“Shucks, suppose now those handwritin’ experts Judge Dolan got from Chicago hadn’t been able to prove at the time that the forgery and the fifty or sixty copies of yore dad’s name were written by the same hand, ink, and pen? Suppose now they hadn’t? What then? Where’d you be, I’d like to know? Nawsir, you give them the credit. They deserve it. Well, I’m shore glad yo’re all gonna be rich, Molly. It’s fine. That’s what it is—fine—great. Well, I’ve got to be driftin’ along. I’m going to meet Swing in town. We’re riding south Arizona way to-morrow.”
“Yeah, we’re going to give the mining game a whirl.”
“Why—why not give it a whirl up here in this country?”
“Because there ain’t another mine like yores in the territory. No, we’ll go south. Swing wants to go—been wanting to go for some time.”
“Bub-but I thought you were going to stay up here,” persisted Molly, her cheeks a little white.
“Not—not now,” Racey said, hastily. “So long, take care of yoreself.”
He reached for her hand, gave it a quick squeeze, then picked up his hat and walked out of the house without another word or a backward look.
* * * * *
“What makes me sick is not a cent out of Old Salt,” said Racey, wrathfully, as he and Swing Tunstall walked their horses south along the Marysville trail.
“What else could you expect?” said the philosopher Swing. “We specified in the agreement that it was cows them jiggers was gonna run on the range. We didn’t say nothin’ about a mine.”
“‘We?’” repeated Racey. “‘We?’ You didn’t have a thing to do with that agreement. I made it. It was my fool fault we worked all those months for nothing.”
“What’s the dif?” Swing said, comfortably. “We’re partners. Deal yoreself a new hand and forget it. Tough luck we couldn’t ‘a’ made a clean sweep of that bunch, huh?”
“Oh, I dunno. Suppose Peaches, Nebraska, and Thompson did get away. We did pretty good, considerin’. You can’t expect everything.”
“Alla same they’d oughta been a reward—for Jack Harpe, anyway. Wells Fargo is shore getting mighty close-fisted.”
“Jack did better than I thought he would. He never opened his yap about Marie being in that Keeleyville gang.”
“Maybe he didn’t know for shore or else knowed better. Bull was in that gang, too, and Bull got his throat cut. If Jack had done any blattin’ about Marie and Keeleyville he might ‘a’ had to stand trial for murder right here in this county instead of going down to New Mexico to be tried for a murder committed ten years ago with all that means—evidence gone rusty with age and witnesses dead or in jail themselves most like. Oh, he’ll be convicted, but it won’t be first degree, you can stick a pin in that.”
“I wonder if he did kill Bull.”
“I wonder, too. Didja know who Bull really was, Swing?... Marie’s brother. Yep, she told me about it yesterday.”