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   Chapter 7 No.7

The Girl of the Golden West By David Belasco Characters: 30019

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05


"Where's the man who wanted to curl my hair?"

Incisive and harsh, with scarcely a trace of the musical tones she recollected so well, as was Johnson's voice, it deceived the Girl not an instant. Even before she was able to get a glimpse of his face it did not fail to tell her that the handsome caballero, with whom she had ridden on that never-to-be-forgotten day on the Monterey road, was standing before her. That his attire now, as might be expected, was wholly different from what it had been then, it never occurred to her to note; for, to tell the truth, she was vainly struggling to suppress the joy that she felt at seeing him again, and before she was aware of it there slipped through her lips:

"Why, howdy do, stranger!"

At the sound of her voice Johnson wheeled round in glad surprise and amazement; but the quick look of recognition that he flashed upon her wholly escaped the Sheriff whose attitude was indicative of keen resentment at this intrusion, and whose eyes were taking in the newcomer from head to foot.

"We're not much on strangers here," he blurted out at last.

Johnson turned on his heel and faced the speaker. An angry retort rose to his lips, but he checked it. Although, perhaps, not fully appreciating his action, he was, nevertheless, not unaware that, from the point of view of the Polka, his refusal to take his whisky straight might be regarded as nothing less than an insult. And now that it was too late he was inclined, however much he resented an attempt to interfere in a matter which he believed concerned himself solely, to regret the provocation and challenging words of his entrance if only because of a realisation that a quarrel would be likely to upset his plans. On the other hand, with every fraction of a second that passed he was conscious of becoming more and more desirous of humbling the man standing before him and scrutinising him so insolently; moreover, he felt intuitively that the eyes of the Girl were on him as well as on the other principal to this silent but no less ominous conflict going on, and such being the case it was obviously impossible for him to withdraw from the position he had taken. As a sort of compromise, therefore, he said, tentatively:

"I'm the man who wanted water in his whisky."

"You!" exclaimed the Girl; and then added reprovingly: "Oh, Nick, this gentleman takes his whisky as he likes it!"

And this from the Girl! The little barkeeper had all the appearance of a man who thought the world was coming to an end. He did not accept the Girl's ultimatum until he had drawn down his face into an expression of mock solemnity and ejaculated half-aloud:

"Moses, what's come over 'er!"

Johnson took a few steps nearer the Girl and bowed low.

"In the presence of a lady I will take nothing," he said impressively. "But pardon me, you seem to be almost at home here."

The girl leaned her elbows on the bar and her chin in her hands, and answered with a tantalising little laugh:

"Who-me?"

After a loud guffaw Nick took it upon himself to explain matters; turning to Johnson he said:

"Why, she's the Girl who runs The Polka!"

Johnson's face wore a look of puzzled consternation; he saw no reason for levity.

"You…?"

"Yep," nodded the Girl with a merry twinkle in her eyes.

Johnson's face fell.

"She runs The Polka," he murmured to himself. Of all places to have chosen-this! So the thing he had dreaded had happened!

For odd as it unquestionably seemed to him that she should turn up as the proprietress of a saloon after months of searching high and low for her, it was not this reflection that was uppermost in his mind; on the contrary, it was the deeply humiliating thought that he had come upon her when about to ply his vocation. Regret came swiftly that he had not thought to inquire who was the owner of The Polka Saloon. Bitterly he cursed himself for his dense stupidity. And yet, it was doubtful whether any of his band could have informed him. All that they knew of the place was that the miners of Cloudy Mountain Camp were said to keep a large amount of placer gold there; all that he had done was to acquaint himself with the best means of getting it. But his ruminations were soon dissipated by Rance, who had come so close that their feet almost touched, and was speaking in a voice that showed the quarrelsome frame of mind that he was in.

"You're from The Crossing, the barkeeper said-" he began, and then added pointedly: "I don't remember you."

Johnson slowly turned from the Girl to the speaker and calmly corrected:

"You're mistaken; I said I rode over from The Crossing." And turning his back on the man he faced the Girl with: "So, you run The Polka?"

"I'm the Girl-the girl that runs The Polka," she said, and to his astonishment seemed to glory in her occupation.

Presently, much to their delight, an opportunity came to them to exchange a word or two with each other without interruption. For, Rance, as if revolving some plan of action in his mind, had turned on his heel and walked off a little way. A moment more, however, and he was back again and more malevolently aggressive than ever.

