|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||The Big-Town Round Up|
$ The Bigowii :Roiud:;Hp''''''4 f By WILLIAM MACLEOD RAINE 1 l Copyright by William MacLeod Ralne I . , JJ Y7I 'IfliiiT a ML?1" iiEii "iFm fJ&rtTg ANNIE MILLIKAN STN0P6I&-A foreword tells this: i . Motoring through Arizona, a party of easterner, father and daughter . and a male companion, stop to wit ness a cattle round up. The girl leaves the car and la attacked by a wild steer. A masterpiece of riding on the part of one of the cowboys saves her life. Then the story begins: Clay Lindsay, range-, range-, , rldttr on an Arizona ranch, an- nouncea his Intention to visit the " "big town." New York. On . the train IJndsay becomes Interested In a young woman, Kitty Mason, on her way to New York to become a motion-picture actress. She is ' marked as fair prey by a fellow traveler. Jerry Durand, gang politician politi-cian ail() ec-f rise lighter. Perceiving his intentions, Lindsay provokes a quarrel and throws Durand from the train. On his first day in New . York Lindsay Is splashed with wa- . ter hy a Janitor. That Individual , - the range-rider punishes summarily ,'. and leaves tied to a Are hydrant. ' ) A young weman who sees the oc- currenee Invites Clay into her s i house and hides him from the po- lice. Clay's "rescuer" - Introduces herself as Beatrice Whltford. Lindsay Lind-say meets her father, Colin Whit-..... Whit-..... ' ford, and Is invited to visit them again. Hs meets Kitty Mason by ' . accident tflie has been disappointed . , In r.er stage aspirations, and to support herself is felling cigarettes ' mit "lie urjiu1'! Si tnr'fW i am rTF back Into lta pluce between ghlrt and trousers. v ' "Is this house number 121?" he asked. "No, It's 123. What of It?" "It's the wrong house. I'm ce'talnly oiie chump." ' .- . Tlie black eyes lit with sardonic mockery. "Say, do I took like one of them boru-every-mlnute kind?" she asked easily. "Go abend and spring Unit -old one on me about how you got tanked at tlie club and come In at tlie window on account o' your wife havln' a temper somethin' fierce." "No, I I was look In' for some one else. I'm awful sorry I scared you. I'd eat dirt if It would do any good, but It woVt. 'I'm Just a plumb Idiot. I reckon I'll be pushla' on ray reins." He turned toward the window. "Stop right there where you're at," she ordered sharply. "Take a step to that window and 111 holler for ft harness bull like a Bowery bride get-tin' get-tin' a wallopln' from friend husband. I gotta have an explanation. And who told you I was scared? Forget that stuff. Take It from Annie that she ain't the kind that scares." "I came to see some one else, but I got In the wrong house," he explained again lamely. , "Im goiu' through." Her black eyes warmed. "Say, I'll bet you're some guy when you get started. Hop to It and I hope you get Jerry good. Say, listen! I got a hunch mebbe It's a bum steer, but you can't he sure till you try , it Why ' don't you get In through the" roof instead in-stead o' the window?" "Can' I get in that way?' .."Surest think you know if the trapdoor trap-door ain't latched. Say, stick around outside my room half a sec, will you?" The cattleman waited In the darkness dark-ness of the passage. If his enemies were trying to ambush him In the house next door the girl's plan might save him. He would have a chance at least to get them unexpectedly in the rear. It could have been scarcely more than two minutes later that the young woman joined him. They padded softly soft-ly along the corridor till they came to a flight of stairs running up. The girl led the way, taking the treads without noise In her stockinged feet. Clay followed with the utmost caution. She took him toward the rear to a ladder which ended at a dormer half-door half-door lending to the roof. Clay fumbled with his fingers, found a hook,1 un-j fastened it, and pushed open the trap. Gorilla, I wouldn't piny with that club if I was you. I'm sure h l a-mile on this gunstuff. Drop It!" The last two words came sharp and crisp, for the big thug had telegraphed an unintentional un-intentional warning of his purpose to dive at the man behind the thirty-eight. thirty-eight. " - 1 Gorilla Dave's fingers opened and the blackjack dropped from his hand to the floor. "For the love o'.Mlke, who Js 'this guy?" demanded one of the other men. "I'm the fifth member of our little party," explained Clay. "Wot fell do youse