The Cass County Sun (Linden, Tex.), Vol. 60, No. 24, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 13, 1935 Page: 3 of 8
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THE CASS COUNTY SUN
,T ,' V" ' •
By ALAN LE MAY
Copyright by Alaii I^oMajr
Kentucky Jones, veteran cowman, at-
tends the inquest, tn the little town of
Waterman, Into the death of John Mil-
lion, banker and financial mainstay of
tha district. Jean, daughter of Campo
Itnfftand, owner of the liar Hook ranch,
where Mason met denth, to Kentucky's
mystification surreptitiously passes to
him the bullet which had killed Mason.
The Inquest was over ns Kentucky
Jones returned to Kerry's store. He
joined one of the big groups which
talked it over on the sidewalk.
"Verdict come out same as expect-
"Oh, sure; 'Accidental discharge of
his own weapon.' The Jury didn't hold
off more than a minute and a half.
Say! The sheriff wants to see you."
"Where is he?"
"He went along about ten minutes
Kentucky Jones moved off down the
street in unhurried long strides. As he
reached the sheriff's little frame oflice
Floyd Hopper was in the act of leav-
ing, having Just ejected, with diplo-
macy, more worried cattlemen than the
little structure could comfortably hold.
For Kentucky Jones, however, he re-
opened his door.
"Come in here, Jones." Hopper jerked
a ragged blind downward over the
door's glass pane and filing himself into
"See you got your inquest over."
The sheriff puffed out his cheeks and
blew an exhausted blast. "Damnation!
Can you beat tills? In the whole Wolf
Bench country, here was just one man
that couldn't be done without—one man
that as good as held the rimrock cat-
tle In the hollow of his hand—and a
rabbit jumps, and blooey! He's gone.
Great guns. Kentucky Any other man,
any other time—"
Kentucky Jones waited, studying
hiin. There Is a certain type of man
who seems fated to pursue public oflice,
somehow perversely unfitted for any-
thing else. Hopper was such a man.
His straight-clipped gray mustache, his
flat loose-skinned Jowls and full-fleshed
eyes somehow unmistakably advertised
the public oflice holder—not incompe-
tent, but definitely limited.
"Any other man could have been
spared better," he raved. "Even John
could have been spared any other time.
But with Wolf Bench cattle on the
ragged edge of bankruptcy, and the
lowest beef prices since—"
"Does Clive I'ierson—he steps into
Mason's shoes, doesn't he?—does he
know anything about cattle?"
"A little, and maybe a little about
banking. But with Mason dead all con-
fidence has collapsed. Cllve Pierson Is
scared stiff—ready to stampede.
Some think nlready that he'll break
half the outfits on Wolf Bench, and the
hank, too, If he can save the outfits
he's got his money in. No man knows
where his brand gets off. Nobody trusts
"Maybe It'll adjust," Kentucky of-
The sheriff burst out at him with
something very like fury, "Adjust? It'll
adjust like a dogie calf to a wolf! This
throws the whole d—n range out of
balance! And you stand there and tell
me—" He paused hopelessly, out of
words. "There you have It." He lifted
his hands and let them fall with a
gesture of morose futility. "This is a
good sample of the raw edge of tem-
per the whole rimrock is on. I call you
up here to ask you a favor, and In
two minutes we're jumping down each
"That's all right," said Kentucky.
"If disorderly conduct wus my field,
I expect I might be feeling somewhat
ants In-the-undershirt myself."
"Disorderly conduct Is right," the
sheriff snid. "Man, you'll see plenty
now! Half the range Is sore at the
other half already. Take the Circle
Five and the Lazy Deuce. Or the
Three liar and the Running M; today
them two owners met face to face and
never spoke. Or take—"
"Take Bob Klliot's 88 and Campo
Ragland's Bar Hook," Kentucky
"There you are—maybe the worst
case of all. Those outfits have always
jangled. And now look at It! Elliot
don't own a fifth of his range. The
rest Is leased Indian land. Now El-
liot's lease is out. Them leases have
to be bid for—and everybody knows
that there's more than one big outfit
will never let that lease go cheap.
Elliot depended on Mason to let him
take the money for his bid. Now It's
all over the ran o already that the
9aok won't back him. Klllot can't set
any quick price for all that landless
stock; he's through."
"And wlint ubout Ragland?"
"Iingland's Bar Hook could prob-
ably stand through the storm, if it
wasn't for the misfortune to Elliot.
But Ragland's open range Is the open
range nearest to Elliot. What If El-
liot turns und floods his cattle onto
the Bar Hook graze?"
Jones already knew that the Bar
Hook was at least half on public do-
main. By the cowman's code Campo
was entitled to the use of that range
because he had developed water upon
it; but he had no legal hold upon the
"Are you convinced In your own
mind," Kentucky asked him, "that
Elliot will dare shove his herds onto
the Bar Hook range?"
