Wal, Russ, to come out flat-footed, you'd be foolish to buy cattle now. I don't want to take your money an' see you lose out. Better go back across the Pecos where the rustlers ain't so strong. I haven't had more'n twenty-five-hundred head of stock for ten years. The rustlers let me hang on to a breedin' herd. Kind of them, ain't it?" "Sort of kind. All I hear is rustlers."
How you going to get around the fact that I did take Cold Feet?" "Well, Sandersen, you see that they's twenty-five-hundred dollars hanging on the head of this Cold Feet?" "Certainly! And I see ten ways of spending just that amount." "So do I," said Arizona. "You do?" "Partner, you've heard me talk!" "Arizona, you're talking mighty queer. What d'ye mean?"
He had found it snatched out of his hand, and, as he measured Sandersen, his heart rose. Twenty-five-hundred dollars would fairly well equip him in life. The anger faded out of his eyes, and in its place came the cold gleam of the man who thinks and calculates. All at once he began to smile, a mirthless smile that was of the lips only.
Still he lingered, dreading that the truth might out, and so heard the talk turn to a new channel Cold Feet. Cold Feet meant many things to Sour Creek; to Arizona, the schoolteacher meant only one thing twenty-five-hundred dollars. And Arizona was broke. To his hungry ear came the tidings: "I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll give you the layout for finding Cold Feet.
I'm just stating facts the way I know 'em." "Well, the facts you know ain't worth a damn." "No?" It was growing clearer and clearer to the fat man that between him and twenty-five-hundred dollars there stood only the unamiable figure of the long, lean cowpuncher. He steadied his eye till a fixed glitter came in it. He hated lean men by instinct and distrusted them. "Sure they ain't.
"It's hard mighty hard!" He continued more smoothly: "But listen to me, partner. There's twenty-five-hundred dollars on the head of Cold Feet. Why not come in? Why not split on it? Plenty for both of us; and, speaking personal, I could use half that money, and maybe you could use the other half just as well!"