An inner room, fitted with bunks, was used as the dormitory, but the two robbers, as special guests had rooms to themselves. Going to a cupboard, and bringing out an armful of blankets, Swanson threw them on the floor.
“There my hearty, you and your boy will have to camp out here to-night. We’re crowded, so make yourself comfortable,” and then bidding them “Good-night,” he staggered to his bed.
Nothing could suit the detectives better than this. A room to themselves, a warm fire, plenty of blankets and no suspicions of their true character.
Smoothing the blankets over the bear skins, the two friends lay down and a whispered conversation commenced.
“What were Cummings and Moriarity talking about, Chip?” said Sam, in a cautious tone.
“Cummings wants to rob the old man, Swanson. He says he’s got thousands of dollars salted somewhere around here and thinks they might as well make hay while the sun shines, but Dan was afraid to do it.”
“What a precious pair of rascals, but we can use this idea first-rate to get them over the line again.”
“I thought of the same thing as they were talking. If you could only bring it up without awaking any suspicions, we might offer to help him do the job.”
“Trust me for that, old fellow. Even if we have to commit actual robbery, I’ll do it.”
“Well, keep your eyes open, and don’t be caught sleeping. Go to sleep, now. I’ll keep first watch.”
This was the regular system of the two operators. While one slept the other kept watch and to this fact a large portion of their success was due.
The ranche became quiet, its denizens all sleeping, and the night passed without any disturbance.
The doctor Turns conspirator—the plot to rob the ranche.
The pseudo doctor had been at the ranche a week, during which he had become quite chummy with Jim Cummings and Dan Moriarity, who, finding that time hung very heavy on their hands, welcomed the jovial, story-telling doctor and spent most of their time in his company.
Swanson, who was moving his stock further west and making preparations for the spring round-up, was obliged to be in the saddle all day and sometimes late at night. Although a hard drinker, an unscrupulous rascal and an inveterate gambler, he was a good stock-raiser, and kept good care of his cattle. He employed a large force of cowboys or herders, and, acting himself as captain of the round-up, he would absent himself from home for days at a time.
One morning the Doctor, flashing a significant glance toward Scip, which said, “Take your cue and follow me,” remarked in a careless tone:
“I reckon the old man must have considerable dust salted down by this time.”
As the remark was a general one made to Cummings, Moriarity and Scip, the latter answered: