It was complete night before he reached the upper end of Eagle Head Cañon, and he was weary from the stumbling gait of his horse over the rocks. Moreover, the mountain night air was cold—very cold to Lefty. He wanted desperately to turn back, but he had not the heart to face the inquiries which would meet him at the town, and the covert smiles which would welcome the hero returning empty handed, the man who needed no posse.
Lefty was a very brave man, but like almost all of the physically courageous, he dreaded derision more than actual pain. Yet, in spite of this he finally decided that it was better to go back to the town and face the smiles than to remain through the cold night in these dread silences. He wished heartily that he had taken one other man with him if it were only for the companionship. As it was he felt that it was no use to hunt further, and he started back down the cañon. He had not gone far when his horse stumbled and commenced to limp.
Lefty got off with a curse and felt of the fore hoofs. The difficulty proved to be a sharp, three-cornered rock which had been picked up under the shoe of the left fore foot. He was bending over to pry this loose between his fingers when he caught the glint of a light.
In his excitement he sprang upright and stared.…