en-es  Max_Brand_The_Laughter_of_ Slim_Malone - Part 3
He swung the blanket aside and crouched in the entrance with his gun leveled.

The little round sight framed the face of Slim Malone, who still sat reading quietly and puffing at a black-bowled pipe.

"Hands up!" said Lefty softly.

Even then, with his head on his man, he did not feel entirely sure of himself.

It seemed that this could not be true.

Opportunity had favored him too much; there must still be some turn of the game.

The meaningless gray eyes raised calmly from the book.

It seemed to Lefty that a yellow glint came into them for a moment like the light that comes into an animal's eyes when it is angered, but the next moment it was gone, and he could not be sure that it had come there at all.

The rest of the face was perfectly calm.

Malone lowered the book slowly and then raised his hands above his head.

"Ah, sheriff," he said quietly, "I see that you have honored my invitation."

"Right-o," said Leftv, "I'm here all right."

He felt strangely relieved after hearing his quarry speak.

He stepped through the entrance and straightened up, still with the revolver leveled.

t was beyond his fondest hopes that he should be able to bring the desperado alive to Appleton, and the thought of his complete success warmed his heart; also the immediate prospect of that five-thousand-dollar bonus.

"In order to remove any strain you may be under," went on Slim Malone, "I'll assure you that I am quite unarmed.

My guns are both lying on the table there.

In order that you may make sure, I shall stand up, with my hands over my head, and turn around slowly; you can examine me to your own satisfaction."

He did as he had said, and Lefty's practised eyes saw that there was not the suspicion of a lump under the clothes.

"Now," said Slim Malone, as he faced his captor again, and his smile was strangely winning, "I hope that I may lower my arms and we can commence our little party."

"Your end of this here party is all over, my beauty," said Lefty grimly, "except that the boys at Appleton may give you a little impromptu reception when we hit town; they seem to be rather strong on celebrations."

"So I "understand," smiled Slim Malone; "I have no doubt they will be glad to see me."

"Ain't no doubt in the world," grinned Lefty, warming to the perfect calm of this man.

"Between you an' me. pal, I'm sorry to have to turn this little trick; but—" Malone waved a careless and reassuring hand; "Business is business, my dear fellow," he said.

"That bein' the case," said Lefty, "I'll have to ask you to turn around and put your hands behind your back while I put these here bracelets on.

I don't want to discourage you any, but while I'm doin' it this here gun will be in my hand and pointin' at your back."

"Naturally," nodded Malone; "quite right, of course; but before we start on our little jaunt back to the camp won't you have a drink with me? I have some really rare old stuff here; quite different from the firewater they put labels on in Appleton."

Lefty grinned appreciatively.
"It's a good move, pal," he said, shaking his head with admiration, "an' I know that you're hard put to it or you wouldn't try such an old dodge on me.

It's a good move, but down in Texas the booze stunt is so old that they've almost forgotten it—not quite!"

"Ah," said Malone, with a little sigh of regret, "then I suppose we shall have to ride out in the night without a nip; gets mighty chilly here before morning, you know."

This fact, had gradually dawned on Lefty during his ride up the valley, and as he looked forward to the journey back he shivered with unpleasant anticipation.

In Texas a summer night was one thing; in these mountains it was quite another.

"I suppose the booze is the real thing?" he inquired casually.

"There are little bubbles under the glass," said Slim Malone with subtle emotion.

Lefty Cornwall sighed deeply; the taste of the Appleton bar whisky still burned his mouth; after all this fellow was a man.

He might be a criminal, but Lefty's own past was not free from shady episodes.

Furthermore he was about to make five thousand dollars on presenting him to the good people of Appleton.

"If you sure want a drink before we start, go ahead," said Lefty.

"The bottle and a glass is over there in that little dugout on the wall," pointed Malone.

In the little open hutch on the wall the sheriff perceived a tall bottle which shimmered pleasantly in the torch-light.

"Go ahead," said the sheriff, "I reckon you know I'm watchin' all the time."

"Surely," said Malone pleasantly, "I know you're on your job all the time."

He walked over to the hutch and picked up the bottle and the glass.

He paused with the bottle tucked away under his arm.
"Queer thing," pondered Malone, "the same pack that held this bottle of whisky held this also."


