Daney drew Dirty Dan out of the pool-hall and explained the situation to him. The knowledge that The Laird had, in his extremity, placed reliance on him moved Dirty Dan to the highest pitch of enthusiasm and loyalty. He pursed his lips, winked one of his piggy eyes craftily, and, without wasting time in words of assurance, set forth in search of the man he was to follow and protect. Presently he saw Donald entering the butcher shop; so he stationed himself across the street and watched the young laird of Tyee purchase a fowl and walk out with it under his arm. Keeping his man dimly in view through the gloom, Dirty Dan, from the opposite side of the street, followed on velvet feet to the outskirts of the town, where Donald turned and took a path through some vacant lots, arriving at last at the Sawdust Pile. Dirty Dan heard him open and close the gate to Caleb Brent’s garden.
“Oh, ho, the young divil!” Dirty Dan murmured, and immediately left the path, padding softly out into the grass in order that, when the door of Caleb Brent’s house should be opened, the light from within might not shine forth and betray him. After traversing a dozen steps, he lay down in the grass and set himself patiently to await the reappearance of his quarry.
In response to several clearly audible knocks, the front door failed to open, and Dirty Dan heard Don walk round the house to the back door.
“The young divil!” he reiterated to himself. “Faith, whin the cat’s away the mice’ll play, an’ divil a worrd o’ lie in that! Begorra, I’m thinkin’ the ould gintleman’d be scandalized could he know where his darlin’ bhoy is this minute—here, wait a minute Daniel, ye gossoon. Maybe, ‘tis for this I’ve been sint to watch the lad an’ not for to protect him. If it is, faith ‘tis a job I’m not wishful for, shpyin’ on me own boss.” He pondered the matter. Then: “Well, sorra wan o’ me knows. What if the young fella do be in love wit’ her an’ his father have wind of it! Eh? What thin, Daniel? A scandal, that’s what, an’, be the toe-nails o’ Moses, nayther The Laird nor his son can afford that. I’ll take note o’ what happens, but, be the same token, ’tis not to Misther Daney I’ll make me report, but to the ould man himself. Sh—what’s that?”
His ear being close to the ground, Dirty Dan had caught the sound of slow, cautious footsteps advancing along the little path. He flattened himself in the grass and listened, the while he hoped fervently that those who walked the path (for he knew now there were more than one) would not leave it as he had done and at the same point. Should they inadvertently tread upon him, Dirty Dan felt that the honor of the McKaye family and the maintenance of the secret of his present employment would demand instant and furious battle—on suspicion.
The unknown pedestrians paused in the path.
“Ah done tol’ you-all Ah’m right,” Dirty Dan heard one of them say.
“Ha!” thought Dirty Dan. “A dirrty black naygur! I can tell be the v’ice of him.”