“All right. When you’ve finished that business I can use you.”
If Dave could have looked into the future he would have known that the days would stretch into months and the months to years before his face would turn toward ranch life again.
THE LAW PUZZLES DAVE
Dave knew he was stubborn. Not many men would have come on such a wild-goose chase to Denver in the hope of getting back a favorite horse worth so little in actual cash. But he meant to move to his end intelligently.
If Miller and Doble were in the city they would be hanging out at some saloon or gambling-house. Once or twice Dave dropped in to Chuck Weaver’s place, where the sporting men from all over the continent inevitably drifted when in Denver. But he had little expectation of finding the men he wanted there. These two rats of the underworld would not attempt to fleece keen-eyed professionals. They would prey on the unsophisticated.
His knowledge of their habits took him to that part of town below Lawrence Street. While he chatted with his foot on the rail, a glass of beer in front of him, he made inconspicuous inquiries of bartenders. It did not take him long to strike the trail.
“Two fellows I knew in the cattle country said they were comin’ to Denver. Wonder if they did. One of ’em’s a big fat guy name o’ Miller—kinda rolls when he walks. Other’s small and has a glass eye. Called himself George Doble when I knew him.”
“Come in here ’most every day—both of ’em. Waitin’ for the Festival of Mountain and Plain to open up. Got some kinda concession. They look to yours truly like—”
The bartender pulled himself up short and began polishing the top of the bar vigorously. He was a gossipy soul, and more than once his tongue had got him into trouble.
“You was sayin’—” suggested the cowboy.
“—that they’re good spenders, as the fellow says,” amended the bartender, to be on the safe side.
“When I usta know ’em they had a mighty cute little trick pony—name was Chiquito, seems to me. Ever hear ’em mention it?”
“They was fussin’ about that horse to-day. Seems they got an offer for him and Doble wants to sell. Miller he says no.”
“I’ll tell ’em a friend asked for ’em. What name?”
“Yes, do. Jim Smith.”
“The fat old gobbler’s liable to drop in any time now.”
This seemed a good reason to Mr. Jim Smith, alias David Sanders, for dropping out. He did not care to have Miller know just yet who the kind friend was that had inquired for him.
But just as he was turning away a word held him for a moment. The discretion of the man in the apron was not quite proof against his habit of talk.
“They been quarrelin’ a good deal together. I expect the combination is about ready to bust up,” he whispered confidentially.