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About The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922 | View Entire Issue (Nov. 28, 1916)
THE 8EMI.WEEKLV TRIBUNE, NORTH PLATTE, NEBRASKA.
THE LONE STAR RANGER
This is a story about the Texas Plains People
By ZANE GREY
time of the story: atl 1475. The
place: The Texas cow couWry. The ehlof
character: Buckley Duant a young man
who bob Inherited a lust to kill, which ho
suppresses. In self-defense ho shoots dead
drunken bully and Is forced to (lee to
the wild country where he Joins Bland's
futlaw band. Euchre, an nmlnblo rascal,
ell him about Jennie, a young girl who
1M been Abducted and sold to Bland for a
bad fate. Tltoy determine to rescue the
Ctrl and restore her to civilization. 12u
ofiro has Just rcconnoltered, and Is re
porting1 the outlook to Buck. Kuchre Is
killed. Buck kills Bland nnd Is dancer
ously wounded by Mrs. Blnnd, hut es
capes with Jennie. Jennie Is abducted.
Buck never sees her again, hut kills her
abductor. Duane barely escapes death at
the hands of lynchers for a crlmo he nev
er committed. Ho goes to see Captain
MaoNelly of the nnngers, who hands him
a pardon on condition that he Join the
Rangers and nsslst In breaking up tho
outlaws. Duane accepts and goes to tho
sutlaw headquarters on a secret mission.
He meets Colonel Longstreth, mayor of
Palrdale, and Miss nay Longstroth nnd
per cousin, Iluth. Buck arrests a robber
n Longstreth's homo and announces that
he Is a Hanger. The colonel shown mark
ka enmity. Tho new Bangor secretly or
tanlzes a xlgllance committee.
Strangers roda Into Fnlrdalo; and
other hnrd-looklng customers, now to
Duano. If not to Fnlrdalo, helped to
crcato a charged and waiting ntmos
phcrc. Tlio saloons did unusual busi
ness and wcro never closod. Respect
ablo citizens of tho town wcro awak
ened In tho enrly dawn by rowdies
carousing In tho streets.
Duano kept pretty closo under
cover during tho day. IIo did not
entertain tho opinion that tho flt3t
tlrao ho walked down-street ho would
boji target for guns. Things seldom
happened that way; nnd when they
did happen so, It was more nccldcnt
than design. But nt night ho was not
idle, no met Laramie, Morton, Zlm
mcr and others of llko character; n
secret club had been formed ; nnd nil
the members wcro ready for action.
Duano spent hours at night watching
tho houso whero Floyd Lawson stayed
when ho was not up nt Longstreth 's.
At night ho was visited, or nt least
the houso wns, by strango men wno
were swift, stcnlthy, mysterious all
that kindly disposed friends or neigh
bors would not hnvo been. Duano
had not been ablo to recognize nny of
these night visitors; and ho did not
think the tlmo was rlpo for n bold
holding tip of ono of them. Novcrthe
(esa, he was suro bucIi an event would
discover Lawson, or somcono In that
souse, to be in touch with crooked
Laramie was right. Not twenty
(oar hours nftcr his talk with Duane,
la which ho advised quick action, ho
wan found behind tho llttlo bar of his
restaurant with a bullct-holo In his
breast, dead. No ono could bo found
who had heard n shot It had been
deliberate murder, for upontho bnr
bad been left ti pleco of paper rudely
crawled with n pencil: "All friends
vt rangers Juolc for tho snme.'
This roused Duane. His first move,
iMWOvcr. wns to bury Laramlo. Nono
nt Laramlo's neighbors evinced nny n
rest la tho dead man or tho uufor-
innate family ho hnd left. Dunne saw
Chat these ncluhbors wcro held in
Stieck by f ear. Mrs. Larninlo was 111 ;
the shock of her husband's death wns
Hard on tier; 'nnd sho had been left
almost dcstltuto with flvo children.
