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One Dollar's Worth

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

The judge of the United States court of the district lying along the
Rio Grande border found the following letter one morning in his mail:

When you sent me up for four years you made a talk.
Among other hard things, you called me a rattlesnake.
Maybe I am one--anyhow, you hear me rattling now.
One year after I got to the pen, my daughter died of--
well, they said it was poverty and the disgrace together.
You've got a daughter, Judge, and I'm going to make
you know how it feels to lose one. And I'm going to
bite that district attorney that spoke against me. I'm
free now, and I guess I've turned to rattlesnake all right.
I feel like one. I don't say much, but this is my rattle.
Look out when I strike.
Yours respectfully,

Judge Derwent threw the letter carelessly aside. It was nothing new
to receive such epistles from desperate men whom he had been called
upon to judge. He felt no alarm. Later on he showed the letter to
Littlefield, the young district attorney, for Littlefield's name was
included in the threat, and the judge was punctilious in matters
between himself and his fellow men.

Littlefield honoured the rattle of the writer, as far as it concerned
himself, with a smile of contempt; but he frowned a little over the
reference to the Judge's daughter, for he and Nancy Derwent were to be
married in the fall.

Littlefield went to the clerk of the court and looked over the records
with him. They decided that the letter might have been sent by Mexico
Sam, a half-breed border desperado who had been imprisoned for
manslaughter four years before. Then official duties crowded the
matter from his mind, and the rattle of the revengeful serpent was

Court was in session at Brownsville. Most of the cases to be tried
were charges of smuggling, counterfeiting, post-office robberies, and
violations of Federal laws along the border. One case was that of a
young Mexican, Rafael Ortiz, who had been rounded up by a clever
deputy marshal in the act of passing a counterfeit silver dollar. He
had been suspected of many such deviations from rectitude, but this
was the first time that anything provable had been fixed upon him.
Ortiz languished cozily in jail, smoking brown cigarettes and waiting
for trial. Kilpatrick, the deputy, brought the counterfeit dollar and
handed it to the district attorney in his office in the court-house.
The deputy and a reputable druggist were prepared to swear that Ortiz
paid for a bottle of medicine with it. The coin was a poor
counterfeit, soft, dull-looking, and made principally of lead. It was
the day before the morning on which the docket would reach the case of
Ortiz, and the district attorney was preparing himself for trial.

"Not much need of having in high-priced experts to prove the coin's
queer, is there, Kil?" smiled Littlefield, as he thumped the dollar
down upon the table, where it fell with no more ring than would have
come from a lump of putty.

"I guess the Greaser's as good as behind the bars," said the deputy,
easing up his holsters. "You've got him dead. If it had been just
one time, these Mexicans can't tell good money from bad; but this
little yaller rascal belongs to a gang of counterfeiters, I know.
This is the first time I've been able to catch him doing the trick.
He's got a girl down there in them Mexican jacals on the river bank.
I seen her one day when I was watching him. She's as pretty as a red
heifer in a flower bed."

Littlefield shoved the counterfeit dollar into his pocket, and slipped
his memoranda of the case into an envelope. Just then a bright,
winsome face, as frank and jolly as a boy's, appeared in the doorway,
and in walked Nancy Derwent.

"Oh, Bob, didn't court adjourn at twelve to-day until to-morrow?" she
asked of Littlefield.

"It did," said the district attorney, "and I'm very glad of it. I've
got a lot of rulings to look up, and--"

"Now, that's just like you. I wonder you and father don't turn
to law books or rulings or something! I want you to take me out
plover-shooting this afternoon. Long Prairie is just alive with them.
Don't say no, please! I want to try my new twelve-bore hammerless.
I've sent to the livery stable to engage Fly and Bess for the
buckboard; they stand fire so nicely. I was sure you would go."

They were to be married in the fall. The glamour was at its
height. The plovers won the day--or, rather, the afternoon--over
the calf-bound authorities. Littlefield began to put his papers

There was a knock at the door. Kilpatrick answered it. A beautiful,
dark-eyed girl with a skin tinged with the faintest lemon colour
walked into the room. A black shawl was thrown over her head and
wound once around her neck.

She began to talk in Spanish, a voluble, mournful stream of melancholy
music. Littlefield did not understand Spanish. The deputy did, and
he translated her talk by portions, at intervals holding up his hand
to check the flow of her words.

