Grease turned nearly purple in the face, choking and sputtering in his wrath.
“Come along, Dave, and see if that job as chief detective is open today,” urged Tom, drawing one arm through Fulsbee’s. “If you’re interested in knowing the news, sheriff, you might wait.”
“I’ll-----” ground out Grease, gritting his teeth and clenching one fist. Tom waited patiently for the county officer to finish. Then, as he didn’t go further, Reade rejoined, half mockingly:
“Exactly, sheriff. That’s just what I thought you’d do.”
Then Tom dragged Dave down to the headquarters tent, where they found the president of the road.
“Mr. Newnham,” began Tom gravely, “the sheriff has just come to camp and has discharged Fulsbee from his force of deputies, just because Fulsbee acted as a real law officer and stopped the raid on the road. I have told Mr. Fulsbee, before Sheriff Grease, that you are going to make him chief of detectives for the road at a salary of about six thousand a year.”
Mr. Newnham displayed his astonishment very openly, though he did not speak at first.
“That’s all right,” replied President Newnham. “Mr. Fulsbee, do you accept the offer of six thousand as chief detective for the road,”
“Does a man accept an invitation to eat when he’s hungry?” replied Dave rather huskily.
“Then it’s settled,” put in Tom, anxious to clinch the matter, for he had a very shrewd idea that he would need Dave badly ere long. “Now, Mr. Newnham, until we get everything running smoothly, Mr. Fulsbee ought to have a force of about forty men. They will cost seventy-five dollars a month, per man, with an allowance for horses, forage, etc. Hadn’t Mr. Fulsbee better get his force together as soon as possible? For I am certain, sir, that the next move by the opposition will be to tear up and blow up our tracks at some unguarded points. At the same time, sir, I feel certain that we can get far more protection from Chief of Detectives Fulsbee’s men than from a man like Sheriff Grease.”
“Reade?” returned President Newnham, “it is plain to be seen that you lose no time in making your plans or in arranging to put them into execution. I imagine you’re right, for you’ve been right in everything so far. So arrange with Mr. Fulsbee for whatever you think may be needed.”
“Thank you, sir,” murmured Tom. Then he signaled Fulsbee to get out of the tent, and followed that new official.
“Never hang around, Dave, after you’ve got what you want,” chuckled Tom. “Hello, Mr. Sheriff! This is just a line to tell you that Fulsbee has a steady job with the company, and that he’ll need the services of at least forty men, all of whom must be voters in this county. The pay will be seventy-five a month and keep, with extra allowance for horses.”
Sheriff Grease didn’t look much more pleasant than he felt.
“Are you homeward bound—–when you go?” continued Reade.