Dunne rented fin adoho house on tho
ttatsklrts of town and moved tho
fcmlly lilte It. Then ho plnycd tho
sart of prevlder nnd nurso and
After several dnys Duuno went
fetidly into town and showed that ho
Meant business. It was his opinion
that thcro wcro men in Fnlrdnlo
ecretly glad of n ranger's presenco,
' What ho Intended to do wns food for
eat speculation, A company or
ttnilltla could not hnvo hnd tho effect
spoB the. wild element of Fnlrdalo
that Dunno's presence had. It got
out thnt ho was n gunman lightning
iwlft on tho draw. It wns death to
faco him. no had killed thirty men
wildest rumor of nil. It wns nctunlly
aid of him ho hnd tho gun-skill of
Buck Duano or Poggln.
At first thcro hud not only been
preat conjecture among tho vicious
ilement. but also n very decided
thocklng of nil kinds of notion cnl
eulatcd to bo conspicuous to a keen
eyed ranger. At tho tnbles, at tho
bars and lounglng-placcs Duano hcrtrd
tho remarks: "Who's thet ranger
ifter? What '11 ho do fust off? Is
bo waltln' for somebody? Wh"'s koM
to draw on him fust nn go to hell?
lest about how soon will ho bo found
lomowhcrcs full of lend?"
When It canio out somowhero that
Ouuno was cultivating- tho honest
tay-at-honio citizens to array them In
tlmo ngalnst tho other .clement, then
tfalrdalo Showed Its .wolf teeth.
Several times Duuno was shot at In
tho dark nnd onco slightly injured
Rumor had it that Poggln, tho gun
man, was coming to meet him. But
the lawless element did not rlso up
la a mass to slay Dunno on sight
It wns not so much thnt the enemies
t tho lnw awaited h!a next move,
but Just n slowness peculiar to tho
frontier. Thcro was a rudo kind of
rood humor oven in their open
Besides, ono ranger or n company
U rouge? could not huvo held the
ndlvldodtlteutloa of these lnen from
their games and drinks and quarrels
except by sonio decided move. Ex
citement, greed, nppctlto wcro rlfo In
them. Duano marked, however, n
striking exception to tho usual run
of strangers ho had 'been in tho habit
of seeing. Snecker had gone or was
under cover. Again Duano caught a
vaguo rumor of tho coming of Poggln,
yet ho never seemed to arrive. More
over tho goings-on among tho
hubltues of tho resorts nnd cowboys
who came In to drink and gnmblo
wcro unusually nniu in comparison
with former conduct. This lull, how
over, did not deceive Dunne. It could
not last. Tho wonder was thnt It
had lasted so long.
Duano went often to seo Mrs. Lara
mie and her children. Ono afternoon
while ho was there ho saw Miss Long
streth nnd Ruth rldo up to tho door.
They carried a basket. Evidently
they had heard of Mrs. Lnramlo's
trouble. Duano felt struugcly glnd,
but ho went Into an adjoining room
rather than meet them.
"Mrs. Laramie, I've como to seo
you," sniu jwbs Jong8troui, cheer
Tho llttlo room was not very light,
thcro being only ono window and tlio
doors, but Dunno could seo. plainly
enough. Mrs. Lnruinlo lay, hollow
checked and haggard, on n bed. Onco
sho had ovldcntly been n woman of
some comeliness. Tho ravages of
trouhlo and grief wcro thcro to rend
in her worn f aco ; it had not, however,
any ox tho hard and bitter lines that
had characterized her husband's.
Dunno wondered, considering thnt
Longstreth had ruined Lnramlo, how
Mrs. Lnramlo was going to regard tho
daughter of an enemy.
"So you'ro Granger Longstrcth's
girl?" queried tho woman, with her
bright, black eyes fixed on her visitor.
"Yes," replied Miss Longstreth,
elmply. "This Is my cousin, Ituth
Herbert Wo'vo como to nurso you,
tnko caro of tho children, help you In
any wny you'll lot us."
Thero wns a long silence.