"No strangers are allowed in this camp," he said, glowering at Johnson; and then, his remark having passed unheeded by the other, he sneered: "Perhaps you're off the road; men often get mixed up when they're visiting Nina Micheltore?a on the back trail."

"Oh, Rance!" protested the Girl.

But Johnson, though angered, let the insinuation pass unnoticed, and went on to say that he had stopped in to rest his horse and, perhaps, if invited, try his luck at a game of cards. And with this intimation he crossed over to the poker table where he picked up the deck that Rance had been using.

Rance hesitated, and finally followed up the stranger until he brought up face to face with him.

"You want a game, eh?" he drawled, coolly impudent. "I haven't heard your name, young man."

"Name," echoed the Girl with a cynical laugh. "Oh, names out here-"

"My name's Johnson-" spoke up the man, throwing down the cards on the table.

"Is what?" laughed the Girl, saucily, and, apparently, trying to relieve the strained situation by her bantering tone.

"-Of Sacramento," he finished easily.

"Of Sacramento," repeated the Girl in the same jesting manner as before; then, quickly coming out from behind the bar, she went over to him and put out her hand, saying:

"I admire to know you, Mr. Johnson o' Sacramento."

Johnson bowed low over her hand.

"Thank you," he said simply.

"Say, Girl, I-" began Rance, fuming at her behaviour.

"Oh, sit down, Rance!" The interruption came from the Girl as she pushed him lightly out of her way; then, perching herself up on one end of the faro table, at which Johnson had taken a seat, she ventured:

"Say, Mr. Johnson, do you know what I think o' you?"

Johnson eyed her uncertainly, while Rance's eyes blazed as she blurted out:

"Well, I think you staked out a claim in a etiquette book." And then before Johnson could answer her, she went on to say: "So you think you can play poker?"

"That's my conviction," Johnson told her, smilingly.

"Out o' every fifty men who think they can play poker one ain't mistaken," was the Girl's caustic observation. The next instant, however, she jumped down from the table and was back at her post, where, fearful lest he should think her wanting in hospitality, she proposed: "Try a cigar, Mr. Johnson?"

"Thank you," he said, rising, and following her to the bar.

"Best in the house-my compliments."

"You're very kind," said Johnson, taking the candle that she had lighted for him; then, when his cigar was going, and in a voice that was intended for her alone, he went on: "So you remember me?"

"If you remember me," returned the Girl, likewise in a low tone.

"What the devil are they talking about anyway?" muttered Rance to himself as he stole a glance at them over his shoulder, though he kept on shuffling the cards.

"I met you on the road to Monterey," said Johnson with a smile.

"Yes, comin' an' goin'," smiled back the Girl. "You passed me a bunch o' wild syringa over the wheel; you also asked me to go a-berryin'-" and here she paused long enough to glance up at him coquettishly before adding: "But I didn't see it, Mr. Johnson."

"I noticed that," observed Johnson, laughing.

"An' when you went away you said-" The Girl broke off abruptly and replaced the candle on the bar; then with a shy, embarrassed look on her face she ended with: "Oh, I dunno."

"Yes, you do, yes, you do," maintained Johnson. "I said I'll think of you all the time-well, I've thought of you ever since."

There was a moment of embarrassment. Then:

"Somehow I kind o' tho't you might drop in," she said with averted eyes. "But as you didn't-" She paused and summoned to her face a look which she believed would adequately reflect a knowledge of the proprieties. "O' course," she tittered out, "it wa'n't my place to remember you-first."

"But I didn't know where you lived-you never told me, you know," contended the road agent, which contention so satisfied the Girl-for she remembered only too well that she had not told him-that she determined to show him further evidences of her regard.

Say, I got a special bottle here-best in the house. Will you…?"

"Why-"

The girl did not wait for him to finish his sentence, but quickly placed a bottle and glass before him.

"My compliments," she whispered, smiling.

"You're very kind-thanks," returned the road agent, and proceeded to pour out a drink.

Meanwhile, little of what was taking place had been lost on Jack Rance. As the whispered conversation continued, he grew more and more jealous, and at the moment that Johnson was on the point of putting the glass to his lips, Rance, rising quickly, went over to him and deliberately knocked the glass out of his hand.

With a crash it fell to the floor.

"Look here, Mr. Johnson, your ways are offensive to me!" he cried; "damned offensive! My name is Rance-Jack Rance. Your business here-your business?" And without waiting for the other's reply he called out huskily: "Boys! Boys! Come in here!"

