The Fight

: 'firebrand' Trevison

"The boss is sure a she-wolf at playin' a lone hand," growled Barkwell,

shortly after dusk, to Jud Weaver, the straw boss. "Seems he thinks his

friends is delicate ornaments which any use would bust to smithereens.

Here's his outfit layin' around, bitin' their finger nails with ongwee an'

pinin' away to slivers yearnin' to get into the big meal-lee, an' him

racin' an' tearin' around the country fightin' it out by his lonesome. I
call it rank selfishness!"

"He sure ought to have give us a chancst to claw the hair outen that

damned Corrigan feller!" complained Weaver. "In some ways, though, I'm

sorta glad the damned mine was blew up. 'Firebrand' would have sure got

a-hold of her some day, an' then we'd be clawin' at the bowels of the

earth instid of galivantin' around on our cayuses like gentlemen. I reckon

things is all for the best."

The two had come in from the river range ostensibly to confer with

Trevison regarding their work, but in reality to satisfy their curiosity

over Trevison's movements. There was a deep current of concern for him

under their accusations.

They had found the ranchhouse dark and deserted. But the office door was

open and they had entered, prepared supper, ate with a more than ordinary

mingling of conversation with their food, and not lighting the lamps had

gone out on the gallery for a smoke.

"He ain't done any sleepin' to amount to much in the last forty-eight

hours, to my knowin'," remarked Barkwell; "unless he's done his sleepin'

on the run--an' that ain't in no ways a comfortable way. He's sure to be

driftin' in here, soon."

"This here country's goin' to hell, certain!" declared Weaver, after an

hour of silence. "She's gettin' too eastern an' flighty. Railroads an'

dams an' hotels with bath tubs for every six or seven rooms, an'

resterawnts with filleedegree palms an' leather chairs an' slick eats is

eatin' the gizzard outen her. Railroads is all right in their place--which

is where folks ain't got no cayuses to fork an' therefore has to hoof

it--or--or ride the damn railroad."

"Correct!" agreed Barkwell; "she's a-goin' the way Rome went--an

Babylone--an' Cincinnati--after I left. She runs to a pussy-cafe

aristocracy--an' napkins."

"She'll be plumb ruined--follerin' them foreign styles. The Uhmerican

people ain't got no right to adopt none of them new-fangled notions."

Weaver stared glumly into the darkening plains.

They aired their discontent long. Directed at the town it relieved the

pressure of their resentment over Trevison's habit of depending upon

himself. For, secretly, both were interested admirers of Manti's growing


Time was measured by their desires. Sometime before midnight Barkwell got

up, yawned and stretched.

"Sleep suits me. If 'Firebrand' ain't reckonin' on a guardian, I ain't

surprisin' him none. He's mighty close-mouthed about his doin's, anyway."

"You're shoutin'. I ain't never seen a man any stingier about hidin' away

his doin's. He just nacherly hawgs all the trouble."

Weaver got up and sauntered to the far end of the gallery, leaning far out

to look toward Manti. His sharp exclamation brought Barkwell leaping to

his side, and they both watched in perplexity a faint glow in the sky in

the direction of the town. It died down as they watched.

"Fire--looks like," Weaver growled. "We're always too late to horn in on

any excitement."

"Uh, huh," grunted Barkwell. He was staring intently at the plains,

faintly discernable in the starlight. "There's horses out there, Jud!

Three or four, an' they're comin' like hell!"

They slipped off the gallery into the shadow of some trees, both

instinctively feeling of their holsters. Standing thus they waited.

The faint beat of hoofs came unmistakably to them. They grew louder,

drumming over the hard sand of the plains, and presently four dark figures

loomed out of the night and came plunging toward the gallery. They came to

a halt at the gallery edge, and were about to dismount when Barkwell's

voice, cold and truculent, issued from the shadow of the trees:

"What's eatin' you guys?"

There was a short, pregnant silence, and then one of the men laughed.

"Who are you?" He urged his horse forward. But he was brought to a quick

halt when Barkwell's voice came again:

"Talk from where you are!"

"That goes," laughed the man. "Trevison here?"

"What you wantin' of him?"

"Plenty. We're deputies. Trevison burned the courthouse and the bank

tonight--and killed Braman. We're after him."

"Well, he ain't here." Barkwell laughed. "Burned the courthouse, did he?