"I know this," said Floyd Hopper,
heavily, somberly. "Elliot don't need
more than four or five riders to take
care of his winter work. Yet he's lay-
ing on extra hands. He's hired on at
least six more men just in the last
couple of days, since the death of
Mason. You know how it looks to me?
I .ike lie's not waiting for the day he'll
have to move. I.ike he's not even go-
ing to wait the winter out before he
starts filtering into the Bar Hook
"In that case," said Kentucky, "Bob
Elliot is sure a man who enjoys to
grab a bear by the tail and go round
and round. Campo Itagland will fight
like a whangdoodle in defense of it.?
"Sure, they'll fight. They'll fight to a
standstill. I'll have a full fledged cat-
tie war on my hands within a month!
And what can 1 do about It? Nothing,
by (I—d! Off in the hills somewhere
three or four cowboys meet three or four
others, and start trading private opin-
ions. Then—wham! The guns come out,
and, one or two, or three go down. No
one bears witness, no one lodges a com-
plaint—there's just those good boys
dead, and that's all. And two days
later there's another killing somewhere
"X know," said Kentucky. "Hell
afloat and no blotters."
The sheriff grunied. Suddenly a
new grievance seemed to occur to him,
and the explosiveness came back into
his voice again. "I'd give a hundred
dollars to lay my hands on the son of
a gun who swiped that bullet out of
the inquest. lUght out from under
my d—n nose, by O—d!"
"Well,"said Kentucky, "lead's cheap:
It wasn't worth much."
Sheriff Hopper savagely pulled off
his hat and slammed it on the edge
of his desk; it fell unnoticed to the
floor. "It'll do 'em no good," he de-
clared. "It Isn't as if we didn't have
the—" He stopped.
"The other bullet?" Kentucky asked.
The sheriff seemed to go relaxed and
cold, all of an instant. He studied
Kentucky with u questioning eye.
"Why did you say that?" he said at
"Well," Kentucky apologized, "you
were just remarking you had some-
thing on hand that would take the
missing bullet's place."
The sheriff's steady stare did not
drift from Kentucky's fnce. "We took
a mold," he said at last. "We took a
mold of this bullet that's gone."
"That was a smart thing to do,"
"I expect," said the sheriff. He
dropped his eyes, and his hands fidget-
ed with the miscellany on his desk.
"Just the same," he said, returning his
eyes to Kentucky's face In a cold and
smoky gaze, "that was a very strange
question, Mister, for you to ask. I
had a hound dog once, that got In
trouble that way."
"By sight running."
They looked at each other, two men
who had snid more than rested upon
the surface of their words—one of
thern unwillingly. Kentucky Jones be-
gan rolling a leisurely cigarette; and
he grinned, the slow infectious grin
that could make a dog follow him, or a
woman remember him, or could make
a man forget why ho had meant to
pnste him a couple.
Sheriff Hopper stirred restively, and
dropped his eyes. "I was just think-
ing of something," the sheriff said.
"What was that?"
"You're a sight runner," said the
sheriff agnln; "but I don't know but
what you're a good one. Sometimes
there's a use for a feller like that
And that was what I wanted to see
you for. Thnt was a good Job of
scouting you did for the Cattle associa-
tion last year; and I—"
"Who told you I ever did nny 'scout-
ing,' as you call It, for the Cattlemen's
"Old Alan Coffee told me, up-country
In the Frying Pan."
"Sometimes Old Man Coffee gets too
d—n eloquent," said Kentucky Jones,
"Well, anyway," said the sheriff, "I
was hoping I'd find you kind of at loose
ends around here; like as If you might
be able to take and do something dif-
ferent from what you'd figured to do."
"As for instance?"
The sheriff fidgeted. "There's an end
hanging loose In this Mason case," he
"So? I thought It was all decided
that Mason committed suicide by mis-
Hopper made an annoyed gesture.
"The ense Is closed. John Mason died
of the accidental discharge of his own
gun—that's established. But It Just
happens thnt there's a man has come
in with a perjury."
He paused. "Yes?" said Kentucky
Jones nfter a moment. "To what effect?"
"Well—we questioned him about
Mason's death; and later I found out
he wasn't where he said lie was."
"You sure you want to tell me this?"
"I'm not telling you anything thnt
ties you to anything—yet. Now, this
feller—maybe he was in sight when
Mason got killed. Or maybe In ear-
shot. Anyway he lied about where he
was—tried to make a fool of us, by
G—d! And I mean to hook him for It."
"Hardly seems Important," Kentucky
said speculatively, "if there's no ques-
tion about how Mason died."
"It iSIl't that," said the sheriff gloom-
Elliot's Head Snapped Back.
