“Then I seen the lights here and says I, ‘they has him’! Perduce the maleyfactor till I trot him to the lock-up!” and with this the minion of the law rolled up his sleeves and prepared for action.
“I presume you are the chief of police?” inquired Uncle Peter, with an affable smile.
“I’m all the police they is and my name is Harmony Diggs, and they’s no buggular livin’ can get out’n my clutches oncet I gits these boys on him,” the visitor shouted, waving an antiquated pair of handcuffs excitedly in the air.
Tacks watched him open-mouthed. That boy was having the time of his life and it would have pleased me immeasurably to paddle him to sleep with Harmony’s night stick.
“I caught him!” Tacks cried in exultant tones when the village copper looked his way; “he’s down there.”
“Down there, eh?” snorted the country Sherlock, getting on his knees and peering into the depths, but just then Bunch handed him a handful of hard mud which located temporarily over Harmony’s left eye and put his optic on the blink.
With the other eye, however, Mr. Diggs caught a glimpse of a step ladder, which he immediately lowered through the trap, and drawing a murderous looking revolver from his pocket, commanded Bunch to come up or be shot.
Bunch decided to come up. I didn’t hold the watch on him, but I figure it took him about seven-sixteenths of a second to make the decision.
As the criminal slowly emerged from the cellar the spectators stood back, spellbound and breathless; Aunt Martha with a long tin dipper raised in an attitude of defense, and Uncle Peter with the bow and arrow ready for instant use.
These war-like precautions were unnecessary, however. Bunch was a sight. His clothing had accumulated all the mud in the unfinished cellar and his false whiskers were skewed around, giving his face the expression of a prize gorilla.
Bunch looked at me reproachfully, but never opened his head. Say! if ever there was a dead game sport, Bunch Jefferson is the answer.
He didn’t even whimper when the village Hawkshaw snapped the bracelets on his wrist and said, “Come on, Mr. Buggular! This here’s a fine night’s work for everybody in this neighborhood because you’ve been a source of pesterment around here for six months. If you don’t get ten years, Mr. Buggular, then I ain’t no guess maker. Come along; goodnight to you, one and all; that there boy that catched this buggular ought to get rewarded nice!”
“He will be,” I said mentally, as Mr. Diggs led the suffering Bunch away to the Bastile.
“I’ve got to see that villain landed in a cell,” I said to Clara J. as the door closed on the victor and vanquished.
“Do, John!” she answered; “but don’t be too hard on the poor fellow. You can’t tell what temptations may have led him astray. I certainly am disappointed for I was sure it was the ghost. Anyway, the burglar had whiskers like the ghost’s, didn’t he?”