At this sudden and unexpected summons in the Sheriff's well-known voice there was a rush from the dance-hall; in an instant the good-natured, roistering crowd, nosing a fight, crowded to the bar, where the two men stood glaring at each other in suppressed excitement.

"Boys," declared the Sheriff, his eye never leaving Johnson's face, "there's a man here who won't explain his business. He won't tell-"

"Won't he?" cut in Sonora, blusteringly. "Well, we'll see-we'll make 'im!"

There was a howl of execration from the bar. It moved the Girl to instant action. Quick as thought she turned and strode to where the cries were the most menacing-towards the boys who knew her best and ever obeyed her unquestioningly.

"Wait a minute!" she cried, holding up her hand authoritatively. "I know the gent!"

The men exchanged incredulous glances; from all sides came the explosive cries:

"What's that? You know him?"

"Yes," she affirmed dramatically; and turning now to Rance with a swift change of manner, she confessed: "I didn't tell you-but I know 'im."

The Sheriff started as if struck.

"The Sacramento shrimp by all that is holy!" he muttered between his teeth as the truth slowly dawned upon him.

"Yes, boys, this is Mr. Johnson o' Sacramento," announced the Girl with a simple and unconscious dignity that did not fail to impress all present. "I vouch to Cloudy for Mr. Johnson!"

Consternation!

And then the situation vaguely dawning upon them there ensued an outburst of cheering compared to which the previous howl of execration was silence.

Johnson smiled pleasantly at the Girl in acknowledgment of her confirmation of him, then shot a half-curious, half-amused look at the crowd surrounding him and regarding him with a new interest. Apparently what he saw was to his liking, for his manner was most friendly when bowing politely, he said:

"How are you, boys?"

At once the miners returned his salutation in true western fashion: every man in the place, save Rance, taking off his hat and sweeping it before him in an arc as they cried out in chorus:

"Hello, Johnson!"

"Boys, Rance ain't a-runnin' The Polka yet!" observed Sonora with a mocking smile on his lips, and gloating over the opportunity to give the Sheriff a dig.

The men shouted their approval of this jibe. Indeed, they might have gone just a little too far with their badgering of the Sheriff, considering the mood that he was in; so, perhaps, it was fortunate that Nick should break in upon them at this time with:

"Gents, the boys from The Ridge invites you to dance with them."

No great amount of enthusiasm was evinced at this. Nevertheless, it was a distinct declaration of peace; and, taking advantage of it, Johnson advanced toward the Girl, bowed low, and asked with elaborate formality:

"May I have the honour of a waltz?"

Flabbergasted and awed to silence by what they termed Johnson's "style," Happy and Handsome stood staring helplessly at one another; at length Happy broke out with:

"Say, Handsome, ain't he got a purty action? An' ornamental sort o' cuss, ain't he? But say, kind o' presumin' like, ain't it, for a fellow breathin' the obscurity o' The Crossin' to learn gents like us how to ketch the ladies pronto?"

"Which same," allowed Handsome, "shorely's a most painful, not to say humiliatin' state o' things." And then to the Girl he whispered: "It's up to you-make a holy show of 'im."

The Girl laughed.

"Me waltz? Me?" she cried, answering Johnson at last. "Oh, I can't waltz but I can polky."

Once more Johnson bent his tall figure to the ground, and said:

"Then may I have the pleasure of the next polka?"

By this time Sonora had recovered from his astonishment. After giving vent to a grunt expressive of his contempt, he blurted out:

"That fellow's too flip!"

But the idea had taken hold of the Girl, though she temporised shyly:

"Oh, I dunno! Makes me feel kind o' foolish, you know, kind o' retirin' like a elk in summer."

Johnson smiled in spite of himself.

"Elks are retiring," was his comment as he again advanced and offered his arm in an impressive and ceremonious manner.

"Well, I don't like everybody's hand on the back o' my waist," said the Girl, running her hands up and down her dress skirt. "But, somehow-" She stopped, and fixing her eyes recklessly on Rance, made a movement as if about to accept; but another look at Johnson's proffered arm so embarrassed her that she sent a look of appeal to the rough fellows, who stood watching her with grinning faces.

"Oh, Lord, must I?" she asked; then, hanging back no longer, she suddenly flung herself into his arms with the cry: "Oh, come along!"

