“A whole lot of folks are underground because they didn’t expect to get what they got. Yo’re lucky to be lyin’ there with only a headache. Still, alla same, he needn’t ‘a’ kicked you.”
“Huh? Kicked me? You mean to say he kicked me? Dawson kicked me?”
“Shore I mean to say Dawson kicked you. Kicked you when you was lyin’ there down and out and senseless.”
A moment Bull lay quietly. Then when the full import of Doc Coffin’s words had percolated through and through his brain he pulled himself to a sitting posture and swung a leg to the floor. Doc Coffin was beside him instantly.
“Lie down, you idjit!” commanded Doc Coffin, and with no gentle hand shoved Bull down upon his pillow. “Whadda you think yo’re gonna do?”
“I’m goin’ out and fill that —— full of lead.”
“Oh, you are, huh? Yo’re gonna do all that? Tha’s fine. Do you want a quiet burial or a regular funeral?”
“Say yoreself, and say something sensible while yo’re about it.”
“Nobody can kick me and get away with it!” Bull declared, passionately. “I’ll—”
“Maybe you will, but not in a hurry. You start out after him now, and you wouldn’t last as long as a short drink in a roomful of drunkards. Didn’t you hear about Dawson’s li’l run-in with Nebraska?”
“Hell, I seen it!”
“You seen it, huh? And you know what he done to you to-day, and still you wanna paint for war now and immediate? No, Bully, not a-tall. You listen to me. I got a better plan. A whole lot better plan. Lookit....”
After leaving the Starlight, on their way back to the hotel, Racey said to Swing Tunstall: “Might as well tell Jack Harpe now we ain’t gonna ride for him, huh?”
“Oh, shore,” Swing sighed resignedly. “Have it yore own way! Have it yore own way! I never seen such a feller as you for gettin’ his own way in all my life.”
“Yo’re young yet—maybe you will,” said Racey, consolingly. “So don’t get discouraged.”
They did not find Jack Harpe at the hotel, nor was he at the Happy Heart. But in the saloon Luke Tweezy was drinking by himself at one end of the bar. Perhaps the money-lender would know the whereabouts of Jack Harpe.
“’Lo, Luke,” was Racey’s greeting. “Seen Jack Harpe around anywheres?”
Luke Tweezy’s thin and sandy eyebrows lifted up in what would pass with almost any one for surprise. “Who?”
“Dunno him.” Indifferently—too indifferently.
“You dunno him—long, slim feller, black hair and eyes, and a hawky kind of nose? Jack Harpe. Shore you know him. Why, I seen—” Racey broke off abruptly.
“Yeah,” prompted Luke Tweezy after an interval. “You seen—what?”
“I don’t see why you dunno him,” parried Racey (it was a weak parry, but the best he could encompass at the moment). “I thought you knowed him. Somebody told me you did. My mistake. No harm done. Have a drink, Luke.”