“I t’enk so, M’sieur.” He approached Bryce and lowered his voice. “For one month I am no good all ze tam. We don’ fight some more, M’sieur. And I have feel ashame’ for dose Black Minorca feller. Always wiz him eet is ze knife or ze club—and now eet is ze rifle. COCHON! W’en I fight, I fight wiz what le bon Dieu give me.”
“You appear to have a certain code, after all,” Bryce laughed. “I am inclined to like you for it. You’re sporty in your way, you tremendous scoundrel!”
“Mebbeso,” Rondeau suggested hopefully, “M’sieur likes me for woods-boss?”
“Why, what’s the matter with Pennington? Is he tired of you?”
The colour mounted slowly to the woods bully’s swarthy cheek. “Mademoiselle Sumnair, he’s tell me pretty soon he’s goin’ be boss of Laguna Grande an’ stop all thees fight. An’ w’en Mademoiselle, he is in the saddle, good-bye Jules Rondeau. Thees country—I like him. I feel sad, M’sieur, to leave dose beeg trees.” He paused, looking rather wistfully at Bryce. “I am fine woods-boss for somebody,” he suggested hopefully.
“You think Miss Sumner dislikes you then, Rondeau?”
“I don’ theenk. I know.” He sighed; his huge body seemed to droop. “I am out of zee good luck now,” he murmured bitterly. “Everybody, she hate Jules Rondeau. Colonel—she hate because I don’ keel M’sieur Cardigan; Mademoiselle, he hate because I try to keel M’sieur Cardigan; M’sieur Sexton, she hate because I tell her thees mornin’ she is one fool for fight M’sieur Cardigan.”
Again he sighed. “Dose beeg trees! In Quebec we have none. In zee woods, M’sieur, I feel—here!” And he laid his great calloused, hairy hand over his heart. “W’en I cut your beeg trees, M’sieur, I feel like hell.”
“That infernal gorilla of a man is a poet,” Buck Ogilvy declared. “I’d think twice before I let him get out of the country, Bryce.”
“‘Whose salt he eats, his song he sings,’” quoth Bryce. “I forgive you, Rondeau, and when I need a woods-boss like you, I’ll send for you.”
At eleven o’clock Saturday night the deputy United States marshal arrived in Sequoia. Upon the advice of Buck Ogilvy, however, he made no attempt at service that night, notwithstanding the fact that Jules Rondeau and his bullies still guarded the crossing. At eight o’clock Sunday morning, however, Bryce Cardigan drove him down to the crossing. Buck Ogilvy was already there with his men, superintending the erection of a huge derrick close to the heap of obstructions placed on the crossing. Sexton was watching him uneasily, and flushed as Ogilvy pointed him out to the marshal.
“There’s your meat, Marshal,” he announced. The marshal approached and extended toward Sexton a copy of the restraining order. The latter struck it aside and refused to accept it—whereupon the deputy marshal tapped him on the shoulder with it. “Tag! You’re out of the game, my friend,” he said pleasantly.