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NECESSITY'S LAW IN PARADISE

by STELLA BURKE MAY

IT YOU, señor, had a seester you love; an' ever' day her man she marry beat her—ever' day he I—beat her till the blood come, what do you, señor?"

Mazaro Gonzales kicked the "Compiled Laws of New Mexico" that held open the door of the hot, dingy office, and crushed a greasy sombrero with his dirty hands as he doggedly waited for "Big Bill" King to answer.

"Do you know what I'd do, Mazaro?" Big Bill replied without a moment's hesitation. "I would take just about fifteen minutes to give that brother-in-law a whirlwind finish, and I'd do it with about twobits' worth of buckshot and the first piece of ordnance I could lay my hands on!"

"Me no comprendo," grunted Mazaro, knitting his bronzed brows and peering through his pen-slit eyes at the big, handsome American who sat, tilted back in a common kitchen chair, his feet crossed on top of a weather-beaten desk.

"I mean, Mazaro," and King stopped puffing the big black cigar and faced the Mexican, "that I'd shoot him dead full of buckshot, and I'd do it quick!"

"Bueno, amigo," was the "Greaser's" only comment as he shuffled out of the door, and Big Bill King returned to the business which Mazaro's timid knock had interrupted. The particular business in hand and, in fact, about the only business in which William Gordon King had engaged since his arrival in Paradise six months previously, was cursing the stars that had guided him to this forlorn town whose biggest attraction was its burying-ground and whose chiefest enterprises were loafing in the daytime and enlarging the cemetery by night.

For, by one of the jokes of fate, William Gordon King, the many-sided, was doing time in Paradise, in the heart of the desert country, with the office of County Attorney serving as the shackle.

As a matter of history, it was no star at all that guided him to Paradise, but the greasy finger of Mazaro Gonzales, whose acquaintance he had made a year previous when both were shifting railroad-ties on the new line of road entering Paradise. Shifting railroad-ties was not King's regular profession; neither was county-attorneying.

His original intention and overwhelming ambition when he journeyed West and climbed the mountains was to gouge out the heart of the Taos Range and become a great copper king, but as months rolled by and the only copper he found within reach was the few pieces stamped with Indian heads which he retained of his original capital, he turned to the only paying profession he could find, and it brought him side by side with Mazaro on the new railroad grade.

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