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One Dollar’s Worth
by [?]

“Lie down–lie down!” snapped Littlefield. “Close to the horse–flat on the ground–so.” He almost threw her upon the grass against the back of the recumbent Fly. Oddly enough, at that moment the words of the Mexican girl returned to his mind:

“If the life of the girl you love is ever in danger, remember Rafael Ortiz.”

Littlefield uttered an exclamation.

“Open fire on him, Nan, across the horse’s back. Fire as fast as you can! You can’t hurt him, but keep him dodging shot for one minute while I try to work a little scheme.”

Nancy gave a quick glance at Littlefield, and saw him take out his pocket-knife and open it. Then she turned her face to obey orders, keeping up a rapid fire at the enemy.

Mexico Sam waited patiently until this innocuous fusillade ceased. He had plenty of time, and he did not care to risk the chance of a bird-shot in his eye when it could be avoided by a little caution. He pulled his heavy Stetson low down over his face until the shots ceased. Then he drew a little nearer, and fired with careful aim at what he could see of his victims above the fallen horse.

Neither of them moved. He urged his horse a few steps nearer. He saw the district attorney rise to one knee and deliberately level his shotgun. He pulled his hat down and awaited the harmless rattle of the tiny pellets.

The shotgun blazed with a heavy report. Mexico Sam sighed, turned limp all over, and slowly fell from his horse–a dead rattlesnake.

At ten o’clock the next morning court opened, and the case of the United States versus Rafael Ortiz was called. The district attorney, with his arm in a sling, rose and addressed the court.

“May it please your honour,” he said, “I desire to enter a nolle pros. in this case. Even though the defendant should be guilty, there is not sufficient evidence in the hands of the government to secure a conviction. The piece of counterfeit coin upon the identity of which the case was built is not now available as evidence. I ask, therefore, that the case be stricken off.”

At the noon recess Kilpatrick strolled into the district attorney’s office.

“I’ve just been down to take a squint at old Mexico Sam,” said the deputy. “They’ve got him laid out. Old Mexico was a tough outfit, I reckon. The boys was wonderin’ down there what you shot him with. Some said it must have been nails. I never see a gun carry anything to make holes like he had.”

“I shot him,” said the district attorney, “with Exhibit A of your counterfeiting case. Lucky thing for me–and somebody else–that it was as bad money as it was! It sliced up into slugs very nicely. Say, Kil, can’t you go down to the jacals and find where that Mexican girl lives? Miss Derwent wants to know.”