It was too late for any such thing as resistance; and the captive settled at once into a sullen, dogged silence, after the ordinary custom of his kind when they find themselves cornered. It is a species of dull, brute instinct, more than cunning, seemingly; but not a word more did Ham and Dab obtain from their prisoner,—although they said a good many to him,—until they delivered him over to the safe-keeping of the lawful authorities at the village. That done, they went home to breakfast, feeling that they had made a good morning’s work of it, but wondering what would be the end and result of it all.
“Ten years, I guess,” said Ham.
“In State prison?”
“Yes. Breaking stone. He’ll get his board free, but it’ll be total abstinence for him. I wonder what took him on board ‘The Swallow,’”
“I know,—the jug!”
“That’s it, sure’s you live. I saw him over on the island. I declare! To think of an empty demijohn having so much good in it!”
ANOTHER GRAND PLAN, AND A VERY GRAND RUNAWAY.
The whole community was stirred up over the news of the capture of the tramp. It made a first-class excitement for a place of that size; but none of the inhabitants took a deeper interest in the matter than did Ford and Frank and the two Hart boys. It was difficult for them to get their minds quite right about it, especially the first pair, to whom it was a matter of unasked question just how much help Ham had given Dab in capturing the marauder. Mr. Foster himself got a little excited about it, when he came home; but poor Annie was a good deal more troubled than pleased.
“O mother!” she exclaimed. “Do you suppose I shall have to appear in court, and give my testimony as a witness?”
“I hope not, my dear. Perhaps your father can manage to prevent it somehow.”
It would not have been an easy thing to do, even for so good a lawyer as Mr. Foster, if Burgin himself had not saved them all trouble on that score. Long before the slow processes of country criminal justice could bring him to actual trial, so many misdeeds were brought home to him, from here and there, that he gave the matter up, and not only confessed to the attack on Annie’s pocket-book, but to the barn-burning, to which Dab’s cudgelling had provoked him. He made his case so very clear, that when he finally came before a judge and jury, and pleaded “guilty,” there was nothing left for them to do but to say just what he was guilty of, and how long he should “break stone” to pay for it. It was likely to be a good deal more than “ten years,” if he lived out his “time.”
All that came to pass some months later, however; and just now the village had enough to talk about in discussing the peculiar manner of his capture.
The story of the demijohn leaked out, of course; and, while it did not rob Dab and Ham of any part of their glory, it was made to do severe duty in the way of a temperance lecture.