“That’s right, sor,” Hogan replied, and turned to his companions. “Put him in the boat; an’ mind ye handle him gintly—we’ll be sailing under him soon. Now, sor, if it’s yer pleasure, I’ll be after saying good-bye to ye, sor; an’ to ye, too,” he said, shaking hands with both punches. “Fer a sick la-ad ye’re a wonder, ye are that,” he smiled at Johnny, “but ye want to kape away from the water fronts. Good-bye to ye both, an’ a pleasant journey home. The town is tin miles to me right, over beyant them hills.”
“Good-bye, Hogan,” mumbled Hopalong gratefully. “Yo’re square all the way through; an’ if you ever get out of a job or in any kind of trouble that I can help you out of, come up to the Bar-20 an’ you won’t have to ask twice. Good luck!” And the two sore and aching punchers, wiser in the ways of the world, plodded doggedly towards the town, ten miles away.
The next morning found them in the saddle, bound for Dent’s hotel and store near the San Miguel Canyon. When they arrived at their destination and Johnny found there was some hours to wait for Red, his restlessness sent him roaming about the country, not so much “seeking what he might devour” as hoping something might seek to devour him. He was so sore over his recent kidnapping that he longed to find a salve. He faithfully promised Hopalong that he would return at noon.
DICK MARTIN STARTS SOMETHING
Dick Martin slowly turned, leaned his back against the bar, and languidly regarded a group of Mexicans at the other end of the room. Singly, or in combinations of two or more, each was imparting all he knew, or thought he knew about the ghost of San Miguel Canyon. Their fellow-countryman, new to the locality, seemed properly impressed. That it was the ghost of Carlos Martinez, murdered nearly one hundred years before at the big bend in the canyon, was conceded by all; but there was a dispute as to why it showed itself only on Friday nights, and why it was never seen by any but a Mexican. Never had a Gringo seen it. The Mexican stranger was appealed to: Did this not prove that the murder had been committed by a Mexican? The stranger affected to consider the question.
Martin surveyed them with outward impassiveness and inward contempt. A realist, a cynic, and an absolute genius with a Colt .45, he was well known along the border for his dare-devil exploits and reckless courage. The brainiest men in the Secret Service, Lewis, Thomas, Sayre, and even old Jim Lane, the local chief, whose fingers at El Paso felt every vibration along the Rio Grande, were not as well known—except to those who had seen the inside of Government penitentiaries—and they were quite satisfied to be so eclipsed. But the Service knew of the ghost, as it knew everything pertaining to the border, and gave it no serious thought; if it took interest in all the ghosts and superstitions peculiar to the Mexican temperament it would have no time for serious work. Martin once, in a spirit of savage denial, had wasted the better part of several successive Friday nights in the San Miguel, but to no avail. When told that the ghost showed itself only to Mexicans he had shrugged his shoulders eloquently and laughed, also eloquently.