Whispering Smith (Chapter 8, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 8

It was not alone that a defiance makes a bad dinner sauce: there was more than this for McCloud to feed on. He was forced to confess to himself as he walked back to the Wickiup that the most annoying feature of the incident was the least important, namely, that his only enemy in the country should be intrusted with commissions from the Stone Ranch and be carrying packages for Dicksie Dunning. It was Sinclair's trick to do things for people, and to make himself so useful that they must like first his obligingness and afterward himself. Sinclair, McCloud knew, was close in many ways to Lance Dunning. It was said to have been his influence that won Dunning's consent to sell a right of way across the ranch for the new Crawling Stone Line. But McCloud felt it useless to disguise the fact to himself that he now had a second keen interest in the Crawling Stone country--not alone a dream of a line, but a dream of a girl. Sitting moodily in his office, with his feet on the desk, a few nights after his encounter with Sinclair, he recalled her nod as she said good-by. It had seemed the least bit encouraging, and he meditated anew on the only twenty minutes of real pleasurable excitement he had ever felt in his life, the twenty minutes with Dicksie Dunning at Smoky Creek. Her intimates, he had heard, called her Dicksie, and he was vaguely envying her intimates when the night despatcher, Rooney Lee, opened the door and disturbed his reflections.

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