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Chapter II

During the several following weeks, the two partners played at cross purposes. Smoke was bent on spending his time watching the roulette game in the Elkhorn, while Shorty was equally bent on travelling trail. At last Smoke put his foot down when a stampede was proposed for two hundred miles down the Yukon.

"Look here, Shorty," he said, "I'm not going. That trip will take ten days, and before that time I hope to have my system in proper working order. I could almost win with it now. What are you dragging me around the country this way for anyway?"

"Smoke, I got to take care of you," was Shorty's reply. "You're getting nutty. I'd drag you stampedin' to Jericho or the North Pole if I could keep you away from that table."

"It's all right, Shorty. But just remember I've reached full man-grown, meat-eating size. The only dragging you'll do, will be dragging home the dust I'm going to win with that system of mine, and you'll most likely have to do it with a dog-team."

Shorty's response was a groan.

"And I don't want you to be bucking any games on your own," Smoke went on. "We're going to divide the winnings, and I'll need all our money to get started. That system's young yet, and it's liable to trip me for a few falls before I get it lined up."

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