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The Big-Town Round-Up by William MacLeod Raine

Guided Whitford and his daughter to Maddock's

style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XXXIV


Annie Millikan nodded her wise little head. "Jerry's gonna frame him if he can. He's laid the wires for it. That's a lead pipe."

"Sure," agreed Muldoon. "I'll bet he's been busy all night fixin' up his story. Some poor divvies he'll bully-rag into swearin' lies an' others he'll buy. Trust Jerry for the crooked stuff."

"We've got to get the truth," said Beatrice crisply, pulling on her gloves. "And we'll do it too. A pack of lies can't stand against four of us all looking for the truth."

Annie looked curiously at this golden-haired girl with the fine rapture of untamed youth, so delicate and yet so silken strong. By training and tradition they were miles apart, yet the girl who had lived on the edge of the underworld recognized a certain kinship. She liked the thorough way this young woman threw herself into the business of the day. The wireless telegraphy of the eyes, translated through the medium of her own emotions, told her that no matter whose ring Beatrice Whitford was wearing Clay Lindsay held her happiness in the cup of his strong brown hand.

"You're shoutin', Miss." Annie rose briskly. "I'll get busy doin' some sleuthin' myself. I liked your friend from the minute he

stepped through--from the minute I set me peepers on him. He's one man, if anybody asks you. I'm soitainly for him till the clock strikes twelve. And say, listen! Jerry's liable not to get away with it. I'm hep to one thing. The gang's sore on him. He rides the boys too hard. Some of 'em will sure t'row him down hard if they think they'll be protected."

"The district attorney will stand by us," said Whitford. "He told me himself Durand was a menace and that his days as boss were numbered. Another thing, Miss Millikan. If you need to spend any money in a legitimate way, I'm here to foot the bills."

Muldoon, who was on night duty this month and therefore had his days free, guided Whitford and his daughter to Maddock's. As they reached the house an express wagon was being driven away. Automatically the license number registered itself in Tim's memory.

The policeman took a key from his pocket and unlocked the door. The three went up the stairs to the deserted gambling-hall and through it to the rear room.

"From what Lindsay says the bullet holes ought to be about as high as his arm pits," said Whitford.

"'Slim' must 'a' been standin' about here," guessed Muldoon, illustrating his theory by taking the position he meant. "The bullets would hit the partition close to the center, wouldn't they?"

Beatrice had gone straight to the plank wall. "They're not here," she told them.

"Must be. According to Lindsay's story the fellow was aiming straight at it."

"Well, they're not here. See for yourself."

She was right. There was no evidence whatever that any bullets had passed through the partition. They covered every inch of the cross wall in their search.

"Lindsay must have been mistaken," decided Whitford, hiding his keen disappointment. "This man Collins couldn't have been firing in this direction. Of course everything was confusion. No doubt they shifted round in the dark and--"

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