Adhering to the inside of it were little, downy feathers and three or four larger feathers from a pigeon's wing. "I guess he rode mostly at night, at that," concluded Lee. "A great little fat man you must have looked, stranger, with six of those birdies in your shirt." Donley's face was a violet red. But a glance from Lee shut his mouth for him.

Tripp, watching through the open door, smiled. Donley was on his back, Lee's knees on his chest. "I'll tell you one thing, stranger," Bud Lee was saying to him softly, as his hand tore open Donley's shirt, "you open your dirty mouth to cuss just once more in Miss Sanford's presence and I'll ruin the looks of your face for you. Now lie still, will you?"

"You'll answer my questions if you don't want me to turn you over to Emmet Sawyer in Rocky Bend!" she told him coolly. "How did you know this man was called Poker Face? Did you know him before?" Donley's eyes went again, furtive and swift, to Poker Face. But so did all other eyes. Poker Face gave no sign. "Yes," answered Donley then, taking refuge at last upon the solid basis of truth.

"See if he has got any pigeon feathers sticking to him anywhere, inside his shirt, probably. If you need any help, say so." Very gravely Bud Lee put a hand on Donley's shoulder. "Come ahead, stranger," he said quietly. "You go to hell!" cried Donley, springing away. But Bud Lee's hand was on him, and though he struggled and cursed and threatened he went with Lee into the hallway.