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GAMBLING WITH FATE By WILLIAM WALLACE COOK Author of "Th* Coid Cleonera : A\ Story of the Cyanide Tans\j," '"Wilby'j l?an." "Hij Friend the Enemy," '"Rogerj of "Butte." Etc.. Etc. r a "i ( U'I'J ? ??S"1"?? '?? b/ Wllliaiu Walieco C?Jok ) CHAPTER I. DARRKli Kll'KS TO SANDY I?AR. When-Nate Darrel went to Sandy Bar be knew he took his life in his 1 hand. Murgatroyd was there and Murgatroyd had sworn to shoot him on sight The element of chance, however, en? tered intimately into every act of Par? rel's career. It was guide, counselor and friend for him and formed the basis of his rule of conduct. , Never since he could remember had he wavered between the Known and the Unknown. Luck was the single known factor in his equation and he yielded himself blindly into the hands of fate, always expecting good fortune yet always prepared for the worst. The feud between Murgatroyd and himself was bitter and of long stand? ing; and Darrel, while caring nothing for bridges in front, was careful to burn those behind. An enemy in the rear is a foe in ambush and it was well that this Murgatroyd affair should be settled once for all. Thus Darrel reasoned. After study? ing the aspect of his bright particular star he took team and buckboard, one fine morning, and traveled out of Anaconda by the Blackfoot trail. Anaconda knew little of the astute, ? gentlemanly and well dressed young man. He had been in town over night and had essayed a game in the "Colonel's Own," causing a ripple of excitement by showing a discard of two aces and drawing a pair of knaves that "filled" his hand and won him the table stakes. "It's foolish to tempt fate in that way,'' said a veteran blackleg who stood near watching the play. "We make our own fate, my friend." replied Darrel in the easy, well bred way that was always his; "it is not fate that makes or mars us. Be truc? ulent and apprehensive and destiny turns and rends you; lay hold of it with your bare hands and you make it your slave. Fortune crawls at the feet of a daring man but hates and spurns a coward." The habitues of tho "Colonel's Own" listened wonderingly. Such philosophy was over the heads of most of them, but tbe veteran blackleg was im? pressed. "I have heard of but one man." said he "wjio invariably discards aces when he gets a pair. That man is Nate Dar? rel of San Francisco.** The veteran might have added that the play was known as "Darrel's dis? card;" and that the man who had originated It had quit college to fol? low the cards and prove his startling theories?a philosopher of the devils pic'.ure books, courting ruin over iho green cloth that he might work out a hypothesis of doubtful value. Darrel hail no intention of revealing himself. He was tarrying at Anaconda enroute to Saudy Bar and when his eccentric orbit crossed Murgatroyd's he wished it to be sudden and un? expected. It chanoed, nevertheless, that Dar? rel had overplayed his hand. That night the veteran gambler dispatched a mounted man to Sandy Bar with a notice to his friend Murgatroyd that Nate Darrel was In Anaconda and pos? sibly would continue on to the mining camp. When Darrel drew in his team of bronchos at the Half Way House, the hour was high noon. The team was given into the hands of the hos? tler and Darrel went into the house for his dinner. This halting place was midway be? tween Anaconda and Sandy Bar. East and west trails also crossed at this point leading to mining regions farther back in the hills. There was much travel along the trails and it was common report that the Half Way House was the biggest gold mine in those parts. So it hap? pened that the dining room was com? fortably filled when the Chinese waiter ushered Darrel to a vacant chair at a side table. The newcomer was eyed with sus? picion. In the eyes of the rough and ready crowd already there he was too well dressed, too "pretty" and defied the laws of convenience by making a distinction in his use of knife and fork. Then, too, his voiee was too soft and his language too precise. These evi? dences of superiority rankled under the greasy bl9? shirts affected by the min? ers and freighters. Before Darrel's entrance another had been looked at askance. This other was a white-faced man in corduroys with "easterner" and "tenderfoot" written