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- The Winning of Barbara Worth - 1/75 -


[Illustration: Barbara. Often as Barbara sat looking over that great basin her heart cried out to know the secret it held.]

THE WINNING OF BARBARA WORTH

BY

HAROLD BELL WRIGHT

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

While this story is not in any way a history of this part of the Colorado Desert now known as the Imperial Valley, nor a biography of anyone connected with this splendid achievement, I must in honesty admit that this work which in the past ten years has transformed a vast, desolate waste into a beautiful land of homes, cities, and farms, has been my inspiration.

With much gratitude for their many helpful kindnesses, I acknowledge my indebtedness to H. T. Cory, F. C. Hermann, C. R. Rockwood, C. N. Perry, E. H. Gaines, Roy Kinkaid and the late George Sexsmith, engineers and surveyors identified with this reclamation work; to W. K. Bowker, Sidney McHarg, C. E. Paris, and many other business friends and neighboring ranchers among our pioneers; and to William Mulholland, Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

I am particularly indebted to C. K. Clarke, Assistant Manager and Chief Engineer of the California Development Company, and to Allen Kelly, whose knowledge, insight and observations as a journalist and as a student of Reclamation in the Far West have been invaluable to me.

To my friend, Mr. W. F. Holt, in appreciation of his life and of his work in the Imperial Valley, this story is inscribed. H. B. W.

Tecolote Rancho, April 25, 1911.

"Give fools their gold, and knaves their power; Let fortune's bubbles rise and fall, Who sows a field, or trains a flower, Or plants a tree, is more than all."

CONTENTS

I. INTO THE INFINITE LONG AGO

II. JEFFERSON WORTH'S OFFERING

III. MISS BARBARA WORTH

IV. YOU'D BETTER MAKE IT NINETY

V. WHAT THE INDIAN TOLD THE SEER

VI. THE STANDARD OF THE WEST

VII. DON'T YOU LIKE MY DESERT, MR. HOLMES?

VIII. WHY WILLARD HOLMES STAYED

IX. THE MASTER PASSION--"GOOD BUSINESS"

X. BARBARA'S LOVE FOR THE SEER

XI. ABE LEE RESIGNS

XII. SIGNS OF CONFLICT

XIII. BARBARA'S CALL TO HER FRIENDS

XIV. MUCH CONFUSION AND HAPPY EXCITEMENT

XV. BARBARA COMES INTO HER OWN

XVI. JEFFERSON WORTH'S OPERATIONS

XVII. JAMES GREENFIELD SEEKS AN ADVANTAGE

XVIII. THE GAME PROGRESSES

XIX. GATHERED AT BARBARA'S COURT

XX. WHAT THE STAKES REVEALED

XXI. PABLO BRINGS NEWS TO BARBARA

XXII. GATHERING OF OMINOUS FORCES

XXIII. EXACTING ROYAL TRIBUTE

XXIV. JEFFERSON WORTH GOES FOR HELP

XXV. WILLARD HOLMES ON TRIAL

XXVI. HELD IN SUSPENSE

XXVII. ABE LEE'S RIDE TO SAVE JEFFERSON WORTH

XXVIII. WHAT THE COMPANY MAN TOLD THE MEXICANS

XXIX. TELL BARBARA I'M ALL RIGHT

XXX. MANANA! MANANA! TO-MORROW! TO-MORROW!

XXXI. BARBARA'S WAITIN' BREAKFAST FOR YOU

XXXII. BARBARA MINISTERS TO THE WOUNDED

XXXIII. WILLARD HOLMES RECEIVES HIS ANSWER

XXXIV. BATTLING WITH THE RIVER

XXXV. NATURE AND HUMAN NATURE

XXXVI. OUT OF THE HOLLOW OF GOD'S HAND

XXXVII. BACK TO THE OLD SAN FELIPE TRAIL

XXXVIII. THE HERITAGE OF BARBARA WORTH

ILLUSTRATIONS

_Drawn by_ F. GRAHAM COOTES

OFTEN AS BARBARA SAT LOOKING OVER THAT GREAT BASIN HER HEART CRIED OUT TO KNOW THE SECRET IT HELD.

HE HAD LIFTED THE CANTEEN AND WAS HOLDING IT UPSIDE DOWN.

"BUT I DON'T RIDE, YOU KNOW."

MORE TO REGAIN HIS COMPOSURE THAN BECAUSE HE WAS THIRSTY, HELPED HIMSELF FROM THE EARTHEN WATER JAR.

"ADIOS. TELL BARBARA I'M ALL RIGHT."

WITHOUT A WORD--FOR NO WORD WAS NEEDED--THEIR HANDS MET IN A FIRM GRIP.

The Winning of Barbara Worth

CHAPTER I.

INTO THE INFINITE LONG AGO.

Jefferson Worth's outfit of four mules and a big wagon pulled out of San Felipe at daybreak, headed for Rubio City. From the swinging red tassels on the bridles of the leaders to the galvanized iron water bucket dangling from the tail of the reach back of the rear axle the outfit wore an unmistakable air of prosperity. The wagon was loaded only with a well-stocked "grub-box," the few necessary camp cooking utensils, blankets and canvas tarpaulin, with rolled barley and bales of hay for the team, and two water barrels--empty. Hanging by its canvas strap from the spring of the driver's seat was a large, cloth-covered canteen. Behind the driver there was another seat of the same wide, comfortable type, but the man who held the reins was apparently alone. Jefferson Worth was not with his outfit.

By sending the heavy wagon on ahead and following later with a faster team and a light buckboard, Mr. Worth could join his outfit in camp that night, saving thus at least another half day for business in San Felipe. Jefferson Worth, as he himself would have put it, "figured on the value of time." Indeed Jefferson Worth figured on the value of nearly everything.

Now San Felipe, you must know, is where the big ships come in and the air tingles with the electricity of commerce as men from all lands, driven by the master passion of human kind--Good Business-- seek each his own.

But Rubio City, though born of that same master passion of the race, is where the thin edge of civilization is thinnest, on the Colorado River, miles beyond the Coast Range Mountains, on the farther side


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