An' the bank? An' killed Braman? Well, you got to admit that's a pretty

good night's work. An' you're wantin' him!" Barkwell's voice leaped; he

spoke in short, snappy, metallic sentences that betrayed passion long

restrained, breaking his self-control. "You're deputies, eh? Corrigan's

whelps! Sneaks! Coyotes! Well, you slope--you hear? When I count three, I

down you! One! Two! Three!"

His six-shooter stabbed the darkness at the last word. And at his side

Weaver's pistol barked viciously. But the deputies had started at the word

"One," and though Barkwell, noting the scurrying of their horses, cut the

final words sharply, the four figures were vague and shadowy when the

first pistol shot smote the air. Not a report floated back to the ears of

the two men. They watched, with grim pouts on their lips, until the men

vanished in the star haze of the plains. Then Barkwell spoke, raucously:

"Well, we've broke in the game, Jud. We're Simon-pure outlaws--like our

boss. I got one of them scum--I seen him grab leather. We'll all get in,

now. They're after our boss, eh? Well, damn 'em, we'll show 'em! They's

eight of the boys on the south fork. You get 'em, bring 'em here an' get

rifles. I'll hit the breeze to the basin an' rustle the others!" He was

running at the last word, and presently two horses raced out of the corral

gates, clattered past the bunk-house and were swallowed in the vast, black


Half an hour later the entire outfit--twenty men besides Barkwell and

Weaver--left the ranchhouse and spread, fan-wise, over the plains west of


* * * * *

They lost all sense of time. Several of them had ridden to Manti, making a

round of the places that were still open, but had returned, with no word

of Trevison. Corrigan had claimed to have seen him. But then, a man told

his questioner, Corrigan claimed Trevison had choked the banker to death.

He could believe both claims, or neither. So far as the man himself was

concerned, he was not going to commit himself. But if Trevison had done

the job, he'd done it well. The seekers after information rode out of

Manti on the run. At some time after midnight the entire outfit was

grouped near Clay Levins' house.

They held a short conference, and then Barkwell rode forward and hammered

on the door of the cabin.

"We're wantin' Clay, ma'am," said Barkwell in answer to the scared inquiry

that filtered through the closed door. "It's the Diamond K outfit."

"What do you want him for?"

"We was thinkin' that mebbe he'd know where 'Firebrand' is. 'Firebrand' is

sort of lost, I reckon."

The door flew open and Mrs. Levins, like a pale ghost, appeared in the

opening. "Trevison and Clay left here tonight. I didn't look to see what

time. Oh, I hope nothing has happened to them!"

They quieted her fears and fled out into the plains again, charging

themselves with stupidity for not being more diplomatic in dealing with

Mrs. Levins. During the early hours of the morning they rode again to the

Diamond K ranchhouse, thinking that perhaps Trevison had slipped by them

and returned. But Trevison had not returned, and the outfit gathered in

the timber near the house in the faint light of the breaking dawn,

disgusted, their horses jaded.

"It's mighty hard work tryin' to be an outlaw in this damned dude-ridden

country," wailed the disappointed Weaver. "Outlaws usual have a den or a

cave or a mountain fastness, or somethin', anyhow--accordin' to all the

literchoor I've read on the subject. If 'Firebrand's' got one, he's mighty

bashful about mentionin' it."

"Oh, Lord!" exclaimed Barkwell, weakly. "My brains is sure ready for the

mourners! Where's 'Firebrand'? Why, where would you expect a man to be

that'd burned up a courthouse an' a bank an' salivated a banker? He'd be

hidin' out, wouldn't he, you mis'able box-head! Would he come driftin'

back to the home ranch, an' come out when them damn deputies come along,

bowin' an' scrapin' an' sayin': 'I'm here, gentlemen--I've been waitin'

for you to come an' try rope on me, so's you'd be sure to get a good fit!'

Would he? You're mighty right he--wouldn't! He'd be populatin' that old

pueblo that he's been tellin' me for years would make a good fort!" His

horse leaped as he drove the spurs in, cruelly, but at the distance of a

hundred yards he was not more than a few feet in advance of the

others--and they, disregarding the rules of the game--were trying to pass


* * * * *

"There ain't a bit of sense of takin' any risk," objected Levins from the

security of the communal chamber, as Trevison peered cautiously around a

corner of the adobe house. "It'd be just the luck of one of them critters

if they'd pot you."

