Ridgwell Cullum, (1867-1943,4was a British adventurer who left England at age seventeen to go gold-prospecting in the Transvaal. He then removed to the Cape of Good Hope, where he joined up with a league of freebooters fighting against the Boers. Unable to keep still, he crossed the seas and settled in the Yukon region of Canada. During his stay in that area, he narrowly escaped starving to death. He next crossed the Canadian border, and became a successful cattle-rancher in Montana. It is said that during this period he took part in Sioux uprisings on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. In 1903, Cullum published his first novel, The Devil's Keg. After its immediate success, Cullum decided to become a full-time writer. Dozens of novels followed throughout a career of nearly forty years. His principal early works include, Hound from the North (1904), The Night Riders (1906), and The Compact (1909). In 1931, these, along with The Purchase Price (1917), were published in an omnibus edition of his works. Despite Zane Grey's success in England, Cullum continued to hold his own in sales and popularity. His characters are larger-than-life, his descriptions vivid, and his plot mechanisms fool-proof.
Scipio moved about the room uncertainly. It was characteristic of him. Nature had given him an expression that suggested bewilderment, and, somehow, this expression had got into his movements.
He was swabbing the floor with a rag mop; a voluntary task, undertaken to relieve his wife, who was lounging over the glowing cookstove, reading a cheap story book. Once or twice he paused in his labors, and his mild, questioning blue eyes sought the woman’s intent face. His stubby, work-soiled fingers would rake their way through his straw-colored hair, which grew sparsely and defiantly, standing out at every possible unnatural angle, and the mop would again flap into the muddy water, and continue its process of smearing the rough boarded floor.
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