large in person and manner. His reserve was stretched to the point of timidity and before he had used plate, knife and fork he had sur? reptitiously wiped them on the edge of the table cloth. That of itself was an insult which might have resulted in gun-play had the proprietor been a witness. The stranger was slender, like Darrel, had the same dark eyes and closely cropped hair and was near tho same height. His face was smooth, however, while Darrel had a neatly trimmed full beard. There was something about the stranger that held Barrel's eye. A man in Darrel's peculiar line is perforce a reader of character. After a little study over the bacon, beans, coffee and sour dough bread, Darrel concluded that the gentleman in cor? duroys had been ?lriven west under the ? pur of conscience. Possibly his absence had left an un? profitable void in some eastern bank, or other financial instilution. The coming of DojTOi caused gen? eral BttOBtJOO to withdraw itself from the tenderfoo; and foeoa upon him. Yet, although his superiority was man? ifest, every mia in the room knew that ?the second stranger was not a raw Tecruit in th?> ranks of the frontier. Finishing his meal under a running fire of half veiled sneers and covert Jests. Darrel calmly rose and went out. "Goin* south?'" asked the proprietor, withdrawing l?is atu>:ition from a Mex Jcan hag who. for four bits, was read? ing an old <lo?-k of cards for a pros? pector and telling him where he would best go to strike a paying lead. Darrel nodded as he settled his bill. ?"Mebby you'd like to help out a fellow human who's down on his luck?" proceeded the proprietor tenta ?T?1K SCHATCIII.NT, OK TUR CLERK'S PTSN CJBA8BD BTJ l ?? ?KNL.Y WHEN UK SAW A STRANGER IN THE OFFICE." lively, for he was likewise impressed with Darrel's superiority and feared he might refuse the favor. "I shall be happy to do what I can,** replied the young man and imme? diately went up a notch in the other's estimation. "Then come this way," said the pro? prietor, turning and making for a rear room. "It ain't much you'll be asked to do an' yer kindness '11 be appre? ciated." Darrel presently found himself in a little back room where a red-whiskered man lay groaning on a cot, his right arm in splints and bandages. "Got a man for ye, Hasbrook,** said the proprietor cheerily; then added, facing Darrel: "Hasbrook's hoss played out hyer an' I give him another, the best I had. The hronk threw him-" "I can rido with the best of 'em," groaned Hasbrook. breaking in, "but the brute is a regular deviL" "The bronk threw him." continued the proprietor. Iiee?lless of the inter rupUon. "an' Hasbrook's laid up with a busted arm. Ho was carry in' a mes sago to Sandy lhir an' if you'll take it he'll be obliged." "What's the message?" queried Dar? re!. "It's for Murgatroyd," said Has? brook. "Who is Murgatroyd, and where will I find him?" asked Darrel. artfully. "He's a gam hier at Sandy Bar an' I reckon anyone can tell where he is. Tell him Cowperthwait says Nate Dar? rel is in Anacondy and maybe intends comin' to the Bar." "Is that all?" "Yes, 'ceptin* you might add that Hasbrook started with the message, but got hung up at the Half Way House." "I'll deliver the message," said Dar? rel. "Murg '11 make it right with you." Darrel threw up his hands deprecat ingly and returned to the office. The fortune teller had just finished with the prospector and swerved in? quiring eyes on the young man. "Your fortune, senor?" she whim? pered. "For four bits I tell you what has happened-" "I know what has happened." "U?! Then I tell you what is to come, senor. Four bits." "Very well," said he. She shutiled and shuffled and he cut the pack into three piles. Then she ran over the cards with great care and elaborate show of knowledge. ".Marde mia! Senor it is malo, muy malo. Forswear the cards and keep away from Sandy Bar. That is what I read- Trouble awaits you at tbe min? ing camp, ah, mucho, mucho. What I see, senor, I cannot understand, but here it is: You are to die and after that you are to live-" He laughed, but she flashed him the indignant loolv of a devotee of an exact science and continued. "The second time you live you prove your innocence of a crime by fastening it upon yourself. Is it not strange? I no sabe your fortune, senor, but there it is, plain to