Crispin Mayo was a reckless young brawler who’d left his tiny fishing village for the vast American frontier. Headed west to join a railroad construction crew, he came upon an isolated station—and a mystery. The shack was abandoned, but fresh blood spattered the floor, and the telegraph was clicking away unattended. When Mayo stepped inside and put a hand on the telegraph key, he had no way of knowing the course of his life would change forever—and that he would become entangled with a band of Civil War veterans with a score to settle against the government…and a feisty young woman who’d risk anything to save the people she loved. Cris Mayo, who had never backed away from a fight in his life, was about to have his courage put to the ultimate test.
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June 01, 1983
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Excerpt from The Man from Skibbereen by Louis L'Amour
Crispin Mayo had a wish to walk the high land with the company of eagles and the shadow of clouds, so he strode away to Bantry Bay and shipped aboard a windjammer as an able-bodied seaman. It was his first voyage on such a vessel, although he had fished upon deep water since childhood, and knew a marlinspike from a hickory fid before he was six.
He jumped his ship in Boston Town and hied himself off along the dark streets, trusting no man and steering a course sheer of grog shops and the painted girls who lay traps for trusting sailormen.
When the dawning came upon him he was beyond the city's streets and walking along country lanes with stone walls to left and right like there'd been at home in County Cork. He stayed shy of main-traveled roads for fear that if they found him they'd ship him home again, and he'd yet to see a mountain. So he begged a meal here, chopped wood for one there, and slept by the night in a haystack or a farmer's barn. And after sleeping in the barn, if he had an egg or two of the farmer's chickens, who is to blame him for that? After all, a large-shouldered Irish lad comes easy upon hunger.
He had no blackthorn stick, so he cut one of oak from a fallen branch with a fine heft to it that lay handy to the road. If only one man came for him, or even two, he'd be after tearin' down their meathouse with his fists, but if they came against him in numbers the stick might be handy. Crossing a pasture once a bull came upon him, a bull with no taste for the singing of Ballinascarty songs, but he laid the bull flat with a blow between the horns and went his way a-singing.
Somebody said while he listened that in a westward land they were building a railroad, and paying strong lads for the driving of steel, so he went that way and a hiring-man put him on a train. He sat royally upon the cushions then, and west he went with Paddy Gallagher, Tommy O'Brien and Mick Shannon riding beside him, bound for the end of track, wherever that might be, and nobody caring the least.
The houses thinned out and the villages disappeared and when they had ridden the night through and day was come they were crossing a vast plain of grass, with the blue sky above and the train chugging down a fresh-laid track into a newborn land.
All day they rode, and through the night and the day again, seeing only the grass, the sky, and far in the distance some woolly black cows, until a time came when the train clanked and squealed to a stop. The man in the blue suit and cap got down and walked slowly forward along the track toward a small building painted a dull red.