“Take the trail south,” said Chuck Morgan, and backed his horse in a wide half-circle.
Racey did as he was ordered. Three minutes later he was joined by his friend. Until the trail took them down into a draw grown up in spruce Chuck’s gun remained very much in evidence. Any unbiased spectator without a knowledge of the facts would have said that he was keeping a close watch on Racey Dawson.
Once out of sight of the house of McFluke, Chuck sheathed his sixshooter with a jerk and returned Racey’s gun.
“You did fine at the last,” Racey said, admiringly, as he bolstered his weapon. “But what did you jump McFluke for thataway at first? That come almighty near kicking the kettle over, that play did.”
“I know,” said Chuck, shamefacedly, “and when I rode up to the shack I hadn’t intended anything like that. But when I saw that slickery juniper McFluke standing there behind the bar so fat and sassy, it come over me all of a sudden what he’d done to the Dale family by letting old Dale have whiskey, that I couldn’t help myself. Gawd, I wanted to knock him down and tromp his face flat as a floor. It ain’t as if McFluke ain’t been told about old Dale’s failing. I warned him when he first came here last year not to let old Dale have redeye on any account.”
“I know,” nodded Racey, soberly, “but you want to remember his giving old Dale whiskey ain’t the particular cow we’re after. There’s more to it than that, a whole lot more. We’ve got to be a li’l careful, Chuck, and go a li’l slow. If we go having a fraycas now they’ll get suspicious and go fussbudgettin’ round like a hound-dog after quail.”
“Just as if they won’t suspicion something’s up soon as Peaches Austin gets back to Farewell.”
“Peaches Austin ain’t going back to Farewell right away. I’ve fixed Peaches for a few days. And a few days is all I need to find out what I want to. And even after Peaches does float in will he know me after I’ve changed my shirt, dirtied my hat, and got me a clean shave twice over? He ain’t got no idea what I look like under the whiskers. He wasn’t living in Farewell before I went north, so all he knows about me is my voice and my hoss. It will shore be the worst kind of luck if I can’t keep Peaches from hearing the one and seeing the other until after I’m ready. You leave it to yore uncle, Chuck. He knows.”
“He’s a great man, my uncle,” assented Chuck, and struck a derisive tongue in his cheek. “What did you find out from McFluke—anything?”
“Anything? Gimme a match and I’ll tell you.”
CHANGE OF PLAN
“It’s a long way to Arizona,” offered Racey Dawson, casually—too casually.
Swing Tunstall’s bristle-haired head jerked round. Swing bent two suspicious eyes upon his friend. “You just find it out?” he queried.
“No, oh, no,” denied Racey. “I’ve been thinking about it some time.”