The cowboy shuffled his feet and picked up his hat. Starr got up stiffly and limped to his room. He came out with a check, which he gave to the cowboy.
Waring pushed back his chair as though to step round the table and follow the cowboy, but he hesitated, and finally sat down.
“I’m sorry it happened this way, Mrs. Starr,” he said.
“It’s awful! And one of our men!”
“That’s not your fault, Mrs. Starr.”
Starr fumbled along the clock shelf, found his pipe, and lighted it. He sat down near Waring as Mrs. Starr began to clear away the dishes.
“If I can do anything to help run down that white-livered skunk—”
“You can, Jasper. Just keep it to yourself that I have been here. Pete left of his own accord. I don’t want the Brewster boys to know I’m out on their trail.”
Starr nodded and glanced at his wife. “I looked to see you kill him,” he said, gesturing toward the doorway.
“What! That poor fool? I thought you knew me better, Jasper.”
The Fight in the Open
Starr was awakened at midnight by the sound of boot-heels on the ranch-house veranda. He lighted a lamp and limped to the door. The lamplight shone on the smooth, young face of a Mexican, whose black sombrero was powdered with dust.
“What do you want?” queried Starr.
“I am look for the Senor Jim. I am Ramon, of his place. From the rancho I ride to Stacey. He is not there. Then I come here.”
“And you ain’t particular about wakin’ folks up to tell ’em, either.”
“I would find him,” said Ramon simply.
“What’s your business with Jim Waring?”
“It is that I am his friend. I know that he is ride looking for the men who killed my patron the Senor Pat. I am Ramon.”
“Uh-uh. Well, suppose you are?”
“It is not the suppose. I am. I would find Senor Jim.”
“Who said he was here?”
“The senora at the hotel would think that he was here.”
Starr scratched his grizzled head. Waring had said nothing about the Mexican. And Starr did not like Mexicans. Moreover, Waring had said to tell no one that he had been at the Starr Ranch.
“I don’t know where Jim Waring is,” said Starr, and, stepping back, he closed the door.
Ramon strode to his horse and mounted. All gringos were not like the Senor Jim. Many of them hated Mexicans. Ah, well, he would ride back to Stacey. The senora at the cantina was a pleasant woman. She would not shut the door in his face, for she knew who he was. He would ask for a room for the night. In the morning he would search for Senor Jim. He must find him.
Mrs. Adams answered his knock at the hotel door by coming down and letting him in. Ramon saw by the office clock that it was past three. She showed him to a room.