As the document fluttered to Sexton’s feet, the latter turned to Jules Rondeau. “I can no longer take charge here, Rondeau,” he explained. “I am forbidden to interfere.”
“Jules Rondeau can do ze job,” the woods-boss replied easily. “Ze law, she have not restrain’ me. I guess mebbeso you don’ take dose theengs away, eh, M’sieur Cardigan. Myself, I lak see.”
The deputy marshal handed Rondeau a paper, at the same time showing his badge. “You’re out, too, my friend,” he laughed. “Don’t be foolish and try to buck the law. If you do, I shall have to place a nice little pair of handcuffs on you and throw you in jail—and if you resist arrest, I shall have to shoot you. I have one of these little restraining orders for every able-bodied man in the Laguna Grande Lumber Company’s employ—thanks to Mr. Ogilvy’s foresight; so it is useless to try to beat this game on a technicality.”
Sexton, who still lingered, made a gesture of surrender. “Dismiss your crew, Rondeau,” he ordered. “We’re whipped to a frazzle.”
A gleam of pleasure, not unmixed with triumph, lighted the dark eyes of the French-Canadian. “I tol’ M’sieur Sexton she cannot fight M’sieur Cardigan and win,” he said simply, “Now mebbe he believe that Jules Rondeau know somet’ing.”
“Shut up,” Sexton roared petulantly. Rondeau shrugged contemptuously, turned, and with a sweep of his great arm indicated to his men that they were to go; then, without a backward glance to see that they followed, the woods-boss strode away in the direction of the Laguna Grande mill. Arrived at the mill-office, he entered, took down the telephone, and called up Shirley Sumner.
“Mademoiselle,” he said, “Jules Rondeau speaks to you. I have for you zee good news. Bryce Cardigan, she puts in the crossing to-day. One man of the law she comes from San Francisco with papers, and M’sieur Sexton say to me: ‘Rondeau, we are whip’. Deesmess your men.’ So I have deesmess doze men, and now I deesmess myself. Mebbeso bimeby I go to work for M’sieur Cardigan. For Mademoiselle I have no weesh to make trouble to fire me. I queet. I will not fight dose dirty fight some more. Au revoir, mademoiselle. I go.”
And without further ado he hung up.
“What’s this, what’s this?” Sexton demanded. “You re going to quit? Nonsense, Rondeau, nonsense!”
“I will have my time, M’sieur,” said Jules Rondeau. “I go to work for a man. Mebbeso I am not woods-boss for heem, but—I work.”
“You’ll have to wait until the Colonel returns, Rondeau.”
“I will have my time,” said Jules Rondeau patiently.
“Then you’ll wait till pay-day for it, Rondeau. You know our rules. Any man who quits without notice waits until the regular pay-day for his money.”
Jules advanced until he towered directly over the manager. “I tol’ M’sieur I would have my time,” he repeated once more. “Is M’sieur deaf in zee ears?” He raised his right hand, much as a bear raises its paw; his blunt fingers worked a little and there was a smoldering fire in his dark eyes.