"Well, you look n llttlo llko Long
streth," finally said Mrs. Laramie,
"but you'ro not at all llko him. You
must tnko after your mother. Miss
Longstreth, I don't know if I can if
I ought to accept anything from you.
Your father ruined ray husbnnd."
"Yes, I know," -replied tlio girl sad
ly. "That's nil tho moro reason you
should let mo help you. Pray don't
refuse. It will mean much to mo."
If this poor, stricken woman had
any resentment it speedily melted In
tho warmth and sweetness of Miss
Longstrcth's manner, and no sooner
hnd sho begun to talk to tho children
than both they aud tho mother wcro
"Mr. Ranger, Walt!"
wou. Tho opening of thnt big bnsKct
was nn ovent. Poor, starved llttlo
beggars I Tho hayoc was wrought In
that household. Tho needs now wcro
cheerfulness, kindness, help, action
nnd theso tho girls furnished with n
spirit thnt did Dunno good.
"Mrs. Lnrnmlo, who dressed this
bnhy?" presently nsked Miss Long
Htroth. Duano peeped in to seo n
dilapidated youngster on her knee.
That sight, If any other wns needed,
completed the full aud splendid cs
tlmnto of Rny l ongstreth and wrought
strangely upon his heart.
"Tho rnnger," replied Mrs. Lnrnmlo,
"Tho rnnger 1" exclaimed Miss Long'
"Yes, lie's taken caro of us all slnco
-since " Mrs. Laramlo choked.
"Oh I So you'vo had no help but
his," replied Miss Longstreth, hastily,
"No women. Too hud. I'll send
someone, Mrs. Lnrnmlo, and I'll como
'It '11 bo good of you," went on
tho older woinun, "Yon see, Jim had
few friends that is, right in town,
And thoy'vo been afraid to help us
afraid thoy'd got whnt poor Jim"
"That's awfull" burst out Miss
Lougstreth, passionately. "A brave1
lot of friends I Mrs. Laramie, don't
you worry nny more. We'll take caro
of you. Here, Ituth help me. What
ever Is tho matter with baby's dress?"
Manifestly Miss Longstreth hnd
some difficulty in subduing Iter emo
tion. "Why, it's on hind side before," de
clared Ituth. "I guess Mr. Hanger
hasn't dressed many babies." .
"Ho did tho best ho could," said
Mrs. Lnramlo. "Lord only knows
whnt would hnvo becomo of us I"
"Then ho Is Is something moro
thnn a ranger?" queried Miss Long
streth, with a llttlo break In her
"He's more than I can tell," replied
Mrs. Laramie. "Ho burled Jim. Ho
paid our debts. He fetched us here.
He bought food for us. He tiooked for
us and fed us. Ho washed nnd dress
ed tho baby, no sat with mo the
Hrst two nights after Jim's death,
when I thought I'd dlo myself. Hes
so kind, so gentle, so patient, no has
kept mo up just by being near. Some
times I'd wnko from n doze, an', see
ing him there, I'd know how fnlso
wero all theso tnles Jim heard about
him and believed at first Why, ho
plays with tho children Just Just
llko any good man might When ho
has tho baby up I Just can't beiloyo
he's a bloody gunman, as they say.
He's good, but ho Isn't happy. Ho
has such sad eyes. Ho looks far off
sometimes when tho children climb
round him. They lovo him. His llfo
is sad. Nobody need tell mo ho sees
tho good in things. Onco ho said some
body had to bo a ranger. Well, I say,
Thank Qod for a ranger llko him 1' "
Dunno did not want to hear more,
so ho walked into tho room.
"It wns thoughtful of you," Duano
said. "Womankind nro needed here.
I could do so little. Mrs. Laramie,
you look hotter already. I'm glad.
And hero's baby nil clean and white.
Baby, what n tlmo I hnd trying to
ruzzi0 out tlio way your clothes went
on I Well, Mrs. Laramlo, didn't I tell
you friends would como? So will
tho brighter side." ,
"Yes, I've more faith than I had,"
replied Mrs. Laramlo. "Granger
Longstrcth's daughter has como to me.
