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Slowly Eagen recovered and loosed his hold on Doane, who staggered weakly to the table and leaned upon it. Eagen's sneer returned to his thick lips, and his narrowed gaze traveled quickly to a sack which Rathburn held in his left hand. Eagen's eyes shone with fury. "Come here to fix up the divvy!" he choked.

None took any special notice of him, and none recognized him. He turned in at the resort he had visited when he first arrived that morning. He started, as he entered the place. A deep frown gathered on his face. Gomez, Eagen's Mexican henchman, was at the bar.

Mallory hurried in with the lamp, followed by the girl. Doane was quailing before the new arrival. Both cried out, as they saw it was Eagen who had broken out so suddenly. Eagen towered above the shrinking Doane. "So you thought you'd double cross me, did you, eh?" came Eagen's harsh voice, and he slapped Doane in the face. Doane went red, then white.

Occasional glances made it plain that the sheriff was sending, or personally bringing, most of his posse east in the direction of the mountains, presumably in the hope of cutting off the outlaws from seeking refuge in the hills. But the mountains were Rathburn's goal as well as the goal of a majority of Mike Eagen's band, though for totally different reasons.

You're plumb afraid to come out from under cover." He noted that there were three men with Eagen. They were quietly sitting their horses some little distance behind their leader. Eagen muttered something, and Rathburn could see his face working with rage. Then Eagen's coarse features underwent a change, and he grinned, his teeth flashing white under his small, black mustache.

He was in a thoughtful mood, serious and somewhat puzzled. The recollection of Eagen's proposition caused him to frown frequently. Then a wistful light would glow in his eyes, and he thought of Laura Mallory. This would be succeeded by another frown, and then his eyes would narrow, and the smile that men had come to fear would tremble on his lips.

He glanced about uneasily and then glared defiance at Price. "It had to come, Joe," he asserted. "There wasn't any way out of it. What's more, I killed that greased pard of Eagen's, Gomez." "How so?" queried Price. "Well, I'll tell you, Joe, but I don't expect it to go any further. He said something about Laura Mallory an' a man named Doane, an' I didn't like it. I slapped him.

His three companions galloped after him, and Rathburn caught sight of a dark-skinned face, a pair of beady, black eyes, and the long, drooping mustaches of one of the men. "Gomez!" he exclaimed to himself. "Eagen's takin' up with the Mexicans." Mallory appeared in the kitchen door, holding a lamp above his head. "What'd he want?" he demanded of Rathburn.

"As I was just tellin' our friend, Mr. Eagen, I brought it back on purpose, an' I expected to see you when I got here. I came near not gettin' here at that." "You took a long chance," scowled Long. "But it won't get you much now at this stage of the game especially after the way you led me to believe this morning that you were thinking of giving yourself up." Eagen's laugh startled them.