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The Big-Town Round-Up by William MacLeod Raine

Since Clarendon was trembling lest it be discovered


"W-what

did he tell you?"

Beatrice looked into his eyes and read in them once more stark fear. Again she had a feeling that there was something about the whole affair she had not yet fathomed--some secret that Clay and Clarendon and perhaps this captain of thugs knew.

She tried to read what he was hiding, groped in her mind for the key to his terror. What could it be that he was afraid Clay had told her? What was it they all knew except Lindsay's friends? And why, since Clarendon was trembling lest it be discovered, should the Arizonan too join the conspiracy of silence? At any rate she would not uncover her hand.

"He told us several things," she said significantly. "You've got to make open confession, Clary."

The ex-pugilist chewed his cigar and looked at her.

"What would he confess? That the man with him murdered Collins?"

"That's not true," said the girl quickly.

"So Lindsay's your friend, eh? Different here, Miss." Jerry pieced together what the clubman had told him and what he had since learned about her. He knew that this must be the girl to whom his host was engaged. "How about you, Bromfield?" he sneered.

The clubman stiffened. "I've nothing against Mr. Lindsay."

"Thought

you had."

"Of course he hasn't. Why should he?" asked Beatrice, backing up Clarendon.

Durand looked at her with a bold insolence that was an insult. His eyes moved up and down the long, slim curves of her figure. "I expect he could find a handsome reason if he looked around for it, Miss."

The girl's father clenched his fist. A flush of anger swept his ruddy cheeks. He held himself, however, to the subject.

"You forget, Mr. Durand, that Lindsay was his guest last night."

Jerry's laugh was a contemptuous jeer. "That's right. I'd forgot that. He was your guest, wasn't he, Bromfield?"

"What's the good of discussing it here?" asked the tortured host.

"Not a bit," admitted Whitford. "Actions talk, not words. Have you seen the police yet, Bromfield?"

"N-not yet."

"What's he gonna see the police about?" Jerry wanted to know, his chin jutting out.

"To tell them that he saw Collins draw a gun and heard shots fired," retorted the mining man instantly.

"Not what he's been tellin' me. He'll not pull any such story--not unless he wants to put himself in a cell for life."

"Talk sense. You can't frighten Bromfield. He knows that's foolishness."

"Does he?" The crook turned derisive eyes on the victim he was torturing.

Certainly the society man did not look a picture of confidence. The shadow of a heavy fear hung over him.

The telephone rang. Bromfield's trembling fingers picked up the transmitter. He listened a moment, then turned it over to Beatrice.

"For you."

Her part of the conversation was limited. It consisted of the word "Yes" repeated at intervals and a concluding, "Oh, I'm so glad. Thank you." Her eyes were sparkling when she hung up.


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