“A friend of the bully jumped in and tried to trip Abe. Harry Needles stood beside me. Before I could move he dashed forward and hit that feller in the middle of his forehead and knocked him flat. Harry had hit Bap McNoll the cock fighter. I got up next to the kettle then and took the scum off it. Fetched one of them devils a slap with the side of my hand that took the skin off his face and rolled him over and over. When I looked again Armstrong was going limp. His mouth was open and his tongue out. With one hand fastened to his right leg and the other on the nape of his neck Abe lifted him at arm’s length and gave him a toss in the air. Armstrong fell about ten feet from where Abe stood and lay there for a minute. The fight was all out of him and he was kind of dazed and sick. Abe stood up like a giant and his face looked awful solemn.
“‘Boys, if there’s any more o’ you that want trouble you can have some off the same piece,’ he said.
“They hung their heads and not one of them made a move or said a word. Abe went to Armstrong and helped him up.
“‘Jack, I’m sorry that I had to hurt you.’ be said. ’You get on to your horse and go home.’
“‘Abe, you’re a better man than me,’ said the bully, as he offer’d his hand to Abe. ‘I’ll do anything you say.’”
* * * * *
So the Clary’s Grove gang was conquered. They were to make more trouble but not again were they to imperil the foundations of law and order in the little community of New Salem. As they were starting away Bap McNoll turned to Harry Needles and shouted: “I’ll git even with you yet—you slab-sided son of a dog.”
That is not exactly what he said but it is near enough.
In which the character of Bim Kelso flashes out in A strange adventure that begins the Weaving of A long thread of romance.
The shell of the cabin was finished that day. Its puncheon floor was in place but its upper floor was to be laid when the boards were ready. Its two doors were yet to be made and hung, its five windows to be fitted and made fast, its walls to be chinked with clay mortar. Samson and Harry stayed that evening after the rest were gone, smoothing the puncheon floor. They made a few nails at the forge after supper and went over to Abe’s store about nine. Two of the Clary’s Grove Gang who had tarried in the village sat in the gloom of its little veranda apparently asleep. Dr. Allen, Jack Kelso, Alexander Ferguson and Martin Waddell were sitting by its fireside while Abe sat on the counter with his legs hanging off.
“He’s a tough oak stick of a man,” Kelso was saying.
“Here he is now,” said Dr. Allen. “That lad you cuffed had to stop at my office for repairs.”