“There is no mistake!” flashed the girl. “With my own eyes I have seen enough to convict a dozen men!”
Even as she spoke, a form passed the window, and a heavy tread sounded on the veranda. Stepping quickly to the door, Chloe flung it open, and pointing toward MacNair, who stood, rifle in hand, cried; “Officer, arrest that man!”
Corporal Ripley, who had risen to his feet, stood gazing from one to the other; while MacNair, speechless, stared straight into the eyes of the girl.
MACNAIR GOES TO JAIL
The silence in the little room became almost painful. MacNair uttered no word as his glance strayed from the flushed, excited face of the girl to the figure of Corporal Ripley, who stood hat in hand, gazing from one to the other with eyes plainly troubled by doubt and perplexity.
“Well, why don’t you do something?” cried the girl, at length. “It seems to me if I were a man I could think of something to do besides stand and gape!”
Corporal Ripley cleared his throat. “Do I understand,” he began stiffly, “that you intend to prefer certain charges against MacNair—that you demand his arrest?”
“I should think you would understand it!” retorted the girl. “I have told you three or four times.”
The officer flushed slightly and shifted the hat from his right to his left hand.
“Just step inside, MacNair,” he said, and then to the girl: “I’ll listen to you now, if you please. You must make specific charges, you know—not just hearsay. Arresting a man in this country is a serious matter, Miss Elliston. We are seven hundred miles from a jail, and the law expects us to use discretion in making an arrest. It don’t do us any good at headquarters to bring in a man unless we can back up our charge with strong evidence, because the item of transportation of witnesses and prisoner may easily run up into big money. On the other hand it’s just as bad if we fail or delay in bringing a guilty man to book. What we want is specific evidence. I don’t tell you this to discourage any just complaint, but only to show you that we’ve got to have direct and specific evidence. Now, Miss Elliston, I’ll hear what you’ve got to say.”
Chloe sank into a chair and motioned the others to be seated. “We may as well sit down while we talk. I will try to tell you only the facts as I myself have seen them—only such as I could swear to on a witness stand.” The officer bowed, and Chloe plunged directly into the subject.
“In the first place,” she began, “when I brought my outfit in I noticed in the scows, certain pieces with the name of MacNair painted on the burlap. The rest of the outfit, I think, consisted wholly of my own freight. I wondered at the time who MacNair was, but didn’t make any inquiries until I happened to mention the matter to Mr. Lapierre. That was on Slave River. Mr. Lapierre seemed very much surprised that any of MacNair’s goods should be in his scows. He examined the pieces and then with an ax smashed them in. They contained whiskey.”