Thero for n whllo nftcr Jim's death
I thought I'd sink. Wo havo nothing.
now could I over tako caro of my
llttlo ones? But I'm gaining courugo
"Mrs. Lnrnmlo, do not distress your
self nny more," said Miss Longstreth.
"I shall seo you aro well cared for.
I promise you."
"Miss Longstreth, thut's flnol" ex
claimed Duane. "It's what I've ex
pected of you."
It must havo been sweet pralso to
her, for tho whiteness of her faco
burned out in a beautiful blush.
"And It's good of you, too, Miss
Herbert, to come," added Duano.
"Let mo thank you both. I'm glad
I havo you girls as allies in part of
my lonely task hero. Moro than glad
for tho suko of this good woman and
tho llttlo ones. But both of you bo
careful about coming hero alone.
There's risk. And now I'll bo going.
Good-by, Mrs. Lnramlo, PH drop in
ngnin to-night Good-by."
"Mr. Ranger, wultl" called Miss
Longstreth ns ho went out. Sho was
whlto and wonderful. Sho stepped
out of tho door closo to him.
"I have wronged you I" sho said, Ira
"Miss Longstreth 1 How can you
say that?" ho returned.
"I believed what my fnther and
Floyd Lnwson snid nhont you. Now
I see I wronged you."
"You mnko mo very glad. But,
Miss Longstreth, plcaso don't spenk
of wronging mo. I havo been a a
gunman, 1 am n ranger nnd much
said of mo is true. My duty is hard
on others sometimes on thoso who
aro innocent, nlasl But God knows
that duty Is hard, too, on me."
"I did wrong you. If you entcrcti
my homo again I would think it an
"Please pleaso don't, Miss Long
streth," interrupted Duane.
"But, sir, my conscieuco flays mo,"
she went on. Thcro wns no other
sound llko her voice "Will you tnko
my huud? Will you forglvo mo?"
Sho gave it royally, whllo tho other
was thcro .pressing at ncr urease
Dunno took tho proffered hand. Ho
did not know what clso to do.
Then it seemed to dawn upon him
Unit thero was moro behind this white,
sweet, noblo Intensity of her than
Just tho ranking amends for a fancied
or real wrong. Duano thought tho
man did not llvo on earth who could
have resisted her then,
"I honor you for your goodness to
this unfortunnto woman," sho sold,
and now her speech cumo swiftly,
"When sho wus all nlono and help
less you wcro her friend. It was tho
deed of a man. But Mrs. Laramlo
Isn't the only unfortunnto woninn in
tho world, I, too, am unfortunnto.
Ah, how I rany soon need a friend!
Will you bo my friend? I'm so alone.
ira terribly worried. I fear I fear
oh, surely I'll need a friend soon
soon. Oh, I'm arraia of wnat you'll
find out sooner or later. I want to help
you. Let us savo llfo if not honor.
Must I stand alone all alone? Will
you will you be " Her volco failed.
It seemed to Duano that sho must
hnvo discovered what ho had begun
to suspect thnt her father and Law-
son were not tlv honest ranchers
they pretended to be. Perhaps Bho
knew morel Her appeal to Duano
shook him deeply. He wnntcd to help
her moro than ho had ever wanted
anything. And with tho meaning of
tho tumultuous sweotness sho stirred
In him thcro enmo the realization of
n dangerous situation.
"I must bo truo to my duty," ho
"If you knew mo you'd know I
could never ask you to bo falso to It"
"Well, then ril do anything for
"Oh, thank you I I'm ashamed that
I believed my cousin Floyd! Ho lied
ho lied. I'm all In tho dark,
strangely distressed. My father wants
mo to go back home. Floyd Is trying
to keep mo here. They'vo qunrrclcd.
Oh, I know something drendful will
hnppen. I know I'll need you If If
Will you help me?"
