“Never mind. We’re having a lot of fun. It’s medals for us—gold medals for bravery, Allan. To-morrow the board of aldermen will thank us.”
But this prediction seemed ill-founded. An instant later a half-dozen policemen advanced in a businesslike manner, and their leader announced: “Come! You are arrest.”
“Pinched! What for? We’re doing a lot of good here.”
“Oh, Lard, my God!” Allan mumbled. “I shall die and kill myself.”
“They won’t do anything to us,” Kirk assured him. “I’ve been pinched lots of times. We’ll have to quit, though, and that’s a pity. It was just getting good.”
He surrendered the hose to a fireman, who promptly retreated with it to a discreet position, then followed his captors, who were now buzzing like bees.
“Don’t get excited,” he said to Allan, noting his frightened look. “They’ll turn us loose all right.”
But a moment after they were clear of the town he was surprised to see that the negro’s captors had snapped “come-alongs” upon him in spite of his repeated promises to go quietly.
These handcuffs, Kirk saw, were of the type used upon desperate criminals, consisting of chains fitted with handles so contrived that a mere twist of the officer’s hand would cut the prisoner’s flesh to the bone.
“You don’t need to do that,” he assured the fellow who had made the arrest, but, instead of heeding his words, the men on each side of the Jamaican twisted stoutly, forcing the black boy to cry out in pain. He hung back, protesting:
“All right, sar, I’ll come. I’ll come.”
But again they tightened their instruments of torture, and their victim began to struggle. At this an evil-faced man in blue struck him brutally upon the head with his club, then upon the shoulders, as if to silence his groans. The boy flung up his manacled hands to shield himself, and the light from a street lamp showed blood flowing where the chains had cut. The whole proceeding was so unprovoked, so sickening in its cruelty, that Kirk, who until this instant had looked upon the affair as a rather enjoyable lark, flew into a fury and, disregarding his own captors, leaped forward before the policeman could strike a third time. He swung his fist, and the man with the club hurtled across the street as if shot from a bow, then lay still in the gutter. With another blow he felled one of the handcuff-men, but at the same time other hands grasped at him and he was forced to lay about vigorously on all sides.
They rushed him with the ferocity of mad dogs, and he knocked them spinning, one after another. A whistle blew shrilly, other uniforms came running, more whistles piped, and almost before he realized it he found himself in the centre of a pack of lean-faced brown men who were struggling to pull him down and striking at him with their clubs. With a sudden wild thrill he realized that this was no ordinary