“Whar are these here dead ones?” he asked, rather confused. “Over yonder in the graveyard?”
“How do I know where they are?” Pee-wee shouted. “Do you know what blackjacks are?”
“Dots and dashes, you can do it with lights too,” said Peter; “they tell the truth. If he says signals lie that shows he isn’t a scout anyway, and anybody can see he isn’t. I stopped them, I did it by myself.”
“That’s nothing,” Pee-wee shouted from the seat, “I nearly got suffocated, I’m more of a hero than you are. That man that ran away he—he—duped me. This car—will you listen—this car—”
“It’s stolen; I know,” said Peter.
“It was stolen but it isn’t stolen,” Pee-wee fairly screamed. “Can’t a thing be stolen and then not stolen? It’s being—being rescued—”
“It’s being stolen, the other thief ran away,” Peter persisted. “He—he admits he was friends with a thief! He’s a thief too, he is.”
“Maybe Jim disguised—kind of—as a thief,” Pee-wee conceded.
“He’s trying to be disguised as a scout,” poor Peter said.
“I was a scout before you or anybody else was born,” Pee-wee shouted.
“He isn’t,” said Peter.
“I am,” said Pee-wee.
Ham Sanders scratched his head, looking from one to the other, then looked appealingly at his familiar milk cans. Perhaps he expected to see them dancing around in this Bedlam.
“I’m gonter hev both of you youngsters before the peace justice,” he finally said; “we’ll soon find out what’s wrong here. Climb down out o’ that car, you, and come along with me, the both of you.”
“Do you think I’m scared of him?” Pee-wee demanded as he climbed down.
“You will be scared of him, he’s got a big book,” said Peter.
“I ain’t scared of big books,” Pee-wee announced; “I know bigger books, camp registers; I bet it isn’t as big as a map book.”
“You’ll see,” said Peter, darkly.
THE CULPRIT AT THE BAR
The book could not have been so very big, for Justice of the Peace Fee lived in a very small house. It was almost concealed among trees fifty yards or so up the road.
Justice Fee was one of those shrewd, easy-going, stern but good-natured, lawyers that one meets away off in the country. He was altogether removed from that obnoxious thing, the small town lawyer. Up in the edge of his gray hair rested a pair of spectacles, with octagon shaped lenses, almost completely camouflaged by his grizzled locks. These spectacles were seldom where they belonged, on his nose.
Apparently he wore them; to bed, for after several minutes of knocking by the visitors, he appeared with them on, the while groping for the sleeve of an old coat he had partly donned. He took the callers into a room with a desk in the middle of it and sat down at this, facing them, his legs sticking out through the space in the middle. Then he opened the large book as if making ready to close somebody up in it as one presses a flower.