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’V1.'E:D ic;'i<:iR ‘ . ,
Rat in J the Co, in
, “ Ell eyes are like the violets
, H blue-us:-he," sang Big ‘(in Boyne
Jubilantly as he whacked his
huge Shining razor against a. worn,
Slish-slap! Slish-slap! Slish-slap!
On the other side of the sn1irchily-
lighted cabin, Slinnit grinned and rubbed
at his stump of right car. Presently he
twisted his small head around toward
MacGregor, who sat quietly at his side.
"The big felier‘s in love, ain't ho?”
MacGregor digested the remark for a.
thoughtful moment. Then he smiled
Scotchily thru his bushy white mus-
“We-ll," he said, :‘if I was young like
Big Un here, and if I'd meet a girl with
blue eyes like Kitty Elmore’s, I’ll b
switched if I wouldn't he a mite in love
“What's tliat?" Slinnit's foot slipped
from the base of the pot-bellied stove.
"Humph!" scoffed Siinnit.
rt darned fool to be in love . . . Hi.
Elephant,” he shrilled suddenly, “Mac
tells me you're in love."
Big Un turned and grinned good-
naturedly thru a white bank of lather.
"Reckon maybe I am. Mister ” ‘
“A.n' might: I inquire who
nate young lady is?”
‘ the forth-
“I see. An’ where might she live?”
nspargo... - , I
"I reckon you'll be gettin' married
“I hope so."
“Uh-huh. You hope so. Ain't the
young lady, Elkins or whate
name is, agreed to take
lg Un paused in
ample speech. In the midst of tho lather
hovered o. crumpling smile of placid
satisfaction. - :‘ ,
Well," he said, "not exactly. But I
reckon that whentli go down to Spnrgo
tomorrowvmornin‘ and lay seven liun
dred dollars in her hand, ‘she'll name the
“Well, well! .An' what's the seven
hundred bucks got to do with it?"
"We don't'beiieve in stat-tin‘ out on
“Now ain't that sense fer you, lilac?;-
tldllztrs an‘ cents." Slinnit cncklcd at his
joke. “But say, Elephant, what are you
gain’ to do with your bride? Goin‘ ‘to
bring her up here to the cabin on’ keep
on choppin' cedar for M
- “ ope," answered Big‘ patiently.
ngurin’ on takin’ at chgim up in
Utah-San Juan County." ' ‘ '
claim, eh?" And Slinuit suffered
silence while he tashioned a neat ciga-
rette with stained, skilful. fingers
Big ‘Un adjusted the lamp reiicctor so
that it glittered on his mirror, is Jagged
it of unframed glass tacked into po-
sition on the wall, and began to shave,
accompanying‘ his shaving‘ With soaring
outbursts o ,
“ eyes are like the violets blue-
Slinnit ‘scrambled down
e. , as
“Fer Gawd's sakes, Ele-
noisc! It hurts my
Ain't it, lilac?"
slapped liIo.cGregor familiarly
shoulder. The latter grunts .
turned slowly back to the
logged mirror. Ho poised his huge
razor and with a. precise stroke drew a
swath of clean tan tllru the froth and
.li n 0 he homely,
Mac? That girl of his‘n must be blind
its an osi‘-iiicd Lot to pick out a mug like
Elepliant!-ain't I named‘ him rlgh
now’! tch him, cut hisself. Ele-
, ten here, my man," he reproved. his
tone mild, yet with (L muscle in every
forgets he's easy-going and busts ye one
like ye deserve."
“Ilim bust me one? Like to see him
try it!" Slinnit snorted an ugly laugh.
"lie ain't ohJectin' none to me havin’ a
little inn, is he? Are you, Elephant?"
Big Uri shaved, away stolidly without
Slinnit leered at MacGregor triumph-
antly.‘ “See, there, lilac? Elephant ain't
a.-carin' any. You horned, in B. bit too
previous, I'm thinkin‘. ‘I u hind me to
chop ood-that’: ht. ow you wait
er you"or I;1lephant,'I'll let
you kick me down the mountain. That’:
l:‘.il‘L ain't it? An‘ when I now (‘m
his lather-ing tor’
. ‘solid, satisfying sleep.
An’ he's: clumsy as an elephant.