mean? And what's the big Idea In most klllln' the chief?" The man who had been flung across the table turned over and groaned. Clay would have known that face I among a thousand. It belonged to Jer- ry Durand. "I came in at the wrong door and without announcln myself," said the cattleman, almost lazily, the unhurried indoieoce of his manner not shaken. "You see I wanted to be on time so as not to keep you wnltln. I'm Clay Lindsay." The more talkative of the gunmen from the East side- flashed one look at the two automatics lying on the police. He climbed the ladder, pushed his way through the trapdoor opening, and breathed deeply of the night air. Hut he had no time to lose. Already Al-ready he could henr the trampling of feet up the stairs to the second story. Lightly he vaulted the wall and came to the roof door leading down to number 123. He found it latched. The eaves of the roof projected so far that he could not from there get a hold on the window casings below. He made a vain circuit of the roof, then passed to the next house. Again he was out of luck. The tenants ten-ants had made safe the entrance against prowlers of tlie night. He knew that at any moment now the police po-lice might appear In pursuit of him. There was no time to lose. He crossed to the last house In the block and found himself barred out. As he rose from his knees he heard the voices of men clambering through the scuttle to the roof. At the same time he saw that which brought him to Instant action. It was a rope clothesline clothes-line which ran from post to post, dangling dan-gling from one corner of the building to another and back to the opposite one. No man In Manhattan's millions knew the value of a rope or could With Johnnie bringing up the real they made a noisy attack on the front door of Number 121. Almost Immediately Immedi-ately It was opened from the Inside Four men had come down the stairs in a headlong rush to cut off the escape es-cape , of, one who had outwitted ar-d taunted them. ' Those who wanted to get in and . 1 those who wanted to get out all tried to talk at once, but as soon as the police recognized Jerry Durand they gave him the floor. "We're after a flat-worker," explained ex-plained the ex-pugllist. "He must b tryin' for a roof getaway." He turned and led the Joint forces back up th stairs. Thugs and officers surged up aftet him, carrying with them In their rush the Runt. He presently found himself on the roof with those engaged In a man-hunt for his friend. When Clay shattered the window and disappeared Inside after his escape from the roof, Johnnie gave a deep sigh of relief, litis gun-play got on his nerves, since Lindsay was the target of It. Tlie bandy-legged range-rider was still trailing along with the party ten minutes later when Its scattered members mem-bers drew together In tacit admission that the hunted man had escaped. In a citbaret. Clay visits her there. Kitty la Insulted by a customer. . Clsy punishes the annoyer. After a lively mixup Lindsay escapes.' Outside, he is attacked by Jerry Durand and a companion and , r beaten Insensible. Llnday'a ac '.? j qualiitance with Beatrice Whltford "... ripens. Through her be Is intro duced Into "society." His "side partner" on ths Arizona ranch, Johnnie Green, conies to the "big town." The two take an apartment ' together. Kitty Mason gets word to V.Uf that she is In trouble. It goes (o a house where she is supposed, sup-posed, to be shut up. He goes to the rescue. , CHAPTER VII Continued. "Nothln' doin', old-timer. This Is my Job, and I don't reckon I'll let any-body any-body else tackle it. Much obliged, JiiHt the same. You're one sure-,' sure-,' ' ;, enough white man, Johnnie." The little fellow knew thut the matter mat-ter was settled. Clay lind decided and what lie said was final. But Johnnie John-nie worried about It all the wny. At the luHt moment, when they separated at the street corner, he added one lust word. V ' "Don't you be too venturesome, son. If tlictu guys got you It sure would break me all up." " Cluy smiled cheerfully. , "They're not goin' to get me, Johnnie. , Don't forget to remember not to forget yore part. Keep undercover for thirty minutes; min-utes; hen If I haven't shown up, holler yore head off for the cops." , ' ' , They were passing an alley as Clay finished speaking. lie slipped Into Its 1 , . friendly darkness and was. presently lost to sight. It ran Into an Inner court which