“What’ll you gimme to tell you?” inquired the desperate Bull.
“Nothin’—not a thin dime, feller. C’mon, let’s go.”
“Nun-no, not yet. I—say, suppose you lemme talk to Jack Harpe first myself. Just you lemme get my share out of him, and I’ll tell you all you wanna know.”
“When you going to him?” Racey demanded, suspiciously.
“To-night if I can find him. It ain’t so late. But to-morrow, anyway.”
“I’ll give you till sundown to-morrow night. If you ain’t ready to tell me then you’ll have to drift.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” sneered Bull.
“I’ve said it,” Racey said, shortly, rising to his feet.
“There’s no ropes on you. Skip.... Nemmine yore Winchester. She’s all right where she is. So long, Bull, so long.”
The sun, lifting over the rim of the world, sprayed its rays through the window and splashed with gold the face of Racey Dawson. He awoke, and much to the profane disgust of Swing Tunstall, shook that worthy awake immediately.
“Aw, lemme sleep, will you?” begged Swing, with suspicious meekness, reaching surreptitiously for a boot. “You lemme alone, that’s a good feller.”
“Get up,” commanded Racey. “Get up, it’s the early worm catches the most fish. Rise and shine, Swing. Never let the sun catch you snorin’. Besides, I can’t sleep any more myself. I—”
Wham! Swing’s flung boot shaved Racey’s surprised ear and smashed against the partition.
“You’ll wake up that Starlight proprietor,” Racey said, calmly, as he picked up the boot and dropped it out of the window. “Good dog,” he continued, presumably addressing a canine friend without, “leave Swing’s nice new boot alone, will you? Don’t go gnawin’ at it thataway. It ain’t a bone.”
Swing, pulling on his pants, left the room, hopping physically and mentally. Racey rested both elbows on the sill and waited happily for his comrade to appear beneath him.
“Shucks,” he said in a tone of great surprise when Swing shot round the corner of the hotel, “I shore thought there was a dog there a-teasin’ that boot. I could have took my Bible oath there was a great, big, black, curly-haired feller with lots of teeth down there. I saw him, Swing. Shore thought I did. Must ‘a’ been mistaken. And you went and believed me, and got splinters in yore feet because you were in such a hurry. Never mind, Swing, here’s the other one.”
He jerked the boot in question at his friend’s head, and sat down on his cot to complete his own dressing.
Came then the sound of a prodigious yawn from the room next door occupied by Jack Harpe. A cot creaked. A boot was scraped along the floor.
“Shore must be a sound sleeper,” said Racey Dawson to himself, “if he really did just wake up.”
He buckled on his gunbelt, set his hat a-tilt on one ear, and went down to wash his face and hands in the common basin on the wash-bench outside the kitchen door.