There was not much bluff about Lefty Cornwall, as the curious-minded had frequently discovered in the past, but as he swung into the narrow throat of Eagle Head Cañon, he began to realize that he might have gone too far. While he was in the town it had been easy enough to make ringing speeches. Now that the evening began to come clown by lazy, cool degrees a certain diffidence grew in him.

He had fought many men during his brief life, but he had never come across a reputation as strange or as fascinating as this of Slim Malone. If the challenge which the bandit had sent him was irritating, it also roused in his mind a certain degree of respect, and as he rode up the cañon, winding slowly among the boulders, a hundred doubts infested his mind.

If he had been back upon the level reaches of the Texan desert, which he knew, these uncertainties would probably have never entered his head, but here every half mile of his journey was passed under the eye of a thousand coverts from which a man could have picked him off with the safety of a hunter firing from a blind at partridges. Moreover a curious loneliness akin to homesickness came in him, located, as far as he could discover, chiefly in the pit of the stomach.

The mountains were blue now, and purple along their upper reaches, and as the sun left off the moon took up her reign over the chill blue spaces. It was very solemn, almost funereal to the thought of Lefty Cornwall. And the silence was punctuated with the melancholy howling of a far-off coyote.

It was complete night before he reached the upper end of Eagle Head Cañon…