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Page 58

CHAPTER 4 - RANGER RIDING

His grey eyes were keen and shrewd as he surveyed the prints. He pulled in his beast and turning gazed at the narrow cleft where the shadows lay very thick. The prints represented an oddity, and Bill was interested in oddities.
Maybe he would have ridden on, dismissing the business had it not been for something else that happened within a few moments of his pulling in his pony. From the top of the cliff of barren, sheer rock into which the cleft penetrated, from a point some two hundred feet above the cleft, he caught a slight movement. It didn't last above a couple of seconds and then all was silent again ; but it was enough for Bill Rankin. His instinct was awake now, the instinct with which he had been born and which had been greatly developed as a result of riding for Governor Deakin. He knew that he was being watched, that some guy on the top of the cliff, under cover, was keeping tabs on him.
Even Ned or Jake, experienced as they were, would perhaps have given, involuntarily, some indication that they were aware of this ; but Bill gave no sign. He didn't reach for a gun, kept his hands slackly on the reins. To all seeming he had missed the slight movement on the top of the cliff ; to all seeming he presently moved on down the trail in ignorance that he was watched. He slouched in the saddle once more, rode carelessly.
His mind, however, was moving far from carelessly as he rode. The oddity of the prints and their direction had increased. It might be that somebody had ridden into the mountains at this time of day on legitimate business. It might be that this legitimate business had caused the guy to be mighty careful about keeping under cover and observing without

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