was the center of tottu-. tottu-. ous pnssnges. The cattleman ftttped to get his bearings, selected the likeliest likeli-est exit, and brought up in the sliel-, sliel-, : ' ter of a small porch. This, he felt sure, must be the rear of the house , - he wanted. A strip of lattice work ran up the side of Uie entrance. Very carefully, ..... tilt ...l.K l.t I v. . "Thut's-twice I heard both them ln-teresthV ln-teresthV fuels. Who Is this goii you wus coniln' through a window to see In the middle o' the night. And wiuit's that gat for If It ain't to crouk some other guy? You oughtta be ashamed of yourself for not pullln' a better wheeze than that on me." Clay blushed. In spite of the slangy Impudence that dropped from the pretty red lips the girl was slltn and looked virginal. "You're 'way off. I wasn't callln' on, her to" He stuck hopelessly. "Whndya know about that?" she came back with obvious sarcasm. "You soltalnly give me a pain. I'll say you weren't callln' to arrange no Sunday school picnic. Listen. Look at that wall a minute, will you?" When he turned again at her order she was sitting on the side of the bed wrapped in a kimono, her feet In bedroom bed-room slippers, lie saw now that she was a sleiuler-llmbed slip of a girl. The lean foreurm, which showed bare to the elbow when she raised It to draw the kimono closer round her, told Clay that she was none too well nourished. It occurred to . him that she nilsht give lilin information of value. He told her the story of Kitty Mason. He could See by the girl's eyes that she had Jumped to the conclusion that lie was In love with Kitty. He did not attempt to disturb that conviction. It might enlist her sympathy. Annie Milllknn had never seen n man like this before, so clean Ritd straight and good to look nt. From childhood she had been brought up on the fringe of thut underworld the nt-mosplk're nt-mosplk're of which Is niinsmle. She was Impressed In spite of herself. ' "Say, why don't you go luto the movies and be one of these here screen Ideals? You'd knock Vm dead." he advised flippantly, crossing her bare ankles. Clay laughed. He liked the Insolent little twist to her mouth. She made He looked up Into n starlit night and a moment later stepped out upon the roof. Presently the slim figure of the girl stood beside him. They moved across to a low wall, clunbed It and came to the dormer door of the next house. Clay knelt and lifted It nn Inch or two very slowly. slow-ly. He lowered It again and rose. "I'm a heap obliged to you, Miss," he said In a low voice. "You're a game little gentleman." She nodded. ' "My name Is Annie Mllllkan." "Mine Is Clay Lindsay. I want to come and thank you proper some day." "I take tickets at Heath's Palace of Wonders two blocks down," she whispered. "Look out for yourself. Don't let i 'em get you. Give 'em a chance, and that gang would croak you sure. You will be careful, won't you?" "I never threw down on myself yet." The glrt's flippancy broke out again. "Say, lemme know when the weddln' Is and I'll send you a salad bowl," she Hushed at him saucily as he turned to go. Clay was already busy with the door. Darkness engulfed him as he closed the trapdoor overhead. His exploring feet found each tread of the ladder with the utmost caution. Near the foot of It he stopped to listen for any sound that might serve to guide him. None came. The passage was as noseless as it was dark. Again he had that sense of cold finger-tips making a keyboard of his spine. , Hut he trod down the pnnlc nnd set his will to carry on. He crept forward along the passage. 'Every 'Ev-ery step or two he stopped to listen, nerves keyed to an acute tension. A .llht of stairs hrought him to what he knew must be the second floor. To him there floated a murmur ,)f sounds. He sofl-footed It closer, reached the door, and dropped noiselessly noise-lessly to a knee. A key was In the lock on the outside. With Inflnlre precaution agulnst rattling he turned It, slid It out, and dropped It In his handle one more expertly than this cattleman. His knife was open before be-fore -he had reached the nearest post. One strong slash of the blade severed it In six long strides he was at the second post unwinding the line, lie used his knife a second time at the third post. i With deft motions Clay worked swiftly. He was fastening the rope to the chimney of the house. Every Instant he expected .to hear a voice raised In excited discovery of