"She came to see you, Mr. Littlefield. Her name's Joya Trevinas. She
wants to see you about--well, she's mixed up with that Rafael Ortiz.
She's his--she's his girl. She says he's innocent. She says she
made the money and got him to pass it. Don't you believe her, Mr.
Littlefield. That's the way with these Mexican girls; they'll lie,
steal, or kill for a fellow when they get stuck on him. Never trust a
woman that's in love!"

"Mr. Kilpatrick!"

Nancy Derwent's indignant exclamation caused the deputy to flounder
for a moment in attempting to explain that he had misquoted his own
sentiments, and then he went on with the translation:

"She says she's willing to take his place in the jail if you'll let
him out. She says she was down sick with the fever, and the doctor
said she'd die if she didn't have medicine. That's why he passed the
lead dollar on the drug store. She says it saved her life. This
Rafael seems to be her honey, all right; there's a lot of stuff in her
talk about love and such things that you don't want to hear."

It was an old story to the district attorney.

"Tell her," said he, "that I can do nothing. The case comes up in the
morning, and he will have to make his fight before the court."

Nancy Derwent was not so hardened. She was looking with sympathetic
interest at Joya Trevinas and at Littlefield alternately. The deputy
repeated the district attorney's words to the girl. She spoke a
sentence or two in a low voice, pulled her shawl closely about her
face, and left the room.

"What did she say then?" asked the district attorney.

"Nothing special," said the deputy. "She said: 'If the life of the
one'--let's see how it went--'_Si la vida de ella a quien tu amas_
--if the life of the girl you love is ever in danger, remember Rafael

Kilpatrick strolled out through the corridor in the direction of the
marshal's office.

"Can't you do anything for them, Bob?" asked Nancy. "It's such a
little thing--just one counterfeit dollar--to ruin the happiness
of two lives! She was in danger of death, and he did it to save her.
Doesn't the law know the feeling of pity?"

"It hasn't a place in jurisprudence, Nan," said Littlefield,
"especially _in re_ the district attorney's duty. I'll promise you
that the prosecution will not be vindictive; but the man is as good as
convicted when the case is called. Witnesses will swear to his passing
the bad dollar which I have in my pocket at this moment as 'Exhibit
A.' There are no Mexicans on the jury, and it will vote Mr. Greaser
guilty without leaving the box."

The plover-shooting was fine that afternoon, and in the excitement of
the sport the case of Rafael and the grief of Joya Trevinas was
forgotten. The district attorney and Nancy Derwent drove out from
the town three miles along a smooth, grassy road, and then struck
across a rolling prairie toward a heavy line of timber on Piedra
Creek. Beyond this creek lay Long Prairie, the favourite haunt of the
plover. As they were nearing the creek they heard the galloping of a
horse to their right, and saw a man with black hair and a swarthy face
riding toward the woods at a tangent, as if he had come up behind

"I've seen that fellow somewhere," said Littlefield, who had a memory
for faces, "but I can't exactly place him. Some ranchman, I suppose,
taking a short cut home."

They spent an hour on Long Prairie, shooting from the buckboard.
Nancy Derwent, an active, outdoor Western girl, was pleased with her
twelve-bore. She had bagged within two brace of her companion's

They started homeward at a gentle trot. When within a hundred yards
of Piedra Creek a man rode out of the timber directly toward them.

"It looks like the man we saw coming over," remarked Miss Derwent.

As the distance between them lessened, the district attorney suddenly
pulled up his team sharply, with his eyes fixed upon the advancing
horseman. That individual had drawn a Winchester from its scabbard
on his saddle and thrown it over his arm.

"Now I know you, Mexico Sam!" muttered Littlefield to himself. "It
was you who shook your rattles in that gentle epistle."

Mexico Sam did not leave things long in doubt. He had a nice eye in
all matters relating to firearms, so when he was within good rifle
range, but outside of danger from No. 8 shot, he threw up his
Winchester and opened fire upon the occupants of the buckboard.

The first shot cracked the back of the seat within the two-inch space
between the shoulders of Littlefield and Miss Derwent. The next went
through the dashboard and Littlefield's trouser leg.