see. And, look! there fe a queen of hearts; a fair ?re ? se?orita whose fate links with yours-" "That will do." The silver rang as he threw it down ? on the table and turned away. He had not taken two stops before the old woman had him by the arm. "You make your living with the cards, senor." slu? breathed harshly; "have a care that you do nothing wrong." He pulled away from her and drew himself up. "I play an honorable game," said he curtly. "Ojala!" she mumbled; "you may bo honest, but yon canno" be honorable and follow the cuds. Deware of three ?marea and two rod sevens, senor." "Why?" "When you hold that hand you never leave the table ali*, e!" "Gracias, sonora." he said, a fine scorn lurking in tbe words; "the fu tm\r* is a riddle and a riddle you have Tead me. As for the jacks full on red sevens, it is a good hand in any game and I shall be glad to receive it. Adios!" Thereupon he left the office and or? dered the hostler to bring his team. CHAPTER II. DARREL * TKKSKNTS HIS COMPLI MENTS." As Darrel climbed into his buckboard the man in corduroys rode past on a calico cay use. To the saddle cantle was strapped a well-worn traveling bag. Darrel caught the stranger survey? ing him covertly. The man's gaze was quickly avert ed,however, when the other parried the scrutiny with a keen look. "There's certainly a heavy load on that fellow's mind." thought Darrel as he gathered up the lines and flicked the whip lash between the bronchos' ears. The galloping cayuse was pointed south and Barrel's plunging team swiftly carried him abreast of its rider, and ahead. Quickly the stranger drew rein and was still at a halt when tho buckboard and its single passenger topped a rise and vanished on the other side. In those days all sorts and condi? tions of men were to be met in that section, so Darrel scarcely gave the man in corduroys a further thought. "You may be honest, but you cannot be honorable," were the words that passed and repassed through his mind. Rarely, indeed, did this freelance al? low anything to weigh upon his spir? its. But there was something in the Mexicana's statement that struck cru? elly aganist a desire to be a little differ? ent and a little better than he knew himself to be. "An honorable man must be honest," thought Darrel, "but an honest man is not necessarily honorable." He smiled to himself. "That is what the se?ora would imply and she is not consistent" All the way to Sandy Bar he solilo? quized, coming to himself abruptly when he sighted the Eponay below him and made out the huddled build? ings of the camp. With a shrug he dismissed his unpleasant reflections and gave attention to the work that confronted him. "Where will I find Murgatroyd?" he asked of the man who took charge of his team at the camp corral. "That's tellin'," was the answer, as a pair of speculative eyes traveled over the newcomer. "By ten an' after you can generally find Murg at Hawk bill's. Sometimes durin' the day he's at his minin' offioe." "Where is the office?*' "Up stairs over Kaliper's place. See that buildin' with the lamps in front?" Tho man pointed down the street as he ?put the question. "Yes," replied Darrel. "Is that Kal? iper's?" "Naw, that's HawkbilTs. Kaliper's is the next buildin' north." "Thank you." Darrel started Immediately, his slight, graceful figure watched curious? ly by the man at the corraL "A tin? horn, if I know the brand," the man muttered, shaking his head foreboding? ly as he began unhitching the team; "he looks it all right, and besides he asked for Murgatroyd." At that hour of the day Sandy Bar was quiet and orderly. Night brought the miners out of the hills and the gambling gentry from their lurking places, the games and the excitement beginning simultaneously. While passing the cluster of lamps that arched above the sidewalk, Dar? rel took note of the temple of chance behind them. Such establishments al? ways interested him professionally, and this one, with its elaborately painted front, Its fulsome display of red globes and its air of prosperity, was plainly a favorite rendezvous. Kaliper's place was a restaurant, at least a sign indicated that "meels" were to be had at all hours. A narrow stairway led to the second floor and at the top of tbe flight Darrel was con? fronted hy a door bearing the words: "L Murgatroyd, Mines and Mining Stocks." Without a moment's hesitation, Dar? rel opened the door and stepped with? in. A sallow-faced young man sat at the table, writing The clerk was alone, but off to the right was a door, partly ajar, and marked "Private." The scratching of the clerk's pen ceased suddenly when he saw a stranger in the office?a stranger with one hand behind him, under his coat. "Well?" queried the clerk. "I have business with Murgatroyd," answered Darrel. "He's out of town," said the clerk. A shadow of disappointment crossed Darrel's face as the hand was with? drawn from ur..'