It should have been the signal for a day’s carousal, and the good citizens of Appleton were no wise averse. They desired to hear the voice of their new sheriff in friendly converse. They desired to see him in that most amiable of all poses, his foot on the rail and his hand on the bar. They wanted to look him over and size him up just as a boy wishes to fondle his first gun. But the sheriff objected. He was sorry to spoil the fun. He said that they could go ahead and have their little time, but that they must leave him out. He had business to perform that didn’t admit of drinking.
There might have been adverse criticism of this Spartan strenuousness, but at this point a diversion occurred in the shape of four wild riders who broke into Appleton and brought the word that Slim Malone had been out again. This time he had held up a mule train on its way to carry provisions up Bender Cañon to Earl Parrish’s claim. With his usual fine restraint Slim had taken no lives, but he had winged two of the drivers badly and had helped himself from the provisions without unnecessary waste. He had even lingered to give first aid to the two drivers whose courage had overcome their sense of proportion.
If anything had been needed to spur on the new official of Appleton it came in the form of the message which Slim Malone had left with the wounded man before he rode away.
“Tell the new sheriff,” he called, as he sat easily in the saddle…