Lefty tightened his grip on the gun as Malone reached deeper into the hutch, but he straightened again, and appeared carrying a large concert banjo."

"That fellow had taste," he continued, crossing the room and laying down the banjo carelessly on the chair: "just run your eyes over that banjo."

"Some banjo, all right," said the sheriff, "but hurry up with your drink. Malone, we've got to be on our way."

Malone uncorked the bottle and held it under his nose while he inhaled a whiff; "The old aroma, all right," he pronounced with the air of a connoisseur; "must be a vintage as far back as the eighties; you won't join me?"

Now the heart of the sheriff was a human heart, but his will was adamant.

"Not me, Malone," he answered, "I've been in the game too long; can't drink on this sort of a job."

"Guess you're right," murmured Malone, letting the amber stream trickle slowly into the glass; "but it's too bad."

He raised the glass to his lips and swallowed half of the contents slowly.

"The stuff is so oily," he mused, "that you don't need a chaser. Just sort of oils its own way down, you know."

The sheriff moistened his lips.

"It certainly is a shame that you can't taste it," continued Malone, as he drained the glass.

The sheriff hitched his belt with his customary gesture.

"It looks like the real thing," he said judicially.

"It is," pronounced Malone with decision, "and after the sort of poison they serve you around here—" The sheriff shuddered with sympathy; "I reckon," he said hesitatingly, "that you might pour me just a drop."

It seemed to him that as he spoke the yellow glint came into the eyes of Malone again, but a moment later it was gone, and he decided that the change had been merely a shadow from the wavering torch-light.

He took the glass which Malone extended to him under the cover of the pointed gun and raised it slowly to his lips.

"Just stand a bit further back while I drink, pal," he said.

Malone obeyed, and the sheriff tilted the glass.

It was, as Malone had said, "the real old aroma," and the sheriff drew a deep breath.

Now there is a saying about liquor that the drink which does the harm is "just one more," and certain it is that one whisky calls for another as surely as a question calls for an answer.

"I reckon it ain't quite as old as you say," said the sheriff, feeling his way from word to word cautiously, "I reckon it ain't more than fifteen years old at the outside."

Malone paused, with the bottle suspended over the glass to consider.

"I thought that myself when I first drank," he nodded; "but that was before I got used to it; all Bourbon is a little sharp, you know."

The sheriff was inclined to agree. He also felt sure that one more drink would quite banish from his memory the taste of that one drink in Appleton.

Moreover, the danger, if there was any, was slight, for Malone was taking drink for drink with him, and larger drinks at that.

It was a sort of subtle challenge to the manhood of the sheriff, and he was as proud of his capacity for whisky as of his speed with a gun.

It was perhaps half an hour later that the sheriff indicated the banjo with a careless wave of the pistol.

"Play any?" he inquired, "or do you keep it around as sort of an ornament?"

"Both," smiled Malone; "It makes the place more homelike, you know, and then I sing once in a while, but not often; folks around here aren't particularly partial to my voice."

"I'm a pretty good judge," stated the sheriff; "blaze away, and I'll see you ain't interrupted.

Been a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing any decent singin'."

He was, as he said, a fairly good judge, and he was delighted with the rich barytone which rang through the cave.

After a time, as the whisky and the music melted into his mood, he began to call for old favorites, darky ballads, and last of all, for the sentimental ditties which have always charmed the heart of the rough men of the West: "Annie Laurie," "Old Black Joe," "Ben Bolt," "Silver Threads Among the Gold."

As he sang the bandit commenced, naturally, to walk back and forth through the cave, and the sheriff sat back in the chair and with half-closed eyes waved the revolver back and forth in time.

He failed to note that as Malone walked up and down each time he made a longer trip, until at last he was pacing and turning close to the table on which lay the revolvers side by side.

He did not note it, or if he did his mind was too thrilled with the tender airs and the tenderer liquor to register the fact clearly.

It faded into the pleasant blur of his sensations.

"Oh. don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt, Sweet Alice with—" The music stopped.

Malone had stooped over the table with the speed of a bird picking up a grain of wheat, and with the same movement he whirled and fired.

The gun spun from the hand of the sheriff and he stood staring into eyes which now beyond all doubt flared with a yellow animal fire.

