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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about The Valley of Fear.

“There’s not a weak man in the lodge,” cried McGinty.  “True as steel, every man of them.  And yet, by the Lord! there is that skunk Morris.  What about him?  If any man gives us away, it would be he.  I’ve a mind to send a couple of the boys round before evening to give him a beating up and see what they can get from him.”

“Well, there would be no harm in that,” McMurdo answered.  “I won’t deny that I have a liking for Morris and would be sorry to see him come to harm.  He has spoken to me once or twice over lodge matters, and though he may not see them the same as you or I, he never seemed the sort that squeals.  But still it is not for me to stand between him and you.”

“I’ll fix the old devil!” said McGinty with an oath.  “I’ve had my eye on him this year past.”

“Well, you know best about that,” McMurdo answered.  “But whatever you do must be to-morrow; for we must lie low until the Pinkerton affair is settled up.  We can’t afford to set the police buzzing, to-day of all days.”

“True for you,” said McGinty.  “And we’ll learn from Birdy Edwards himself where he got his news if we have to cut his heart out first.  Did he seem to scent a trap?”

McMurdo laughed.  “I guess I took him on his weak point,” he said.  “If he could get on a good trail of the Scowrers, he’s ready to follow it into hell.  I took his money,” McMurdo grinned as he produced a wad of dollar notes, “and as much more when he has seen all my papers.”

“What papers?”

“Well, there are no papers.  But I filled him up about constitutions and books of rules and forms of membership.  He expects to get right down to the end of everything before he leaves.”

“Faith, he’s right there,” said McGinty grimly.  “Didn’t he ask you why you didn’t bring him the papers?”

“As if I would carry such things, and me a suspected man, and Captain Marvin after speaking to me this very day at the depot!”

“Ay, I heard of that,” said McGinty.  “I guess the heavy end of this business is coming on to you.  We could put him down an old shaft when we’ve done with him; but however we work it we can’t get past the man living at Hobson’s Patch and you being there to-day.”

McMurdo shrugged his shoulders.  “If we handle it right, they can never prove the killing,” said he.  “No one can see him come to the house after dark, and I’ll lay to it that no one will see him go.  Now see here, Councillor, I’ll show you my plan and I’ll ask you to fit the others into it.  You will all come in good time.  Very well.  He comes at ten.  He is to tap three times, and me to open the door for him.  Then I’ll get behind him and shut it.  He’s our man then.”

“That’s all easy and plain.”

“Yes; but the next step wants considering.  He’s a hard proposition.  He’s heavily armed.  I’ve fooled him proper, and yet he is likely to be on his guard.  Suppose I show him right into a room with seven men in it where he expected to find me alone.  There is going to be shooting, and somebody is going to be hurt.”

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