He was, as he said, a fairly good judge, and he was delighted with the rich barytone which rang through the cave. After a time, as the whisky and the music melted into his mood, he began to call for old favorites, darky ballads, and last of all, for the sentimental ditties which have always charmed the heart of the rough men of the West: “Annie Laurie,” “Old Black Joe,” “Ben Bolt,” “Silver Threads Among the Gold.”
As he sang the bandit commenced, naturally, to walk back and forth through the cave, and the sheriff sat back in the chair and with half-closed eyes waved the revolver back and forth in time. He failed to note that as Malone walked up and down each time he made a longer trip, until at last he was pacing and turning close to the table on which lay the revolvers side by side. He did not note it, or if he did his mind was too thrilled with the tender airs and the tenderer liquor to register the fact clearly. It faded into the pleasant blur of his sensations.
“Oh. don’t you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt,
Sweet Alice with—”
The music stopped.…