Hands Up! (1913) | Page 1 of 138

Author: Frederick Niven | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1 Views | Add a Review

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Hands Up!


Frederick Niven


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There has been a good deal of talk, one way or another, about the Apache Kid. The Yellow Press made capital out of him just as they have made capital out of many another figure on the frontier—Texas Jack, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane.

Now, I knew the Apache Kid. I was mixed up in the last wild days of his life, and, while not seeking to white-wash him, I should like to tell—to all whom it may concern—my view of that extraordinary man.

It is common knowledge that he was liked. Not only cowboys and miners who knew him, but your moneyed person, your capitalist even, can find a sigh for Apache Kid, the hold-up man. I have known two men, prominent, respected, one "interested in mines," the other a great ranch-owner and dabbler in booms, both of whom had met Apache in their travels about the West. Both spoke of him with regret, with much more of a shake of the head over his misguided, or rudderless life, and his wild end, than with the "jolly good riddance" air that might be expected. There was reason for it.

I had better, to begin with, explain how I came to the sage-brush country of the Apache Kid, because, in a new country, the men one meets there have had some concussion (good or bad) in their lives to boast them so far. And the reason for their being in the new country is a kind of striking of the pitch-fork to get their key.

That beginning of things I must tell quite frankly, bolstering myself up to the explanation by the thought that most young men—boys, let me say—for I was but a boy (and though I say "most young men" I am talking of myself!) have a kind of what the Scots call "daftness" in them, and are generally exceedingly sorry for themselves, magnificent in their woes and grandiloquent in their hopes.

I had wanted, in the old country, to be a sheep-farmer. My mother had, however, coaxed me to go in for a scholarship at my school. We spent our summer holidays, I remember, that year, after I had sat for the examination, in the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde, an island that appeals to the youngster because of its moors, its cliffs and corries, its high rocks and adders in the heather.

All through that vacation I was out and about on the hills with the shepherd and working in the dips. My father would come and watch me clutch adroitly a sheep by the horns, swing my leg over it and straddle it to the tank, plunge it in, walk alongside, yank it up at the end, and send it down to the pen among the other baptised ones. I say this not sacrilegiously now, but recalling an unfortunate expression used at the time.

My mother (bless her) was of the old school, and had had hopes that I might become a minister of the gospel, which several boyish escapades had dashed. My father and she had little in common; and one

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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