ACGREGOR spat on the-stove. “Lis- I
By Paul Everman.
cooped up here without ever haVin' any
fun occasionally? Life uin‘t no funernL"
"I'll see what kind of a workman ye
are." was all old MacGreE‘,or said.
Slinnit‘s green eyes, centering n hull
of muddy yellow-like ll. iioating aqua-
marine in a cup of cream-clouded coffee
"switched to Big Un,t who was sedu-
lously cleaning his razor. "Say, 1' e-
phant's gain’ to look purty sweet when
:2 goes down to Spargo to see his lady-
love tomorrow-ain't he? like to
meet this Miss-uh-Elticr. lileblm I
could cut hlln 0 t )1 ‘ She Wouldn't
> take it siocum like Elephant here when
she could get a. lively guy like me
the other day a friend 0’ mine‘ was.
tcllin' mo 'bout the girls down at SHIINIO
(I ain't never been there myself), e
s " linnit leaned over and whis-
pered a. reference to :iiacGregor.
Whack! The latter’: hand crushed the
ear-stump and then the detiiing mouth.
Slinnit was dashed against the rough
“Take it back!" Whispered MacGrc;;or.
his race twitching and hot.
me extra n. you old
screeched Sllnnit, twisting ll
body into a tense crouch. “Come o
me again! You're big:ger'n me.
again! But by , kill you if
you do!" '
MacGregor choked him savagely.
“Bnckl" he grow .
liiacGregcTr withdrew his ‘clutching
hand and turned to face Big Un, who
was standing puzzled at his side.
“Who. 9 tho matter, Mac?” asked Big‘
l.'n nnxiously.. "“'hat‘ he do?“ z
->"!s'othin ,” said Maccrcgor sourly.
“Nothing." Anni he pulled off his heavy
leather bootsnnd went to bed.
TIIE next day was Sunday, and Big (in
V B yne awoke with the dawn alter a
For a brief mo-
ment he eye his snoring companions.
Then he crawled eagerly from his cot.
with tingling thoughts of a hasty break-
fast. a. want to Carleton. and a 10 o'clock
train that would wh him‘
forty miles away, where he would spend
a. precious tiny with Kitty Elmore.
massive. hairy-backed hand crept
underneath his pillow and felt aliout,
Suddenly he [upped the pillow aside, and
his broad jaw dropped ciums
' lac!" he cried hoarsely.
money's gone!" .
MacGregor stirred sieepily, then sprang
u "What-wiist's ‘matter, ' boy?
Did you call me'."'r
"My money-i t‘s gone!
I put the roll
MacGregor strove to be calm. but his
tone betrayed rising excitement. "Loo
again, hoy, Maybe it slipped under the
covers or on th oor."
Big Un dropped to his knees and
. searched frantically on the floor. while
MacGregor clawednniong the covers.
bills under my pillow last night. It's , G
“Can't you let u teller sleep?"
Bil; L'n glanced up helplessl
"Big L'n's been robbed," answered
"l'tobl:ed’l" Slinnit bounced up. "VVI1nt‘.’
llis scven hundred lane 9'!" ‘ ,
E LEN!‘ an industrious hand to the
search. They shook the covers.
turned the mattress. shoved the cot
aside, examined the rough iioor micro-
Slinnit reached down
and ed up n reveled hit of yellow
corn-stalk, Dcrhsps six inches ion
‘ o 3 like in ece of fodder," grunt-
ed MncGregor. ' uet u 1;: n There
isn‘t any use of looking further." lie
stepped stiniy to the door and tried the
knoll. Turning. he fastened [rrim eyes on
Sllnnit. ‘'1 locked this door last night
and put the key in my pocket. The kt-y's
s n my pocket, and the door’: still
locked. Nobody else was in here last
"Well, what ot‘it’l" snapped Slinnit.
His green eyes flared angrily. "See here.
i’ you‘re 30in’ to accuse me 0' ‘akin’
Elephant’: roll, I'll say that you're 8.
neck e advanced heavily toward Slin-
nir, "See here, Slinnil, did you steal my
money? If you did “
"Prove it!" Slinnit snatched his trous-
ers and cost from a chair and flung them
a "Hero, search me! Look in
clothes-look in my hed-look
everything I got! . Look‘. Look!"