The district attorney hustled Nancy out of the buck-board to the
ground. She was a little pale, but asked no questions. She had the
frontier instinct that accepts conditions in an emergency without
superfluous argument. They kept their guns in hand, and Littlefield
hastily gathered some handfuls of cartridges from the pasteboard box
on the seat and crowded them into his pockets.

"Keep behind the horses, Nan," he commanded. "That fellow is a ruffian
I sent to prison once. He's trying to get even. He knows our shot
won't hurt him at that distance."

"All right, Bob," said Nancy steadily. "I'm not afraid. But you come
close, too. Whoa, Bess; stand still, now!"

She stroked Bess's mane. Littlefield stood with his gun ready,
praying that the desperado would come within range.

But Mexico Sam was playing his vendetta along safe lines. He was
a bird of different feather from the plover. His accurate eye drew
an imaginary line of circumference around the area of danger from
bird-shot, and upon this line lie rode. His horse wheeled to the
right, and as his victims rounded to the safe side of their equine
breast-work he sent a ball through the district attorney's hat. Once
he miscalculated in making a detour, and over-stepped his margin.
Littlefield's gun flashed, and Mexico Sam ducked his head to the
harmless patter of the shot. A few of them stung his horse, which
pranced promptly back to the safety line.

The desperado fired again. A little cry came from Nancy Derwent.
Littlefield whirled, with blazing eyes, and saw the blood trickling
down her cheek.

"I'm not hurt, Bob--only a splinter struck me. I think he hit one
of the wheel-spokes."

"Lord!" groaned Littlefield. "If I only had a charge of buckshot!"

The ruffian got his horse still, and took careful aim. Fly gave a
snort and fell in the harness, struck in the neck. Bess, now
disabused of the idea that plover were being fired at, broke her
traces and galloped wildly away. Mexican Sam sent a ball neatly
through the fulness of Nancy Derwent's shooting jacket.

"Lie down--lie down!" snapped Littlefield. "Close to the horse--flat
on the ground--so." He almost threw her upon the grass against the
back of the recumbent Fly. Oddly enough, at that moment the words
of the Mexican girl returned to his mind:

"If the life of the girl you love is ever in danger, remember Rafael

Littlefield uttered an exclamation.

"Open fire on him, Nan, across the horse's back. Fire as fast as you
can! You can't hurt him, but keep him dodging shot for one minute
while I try to work a little scheme."

Nancy gave a quick glance at Littlefield, and saw him take out his
pocket-knife and open it. Then she turned her face to obey orders,
keeping up a rapid fire at the enemy.

Mexico Sam waited patiently until this innocuous fusillade ceased.
He had plenty of time, and he did not care to risk the chance of a
bird-shot in his eye when it could be avoided by a little caution.
He pulled his heavy Stetson low down over his face until the shots
ceased. Then he drew a little nearer, and fired with careful aim at
what he could see of his victims above the fallen horse.

Neither of them moved. He urged his horse a few steps nearer. He
saw the district attorney rise to one knee and deliberately level
his shotgun. He pulled his hat down and awaited the harmless rattle
of the tiny pellets.

The shotgun blazed with a heavy report. Mexico Sam sighed, turned
limp all over, and slowly fell from his horse--a dead rattlesnake.

At ten o'clock the next morning court opened, and the case of the
United States versus Rafael Ortiz was called. The district attorney,
with his arm in a sling, rose and addressed the court.

"May it please your honour," he said, "I desire to enter a _nolle
pros._ in this case. Even though the defendant should be guilty,
there is not sufficient evidence in the hands of the government to
secure a conviction. The piece of counterfeit coin upon the
identity of which the case was built is not now available as
evidence. I ask, therefore, that the case be stricken off."

At the noon recess Kilpatrick strolled into the district attorney's

"I've just been down to take a squint at old Mexico Sam," said the
deputy. "They've got him laid out. Old Mexico was a tough outfit, I
reckon. The boys was wonderin' down there what you shot him with.
Some said it must have been nails. I never see a gun carry anything
to make holes like he had."

"I shot him," said the district attorney, "with Exhibit A of your
counterfeiting case. Lucky thing for me--and somebody else--that
it was as bad money as it was! It sliced up into slugs very nicely.
Say, Kil, can't you go down to the jacals and find where that Mexican
girl lives? Miss Derwent wants to know."

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