"I'm not thinking of offering myself as a target for them," the other

laughed. "They're still there," he added a minute later as he stepped into

the chamber. "Them shooting you as they did, without warning, seems to

indicate that they've orders to wipe us out, if possible. They're

deputies. I bumped into Corrigan right after I left the bank building, and

I suppose he has set them on us."

"I reckon so. Seems it ain't possible, though," Levins added, doubtfully.

"They was here before you come. Your Nigger horse ain't takin' no dust. I

reckon you didn't stop anywheres?"

"At the Bar B." Trevison made this admission with some embarrassment.

But Levins did not reproach him--he merely groaned, eloquently.

Trevison leaned against the opening of the chamber. His muscles ached; he

was in the grip of a mighty weariness. Nature was protesting against the

great strain that he had placed upon her. But his jaws set as he felt the

flesh of his legs quivering; he grinned the derisive grin of the fighter

whose will and courage outlast his physical strength. He felt a pulse of

contempt for himself, and mingling with it was a strange elation--the

thought that Rosalind Benham had strengthened his failing body, had

provided it with the fuel necessary to keep it going for hours yet--as it

must. He did not trust himself to yield to his passions as he stood

there--that might have caused him to grow reckless. He permitted the

weariness of his body to soothe his brain; over him stole a great calm. He

assured himself that he could throw it off any time.

But he had deceived himself. Nature had almost reached the limit of

effort, and the inevitable slow reaction was taking place. The tired body

could be forced on for a while yet, obeying the lethargic impulses of an

equally tired brain, but the break would come. At this moment he was

oppressed with a sense of the unreality of it all. The pueblo seemed like

an ancient city of his dreams; the adobe houses details of a weird

phantasmagoria; his adventures of the past forty-eight hours a succession

of wild imaginings which he now reviewed with a sort of detached interest,

as though he had watched them from afar.

The moonlight shone on him; he heard Levins exclaim sharply: "Your arm's

busted, ain't it?"

He started, swayed, and caught himself, laughing lowly, guiltily, for he

realized that he had almost fallen asleep, standing. He held the arm up to

the moonlight, examining it, dropping it with a deprecatory word. He

settled against the wall near the opening again.

"Hell!" declared Levins, anxiously, "you're all in!"

Trevison did not answer. He stole along the outside wall of the adobe

house and peered out into the plains. The men were still where they had

been when the shot had been fired, and the sight of them brought a cold

grin to his face. He backed away from the corner, dropped to his stomach

and wriggled his way back to the corner, shoving his rifle in front of

him. He aimed the weapon deliberately, and pulled the trigger. At the

flash a smothered cry floated up to him, and he drew back, the thud of

bullets against the adobe walls accompanying him.

"That leaves seven, Levins," he said grimly. "Looks like my trip to Santa

Fe is off, eh?" he laughed. "Well, I've always had a yearning to be

besieged, and I'll make it mighty interesting for those fellows. Do you

think you can cover that slope, so they can't get up there while I'm

reconnoitering? It would be certain death for me to stick my head around

that corner again."

At Levins' emphatic affirmative he was helped to the shelter of a recess,

from where he had a view of the slope, though himself protected by a

corner of one of the houses; placed a rifle in the wounded man's hands,

and carrying his own, vanished into one of the dark passages that weaved

through the pueblo.

He went only a short distance. Emerging from an opening in one of the

adobe houses he saw a parapet wall, sadly crumpled in spots, facing the

plains, and he dropped to his hands and knees and crept toward it,

secreting himself behind it and prodding the wall cautiously with the

barrel of his rifle until he found a joint in the stone work where the

adobe mud was rotted. He poked the muzzle of the rifle through the

crevice, took careful aim, and had the satisfaction of hearing a savage

curse in the instant following the flash. He threw himself flat

immediately, listening to the spatter and whine of the bullets of the

volley that greeted his shot. They kept it up long--but when there was a

momentary cessation he crept back to the entrance of the adobe house,

entered, followed another passage and came out on the ledge farther along

the side of the pueblo. He halted in a dense shadow and looked toward the

spot where the men had been. They had vanished.

There was nothing to do but to wait, and he sank behind a huge block of

stone in an angle of the ledge, noting with satisfaction that he could see

the slope that he had set Levins to guard.

"I'm the boss of this fort if I don't go to sleep," he told himself grimly

as he stretched out. He lay there, watching, while the moonlight faded,

while a gray streak in the east slowly widened, presaging the dawn.