. *r th'4 coat "V.l.?:: will : -.:" "If I left a few lines for him would he see them if he gets back?" "Reckon he would. He always comes to the office after a trip into the hills." "Where can I write?" "Step right into his private room. Stranger in camp?" "Yes." "Know Murgatroyd?" "I've known him for a good many years." Darrel was ushered into the other apartment and the clerk placed paper, pens and envelopes at Darrel*!? dis? posal. As he seated himself, Darre! saw a revolver lying on the desk by the inkwell. The weapon had an ebony stock, carved with a death's head. It was Murgatroyd's, as Darrel well knew, and by what chance had its owner gone into the hills without it? The clerk noticed Darrel's curious glance at tbe firearm. "That's the old man's," he vouch? safed; "first time I ever knew him to go away and forget it Make yourself at home. What name did you say?" "Nathan." "All right, Mr. Nathan. Nothing in this layout is too good for the old man's friends. If you don't see what you want, ask for it" "Much obliged." The clerk withdrew and resumed his penwork in the outer office. Picking up the pen, Darrel wrote as follows: "Mr. Darre! presents his compliment? to Mr. Murgatroyd a,ncl desires to ?tate that he Is nuw in tuvrn awaiting Mr. Murga troya".??, pleasure. Mr. Darrel also wlehes It kimwn that h?' can be found thi? evening at Mr. Hawkbill Hendei eon's. IU? trusts Mr. Murgatroyd will embrace his opportunity.** Darrel know his arrival in camp would be noised abroad and reach his enemy's ears. Murgatroyd's absence from Sandy Bar. therefore, made a sudden and unexpected meeting im? possible. Darrel therefore desired the notifi? cation to come through himself, in his own way. Having addressed the en? velope, he inclosed the folded sheet, laid the communication on the desk and placed the revolver on it for a paperweight. Then, lighting a cigar, he leaned back in the chair, wondering why fate couldn't be kind and send Murgatroyd to him as he was then?in his enemy's own room with his enemy's own re? volver within easy reach. Presently the artfulness of Murgatroyd's charac? ter suggested something and the re? volver suggested something else. Picking up the weapon, Darrel pressed a spring and turne?! the barrel down, revealing the cylinder. Six I cartridges nestled murderously under bis eyes. He listened intently. The scratch, ' scratch of the clerk's pen came to him monotonously. One by one he extracted the car? tridges and then, by means of a sharp pointed steel letter opener he embed? ded deeply in each leaden slug the ini? tial "M." To replace the cartridges and return the revolver to its original place by the inkwell took but a mo? ment. Next, Darrel recovered the pen and continued his writing. "In the event that Mr. Nathan Dar? rel, in whoso pocketbook this message is placed, should be made a victim of foul play, he respectfully suggests the following for the coroner's considera? tion: First?The fact that Lester Mur? gatroyd has sworn to shoot Nathan Darrel on sight Second?The fact that a covert at? tack has ever been preferred by Lester Murgatroyd to a meeting in the open. Third?The fact that the bullets in Lester Murgatroyd's revolver have been marked with the letter "M."