“Got any track of ’em?” asked George Ray one evening, stopping at Anderson’s back gate to watch the marshal unhitch his thankful nag. Patience had ceased to be a virtue with George.
“Any track of who?” asked Mr. Crow with a fine show of innocence.
“I ain’t been trackin’ robbers, George.”
“What in thunder have you been trackin’ all over the country every day, then?”
“I’m breakin’ this colt,” calmly replied the marshal, with a mighty wink at old Betty, whom he had driven to the same buckboard for twenty years. As George departed with an insulted snort, Andrew Gregory came from the barn, where he had been awaiting the return of Mr. Crow.”
“I’m next to something big,” he announced in a low tone, first looking in all directions to see that no one was listening.
“Gosh! Did you land Mr. Farnsworth?”
“It has nothing to do with insurance,” hastily explained the agent. “I’ve heard something of vast importance to you.”
“You don’t mean to say the troupe has busted?”
“No—no; it is in connection with—with—” and here Mr. Gregory leaned forward and whispered something in Anderson’s ear. Mr. Crow promptly stopped dead still in his tracks, his eyes bulging. Betty, who was being led to the water trough, being blind and having no command to halt, proceeded to bump forcibly against her master’s frame.
“As You Like It”
“You—don’t—say—so! Whoa! dang ye! Cain’t you see where you’re goin’, you old rip?” Betty was jerked to a standstill. “What have you heerd?” asked Anderson, his voice shaking with interest.
“I can’t tell you out here,” said the other cautiously. “Put up the nag and then meet me in the pasture out there. We can sit down and talk and not be overheard.”
“I won’t be a minute. Here, you Roscoe! Feed Betty and water her first. Step lively, now. Tell your ma we’ll be in to supper when we git good an’ ready.”
Anderson and Andrew Gregory strode through the pasture gate and far out into the green meadow. Once entirely out of hearing, Gregory stopped and both sat down upon a little hillock. The agent was evidently suppressing considerable excitement.
“Those train robbers are in this neighbourhood,” he said, breaking a long silence. Anderson looked behind involuntarily. “I don’t mean that they are in this pasture, Mr. Crow. You’ve been a good friend to me, and I’m inclined to share the secret with you. If we go together, we may divide the ten-thousand-dollar reward, because I’m quite sure we can land those chaps.”
“What’s your plan?” asked Anderson, turning a little pale at the thought. Before going any further into the matter, Gregory asked Anderson if he would sign a paper agreeing to divide the reward equally with him. This point was easily settled, and then the insurance man unfolded his secret.