Stretched flat, his aching muscles welcoming the support of the cool stone

of the ledge, he had to fight off the drowsiness that assailed him.

An hour dragged by. He knew the deputies were watching, no doubt having

separated to conceal themselves behind convenient boulders that dotted the

plains at the foot of the slope. Or perhaps while he had been in the

passages of the pueblo, changing his position, some of them might have

stolen to the numerous crags and outcroppings of rock at the base of the

pueblo. They might now be massing for a rush up the slope. But he doubted

they would risk the latter move, for they knew that he must be on the

alert, and they had cause to fear his rifle.

Once he rested his head on his extended right arm, and the contact was so

agreeable that he allowed it to remain there--long. He caught himself in

time; in another second he would have been too late. He saw the figure of

a man on the slope a foot or two below the crest. He was flat on his

stomach, no doubt having crept there during the minutes that Trevison had

been enjoying his rest, and at the instant Trevison saw him he was raising

his rifle, directing it at the recess where Levins had been left, on


Trevison was wide awake now, and his marksmanship as deadly as ever. He

waited until the man's rifle came to a level. Then his own weapon spat

viciously. The man rose to his knees, reeling. Another rifle cracked--from

the recess where Levins was concealed, this time--and the man sank to the

dust of the slope, rolling over and over until he reached the bottom,

where he stretched out and lay prone. There was a shout of rage from a

section of rock-strewn level near the foot of the slope, and Trevison's

lips curled with satisfaction. The second shot had told him that a fear he

had entertained momentarily was unfounded--Levins was apparently quite


He raised himself cautiously, backed away from the rock behind which he

had been concealed, and wheeled, intending to join Levins. A faint sound

reached his ears from the plains, and he faced around again, to see a

group of horsemen riding toward the pueblo. They were coming fast, racing

ahead of a dust cloud, and were perhaps a quarter of a mile distant. But

Trevison knew them, and stepped boldly out to the edge of the stone ledge

waving his hat to them, laughing full-throatedly, his voice vibrating a

little as he spoke:

"Good old Barkwell!"

* * * * *

"That's him!"

Barkwell pulled his horse to a sliding halt as he saw the figure on the

pueblo, outlined distinctly in the clear white light of the dawn.

"He's all right!" he declared to the others as they followed his example

and drew their beasts down. "Them's some of the scum that's been after

him," he added as several horsemen swept around the far side of the

pueblo. "It was them we heard shootin'." The outfit sat silent on their

horses and watched the men ride over the plains toward another group of

horsemen that the Diamond K men had observed some time before riding

toward the pueblo,

"Yep!" Barkwell said, now; "that other bunch is deputies, too. It's mighty

plain. This bunch rounded up 'Firebrand' an' sent some one back for

reinforcements." He swept the Diamond K outfit with a snarling smile.

"They're goin' to need 'em, too! I reckon we'd better wait for them to

play their hand. It's about a stand off in numbers. We don't stand no

slack, boys. We're outlawed already, from the ruckus of last night, an' if

they start anything we've got to wipe 'em out! You heard 'em shootin' at

the boss, an' they ain't no pussy-kitten bunch! I'll do the gassin'--if

there's any to be done--an' when I draw, you guys do your damnedest!"

The outfit set itself to wait. Over on the edge of the pueblo they could

see Trevison. He was bending over something, and when they saw him stoop

and lift the object, heaving it to his shoulder and walking away with it,

a sullen murmur ran over the outfit, and lips grew stiff and white with


"It's Clay Levins, boys!" said Barkwell. "They've plugged him! Do you

reckon we've got to go back to Levins' shack an' tell his wife that we let

them skunks get away after makin' orphants of her kids?"

"I'm jumpin'!" shrieked Jud Weaver, his voice coming chokingly with

passion. "I ain't waitin' one damned minute for any palaver! Either them

deputies is wiped out, or I am!" He dug the spurs into his horse, drawing

his six-shooter as the animal leaped.

Weaver's horse led the outfit by only three or four jumps, and they swept

over the level like a devastating cyclone, the spiral dust cloud that rose

behind them following them lazily, sucked along by the wind of their


The group of deputies had halted; they were sitting tense and silent in

their saddles when the Diamond K outfit came up, slowing down as they drew

nearer, and halting within ten feet of the others, spreading out in a

crude semi-circle, so that each man had an unobstructed view of the


Barkwell had no chance to talk. Before he could get his breath after

pulling his horse down, Weaver, his six-shooter in hand, its muzzle

directed fairly at Gieger, who was slightly in advance of his men, fumed


"What in hell do you-all mean by tryin' to herd-ride our boss? Talk fast,

you eagle-beaked turkey buzzard, or I salivates you rapid!"