him crouched In the shadows. But his Angers were as sure and as steady as though he had minutes before him instead in-stead ef seconds. . "There's the guy over by the chimney." chim-ney." Clay threw tbe slack of the line from the roof. He had no time to test the strength of the rope nor it9 length. As the police rushed him he slid over the edge and begun to lower himself hand under hand. ' The wide eaves protected him. A man would have to hang out from the wall above the ledge to see him. Clay's eyes were on the gutter above while he Jerked his way down a foot at a time. A face and part of a body swung out Into sight. "We've got yuh. Come back, or I'll shoot," a voice culled down. A revolver showed against the black sky. - The man from Arizona did not answer an-swer and did not stop. He knew that shooting from above is an art that few men have acquired. A bullet sang past his ear Just as he swung in and crouched on the window- I sill. Another one hit the bricks close to bis head. The tiring stopped. A pair of uniformed uni-formed legs appeared dangling from the eaves. A body and a head followed fol-lowed these. They began to descend Jerkily. Cluy took a turn nt the gun-play. He fired his revolver Into the nir. The spasmodic Jerking of the blue legs ubruptly ceased. The gang leader was In a vile temper. tem-per. If this story reached the newspapers news-papers all New York would be laughing laugh-ing at him. He could, appeal to the police, have Clay Lindsay arrested, and get him sent up for a term on the charge of burglary. But he could not do It without the whole tale coming out. One thing Jerry Durand could not stand was ridicule. His vanity was one of his outstanding qualities, and he did not want It widely known that the boob he had Intended to trap bad turned the tables on him, manhandled man-handled him, jeered at him and locked him la a room with his three henchmen. hench-men. Johnnie Green chose tills malapropos moment for reminding the oflleers of the reu sou for the coming to the house. "What about the young lady?" he asked solicitously. Durrnd wheeled on him, looked him over with an Insolent, malevolent eye, and Jerked a thumb la his direction. "Who Is this guyr "He's the fellow tipped us off hie pul was Inside," answered one of the patrolmen. pa-trolmen. He spoke in a whisper close to the ear ef Jerry. "Likely he knows more than he lets on. Shall I make a pinch?" The eyes ef the gang leader narrowed. nar-rowed. "So he's a friend of this second-story bird, Is he?" . "Y'betcha!" chirped up Johnnie, "and I'm plumb tickled to take his dust, too. Now, about this ycre young lady" Jerry caught him bard' on the aide of the Jaw with a short-arm Jolt The range-rider hit the pavement hard. Slowly he got to hie feet nursing his cheek. "What yuh do that for, doggone It?" he demanded resentfully. "Me, I wasn't lookln' for no trouble. Me, I" Durand leaped at him across the sidewalk. His strong fingers closed on the throut of the bow-legged puncher. Cut Off From the Street, Clay Took to the Roof Again. floor beside the overturned table. They might rs well have been In P.razll for all the good they were to him. "Move over to the other side of the room, Gorilla, and Join yore two friends," suggested the master of ceremonies. cere-monies. "And don't make any mistake. mis-take. If you do you won't have time to be sorry for It. I'll ce'talnly shoot to kill." The b!g-shouldered thug shuffled over. Clay stepped sideways, watching watch-ing the three gunmen every foot of the way, kicked the automatics Into the open, and took possession of them. He felt safer with the revolvers In his coat pocket, for they had Im-oii within reach of Durnild. and thut mmnlipr rlhe otllcers pried Jerry loose from his victim with the greatest difficulty. He tried furiously to get at him, lunging from the men who .were bold-Ing bold-Ing his arms. The puncher sank helplessly against the wall. "Jle'a got all he can carry, Mr. Da- . rand," one of the bluecoata said, soothingly. sooth-ingly. "You don't wantta croak the little guy. Gimme the word, an' I'll run him in for a drunk." , Jerry shook his head. "Nope. Let him go, Pete." Bunt and caught him roughly by the arm. "Move along outa here. I'd ought to pinch you, but I'm not gonna do It this time, see? You beat It 1" Durand turned to one ef his followers. follow-ers. "Tall that fellow. Find out where he's stayln' and report." Helplessly Johnnie went