The horses cared for, and supper over, Yorke and Redmond lay back on their cots and blague’d each other wearily anent their mutual ill-luck. Slavin, critically conning over a lengthy crime-report on the case that he had prepared for headquarters, flung his composition on the table and leant back dejectedly in his chair.
“Hoboes?” quoth he, darkly, and tongue-clucked in dismal fashion. “Eyah! I just fancy I can hear th’ ould man dishcoursin’ tu Kilbride av th’ merry, int’restin’ ways an’ habits av th’ genus—hobo—whin he get’s this report av mine. . . . Like he did wan day whin he was doin’ show-man round th’ cells wid a bunch av ould geezers av ‘humanytaruns.’ I mind I was Actin’ Provo’ in charge av th’ Gyard-room at th1 toime.”
He sighed deeply, folded up the report and thrust it into an official envelope. “Well, bhoys,” he concluded, “we have done all that men can’—for th’ toime bein’ anyways.”
Yorke laughed somewhat mirthlessly and gazed dreamily up at his pictures. “Sure have,” he agreed languidly; “from now on, though, I guess we’ll just have to take a leaf out of Micawber’s book—’wait for something to turn up,’ eh, Reddy, my old son?”
There was no answer. That young worthy, utterly exhausted, had drifted into the arms of Morpheus.
A jest’s prosperity lies in the ear
Of him that hears it, never in the tongue
Of him that makes it.
Number Six, from the East, drew up at the small platform of Davidsburg and presently steamed slowly on its way westward, minus three passengers.
“Well, bhoys,” said Sergeant Slavin to his henchmen, “here we are—–back tu th’ land av our dhreams wanst more. Glory be! But I’m glad tu be quit av that warrm, shtinkin’ courthroom. Denis Ryan—th’ ould rapparee, he wint afther us harrd—in that last case. Eyah! But I thrimmed um in th’ finals. Wan Oirishman cannot put ut over another wan.”
He softly rubbed his huge hands together. “Five years! That’ll tache Mishter Joe Lawrence tu go shtickin’ his brand on other people’s cattle! But—blarney me sowl! Ryan sure is a bad man tu run up agin when he’s actin’ for th’ defence.”
The trio had just returned from a Supreme Court sitting where they had been handling their various cases. It was a gloriously sunny day in June. A wet spring, succeeded by a spell of hot weather, had transformed the range into a rolling expanse of green, over which meandered bunches of horses and cattle, their sleek hides and well-rounded bodies proclaiming abundant assimilation of nourishing pasture.
To men who for the past week had of necessity been confined within the stifling atmosphere of a crowded court-room, their present surroundings appealed as especially restful and exhilarating. During their absence their horses had been enjoying the luxury of a turn-out in the fenced pasture at the rear of the detachment, where there was good feed and a spring.