“I am well aware of our wholesome laws on this subject,” said the insinuating accuser; “I do not charge Duval with being certainly disaffected, but I have my suspicions that all is not right, and suggest, that your honor and the brethren will do well to watch his movements. If in my over-zeal for the good of the order I go too far in this matter, I crave the forgiveness of the brethren.”
“We appreciate your motives, but advise great care and the possession of very strong evidence of guilt, by the accuser, ere charges are preferred against a member of our order. The rule on this subject must and shall be enforced. Our worthy lieutenant, who often meets with our brother Duval, will see him and ascertain the cause of his absence, as, also, his feelings toward the order.”
The captain was evidently not well pleased with the course pursued by these men in regard to Duval; most likely, he suspected there was a conspiracy between them, having its foundation on some ill will these desperadoes had conceived against the absentee. This was really the case, whatever were the leader’s thoughts. The two had sworn to stand by each other, in all times of need and in all matters of rascality. Duval had unintentionally insulted one of them, hence the insinuation against him in the order. Perhaps their case will come up again in the course of our story. So soon as this matter was disposed of, the captain inquired:
“Are there any applications for admission into our order?”
“One, if you please,” replied the secretary. “Abram Hurd wishes to become a member with us.”
“Has he been adequately examined, as to his qualifications to be numbered with us?”
“He has, your honor, and the result is eminently satisfactory.”
“Will the order pass upon the application of Abram Hurd?”
“The tellers will attend to their duty.” Two men came forward; each received a box from the captain. One was empty; the other contained white and black balls. These boxes were passed to every member; that containing the balls first.
“White balls elect; black ones reject,” said the captain.
When the voting was over, the result was announced: “All white.”
“Abram Hurd is then elected to become a member of our order, and will be initiated at our next regular meeting. Let the brethren bear this in mind. Is there any other business to be transacted?”
“The order then stands adjourned until the first Friday night of next month.”