“Hurry up, then, and go into the other room. Bolt the door, and put out the light.”
Jean needed no further bidding. In another minute she had the door securely fastened, and the candle blown out. She then took up her position in a dark corner, where with fast-beating heart she waited to hear what might take place in the adjoining room.
THROUGH THE NIGHT AND THE STORM
In a few minutes the slashers arrived. Jean could hear them quite distinctly, and her heart sank within her as she listened to their laughter and rough talk. They were in a merry mood, she could plainly tell, and although she could not understand all they said, she was well aware that they were asking for her and the rum. From this she knew that Dave had told them of her presence in the house, and she wondered whether they would try to force their way into her room. She glanced in the direction of the muskets, and although she could not see them, the thought that they were there gave her some comfort.
Standing where she was it was impossible to hear plainly, so stepping to the door, she put her ear down close to a crack through which the light was streaming. She listened intently to all that was taking place, although at first it was difficult to make out any sense from the babel of voices. Occasionally she could hear Norman’s voice urging the men to be quiet or to leave the house. That the visitors had found the rum was quite evident, for she could hear them dipping the mug into the liquor, followed by expressions of satisfaction.
“Dat’s good rum, chief,” she heard one say. “Where you get it, eh?”
“Where it all comes from, of course,” Norman sternly replied. “You must not drink too much of it.”
“Oh, it’ll take more’n dat to knock me out.”
“Don’t be too sure of that. The mast-cutters are no babies, and you’ll need to be in good condition when you meet them.”
“I don’t care for no damn mast-cutters. Rum’s my best friend when I fight dem.”
“Hear, hear!” another shouted. “Good fer you, Jerry! We’re with you on that. Rum puts hell into us, an’ makes us fight like the devil.”
“But the mast-cutters can fight, too,” Norman reminded. “They are well armed, remember.”
“’Spose they are, what of it? They won’t have time to use their guns. They’ll all be asleep when we arrive.”
“But what about the rangers?”
“They’ll never touch us. We’ll have the job done, an’ the camp wiped out before they get there. We’re no fools.”
“They rounded up Flazeet and his men last fall, though. How did they hear about that attack?”
“How did they hear? Flazeet talked too much; that was the trouble. But we’re different. We’ll not get caught.”
“But Davidson has his men everywhere. Perhaps he has already warned the mast-cutters, so they may be waiting for you.”