“I wonder if you’re quite satisfied with the purity of all your allies’ motives, Mr. Hardie?” Edgar inquired.
A smile crept into the clergyman’s face.
“I don’t think a leader’s often in that position, Mr. West; and considering what I’m up against, I can’t refuse any support that’s offered me. It’s one reason why I’ve taken yours.”
“Now that I’ve joined you, I’d better mention a little discovery West and I made this afternoon,” said George.
Hardie’s expression grew eager as he listened.
“It’s certainly liquor—for the reservation Indians,” he broke out. “If we can fix the thing on Beamish—I haven’t a doubt that he’s responsible—we can close the Sachem.”
“Then we had better decide how it’s to be done,” Grant said curtly.
He ruled out several suggestions, and finally said:
“I expect the case will be sent for to-night, and we want two witnesses who’ll lie by in the sloo. One of them ought to be a farmer; but we’ll see about that. Guess your part is to find out how the liquor left the Butte, Mr. Hardie. What do you think of the plan, ma’am?”
“I leave it to you,” said Mrs. Nelson, half reluctantly. “But be warned—if the men can’t close the Sachem, the women of Sage Butte will undertake the thing.”
“Then we have only to decide who is to watch the bluff,” said Hardie.
“As I first mentioned the matter, I’ll go, for one,” George volunteered.
“You’re the right man,” declared Grant. “As a newcomer who’s never been mixed up with local affairs, your word would carry more weight with the court. The opposition couldn’t make you out a partizan. But you want to recognize what you’re doing—after this, you’ll find yourself up against all the Sachem toughs. It’s quite likely they’ll make trouble for you.”
“I wonder whether such reasons count for much with Mr. Lansing?” Flora said suggestively.
George made no reply, but Edgar laughed.
“They don’t, Miss Grant; you can set your mind at rest on that. You don’t seem curious whether they count with me.”
“You’re not going,” Grant told him. “We must have two men who can be relied on, and I can put my hand on another who’s younger and a little more wiry than I am.” He turned to George. “What you have to do is to lie close in the sloo grass until the fellows come for the liquor, when you’ll follow them to the reservation, without their seeing you. Then you’ll ride up and make sure you would know them again. They should get there soon after daylight, as they won’t strike the bluff until it’s dark, but there’s thick brush in the ravine the trail follows for the last few miles. It won’t matter if they light out, because Flett will pick up their trail. I’ll send for him right off, but he could hardly get through before morning.”