staggering down the street. He did not understand under-stand why he bad been treuted so, but the Instinct of self-preservation cor-rled cor-rled him oat of the dagger cone without with-out argument about It Even as he wobbled away he was looking with unwavering un-wavering faith to his friend to right his wrongs. Clay would fix thle fellow fel-low Dura Ad fer what he hud done to hint. , Clay did hit best nnder the handicap of a lack of entente between 'hun 'and ' the authorities to eearcb New York for Kitty. He used the personal eot-nmDS eot-nmDS of the newspaper. He got lay touch with taxlcab drivers, ticket-set (era, poetmen, and station guards. A A the time he knew that In such a more as Manhattan It would be a miracle lr he found her. "I'll be MyHV gWJy, Mlaa teatHoe, until you eertl for me." (TO DC CXNTII 11 SU),) vio'ifc oiu iiii ma welkin m fore trusting himself to It, he climbed - up and edged forward noiselessly upon the roof. On hands and knees he crawled to the window and tried to peer In. Tlie blind was down, but he could see thut the room was dark. What danger lurked behind the drawn blind he could not guess, but after a mo-meiit, mo-meiit, to make sure that the revolver beneath his belt was ready for Instant In-stant use, he put his hand gently on the snsh. It!s motions were socr.JK?&s U3 the full of snowflakes. The window moved slowly, alm&Kt imperceptibly, under the pressure of Ids hands. WarUy he lifted lift-ed one leg Into the room. Ills bend followed, then the rest of his body, lie waited, every nerve tensed. There came to him a sound that sent cold finger-tips playing a tattoo up and flown his spine. It was the In-t In-t 'i:e of some one's cuutlous breathing. Ills lu.nd crept to the butt of the revolver. He crouched,' poised for either attack or retreat. A balh of light flooded the room nnd swallowed . the darkness. Instantly Clay's revolver' leaped to the air. ' CHAPTER VIII ' A Late Evening Call. A yomig wvtiMio In an open-neck nightgown s ut up lu bed, a cascade of blHck iifltr TttUen over her white shoul-, shoul-, ders. Kye like Jel beads were fast ened on him. In them he read Indlg-i Indlg-i allon struggling with fear. "Say, what are you anyhow a moll huzr.er? If you're a pon h-clnjber out for lb( props you've sure come to ttie wroug dump. I got nothlu' but bum rocks." This was Ore;fc to Clay. lie did not know tbathe had asked him If he were a mun who rohs women, and that she bud told hint he could get no dl-h dl-h moods there - since here were false. The Arlr.otti goessed at once that tie was not In tlie room mentioned In the letter. He slipped his revolver coat pocket. Ills eye fastened to the opening. Three men were sitting round a table. They were muklng a bluff at playing cards, but their attention was focused on a door thnt evidently led Into unother r.om. Two au.'.imatlc revolvers were on the table close to the hands of their owners. A blackjack black-jack lay In front of the third man. Clay rccognlxed lilin as Gorilla Dave. The other two were strangers to him. Something evil In the watchfulness of the three chilled momentarily his veins. These fellows were the gunmen gun-men of New York he'had. read about paid assassins whose business It was to frame innocent men for the penitentiary peniten-tiary or kill them In cold blood. They were of the underworld, without conscience con-science and without honor. A soft step sounded In the corridor behind the mnn at the keyhole. He had not time to crawl away nor even to rise before a man stumbled against him. - Clay had one big advuiitair over his (,ionent. He had been given on Instant of warning. Ids right arm went up around the neck of bis foe and tightened there. His left hund turned the doorknob. Next moment theHvo.uitu4.Taihed Into the rismi together, the Westerner rising to his feet as they came, with the body of the other lying across his bark from hip to slumlder. Gorilla Dave leaped to hit feet. The other two gunmen, caught at disadvantage disad-vantage a few feet from the table, dived for their nuroroetlcg. They were too late. Clay swung his body downward down-ward from the waist with a quick, strong Jerk. The man on his hark shot heHs over head as though he had been hurled from a catapult, crashed faca up on the trbte, and drugged It over with his In his forward for-ward pluiiKe to the wall. Before any one else couJd move er pftl(, Lindsay's gun wssr oet. "Kesy now," His vote was a gentle