She dodged past him and was gone. He made no move to follow. He pushed back his hat and scratched his head.
“Helluva town this is,” he muttered. “Can’t stand still any more without having some sport draw a fine sight where you’ll feel it most.”
After she left Racey Dawson Marie diagonalled across Main Street, passed between the dance hall and Dolan’s warehouse, and made her way to the most outlying of the half-dozen two-room shacks scattered at the back of the dance hall. She entered the shack, felt for the matches in the tin tobacco-box nailed against the wall, and struck one to light the lamp. Like the provident miss she was she turned the wick down after lighting in order that the chimney might heat slowly.
It may have been the dimness of the lighted lamp. It may have been that she was not as observing as usual. But certainly she had no inkling of another’s presence in the same room with her till she had slipped out of her waist. Then a man in the corner of the room swore harshly.
“—— yore soul to ——!” were his remarks in part. “What did you horn in for to-night?”
Racey Dawson did not remain long idle after Marie’s departure. The girl had barely entered the narrow passage between the warehouse and the dance hall before he was crossing the street at a point beyond the jail, where there were no shafts of light from open windows and doorways to betray him.
Racey Dawson circled the sheriff’s house and tippytoed past the outermost of the six two-room shacks at the rear of the dance hall. His objective was the Starlight Saloon, his purpose to discover the bushwhacker who had tried to shoot him.
As he passed the outermost shack a light flashed up within it. He saw Marie’s head and shoulder silhouetted against the curtain. He recognized her immediately by the heavy mass of her hair. No other woman in Farewell possessed such a mop.
Racey resolved to speak with Marie again. His hand was lifted in readiness to knock when Marie’s visitor spoke. Racey’s hand promptly dropped at his side. He had recognized the voice. It was that of Bull, the Starlight bartender.
The shack door was fairly well constructed. At least there were no cracks in it. But a log wall has oftentimes an open chink. This wall had one between the third and fourth tiers of logs not more than a yard from the door. Racey crouched till his eyes were on a level with the narrow crack.
He could not see Bull. But he could see Marie. Apparently she was not according her visitor the slightest attention. She daintily and unhurriedly hung her waist over the back of a chair. Then she turned up the lamp, removed the pins from her abundant hair, shook it down, and began to brush it calmly and carefully.
“—— you!” snarled Bull, advancing to the table where he was within range of Racey’s eyesight. “I spoke to you! What didja do it for?”