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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, January 05, 1908, Image 29

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PARDNERS
By WALTER HACKETT
Drawings by W. Herbert Dunton
IT the opinion of Billy Bender, the
bartender at the Grub 'Gulch Palace
hotel, a man whose avocation gave him
rather v broad point of view, that
if lack Fuller tried to draw on his
partner Reverse Dawson, when
they me^ the latter was also privi
leged.
Judge Onderdonk of Fresno.
whose familiarity with the code was
proverbial, held otherwise, how
.V ording to the Judge, Reverse as a man
n r should permit Fuller :■• take a shot at him
making a hostile sign. In support of this
•■>. the Judge adduced several precedents. :n
i-ase suppressing the names, all of which he
• 1 his hearers were famous, because in every
- ■••. the present case, a woman had been in
■ as this l>ewildering uncertainty as to how the
• thai had drawn the whole county
n lt , v itness the meeting, liver since it had
:. thai Reverse Daw-son had brought
Fisher, the belle of Mariposa: to Grub Gulch
■ :■■ md that they were stopping at the
hotel well informed "people knew, that some :
was !>ound to happen when Dawson met his
- Therefore, mining for the day was su
■'_ ] ■ veryone h.=-:ened to town to be]. recent
■ ..- i atastrophe
.. this phase of the a:Yair that was predomi
though even :: could not entirely drown the
- Miss Fishers action. <ij all the women
-• :ktbn and north of the divide, she was
..-;■,- sought Mvery unattached man
•. ■ ■ . i gallantly offered her his hand and
• I >he chose : Dawson; Why, no one
tl,j „ ,-.- R v „--■ he had earned that sobriquet
■ . wearing his waistcoat inside out
Lsions under tlie pleasing fancy that
. nable air) was twenty-rive years
:••. -. inclined to be lazy; and entirely un
■ To explain her action was indeed diffi
; : Bender had the temerity to attempt it.
I: raid :. ". have Ijeen for money," he declared.
.■ • the ; -ar and facing a group of tn
listeners. "" 1-ecause there n't enough money
rid to tempt any woman to marry Re
siles.iles. he ha~n"t got any. anyhow. So
: •■■ • -t to put it down to natural cussedness,
[] women has and most? of them uses when
ain't busy at anything else-' 1
i this dictum was universally accepted as cor
]■ mi ;hi perhaps have found contradiction
• r side of the affair had not been of such
nterest But in the contemplation of what
-•-,-• partners would do when they met all
was pui aside For five years they had worked
- -•.;:-,■• laim on Almaden Mountain together.
■ teir devotion was proverbial Five years is a
■ time for men to stay together, when every day
• lv k grows wurse, and that is what had hap
-. Ito the Suns>et partners. Their reverses seemed
bring them closer together. Dawson. who
v :. • be elder and more demonstrative^ showed
deep affection in a thousand ways. Wh.en Puller
I .-.'•• of his wild spells and »;as drinking heavily.
■ : ; ,; • .:■,.• him lor hours to see that he came to
. urn, and when at last he was utterly overcome
liquor he would care for him a* tenderly as for a
by. His gentle nature could never )«.■ aroused
. '-].: by some slight to Fuller, and then he would
like a demon And now this same Dawson
: .id gone over to Mariposa and married the woman
lack Fuller loved, whom he had sworn to
i :'r.v his wife. It was absolutely inexplicable, and
t ub Gulch could only gasp and wait.
In Miss Fisher's wilful, romantic career. Fuller
1 id supplied the most romantic episode For three
. nths he had been her constant attendant, her
chosen Suitor. They had ridden together, walked
together, danced together, forgetting, it seemed,
the world but themselves.
Then came, the Milligan dance at Duncans Mills.
Mis Fisher had wilfully insisted on dancing twice
ivith ]>an Thomas, who owned the Lucky Strike
mine. This was in direct defiance of Fuller's wishes.
When her next dance with him came he stood l>y the
!oot and made no move toward her. She waited
for a moment, and then: tossing her head, walked
.• ross the iloor to where Thomas was and asked him
to dance with her again.
In an instant, Fuller, his face white and set K-
neath his dark, curling hair, and his"eyes gleaming,
strode across the floor to wherethey stood. "\ou
ah't dance with him any more! " he said.
I>. ervone in the room heard him. For a second
she looked a: him and then, turning lazily to
Thomas/she as,ked. in her slow southern drawl: _
Well. Dan. ain't yo' ever goin' to l>e ready.'"
For answer Thomas took her hand and put his
:.-!!: alF>ui her waist.
Fuller- ij.ee L'rew even paler and he took a step
toward them • lena
ingly. He checked
himself, however, and
said. "You've prom
ised to marry me, but
I won't let you. I
turn you down here,
1 tefore everybody. The
next time 1 see you
will be when you come
after me and beg me
to marry you. And
when you are on your
knees to me. maybe
I'll forgive you and
do it."
Then he turned on
;iis heel and walked
through a lane of silent
people out of the
room. The moment
he disappeared, the
furious, awehke si
lence he had aroused
vanished, and a dozen
eager suitors for Miss
Sally's favor had
drawn theirpistols and
were making after him.
