“I guess,” interrupted the sheriff, “this will be about all. Lanpher, yore hoss is outside. Git on and git out.”
“Lookit here, Judge,” said Racey, earnestly, “do you mean to say yo’re gonna let the sheriff serve them eviction papers?”
Judge Dolan elevated his feet upon his desk and tilted back his chair before replying.
“Racey,” he said, teetering gently, “I gotta do what the law says in this thing.”
“Then yo’re gonna sic the sheriff on, huh?”
“I ain’t doin’ no sicin’, not me. Luke Tweezy’s the boy you mean.”
“But the law makes you back up Luke.”
“In this case it does.”
“Then it’s a helluva law that lets a feller take away the home of two women.”
“They’s lots of times,” observed Dolan, judicially, “when I think she’s a helluva law, too. But what you gonna do? Under the law one man’s word is as good as another’s till he’s proved a liar. And two men’s words are better than one, and so on. And so far nobody ain’t proved Doc Coffin and Honey Hoke and Luke Tweezy are liars.”
“Of course we know they are,” protested Racey.
“Not legally. You gotta remember that knowing a man is a liar is one thing, and being able to prove it is another breed of cat.”
“Then they ain’t nothing to be done short of rubbing out Lanpher and Tweezy?”
“And what good would wiping out either or both of them do? Beyond Lanpher and Tweezy are their heirs and assigns, whoever they may be. You can’t go down the line and abolish ’em all.”
“I s’pose not,” grumbled Racey.
“Of course not. It ain’t reasonable. You don’t wanna bull along regardless like a bufflehead in this, Racey. You wanna use yore brains a few. They’ll always go farther than main strength. You got brains, and you can bet you’ll need every single one of ’em if you wanna get to the bottom of this business.”
“Under the circumstances, then, what’s yore advice, Judge?”
“I ain’t got no particular advice to give,” replied Dolan, promptly. “I’m a judge, not a lawyer, but I’m free to say even if I was a lawyer, I dunno exactly what I’d do, or where I’d begin.”
Racey nodded. He didn’t see exactly where to begin, either.
“Lookit, Judge,” he said at last, “can’t you sort of delay the proceedin’s for a while?”
“I’ll do what I can,” assented Dolan, “but I can’t keep it up forever. I’m sworn to obey the law and see that it is obeyed. And if Luke Tweezy’s paper can’t be proved a forgery certain and soon, they’s only one thing for me to do and one thing for the Dales to do. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it stands under the law.”
It was then that the door-latch clicked and one entered without knocking. It was Luke Tweezy. Beyond the merest flicker of a glance he did not acknowledge the presence of Racey Dawson. He nodded perfunctorily to Dolan.