“Hands up!” said Lefty softly.

Even then, with his head on his man, he did not feel entirely sure of himself. It seemed that this could not be true. Opportunity had favored him too much. There must still be some turn of the game.

The meaningless gray eyes raised calmly from the book. It seemed to Lefty that a yellow glint came into them for a moment like the light that comes into an animal’s eyes when it is angered, but the next moment it was gone, and he could not be sure that it had come there at all. The rest of the face was perfectly calm. Malone lowered the book slowly and then raised his hands above his head.

“Ah, sheriff,” he said quietly, “I see that you have honored my invitation.”

“Right-o,” said Leftv, “I’m here all right.”

He felt strangely relieved after hearing his quarry speak. He stepped through the entrance and straightened up, still with the revolver leveled. It was beyond his fondest hopes that he should be able to bring the desperado alive to Appleton, and the thought of his complete success warmed his heart. Also the immediate prospect of that five-thousand-dollar bonus.

“In order to remove any strain you may be under,” went on Slim Malone, “I’ll assure you that I am quite unarmed. My guns are both lying on the table there. In order that you may make sure, I shall stand up, with my hands over my head, and turn around slowly. You can examine me to your own satisfaction.”

He did as he had said, and Lefty’s practised eyes saw that there was not the suspicion of a lump under the clothes.

“Now,” said Slim Malone, as he faced his captor again, and his smile was strangely winning, “I hope that I may lower my arms and we can commence our little party.”

“Your end of this here party is all over, my beauty‚Ķ”