Slavin’s face cleared and he emitted a weary sigh of relief. “As you will, yeh’re Worship,” he said. “T’will be helpin’ me out, tu . . . yeh undhershtand?” His meaning stare drew a comprehensive nod from Gully. “I have not a man tu shpare for escort just now.”
He turned to the hobo. “Fwhat say yu’, me man?” was his curt ultimatum, “Fwhat say yu’—tu th’ kindniss av his Worship? Will yeh go wurrk for him? . . . Or be charged wid vagrancy?”
The offer was accepted with alacrity. In the hobo’s one uninjured optic shone a momentary gleam of intelligence, as he continued to stare at Gully, like a dog at its master. The gleam was reflected in a pair of shadowy, deep-set eyes, unblinking as an owl’s.
Gully arose and looked at Lee. “All right then! you can hitch up my team, Nick!” he said, and that rotund worthy waddled away on his mission. “Come on, my man” he continued to the hobo, “we’ll go round to the stable.” He turned to Slavin and Yorke, shedding his magisterial deportment. “Well, good-bye, you fellows!” he said, with careless bonhomie. He lowered his voice in an aside to Slavin. “Sergeant, I trust I shall see, or hear from you again shortly. I would like to hear the result of the inquest and—er—how you are progressing with the case.”
A few minutes later they heard the silvery jingle of his cutter’s bells gradually dying away in the distance. Slavin aroused himself from a scowling, brooding reverie. “G——d d——n!” he spat out to Yorke, from between clenched teeth, “ther’ goes another forlorn hope. ’Tis no manner av use worryin’ tho’—let’s go get that jury empannelled!” He uttered a snorting chuckle as a thought seemed to strike him. “H-mm! Gully must be getthin’ tindher-hearthed! Th’ last vag we had up behfure him he sint um down for sixty days.”
Take order now, Gehazi,
That no man talk aside
In secret with his judges
The while his case is tried,
Lest he should show them—reason
To keep a matter hid,
And subtly lead the questions
Away from what he did.
“Hullo!” quoth Constable Yorke facetiously, “behold one cometh, with blood in her eye! Egad! Don’t old gal Lee look mad? Like a wet hen. I guess she’s just off the train and Nick hasn’t met her. There’ll be something doing when she lands home.”
It was about ten o’clock on the following morning. The three policemen (Redmond had returned on a freight during the night) were standing outside the small cottage, next the livery-stable, the abode of Nick Lee and his spouse. After a casual inspection of their horses they were debating as to possible suspects and their next course of action. Yorke’s remarks were directed at a stout, red-faced, middle-aged woman who was just then approaching them. She looked flustered and angry and was burdened down with parcels great and small. As she halted outside the gate one of the packages slipped from her grasp and fell in the mud. Unable to bend down, she gazed at it helplessly a moment. Yorke, stepping forward promptly, picked up the parcel, wiped it and tucked it under her huge arm.