The situation was one of intense delicacy. Gieger might have averted the

threatening clash with a judicious use of soft, placating speech. But it

pleased him to bluster.

"We are deputies, acting under orders from the court. We are after a

murderer, and we mean to get him!" he said, coldly.

"Deputies! Hell!" Barkwell's voice rose, sharply scornful and mocking.

"Deputies! Crooks! Gun-fighters! Pluguglies!" His eyes, bright, alert,

gleaming like a bird's, were roving over the faces in the group of

deputies. "A damn fine bunch of guys to represent the law! There's Dakota

Dick, there! Tinhorn, rustler! There's Red Classen! Stage robber! An'

Pepper Ridgely, a plain, ornery thief! An' Kid Dorgan, a sneakin' killer!

An' Buff Keller, an' Andy Watts, an' Pig Mugley, an'--oh, hell! Deputies!


One of the men had reached for his holster. Weaver's gun barked twice and

the man pitched limply forward to his horse's neck. Other weapons flashed;

the calm of the early morning was rent by the hoarse, guttural cries of

men in the grip of the blood-lust, the sustained and venomous popping of

pistols, the queer, sodden impact of lead against flesh, the terror-snorts

of horses, and the grunts of men, falling heavily.

* * * * *

A big man in khaki, loping his horse up the slope of an arroyo half a mile

distant, started at the sound of the first shot and raced over the crest.

He pulled the horse to an abrupt halt as his gaze swept the plains in

front of him. He saw riderless horses running frantically away from a

smoking blot, he saw the blot streaked with level, white smoke-spurts that

ballooned upward quickly; he heard the dull, flat reports that followed

the smoke-spurts.

It seemed to be over in an instant. The blot split up, galloping horses

and yelling men burst out of it. The big man had reached the crest of the

arroyo at the critical second in which the balance of victory wavers

uncertainly. With thrusting chin, lips in a hideous pout, and with sullen,

blazing eyes, he watched the battle go against him. Fifteen cowboys--he

counted them, deliberately, coldly, despite the rage-mania that had seized

him--were spurring after eight other men whom he knew for his own. As he

watched he saw two of these tumble from their horses. And at a distance he

saw the loops of ropes swing out to enmesh four more--who were thrown and

dragged; he watched darkly as the remaining two raised their hands above

their heads. Then his lips came out of their pout and were wreathed in a

bitter snarl.

"Licked!" he muttered. "Twelve put out of business. But there's thirty

more--if the damn fools have come in to town! That's two to one!" He

laughed, wheeled his horse toward Manti, rode a few feet down the slope of

the arroyo, halted and sat motionless in the saddle, looking back. He

smiled with cold satisfaction. "Lucky for me that cinch strap broke," he


* * * * *

Trevison was placing Levins' limp form across the saddle on Nigger's back

when the faint morning breeze bore to his ears the report of Weaver's

pistol. A rattling volley followed the first report, and Trevison led

Nigger close to the edge of the ledge in time to observe the battle as

Corrigan had seen it. He hurried Nigger down the slope, but he had to be

careful with his burden. Reaching the level he lifted Levins off, laid him

gently on the top of a huge flat rock, and then leaped into the saddle and

sent Nigger tearing over the plains toward the scene of the battle.

It was over when he arrived. A dozen men were lying in the tall grass.

Some were groaning, writhing; others were quiet and motionless. Four or

five of them were arrayed in chaps. His lips grimmed as his gaze swept

them. He dismounted and went to them, one after another. He stooped long

over one.

"They've got Weaver," he heard a voice say. And he started and looked

around, and seeing no one near, knew it was his own voice that he heard.

It was dry and light--as a man's voice might be who has run far and fast.

He stood for a while, looking down at Weaver. His brain was reeling, as it

had reeled over on the ledge of the pueblo a few minutes before, when he

had discovered a certain thing. It was not a weakness; it was a surge of

reviving rage, an accession of passion that made his head swim with its

potency, made his muscles swell with a strength that he had not known for

many hours. Never in his life had he felt more like crying. His emotions

seared his soul as a white-hot iron sears the flesh; they burned into him,

scorching his pity and his impulses of mercy, withering them, blighting

them. He heard himself whining sibilantly, as he had heard boys whine when

fighting, with eagerness and lust for blows. It was the insensate, raging

fury of the fight-madness that had gripped him, and he suddenly yielded to

it and raised his head, laughing harshly, with panting, labored breath.