"Now put your hands behind your back after you've thrown those bracelets to me," said Malone.

"I naturally hate to break up this party, but I think you've had about enough whisky to keep you warm on the ride back, Lefty, my boy."

There was an insane desire on the sheriff's part to leap upon Malone bare-handed, but he had seen too many fighting men in action before.

He knew the meaning of those eyes and the steadiness of the revolver.

"It's your game, Slim," he said, with as little bitterness as possible; "but will you tell me why in the name of God you aren't on the stage? It isn't what you do, pal, it's the way you do it!"

Appleton woke early the next morning.

Some one shouted and then fired a pistol.

The populace gathered at windows and doors rubbing sleepy eyes which a moment later shone wide awake, and yawns turned into yells of laughter, for down the middle of Appleton's one street came the sheriff.

He was sitting on the roan horse, with his feet tied below its girth, and his hands tied behind his back.

And even the weary roan seemed to feel in his drooping head the defeat of his rider.

Upon the back of the sheriff was a large piece of cardboard, upon which was printed in large letters the following: I'm sending this back with my signature in token of a pleasant evening in my home in Eagle Head Cañon.

I'm sorry to announce that I'm moved; Slim Malone.
unit 3
"Hands up!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 4
said Lefty softly.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 6
It seemed that this could not be true.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 8
The meaningless gray eyes raised calmly from the book.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 10
The rest of the face was perfectly calm.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 11
Malone lowered the book slowly and then raised his hands above his head.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 12
unit 13
"Right-o," said Leftv, "I'm here all right."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 14
He felt strangely relieved after hearing his quarry speak.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 18
My guns are both lying on the table there.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 25
"Between you an' me.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 31
Lefty grinned appreciatively.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 37
"I suppose the booze is the real thing?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 38
he inquired casually.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 43
"If you sure want a drink before we start, go ahead," said Lefty.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 46
unit 47
unit 48
He walked over to the hutch and picked up the bottle and the glass.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 49
He paused with the bottle tucked away under his arm.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 53
unit 54
Malone, we've got to be on our way."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 56
unit 59
unit 60
"The stuff is so oily," he mused, "that you don't need a chaser.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 61
Just sort of oils its own way down, you know."
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 62
The sheriff moistened his lips.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 64
The sheriff hitched his belt with his customary gesture.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 65
"It looks like the real thing," he said judicially.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 69
"Just stand a bit further back while I drink, pal," he said.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 70
Malone obeyed, and the sheriff tilted the glass.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 74
Malone paused, with the bottle suspended over the glass to consider.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 76
The sheriff was inclined to agree.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 81
"Play any?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 82
he inquired, "or do you keep it around as sort of an ornament?"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 85
unit 91
It faded into the pleasant blur of his sensations.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 92
"Oh.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 99
He knew the meaning of those eyes and the steadiness of the revolver.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 101
It isn't what you do, pal, it's the way you do it!"
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 102
Appleton woke early the next morning.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 103
Some one shouted and then fired a pistol.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None
unit 108
I'm sorry to announce that I'm moved; Slim Malone.
0 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity None

He swung the blanket aside and crouched in the entrance with his gun leveled.

The little round sight framed the face of Slim Malone, who still sat reading quietly and puffing at a black-bowled pipe.

"Hands up!" said Lefty softly.

Even then, with his head on his man, he did not feel entirely sure of himself.

It seemed that this could not be true.

Opportunity had favored him too much; there must still be some turn of the game.

The meaningless gray eyes raised calmly from the book.

It seemed to Lefty that a yellow glint came into them for a moment like the light that comes into an animal's eyes when it is angered, but the next moment it was gone, and he could not be sure that it had come there at all.

The rest of the face was perfectly calm.

Malone lowered the book slowly and then raised his hands above his head.

"Ah, sheriff," he said quietly, "I see that you have honored my invitation."

"Right-o," said Leftv, "I'm here all right."

He felt strangely relieved after hearing his quarry speak.

He stepped through the entrance and straightened up, still with the revolver leveled.

t was beyond his fondest hopes that he should be able to bring the desperado alive to Appleton, and the thought of his complete success warmed his heart; also the immediate prospect of that five-thousand-dollar bonus.

