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dropping his hand carelessly to his side. “Don’t make any mistakes when you get around to your demonstration.”
The man said nothing, but grinned, showing tobacco-stained, irregular teeth beneath his straggling, red moustache.
After a moment’s further conversation the little groups separated. Bob rode on up the trail. Ware followed for perhaps ten feet, or until out of sight nike air max 90 behind the screen of willows that bordered the stream. Then, without drawing rein, he dropped from his saddle. The horse, urged by a gentle slap on the rump, followed in the narrow trail after Bob and the pack animal. Ware slipped quietly through the willows until he had gained a point commanding the other trail. Oldham and his companion were riding peacefully. Satisfied, Ware returned, climbed rapidly until he had caught up with his horse, and resumed his saddle. Bob had only that moment noticed his absence.
“Look here, Bob,” said Ware, “that fellow with Mr. Oldham is a man called Saleratus Bill. He’s a hard citizen, a gun man, and brags of eleven killin’s in his time. Mr. Oldham or no one else couldn’t pick up a worse citizen to go deer hunting with. When you track up with him next, be sure that he starts and keeps going before you stir out of your tracks.”
“You don’t believe that deer hunting lie, do you?” asked Bob.
Ware nike air max classic chuckled.
“I was wondering if _you_ did,” said he.
“I guess there’s no doubt as to who the Modoc Mining Company is.”
“No,” said Bob; “Baker and the Power Company. Oldham is Baker’s man.”
Ware whistled.
“Well, I suppose you know what you’re talking about,” said he, “but it’s pretty generally understood that Oldham is on the other side of the fence. He’s been bucking Baker in White Oaks on some franchise business. Everybody knows that.”
Bob opened his eyes. Casting his mind back over the sources of his information, he then remembered that intimation of the connection between the two men had come to him when he had been looked on as a member of the inner circle, so that all things were talked of openly before him; that since Plant’s day Oldham had in fact never appeared in Baker’s interests.
“He’s up in this country a good deal,” Bob observed finally. “What’s he say is his business?”
“Why, he’s in a little timber business, as I understand it; and he buys a few cattle–sort of general brokerage.”
“I see,” mused B ob.
He rode in silence for some time, breathing his horse mec nike air max hanically every fifty feet or so of the steep trail. He was busily recalling and piecing together the fragments of what he had at the time considered an unimportant discussion, and which he had in part forgotten.
“It’s a blind,” he said at last; “Oldham is working for Baker.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Something I heard once.”
He rode on. The Basin was dropping away beneath them; the prospect to the north was broadening as peak after peak raised itself into the l Air Max 1 ine of ascending vision. The pines, clinging to the steep, cast bars of shadow across the trail, which zigzagged and dodged, taking advantage of every Cheap Nike Air Max 1 ledge and each strip of firm earth. Occasionally they crossed a singing brook, shaded with willows and cottonwoods, with fragrant bay and alders, only to clamber out again to the sunny steeps.
Now Bob remembered and pieced together the whole. Baker had been bragging that he intended to pay nothing to the Government for his water power. Bob could almost remember the very words. “‘They’ve swiped about everything in sight for these pestiferous reserves,'” he murmured to himself, “‘but they encourage the honest prospector…. Old Nike Air Max 1 ham’s got the whole matter … ‘” and so on, in the unfolding of the very scheme by which these acres had been acquired. “Near headwaters,” he had said; and that statement, combined with the fact that nothing had occurred to stir indistinct memories, had cheap nike air max kept Bob in the dark. At the time “near headwaters” had meant to him the tract of yellow pine near the head of Sycamore Creek. So he had dismissed the matter. Now he saw clearly that a liberal construction could very well name the Basin as the headwaters of the drainage system from which Sycamore Creek drew, if not its source, at least its main volume of water. He exclaimed aloud in disgust at his stupidity; which, nevertheless, as all students of psychology know, typified a very common though curious phenomenon in the mental world. Suddenly he sat up straight in his saddle. Here, should Baker and the Modoc Mining Company prove to be one and the same, was the evidence of fraudulent intent! Would his word suffice? Painfully reconstructing the half-forgotten picture, he finally placed the burly figure o nike air max 90 sale f Welton. Welton was there too. His corroboration would make the testimony irrefutable.