"Yes," replied Dunno, nnd his look
brought tlio blood to her face.
After supper Dunno stole out for
his usual evening's spying nt Long-
streth's rnnch-house. When ho reach
ed the edge of tho Bhrubbery ho saw
Longstreth's door open, flashing a
broud bar of light In tho darkness.
Lawson crossed tho threshold, tho
door cldsed, and all wns dark again
outside -Nat a ray of light escaped
from tho wlndew. Duano tiptoed to
the door nnd listened, but could hear
only a murmer of voices. Besides,
thnt position was too risky. Ho went
round tho corner of tho house.
This side of tho big adobo houso
was of much older construction than
tho back of tho larger part. Thero
was a nnrrow passago between tho
houses, lending from tho outsldo
through to tho patio.
This passage now afforded Duano
an opportunity, and no ueclaeu to
avail himself of it In spito of tho
very great danger. Crawling on very
stealthily, ho got under tho shrubbery
to tho entrance of tho passage. In
tho blackness a faint streak of light
showed tho location of a crack In
tho wall. He had to slip In sldowlso,
It was a tight squeeze, but ho entered
without tho slightest noise. When ho
got thero tho crack ho had marked
wns a foot over his hoad. Thcro was
nothing to do but And toe-holds In
tlio crumbling walls, and by bracing
knees on ono side, back against tlio
other, hold himself up. Onco with
his .eye thero ho did not- caro what
risk ho ran. Longstreth appeared dis
turbed ; ho sat stroking his mustache ;
his brow was clouded. Lawson's faco
seemed darker, moro sullen, yet light
ed by somo lndomltnblo resolve.
"Wo'll settlo both deals to-night,"
Lawson was saying. "That's what
"But suppose I don't chooso to talk
hero?" protested Longstreth, Impa'
"You'vo lost your nerve Blnco thnt
ranger hit tho town. First now, will
you glvo Ray to me?"
"Floyd, you talk llko a spoiled boy.
I tried to pcrsundo her. But Ray
hasn't any uso for you now. So what
can I do?"
"You can mnko her marry me," re
"Mako that girl do what she doesn't
want to? It couldn't bo done. But if
Rny loved you I would consent. We'd
all go away together beforo this mis
erable business is out. Then sho'd
novcr know. And maybo you might
bo moro llko you used to bo beforo
tho West ruined you."
"What 'd you want to let her como
out hero for?" demanded Lnwson,
hotly. "It wns a dead mistake. I'vo
lost my head over her. I'll have her
or die. No, Longstreth, wo'vo got to
settle things to-night."
"Well, wo can settlo what Ray's
concerned In, right now," replied
Longstreth, rising. "Como on; we'll
ask her. Seo where you stand."
They went out leavlug tho door
open. Duano dropped down to rest
himself and to wait
Tho men seemed to bo nbsent a good
while, though thnt feeling might havo
been occasioned by Dunne's thrilling
interest nnd anxiety. Finally ho
heard heavy steps. Lawson camo In
nlono. Ho was leaden-fnccd, humili
ated. Then something nbject In him
gnvo plnco to rage, no strode tho
room; ho cursed. Then Longstreth
returned, now appreciably calmer.
Duano could not but decldo that ho
felt relief nt tho evident rejection of
"Don't jtuss about it, Floyd." ho
said. "You seo I can't help It We'ro
pretty wild out here, but I can't ropo
my, daughter nnd glvo her to you as
I would an unruly steer."
"Lougstrcth, I enn mako her marry
me," declared Lnwson, thickly.
"You know tko hold I sot on you
tho deal that made you boss of this
"It Isn't likely T& forget," replied
"I can go to Rny, tell her that, mako j
her believe I'd tell it broadcast tell
this ranger unless she'd mnrry me."
Lawson spoko breathlessly, with
hnggard face nnd shadowed eyes. Ho
had no shnme. Ho was simply in tho
grip of passion.
