At first Cheyenne had thought of going along with them. But he reconsidered. He did not care to risk being arrested in San Andreas for having disturbed the peace. If the authorities should happen to detain him, there would be one broken head, one broken lamp, and possibly five or six witnesses as evidence that he had been the aggressor in the saloon. Sneed and his men would swear to anything, and the owner of the saloon would add his bit of evidence. Bartley himself was liable to arrest for assault and battery should Hull lodge a complaint against him. Incidentally, Hull had been found by the stableman, curiously roped and tied and his lower jaw somewhat out of plumb.
Bartley and Scott arrived in San Andreas about noon, saw to their stock and had dinner together. Bartley engaged a room at the hotel. Scott bought supplies. Then, unknown to Bartley, Scott hunted up the town marshal and told him that the Easterner was a friend of his. The town marshal took the hint. Scott assured the marshal that, if Sneed or his men made any trouble in San Andreas, he would gladly come over and help the marshal establish peace. Cheyenne’s name was not mentioned.
An hour later Scott appeared in front of the hotel with his burros packed. Bartley, loafing on the veranda, rose and stepped out.
“If you got time,” said Scott, “you might walk along with me, out to the edge of town.”
Bartley wondered what Scott had in mind, but he agreed to the suggestion at once.
Together they trudged through the sleepy town until they reached the open.
“I guess you can find your way back,” said Scott, his eyes twinkling. “And, say, it’s a good idea not to pack a shootin’-iron—and let folks know you don’t pack one.”
“I think I understand,” said Bartley.
“Ride over to my camp, any time, and if I’m not there, just make yourself to home.” And the big miner turned and started his burros toward the hills.
“Give my regards to Cheyenne,” called Bartley.
The miner nodded.
On his way back through town, Bartley wondered why the miner had asked him to take that walk. Then suddenly he thought of a reason. They had been seen in San Andreas, walking and talking together. That would intimate that they were friends. And a man would have to be blind, not to realize that it would be a mistake to pick a quarrel with Scott, or one of his friends. Joe Scott never quarreled; but he had the reputation of being a man of whom it was safe to step around.
With his sleeves rolled up, sitting in the quiet of his room, Bartley spent the afternoon jotting down notes for a story. He thought he had experienced enough adventure to make a good beginning. Of course, the love element was lacking, yet he thought that might be supplied, later. He had a heroine in mind. Bartley laid down his pencil, and sat back, shaping daydreams. It was hot in the room. It would be cooler down on the veranda. Well, he would finish his rough sketch of Cheyenne, and then step down to the veranda. He caught himself drowsing over his work. He sat up, scribbled a while, nodded sleepily, and, finally, with his head on his arms, he fell asleep.