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The Triple Alliance
by [?]

Two men walked side by side down the steps of the Criminal Court Building. They were dressed in “store clothes”; and, while they were alike in type, yet they were unlike: one could not be mistaken for the other. But they had the same facial angle; they were of about the same age, thirty-five; each was tall, square-shouldered, and erect, and each had the same curious gait that betokens long experience in the saddle. The man to the right had gray eyes; the one to the left black. The one to the right was jubilant of face; the other downcast and chagrined. As they reached the sidewalk a man hurried out of the crowd and confronted them. His face was perspiring, and he breathed hard.

“I’ve got you, Bill!” he said, laying his hand on the shoulder of the downcast man to the left. “You’re my prisoner!”

“Not much, he isn’t!” answered the man to the right. “He’s mine. Here’s proof.” He half turned, disclosing the butt of a large pistol under his coat.

“Oh, I’ve got that kind of proof, too,” rejoined the newcomer, stepping back and eying them with anger and disgust in his face. It was a face that must have been unused to such emotional expressions; it was smooth shaved, pink, and healthy, with keen blue eyes, the face of a man not yet grown up, or of a boy matured before his time. He was of about the same age, size, and build as the other two, and with the same horseman’s gait.

“Who are you,” he asked, “and what have you got that man for?”

“I’m Jack Quincy, Deputy Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona; and I’ve got this man, Bill Rogers, for stage robbery. Who are you?”

“I’m Walter Benson, of the Northwest Mounted Police, and I want this man for murder. I’ve just come from Washington with extradition papers, and I don’t see how you can hold him.”

“Possession is nine points of the law in this country, Mr. Benson, and, while I only went to Albany for extradition papers, they’re good. Left ’em inside with the Judge.”

“I’ll contest this case. I’ve come down from Manitoba for this man. My chief put the New York police onto him, and he’s our meat. Why, man, we want him for murder, a capital offense!”

“But I’ve got him for robbing the Wickenburg stage, a capital offense, too.”

While this confab was going on the prisoner had been keenly and furtively looking about, and had caught the eye of a nearby policeman, then had significantly reached his hand behind him and patted his hip pocket while nodding almost imperceptibly toward the disputants. The officer summoned another policeman by the same sign language, and at this juncture they approached.

“What you two chewin’ the rag about?” demanded one, passing his hands rapidly up and down and around the rear clothing of Quincy, while the other as quickly “frisked” Benson. “Got a gun, I see! Got a license?”

“Here’s another gun man,” said the second policeman, his hand on Benson’s collar. “Got a license?”

“Yes, where’s yer license?” repeated the first officer, reaching for Quincy’s collar.

And now a surprising thing happened. First, Bill Rogers, wanted for stage robbery and murder, took to his heels and sped down the street. Then Benson wriggled under the policeman’s grasp, and by some lightning-like trick of jiu jitsu, sent him sprawling on his back, his limbs waving in the air like the legs of a turtle similarly upset. Then Benson started after Rogers. Quincy tried no jiu jitsu: instead he whipped out his gun, a long, heavy Colt’s forty-five, and jammed it into the policeman’s face before the hand had reached his collar. Involuntarily the officer started back, away from that murderous blue tube, and before he could recover from his surprise Quincy had started after Benson. Then the policeman followed Quincy, and his fallen compatriot, picking himself up, followed after; but neither for long; they were fat, and these men of the West could run as well as ride.