“He’s gone down the coast on business,” said Ruger, “and may not be back for several months.”
“We’ll not wait for him” was the miner’s reply.
At the same time he drew a revolver.
“You had better wait,” said Ruger, also producing a revolver.
The Ten Miler paused, and looked around at his companions. They did not present a formidable array of fighting stock. In fact, they were the sorest-looking men that Ten Mile Gulch ever saw; and as the unscathed surveyed them, he seemed to think he had better wait.
[Illustration: “YOU HAD BETTER WAIT,” SAID RUGER, ALSO PRODUCING A REVOLVER.]
“You’ll wait for Mr. Borlan?” queried Ruger.
“I reckon we’d better,” answered the unscathed.
“And while you are waiting, you had better take a cursory glance at Mr. Watson,” suggested Ruger. “At the present time he is reposing in the shade of an acacia-bush, just back of the late lamented William Foster’s rural habitation. Good-morning, gentlemen; and don’t get impatient.”
If Mr. Ruger had any fear of treachery, he did not exhibit it, for he never turned his head as he rode off toward the valley. Nor was there any danger; for beneath his suggestions about Mr. Watson the unscathed had detected a thing or two.
“I’m glad we waited,” he said. “I begin to see a thing or two. Them as is able will follow me up the Gulch.”
About half a score went with him. Mr. Watson was still enjoying the shade of the acacia-bush. In fact, he couldn’t get away, which Mr. Ruger well knew.
“It’s all up with me, Gulchers,” whispered Watson. “Ruger was too many for me, and I ought to have known it. You’ll find Bill Foster’s dust in a flour-sack, in my cabin. My respects to Borlan when you see him, and tell him I beg his pardon for discommoding him. Give what dust is honestly mine to him. It’s all I can do now. Good-by, boys. I’m jest played out; but take my advice and never buck against Tom Ruger. He’s too many for any dozen chaps on the coast. I knew ’twas all up with me the minute Tom came in, for he can look right through a feller’s heart. But never mind! It’s too late to help it now. I staked everything I had against Foster’s pile, and I’m beat, beat, beat!”
These were the last words Mr. Bob Watson ever spoke, as many a surviving Ten Miler will tell you, and they buried him in the spot where he died, without any beautiful stone to mark the place.
Miss Fanny Borlan found Jack awaiting her at San Francisco.
“What made you run away?”
“Why, Fanny, didn’t Tom tell you about it?” queried Jack.
“Tom? Oh, you mean Mr. Ruger. He only sent me down here.”
“Just like him, Fan; very few words he ever wastes. Ah, sister, we don’t have such men out East.”
“So the stage-driver told me,” said Fanny, demurely.