Carolyn June smiles sweetly as ever at Skinny, spends much time riding alone over the valley and hills; in her eyes there has come a more thoughtful—often a wistful—expression.
Sabota did not die.
After the escape of the Ramblin’ Kid the marshal reentered the pool-room and had the big Greek removed to the hotel. A doctor was called and set as well as possible the broken jaws, the crushed nose, picked out the fragments of bone and the loosened teeth, sewed up the terrible gashes on Sabota’s face and left the bully groaning and profaning in half-conscious agony.
The night of the fight Skinny took Old Pie Face back to the barn.
The cowboy’s heart was heavy with remorse. He blamed himself for all the trouble. Had he not wanted to make a fool of himself and get drunk the Ramblin’ Kid would not have come to Eagle Butte, the fight would not have occurred, the friend he had ridden with through storm and sunshine—whom he had stood “night guard” and fought mad stampedes into “the mill”—would not now be an outcast sought by the hand of the law.
News of the beating the Ramblin’ Kid gave Sabota traveled fast.
It was flashed over Eagle Butte that the Greek was dead.
“So th’ Ramblin’ Kid killed old Sabota, did he?” the hostler at the livery barn asked Skinny as he stepped out to care for the cowboy’s horse. “What was it over? Sabota having th’ Ramblin’ Kid ‘doped’ the day of the sweepstakes?”
Skinny looked keenly, searchingly, at the stableman.
“What do you mean—’Sabota having th’ Ramblin’ Kid doped?’” he asked sharply.
“Why, didn’t you know?” the hostler replied. “I thought everybody knowed. Gyp Streetor told me about it the day of the race—I used to know Gyp when he was a kid back east. I saw him as he was beating it to get out of town. He borrowed five dollars from me. Said Sabota hired him to put ‘knock-out’ in some coffee for th’ Ramblin’ Kid and he reckoned the dose wasn’t big enough or something. Anyhow, it didn’t hold him under long as they thought it would and when he saw the Gold Dust maverick show up on the track he got scared—was afraid it would leak out or th’ Ramblin’ Kid would suspect him and try to ‘get’ him after the race, so he ducked out of town—”
“You ain’t lying about that?” Skinny asked.
“What would I want to lie about it for?” the other replied. “Wasn’t that what made th’ Ramblin’ Kid kill the Greek?”
“No, it was something else,” Skinny answered; “but Sabota ain’t dead. He’s just crunched up pretty bad—th’ Ramblin’ Kid jumped on him, like Captain Jack did on that feller from the Chickasaw that tried to steal him!”
Skinny’s mind was in a whirl.
So the Ramblin’ Kid was not drunk the day of the race! He was drugged— sick—yet, in spite of everything, rode the Gold Dust maverick and beat the black wonder-horse from the Vermejo! Lord! and they had all thought he was on a tear!