“I’ll jest walk up an’ rap on the door,” said Anderson Crow, “lettin’ on to be a tramp. I’ll ast fer somethin’ to eat an’ a place to sleep. While I’m out there in the kitchen eatin’ you fellers c’n sneak up an’ surround us. Then you c’n let on like you’re lookin’ fer me because I’d robbed a hen-roost er something, an’ that’ll get ’em off their guard. Once we all git inside the house with these shotguns we’ve got ’em where we want ’em. Then I’ll make ’em purduce the body.”
“Don’t we git anythin’ to eat, too?” demanded Isaac Porter faintly.
“The horses ain’t had nothin’ to eat, Ike,” said Anderson. “Ain’t you as good as a horse?”
A Case of Mistaken Identity
Detective Crow found little difficulty in gaining admittance to Colonel Randall’s summer home. He had secreted his badge, and it was indeed a sorry-looking tramp who asked for a bite to eat at the kitchen door.
Three or four young women were busy with chafing dishes in this department of the house, and some good-looking young men were looking on and bothering them with attentions. In the front part of the house a score of people were laughing and making merry.
“Gosh!” said the new tramp, twisting his chin whiskers, “how many of you are there?”
“Oh, there are many more at home like us,” trilled out one of the young women gaily. “You’re just in time, you poor old thing, to have some of the bride-to-be’s cake.”
“I guess I’m in the wrong house,” murmured Anderson blankly. “Is it a weddin’?”
“No; but there will be one before many days. It’s just a reunion. How I wish Rosalie Gray were here!” cried another girl.
Just then there was a pounding on the door, and an instant later Isaac Porter stalked in at the head of the posse.
“Throw up your hands!” called Anderson, addressing himself to the posse, the members of which stopped in blank amazement. Some of them obligingly stuck their hands on high. “What do you want here?”
“We—we—we’re lookin’ fer a tramp who said he robbed a hen roost,” faltered Isaac Porter.
“What is the meaning of all this?” called a strong voice from the dining-room, and the flabbergasted Tinkletownians turned to face Colonel Randall himself, the owner of the house.
“Derned if I know!” muttered Anderson Crow; and he spoke the truth.
“Why, it’s Anderson Crow!” cried a gay young voice.
“Jumpin’ Jehosophat!” ejaculated the detective; “it’s the body!”
“The school-teacher!” exclaimed the surprised Tinkletownians, as with their eyes they proceeded to search the figure before them for blood stains. But no sooner had the chorused words escaped their lips than they realised how wretchedly commonplace was their blundering expression in comparison with the faultlessly professional phraseology of their leader; and, overwhelmed with mortification, the posse ached to recall them; for that the correct technical term had been applied by one for years trained to the vernacular of his calling was little consolation to these sensitive souls, now consumed with envy.