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To him Thornton merely nodded, briefly, knowing the man but little, liking him less. But Broderick put out his hand, saying cordially: "Hello, Buck. Going to shake a leg a little?" "I might." They were just outside the door, and the cowboy's eyes running on past the miner sought up and down the lines of chatting women for the girl who had tempted him to his first dance in many months.

Once there, he stood perfectly still in the darkness and called a greeting to Hawk. He failed to receive the usual gruff answer. This never before had happened, and without trying for a light, Laramie moved slowly and with much caution over to the recess within which Hawk lay. There he could hear the cowboy's labored, but regular breathing as he slept.

The cowboy's glittering eyes flashed to and fro, and then fixed on Mulvey and his Mexican companion. That glance singled out these two, and the sudden rush of nervous men proved it. Mulvey and the sheep-herder were left alone in the center of the floor. "Howdy, Jeff! Where's your boss?" asked Las Vegas.

Polly drew herself up proudly, and, speaking assumed haughtiness, replied: "We're figurin' on sendin' out the cards next month." The cowboy's eyes twinkled. "Well, I'm a-goin' to give up cigaroot-smokin'." "What for?" asked Polly, in surprise. "Goin' in trainin' to kiss the bride." "That's nice!" said Polly, beaming. "Yep, have to take up chawin', like Bud Lane."

A saucy upward tilt to the nose, hinting that Carolyn June was a flirt; brown eyes that were level almost with Skinny's and that held in them a laugh and yet deep below the mirth something thoughtful, honest and unafraid, finished the wreck of the cowboy's susceptible heart.

When she marked a clump of cactus far ahead it seemed to shoot at her, to speed behind her even the instant she noticed it. Nevertheless, Madeline knew Link was not putting the car to its limit. Swiftly as he was flying, he held something in reserve. But he took the turns of the road as if he knew the way was cleared before him. He trusted to a cowboy's luck.

Later, as they were crossing the big pasture toward the country that lies to the south, the foreman volunteered the further information that for the next few weeks they would ride the range. "May I ask what for?" said Patches, encouraged by the cowboy's manner.

"You won't hurt him! For my sake, say you won't!" The devil lurking in the cowboy's blue eyes vanished, but the great jaw was still set. He reached out and caught the girl by the shoulder. "Florence Baker," he said, "on your honor, is he worth it is he worth the sacrifice you ask of me? Answer!" But the girl did not answer, did not stir. "You won't hurt him!" she repeated. "Say you won't!"

And he had found a cowboy's paradise, and a welcome which a king could not cavil at. Would Jack stake himself to a horse and outfit, and come to Palo Alto till the snow was well out of the mountains and they could go back to their mine?

"How does it happen, Pete," he said, carelessly, "that you're getting so interested in an education here of late?" Pete did not answer with his usual alacrity. Conniston, looking at him, about to repeat the question, thinking that it had been lost in the thud of their horses' hoofs, was considerably amazed to see the cowboy's face go as flaming a red as his hair.