Certainties now rushed to Bob’s mind in flocks. If he had been stupid in the matter, it was evident that Baker and Oldham had not. The fight in nike air max sale Durham was now explained. All the demagogic arousing of the populace, the heavy guns brought to bear in the newspaper world, the pressure exerted through political levers, even the concerted attacks on the Service from the floors of Congress traced, by no great stretch of probabilities, to the efforts of the Power Company to stop investigation before it should reach their stealings. That, as California John had s cheap nike air max aid, was the first defence. If all investigation could be called off, naturally Baker was safe. Now that he realized the investigation must, in the natural course of events, come to his holdings, what would be his second line?
Of course, he knew that Bob possessed the only testimony that could seriously damage him. Even Thorne’s optimism had realized the difficulties of pressing to a conviction against such powerful interests without some evidence of a fraudulent intent. Could it be that the presence of this Saleratus Bill in company with Oldham meant that Baker was contemplating so sinister a removal of damaging testimony?
A moment’s thought disabused him of this notion, however. Baker was not the man to resort to violence of this sort; or at least he would not do so before exhausting all other means. Bob had been, in a wa nike air max 1 y, the capitalist’s friend. Surely, before turning a gun man loose, Baker would have found out definitely whether, in the first place, Bob was inclined to push the case; and secondly, whether he could not be persuaded to refrain from introducing his personal testimony. The longer Bob looked at the state of affairs, the more fantastic seemed the hypothesis that the gun man had been brought into the country for such a purpose.
“Why do you suppose Oldham is up there with this Saleratus Bill?” he asked Ware at length.
“Search me!”
“Is Bill good for anything beside gun work?”
“Well,” said Ware, judicially, “he sure drinks without an effort.”
“I don’t believe Oldham is interested in the liquor famine,” laughed Bob. “Anything else?”
“They _may_ be after deer,” acknowledged Ware, reluctantly, “though I hate to think that rattlesnak nike air max 95 e is out for anything legitimate. I will say he’s a good hunter; and an A1 trailer.”
“Oh, he’s a good trailer, is he?” said Bob. “Well, I rather suspected you’d say that. Now I know why they’re up there; they want to figure out from the signs we’ve left just what we’ve been up to.”
“That’s easy done,” remarked Ware.
This explanation fitted. Bob had been in the Basin before, but on the business of estimating government timber. Baker knew this. Now that the Forest officer had gone in for a second time, it might be possible that he was doing the same thing; or it might be equally possible that he was engaged in an investigation of Baker’s own property. This the power man had decided to find out. Therefore he had sent in, with his land man, an individual expert at deducing from the half-obliterated marks of human occupation the cheap nike air max trainers activities that had left them. That Oldham and his sinister companion had encountered the Forest men was a sheer accident due to miscalculation.
Having worked this out to his own satisfaction, Bob knew what next to expect. Baker must interview him. Bob was sure the young man would take his own time to the matter, for naturally it would not do to make the fact of such a meeting too public. Accordingly he submitted his report to Thorne, and went on about his further investigations, certain that sooner or later he would again see the prime mover of all these dubious activities.
He was not in the least surprised, therefore, to look up when riding one day along the lonely and rugged trail that cuts across the lower canon of the River, to see Baker seated on the top of a round boulder. The incongruity, however, brought a smile to his lips. The sight of the round, smooth face, the humorous eyes, and the stout, city-fed figure of this very urban individual on a rock in a howling figure of this very urban individual on a rock in a howling wilderness, with the eternal mountains for a background, was inexpressibly comical.
“Hullo, merry sunshine!” called Baker, waving his hand as soon as he was certain Bob had seen him. “Welcome to our thriving little hamlet.”
“Hullo, Baker,” said Bob; “what are you doing ‘way off here?”
“Just drifting down the Grand Canal and listening to the gondoliers; and incidentally, waiting for you. Climb off your horse and come up here and get a tailor-made cigarette.”
“I’m on my way over to Spruce Top,” said Bob, “and

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