?Note: The letter "M" might be mistaken for "W" and technicalities have more than once saved Murgatroyd. A word to the wise, etc" Folding the sheet Darrel placed it In a red Morocco purse taken from his breast pocket. Immediately after? wards he got up and passed into the other room. "Get through?" asked the sallow faced young man. "Yes," said Darrel. With a pleasant "good afternoon" he left the office and turned his steps in the direction of one of the two hotels which the town boasted. CHAPTER III. DARREL'S GAME AT IIAWKBILL'S. Properly equipped with a stony dis? regard for human greed and frailty, any observer could have loitered in Hawkbill's on and after ten p. m. and been certain of exciting entertainment. A philosopher of another school might have seen more than enough to point a moral and adorn a tale and perhaps have retreat oil with a discouraged sense of man's inhumanity to man. Darrel could be indiTf. rent ami hard, or sympathetic and yh-hlinii. Deep in his heart was ever a feeling that stirred at anotln^r's misfortune and his moods varied with the characters of the players as well as with the piav. He stood close to a table, facing the door and dividing his attention be? tween the fall of the cards and tho men who entered. An old. old game familiarly known as "two pluck one" was in progress, wherein a pair of merciless campaigners were taking money from a boardh^ss and rash youth who sat between them. Cheating, on the part of the gam? blers, was constant and flagrant. But the boy had eyes for only his own cards and was playing with absorbed and tremulous Intensity. "They'll have headlines on me in '.he eastern papers," he recklessly iverred, "unless I make a big winning ..o-nlght." "There's no telling when tho luc.'i '11 turn." powered one of tho gain <*>lf*:3 lat?a??.-?'?!.?!. . "ahlftlnj ??. cut" :. won, but from this out it may be your turn." The youth clenched his teeth and whitened, for he had a loser's grudge against a winner's assumed superior? ity. He wagered the last of his money ?a dozen crisp bills marked with a "C" in one corner. He lost. Rising from the table with the quiet remark, "I'm done, gentle? men," he walked steadily out into the darkness, far beyond the glare of the red lamps. It was the old story of the moth and the flame. Darrel knew it well, but not so well that familiarity bred any? thing but deeper and more consuming pity. He was at the youth's back in time to snatch a six-shooter from his con? vulsive hand. "Come, come," he said, as the boy gave a startled cry and turned on him. "Where is your manhood, young fel? low?" "Manhood!" was the bitter response, "ask the red, white and blue chips at Hawkbill's. Give me that, or by? With a plunge he sought to catch the weapon and tear it G oni Darrel's grasp. "Softly!" warned the other, clutching his hand. "If I get your money back for you will you promise never to touch another card so long as you live?" "Who are you?" gasped the youth. "My money is gone and I am ruined. How can you get it back for me?" "Follow me and you will find out. As to who I am, that is beside the question. Have I your promise?" "Yes; but I should like?" "Here's your revolver. I'd throw it away, if I wore you." Darrel pushed the weapon into the young man's hand, turned sharply and retraced his steps to Hawkbill's. The two gamblers were still at table. What Darrel purposed doing called for skill and courage. Both qualities were his and he sought the issue with -MaOfiHfi bat airy eon!Ub*ne?> to which others :u?l ?>ften attribute?! his suwess. it was by rued?lling in a somewhat similar way that he had earned the "NOW THEN. MY BUCK." CRIED A VOICE WITH PASSION. "WELL SETTLE OUR DIFFERENCES MAN TO MAN." hatred of Murgatroyd. Yet that had not cured him of the dangerous habit, He had observed the gamblers care? fully. One was past middle age and had iron gray hair and beard; the other was but little older than the man they had victimized. "Well, Sturgis," the younger man was saying as Darrel came up, "if we could find some one else with a roll this night's work would break the rec? ord." "You're never satisfied, Cliff," re? turned Sturgis, tossing off the contents of a glass just brought by a waiter. "May I sit in with you. gentlemen?" inquired Darrel, pleasantly. At that moment he looked the un? sophisticated and ingenious eastern gentleman, caring nothing for a4little ' money and desirous only of whiling away the time. As he spoke, he dis- i played a large roll of bills. "I had thought of quitting," said Sturgis, shooting a glance at hi3 con? federate, "but still, if you want a round, I guess I could accommodate you. Do you want to take a hand?" he added, carelessly, to the other gam? bler. "I might," returned Cliff, with ap? parent reluctance. "I'm not having much luck to-night, though." "Three will make it more