Now, it happened that Joe and his guest slept in opposite corners of the room. Rafferty discovered Joe, but was entirely ignorant of the presence of another person in the apartment.
Joe waked on being rudely shaken.
“Who is it?” he muttered drowsily.
“Never mind who it is!” growled Jack in his ear. “It’s a man that’ll kill you if you don’t give up all the money you’ve got about you!”
Joe was fully awake now, and realized the situation. He felt thankful that he was not alone, and it instantly flashed upon him that Watson had a revolver. But Watson was asleep. To obtain time to form a plan, he parleyed a little.
“You want my money?” he asked, appearing to be confused.
“Yes—and at once! Refuse, and I will kill you!”
I won’t pretend to deny that Joe’s heart beat a little quicker than its wont. He was thinking busily. How could he attract Watson’s attention?
“It’s pretty hard, but I suppose I must,” he answered.
“That’s the way to talk.”
“Let me get up and I’ll get it.”
Joe spoke so naturally that Rafferty suspected nothing. He permitted our hero to rise, supposing that he was going for the money he demanded.
Joe knew exactly where Watson lay and went over to him. He knelt down and drew out the revolver from beneath his head, at the same time pushing him, in the hope of arousing him. The push was effectual. Watson was a man whose experience at the mines had taught him to rouse at once. He just heard Joe say:
“What are you so long about?” demanded Rafferty suspiciously.
“I’ve got a revolver,” said Joe unexpectedly; “and, if you don’t leave the room, I’ll fire!”
With an oath, Rafferty, who was no coward, sprang upon Joe, and it would have gone hard with him but for Watson. The latter was now broad awake. He seized Rafferty by the collar, and, dashing him backward upon the floor, threw himself upon him.
“Two can play at that game!” said he. “Light the candle, Joe.”
“Help, pard!” called Rafferty.
But Hogan, on whom he called, suspecting how matters stood, was in full flight.
The candle was lighted, and in the struggling ruffian Joe recognized the man who, three months before, had robbed him of his little all.
NOT WHOLLY BLACK
“I know this man, Mr. Watson,” said Joe.
“Who is he?”
“He is the same man who robbed me of my money one night about three months ago—the one I told you of.”
For the first time, Rafferty recognized Joe.
“There wasn’t enough to make a fuss about,” he said. “There was only two dollars and a half.”
“It was all I had.”
“Let me up!” said Rafferty, renewing his struggles.
“Joe, have you got a rope?” asked Watson.