I heard the sobbing of the Ford truck; it went by, missing my runningboard by an inch, stopped at Vandeman's gate and Skeet discharged her cargo of clamor to stream across the sidewalk and up toward the bungalow. I saw Barbara, in the midst of the moving figures, suddenly stop, knew she had seen the two over there, and crossed to her, with a cheerful, "He's here all right."

Look at it: Joe Pink is Muff Potter and Doc Lyon is Injun Joe, and we'll go to see 'em just like Tom and Huck went to see Muff Potter. Only, as I said before, Skeet, you're no more like Huck than my pa is like Nigger Dick." "Well," says I, "it makes no difference. We'll go. For you can bet Doc Lyon will never be free again, and we can look at him and ask him questions, and see what he has to say."

But I hope to drop dead this minute, Skeet, and fall into the river and be et by the fish if every word I said ain't as true as the gospel." "I know it," says I. And Mitchie says: "I wanted to tell you that night what was on my mind; but somehow I couldn't." Just then we became aware of voices near us, around a kind of corner.

"All right," and I stepped through into the grassy back yard, put a smoke in my face, and began walking up and down, my glance, each time I turned, encountering that queer bunch inside: Worth, hands in pockets; the chauffeur he had discharged and that I was waiting to get for murder bending at his vise; Barbara's shining dark head close to the tousled unkemptness of his poll, as she explained to him the pulley arrangement needed to raise and anchor the banner she and Skeet were painting.

"It isn't," Ina protested, smiling. "It's just what you said feeding you. Nobody there besides yourself and Skeet but Mr. Boyne and Worth if he'll come." "I have to go up to San Francisco to-morrow," said Worth. "But you'll be back by dinner time?" Ina added quickly. "If I make it at all."

It's Skeet Keyser; Skeet in shiny, thin-soled pumps, a pleated dress shirt, black silk vest, and a top hat! He's bein' bowed in dignified by the same butler, and is passed on to well, it's a funny world, ain't it? The maid on duty just inside the door happens to be Sister Maggie. She has the respectful bow all ready when she gets a full-face view. "Aloysius!" says she, scared and husky.

So I sizes him up rapid and makes the first play that comes into my head. "You're a wonder, Skeet," says I. "And it's a great game as long as you can get away with it. But whisper!" Here I glances around cautious. "You know I'm a friend of yours." "Oh, sure," says he careless. "What then?" "Only this," says I. "Here's once when I'm afraid you're about to pull down trouble."

Outside, along the porch, sounded the patter of many feet; Skeet wriggled through the narrow frame under her tall sister's arm, came scooting into the room to turn and gaze back at her. "Doesn't she look the vamp?" "Skeet!" Ina had sailed in by this time, and Ernestine followed more soberly. "You've been told not to say that."

It was a clear night and as quiet as a graveyard, only now and then we heard a voice, or a dog bark, or the dip of an oar in the river. And Mitch lay with his hands under his head lookin' up at the stars and not sayin' anything. After a while he says: "Skeet, I told you there was somethin' on my mind, and there is.

It wa'n't Maggie's day for contributin' to the prodigal son fund, though, and Skeet was statin' his opinion of her reckless when the butler interfered. Come near losin' Maggie her job, that little scene did; but she promises faithful it sha'n't happen again, and was kept on. "Blast her!" says Skeet to me later. "She's just as bad as the rest of 'em. They're all tightwads.