drawl that carried menace. "limine "lim-ine be bss of the rodeo a while. No, of the party was showing signs of a return re-turn to active Interest in the proceedings. proceed-ings. v "When I get you right I'll croak you. By Ci d, I will," swore the gang leader lead-er savagely, nursing his battered head. "No big stiff from the bushes can run anything over on me." "I believe you." retorted day easily. "That Is, I believe you're tellln' me yore Intentions straight. There's no news In that to write home about. But you'd better make that if Instead of when. This Is three cracks you've had at me and I'm still a right healthy rube." "Don't bank on fool luck nny more. I'll get you sure." cried Durund sourly. The gorge of the Arlzonan rose. "Mebbeso. You're a dirty dog, Jerry Durand. From the iH'glnnlng you were n rotten fighter In the ring and out of It. You nnd yore strong-urm men! Do you think I'm of raid of you because be-cause you surround yoreself with dips 'and yeggmen and hopnuts, all scum of the gutter and filth of the earth? Where I come from men fight clean and out In the open. They'd stomp you out like a rattlesnake." He whipped ojien the door, stepped out. closed It. and tor, the key from his pocket. A moment, and he had turned the lock. '. - From within there enme a rujfi that shook the panels. Clay wo already busy searching for Kitty. He tor open door after door, cafllng her loudly loud-ly by name. Eveu In the darkness he could see that the rooms were empty of furniture. There was a crash of splintering panels, the sotind of a burntlng lock. Almost as though It were ati echo of It came a heavy pounding upon the street door, Cluy guessed that the thirty minutes were up and that the Hunt was bringing the police. He dived back Into one of the empty rooms Just la time M miss a rtmh of men pouting along the passage to the stairs Cut off from the street, Clay took to the roof again. It wo-uM not do for Mm t be caught la ttie heiwe by the "Yuh'd better give up quietly. We're ' bound to get yuh," nn officer shouted from the roof by wny of parley. The cuttleman did not answer except ex-cept by the smashing of glass. He had forced his way Into two houses within i the past hour. He was now busy breuklng into a third. The window had not yielded to pressure. Therefore lie wus knocking out the glass with the , butt of his revolver. He crawled through the opening Just as some one sat up In bed with a frightened exclamation. ''Viio is b ill' u masculine voice asked, teeth chntterlng. - Clay had no time to gratify bile curiosity, lie ran through the room, reached the bead of the stairs and went down on the banister to the first floor. He tied buck to tlie rear of the house and stole out by the kitchen door. . . The darkness of the alley swallowed him, but be could still hear the sh otitis of the men on the roof nnd answering ones from new arrivals below. Five minutes later be was on board i a street car. He wus not at nil particular par-ticular as to Its destination. He wanted want-ed to be anywhere but here. This neighborhood as getting entirely too active for him. "chapter IX ' The Gangman tees Rte. Exactly thirty minutes after Clay had left blm to break Into the bouse, Johnnie lifted his voice In a load wall for the police. He had read somewhere some-where that one ran never find an officer when be la wanted, but the Hull-of Bashan roar of the cowponcher brought them running ftwu air directions. direc-tions. Out of the confused explanatiooa of the range rlder the first policeman to reach him got two lucid statement. "They're white slavln' a straight girl. ThJs lusher says hl paj went In to rescue her half aa hour ago and hasnt rtiowwl ti since," he toW hi mate. Siy, Why Don't You Qe Into the Movies and Be One of These Here Screen Ideals?" one strong appeal to Mm. This bit of a girl, so slim that he could break her In his hands, was gnme to the core. He recognized It as a quality of kinship. kin-ship. "How do you know the girl ain't a badger-worker? You wantta go slow whew you tackle Jerry Durund. I can I ell you one thing. He's In (his business busi-ness up to the neck. I sewn bis shadow, (lorllla Dave, romln' outa the house next door twice today." "Seen anything of the girl?' "Nope. But she may te there. Honest, Hon-est, you're up against a tough game. Why don't you lay down on it?" irtie naked, her frank eyes searching bis "You Soltalnly will If you've got good mifiie,"