“It’s a good move, pal,” he said, shaking his head with admiration, “an’ I know that you’re hard put to it or you wouldn’t try such an old dodge on me. It’s a good move, but down in Texas the booze stunt is so old that they’ve almost forgotten it—not quite!”

“Ah,” said Malone, with a little sigh of regret, “then I suppose we shall have to ride out in the night without a nip. Gets mighty chilly here before morning, you know.”

This fact, had gradually dawned on Lefty during his ride up the valley, and as he looked forward to the journey back he shivered with unpleasant anticipation. In Texas a summer night was one thing; in these mountains it was quite another.

“I suppose the booze is the real thing?” he inquired casually.

“There are little bubbles under the glass,” said Slim Malone with subtle emotion.

Lefty Cornwall sighed deeply. The taste of the Appleton bar whisky still burned his mouth. After all this fellow was a man. He might be a criminal, but Lefty’s own past was not free from shady episodes. Furthermore he was about to make five thousand dollars on presenting him to the good people of Appleton.

“If you sure want a drink before we start, go ahead…”