Promptly Johnson put his arm around the Girl's waist, and br

eaking into a polka he swung her off to the dance-hall where their appearance was greeted with a succession of wild whoops from the men there, as well as from the hilarious boys, who had rushed pell-mell after them.

Left to himself and in a rage Rance began to pace the floor.

"Cleaned out-cleaned out for fair by a high-toned, fine-haired dog named Johnson! Well, I'll be-" The sentence was never finished, his attention being caught and held by something which Nick was carrying in from the dance-hall.

"What's that?" he demanded brusquely.

Nick's eyes were twinkling when he answered:

"Johnson's saddle."

Rance could control himself no longer; with a sweep of his long arm he knocked the saddle out of the other's hand, saying:

"Nick, I've a great notion to walk out of this door and never step my foot in here again."

Nick did not answer at once. While he did not especially care for Rance he did not propose to let his patronage, which was not inconsiderable, go elsewhere without making an effort to hold it. Therefore, he thought a moment before picking up the saddle and placing it in the corner of the room.

"Aw, what you givin' us, Rance! She's only a-kiddin' 'im," at last he said consolingly.

The Sheriff was about to question this when a loud cry from outside arrested him.

"What's that?" he asked with his eyes upon the door.

"Why that's-that's Ashby's voice," the barkeeper informed him; and going to the door, followed by Rance, as well as the men who, on hearing the cry, had rushed in from the dance-hall, he opened it, and they heard again the voice that they all recognised now as that of the Wells Fargo Agent.

"Come on!" he was saying gruffly.

"What the deuce is up?" inquired Trinidad simultaneously with the Deputy's cry of "Bring him in!" And almost instantly the Deputy, followed by Ashby and others, entered, dragging along with him the unfortunate Jose Castro. The rough handling that he had received had not improved his appearance. His clothing, half Mexican, the rest of odds and ends, had been torn in several places. He looked oily, greasy and unwashed, while the eyes that looked around in affright had lost none of their habitual trickiness and sullenness.

And precisely as Castro appeared wholly different than when last seen in the company of his master, so, too, was Ashby metamorphosed. His hat was on the back of his head; his coat looked as if he had been engaged in some kind of a struggle; his hair was ruffled and long locks straggled down over his forehead; while his face wore a brutal, savage, pitiless, nasty look.

By this time all the regular habitués of the saloon had come in and were crowding around the greaser with scowling, angry faces.

"The greaser on the trail!" gurgled Ashby in his glass, having left his prisoner for a moment to fortify himself with a drink of whisky.

Whereupon, the Sheriff advanced and, with rough hands, jerked the prisoner's head brutally.

"Here you," he said, "give us a look at your face."

But the Sheriff had never seen him before. And in obedience to his commands to "Tie him up!" the Deputy and Billy Jackrabbit took a lariat from the wall and proceeded to bind their prisoner fast. When this was done Ashby called to Nick to serve him another drink, adding:

"Come on, boys!"

Instantly there was an exclamatory lining up at the bar, only Sonora, apparently, seeming disinclined to accept, which Ashby was quick to note. Turning to him quickly, he inquired:

"Say, my friend, don't you drink?"

But no insult had been intended by Sonora's omission; it was merely most inconsiderate on his part of the feelings of others; and, therefore, there was a note of apology in the voice that presently said:

"Oh, yes, Mr. Ashby, I'm with you all right."

During this conversation the eyes of the greaser had been wandering all over the room. But as the men moved away from him to take their drinks he started violently and an expression of dismay crossed his features. "Ramerrez' saddle!" he muttered to himself. "The Maestro-he is taken!"

Just then there came a particularly loud burst of approval from the spectators of the dancing going on in the adjoining room, and instinctively the men at the bar half-turned towards the noise. The prisoner's eyes followed their gaze and a fiendish grin replaced the look of dismay on his face. "No, he is there dancing with a girl," he said under his breath. A moment later Nick let down the bearskin curtain, shutting off completely the Mexican's view of the dance-hall.

"Come, now, tell us what your name is?" The voice was Ashby's who, together with the others, now surrounded the prisoner. "Speak up-who are you?"

"My name ees Jose Castro;" and then he added with a show of pride: "Ex-padrona of the bull-fights."

"But the bull-fights are at Monterey! Why do you come to this place?"

All eyes instantly turned from the prisoner to Rance, who had asked the question while seated at the table, and from him they returned to the prisoner, most of the men giving vent to exclamations of anger in tones that made the greaser squirm, while Trinidad expressed the prevailing admiration of the Sheriff's poser by crying out:

"That's the talk-you bet! Why do you come here?"