Longstreth gazed with dark, con
trolled fury at this relative. In thnt
look Dunno saw n strong, unscrupu
lous man fallen into evil ways, but
still a man. It betrayed Lawson to
bo tho wild and pnsslonatc weakling.
Llko the great majority of evil and
unrestrained men on 'tho border, ho
hnd reached a point whero influence
was futile. Reason hnd degenerated.
Ho saw only himself.
"But, Floyd, Ray's tho ono person
on earth who must never know I'm
"It Was a Dead Mistake."
a rustler, n thief, a red-handed ruler
of tho worst gang of robbers," replied
Floyd bowed his head nt that, as
if tho slgnlflcanco had Just occurred
to him. But ho was not long at a loss.
"She's going to find It out sooner
or later. I tell you Bho knows now
there's something wrong out here,
She's got eyes. Mark what I say."
"Ray has changed, I know. But
sho hasn't any Idea yet 'that her
daddy's n boss rustler. Ray's con
ccrncd about what she calls my duty
as mayor. Also I think she's not sat
isfied with my explanations In regard
to certain property.'
Lawson halted In his restless walk
and leaned against the stone mantel
piece. Ho had his hands in his pock
ots. Ho squared himself as if this
was his last stand. Ho looked desper
ate, but on tho moment showed nn
absence of his usual nervous excite
"Longstreth, that may well bo true,'
ho said. "No doubt all you say is
true. But It doesn't help me. I want
tho girl. If I don't get her I reckon
wo'll all go to hclll"
Longstreth gave a slight start,
barely perceptible, llko tho switch of
an awakening tiger. Ho sat thero head
down, stroking his mustache. Duanb's
conviction was that Longstreth right
then and there decided thnt the thing
to do wns to kill Lawson
Lnwson no moro cnught tho fateful
significance of n lino crossed, a limit
reached, n decreo decided thnn if he
hnd not been present ne was
obsessed with himself. How, Duano
wondered, had a man of his mind ever
lived so long nnd gono so fnr among
tho exacting conditions of tho South
west? The nnswer wns, perhaps,
thut Lougstrcth had guided him, up
held him, protected him. Tho com
Ing of Rny Longstreth had been tho
enterlng-wedgo of dissension,
"You're too Impatient," said Long
streth. "Ray might bo won. Sho
might marry you to save me, but she'd
hato you. That Isn't tho way. Walt.
Play for time. Let's plan to sell out
hero stock, ranch, property nnd
leave tho country. Then you'd hnvo
a show with her.1
"I told you wo'vo got to stick,"
growled Lawson. "Tlio gang won't
stnnd for our going. It enn't bo dono
unless you want to sacrifice every
"You mean double-cross the men?
Go without their knowing? Leavo
them hero to faco whatever comes?"
"I mean Just thnt."
"I'm bnd enough, but not that bad,'
returned Longstreth, "If I can't get
tho gang to let mo off, 1111 stay and
faco tho music. All the same, Lnw
son, did it over BtrJc you that most
of tho denls tho lhnt few years hnvo
"Yes. If I hadn't rung them In
thero wouldn't have been nny. You.'vo
had cold feet, and especially since
this ranger has been here."
"Well, call it cold feet If you like.
But I call It sense. Wo reached our
limit long ago. Then wo had to go
on. Too4ate to turn back I"
"I reckon wo'vo all said that Nono
of tho gang wnnts to quit. Thoy nil
think, and I think, wo enn't bo touch
ed. Wo may bo blamed, but nothing
can bo proved. Wo'ro too strong."
"There's whero you'ro dend wrong,"
rejoined Longstreth, emphatically. I
Imagined that once, not long ago. I
wns bull-headed. Who would over
connect Granger Longstreth with a
rustler gang? Pvo changed my mind.
I've begun to think. I'vo reasoned
out things. We'ro crooked, nnd wo
can't last, It's tho natui-a of life, even
here, for conditions to grow bettor.
Tho wise deal for us would bo to
dlvido equally and leave tho country,
nil of us."