She stopped them all.
" Don't any of you
shoot!" she cried, a
queer catch in her
voice and her eyes
shining peculiarly.
" 1 le's a man. and
there's too few of
them left n< >\v."
That had been six
months before, and
they had m>t met since.
He had ignored her
existence as proudly
as she ignored his.
though most people
declared that they
loved each other. And
now she had come to
Grub Gulch as Ins
partner's wile — a crowning insult to him. And so
Grub Gulch contended that he was in honor bound
to take summary action against the recreant Dawson.
By ten o'clock the one street <-!' the town was
crowded with men who had come in to see the
shooting. Places that gave a good view of the
street were eagerly sought, and one or two store
keepers sold admissions to their roofs.
At ..... it was common gossip that Fuller
was riding into town, that he was aware of the facts
ami was liquoring up at the Gold Dollar saloon.
At twelve precisely Dawson emerged from the front
door of the Palace hotel. Oddly enough, Fuller
came out of the saloon. Instantly there was a rush
among the crowd to secure places of vantage. Jim
Wiggins and Hilly Bender stood on the hotel bal
cony: Indue .... chose the topmost limb oi
a tree opposite. Other leading citizens quickly dis
posed themselves, leaving the road to the two part
ners.
Fuller saw Dawson first, and started unsteadily
toward him. The liquor had taken a strong hold
on him, and he staggered and swayed as he came
through the hot dust. ,
Presently Dawson saw him and waited silently.
Near and "nearer came Fuller, and still Dawson
made no movement. At last the men were within
three feet « >f each other. The en >wd watched 1 •reath
less. And then Dawson put out his hand and said
simply:
"Howdy, lack." - • 1
The action amazed Fuller as it did the crowd.
Ik- could no? understand it. For a full moment he
stood swaying in silent wonder, gazing at the hand.
Then his teniper broke all bounds. i
•You hound!" lie cried through his closed teeth.
••you mean, ornery whelp! You've give me the
double cross— me that was your partner, and lin
going to get you!" „., ,
\s he spoke lie drew his revolver. Ihe crowd saw
the bright llash as the sun fell upon it Tnev saw it
describe a half circle in the air. They saw Dawson
stand fascinated as he watched it. Then they heard
a drawling voice that had an oddly sweet contralto
note call "Reverse!" and saw the pistol drop aim
lessly at Fuller's side. Standing in the doorway '■;
the Palace hotel was Sally Fisher. She was dressed
in a gingham dress of heliotrope; a wide hat shaded
her pretty face and lazy eyes, and she earned a sun
shade coquettishly over her shoulder i here was a
hush <>f breathless expectancy, and then she came
forward. . ci
If she saw the crowd she did not show it. She
walked as unconsciously as ii she was alone in a
7
• "Well." He Said Ro««Ujr. "What Do You Want?"
meadow. Without a tremor she walked to where
Dawson and Fuller stood silently watching her.
As she reached them she thrust her arm playfully
through Dawson's. .
"Reverse." she said, "haven i you anytmng.bet
ter to do on your honeymoon then hang about talkinj
to drunken loafers? Come, sir! I want to go lor a
walk. " _ „..
She turned him, and they started off. 1 hen tor
the first tin* she looked at Fuller Lazily she
raised her eyes to his, nd then — she cut him dead.
He stood like a statue watching the two as they
walked down the road till they turned a bend and
were lost to sight. Then he threw his revolver to
the ground with a curse and,' staggering to his horse,
leaned on it and rode madly off.
Instantly the crowd dropped from trees and
nearby roofs and made their way to the t-ar room ot
the Palace »tel Judge < >nderdonk expressed their
unanimous sentiments.
"I'll be aged "' he said.
'lack'" The lazy, drawling voice with its odd
silver fullness drifted out caressingly over the red
wood .... Fuller. toilfully climbing the mountain
toward his claim, stopped short and looked about
him. X" one was in sight With an patient
gesture, he started to ascend once more
That was the third time he had imagined he heard
her call, and he decided that if he did not go to a
doctor or get drunk without delay there .would be
something seriously wrong with him. Three times he
had heard her calf, and each time— He started up
the grade with redoubled speed. The first time
had been when they met again after the episode in
Grub Gulch.. I le had C< .me upon her suddenly lying
full length under the trees, her head pillowed in her
hands ' Her pure beaut; . so fresh and charming
burst upon him so suddenly that he stopped and
drew in his breath sharply. And while he stood she
turned her head and looked a i him with a lazy
curiosity in which there was a distinct shade ot
coquetry. Something in her look had sent the hot
blood rushing to his face, and it was all be could do
to turn on his heel and walk away from her without
a word. After his back was turned he fancied that
she had called his name, but when he looked back
she was ... he had first seen her, gazing above
and apparently utterly unconscious of his presence.
He had met her again on the Grub Gulch turnpike.
and passed her without a look or a word. Once
more he thought that she had called him. on! to see
her walking away, entirely unmindful ot him.
And now he was hearing her again- this time

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