Castro's face wore an air of candour as he replied:

"To tell the Se?or Sheriff I know where ees Ramerrez."

Rance turned on the prisoner a grim look.

"You lie!" he vociferated, at the same time raising his hand to check the angry mutterings of the men that boded ill for the greaser.

"Nay," denied Castro, strenuously, "pleanty Mexican vaquero-my friend Peralta, Weelejos all weeth Ramerrez-so I know where ees."

Rance advanced and shot a finger in his face.

"You're one of his men yourself!" he cried hotly. But if he had hoped by his accusation to take the man off his guard, it was eminently unsuccessful, for the look on the greaser's face was innocence itself when he declared:

"No, no, Se?or Sheriff."

Rance reflected a moment; suddenly, then, he took another tack.

"You see that man there?" he queried, pointing to the Wells Fargo Agent. "That is Ashby. He is the man that pays out that reward you've heard of." Then after a pause to let his words sink in, he demanded gruffly: "Where is Ramerrez' camp?"

At once the prisoner became voluble.

"Come with me one mile, Se?or," he said, "and by the soul of my mother, the blessed Maria Saltaja, we weel put a knife into hees back."

"One mile, eh?" repeated Rance, coolly.

The miners looked incredulous.

"If I tho't-" began Sonora, but Rance rudely cut in with:

"Where is this trail?"

"Up the Madrona Canyada," was the greaser's instant reply.

At this juncture a Ridge boy, who had pushed aside the bear-skin curtain and was gazing with mouth wide open at the proceedings, suddenly cried out:

"Why, hello, boys! What's the-" He got no further. In a twinkling and with cries of "Shut up! Git!" the men made for the intruder and bodily threw him out of the room. When quiet was restored Rance motioned to the prisoner to proceed.

"Ramerrez can be taken-too well taken," declared the Mexican, gaining confidence as he went on, "if many men come with me-in forty minutes there-back."

Rance turned to Ashby and asked him what he thought about it.

"I don't know what to think," was the Wells Fargo Agent's reply. "But it certainly is curious. This is the second warning-intimation that we have had that he is somewhere in this vicinity."

"And this Nina Micheltore?a-you say she is coming here to-night?"

Ashby nodded assent.

"All the same, Rance," he maintained, "I wouldn't go. Better drop in to The Palmetto later."

"What? Risk losin' 'im?" exclaimed Sonora, who had been listening intently to their conversation.

"We'll take the chance, boys, in spite of Ashby's advice," Rance said decisively. It was with not a little surprise that he heard the shouts with which his words were approved by all save the Wells Fargo Agent.

Now the miners made a rush for their coats, hats and saddles, while from all sides came the cries of, "Come on, boys! Careful-there! Ready-Sheriff!"

Gladly, cheerfully, Nick, too, did what he could to get the men started by setting up the drinks for all hands, though he remarked as he did so:

"It's goin' to snow, boys; I don't like the sniff in the air."

But even the probability of encountering a storm-which in that altitude was something decidedly to be reckoned with-did not deter the men from proceeding to make ready for the road agent's capture. In an incredibly short space of time they had loaded up and got their horses together, and from the harmony in their ranks while carrying out orders, it was evident that not a man there doubted the success of their undertaking.

"We'll git this road agent!" sung out Trinidad, going out through the door.

"Right you are, pard!" agreed Sonora; but at the door he called back to the greaser: "Come on, you oily, garlic-eatin', red-peppery, dog-trottin', sunbaked son of a skunk!"

"Come on, you…!" came simultaneously from the Deputy, now untying the rope which bound the prisoner.

The greaser's teeth were chattering; he begged:

"One dreenk-I freeze…"

Turning to Nick the Deputy told him to give the man a drink, adding as he left the room:

"Watch him-keep your eye on him a moment for me, will you?"

Nick nodded; and then regarding the Mexican with a contemptuous look, he asked:

"What'll you have?"

The Mexican rose to his feet and began hesitatingly:

"Geeve me-" He paused; and then, starting with the thought that had come to him, he shot a glance at the dance-hall and called out loudly, rolling his r's even more pronouncedly than is the custom with his race: "Aguardiente! Aguardiente!"

"Sit down!" ordered Nick, vaguely conscious that there was something in the greaser's voice that was not there before.

