A man with prominent white front teeth had followed Dave to the office of Horace Graham, had seen him enter, and later had seen him come out with a look on his face that told of victory. The man tried to get admittance to the financier and failed. He went back to his hotel and wrote a short letter which he signed with a fictitious name. This he sent by special delivery to Graham. The letter was brief and to the point. It said:
Don’t do business with David Sanders without investigating his record. He is a horsethief and a convicted murderer. Some months ago he was paroled from the penitentiary at Canon City and since then has been in several shooting scrapes. He was accused of robbing a stage and murdering the driver less than a week ago.
Graham read the letter and called in his private secretary. “McMurray, get Canon City on the ’phone and find out if a man called David Sanders was released from the penitentiary there lately. If so, what was he in for? Describe the man to the warden: under twenty-five, tall, straight as an Indian, strongly built, looks at you level and steady, brown hair, steel-blue eyes. Do it now.”
Before he left the office that afternoon Graham had before him a typewritten memorandum from his secretary covering the case of David Sanders.
THREE IN CONSULTATION
The grizzled railroad builder fixed Sanders with an eye that had read into the soul of many a shirker and many a dishonest schemer.
“How long have you been with the Jackpot Company?”
“Not long. Only a few days.”
“How much stock do you own?”
“Ten thousand shares.”
“How did you get it?”
“It was voted me by the directors for saving Jackpot Number Three from an attack of Steelman’s men.”
Graham’s gaze bored into the eyes of his caller. He waited just a moment to give his question full emphasis. “Mr. Sanders, what were you doing six months ago?”
“I was serving time in the penitentiary,” came the immediate quiet retort.
“You didn’t tell me this yesterday.”
“No. It has no bearing on the value of the proposition I submitted to you, and I thought it might prejudice you against it.”
“Have you been in any trouble since you left prison?”
Dave hesitated. The blazer of railroad trails rapped out a sharp, explanatory question. “Any shooting scrapes?”
“A man shot at me in Malapi. I was unarmed.”
“Another man fired at me out at the Jackpot. I was unarmed then.”
“Were you accused of holding up a stage, robbing it, and killing the driver?”
“No. I was twenty miles away at the time of the hold-up and had evidence to prove it.”
“Then you were mentioned in connection with the robbery?”