"Stock, you say you're not going along with our duck-shooting party this time? The old Kankakee is just lousy with 'em this season!" "Can't go possibly," said Stockford, "not on account of the work at all, but the folks ain't just as well as I'd like to see them, and I'll stay here till they're better. Next time I'll try and be ready for you. Going to take Tommy, of course?" "Of course!

"Yes, and he said if he struck him first," supplemented Stockford, "he'd like to know why the horseman was 'wearin' all the black eyes, and the blood, and the boomps on that head of um! And it's that talk that got him off with so light a fine!" "As it always does," said the Major, coming to himself abruptly and looking at his watch.

Stockford, thus addressed, paused above the shield-sign he was lettering, slowly smiling as he dipped and trailed his pencil through the ivory black upon a bit of broken glass and said, in his deliberate, half absent-minded way, "Is it Tommy you're telling him about?" and then, with a gradual broadening of the smile, he went on, "Well, I should say so. Tommy! What's come of the fellow, anyway?

Got to have 'The Wild Irishman' with us! I'm going around to find him now." Then turning to me the Major continued, "Suppose you get on your coat and hat and come along? It's the best chance you'll ever have to meet Tommy. It's late anyhow, and Stockford'll get along without you. Come on." "Certainly," said Stockford; "go ahead. And you can take him ducking, too, if he wants to go."

"Funny trial, wasn't it?" continued the ruminating Stockford. "Wasn't it though?" laughed the Major. "The porter's testimony: You see, he was for Tommy, of course, and on examination testified that the horseman struck Tommy first. And here Tommy broke in with: 'He's a-meanin' well, yer Honor, but he's lyin' to ye he's lyin' to ye.

"Talk of odd fellows and eccentric characters," said Major Blowney, my employer, one afternoon, "you must see our 'Wild Irishman' here before you say you've yet found the queerest, brightest, cleverest chap in all your travels. What d'ye say, Stockford?" And the Major paused in his work of charging cartridges for his new breech-loading shotgun and turned to await his partner's response.