“Another reason everybody comes,” whispered Keith, “is because the side that wins always takes the town up to the Nugget and treats to hootch. Whenever you see eighty or ninety more drunks than usual, you know there’s either been a stampede or else justice has been administered.”
“Ain’t Bonsor late?” asked someone.
“No, it’s a quarter of.”
“Why do they want Bonsor?”
“His case on the docket—McGinty v. Burt Bonsor, proprietor of the Gold Nugget.”
“If they got a row on——”
“If they got a row? Course they got a row. Weren’t they pardners?”
“But McGinty spends all his time at the Gold Nugget.”
“Well, where would he spend it?”
“A Miners’ Meetin’s a pretty poor machine,” McGinty was saying to the ex-Governor, “but it’s the best we got.”
“——in a country bigger than several of the nations of Europe put together,” responded that gentleman, with much public spirit.
“A Great Country!”
“——a country that’s paid for its purchase over and over again, even before we discovered gold here.”
“Did she? Good old ’laska.”
“——and the worst treated part o’ the Union.”
“After this, when I read about Russian corruption and Chinese cruelty, I’ll remember the way Uncle Sam treats the natives up——”
“——and us, b’gosh! White men that are openin’ up this great, rich country fur Uncle Sam——”
“——with no proper courts—no Government protection—no help—no justice—no nothin’.”
“Yer forgittin’ them reindeer!” And the court-room rang with derisive laughter.
“Congress started that there Relief Expedition all right,” the josher went on, “only them blamed reindeer had got the feed habit, and when they’d et up everything in sight they set down on the Dalton Trail—and there they’re settin’ yit, just like they was Congress. But I don’t like to hear no feller talkin’ agin’ the Gover’ment.”
“Yes, it’s all very funny,” said McGinty gloomily, “but think o’ the fix a feller’s in wot’s had a wrong done him in the fall, and knows justice is thousands o’ miles away, and he can’t even go after her for eight months; and in them eight months the feller wot robbed him has et up the money, or worked out the claim, and gone dead-broke.”
“No, sir! we don’t wait, and we don’t go trav’lin’. We stay at home and call a meetin’.”
The door opened, and Bonsor and the bar-tender, with great difficulty, forced their way in. They stood flattened against the wall. During the diversion McGinty was growling disdainfully, “Rubbidge!”
“Rubbidge? Reckon it’s pretty serious rubbidge.”
“Did you ever know a Miners’ Meetin’ to make a decision that didn’t become law, with the whole community ready to enforce it if necessary? Rubbidge!
“Oh, we’ll hang a man if we don’t like his looks,” grumbled McGinty; but he was overborne. There were a dozen ready to uphold the majesty of the Miners’ Meetin’.