The Trapping of Birdy Edwards
As McMurdo had said, the house in which he lived was a lonely one and very well suited for such a crime as they had planned. It was on the extreme fringe of the town and stood well back from the road. In any other case the conspirators would have simply called out their man, as they had many a time before, and emptied their pistols into his body; but in this instance it was very necessary to find out how much he knew, how he knew it, and what had been passed on to his employers.
It was possible that they were already too late and that the work had been done. If that was indeed so, they could at least have their revenge upon the man who had done it. But they were hopeful that nothing of great importance had yet come to the detectives knowledge, as otherwise, they argued, he would not have troubled to write down and forward such trivial information as McMurdo claimed to have given him. However, all this they would learn from his own lips. Once in their power, they would find a way to make him speak. It was not the first time that they had handled an unwilling witness.
McMurdo went to Hobsons Patch as agreed. The police seemed to take particular interest in him that morning, and Captain Marvinhe who had claimed the old acquaintance with him at Chicagoactually addressed him as he waited at the station. McMurdo turned away and refused to speak with him. He was back from his mission in the afternoon, and saw McGinty at the Union House.
He is coming, he said.
Good! said McGinty. The giant was in his shirt sleeves, with chains and seals gleaming athwart his ample waistcoat and a diamond twinkling through the fringe of his bristling beard. Drink and politics had made the Boss a very rich as well as powerful man. The more terrible, therefore, seemed that glimpse of the prison or the gallows which had risen before him the night before.
Do you reckon he knows much? he asked anxiously.
McMurdo shook his head gloomily. Hes been here some timesix weeks at the least. I guess he didnt come into these parts to look at the prospect. If he has been working among us all that time with the railroad money at his back, I should expect that he has got results, and that he has passed them on.
Theres not a weak man in the lodge, cried McGinty. True as steel, every man of them. And yet, by the Lord! there is that skunk Morris. What about him? If any man gives us away, it would be he. Ive a mind to send a couple of the boys round before evening to give him a beating up and see what they can get from him.
Well, there would be no harm in that, McMurdo answered. I wont deny that I have a liking for Morris and would be sorry to see him come to harm. He has spoken to me once or twice over lodge matters, and though he may not see them the same as you or I, he never seemed the sort that squeals. But still it is not for me to stand between him and you.
Ill fix the old devil! said McGinty with an oath. Ive had my eye on him this year past.
Well, you know best about that, McMurdo answered. But whatever you do must be to-morrow; for we must lie low until the Pinkerton affair is settled up. We cant afford to set the police buzzing, to-day of all days.
True for you, said McGinty. And well learn from Birdy Edwards himself where he got his news if we have to cut his heart out first. Did he seem to scent a trap?
McMurdo laughed. I guess I took him on his weak point, he said. If he could get on a good trail of the Scowrers, hes ready to follow it into hell. I took his money, McMurdo grinned as he produced a wad of dollar notes, and as much more when he has seen all my papers.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|