Dunke went about the task of making the necessary arrangements personally. He had his surrey packed with food, and about eleven o’clock drove up to the mine and was lowered to the ninth level. An hour later he stepped out of the cage with a prisoner whom he kept covered with a revolver.
“It’s that fellow Struve,” he explained to the astonished engineer in the shaft-house. “I found him down below. It seems that Fraser took him down the Jackrabbit and he broke loose and worked through to our ground.”
“Do you want any help in taking him downtown, sir? Shall I phone for the marshal?”
His boss laughed scornfully.
“When I can’t handle one man after I’ve got him covered I’ll let you know, Johnson.”
The two men went out into the starlit night and got into the surrey. The play with the revolver had hitherto been for the benefit of Johnson, but it now became very real. Dunke jammed the rim close to the other’s temple.
“I want that letter I wrote you. Quick, by Heaven! No fairy-tales, but the letter!”
“I swear, Joe—”
“The letter, you villain! I know you never let it go out of your possession. Give it up! Quick!”
Struve’s hand stole to his breast, came out slowly to the edge of his coat, then leaped with a flash of something bright toward the other’s throat. Simultaneously the revolver rang out. A curse, the sound of a falling body, and the frightened horses leaped forward. The wheels slipped over the edge of the narrow mountain road, and surrey, horses, and driver plunged a hundred feet down to the sharp, broken rocks below.
Johnson, hearing the shot, ran out and stumbled over a body lying in the road. By the bright moonlight he could see that it was that of his employer. The surrey was nowhere in sight, but he could easily make out where it had slipped over the precipice. He ran back into the shaft-house and began telephoning wildly to town.
Steve offers congratulations
When Fraser reached the dining-room for breakfast his immediate family had finished and departed. He had been up till four o’clock and his mother had let him sleep as long as he would. Now, at nine, he was up again and fresh as a daisy after a morning bath.
He found at the next table two other late breakfasters.
“Mo’ning, Miss Kinney. How are you, Tennessee?” he said amiably.
Both Larry and the young woman admitted good health, the latter so blushingly that Steve’s keen eyes suggested to him that he might not be the only one with news to tell this morning.
“What’s that I hear about Struve and Dunke?” asked Neill at once.