Ily. "There's some awful bad times
ahead of us here, Kentuek; and we got
to show that the law has teeth In It
while we still can. Now, If you don't
mind taking the time, there's a thing
you could do for me thnt would be an
"Come to cases," said Kentucky.
"This man I'm telling you about Is
out ut the Bar Hook. Now, I realize
you're a cattle trader; but oftentimes
a feller like you will take a riding job
to fill in with, over the winter, or some-
thing—especially In times like this.
Now, If you'll go to Campo Itagland
and get a Job, you can find out about
tills feller for mo In a way that I
couldn't myself, nor the deputies nei-
"You want me to hire on at the Bar
Hook and root this feller out for you—
Is that It?"
"That's the Idea."
Kentucky Jones was looking out the
window, down the snowy street. Half
a block down, in front of the hotel,
Jean Ragland's pony stood.
He had seen this girl but half a
dozen times In his life; yet sho had
singled him i>ut today to aid her In a
thing which ho did not yet fully under-
stand. Sho hnd been surrounded by
friends, by nieu she had known all her
life; even her own father had been
there. Yet, for some obscure reason
she hnd turned to him.
Jean Itagland fat her pony with the
easy lax grace of young muscles raised
in the snddle. Now that she was in her
own element again sho no longer looked
frail and small, ns she had In the crush
of the Inquest, but competent and at
home on her horse, as he had known
her before. As she passed she looked
straight at the window where he stood,
and Kentucky believed that she saw
hlni there; but she gave no sign. He
turned back to the sheriff.
Floyd Hopper smoked morosely In
the shadows brought by the closing of
the «arly dusk. "If you want to go out
to the Bar Hook for me, I can make
It worth your while. What we got to do
"I wouldn't touch It," said Kentucky,
"with a ten-foot pole."
Floyd Hopper stared at him Irritably.
"Just because you're gone on Campo
Itagland's girl doesn't have anything
to do with this Job. This is for the
protection of the Bar Hook people, as
much as anything else."
"Protection or no protection," Ken-
tucky Jones said shortly, "I won't
touch It. As far as Campo Ragland's
girl Is concerned, I'll tell you straight
and plain that If Mason hadn't been
killed within fifty yards of her door, I
wouldn't be here now."
"I guessed that," said the sheriff
"You guessed it, and now you know
It; and beyond that—to h—1 with you !"
Floyd Hopper made a disgusted ges-
ture. "All right. I don't blame you
much, it's pretty near too much to
ask a man to step square into the mak-
ings of a range war that's none of your
own. I guess you're smart to stay out
of It, all right. I only wish I was—"
"I'm not out of it," said Kentucky
The other looked up at him, startled.
"I've already talked to Campo Itag-
land," said Kentucky. "He's given me
a riding job. I'm going out and ride
for the Bar Hook until this thing
The sheriff said with annoyance.
"You just now said you—"
"Hopper," said Kentucky Jones,
"how lo'ng have you known that John
Mason was murdered?"
It took a moment or two for the
sheriff to convince himself that he had
correctly heard; but wheu It had
soaked in he came to his feet with a
Jerk. Ills eyes llared narrowly, but
his face was grim and tight. "You
accusing ine of lying at the inquest?"
"Yes," Kentucky Jones snid.
Floyd Hopper's leathery face turned
a deep maroon, and In the shadows
his eyes seemed like points of light.
"Then," he said, "it's because you
know a whole h—1 of a lot that I
Kentucky Jones grinned faintly, re-
lit his cigarette, and shook his head.
The sheriff's voice was heavy and
intent. "Come out with it, Jones!
What's your play here?"
"I'm going to try to get me the man
thnt killed Mason."
They stared at each other. "Jones,"
said the sheriff, "let's get this straight
here. Are you working with me or
"Not," Kentucky answered.
The dark color of the sheriff's face,
which had faded slightly, now deep-
ened again. "You look here. Jones!
If the time ever comes when It can
be shown that Mason was murdered—
and the man who murdered him can bo
"Maybe that time," said Kentucky,
"Is coming quicker than you think."
"When it does come, I'll make my
play, and I'll make it stick, In the
meantime—think twice, you, before
you buck me! You can make plenty
trouble if you waut; I've got no doubt
of that. But it's you that'll burn if
"Reassure yourself," Kentucky told
him. "If I can't make u finish play,
I'll make no play at all."
"I don't know," said the sheriff, "but
what you'll go a little farther than
that if you know what's good for you."
The sheriff's voice was low, but his
words had more force than if he had
thundered. "I mean you'll sit out of
"I told you what I'm going to do,"
Kentucky said shortly. He was in a
hurry now to be on his way; he want-
ed to hit the Bar Hook road before the
final closing of the dark.
The sheriff shouted at him, "You in-
The door came open, shuddering as
It broke clear from the Ice that had
formed at the sill.
