“An’ didn’t ye suspicion nuthin’ when he took ye up like that?” asked Mrs. Bixbee.
“I did smell woolen some,” said David, “but I had the hoss an’ they had the money, an’, as fur ’s I c’d see, the critter was all right. Howsomever, I says to ’em: ’This here’s all right, fur ’s it’s gone, but you’ve talked putty strong ’bout this hoss. I don’t know who you fellers be, but I c’n find out,’ I says. Then the fust feller that done the talkin’ ‘bout the hoss put in an’ says, ‘The’ hain’t ben one word said to you about this hoss that wa’n’t gospel truth, not one word.’ An’ when I come to think on’t afterward,” said David with a half laugh, “it mebbe wa’n’t gospel truth, but it was good enough jury truth. I guess this ain’t over ‘n’ above interestin’ to ye, is it?” he asked after a pause, looking doubtfully at his sister.
“Yes, ‘tis,” she asserted. “I’m lookin’ forrered to where the deakin comes in, but you jest tell it your own way.”
“I’ll git there all in good time,” said David, “but some of the point of the story’ll be lost if I don’t tell ye what come fust.”
“I allow to stan’ it ’s long ’s you can,” she said encouragingly, “seein’ what work I had gettin’ ye started. Did ye find out anythin’ ’bout them fellers?”
“I ast the barn man if he knowed who they was, an’ he said he never seen ‘em till the yestiddy before, an’ didn’t know ’em f’m Adam. They come along with a couple of hosses, one drivin’ an’ t’other leadin’—the one I bought. I ast him if they knowed who I was, an’ he said one on ’em ast him, an’ he told him. The feller said to him, seein’ me drive up: ‘That’s a putty likely-lookin’ hoss. Who’s drivin’ him?’ An’ he says to the feller: ’That’s Dave Harum, f’m over to Homeville. He’s a great feller fer hosses,’ he says.”
“Dave,” said Mrs. Bixbee, “them chaps jest laid fer ye, didn’t they?”
“I reckon they did,” he admitted; “an’ they was as slick a pair as was ever drawed to,” which expression was lost upon his sister. David rubbed the fringe of yellowish-gray hair which encircled his bald pate for a moment.
“Wa’al,” he resumed, “after the talk with the barn man, I smelt woolen stronger’n ever, but I didn’t say nothin’, an’ had the mare hitched an’ started back. Old Jinny drives with one hand, an’ I c’d watch the new one all right, an’ as we come along I begun to think I wa’n’t stuck after all. I never see a hoss travel evener an’ nicer, an’ when we come to a good level place I sent the old mare along the best she knew, an’ the new one never broke his gait, an’ kep’ right up ’ithout ’par’ntly half tryin’; an’ Jinny don’t take most folks’ dust neither. I swan! ’fore I got home I reckoned I’d jest as good as made seventy-five anyway.”
“Then the’ wa’n’t nothin’ the matter with him, after all,” commented Mrs. Bixbee in rather a disappointed tone.