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The train flashed by; the outlaw gang receded out of range of sight. "Did you notice Knell wasn't with them?" whispered Duane. Duane did not speak to Longstreth again till the train stopped at Val Verde. They got off the car, and the girls followed as naturally as ordinary travelers.

Ercole blew out his mottled cheeks until Gonzaga feared that he would burst them. "It's outlawry!" he roared, when he had found his voice. "Outlawry, or I'm a fool." "Why, yes," confessed Gonzaga. "It is outlaw matter of a kind. But the risk is slender." "Can you tell me no more?" "I dare not." Ercole emptied his wine-cup at a draught and splashed the dregs on to the floor.

For some reason he found it difficult to look at DeBar, and he knew that DeBar was not looking at him. It was the outlaw who broke the suspense. "I've been outside," he said in a low voice. "There's an open in front of the cabin, just a hundred paces across. It wouldn't be a bad idea for us to stand at opposite sides of the open and at a given signal approach, firing as we want to."

Approaching the outlaw closely, he asked, in a half whisper: "Who was the witness of the murder who could swear for the magistrate? You must get somebody to do that." This was another point which Rivers, in his impatience, had not thought to consider.

Whereupon they took the hint and departed, assuring Andy, by way of farewell, that he was an unappreciative cuss and didn't deserve any sympathy or sick-calls. They also condoled openly with Pink because he had been detailed as nurse, and advised him to sit right down on Andy if he got too sassy and haughty over being shot up by a real outlaw.

For an instant the outlaw gathered himself up for a rush, with a view to sell his life dearly, and he had even begun to draw one of his hands out of the manacles, when the folly and hopelessness of the attempt struck him. The rattle of a musket outside told Jake that his jailor had not come alone.

"God watch over you," said the Empress fervently, "for this is a case in which the protection of an earthly throne is of little avail. And remember, Lord Wilhelm, trust not even your most intimate friend within arm's length of you. The only persons who may not become members of this dread order are a Jew, an outlaw, an infidel, a woman, a servant, a priest, or a person excommunicated."

Ned tried to speak roughly, but his voice trembled and he looked affectionately at his companion as he said: "See here, Dick, boy, you can cut out all that outlaw talk. The gun business was all bluff and you know it as well as I." "You looked pretty white, Neddy, for a fellow who didn't think he was taking any risk.

Jim Fletcher attached himself to the stranger, and now both respect and friendliness tempered his asperity. "Wal, fer want of a better handle I'll call you Dodge," he said. "Dodge's as good as any.... Gents, line up again an' if you can't be friendly, be careful!" Such was Buck Duane's debut in the little outlaw hamlet of Ord. Duane had been three months out of the Nueces country.

He really believed that Harlan had been overrated. He believed that because he wanted to believe it, and because his contempt for the man had bred that conviction in his heart. Also, he thought he knew why Harlan had come to the Star why he had joined the outlaw camp. And the night before, he had communicated that suspicion to Deveny.