The physician nodded.
“I’d like fur ye tu dhrop in agin, thin,” continued the sergeant slowly, “if ye have toime? There’s a little matther I wud like tu dishcuss wid yu’—’tis ’bout that same man.”
Doctor Cox glanced sharply at the speaker’s earnest, sombre face. A certain sinister earnestness underlay the simple words, and it startled him.
“Very good, Sergeant!” he agreed, “I’ll call in on my way back. Well! good-by, all of you, for the time being!”
They followed him outside and watched the rig depart on its journey westward. It was Redmond who broke the long silence.
“Well, sacred Billy! What do you know about that?” he ejaculated tensely.
And the trio turned and looked upon each other strangely, their faces registering mutual wonderment and conviction.
“Sleep?” murmured Yorke, “No, by gum! . . . no more could Macbeth, with King Duncan and Banquo on his chest o’ nights! . . . Well, that settles it!”
But Slavin made a gesture of dissent. “As you were, bhoys!” was his sober mandate. “Sleeplishness’s no actual proof . . . but it’s a pointer. Th’ iron’s getthin’ warrm—eyah! d——d warrm! . . . but we cannot shtrike yet.”
But a truce to this strain; for my soul
it is sad,
To think that a heart in humanity clad
Should make, like the brutes, such a desolate end,
And depart from the light without leaving a friend.
Bear soft his bones over the stones!
Though a pauper, he’s one whom his Maker yet owns!
“THE PAUPER’S DRIVE.”
They ate dinner more or less in silence. Slavin had relapsed into one of his fits of morose taciturnity. At the conclusion of the meal, Yorke and Redmond drew a bench outside, and for awhile sat in the sun, smoking.
“He’s got ‘Charley-on-his-back’ properly to-day,” remarked the sophisticated Yorke, with a sidelong jerk of his head, “old beggar’s best left alone, begad! when he’ get’s those fits on him.” He sniffed the fresh air and gazed longingly out over the sunlit, peaceful landscape, flooded with a warm, sleepy, golden haze of summer. “Lord! but it’s a peach of a day” he continued, “say, gossip mine, did you think to get that fishing-tackle at Martin’s this morning?”
George nodded affirmatively. Yorke rose and stepped indoors. “Say, Burke,” he said persuasively, “there’s not much doing this afternoon—how’s chances for me and Reddy going down to the Bend for a bit? The water looks pretty good just now. You’ll want to have a lone chin with the Doctor, anyway, no use us sticking around.”
The sergeant, engrossed in a crime-report, acceded gruffly to the request. “Run thim harses in first, tho’!” he flung after his subordinate, “an’ du not yu’ men get tu far away down-shtream, in case I might want yez.”