"In order to remove any strain you may be under," went on Slim Malone, "I'll assure you that I am quite unarmed.

My guns are both lying on the table there.

In order that you may make sure, I shall stand up, with my hands over my head, and turn around slowly; you can examine me to your own satisfaction."

He did as he had said, and Lefty's practised eyes saw that there was not the suspicion of a lump under the clothes.

"Now," said Slim Malone, as he faced his captor again, and his smile was strangely winning, "I hope that I may lower my arms and we can commence our little party."

"Your end of this here party is all over, my beauty," said Lefty grimly, "except that the boys at Appleton may give you a little impromptu reception when we hit town; they seem to be rather strong on celebrations."

"So I "understand," smiled Slim Malone; "I have no doubt they will be glad to see me."

"Ain't no doubt in the world," grinned Lefty, warming to the perfect calm of this man.

"Between you an' me. pal, I'm sorry to have to turn this little trick; but—"

Malone waved a careless and reassuring hand; "Business is business, my dear fellow," he said.

"That bein' the case," said Lefty, "I'll have to ask you to turn around and put your hands behind your back while I put these here bracelets on.

I don't want to discourage you any, but while I'm doin' it this here gun will be in my hand and pointin' at your back."

"Naturally," nodded Malone; "quite right, of course; but before we start on our little jaunt back to the camp won't you have a drink with me? I have some really rare old stuff here; quite different from the firewater they put labels on in Appleton."

Lefty grinned appreciatively.
"It's a good move, pal," he said, shaking his head with admiration, "an' I know that you're hard put to it or you wouldn't try such an old dodge on me.

It's a good move, but down in Texas the booze stunt is so old that they've almost forgotten it—not quite!"

"Ah," said Malone, with a little sigh of regret, "then I suppose we shall have to ride out in the night without a nip; gets mighty chilly here before morning, you know."

This fact, had gradually dawned on Lefty during his ride up the valley, and as he looked forward to the journey back he shivered with unpleasant anticipation.

In Texas a summer night was one thing; in these mountains it was quite another.

"I suppose the booze is the real thing?" he inquired casually.

"There are little bubbles under the glass," said Slim Malone with subtle emotion.

Lefty Cornwall sighed deeply; the taste of the Appleton bar whisky still burned his mouth; after all this fellow was a man.

He might be a criminal, but Lefty's own past was not free from shady episodes.

Furthermore he was about to make five thousand dollars on presenting him to the good people of Appleton.

"If you sure want a drink before we start, go ahead," said Lefty.

"The bottle and a glass is over there in that little dugout on the wall," pointed Malone.

In the little open hutch on the wall the sheriff perceived a tall bottle which shimmered pleasantly in the torch-light.

"Go ahead," said the sheriff, "I reckon you know I'm watchin' all the time."

"Surely," said Malone pleasantly, "I know you're on your job all the time."

He walked over to the hutch and picked up the bottle and the glass.

He paused with the bottle tucked away under his arm.
"Queer thing," pondered Malone, "the same pack that held this bottle of whisky held this also."


Lefty tightened his grip on the gun as Malone reached deeper into the hutch, but he straightened again, and appeared carrying a large concert banjo."

"That fellow had taste," he continued, crossing the room and laying down the banjo carelessly on the chair: "just run your eyes over that banjo."

"Some banjo, all right," said the sheriff, "but hurry up with your drink. Malone, we've got to be on our way."

Malone uncorked the bottle and held it under his nose while he inhaled a whiff; "The old aroma, all right," he pronounced with the air of a connoisseur; "must be a vintage as far back as the eighties; you won't join me?"

Now the heart of the sheriff was a human heart, but his will was adamant.

"Not me, Malone," he answered, "I've been in the game too long; can't drink on this sort of a job."

"Guess you're right," murmured Malone, letting the amber stream trickle slowly into the glass; "but it's too bad."

He raised the glass to his lips and swallowed half of the contents slowly.

"The stuff is so oily," he mused, "that you don't need a chaser. Just sort of oils its own way down, you know."

The sheriff moistened his lips.

"It certainly is a shame that you can't taste it," continued Malone, as he drained the glass.

The sheriff hitched his belt with his customary gesture.

"It looks like the real thing," he said judicially.

