In Fingers' florid countenance and in his almost colorless eyes he detected a bit of excitement which Fingers was trying to hide. Kent knew what it meant. Father Layonne had found it necessary to play his full hand to lure Fingers up the hill, and had given him a hint of what it was that Kent had in store for him. Already the psychological key had begun to work.
What an amazingly stupid thing for Father Layonne to say! Blame Cardigan for giving him back his life? Blame him for the glorious knowledge that he was not going to die? Blame him for Things were coming clearer. Like a bolt slipping into its groove his brain found itself.
This morning Father Layonne did not come casually, but determinedly on business, and when Dirty Fingers learned what that business was, he shook his head disconsolately, folded his fat arms more tightly over his stomach, and stated the sheer impossibility of his going to see Kent. It was not his custom. People must come to him. And he did not like to walk.
"It's a good thing, for if we had more of it, we'd walk farther, and we don't like walking." The dog was with Fingers now, also Father Layonne, and Pelly. Pelly unlocked the cell, then relocked it again after Fingers and the dog entered. With a nod and a hopeful look the missioner returned with Pelly to the detachment office.
He, Kent, would talk to Father Layonne about it, and the missioner would spread the gospel of what ought to be among others who were influential at the Landing. For two days he played with Mercer as an angler plays with a treacherous fish. He tried to get Mercer to discover more about Mooie's reference to Kedsty. But the old Indian had shut up like a clam.
He remained for half an hour, and after that young Mercer, one of his two assistants, came in at intervals. Late in the afternoon it began to clear up, and Father Layonne returned with papers properly made out for Kent's signature. He was with Kent until sundown, when Mercer came in with supper. Between that hour and ten o'clock Kent observed a vigilance on the part of Dr.
And out in the hall, as Kent whispered those words, stood Father Layonne, with a face that was whiter than the mere presence of death had ever made it before. At his side stood Cardigan, aged ten years since he had placed his stethoscope at Kent's chest that morning.
What happened in the next few seconds was somewhat of a shock to him. Father Layonne entered first, and then came Inspector Kedsty. Kent's eyes shot to the face of the commander of N Division. There was scarcely recognition in it. A mere inclination of the head, not enough to call a greeting, was the reply to Kent's nod and salute.
And he felt toward Fingers, in the face of that awakening, differently than he had felt toward any other living man. His emotion was one of deep and embracing comradeship. Father Layonne did not come again until afternoon, and then he brought information that thrilled Kent. The missioner had walked down to see Fingers, and Fingers was not on his porch. Neither was the dog.
The missioner was rubbing his brown, knotted hands together raspingly. "Go on," said Kent a little thickly. "He has also sent Inspector Kedsty the same word," finished Father Layonne. "His word to Kedsty is that he can see no fighting chance for you, and that it is useless effort on his part to put up a defense for you. Jimmy!" His hand touched Kent's arm gently. Kent's face was white.