack, still brushing vigorously.

"No, let the porter do it; here he is," said the Eastern Ralph. Sure enough, with his black face expanded in a grin expectant of tips, the presiding genius of the Pullman approached.

"Come on, cheer up, Ralph!" laughed Jack, glancing at his companion's dismal face, which was turned toward the window and its barren view. "Don't be downcast because my home town isn't surrounded by elms, and meadows, and fat Jersey cows, and all that. Haven't we lain awake many a night at Stonefell College, talking over the West, and here you are in the heart of it."

"Well, it's a good warm heart, anyway!" grumbled Ralph, mopping his steaming forehead.

The train came to a stop with an abrupt jerk, and followed by the porter, carrying two new and shiny suitcases, the boys hastened from the car, into the blinding sunlight which lay blisteringly on Maguez and its surroundings. Everything quivered in the heat. The boys were the only passengers to alight.

"Phew, it's like opening an oven door!" exclaimed Ralph, as the heated atmosphere fell full upon him. "We've come more than two thousand miles from an Eastern summer to roast out here."

"And look at the train, will you!" cried Jack. "It looks as if it had been through a snowstorm."

He pointed down the long line of coaches, each of which was powdered thickly with white dust.

"All ab-oa-rd!"


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Title:The Border Boys on the TrailFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:April 6, 2016Publisher:T.M. Digital PublishingLanguage:English

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