interest? ing," observe?' Darrel. dropping into a chair thai placed him so he could still watch the entrance. Thereupon the playing began, the youth whose battle Darrel was fight? ing, approaching the table and watch? ing eagerly. Darrel allowed the two harpies to win enough of his money to give them confidence, then careless? ly proposed that they play for a stake consisting of all the money they had about them. Certain of winning, the other two agreed, and from that moment to the end of the game Darrel showed him? self the veteran player he was. Stur? gis purposely dealt him three aces and himself four queens, the younger man dropped out in feigned despair and Darrel plucked a diamond stud from his shirt and laid it on the heap of gold and silver. From various parts of the room a general movement of tho idly curious had set in towards that particular table, which made it necessary for Darrel to request, in his politest tones, that those between the table and the door should draw aside in order that he might watch for the entran?** of "a man he was v.ai?ng for." Tho request was complied with. Be? hind his chair Darrel could hear tho bharn, tense breath i ?*?; o?" tho bey. Stur^i? ashed how much tao diamond j!!".?.'. Wm) tvorCa ami* when, iu?riucd, borrowed |300 from Hawkbill Hen? derson, $200 to meet Darrel's bet and $300 to "raise" him. Darrel took a magnificent watch from his vest pock? et, the gold case stud?led with gems. "I am a stranger lure," said he, quietly, "and this is as far as I can go. What have you?" Sturgis exultant!}- spread out his four queens. Barrel laid down four kings and an ace. "Take your money," said he, turning to the boy. A growl of rage came from Sturgis. Catching up his opponent's discard he turned the pasteboards over. "Tricked!" he shouted, springing erect. "He had three aces and dis? carded two! Hawkbill, I demand the stakes." Henderson, red-f?aced, bull-necked and corpulent, swaggered closer. "This place i? on the square," he said whee/.ingly to Darrel, "and if you've juggled the cards the stakes go to Sturgis." Leaning forward with a quick move? ment, Darrel swept his hand under the edge of the table in front of Stur? gis. Sturgis tried to stop the hand, but was not quick enough. The hand reappeared with a small, nickel-plated contrivance known as a table "hold out." A murmur passed through the crowd. "Sturgis has been using that all evening," remarked Darrel, coolly. "He cheated that boy out of his money and?" With an Imprecation, Sturgis hurled himself towards Darrel, a gleaming object in his mind. Hawkbill threw himself in the way and ordered Sturgis to keep back. It was evident that the baffled gam? bler had friends who would rally to his side and Darrel swept the stakes into his hat, clapped the hat on his head and caught the boy by the arm and hurried him out. At the hotel the young man's money was returned to him. Tears stood in his eyes as he thanked Darrel and the j latter, gruffly bidding him remember his promise, went out into the dark | street intent on returning to Hawk bill's and ? ait ing for Murgatroyd. CHAPTER IV. DARREL'S ENCOUNTER WITH STURGIS. W ?**~**-" ?**?"" -Hill ??? I?***????? As time mellows the perspective of ' past events, so it bluis and modifies the characters of those who made j them. Much of the glory of Anaconda ( has departed and Sandy Bar has gone t the way of the "played out" mining t camp, yet tradition deals generously ? with the exploits of Nate Darrel?often J too generously. The strange features of his feud with Murgatroyd were sufficiently incred? ible in cold truth; and when the out? line of the facts faded with a lapse of years, imagination was drawn upon to sharpen the reminiscences. The added material was not always to Dar? rel's credit. Yet no one who now remembers Dar? rel will ever tell you that he tried to be anything but a gentleman. If the part was beyond him, it was solely the fault of his unfortunate vocation. In any other walk of life his sterling qualities of mind and heart would have claimed their tribute of respect and so? cial position. A man who believed that his fate was of his own making could hardly have been ignorant of this; but passion for play was too deeply in? grained In his nature. The notoriety he had courted and won, in any other profesi?n would have been the