"But you nnd I have nil tho stock-
nil tho gnln," protested Lawson.
"I'll split mine."
"I won't thnt setttes thnt" added
Longstreth spread wldo his- hands
as if it was useless to try to convince
this mnn. Talk had not increased his
culmness, nnd ho nowshowed more;
than Impatience. A dull glint gleamed
deep in his eyes.
"Your stock nnd property will last
n long' time do lots of good, when
this ranger "
"Bnhl" hoarsely croaked Lnwson.
The ranger's namo was n match ap
plied to powder. "Haven't I told you
ho'd bo dead soon any time same
as Laramlo Is?"
"Yes, you mentioned the tho sup
position," replied Longstreth, sarcastl
cally. "I inquired, too, Just how that
very desired event was to bo brought
"The gang will lay him out"
"Bah I" retorted Longstreth, ta turn,
Ho laughed contemptuously.
"Floyd, don't bo a fool. You've
been on tho border for ten years but
you never In all that tlmo saw a man
llko this ranger. Tho only way to,
get rid of him is for tho gang tq
draw on him, all at once. Then ho's
going to drop somo of them. To tell
you tho truth, I wouldn't caro much.
I'm pretty sick of this mess."
Lnwson cursed in amazement His
emotions were all out of proportion
to his intelligence. He was not at
all quick-witted. Duane Sad neve
seen n vainer or moro arrogant mnn.
Longstreth, I don.'t like your talk,"
"If you don't like tho way I talk you
know what you can do," replied Long'
streth, quickly. Ho stood up then,
cool and quiet, with flash of eyes and
set of lips that told Duano ho watf
"Well, after all, that's neither hor
nor there," went on Lawson, uncon
sciously cowed by tlio other. "The
thing is, do I get tho girl?"
"Not by nny means except her con
"You'll mako her marry me?"
"No. No," replied Longstreth, his
voice still cold, low-pitched.
"All right Then I'll make her."
Evidently Longstreth understood
the man before him so well that ho
wasted no moro words. Duano. knew
what Lawson never dreamed of, and
that was that Longstreth hnd a gun
somowhero within reach and meant
to uso it. Then heavy footsteps
sounded outside tramping upon the
porch. Dunno believed thoso foot
steps snved Lawson's life.
"Thero they are," said Lawson, and
ho opened tho door.
Flvb masked men entered. Thoy
all wore coats hiding nny weapons.
A big man with, burly shoulders
shook hnnds with Longstreth, and tho
others stood bnck.
Tho atmosphere of the room had
changed. Lawson might havo been a
nonentity for nil ho counted. Long
streth was nnothcr mnn a stranger
to Dunne. If ho hnd entertained a
hope of freeing himself from this
band, of getting away to n safer
country, ho nbnndoned it at the very
sight of these men. Thero was power
here, and ho was bound.
Tho big man spoko in low, honrse
whispers, and nt this all tho others
gathered around him closo to the
tnble. There were evidently somo
signs of membership not plain to
Dunne. Then nil the hends were
bent over -tho tnble. Low voices
spoke, queried, unswered, argued.
By straining his cars Duano caught n
word hero and there. They were
planning, nnd they wcro brief. Dunno
gathered they were to havo a rendez
vous nt or near Ord.
Then the big man, who evidently
was the leader of the present con
vention, got up to depart Ho went
as swiftly as ho had come, and was
followed by his comrades. Longstreth
prepared for a quiet smoke. Lawson
seemed uncommunicative nnd yn
sociably. Ho smoked fiercely and
drank "continually. All at onco he
straightened up as if llstenlug.
"What's that?" ho called suddenly.
Dunne's strnlned ears were pervad
ed by a slight rustling sound.
"Must bo a rat," replied Lo&gstrcth.
Tho rustlo became n rattle.
"Sounds like a rnttlesnnko to mo,"
Longstreth got up from the table
nnd peered round the room. -
(TO BE CONTINUED.) "
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