“‘No reason why you should,’ said I.
“‘We done our best to keep out o’ your way—never thinkin’ you’d be after the boats,’—he nodded towards the boats drawn up on the beach at our feet.
“‘I’m afraid I don’t understand you in the least.’
“’Well, you see, ‘tis a kind o’ club.’
“‘Indeed?’ said I, not in the least enlightened.
“‘Iss;’ he turned to his companions. ‘I s’pose I’d better tell en?’ They nodded gravely, and he resumed. ’You see, ’tis this way: ever since that burglary there’s no resting for the women. My poor back is blue all over with the cloam my missus takes to bed. And ha’f a dozen times a night ’tis, ’Arch’laus, I’m sartin I hear some person movin’— Arch’laus, fit an’ take a light and have a look downstairs, that’s a dear!’ An’ these fellows’ll tell ’ee ’tis every bit so bad with they. ’Tis right enough in the daytime, so long as the women got us ’ithin hail, but by night there’s no peace nor rest.’
“One or two husbands corroborated.
“’Well, now—I think ’twas the third night after this affair happened— I crep’ downstairs for the fifth time or so just to ease the old woman’s mind, and opens the door, when what do I see but Billy Polkinghorne here, sittin’ on his own doorstep like a lost dog. ‘Aw,’ says I, ’so thee’rt feelin’ of it, too!’ ‘Feelin’ of it!’ says he, ’durned if this isn’ the awnly place I can get a wink o’ sleep!’ ’Come’st way long to Wall-end and tetch pipe,’ says I. Tha’s how it began. An’ now, ever since Billy thought ‘pon the plan of settin’ someone, turn an’ turn, to watch your window, there’s nothin’ to hurry us. Why, only just as you came along, Billy was saying, ‘Burglary!’ he says, ’why, I han’t been so happy in mind since the Indian Queen came ashore!’’
“‘Watch my window? Why the—’ And then, as light broke on me, ‘Look here,’ I said, ’you don’t mean to tell me you’ve been suspecting me of the burglary all this time!’
“‘You musn’ think,’ said Archelaus Warne, ‘that we bear any gridge.’”
“Well,” the Judge concluded, “as I told you, the thief was apprehended a week or two later, and my innocence established. But, oddly enough, some thirty years after I had to try a case at the Assizes here, in which Archelaus Warne (very old and infirm) appeared as a witness, I recognised him at once, and, when I sent for him afterwards and inquired after my friends at Polreen, his first words were, ‘There now—I wasn’ so far wrong, after all! I knawed you must be mixed up with these things, wan way or ‘nother.’”