"It is," pronounced Malone with decision, "and after the sort of poison they serve you around here—"

The sheriff shuddered with sympathy; "I reckon," he said hesitatingly, "that you might pour me just a drop."

It seemed to him that as he spoke the yellow glint came into the eyes of Malone again, but a moment later it was gone, and he decided that the change had been merely a shadow from the wavering torch-light.

He took the glass which Malone extended to him under the cover of the pointed gun and raised it slowly to his lips.

"Just stand a bit further back while I drink, pal," he said.

Malone obeyed, and the sheriff tilted the glass.

It was, as Malone had said, "the real old aroma," and the sheriff drew a deep breath.

Now there is a saying about liquor that the drink which does the harm is "just one more," and certain it is that one whisky calls for another as surely as a question calls for an answer.

"I reckon it ain't quite as old as you say," said the sheriff, feeling his way from word to word cautiously, "I reckon it ain't more than fifteen years old at the outside."

Malone paused, with the bottle suspended over the glass to consider.

"I thought that myself when I first drank," he nodded; "but that was before I got used to it; all Bourbon is a little sharp, you know."

The sheriff was inclined to agree. He also felt sure that one more drink would quite banish from his memory the taste of that one drink in Appleton.

Moreover, the danger, if there was any, was slight, for Malone was taking drink for drink with him, and larger drinks at that.

It was a sort of subtle challenge to the manhood of the sheriff, and he was as proud of his capacity for whisky as of his speed with a gun.

It was perhaps half an hour later that the sheriff indicated the banjo with a careless wave of the pistol.

"Play any?" he inquired, "or do you keep it around as sort of an ornament?"

"Both," smiled Malone; "It makes the place more homelike, you know, and then I sing once in a while, but not often; folks around here aren't particularly partial to my voice."

"I'm a pretty good judge," stated the sheriff; "blaze away, and I'll see you ain't interrupted.

Been a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing any decent singin'."

He was, as he said, a fairly good judge, and he was delighted with the rich barytone which rang through the cave.

After a time, as the whisky and the music melted into his mood, he began to call for old favorites, darky ballads, and last of all, for the sentimental ditties which have always charmed the heart of the rough men of the West: "Annie Laurie," "Old Black Joe," "Ben Bolt," "Silver Threads Among the Gold."

As he sang the bandit commenced, naturally, to walk back and forth through the cave, and the sheriff sat back in the chair and with half-closed eyes waved the revolver back and forth in time.

He failed to note that as Malone walked up and down each time he made a longer trip, until at last he was pacing and turning close to the table on which lay the revolvers side by side.

He did not note it, or if he did his mind was too thrilled with the tender airs and the tenderer liquor to register the fact clearly.

It faded into the pleasant blur of his sensations.

"Oh. don't you remember sweet Alice, Ben Bolt, Sweet Alice with—"

The music stopped.

Malone had stooped over the table with the speed of a bird picking up a grain of wheat, and with the same movement he whirled and fired.

The gun spun from the hand of the sheriff and he stood staring into eyes which now beyond all doubt flared with a yellow animal fire.

"Now put your hands behind your back after you've thrown those bracelets to me," said Malone.

"I naturally hate to break up this party, but I think you've had about enough whisky to keep you warm on the ride back, Lefty, my boy."

There was an insane desire on the sheriff's part to leap upon Malone bare-handed, but he had seen too many fighting men in action before.

He knew the meaning of those eyes and the steadiness of the revolver.

"It's your game, Slim," he said, with as little bitterness as possible; "but will you tell me why in the name of God you aren't on the stage? It isn't what you do, pal, it's the way you do it!"

Appleton woke early the next morning.

Some one shouted and then fired a pistol.

The populace gathered at windows and doors rubbing sleepy eyes which a moment later shone wide awake, and yawns turned into yells of laughter, for down the middle of Appleton's one street came the sheriff.

He was sitting on the roan horse, with his feet tied below its girth, and his hands tied behind his back.

And even the weary roan seemed to feel in his drooping head the defeat of his rider.

Upon the back of the sheriff was a large piece of cardboard, upon which was printed in large letters the following:

I'm sending this back with my signature in token of a pleasant evening in my home in Eagle Head Cañon.

I'm sorry to announce that I'm moved; Slim Malone.