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Never in his life had the little man
been so long in the company of the
unknown sex, and now this unwont
ed intimacy with its most lovely
member, together with the sense of
being in a measure "her. protector,
stimulated him strangely. His chest
swelled round and full and he
"Grand! If the boys could only see
me now! . I ain't sweatin' a bit." Oc
casionally he stole furtive sidewise
glances, then stared fixedly at the
thirsty road ahead, planting the im
pression in his memory that they
might later grow and bloom into mar
"Do you always carry a gun?" she
inquired, gazing doubtfully at his
holster, from which protruded a
carved ivory pistol butt smoothed by
"Yep! I learned the habit as a
"It's an awfully big one, isn't it?"
"Sure, an' she jumps like a goat,
too. First time I shot her she bucked
me through a fence an' then kicked
me twicet under the bottom rail.
We've got acquainted now, though.
Want to try her?"
"No! no!" hastily disclaimed the
girl. "It might frighten the horses."
"Not on your life they're used to
it. 'Taint over two weeks ago that
Black Bart shot up the Auburn Kid
Wells-Pargo man, you know. He
was settin' right where you are."
"What do you mean?" said she,
moving uneasily. "Who is Black
Shorty gazed-incredulously at her,
but she smiled into his eyes till he
suddenly felt chills racing madly up
his spine and grew apoplectic.
"Er ah ain't you heard about
Black Bart, the outlaw? Say! You
must live plumb out of--the world.
New York? I thought so. You East
ern folks 'way down around Denver
an' Boston is clean off the map, ain't
you? This Bart is a guy with lean
in's toward politeness an' other peo
ple's money, also a hell of an aim. 'I
beg your pardon, Miss," he stam
mered, while his ,face grew red and
"Go on, please."
"Nobody's even seen his face,
though some people claims hanker
in's for a sight of it, such bein' most
ly sheriffs an' Wells-Fargo directors.
He works alone, an' shot-gun messengers-sort
of riles him. They must
be associated with something sad in
his past, for he's acquired such a
mild aversion to 'em that he's laid out
five in eight months."
"What a horrible creature," said
the lady with heat
"Oh! he might be considerable
worse. S'posin' he couldn't shoot
straight? He'd puncture me some
"I'd kill him!" said the passenger"
, "I couldn't It wouldn't be reg'lar.
I'm the driver, and drivers ain't sup
posed to draw cards in the game.
Besides," I ain't a fightin' man."
The young lady studied for some
"I hate to think about robberies,
for all the money I have in the world
is in that box."
"What?" Shorty squared arpund.
"Yes! Two thousand dollars. It's
the first payment' for my brother's
claim. Perhaps you kneW him. Lin
coln Cushing? He was a trifle wild,
Shorty guessed maybe he was, and
recalled only too well how the young
rascal had jumped camp owing him
a hundred dollars.
The lady leaned over confidentially.
"That's not the worst, thought
I've heard he drank!" She said it
breathlessly, with open shame.
Her listener didn't seem particu
"Well, he et, too, as I recall it now.".
"Yes, yes! I don't mean that way.
He drank whisky think of it."
"I often do," said Shorty, licking
his lips. .
"We heard he was dead," she con-
tinued sadly. "It nearly killed moth
aggi i Jit,