At last, as if satisfied, he drew a deep breath, rose, and dropped the glove. It was caught in the flashing teeth. For another moment Bart stood whining and staring up to the face of his master. Then he whirled and fled out into the night.
ONE WAY OUT
In a room of the Salton place, on the evening of the next day after Calder’s death, sat Silent, with Kilduff, Rhinehart, and Jordan about him. Purvis was out scouting for the news of Haines, whose long absence commenced to worry the gang. Several times they tried to induce Kate to come out and talk with them, but she was resolute in staying alone in the room which they had assigned to her. Consequently, to while away the time, Bill Kilduff produced his mouth organ and commenced a dolorous ballad. He broke short in the midst of it and stared at the door. The others followed the direction of his eyes and saw Black Bart standing framed against the fading daylight. They started up with curses; Rhinehart drew his gun.
“Wait a minute,” ordered Silent.
“Damn it!” exclaimed Jordan, “don’t you see Whistling Dan’s wolf? If the wolf’s here, Dan isn’t far behind.”
Silent shook his head.
“If there’s goin’ to be any shootin’ of that wolf leave it to Hal Purvis. He’s jest nacherally set his heart on it. An’ Whistlin’ Dan ain’t with the wolf. Look! there’s a woman’s glove hangin’ out of his mouth. He picked that up in the willows, maybe, an’ followed the girl here. Watch him!”
The wolf slunk across the room to the door which opened on Kate’s apartment. Kate threw the door open—cried out at the sight of Bart—and then snatched up the glove he let drop at her feet.
“No cause for gettin’ excited,” said Silent. “Whistlin’ Dan ain’t comin’ here after the wolf.”
For answer she slammed the door.
At the same moment Hal Purvis entered. He stepped directly to Silent, and stood facing him with his hands resting on his hips. His smile was marvellously unpleasant.
“Well,” said the chief, “what’s the news? You got eloquent eyes, Hal, but I want words.”
“The news is plain hell,” said Purvis, “Haines—”
“What of him?”
“He’s in Elkhead!”
“Whistling Dan got him at Morris’s place and took him in along with the body of Tex Calder. Jim, you got to answer for it to all of us. You went to Morris’s with Lee. You come away without him and let him stay behind to be nabbed by that devil Whistlin’ Dan.”
“Right,” said Kilduff, and his teeth clicked. “Is that playin’ fair?”
“Boys,” said Silent solemnly, “if I had knowed that Whistlin’ Dan was there, I’d of never left Haines to stay behind. Morris said nothin’ about Calder havin’ a runnin’ mate. Me an’ Haines was in the upstairs room an’ about suppertime up came a feller an’ told us that Tex Calder had jest come into the dinin’-room. That was all. Did Whistlin’ Dan get Lee from behind?”