Page:For the Liberty of Texas.djvu/31

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"He's got to give up that meat, or I'm going to know the reason why."

"Don't be rash. Hank Stiger is a bad man to deal with."

"Are you going to let him go without doing anything?" demanded Ralph. "I'm sure you wouldn't if it was your deer!" he added, bitterly.

"No, we'll talk to him and put our claim as strongly as we can. But be careful, that's all."

With this caution Dan ran along the bank of the creek until he reached the ford where the half-breed had crossed. He went over, with Ralph at his heels and both boys were within easy speaking distance of Hank Stiger before the latter discovered them.

"Hi there, Stiger! what are you doing with that deer?" demanded Dan, as he came closer, with his gun in both hands across his breast.

At the sound of the boy's voice the half-breed turned quickly and his repulsive reddish-brown face fell sullenly. He was a short, stocky fellow, with a tangled head of hair and wolfish eyes which betrayed the Comanche blood that flowed in his veins from his mother's side.

"Who are you?" demanded the man, hardly knowing what to say, so completely had he been taken by surprise.

"I am Dan Radbury, as you know very well.