Barkwell rode up to him, speaking hoarsely: "We come pretty near wipin'

'em out, 'Firebrand!'"

He looked up at his foreman, and the latter's face blanched. "God!" he

said. He whispered to a cowboy who had joined him: "The boss is pretty

near loco--looks like!"

"They've killed Weaver," muttered Trevison. "He's here. They killed Clay,

too--he's down on a rock near the slope." He laughed, and tightened his

belt. The record book which he had carried in his waistband all along

interfered with this work, and he drew it out, throwing it from him. "Clay

was worth a thousand of them!"

Barkwell got down and seized the book, watching Trevison closely.

"Look here, Boss," he said, as Trevison ran to his horse and threw himself

into the saddle; "you're bushed, mighty near--"

If Trevison heard his first words he had paid no attention to them. He

could not have heard the last words, for Nigger had lunged forward,

running with great, long, catlike leaps in the direction of Manti.

"Good God!" yelled Barkwell to some of the men who had ridden up; "the

damn fool is goin' to town! They'll salivate him, sure as hell! Some of

you stay here--two's enough! The rest of you come along with me!"

They were after Trevison within a few seconds, but the black horse was far

ahead, running without hitch or stumble, as straight toward Manti as his

willing muscles and his loyal heart could take him.

* * * * *

Corrigan had seen the black bolt that had rushed toward him out of the

spot where the blot had been. He cursed hoarsely and drove the spurs deep

into the flanks of his horse, and the animal, squealing with pain and

fury, leaped down the side of the arroyo, crossed the bottom in two or

three bounds and stretched away toward Manti.

A cold fear had seized the big man's heart. It made a sweat break out on

his forehead, it caused his hand to tremble as he flung it around to his

hip in search of his pistol. He tried to shake the feeling off, but it

clung insistently to him, making him catch his breath. His horse was big,

rangy, and strong, but he forced it to such a pace during the first mile

of the ride that he could feel its muscles quivering under the saddle

skirts. And he looked back at the end of the mile, to see the black horse

at about the same distance from him; possibly the distance had been

shortened. It seemed to Corrigan that he had never seen a horse that

traveled as smoothly and evenly as the big black, or that ran with as

little effort. He began to loathe the black with an intensity equaled only

by that which he felt for his rider.

He held his lead for another mile. Glancing back a little later he noted

with a quickening pulse that the distance had been shortened by several

hundred feet, and that the black seemed to be traveling with as little

effort as ever. Also, for the first time, Corrigan noticed the presence of

other riders, behind Trevison. They were topping a slight rise at the

instant he glanced back, and were at least a mile behind his pursuer.

At first, mingled with his fear, Corrigan had felt a slight disgust for

himself in yielding to his sudden panic. He had never been in the habit of

running. He had been as proud of his courage as he had been of his

cleverness and his keenness in planning and plotting. It had been his

mental boast that in every crisis his nerve was coldest. But now he nursed

a vagrant, furtive hope that waiting for him at Manti would be some of

those men whom he had hired at his own expense to impersonate deputies.

The presence of the hope was as inexplicable as the fear that had set him

to running from Trevison. Two or three weeks ago he would have faced both

Trevison and his men and brazened it out. But of late a growing dread of

the man had seized him. Never before had he met a man who refused to be

beaten, or who had fought him as recklessly and relentlessly.

He jeered at himself as he rode, telling himself that when Trevison got

near enough he would stand and have it out with him--for he knew that the

fight had narrowed down between them until it was as Trevison had said,

man to man--but as he rode his breath came faster, his backward glances

grew more frequent and fearful, and the cold sweat on his forehead grew

clammy. Fear, naked and shameful, had seized him.

* * * * *

Behind him, lean, gaunt, haggard; seeing nothing but the big man ahead of

him, feeling nothing but an insane desire to maim or slay him, rode a man

who in forty-eight hours had been transformed from a frank, guileless,

plain-speaking human, to a rage-drunken savage--a monomaniac who, as he

leaned over Nigger's mane, whispered and whined and mewed, as his

forebears, in some tropical jungle, voiced their passions when they set

forth to slay those who had sought to despoil them.