“I’m goin’ after them raskils,” he announced to Andrew Gregory and the whole family, as he came down late to take his place at the head of the supper table.
“Ain’t you goin’ to let ’em show here, pop?” asked Roscoe in distress.
“Show here? What air you talkin’ about?”
“He means the train robbers, Roscoe,” explained the lad’s mother. The boy breathed again.
“They are a dangerous lot,” volunteered Gregory, who had been in Albany for two days. “The papers are full of their deeds. Cutthroats of the worst character.”
“I’d let them alone, Anderson,” pleaded his wife. “If you corner them, they’ll shoot, and it would be jest like you to follow them right into their lair.”
“Consarn it, Eva, don’t you s’pose that I c’n shoot, too?” snorted Anderson. “What you reckon I’ve been keepin’ them loaded revolvers out in the barn all these years fer? Jest fer ornaments? Not much! They’re to shoot with, ef anybody asks you. Thunderation, Mr. Gregory, you ain’t no idee how a feller can be handicapped by a timid wife an’ a lot o’ fool childern. I’m almost afeard to turn ’round fer fear they’ll be skeered to death fer my safety.”
“You cut yourself with a razor once when ma told you not to try to shave the back of your neck by yourself,” said one of the girls. “She wanted you to let Mr. Beck shave it for you, but you wouldn’t have it that way.”
“Do you suppose I want an undertaker shavin’ my neck? I’m not that anxious to be shaved. Beck’s the undertaker, Mr. Gregory.”
“Well, he runs the barber shop, too,” insisted the girl.
During the next three days Tinkletown saw but little of its marshal, fire chief and street commissioner. That triple personage was off on business of great import. Early, each morning, he mysteriously stole away to the woods, either up or down the river, carrying a queer bundle under the seat of his “buckboard.” Two revolvers, neither of which had been discharged for ten years, reposed in a box fastened to the dashboard. Anderson solemnly but positively refused to allow any one to accompany him, nor would he permit any one to question him. Farmers coming to town spoke of seeing him in the lanes and in the woods, but he had winked genially when they had asked what he was trailing.
“He’s after the train robbers,” explained all Tinkletown soberly. Whereupon the farmers and their wives did not begrudge Anderson Crow the chicken dinners he had eaten with them, nor did they blame him for bothering the men in the fields. It was sufficient that he found excuse to sleep in the shade of their trees during his still hunt.