They searched the clothluigxlooked in
and under his cot. but found nothing.
“N you wise guys are doue,"sald
linnlt sarcastically, “mebbc I can show
you w era the seven hundred went." He
prowlcd or und the corners of the room
ly at a hole gnnwed in ‘the edge of the
ll . " ell that's where Elephnnfs
“You put it there, eh?" grunted lilac-
"Now, I didn't put it there! A rat put
.it there-the same rat ihat sneaked it
out from under Big Un's piller last
]iIacGregor was plainly incredulous;
Big Un-was silent. .
‘ t'4l take a. pretty wise rat to do
that." said Zilaccregor slowly at last.
' simple heart,
"Pack rats?” exclaimed lilaccregor
with a quick lance. " .
"Yehi wood rats. some call: 'em. You‘ve
seen ‘em, am’! you? Right here in this
cabin, I betcha!"
MucGreI;or nodded grudgingly. '
“Well, since you guys have had guts
enough to accuse me or hein‘ a thief, I'm
olngto clear myself clean. Get me?
All right. Here's your proof that a.
tlirly pack rat done live robbin', list like
1 said." no kicked the ruveled bit at
cornstalk toward Biz: Un.
' ' egan liiacGregor.
“I mean that 5. pack rat left this corn
stalk in place 0‘ Elephants’ roll. If you
know anything about pack rats, you'll
know that they never take‘anythim:
without lesvin’ something. They pack
in some old eaves or wood or something
of the kind. an"u:en they pack
thing they take a notion to.
This here mt seemed to .take I
0 Elephant’: roll. nu’ left this
cornstalk in place of it
lg Un's troubled eyes sought Mac-
Gregor. "What d'you think about it.
lilac?” . -
MacC-regor scratched his chin. “May-
be a rB.t.",’he admitted. “'.l'l'iese
pack rats are Just like Sllnnit says.
seen them steal corn and leave sticks at
wood and the like in place of it. Maybe
it was 8 rat."
slinnit grinned. "Ain't I right? Now.
lemme tell you something: Next time
you guys get so previous ‘bout callin'
me a. thief, I may get kind 0' nasty.
Big Un sank to his cot and Jan blunt
lingers thru his thick heavy tumbles of
dark hair. "lily God. lilac," he said dull)’,
‘"1 can't go to see Kitty now." ,
"Sure ye can, boy. It wouldn‘t be
treating her right to stay away. She‘:
Bi L'n shook his head doggedly. “I
can't lace her now. Mac. I can't do ii.
Not today. I've got to look for that
m .. .
“I'll tell ye what," said old llaccregor,
refraining from ‘ further
"I'll Walk down to Locke‘: and
get Kitty on the telephone and tell her
that ye can't come today. Meantime you
write her a. letter and have It ready to
W 7 ".2:-3‘
‘And Snnlchlng Up the Smaller lilnn Much
as an Glnnt would Lin a suck at uni.
He lllu-led lllm I-“nr Out Into the River.
go out in the morning. How‘s that?" ,
"I wish you would. Mac." .
“It's tough luck, old Elephant." com-
knowed better than to leave your roll
under the pillar that way,"
Big Un laccd up his big boots and gave
K "Pore old Elephant! Lost his roll, an‘
now I reckon he'll lose his girl. too. '1
That's the way with these women.
When you lose your money they ain't got
no more use fer you. no served me
that way once. Didn't I tell you a man
was 8. tool to-" > '
“You talk too much!" broke in Mac-
Gregor bluntly. '
FTER breakfast lilaccregor started
out for Locke’: ranch. accompanied
by Slinnit. who remarked baldly that he
wssn't very particular about spending
the morning in Big Lin‘: mournful pres-
Left alone,‘ Big Un grimly not about
seeking the missing money. which, to his
meant untold happiness.
First. he took 3 shining ax from the Wall
r 4-- ..................
tarnin‘ my money I’ll talk as much as " hat’s the matter with you guys?" " ise? l'il say sol These pack rat: ‘.m%.
,- I please. MyvGa.wdi do you fellern stay snarled Slirmit. slouching u? on his cot. has got brains in their feetl" - ‘ (Continued on Page 9,)
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