“Suppose I stay out of the deal,” said Waring.
“Why, that’s all right. I guess we can get along.”
Quigley glanced quickly at Waring. Donovan’s proposal was an insult intended to provoke a quarrel that would lead to Waring’s dismissal from the service of the Ortez Mines. Or if Waring were to agree to the suggestion, Donovan would have pulled Waring down to his own level.
Waring slowly rolled a cigarette. “Make out my check,” he said, turning to Quigley.
Donovan sighed. Waring was going to quit. That was good. It had been easy enough.
Quigley drafted a check and handed it to Donovan to sign. As the paymaster began to gather up the money on the table, Waring pocketed the check and rose, watching Quigley’s nervous hands.
As Quigley tied the sack and picked it up, Waring reached out his arm. “Give it to me,” he said quietly. Quigley laughed. Waring’s eyes were unreadable.
The smile faded from Quigley’s face. Without knowing just why he did it, he relinquished the sack.
Waring turned to Donovan. “I’ll take care of this, Bill. As I told you before, you can’t bluff worth a damn.”
Waring strode to the door. At Quigley’s choked exclamation of protest, the gunman whirled round. Donovan stood by the desk, a gun weaving in his hand.
“You ought to know better than to pull a gun on me,” said Waring. “Never throw down on a man unless you mean business, Bill.”
The door clicked shut.
Donovan stood gazing stupidly at Quigley. “By cripes!” he flamed suddenly. “I’ll put Jim Waring where he belongs. He can’t run a whizzer like that on me!”
“I’d go slow,” said Quigley. “You don’t know what kind of a game Waring will play.”
Donovan grabbed the telephone and called up the Sonora police.
The Silver Crucifix
When in Sonora, Waring frequented the Plaza Hotel. He had arranged with the management that his room should always be ready for him, day or night. The location was advantageous. Nearly all the Americans visiting Sonora and many resident Americans stopped at the Plaza. Waring frequently picked up valuable bits of news as he lounged in the lobby. Quietly garbed when in town, he passed for a well-to-do rancher or mining man. His manner invited no confidences. He was left much to himself. Men who knew him deemed him unaccountable in that he never drank with them and seldom spoke unless spoken to. The employees of the hotel had grown accustomed to his comings and goings, though they seldom knew where he went or definitely when he would return. His mildness of manner was a source of comment among those who knew him for what he was. And his very mildness of manner was one of his greatest assets in gaining information. Essentially a man of action, silent as to his plans and surmises, yet he could talk well when occasion demanded.