“Well, who is in charge of this prisoner?” said the Court. “There ought to be some one to take care of him.”
“I reckon I am, Judge,” said Curly. “He is sort o’ stayin’ with me while Bill’s under the weather.”
“Well, take him in charge, some one, and have him here in the morning.”
“All right, judge,” said Curly quietly, “I’ll take care of him.”
He beckoned to Juan, and the giant rose and followed after him, still smiling and pleased at what to him also was a novel show.
It was three o’clock of the afternoon. The thirst of a district Judge had adjourned the district court. Franklin’s heart sank. He dreaded the night. The real court, as he admitted to himself, would continue its session that night at the Cottage bar, and perhaps it might not adjourn until a verdict had been rendered.
There came over the town of Ellisville that night an ominous quiet. But few men appeared on the streets. Nobody talked, or if any one did there was one subject to which no reference was made. A hush had fallen upon all. The sky, dotted with a million blazing stars, looked icy and apart. A glory of moonlight flooded the streets, yet never was moon more cold.
Franklin finished his dinner and sat down alone for a time in the great barren office of the depot hotel where he made his home. The excitement of the trial, suspended at its height, was now followed by reaction, a despondency which it was hard to shake off. Was this, then, the land of his choice? he thought. And what, then, was this human nature of which men sung and wrote? He shook himself together with difficulty.
He went to his room and buckled on his revolver, smiling grimly as he did so at the thought of how intimately all law is related to violence, and how relative to its environment is all law. He went to Battersleigh’s room and knocked, entering at the loud invitation of that friend.
“Shure, Ned, me boy,” said Battersleigh, “ye’ve yer side arms on this evenin’. Ye give up the profission of arms with reluctance. Tell me, Ned, what’s the campaign fer the evenin’?”
“Well,” said Franklin, “I thought I’d step over and sit awhile with Curly this evening. He may be feeling a little lonesome.”
“Quite right ye are, me boy,” said Battersleigh cheerfully. “Quite right. An’ if ye don’t mind I’ll just jine ye. It’s lonesome I am meself the night.”
Battersleigh busied himself about his room, and soon appeared arrayed, as was Franklin himself, with a revolver at his belt.
“Shure, Ned, me boy,” he said, “an officer an’ a gintleman should nivver appear abroad without his side arms. At laste, methinks, not on a night like this.” He looked at Franklin calmly, and the latter rose and grasped the hand of the fearless old soldier without a word. The two strolled out together down the street in the direction of the shanty where Curly was keeping his “prisoner.”