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The Keeper of Red Horse Pass

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
Blaze Nolan, otherwise James Blair Nolan, came slowly up the driveway from the big wrought-iron gates, where the moonlight filtered through the flowering eucalyptus trees. The air was redolent of many flowers spread over the spacious sloping lawns of this beautiful Beverly Hills estate. Ahead of him loomed the huge pile of steel and masonry, which constituted the home of Kendall H. Marsh, capitalist, sheep king, “Take-a-Chance” Kendall, as he had been dubbed. Some said that Kendall didn’t take chances; that he played a cinch game. None would deny that he was cold-blooded in his dealings. Nolan came up the broad steps and rang the bell, which was answered in a few moments by a dignified butler, who flooded the porch with light before opening the door. “I’m here to see Marsh,” said Nolan shortly. “Yes, sir,” nodded the butler. “The name, please?” “Tell him it’s the man who—the man from Painted Valley. He’ll know who you mean.” “Yes, sir. This way.” He led Nolan through the big reception hall and into a wide room, where the dim lights picked out the magnificence of its appointments. He offered Nolan a chair and disappeared through a huge, carved oak door, which opened noiselessly. He was gone but a moment. “This way, sir,” he said. “Mr. Marsh is at liberty to see you.” This room was better lighted, except for the rear where huge portieres indicated French doors leading to another room or to a balcony. Marsh was seated at a big, polished desk, littered with papers and books; a tall, slender man, immaculately dressed, gray-haired, and with a face seemingly hewn from granite. His eyes were level and as hard as agate; he had a slightly arched nose, wide, thin-lipped mouth and a square chin. His jaws bulged just enough at the hinges to give the impression that he spent much of his time with clenched teeth. Blaze Nolan stopped against the desk, and they looked at each other in silence. Nolan was six feet tall, straight as an arrow, well muscled. It was easy to see where he got his nickname. Even with his close-clipped black hair, the V-shaped notch of snow-white hair in the centre of his forehead shoved plainly, a notch which later on would be a white lock. His eyes were gray, the gray of tempered steel, showing a blue glint in the light. His nose was straight and firm above a tight-lipped mouth. The lines of his face were deeply graved, lines which might easily change from bulldog tenacity to grin-wrinkles in a moment. Marsh was fifty, Nolan less than thirty, but Marsh seemed the younger.