mill? stone that pulled him under. The recovery of the boy's money aptly illustrates Darrel's character. He could not see anything wrong in turning the tables on the blacklegs and it was a pleasure for him to be able to do it? ile played an "honorable" game; and he considered it honorable to worst a couple of sharpers at their own tac? tics. As he made bis way back along the straggling street toward Hawkbill Henderson's he was warily watchful. Recent events had taken his attention somewhat from his main purpose in coming to Sandy Bar and the murder? ous Murgatroyd might be lurking any? where in the shadows or dogging his steps. The wheezy tones of fiddles, guitars and a bass-viol, accompanied by hoarse shouts, laughter and a fall of dancing feet echoed from a building across the way. Other buildings along the street were aglare with light and rife with a clink of glasses, a rattle of poker chips and boisterous cries of drinkers and players. There were few on the street at that moment and Darrel passed rapiilly on in the direction of the gambling place. Abruptly a form hurled itself across his path from a dark space between two shanties on his left Instantly a revolver was in his hand. "Now then, my buck," cried a voice sharp with passion, "we'll settle our differences man to man." "We have no differences to settle, Sturgis." returned Barrel, relieved and not a little surprised. He was looking for Murgatroyd, not Sturgis. The gambler was in a blind, unrea? soning fury. In the light of later events it was patent that Darrel had set a trap for him and beat?n him and his confederate at their own game. When a man like Sturgis has such a grievance thero is but one way in which the score can be settled. Stur? gis was fiercely determined and Dar? rel was quick to comprehend his peril. A flaring lamp in front of tho dance hall opposito cast a dim light ovor the scene. Tho field was clear for tho en? counter, no ono being abroad in the street apart from the two concerned. Rigidly erect the two men stood, re? volvers ready and swinging at the!? sidcj, Lheir eyes alert and watching catliko Ottch ot??ar'u sli^htes?; ruovvj ?MNt? "You're either the devil himself or else you're?Nate Darrel of 'Frisco," said Sturgis. betwe??n his teeth. "No man could play the game you did with? out being one or the other, it was Darrel's discard you threw into the dead wood, and you sat between Cliff and me and helped yourself to just what you wanted out of tho pack." Darrel laughed a little at that. It wasn't the lirst Mine his phenomenal fckill had led a gambler to confound him with the arch fiend. "You're a bungler. Sturgis," said he, "and have yet to learn the first rudi? ments of your profession. I have taught you a lesson and if you want to live long enough to profit by it you'll put that gun in your pocket and take yourself off." An exasperated cry fell from Stur? gis' lips. Recklessly he threw himself forward, raising the six-shooter to a level with his eyes. There was no blood on Nate Darrel's hands. In his whole career he had never found it necessary to protect his life by Liking another's. His ready wit and his wonderful strength?which his slight form in a manner belied?had times out of mind been his bulwarks of self-defense. He had a horror of bloodshed and carried a revolver in humble demonstration of the theory that leads great nations to build great navies?hoping to make the arbitrament ol war still more remote. By coming to Sandy Bar in quest of Murgatroyd he had faced an issue at direct variance with his inclinations. He was well aware that fatalities were almost certain to result; if he were the victim, no aching void would be left in the world, while if Murgatroyd fell the cause of humanity would be 'advanced. But he wanted no exchange of shots with Sturgis. He bag} threatened, but it was with the forTorn hope of avoid? ing a clash. As the irate blackleg plunged for? ward, Darrel threw himself to one side. At that precise moment a shot rang out from some point at Barrel's rear, a bullet fanned his cheek and Sturgis, with an agon i /.ed cry, tossed his hands In the air, reeled and fell face down? ward on the sidewalk. Darrel was stunned by the sudden? ness of the tr:ig???ly. In a seeon?l he had whirled to look back up the ill oat, but saw no one. Then he did th?? worst