The greaser obeyed, but not until he knew for a certainty that his voice had been heard by his master.

"So you did bring in my saddle, eh, Nick?" asked the road agent, coming quickly, but unconcernedly into the room and standing behind his man.

Up to this time, Nick's eyes had not left the prisoner, but with the appearance on the scene of Johnson, he felt that his responsibility ceased in a measure. He turned and gave his attention to matters pertaining to the bar. As a consequence, he did not see the look of recognition that passed between the two men, nor did he hear the whispered dialogue in Spanish that followed.

"Maestro! Ramerrez!" came in whispered tones from Castro.

"Speak quickly-go on," came likewise in whispered tones from the road agent.

"I let them take me according to your bidding," went on Castro.

"Careful, Jose, careful," warned his master while stooping to pick up his saddle, which he afterwards laid on the faro table. It was while he was thus engaged that Nick came over to the prisoner with a glass of liquor, which he handed to him gruffly with:

"Here!"

At that moment several voices from the dance-hail called somewhat impatiently: "Nick, Nick!"

"Oh, The Ridge boys are goin'!" he said, and seeming intuitively to know what was wanted he made for the bar. But before acceding to their wishes, he turned to Johnson, took out his gun and offered it to him with the words: "Say, watch this greaser for a moment, will you?"

"Certainly," responded Johnson, quickly, declining the other's pistol by touching his own holster significantly. "Tell the Girl you pressed me into service," he concluded with a smile.

"Sure." But on the point of going, the little barkeeper turned to him and confided: "Say, the Girl's taken an awful fancy to you."

"No?" deprecated the road agent.

"Yes," affirmed Nick. "Drop in often-great bar!"

Johnson smiled an assent as the other went out of the room leaving master and man together.

"Now, then, Jose, go on," he said, when they were alone.

"Bueno! Our men await the signal in the bushes close by. I will lead the Sheriff far off-then I will slip away. You quietly rob the place and fly-it is death for you to linger-Ashby is here."

"Ashby!" The road agent started in alarm.

"Ashby-" reiterated Castro and stopped on seeing that Nick had returned to see that all was well.

"All right, Nick, everything's all right," Johnson reassured him.

The outlaw's position remained unchanged until Nick had withdrawn. From where he stood he now saw for the first time the preparations that were being made for his capture: the red torchlights and white candle-lighted lanterns which were reflected through the windows; and a moment more he heard the shouts of the miners calling to one another. Of a sudden he was aroused to a consciousness, at least, of their danger by Castro's warning:

"By to-morrow's twilight you must be safe in your rancho."

The road agent shook his head determinedly.

"No, we raid on."

Castro was visibly excited.

"There are a hundred men on your track."

Johnson smiled.

"Oh, one minute's start of the devil does me, Jose."

"Ah, but I fear the woman-Nina Micheltore?a-I fear her terribly. She is close at hand-knowing all, angry with you, and jealous-and still loving you."

"Loving me? Oh, no, Jose! Nina, like you, loves the spoils, not me. No, I raid on…"

A silence fell upon the two men, which was broken by Sonora calling out:

"Bring along the greaser, Dep!"

"All right!" answered the loud voice of the Deputy.

"You hear-we start," whispered Castro to his master. "Give the signal." And notwithstanding, the miners were coming through the door for him and stood waiting, torches in hand, he contrived to finish: "Antonio awaits for it. Only the woman and her servant will stay behind here."

"Adios!" whispered the master.

"Adios!" returned his man simultaneously with the approach of the Deputy towards them.

It was then that the Girl's gay, happy voice floated in on them from the dance-hall; she cried out:

"Good-night, boys, good-night! Remember me to The Ridge!"

"You bet we will! So long! Whoop! Whooppee!" chorussed the men, while the Deputy, grabbing the Mexican by the collar, ordered him to, "Come on!"

The situation was not without its humorous side to the road agent; he could not resist following the crowd to the door where he stood and watched his would-be captors silently mount; listened to the Sheriff give the word, which was immediately followed by the sound of horses grunting as they sprang forward into the darkness in a desperate effort to escape the maddening pain of the descending quirts and cruel spurs. It was a scene to set the blood racing through the veins, viewed in any light; and not until the yells of the men had grown indistinct, and all that could be heard was the ever-decreasing sound of rushing hoofs, did the outlaw turn back into the saloon over which there hung a silence which, by contrast, he found strangely depressing.

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