AN EVENING IN JAIL
Before my ideas had had time to straighten themselves out, I was lifted to my feet, and half pushed, half lifted to the station platform. Camp was already there, and as I took this fact in I saw Frederic and his lordship pulled through the doorway of my car by the cowboys and dragged out on the platform beside me. The reports were now in Lord Ralles’s hands.
“That’s what we want, boys,” cried Camp. “Those letters.”
“Take your hands off me,” said Lord Ralles, coolly, “and I’ll give them to you.”
The men who had hold of his arms let go of him, and quick as a flash Ralles tore the papers in two. He tried to tear them once more, but, before he could do so, half a dozen men were holding him, and the papers were forced out of his hands.
Albert Cullen—for all of them were on the platform of 218 by this time—shouted, “Well done, Ralles!” quite forgetting in the excitement of the moment his English accent and drawl.
Apparently Camp didn’t agree with him, for he ripped out a string of oaths which he impartially divided among Ralles, the cowboys, and myself. I was decidedly sorry that I hadn’t given the real letters, for his lordship clearly had no scruple about destroying them, and I knew few men whom I would have seen behind prison-bars with as little personal regret. However, no one had, so far as I could see, paid the slightest attention to the pony, and the probabilities were that he was already headed for Baldwin’s ranch, with no likelihood of his stopping till he reached home. At least that was what I hoped; but there were a lot of ponies standing about, and, not knowing the markings of the one I had ridden, I wasn’t able to tell whether he might not be among them.
Just as the fragments of the papers were passed over to Mr. Camp, he was joined by Baldwin and the judge, and Camp held the torn pieces up to them, saying—
“They’ve torn the proxies in two.”
“Don’t let that trouble you,” said the judge. “Make an affidavit before me, reciting the manner in which they were destroyed, and I’ll grant you a mandamus compelling the directors to accept them as bona-fide proxies. Let me see how much injured they are.”