thing possible for himself by hastening to the prostrate form and making an ?examination. Sturgis was BllWBdj dead. The bullet had penetrated his heart and a stream of blood flowed from the wound and formed a pool beneath him. The shot and the tortured cry of the dying man ha?l aroused the people. From the dance ball thoy came on a run, and from Hawkbill's and other resorts a half-drunken mob charged" for the scene. Darrel was found standing over Sturgls revolver in hand. Sturgis waa dead and the habitues of Hawkbill'a knew that Sturgis and Darrel had quarreled at cards. Only one inference was possible. Darrel drew it as quickly as those around him. "Where's the marshal?" he asked, bis voice perfectly steady. His hand tightened a little on the revolver and he retreated slowly until his back was against the wall of the nearest building, the half circle of threatening faces in front 1 "We don't need the marshal," said Cliff, savagely. "Jack Sturgis is dead and you're the one that killed him. Do we need the marshal, hoys?" He appealed to the crowd. A snarl iig negative passed through the ranks of the crowd and the half circle be? gan to eontra?'t. "You'll need tho marshal or the un? dertaker,** returned Darrel. His voice was of velvet but it cut like steel. "When I open my gunplay, what 1 miss in the original deal I try to make up in the draw. I am Nate Darrel, of San Francisco. Some of you have probably heard of me and may know that my word is as good as my bond. I did not kill that man?" His declaration was drowned in a derisive jeer. He knew he would not be believed so he was not disappoint-' ed. "I did not kill that man," he re? peated with deliberate emphasis, "and if you force me to fight for my life for whatever happens you alone will be responsible. I want the marshal and am willing to be put under lock and key until the coroner has a chance to sift this affair. That's all you can ex? pect of me." Every man in the rabble carried a revolver and every revolver had leaped from pocket or holster. "Shooting's too good for him!*? shouted some one at the rear of the crowd. The veiled suggestion was grasped oo the instant It was well for Darrel, since it turned the mob's attention to a rope instead of a bullet and would consume more time in the execution. Messengers wore dispatched here and there, but before anything could be done a burly, broad-shouldered man parted the ranks of the rabble left and right and reached Darrel's side. "Give me that gun!" he demanded curtly. "I'm th? marshal." Darrel yielded up the weapon with? out a word. "Now," cried the marshal, "this fel? low goes to the lock-up, without any ifs, nor ands, nor whyeTers. There ain't a man of you that packs the nerve to stop me and you know it. Scatter from in front of us and clear the trail!" There was nothing in the marshal's hands to enforce the order. He was known to bo a man of few words and prompt action, however, and the crowd sullenly parted. Then, with his arm in Darrel's the marshal started his prisoner for tho jaiL The rabble, muttering wild threats and chafing with baffled rage, tagged at their h ocla _ (TO BF. CO"NTTNUKD.) Along the Trail Our new serial story follows mysterious pathways of the West. It is a strong story, entitled, Gambling' WitH Fate By WILLI A?M WALLACE COOK Author of "His Friend, the Enemy,** Etc. It is a story that will interest every one of our readers, and none should miss tha opening chapters. He Had Met Him. Tom?dm.?. OV*r ami let me introduce you to Bobby von Loaditt. Jack (severely)?I don't care to meet him. * Tom?Why not? Jack?I owe him ten dollars.?Judge. Lovesick Perhaps. Smlthinski?I notice Dr. Singleton has been ?ailing at the home of that young widow almost every day for a* week. She must be pretty sick. Brownovich?Not sick; only pretty. ?Cincinnati Empiirer. She Didn't Scream. He?I'm going to kiss you. gne????1 dare! 1*11 scream for help. jIe_(-()lui j(;,.a: Maybe your pretty Bister will come to l.elp jou.? Phi lad el-' phia Press. All Business. "Do you really think that he is in earn? at ia his courtship?'* "Certainlj. I ? off? ?? d to depoalt a ,-???;..; beck ?rita bla proposal."? Judge. Ho err. "Your troul ? !" ? '? t,!<* l>ny 00,'la -j, ? [ad ?s tho mat? ter ?ritta ? ' "<*'' "".a? confirmed old : "if? purely Pla? tonic."? chic r o Tril nue.