The man who stamped the snow off
his boots upon the threshold was
straight-backed and lean-shouldered:
his age was Indeterminate—he might
have been forty, or he might have been
much more. He had a clean-cut, knife
carved face, set with blue eyes as clear
and penetrating as sharp hits of Ice.
And lie radiated a driving, thrusting
energy, so definite as to convey an al-
most physical sense of impact.
Floyd Hopper said without warmth,
"Hello, Elliot"; and Kentucky Jones
said, "Howdy, Bob."
Kentucky Jones had always been on
good terms with Boh Elliot before; but
now Elliot looked over the other with
a coolly noncommittal eve. "I h#ard."
Bob Elliot said, "you got yourself s
The boss of the 88 looked Kentucky
over again slowly, with a certain bleak
Irony. Then abruptly he turned away,
breaking into the painful-sounding
cachinnntions which passed with him
for laughter. It consisted of a shaking
of shoulders and a series of coughing
sounds, accompanied by a general
pained, cracked-up look, but no ex-
pression of enjoyment While this
went on he always turned away from
his companions as If the unaccustomed
onslaught In truth seized him against
The paroxysm died away. "And with
a face like that," Bob Elliot was able
to say at last. "Oh, naturally I Oh,
"I've found It a useful face for
fighting a wolf," Kentucky agreed
equably. "Still, I don't see—"
"Just the brand," said Bob Elliot,
"that always goes loco over the near-
est gimlet-headed girl."
There was quiet while a man could
count fifteen. "I'm going to finish
rolling this cigarette," said Kentucky
Jones, "and I'm going to roll It right.
Then I'm going to see if I still feel the
same way about that last remark. And
if I do—I'm going to smash your teeth
down your throat."
"Maybe you are," said Bob Elliot,
without emotion. "Floyd, I hear some-
body rustled the bullet that killed
"Uh, huh." said Hopper.
"I'm not sure that I saw that done,
Floyd," said Elliot, disregarding Ken-
tucky now, "but I think maybe that I
did; and I think so more and more."
Sheriff Floyd Hopper came awake.
"Who was It?"
"I don't want to name a name," said
Bob Elliot, "unless we can make a
test to see if I'm right. If I'm right,
the party that took the bullet passed
It on to another; and I don't think this
second one passed It on. I don't know
but what he's just dumb enough to
have It still."
"And where Is it?" said the sheriff.
"1 think," Bob Elliot said, "that you'll
find the bullet that killed Mason in tho
clothes of this man here: Kentucky
The three were motionless for a mo-
ment. The sheriff stared from oni of
them to the other. "Look here—"
"That settles it," said Kentucky. He
smashed Bob Elliot across the face with
his open hand.
The owner of the 88 staggered
against the wall, spun half around with
the weight of that open-handed slap.
Jones said, "Take care of youraelf."
Elliot's hand made a whipping snatch
at the gun at his right thigh as Ken-
tucky struck again, tills time with his
closed left hand. Elliot's head snapped
back; he seemed to teeter for a mo-
ment, face upward, then buckled at
the knees and went to the floor like
a dropped saddle blanket.
"For G—d's sake get out of here,"
said the sheriff. "Get out of this town I
He'll kill you when he comes up."
(TO HE CONTINUED)
Hours and Minutes
The splitting up of the hour and
the minute each into what is seeiu
lngly a curious division, sixty parts,
Is a link with one of the most ancient
of peoples—the Chaldeans, or early
Babylonians. The Chaldeans (so
named by Daniel as meaning "astron-
omers") reduced their study of the
heavens to something almost mathe-
matically exact They realized thnt
the sun made a complete circle of the
heavens In the course of the year and
so arrived at the degree—approxi-
mately the distance traveled by the
sun each day. It was their custom to
reckon In terms of sixties and multi-
ples of sixty, and later astrologers
followed their example and split up
the hour Into sixty small or minute
parts and called thein minutes. The
minute. In turn, was divided into sixty
parts and so we get the seconds—the
second sub division of the hour.
Hypnotism Used by Fish
Something very like hypnotism is em-
ployed by the strange tropical zebra
fish in attracting victims for its dinner,
says Popular Mechanics It is equipped
with many feelers which wave grace-
fully to and fro in tho water but pre-
vent rapid movement In pursuit f
prey. So the striped fish approaches
its victims slowly, waving Its stream-
ers to attract attention. Apparently
smaller fish are fascinated by the feel-
ers and allow the zebra fish to coins
close. Then there is s gulp and tbs US-
tls fish Is gun*.
Here’s what’s next.
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Banger, J. E. A. & Erwin, W. L. The Cass County Sun (Linden, Tex.), Vol. 60, No. 24, Ed. 1 Thursday, June 13, 1935, newspaper, June 13, 1935; Linden, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth341510/m1/3/: accessed October 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Atlanta Public Library.