The Highgrader (Chapter 7, page 1 of 16)

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Chapter 7

Dinner at the Lodge was just finished. It was the one hour of the day when anything like formality obtained. Each one dropped into breakfast when he or she pleased. Luncheon rarely found them together. But Lady Jim insisted that dinner should be a civilized function. Unless there was to be night fishing the whole party usually adjourned from the dining-room to the river-front porch, where such members of it as desired might smoke the postprandial cigar or cigarette. To-night nobody cared to get out rod and line. In an hour or so they would return to the living-room for bridge.

Voices drifted up the trail and presently riders came into sight. They halted among the trees, where one dismounted and came forward, his trailing spurs jingling as he walked.

He bowed to his audience in general, and again and more particularly to Lady Farquhar.

"Evening, ma'am. My name's Gill--sheriff of this county. I hate to trouble you, but my men haven't had a bite to eat since early this mo'ning. Think we could get a snack here? We'll not get to Gunnison till most eleven."

Lady Farquhar rose. "I'll have the cook make something for you. How many?"

"Six. Much obliged. Just anything that's handy."

Sheriff Gill beckoned to the men in the trees, who tied their horses and presently came forward. All but one of them were heavily armed. That one walked between a 30-30 and a 32 special carbine. It was observable that the men with the rifles did not lift their eyes from him.

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